Category Archives: POC LGBTQ’s

Open Discussion: Glee and Intersectionality

There’s something hard not to love about Ryan Murphy’s Glee.  Glee has been praised for its portrayal of underdog high school heroes, especially Kurt Hummel, a gay teenager.   Nevertheless, Glee has broken its hearts along the way.  Here are a few of criticisms of Glee:

- In “When will Glee stop Ignoring Race?” Racialious examines the character  Merceades.  Racialious writes that Glee treats “black female characters in the way they are always treated–as hook singers, as comic relief, as funny sidekicks, as advice givers, as checks on the inclusiveness scorecard, but never as fully-actualized human beings.”

- Glee writers have avoided mentioning trans issues or developing a trans character.  In fact, they miss go out of their way to avoid trans people.  In Glee’s tribute to Rocky Horror, they change the lyrics of “Sweet Transvestite” to “fabulous Transylvania”. When preforming Lady Gaga’s “Born this Way,” the Glee kids didn’t perform the line that mentioned in trangender people.  Instead, they perform what is probably Gaga’s most offensive line of all time: “No matter black, white, or beige, chola, or Orient-made, I’m on the right track baby, I was born to be brave.”  Orient-made?  Really?  Why edit out trans people but focus on such questionable lyrics?  Unfortunately, when  The Bilerco Project blogged about this incident, they too overlook the racism of Gaga’s lyrics and focus on “lgbtq exclusion.”  Curiouser and curiouser.

The Born this Way incident may illustrate the heart of Glee’s problem: Glee likes to keep things simple.  Glee writers have been reluctant to really explore the intersection of oppressions.  As a result, Glee’s characters can be one dimensional at best and stereotypes at worse.

What do you think?  Where has Glee succeeded?  Where has it fallen short?  What could it do to improve?

A special message from Gordon Roque

Gordon Roqué Is Gay

I’ve decided that if I am going to continue on as an artist and a musician, I need to do so on my own terms.

Sharing this video is a step in that direction .  . 

With additional information from Neo Prodigy:
It’s moments like this I’m truly proud to be a blogger. Because it is truly a humbling honor and a privilege to post the following:

Gordon Roque is a good personal friend of mine whom I have had the pleasure of knowing for the past few years. An amazing musician, his album Seahorses is available on iTunes and I highly recommend you all check it out. The only thing that surpasses his skill as a pianist and an artist, is the warmth and compassion of this extraordinary man. Which is why I was truly moved when he posted the above video on his site.

What many may not realize is that Gordon took a great risk (professional and even personal) in standing up to be counted. It goes without saying that countless LGBTQs are regularly met with bigotry and even violence. So to say this was a very brave decision is a mild understatement to say the least.

But in standing tall and being visible, Gordon serves a beacon of hope and inspiration for other LGBTQs who may be struggling with coming out. In addition, he provides visibility to not only Asian LGBTQs but queers of color in general who are often persecuted, marginalized and erased, especially in the gay community.

Make no mistake. This is a victory and it brings us one step closer to making equality and progress a reality for everyone.

You should definitely check out Gordon’s website and also drop him a line here and show him some love for the good and the awesome he’s done.

Beyond Gay Marriage and Queer Separatists: The Call for a Working-Class Queer Movement

What we need is to build an issue-focused working-class movement that centers queer analysis.  Our demands should cut across sexuality and gender lines, while fore-fronting and popularizing queer needs. We should demand universal health care that includes access to hormones, gender reassignment surgeries, and an anti-heterosexist health system that does not attempt to pathologize our queer bodies and erase the traumas we face in a violent homophobic society.  We should demand asylum for all immigrants and not solely rely on the liberal, imperialist reform agenda such as the DREAM Act that attempts to draft the youth from our communities into the oppressive military system. These need to be our demands because we know that our fate as workers are bound up with the exploitation of the undocumented workers and the exploitation of youth of color. Today, anti-queer violence erodes our sense of community and leaves us feeling raw, vulnerable, and fearful for ours and our friends’ safety. This is a crucial time for queers and allies who distrust the state and the police to come together and mobilize from the grassroots to defend ourselves from homophobic violence. We should take the lesson from the initial domestic violence movement which set up grassroots phone trees, patrols, and shelters to challenge patriarchal violence in the households and in the streets. Today, we need to resurrect this sense of grassroots unity that links our struggles together and not to rely on the compromised liberals and non-profits, or the homophobic, racist state institutions that divide and assault our communities.

Read more of this excellent, thoughtful article

 

A message from our President

Yes, it was posted to the It Gets Better Project, but hearing a positive message from our POTUS transcends the original intent. Thank you Mr. President for speaking up on this issue.

What is wrong with this world? Another young life gone too soon.

Second gay teen this month takes his life — another case of anti-gay bullying

LGBTQ Nation • Thursday, October 21, 2010 • Comments (3)

Teen suicides within the LGBT community continue at an alarming rate — todayLGBTQ Nation has learned of another recent victim of anti-gay bullying.

Terrel Williams

Terrel Williams, a 17-year-old native of Beverly Hills, CA, took his life on October 13, just hours after being attacked by five other high school students, and pushed and thrown into a brick wall at Clover Park High School in Lakewood, WA.

Terrel’s mother, Cheryl Williams, found her son in their Lakewood home — he had hanged himself in his bedroom closet. Terrel left a suicide note:

“I’m sorry to my immediate loved ones, but I feel suicide is the only way out. I felt coming out, and being happy with Daric, was the best thing I could’ve ever done. But I didn’t think it would lead to my death at an early age.

“Today, was the record worst day of my life, some kids at school stole some of my stuff that I got from people I really cared about, and that really pushed me over the top, next to being shoved into a wall, and my ribs being broken.”

Terrel’s boyfriend, Daric Rawr, told LGBTQ Nation that following the incident on Oct. 13, Terrel had to be picked up and brought home from school. Daric said he was unaware of the attack and was on his way to Terrel’s home to attend a family dinner when Terrel’s mother called to tell him she had found her son hanging in his closet.

In a statement posted on Terrel’s Twitter page on Wednesday, Cheryl Williams wrote:

My son meant the world, and high school bullies pushed him over the edge. I hope and pray, that no other child ever has to go through what he did. Bullying isn’t worth it. Why can’t people just be nice?

This Saturday would have been Terrel’s 18th birthday, and the 7th anniversary of Terrel’s and Daric’s relationship.

The boys met and became friends when they were 10 and 9 years old, respectively. “We began as play dates, like anybody else would, and as we got older into the teen years, his parents allowed us to give dating a shot,” said Daric, who is now 16 years old.

“Terrel was a compassionate, fun loving, outgoing person who enjoyed life to the fullest,” said Daric.

“He loved life, but felt the need to take it, because [the bullying] didn’t stop … respectful, whole hearted people like Terrel, and the growing number of others, shouldn’t have to feel suicide is the answer, because bullies won’t stop.”

To date, there has not been any formal action yet from the school district in regards to the bullying incident.

On September 31, Terrel suffered a gunshot wound to the chest while visiting New York City in what appeared to be an attempted mugging.

Terrel’s death is the second reported suicide this month among gay teens, and follows an epidemic of LGBT suicides reported in the past 6 weeks. In September, at least 6 teens teens committed suicide as a result of anti-gay bullying and intolerance.

Yesterday we reported that 19-year-old Corey Jackson, of Warren, MI, was found in a wooded area of the Oakland University campus in Rochester, MI. The Oakland County medical examiner confirmed Corey’s death was also a suicide by hanging.

 

When will it end?

Mich. Gay College Student Kills Himself

By Advocate.com Editors

COREY JACKSON X390 (FAIR) | ADVOCATE.COM

A 19-year-old Oakland University sophomore took his own life Tuesday, a few months after telling his family and friends he was gay.

Family members of Corey Jackson say they believe the Rochester Hills, Mich., college student had been bullied over his sexual orientation, and it ultimately led him to commit suicide.

“I believe [it happened] because he recently realized he was a homosexual and he was getting pressured at school by his peers because he told his family and nothing changed here,” his grandmother Carolyn Evans told Click On Detroit. “Corey was the most loving, giving, funny person. He had the most wonderful personality. He had cousins from ages 14 down to 2 and he never said a bad word about anybody. When he went to school and he realized his sexual preference had changed, he changed completely. He withdrew.”

Oakland University president Gary Russi said in an e-mail to students that Jackson’s death “diminishes us all.”

“In our mourning, I am hopeful that we will not focus on the manner of Corey’s death, but rather celebrate the life he lived and the people he touched,” Russi wrote.

Students organized a candlelight vigil Wednesday night to honor Jackson. The president Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, of which Jackson was a member, wore a purple shirt Wednesday in remembrance of Jackson and in support of ending bullying of LGBT teens.

Police are still investigating Jackson’s death, but the Oakland County medical examiner’s office confirmed that it had been ruled a suicide.

Yet another loss… (article courtesy of the Michigan Messenger)

Gay Oakland University student found dead of suicide on campus

By Todd A. Heywood 10/20/10 4:45 PM Digg Tweet

The Oakland University community in southeast Michigan is mourning the loss of one of its own.

Local officials report the body of 19-year-old Corey Jackson was found in a wooded area of the campus. Police and the medical examiner’s office tell the Oakland Press the young gay man hung himself.

The suicide happened Tuesday night, as activists across the nation were preparing for a Facebook driven day of activism to counter a wave of suicides of young gay people across the country that have been tied to bullying. Wednesday was dubbed Spirit Day by the Facebook plans, and was designed to draw attention to the suicides by encouraging people to wear purple.

Police say there is no indication bullying was a factor in Jackson’s suicide.

And while bullying may not be a factor, Melissa Pope, director of the university’s Gender and Sexuality Center said the issue points to larger, hidden epidemic of suicides among LGBT youth.

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What White Queers Can Do To Combat Racism In Our Own Community – By Clowny Princess

What White Queers Can Do To Combat Racism In Our Own Community

By Clownyprincess

I wrote this short piece last year. Here in Australia, in my local queer community we can be pretty… backwards… when it comes to issues of race, particularly those intersectional issues impacting on Queers of Colour.

I wrote it because there were a few things happening at the time where there was lots and lots of white fail and I was going a bit buggy and I didn’t feel like there were enough white queers speaking plainly and frankly. I’m sure we’ve all seen it – derailing and denying and over-concern for the feelings of the white peeps being the failiest (in one particularly memorable incident – a blackface show being done and the event organiser saying to me, in the aftermath of the backlash: ‘I really did feel bad for those poor performers you know, they did the wrong thing but they got up with the best of intentions and just didn’t expect that reaction’. TO BLACKFACE! SERIOUSLY! THE FUCK?)

I’m posting it here because I am aware that Geeks of Colour in this community are finding tumblr to be a hostile environment for them. But also because I do feel that the piece below, with only the modifcation of a few words, can apply to many situations involving the privileged and the marginalised.  Rather than edit it to be generalised for tumblr, though, I kept it specific to racism because I feel like that’s something that’s being once again minimised as an issue – and as a bit of a tap on the shoulder for me, as well. Lately I feel like I’ve been getting too swept up in the homo-and-whorephobia and need a little privilege check, need a reminder to keep this stuff in mind lest I start inadvertantly showing my ass.

Just another white girl chiming in with her thoughts on this extremely pertinent issue. Speaking out on these things is always difficult for me simply because as a white person I have to seriously consider if it is really my place to do so. I believe my place in the anti-racist movement is to stand in solidarity rather than to have a leading voice.
As such, I have kept the following as brief and to the point as possible.

Shut up and Listen

The most important thing any white person with a genuine interest in anti-racism should do.
Just shut up.
And listen.
To the People of Colour talking.
They know their issues. They know what’s important to them. It doesn’t matter how much you have read or researched or thought, you will never ever ever know better than they do about their issues.

Too often PoC are actively silenced by white folk wanting to do the talking, so keen are white folk to prove their investment in anti-racism. This is utterly counter-active to the professed objective of any white person wanting to be a part of the anti-racist movement.

So stop it. Sit down, shut the fuck up, LISTEN and accept you are not the expert here.

Stand in Solidarity

It is not the role of white people to set the anti-racist agenda. It is not the role of white people to decide what is the most important issue to tackle. It is not the role of white people to have a principle voice in addressing these issues. It is not the role of white people to lead.

Well-meaning white folk often trample into the anti-racist movement and unwittingly domineer and continue to perpetuate our white privilege by attempting to set the agenda or lead the cause. This is because white people are accustomed to having our voices heard, we are accustomed to leading by default, we are accustomed to having our opinion deferred to, particularly when People of Colour are present.

Be aware of this. And stop doing it. Stand in solidarity as an ally – and understand what that really means. Sometimes it means accepting your voice is not the most important one in the room anymore.

Take Action

This is a confronting one for white people and one I still very much struggle with. This is about responding to incidences of racism against POC, no matter how slight, subtle or covert and expressing disgust and a lack of tolerance for it.

In a tiny scene like the queer one where we face different types of discrimination ourselves, where a big part of our struggle against that is in our solidarity and unity, it gets even more difficult, especially when it may come to speaking up or acting out to people we respect or are friends with. We fear ostracisation and exile from our own niche community – we fear isolation. So we stay silent and, through our inaction, perpetuate racism in our community.

Furthermore, as white people, there’s nothing at stake for us if we remain silent. Our lives are not adversely affected by our silence. Indeed, if anything, we avoid discomfort and confrontation.

I freely admit, I fail at this one. I will try to fail better going forward.

It’s always easier to take action like this as a collective than as individuals. If we communicate, open up this dialogue amongst ourselves, we can find allies in our politics and stand together.

Don’t Get Complacent

We must understand as white people living in a racist society, our education will never, ever stop. It doesn’t matter how educated we think we are, how long a history we have in the anti-racist movement, how many POC friends we have, how many books we’ve read or protests we’ve attended or theory we’ve dissected or sociology we’ve deconstructed, white privilege will always be cushioning our lives. White privilege means we are very much used to be applauded and celebrated for the teeny-tiniest of achivements and progressions and expect this treatment all the time. It is far too easy to allow ourselves to be bolstered by this into believing we’ve done all the work we can and are now the perfect white anti-racist ally.

Racism permeates our culture to such a degree that dismantling our deeply ingrained preconceptions and notions is a lifelong task because these beliefs are constantly being reinforced in every facet of society. The work never ends.

Part of accepting that anti-racist education is a lifelong pursuit is accepting that sometimes, YOU ARE GOING TO FUCK UP.

Somehow, somewhere along the way, you will say or do something with racist connotations. As noted, racism permeates our culture to far too thorough a degree for it to be avoided.

When this happens, and you are called on it, rather than becoming hyper-defensive in your rush to deny your racism, STOP. Take a deep breath. THINK.
Deconstruct. Accept you fucked up, apologise (and actually apologise, don’t make a fauxpology:http://idealisticpragmatist.blogspot.com/2005/06/when-apology-is-not-apology.html ) and don’t do it again.

Also remember, the person calling you out is not saying YOU are racist. They are pointing out that you SAID or DID something that was racist. They are probably very aware that this is a symptom of your having been ingrained into racist ideology from birth and are pointing it out to you so that you can become aware of it because you have made it known you desire to be an ally.  If you are serious about being an anti-racist ally, you MUST be willing to hear this criticism and take it onboard, or it is all just meaningless lip service.

Don’t Expect Cookies

So, you’ve acknowledged the existence of white privilege and that racism is a pretty big fucking issue. Well, whoop-de-doo, bully for you. You’ve become aware of something any Person of Colour could’ve told you at any point of their lives.

Speaking out against white privilege and racism, owning your white privilege, becoming part of the anti-racist movement, listening to POC – none of these things are magical powers.

The capacity to empathise with others makes you a decent human being, not a goddamn superhero.

POC fight a daily struggle against racism. You acknowledging it exists is not an earth-shattering cause of celebration. You are not doing anything remarkable or wondrous or noteworthy by owning your white privilege and expecting that you be congratulated on your amazing politics by every POC you encounter is really pathetic – and is once again pulling white privilege by expecting that the anti-racism movement be made about you and how awesome you are for taking part. Do it because you fucking care, not because you want pats on the back.

 

Apologetics – Neo Prodigy

This was contributed by Neo Prodigy, originally posted in 2005 in his LiveJournal.

The following is my response to KC’s letter. A significant portion of the information and research I used in my reply is courtesy of cmpriest. Mad props to her and her immeasurable brilliance. Hopefully I did it justice. Hopefully I did good.

Dear Denny,

Hey, I know that I can’t talk you out of your delightlful lifestyle, but please don’t give real Catholics, ones who believe what the Church teaches, a bad name. If there is a classification for Pagan, I would suggest that is more appropriate.
This is from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

2357 … Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
2359 Homosexual persons are called to CHASTITY. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

[I think you have at least 3 of these 4]

2396 Among the sins gravely contrary to chastity are masturbation, fornication, pornography, and homosexual practices.

1035 The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, “eternal fire.” The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.

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A message from Jamie

Originally submitted for the It Gets Better Project, Jamie shared his video for We Got Your Back.

Thank you for sharing your story!

Queer and Loathing: Does the Foster System Bully Gay, I mean Trans Kids?

Mother Jones has published a heart-breaking article about the bullying of LGBTQIA kids in the foster system. The article tells the story of a teenager named Kenneth and the struggle to find an accepting foster family. Kenneth has good grades, no criminal record, and is coping with the challenges in his life well. But when he brought home his first date, here’s what happened.

James, Kenneth’s foster father, returned to the apartment one night to find the boys talking and laughing in the front room. The introductions immediately turned into what Kenneth calls a “life-or-death situation.”

James wasn’t blind to his foster son’s sexuality. The young man was decidedly out—preaching tolerance at school assemblies, appearing on teen panels, and advocating gay pride in rainbow pamphlets. He even showed up to court hearings wearing lipstick. Privately, though, James dismissed all of it as a phase. And Kenneth, to avoid rocking the boat, had downplayed his sexuality at home—until now.

When James—a retired demolition worker with missing front teeth and a heavyweight’s body—saw Kenneth with his date, he grew livid. “What are you doing bringing a boy into my house?” he screamed, according to Kenneth. He ordered them out, but the boy stood his ground. James got up in his face. “I’ll kick your asses,” he threatened. Taking him at his word, the couple fled, with James chasing them down the stairs and out the door. The boyfriend called 911.

This night began Kenneth’s struggle to find a new foster family.  I hope that you’ll read the rest of the article.  If you do, you may notice something that I noticed.  Through out the article, Kenneth’s gender expression is mentioned – Kenneth paints his nails and wears lipstick.  Kenneth’s mannerisms are described as feminine.  My ears perked up.  Is Kenneth just a femme gay boy or is this an example of a transkid being assumed to be gay because too few people think that a teenager could be transgender?   Of course, only Kenneth can clear up this question.  But then I read the last line of the article:  “After the New Year,[Kenneth]  settled on the solution [for the state's inability to find an appropriate foster family]—a sex change. He’d been considering it for a year and had enrolled in the required counseling sessions at a local clinic, but only now could he articulate his reason for wanting to reboot his identity: He would be safer as a woman. “I’m getting really tired,” Kenneth explains. “I don’t have no other options left.”

I’m not going to draw conclusions about someone else’s gender identity. But this article left me feeling sad for more than one reason.   It’s clear that trans issues need to be in the consciousness of LGBTQIA folks advocating for teenagers in the foster system, journalists writing about queer issues, and everyone involved in the foster care system.   The lives of young people like Kenneth depend on it.  And making that change can start with us at the We Got Your Back Project.

When a youth-services nonprofit surveyed its 246 foster families, it found only 21 who were willing to accept a gay teenager.  Imagine what the numbers might have been for trans-teenagers.  I hope you’ll share your thoughts about this article and the larger issue here or on our facebook page.

Yours,

Joy

Another Life Lost

19Year Old Former Howard Univ Student Aiyisha Hassan Commits Suicide

Very unfortunate news to report as yet another LGBT teen has ended their life. Nineteen-year-old Aiyisha Hassan, a lesbian former Howard University student, took her own life last Tuesday in California.

2010_10_12_AIYISHA_HASSAN2 Hassan becomes at least the seventh LGBT teen to commit suicide in the past five weeks. She also becomes the second Black LGBT teen to commit suicide in the past two weeks.

Aiyisha Hassan attended Howard University from 2008 to 2009. Students at the historically black university organized a candlelight vigil for Aiyisha Hassan on Thursday night, reports The Hilltop and MetroWeekly. Reports suggest the former HU student was struggling with her sexuality.

“She was having a lot of trouble with a lot of different things, but mainly her sexual identity and just trying to express that,” says 21-year-old Lauren Morris, a fourth-year student. Morris says she introduced Hassan to Howard’s LGBT student group, and both attended meetings.

There are few details on Aiyisha Hassan’s suicide. Services will be held Wednesday, October 13 in Los Angeles at the Westminster Presbyterian Church.

Will this ever end? Will there ever be hope for young people such as Aiyisha Hassan, Raymond Chase and Tyler Clementi?

A few points need to be made -A Letter to the at-risk LGBTQ Teens out there, from Neo Prodigy

My friend blogger Neo Prodigy wrote the following letter to LGBTQ Youth, with some very good tips, advice and resources.I’m going to sticky it as a page, but this needs to be out there, reposted and co-signed unto infinity.

Link to the original post is here

With that being said, the following is advice I would give to at risk LGBTQ teens out there. It’s also a letter I would’ve written to myself as a teen. Much of what I say may shock you, much of what I say may disturb you. But this is the real talk that manifested from my experience and the experience of countless others. So I make no apologies. For those of you reading this. Your mileage may vary. Take what you can utilize and disregard the rest.

1. Stay In The Closet.

If you think for one second that your family is going to flip their shit, if you think for one second that your life is about to be made a living hell, then don’t tell anyone. This isn’t about pride. This is about survival. You know who you are and you have nothing to prove. You are not under any obligation to disclose who you are. No, you are not lying or being deceitful. It’s not lying if people only force you to see their truths.You do what you have to do to stay alive. Bide your time until you can be out and open and free to be you.

But what if I’m out? Or people think I’m out? I’ll get to that.

2. There Is Nothing Wrong With You

You’re not a deviant, a pervert, a sinner, a child molester, or die of AIDS, or whatever the hell else you’ve been told. You’re as who God intended you to be. You’re not the one that needs to be fixed. It’s those who are uncomfortable and psychotic about the fact that your orientation doesn’t fall within their purview who needs to be corrected. Don’t ever let anyone convince you otherwise.

3. Talk To Someone

It’s okay to ask for help. There are hotline numbers and I know firsthand that it’s often easier to open up to a stranger than it is someone you know.

4. Resources Are Available

http://www.thetrevorproject.org/
http://www.matthewshepard.org/
http://cypheroftyr.wordpress.com/2010/09/29/868/

Media You Should Also Check Out:

Bang Bang You’re Dead
Save Me
The Sensei
Hero

5. You Are Not Weak

You live in a world that hates your very existence. Surviving each day is an accomplishment in itself. Don’t ever think that you’re less than anyone else for having to endure homophobia or because it wears on you. You keep your head up and no you’re stronger than you think.

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