[Image: A Black woman holding a pink sign that says, “Sleeping on the streets or walking down the aisle? It’s time to start prioritizing LGBT youth.”]
I saw this floating around facebook today. Credit where credit is due.

[Image: A Black woman holding a pink sign that says, “Sleeping on the streets or walking down the aisle? It’s time to start prioritizing LGBT youth.”]

I saw this floating around facebook today. Credit where credit is due.

[Image: photo of “family” car stickers portraying a nuclear family of one mom and one dad]

So I found this while shopping for stuff for my new apt. The fact that a nuclear family is portrayed is fine, but I’m taking issue with the fact that THE nuclear family was the only option available to consumers.

[Image: photo of “family” car stickers portraying a nuclear family of one mom and one dad]

So I found this while shopping for stuff for my new apt. The fact that a nuclear family is portrayed is fine, but I’m taking issue with the fact that THE nuclear family was the only option available to consumers.

Stonewall was a Wedding?

Are we done yet? Do we have to endure another full day of self-congratulation at Obama’s personal endorsement of same-sex marriage? His announcement was heralded with as much praise as last summer’s legalization of gay marriage in New York. And that was, you know, actual legislation.

This is hardly surprising given the fact that marriage equality is designed to distract liberal consciences and give Democrats political cover to gut social services. While the passage of gay marriage enjoyed the support of prominent campaign donors, it was directly preceded by cuts to homeless shelters for queer youth. It’s a campaign season bait-and-switch — winning votes without making real concessions.

Case in point: Bloomberg commended Obama for joining a legacy of “courageous stands that so many Americans have taken over the years on behalf of equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans, stretching back to the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village.” This days after slashing youth homeless shelter funding by $7 million, in a city where40% of homeless youth are LGBT.

Looked at from this vantage point, the chief beneficiaries of gay marriage will be Crate & Barrel, not the queer folks with the most desperate needs. There is an obvious disconnect between the desires of politically connected, wealthy gay people and the needs of queer youth, and yet the major gay rights organizations have all rallied around gay marriage as if it will solve the problems of gay people everywhere, regardless of race or class.

Gay marriage proponents feed us two flavors of justification for their crusade. For the romantics they supply fantasy — the notion that legal inclusion brings social justice; for the cynics, they tout the thousand individual rights that a marriage certificate bestows.

These arguments should raise serious red flags for the Jacobin rank-and-file, and indeed, neither holds water. You’d think in the “age of the 99%,” we teeming masses would be able to see that what’s good for the few isn’t good for us all. It’s true that marriage comes with material advantages — healthcare, citizenship, and inheritance chief among them — but therein also lies the problem. Marriage consolidates privilege by creating a legal basis for denying access to those thousand rights; it literally sanctions discrimination. Instead of bestowing rights based on relationship status, the state should guarantee those rights for all people. Instead we attach basic rights to an institution with a 50% failure rate.

The obsession with marriage also sanitizes the history of queer struggle. Stonewall was not a wedding, it was a riot, led by the very queers who are now erased from the public image of gay equality. Drag queens, trans people of color, young queers, and butch dykes fought systematic violence and in Sarah Schulman’s words, “[…] arose to change society, to expand rigid gender roles, to break down confining social mores of privatized families and to defy the consumerism that accompanies monogamy and nuclear family lifestyle in the United States.” That transformative vision has been sidelined by the marriage crowd, who are content to bestow rights only on the deserving few. Are there really members of our society undeserving of health care?

Only the most privileged among us could possibly see the fight for the right to party as a movement for social justice. Proponents tout the implications for healthcare and immigration status while members of our queer and trans communities are denied basic treatment in prison, while they are harassed and ejected by ICE. Loving couples making a public commitment to one another is a beautiful thing, but it is erroneously touted by gay rights groups as the single most pressing justice issue facing queer people. Issues of access to healthcare, education, and housing go unmentioned.

Look no further than Argentina for real leadership in queer politics. While we were busy patting ourselves on the back, the Argentine legislature passed the Gender Identity Law, arguably the most gender-affirming bill in any country, to date. Argentineans can now change their legal genders without having to demonstrate any medical treatment, and the public and private healthcare systems in the country are banned from charging extra for gender-related therapies or procedures. These changes may not have the comforting ring of wedding bells, but they address administrative inequalities that present huge obstacles to trans people in accessing basic services. And it teaches us that by building power for vulnerable communities, legislative reform can be an important part of movements for social justice.

BREAKING: Obama Embraces Marriage Equality
President Obama has come out in support of marriage equality for gay and lesbian people in an interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts this afternoon:

OBAMA: I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.

His endorsement comes less than a week after Vice President Joe Biden embraced the issue during an appearance on Meet The Press and a day after North Carolina banned marriage equality and civil unions in its state constitution.
The president last made news on the freedom to marry 560 days ago, when he told progressive journalists at the White House that he is evolving towards greater acceptance.
Obama’s remarks today bring him full circle to his position in 1996, when he was running for the Illinois state Senate. In response to a questionnaire from Chicago’s Outlines gay newspaper, he proclaimed, “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.”
Source.

BREAKING: Obama Embraces Marriage Equality

President Obama has come out in support of marriage equality for gay and lesbian people in an interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts this afternoon:

OBAMA: I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.

His endorsement comes less than a week after Vice President Joe Biden embraced the issue during an appearance on Meet The Press and a day after North Carolina banned marriage equality and civil unions in its state constitution.

The president last made news on the freedom to marry 560 days ago, when he told progressive journalists at the White House that he is evolving towards greater acceptance.

Obama’s remarks today bring him full circle to his position in 1996, when he was running for the Illinois state Senate. In response to a questionnaire from Chicago’s Outlines gay newspaper, he proclaimed, “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.”

Source.

[Image: A photo of the Tyler Haynes Common’s Pier at the University of Richmond. Taken from the second floor, looking down. In the middle of the photo is a rafter with a rainbow flag hanging vertically on the left side and a black flag with a pink triangle also hanging vertically on the right.]
Every April, the University of Richmond’s queer activist group, the Student Alliance for Sexual Diversity (SASD) co-opts the month of April to celebrate LGBTQ Pride month. This year, we got permission from the University to hang a rainbow and pink triangle flag in the student commons in celebration.

[Image: A photo of the Tyler Haynes Common’s Pier at the University of Richmond. Taken from the second floor, looking down. In the middle of the photo is a rafter with a rainbow flag hanging vertically on the left side and a black flag with a pink triangle also hanging vertically on the right.]

Every April, the University of Richmond’s queer activist group, the Student Alliance for Sexual Diversity (SASD) co-opts the month of April to celebrate LGBTQ Pride month. This year, we got permission from the University to hang a rainbow and pink triangle flag in the student commons in celebration.

[Image: Picture of Karen (played by Amanda Seyfried) from the movie Mean Girls, under the text, “Oh my god Karen, you can’t just not ask someone what their preferred gender pronoun is.”]

[Image: Picture of Karen (played by Amanda Seyfried) from the movie Mean Girls, under the text, “Oh my god Karen, you can’t just not ask someone what their preferred gender pronoun is.”]

We Don’t Need No Education (That Doesn’t Recognize Queer Identities)

Anyone who’s had any recent experience with the American education system knows that most of the time, it’s not an inherently queer-friendly place. From the locker room at gym to the video about where babies come from in health class, it’s a straight straight world out there. Despite our best efforts to make the educational sphere a more inclusive place for young queers — from anti-bullying initiatives to the FAIR Act in California — it remains an aggressively heteronormative space for kids who are very sensitive to the idea that there might be something bad, wrong, or unnatural about them. As major a victory as the FAIR Act was, with its assurance that kids would soon be able to learn about queer role models and historical figures in their public schools, even that may not be the slam dunk that activists had hoped for — California budget cuts mean that the next curriculum revision and textbook purchase have been pushed back to 2015, and individual school districts are being told to interpret the law as best they can without any new funding, and in spite of the fact that their funding overall has decreased by roughly 20% in the last few years.

As long as the majority of students in any academic setting are straight, are heteronormativity and cisnormativity in the classroom inevitable? Not everyone thinks so; Susan Stryker, the director of the LGBT Studies Institute at the University of Arizona, has some thoughts on how queer theory can make academia better when she spoke with the Toronto publication Xtra.

Xtra: Can, or should, queer/trans studies occupy space in the academy the same way that traditional humanities and social science disciplines do?

Susan Stryker: Because there’s homophobia in the world, sometimes it can be difficult to negotiate the academic environment when you’re out and queer, the same way it can be hard to negotiate any workplace, or public space in general. It’s not always a cakewalk. But there is a real recognition that understanding sexuality and sexual diversity is an important part of how you train students to be engaged, thoughtful, participatory members of society. There is not a lot of intellectual debate about whether or not it’s valuable to study LGBT and queer issues in the academy. Even among people who don’t quite get it, it’s recognized as being a legitimate set of questions that has some important things to say to everybody.


Read more here.

"I will NOT stop being angry. I will hold this hatred for injustice so close to my heart it will gather soul samples. I will NOT stop being angry. To do so would be to go quietly into the night. Wading in the water doesn’t stop when the tide draws near. I will be angry and when others join me, we will see a collective diamond come from from the coal of oppression."
Anonymous

a friend of mine just shared this on facebook, so i thought i’d share it with you. super cute.

"You can argue that it’s a different world now than the one when Matthew Shepard was killed, but there is a subtle difference between tolerance and acceptance. It’s the distance between moving into the cul-de-sac and having your next-door neighbor trust you to keep an eye on her preschool daughter for a few minutes while she runs out to the post office. It’s the chasm between being invited to a colleague’s wedding with your same-sex partner and being able to slow-dance without the other guests whispering."
Jodi Picoult, Sing You Home

[TW: Bullying, Self harm, Suicide]

This video has been making the rounds, so I thought I’d join in. Its a video by a young man named Jonah who has been through way too much in his short life. Quite inspirational.

Every inch of me shall perish. Every inch, but one. An inch. It is small and it is fragile and it is the only thing in the world worth having. We must never lose it or give it away. We must NEVER let them take it from us. I hope that whoever you are, you escape this place. I hope that the worlds turns, and that things get better. But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that, even though I do not know you, and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you, I love you. With all my heart, I love you.” — V for Vendetta

Old White Men, Young Black Boys and the Sexual Legacy of Slavery… In Light of Penn State
This piece was written a few years ago, but I felt compelled to unearth it due to the recent (alleged)  sexual assaults and rapes of many  young black boys at Penn State.
In my experience, it’s been one of the most unspoken taboos in both gay and African American communities: White men’s consumption and fascination with black male bodies.
My first real experience with this was when I was at Arby’s in Midtown, years ago, after I had just moved to Atlanta. I was sitting in Arby’s eating a grilled cheese, and from nowhere this middle aged white man, maybe in his 50-60′s, comes and stands above me, lurking down upon me a like a parasite longing for new blood. His behavior initially puzzled me. I asked “Can I help you?” and he just stared at me and licked his lips, then he flashed me several dollar bills. Recognizing this was some sort of sexual innuendo that I had no interest in, I grabbed my food and walked out of there.
At this point, I did not know that the Spring Street Arby’s and the subsequent area around the club 708 is a space where many sex workers, most of them African American boys & trans women, are solicited. I had no idea as I would learn later through my work in HIV & AIDS prevention & education, that most of those young African American boys and trans-women would report that the majority of their clients are middle aged white men. At first I thought little of it. I mean, why wouldn’t the majority of them be middle aged white men, who in this country would be more likely to have the disposable income? As I continued my studies in African American literature and history I found a few things that took me somewhere else. Where to you might ask? Why to Slavery my dear friend.
Read more here.

Old White Men, Young Black Boys and the Sexual Legacy of Slavery… In Light of Penn State

This piece was written a few years ago, but I felt compelled to unearth it due to the recent (alleged)  sexual assaults and rapes of many  young black boys at Penn State.

In my experience, it’s been one of the most unspoken taboos in both gay and African American communities: White men’s consumption and fascination with black male bodies.

My first real experience with this was when I was at Arby’s in Midtown, years ago, after I had just moved to Atlanta. I was sitting in Arby’s eating a grilled cheese, and from nowhere this middle aged white man, maybe in his 50-60′s, comes and stands above me, lurking down upon me a like a parasite longing for new blood. His behavior initially puzzled me. I asked “Can I help you?” and he just stared at me and licked his lips, then he flashed me several dollar bills. Recognizing this was some sort of sexual innuendo that I had no interest in, I grabbed my food and walked out of there.

At this point, I did not know that the Spring Street Arby’s and the subsequent area around the club 708 is a space where many sex workers, most of them African American boys & trans women, are solicited. I had no idea as I would learn later through my work in HIV & AIDS prevention & education, that most of those young African American boys and trans-women would report that the majority of their clients are middle aged white men. At first I thought little of it. I mean, why wouldn’t the majority of them be middle aged white men, who in this country would be more likely to have the disposable income? As I continued my studies in African American literature and history I found a few things that took me somewhere else. Where to you might ask? Why to Slavery my dear friend.

Read more here.

"The problem I see here is that an ally in any anti-oppression movement should not be focused on disproving the fact that they are influenced by prejudice. In doing so, he paints himself into an adversarial relationship with the trans activists who he tries to discredit in order to prove his worth. I would argue that it’s probably impossible to avoid internalizing prejudicial messages. The best thing any ally can do is take responsibility for those influences and seek to be accountable for them. Yet Dan Savage is too busy dodging responsibility to actually internalize an understanding of what he is doing that is wrong."

Toby Hill-Meyer, Bilerico

Commenting on Dan Savage's likely continuing prejudice dodging comments regarding his transphobia and his recent glitter bombing incident.

[Image: A grey background with purple letters that say, “Fight hate everyday”]
A rant: I hate “spirit days.” I hate when mainstream organizations like GLAAD and HRC sponsor a day to bring recognition to the the plight of gender and sexual minority (GSM) individuals. Discrimination doesn’t exist for one single day a year and neither should people’s “support” for a marginalized group. Simply changing a facebook picture or wearing a purple shirt for one day is great, don’t get me wrong. But we need people out on the streets everyday: from calling out people on the use of derogatory slurs to attempting to abolish the gender binary. Yes, I changed my profile pic on facebook today, but I’m also out there living and fighting the systematic oppression everyday. So I find it rather patronizing when facebook “turns purple” and all of sudden people think “progress” has been made. End rant.

[Image: A grey background with purple letters that say, “Fight hate everyday”]

A rant: I hate “spirit days.” I hate when mainstream organizations like GLAAD and HRC sponsor a day to bring recognition to the the plight of gender and sexual minority (GSM) individuals. Discrimination doesn’t exist for one single day a year and neither should people’s “support” for a marginalized group. Simply changing a facebook picture or wearing a purple shirt for one day is great, don’t get me wrong. But we need people out on the streets everyday: from calling out people on the use of derogatory slurs to attempting to abolish the gender binary. Yes, I changed my profile pic on facebook today, but I’m also out there living and fighting the systematic oppression everyday. So I find it rather patronizing when facebook “turns purple” and all of sudden people think “progress” has been made. End rant.