Thursday, December 16, 2010
An open letter to everyone who uses the anti-transsexual woman slur “tra**y”, to the jerk who called my friend a tra**y when she went on the bus to go to work and ruined her day, to the non-trans straight girl who called a girl she didn’t like a “tra**y” to imply she was ugly, to the hate crime assailant who called his trans victim a tra**y as he bashed her near to death, to the gay man who called his friend a “stupid tra**y” because he spilled his drink on him, to the transphobic gay man who called an effeminate gay man a tra**y because he thought masculine acting gay men were somehow “better” than feminine acting gay men, to the gay male director who sought to exploit trans women and put the pejorative in the title of his film, to the late night talk show hosts who make fun of trans women on TV and use the T word, but actually used to be in love with a trans woman behind the scenes, to the radical feminist lesbian who helps plan the Michigan Music Festival and was quoted as saying “no fucking tra**ys allowed”, to the gay male drag queens who perform “trans face” and say the T word 20 times a night to make their gay audience laugh at the thought of real trans women being taken seriously, to the trans woman who performs campy burlesque and uses the T word in her act because she get paid to be the butt of her own jokes, to the fetishist and cross dressers who say the T Word to objectify the medical condition transsexualism, to the Village Voice flamboyant gay male journalists who don’t know the difference between drag queens and transsexual woman and are clueless as to why the T word hurts, to pop culture that has morphed the T word into a punch line that dehumanizes trans people, to the people who call trans people the T word to mis-gender them, to all the gay men and their girlfriends who think it’s “cool” and hip to say the T word,to the mean people who use the tra**y as an insult, to the actresses who think it’s okay to say the T word because their gay agent said its acceptable and their publicist said it would give them free press, to the gay male editors of trashy blogs who exploit this issue and think they have the authority to tell trans women to “lighten up” for protesting hate speech, to the trans people who have such low self-esteem that they accept the T word has a fake form of endearment:
OK, you’re right, I give up, I’m just a “tra**y”: subhuman, joke, object. I should just accept that you find my medical condition so uncomprehendable that you fear it. Sorry that I had the audacity to think the trans community could integrate their humanity into mainstream society and bring awareness to the stigma and harm that the T word inspires. I now accept that my birth challenge is nothing more than a punch line for non-trans people to make hateful pejoratives out of and then bully me when I cry out for understanding and respect. I will now resign myself to my cave that your hate, misogyny and transphobia has banished me to. It was silly of me to think that tra**ys deserved anything but marginalization, depression and crumbs. I guess if the LGB portion of the LGBTI community says the T word is okay, then where do transsexual and intersex people get off on wanting to speak for themselves? I promise not to speak anymore until spoken to. Your brutality, selfishness and insensitivity has beaten me, there is no more energy in my spirit to fight. I am moving back to the forest where I don’t have to put up with your bullshit reasons of why trans people have to accept this abuse. If you need a tra**y to hop around on your stage like a clown working for peanuts, you can find me in the leper colony where the tra**ys have been quarantined to. Goodbye, and good riddens, tra**y out.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Pain Brought By Joy: The Joy Behar Show’s Pattern of Transphobia & Ignorance Perpetuates Harm on Transsexual, Transgender & Intersex Americans.
Last month The Joy Behar Show had two highly problematic shows concerning transsexuality and gender identity. Previously, Joy Behar also expressed transphobic sentiments on The View.
The first incident aired in late 2006. The hosts of The View (one of my favorite talk shows) were having a conversation concerning terminology used in the transsexual and transgender communities in which Joy Behar offensively blurted out "ewww...that's weird.” :(
Then on The Joy Behar Show's November 10th, 2010 episode, the topic of discussion was the pejorative "tra**y" (an anti-transsexual woman slur). Shockingly, instead of inviting transsexual women on the show to express their feelings about this hate speech, invited instead were two unqualified and insensitive gay men (who are not trans). Radio host Michelangelo Signorile and author Greg Fitzsimmons discussed the misogynistic word with a condescending and non-affirming tone. For what reason would Behar’s producers have two gay men serve as “experts” about a slur associated with sexism and violence towards women, not men? Women can speak for themselves, thank you very much.
If the “N word” was used on TV to dehumanize a Black person, would Behar have Asian people on her show to discuss it? Or if someone in the media was using the pejorative “dyke” to dehumanize lesbian women, would Behar solely ask straight men their opinions? Trans leaders and the history of the LGB”T” movement testify that some in the gay and lesbian community are just as guilty of transphobia as non-trans straight people are, which is why it’s imperative that trans Americans be able to represent themselves.
This appropriation and lack of trans representation has stigmatizing results on the public’s perception of Americans with transsexualism. Transsexualism is a birth challenge and medical condition, and has absolutely nothing to do with sexual orientation. “Transgender” is a term used to describe a person's gender identity. Gender is a person's identity, the core essence of who that person is. Sexual orientation describes who a person is attracted to. They are totally different concepts.
When Behar asked if the “T word” was ever used as a "compliment", Signorile remarked "there's a club in San Francisco called 'Tra**y Shack’”. The Tra**y Shack is a sensationalist male drag queen show, with gay men performing a stage act. Comparing transsexualism to male drag queen camp is not only wrong, but it exists as stigmatizing propaganda that transsexual women are "extensions of gay men" and "female impersonators". This is called "trans face", where gay men imitate trans women in a mocking, over the top and degrading fashion. Signorile undermined trans women’s dignity in their affirmed gender realities.
In Behar’s defense, at least she disagreed with Signorile's shallow defense of the “T word”. She compared the use of the “T word” to racial slurs, arguing that it’s not for people who are not a part of the community a pejorative is aimed at to reclaim it. Well done Joy.
Days later, on the November 21 episode, Behar discussed Chaz Bono's transition as a transman in a segment called “Transgender In America.” He is the son of celebrities Sonny and Cher Bono. Although Chaz identifies and presents as male, Behar kept referring to him as “her” and “she.” This maligning language was extremely disrespectful to Chaz and to all transsexual and transgender people. Behar should, and does, know better.
This episode was compounded by yet another transphobic gay male pundit, Ken Corbett, who not only used improper pronouns, but expressed his unscientific opinion that Chaz is unauthentic in his gender. Behar should have had a medical doctor or affirming psychologist trained in the facts pertaining to the transsexual birth challenge or gender identity issues, not a self-loathing gay man who resents the trans community because they bring up his insecurity of diverse gender expression.
Some discriminated against people feel the need to mimic their oppressors by oppressing others who have less social acceptance then they do. That’s clearly the behavior that Corbett was displaying in his invalid comments about trans people.
There are apologists who believe criticizing Behar’s irresponsibility and offensive content is unwarranted. Certain people in marginalized minority groups are so accustomed to the abuse and belittlement cast on them by mainstream society that they begin to be grateful for insults candy coated in advocacy. Some gay people accused trans activists who expressed their disappointment with Behar’s behavior of “unfairly crucifying Behar”.
Isn’t that something? Trans people speak out against the dehumanizing media that is hurting them and in return they get attacked and called “crucifiers”. This is a projection tactic in which those being legitimately criticized decline to take responsibility for their actions and instead attack those justly seeking accountability.
No, we will not say thank you for crumbs or the backs of your hand!
One gay man I interviewed protested the trans community’s uproar, saying: “…but Behar is a great LGBT ally”. Wrong. Behar is a great “LGB” ally. Adding the “T” in the acronym in this instance is inaccurate. Just because someone supports gay and lesbian people authentically and consistently does not necessarily mean they are equally enthused about assisting the trans community. Trans people are more misunderstood, feared and oppressed in society than gay and lesbian people, which is why some gay advocates do not always choose to be trans advocates.
What is hypocritical is that Behar consistently discusses feminist issues, yet participates in alienating oppressed women born with a birth challenge. If feminism is for liberation and equality for all women, then by invalidating trans women’s gender, she is not authentically being a feminist. To frame it in an Orwellian “Animal Farm” context, some women should not be treated “more equal” than other women.
Behar used to be a teacher- yet an ethical, professional approach to presenting such misunderstood content is to conduct unbiased, balanced research. As a news presenter, one would assume she or her staffers would do basic Trans 101 research before presenting such misleading ideas on the air. Even the Associated Press Association opposes Behar’s improper use of pronouns. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, so I’m sure she has learned that the oppressed understand their oppressors far better than the other way around.
I don’t feel Joy Behar is an enemy to the trans community, but she obviously has some phobia issues concerning gender and biological diversity. Also, the producers of The Joy Behar show are just as guilty of irresponsibility because they should have had actual trans people on the November 11th episode to discuss the "T word” slur, not have their issues be colonized by the gay and lesbian community. There are numerous trans specific organizations the producers could have gone to for trans spokespeople, such as the Media Advocates Giving National Equality to Transsexual & Transgender People (MAGNET), Gender Identity Reform, Transgender Law Center, International Foundation for Gender Education (IFGE), , etc.
Universal joy in this world will occur when the human race ceases to fear diversity, and instead, celebrates it.
The many trans activists and allies speaking out against the transphobic and dehumanizing messages expressed on The Joy Behar Show last November are challenging a belief system stemmed from fear and ignorance, drawing a line in the sand, calling on others to join in the trans community’s outrage and letting the mainstream and gay and lesbian community know that the silent resignation of the trans community is over!
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Amanda Simspon speaks at the event Allyson Robinson and her family, so cute! GLSEN's Alison Gill w/ The DC Trans Coalition w/ Transgender Health Empowerment's Brian Watson (far right) and other organizers
Sunday, November 14, 2010
A Trans Man Speaks Out Against The Trans Men Who Appropriate The "T Word" Despite The Women The Slur Is Usually Thrown At
There is a trend where some trans men are fighting to reclaim a hurtful perjorative that has always been used to dehumanize and misgender trans women, not men.
Bianca Lynne, a transgender woman and advocate for the human rights of trans people, responds to trans guys supposedly “reclaiming” the T word: “For trans-male spectrum folks to "reclaim" the word over the objections of people who are actually called the word seems more like appropriation. I've never ever heard trans men called "tranny" - except among themselves and by their partners. Even so, when the term is used by cis people, it is mostly used against trans-female spectrum people or to tell cis women they look ridiculous ...- like a man in a dress trying too hard.”
A trans man named Nathaniel Joseph from San Francisco speaks out against his trans brothers appropriating the anti-transsexual slur “tra**y” because the slur originated as a misogynistic way to mock and degrade trans women. He explains:
“I was confused about the use of the word at first. As a Northern California transman I do hear it thrown around in the younger brothers of my community. It never felt right to me, but at first I thought 'they are trying to reclaim the word and take the power out it as a pejorative.' I still refused to use it and thought I needed to respect others wishes to use it for themselves. However, after several ladies so passionately, and respectfully, explained its implications, history and pain it causes them I do not allow it to be said in my presence without a rebuttal.
It seems to me that it falls in line with some of the same misogyny some transmen spew. I rebut that as well. It sickens me as a transman, assigned female at birth and socialized as such, that some of my brothers are so callous and apathetic towards women's issues, causes and lives. Did they forget what it is like to walk through this world as female? It is not acceptable for cis males to act in such regard towards women, but when transmen do it it's deeply disheartening and causes more anger in me. Perhaps it's their desire to be like the cis males in our society, but whatever reasoning they have it's not acceptable!!! I have no tolerance for such transmen, and perhaps I hold them to a higher standard because our birth condition, but nonetheless it is ignorant and disgusting to see them throw women, especially our sisters in the community, under the bus to be treated with disdain, disrespect and violence.
It has been hard having my former community (LGB) turn its back on me and to see the hatred and appropriation they have for us. Nevertheless, I refuse to allow myself to mingle with anyone who treats others with malice and disdain. I am a transman, but I do not agree with anyone who treat human beings with such indignity, my trans brothers and former LGB community included. It is so disheartening that there is so much in-fighting within our own community. I refuse to be anyone's brother, regardless of our transmaleness, that is so quick to degrade women (especially our sisters).
So, thank you ladies for speaking your truth and eloquently explaining your stance and feelings on the matter. This brother stands with you, respects you and will fight alongside you to end misogyny against all women”- Nathaniel Jospeh (now this is the type of man I dream of- a feminist!)
I must agree with both Nathaniel's plea to his trans brothers to respect their trans sisters, and with Bianca’s comment as well: “For trans-male spectrum folks to "reclaim" the word over the objections of people who are actually called the word (women) seems more like appropriation”.
Exactly. Right now there is a crisis of non-trans people making the term a "dehumanizing icky put down slur". Also, the term was first made as a slur against transsexual women--it’s not for trans men to "reclaim". I oppose men (trans or cis gay men) using the term as a "campy comical pet name for each other”. The term started off as a way to objectify, sexualize, mis-gender, "other" and degrade trans women, especially in porn, on TV shows, and in sensational print media. It’s irresponsible for trans men to appropriate a term that has so much hurt and abuse against women. Also, trans people are not in the same place as lesbian people are concerning human rights/acceptance/positive visibility/understanding from society to be able to reclaim such a dehumanizing pejorative like some lesbian women have with “d*ke”. All the term tra**y does is give every bigot and transphobe an excusable way to vent their transphobia and hate by using the word. I think it’s unfair that a small subculture in San Fran of gender queer and FTM transgender people get to appropriate a word that is really alienating women. This trend has no respect for the women the term is generally thrown at like stones. The slur is associated with violence and hate. Many rap stars use the N word "affectionately", but you would never hear Rev Al Sharpton or Oprah telling the Black community "some people use it affectionately, lets respect that". Likewise, we are at a tipping point of a trans human rights movement here, we must be careful to not encourage the dehumanization of our community by following the few who irresponsibly use that word. Hell no, this is a chance for us to rise up and educate society, not a time to allow those in the trans community who accept segregation, misgendering, crumbs and "pet names" to tell us to "lighten up". We have a chance here to combat unhealthy stigma- and hopefully the majority of trans people will consider the bigger picture, and not follow the few drag queens or the few gender queer FTM guys who obsess over the words “coolness and hipness”. Accepting bigot’s hate words for us is not “cool or affectionate”
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Happy Veterans Day to All the Transsexual & Transgender Soliders Who Initiated The Stonewall War of 1969!!!
Happy Veterans Day to all the transsexual and transgender soliders who started the Stonewall War of 1969. And my sympathies to you for 40 years later that Gay Inc has hijacked your legacy, gay appropirated your truth, suppressed your plight & are misrepresnting you. But cheer up, there can always be a Stonewall War Part Two!!!!!!!!!!
Its time ro evaluate this shot gun arranged marriage! If there's to be no communication, respect or allowance of speaking ones own voice, how does that help us as transsexual, intersex and gender non-conforming Americans? I want this family to stay together, but not if we are to be locked in the tower like the unwanted & muzzled stepchild. Give us a seat at the table, or sign the divorce papers. We are NOT your property. Gender reality, birth challenges, medical conditions, chromosomes and anatomy diversity are NOT "sexual orientation"
People don't want the trans community to speak for themselves, they just want us as invisible, voiceless, kept away, appropriated stepchildren of Gay Inc. Our invisibility is killing us, and that's why there's so much misunderstanding and confusion from the public, this misrepresentation is toxic.
Any ideas on how to inspire Gay Inc to stop the gay appropriation of the transsexual and intersex communties?
Monday, November 8, 2010
w/ honoree Dr. Yvette Burton of IBM (middle) and GO Magazine's Lauren Golfer (right)
w/ honoree activist Joan Garry
Saturday night New York City’s LGBT Center held their annual “Women’s Event” Awards Gala at Chelsea Piers. It was quite an experience to be in a room with so many dynamic and strong women all committed to one purpose: Equality for everyone in this country, regardless of their gender reality, birth challenges, medical conditions, chromosomes or sexual orientation.
Noted actress and advocate Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City), IMB Exec & LGBT advisor Dr. Yvette Burton and activist Joan Garry were all honored for their dedication and advocacy to the LGBT community.
Cynthia Nixon has been doing a great job advocating for marriage equality. I met her at the National Equality March in Washington DC last year, and she is really nice in person. Her fiance, Christine Marinoni, introduced Cynthia, and so is so charismatic and funny, she should be a standup comedian!
I met award honoree Dr. Yvette Burton in LA during the GLAAD Media Awards a few years ago. She was the president of GLAAD’s Board of Directors. She actually used to work at The NY LGBT Center too. She totally deserved her award for educating multiple corporations on issues pertaining to the LGBT community.
My heart sank when during Joan’s acceptance speech she kept on saying “gay and lesbian” during her speech, never once did she say “bisexual or transgender”. I wonder if she knew there were many trans people in that room who felt excluded. Hopefully, the next time she speaks she remembers that this is an LGBT community, not a LG one. However, there is no love lost from me for Joan, she is an amazing activist, and perhaps she just needs some more education about the responsibility of inclusive language.
w/ The Center's Exec. Director Glennda Testone (right) and her adorable mother
w/ GLAAD's Cindi Creager (middle) and her wife Rainie Cole
w/ Edge Publication's William Kapher (right) and NPR's Debra Delman (2nd from left)
w/ LGBT advocate Nicole Mason (2nd from right)
w/ The Centers YLC's Billy Wheelan (2nd from left)
w/ Stephanie Battaglino (board member for The Center)
w/ LAMBDA Legals Anna Wipfler (middle) and her girlfriend
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Protesting the UN-Fit "FIT DVD", Transphobia, Stonewall UK's Bullying & Dept. for "Education's" Irresponsiblity.
We protested last night in front of the British Consulate, New York, because a very alarming situation is happening in the UK. A transphobic DVD named “FIT” has been approved to show children and youth in public schools. The anti-transsexual slur “tra**y” is being used, which is used as a taunt and insult when bullies and bigots harass people perceived to be transsexual, intersex or gender non-conforming. The protest was presented by Media Advocates Givivng National Equality to Transsexual & Transgender People (MAGNET) and International Foundation for Gender Education (IFGE). MAGNET's press release: www.themagnetsource.blogspot.com/2010/11/protest-of-stonewall-uks-bullying.html
Outside the British Consulate New York "Dept 4 Education OR Dept. 4 Transphobia? Edit Out The T-Word!"
Stonewall UK is behind the messaging in the PSA. We chose last night to protest to coincide with the Stonewall Awards in London, which took place last night as well. Originally, the London LGBT community was going to protest outside the awards, but Stonewall UK gave into the gay and lesbian community’s demands to advocate for marriage, so it was cancelled. However, Stonewall UK did not even address the transphobic DVD, therefore devaluing the needs of trans people. Many UK transsexual and transgender people are outraged that the demonstration was cancelled even though the (mis)educational video has not been edited. Since we wanted to show solidarity with the UK trans community, and because transphobia in any classroom affects us all, we decided to have our own protest in New York. Too many times trans people get thrown under the bus when gay and lesbian people have their needs met, and we are sick of having our human rights tampered with.
The FIT DVD is supposed to be an “anti-bullying” video- however, the use of the taunt and slur "tra**y" is used- which is a verbal form of bullying which leads to dehumanization and violence. How did an anti-bullying DVD become a DVD that bullies trans people?? This outrage is being ignored by Stonewall UK, who not only advised on the DVD, but has an unhealthy past with the UK trans community: Stonewall UK excludes them from their mission statement, yet has the audacity to (mis)represent them, and has even been caught back lobbying against their interests. There should be “no taxation without representation”. This colonial practice is abusive, and goes against the human rights of trans people living in the UK. From MAGNET's press release "The United Kingdom is very pioneering by having the Gender Recognition Act. The Department of Education is obligated to uphold this Act (verbal abuse is still abuse and sometimes hurts more than stones). The anti-trans slur must be edited out".
Trans people initiated the Stonewall Riots of 1969, which catapulted the modern LGBT movement, yet Stonewall UK hijacked the word and oppress the same people who started Stonewall! This is appalling, and we must respect our history
If this video is shown in schools it will affect the US trans community as well because the promoting of a stigmatizing anti-trans slur in an "education" video will give every transphobe and bigot the "right" to get away with using that word, and will refer to the FIT DVD as an excuse. Much like the "N" word affects the Black community, we need to take a stand against the T Word
Many UK trans advocates and leaders asked us to continue with our protest. Some of them feel inclined to not speak out publicly against Stonewall UK because of political reasons, access, etc. We feel this video is NOT a time to compromise. Many people are disappointed that many times “token trans leaders” get either seduced by the bureaucracy, compromise for career advancement, ignore the complaints of their own trans people, are “out of touch” with today’s youth or submit to the same establishment that oppresses the people they are supposed to represent. We must not give in until the transphobia is edited out. Our children need us to be adults who protect them.
The T-word is very controversial. For example, it's used as a way to dismiss a woman's (who was born with birth challenges and a medical condition) womanhood. A woman born with a medical condition is still a woman, not an "it, sub-woman or "tra**y"". This is not a Halloween costume, it’s her life. Many drag performing MALES appropriate transsexual issues or words. It may be all fun and games to a drag performer to use words to be "hip, shocking, offensive or sensational", but not to a trans woman who's hate crime assailant is calling her the T-word as he murders her, or to a trans person who gets called that on the bus by a trans-phobe or bigot. Stigmatizing pejoratives are not "cool", they hurt really badly, and the trans youth will be ridiculed in their own classroom unless the transphobia is edited out from the DVD. Name calling and taunts are a form of verbal bullying, and many times lead to physical violence .I don't hear Asian people just dying to use the N-word just because it’s “cool” in hip hop music videos and then telling Black people to "lighten up". Likewise, I get annoyed when gay men and drag queens fight to be able to reclaim a word that is not theirs to reclaim. Some of their entitlement issues and insensitivity is astounding, and oppressive. The director of FIT, Rikki Beadle-Blair, is a gay man (not trans), and does not have the right to tell women (usually the slur is directed at MTF women) what to be offended by. This is sexist, arrogant and clueless in regards to the mental violence and dehumanization that the word inspires. He claims “I hear kids use the word sometimes”. I hear Black kids use the word “ni**er” and girls use the word “b*tch”, but it doesn’t mean I should put the slur in an “educational” video(especially for children's schools where bullying is a crisis and LGBT youth are committing suicide),for crying out loud!
We ask the British Department of Education, The Teachers Union, Equality and Human Rights Commission and Stonewall UK to protect the well being of all the children who attend school, and make the responsible and socially conscious decision to edit out the dehumanizing pejorative from the DVD. Normalizing the T-word, much like how the N-word was normalized decades ago to degrade Black people, will have severe consequences for the acceptance of trans people in mainstream society. It’s unbelievable that an oppressed minority group, especially children, could have their human rights be disrespected like this by authority figures. As adults, we must protect trans children. Teachers being forced to show DVDs with anti-trans slurs will do no such thing. The good news is that the decision makers involved still have a chance to do what’s right and fix this horrid mistake.
After the protest outside the British Consulate we went to the Stonewall Inn (unlike Stonewall UK, Stonewall Inn does not oppress trans people, and in fact, it was trans people who initated the Stonewall Riots of 1969, so how bizarre and shady is it that Stonewall UK excludes trans people, and advocates for anti-trans slurs to be in "educational" videos to be shown to children which is a form of verbal bullying.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
I will be on a panel tonight to talk about trans and intersex images in the media, I hope to see you!! Below in my vlog I talk about some topics that will be dicussed tonight:
"Where's the "T" In Media?: Exploring the (Mis)representation) of Transsexual, Transgender and Intersex People In the Media" is a panel discussion presented by Columbia Queer Alliance (CQA), Media Advocates Giving National Equality to Transsexual & Transgender People (MAGNET), Quam 2010 and GendeRevolution. After the panel discussion there will be a Q & A from the audience
· Ashley Love - an organizer w/ MAGNET -Media Advocates Giving National Equality to Transsexual & Transgender People
· Noah Lewis - Staff Attorney at Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund
· Deb Sprague -Writer-Producer: Premiere Radio Network
When: Wednesday October 13, 2010 @ 7pm
In honor of Gender Rights Week, this discussion will focus on the depictions of transsexual, transgender and intersex images in the media. With an abundance of trans images in the last 5 years, are these images affirming trans people, or dehumanizing them? Noted trans leaders and college students offer the facts, and their opinions.
More info: MAGNET's website: http://www.themagnetsource.blogspot.com/
Columbia Queer Alliance's website: http://www.cqanyc.com/
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Another Seattle based activist named Andrew Caldwell replies, “Indeed. Sad, so sad. Dan has a great project with "It Gets Better," and the White House reached out and he screamed expletives back at them. (And we wonder why the DC establishment doesn't give us any political crediblity...) He Gets Bitter.”
These endangered youth should be our top priority, not the right to fight some war over seas and steal resources from other countries. I just don’t understand why he feels demonizing and scapegoating ONE MAN is productive. President Obama is not a messiah with magic powers. He is an elected official. He has to work with the courts, Congress and the people to ensure social justice. I wish Savage would write his irrational letters to the Republican Congress, since they are the ones truly delaying LGBT liberation, not the president. History shows that all social change movements have occurred through incremental change, not over night. If anyone knows Savage, can they tell him that it really does get better? And it has! Read this article that’s highlights FORTY things the Obama Administration has done for LGBT equality called “Accomplishments by the Administration and Congress on LGBT Equality” http://www.equalitygiving.org/Accomplishments-by-the-Administration-and-Congress-on-LGBT-Equality
I don’t know him well enough to say he suffers from internalized racism, but wouldn’t be surprised due to the fact that he started the unfounded propaganda that it was the African American community who was responsible for passing Prop 8. Data showed that to be false.
Did Martin Luther King ever swear at the president? No! Why? Because he was smart enough to know it would alienate allies. Im begining to suspect some people in our community want the classist Republicans to win, but they wont admit it.
Concerning the “It Gets Better Campaign”, many transsexual, transgender, intersex and gender non-conforming people are disappointed in the campaign’s non-inclusive language and gay appropriation of those in LGBTQI community who are not gay or lesbian. To have the PSA refer to the LGBTQI community as “gay and questioning youth” is inaccurate because sexual orientation, medical conditions, birth challenges, chromosomes and gender identity are not all the same thing (though many transphobic people would argue they are). The good news is that many trans organizations are currently creating an anti-bullying campaign which will be trans and gender specific, because words and messaging matter, and trans youth deserve understanding, accurate education/terms and respect.
I think Dan has an influential voice, it’s just unfortunate that he behaves like a dodgy Tea Bagger one day, and a savior of teens the next. Savage should do all the teens he is reaching out to a favor and not taint all his good work he is doing with the “It Gets Better Campaign” by turning around and slandering the president WHO HAS DONE MORE FOR THE LGBT COMMUNITY THAN ANY OTHER PRESIDENT IN HISTORY. I respect that we need to keep up the pressure on the government and Congress, but can we please reconsider the method of “over the top bullying?”
A good intentioned activist who calls himself “Just Say No” (and lives in the same town as Savage) left a comment under Savage’s hostile letter yesterday saying, “No, Dan Savage, Fuck You. As a volunteer with a Seattle-based gay rights group I am out in the field every weekend canvassing door-to door in places like Bellevue and Federal Way for Democratic candidates who have taken tough votes in support of our issues because it was the right thing to do. Fuck you, because every time you tear down the president you demoralize the Democratic base and literally drive down the progressive vote and ensure the election of every retrograde, savagely anti-gay, tea-bagging wingnut out there. Fuck you, for having the nerve to think you speak for me. Fuck you for making a difficult job more difficult than it already is. I don't know when you self-appointed yourself the leader of all that is gay in America but until you're ready to stand for election or actively work with somebody who is, you're just another media fame-whore and the only thing that distinguishes you from someone like Ann Coulter is that she throws her hate-bombs from the right and you throw yours from somewhere inside your capacious and worn-out ass. Fuck you.”
Do Savage and his kind realize that they are doing precisely what the classist, racist, anti-LGBT liberation Tea Baggers want them to do? I’m scared for our community’s future. So many activists are alienating our biggest allies, and if they keep up their smear campaigns against the Democrats and President Obama, the vote may get split, and it will be another 8 years of the GOP, and they were the ones who voted for DADT and against ENDA, not the Democrats. Wake up Danny boy, wake up!
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Arianna Huffington Takes a Stand Against the "demonizing and scapegoating" of the President by "irrational" People!
Ari Melber, Arianna Huffington, Ari Bemrna, Jonathan Melber (Ari & Jonathan Melber created "The Little Idea" series)
Huffington, Ari Berman (author of Herding Donkeys)
Last night I had the very inspirational experience of hearing Arianna Huffington speak at "The Little Idea" event, which is "an event series of short talks by speakers who present a new idea, and then mingle for drinks and conversation. Less program, more mixing."
See Arianna Huffington speak at last night's event below:
Huffington was promoting her new book Third World America: How Our Politicians Are Abandoning the Middle Class and Betraying the American Dream , which talks about 'saving the economy and revitalizing politics.' Ari Berman also spoke about his new book Herding Donkeys: The Fight to Rebuild the Democratic Party and Reshape American Politics .
It was so refreshing and empowering to hear Arianna speak! I have been a big fan of hers for a long time. I used to live in southern California where she lives. This spring I started writing for her blog "The Huffington Post", where I write about issues pertaining to the transsexual, transgender and intersex communities. To see my articles on her website: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ashley-love
When Arianna started talking about the "demonizing and scapegoating" of the president by "irrational" people, it really struck a chord with me. Like many LGBTTQI Americans, I have become very upset with many queer activists making all these personal attacks on the president, as if he is a dictator that can wave a magic wand and grant us all our wishes at once. Reality check: President Obama has to work with the courts, Congress and the people to create change (and those anti-LGBT equality Republicans are holding up equality, not the president!). To put all the blame on him when things are not moving fast enough is infantile, and suspect. It’s bad enough the racist Tea Party is slandering him, but for LGBT direct action groups to act just as crazy is dangerous. Yes, I understand and respect that we need to put pressure on the president and the government, but bullying and slandering him is extremely inappropriate and will create a backlash (and already has), which has been very divisive in our LGBT community, and is really alienating a lot of our non-trans straight allies, many Democrats and many African Americans. If the Democratic vote gets split, do we really want another 8 years of Bush and Ken Melhman types ruining this country again? The scary thing is there are lot of classist gay folks who only care about marriage equality, they don’t care about ENDA or many other issues that affect the less privileged part of the LGBT community, and they most certainly don’t care about rights for trans and intersex Americans. Some of them would not mind if a classist Republican got into office, because some gay and lesbian people believe in a hierarchy in the LGBT community, with rich white gay men at the top, and transsexual, transgender and intersex people at the bottom. These Animal Farm types don’t care about the epidemic of homeless LGBT youth, or hate crimes that happen to trans women of color every week, or trans health care rights, or many queer communities of color, or LGBT people who have low income, etc. We need President Obama to stay in office, or things will get worse for the majority of the LGBT community.
Arianna spoke about mobilizing in our communities, and in Chapter 5 in her new book she talks about solutions and taking action.
Last night, after Arianna spoke, I was able to mingle with a lot of other like minded folks. I have not felt so motivated in a long time. It was a big boost of energy to my spirit, and now I want to get more involved in politics. I love this country so much, and want to put actions behind my passion.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Here's part of the article below, to see the rest go to: http://www.frontiersweb.com/Features/Exclusive-Interviews/Story.aspx?ID=1278278
Fronteirs Magazine: Features / Exclusive Interviews
Our Heroes in a New Age of Activism Leaders in the LGBT community on what it means to be an activist
by Lesley Goldberg 9/13/2010
What does it mean to be an activist? Answers from 15 of the most involved leaders in the LGBT community might surprise you.
Cleve Jones, a longtime human rights advocate and founder of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt and longtime friend of the late gay-rights crusader Harvey Milk, says anyone can be an activist but he prefers to be an organizer and solve problems working with large groups of people.
Chad Griffin, meanwhile, doesn’t consider himself an activist at all but instead the strategist behind the American Foundation for Equal Rights’ fight against Prop. 8. For Milk producer Bruce Cohen, it means supporting a cause he believes in and doing the little things that go beyond writing a check. And for Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, the term “activist” is too political.
For Rogers Hartmann, the founder of Beat Dystonia who taught herself to walk again, it’s about time and energy. And for scores of others—including such newsmakers as Dan Choi and Charlene Strong—it’s about making a difference in people’s lives.
And for you, it hopefully means finding inspiration from the Fighting 15 and getting involved to make a difference in our community.
“It can be any action that expresses your message, from writing a song or poem, to protesting with picket signs at a rally; there are many ways one can take a stand for how they feel ... It was actually many people in the Southern California transsexual, transgender, intersex, lesbian, gay and bisexual communities who inspired me to change my life a few years ago. I now believe that understanding, acceptance and protections of our community is possible.” —Ashley Love, LGBTTIQQSA advocate at MAGNET (Media Advocates Giving National Equality to Transsexual and Transgender People)
To see the rest of Frontier Magazine's "Fighting 15" list: http://www.frontiersweb.com/Features/Exclusive-Interviews/Story.aspx?ID=1278278
Sunday, October 3, 2010
See my vlog from tonight's vigil:
New York University’s students organized the vigil, and though it was raining and cold, many came out to show our youth that we are with them, and they are loved.
Christine Quinn, speaker of NYC Council (and who is an out lesbian woman), gives a message to 'Trans Forming Media' for all LGBT youth,“Remember it really does get better, I was in that same place once, many, many years ago, and you just can’t give up, you need to reach out, you need to ask for help. There are literally thousands and thousands of LGBT people and our allies who want to help you get through this dark spot. There really is a light at the end of the tunnel…don’t think you’re alone”
The abuse, violence and dehumanizing treatment of our youth in this country has come to a tipping point, and the people are saying enough is enough! Our society has a severe sickness that must be remedied.
Speaker of NYC Council Christine Quinn speaks at vigil:
Where do bullies learn that it’s okay to attack people who are different? From their parents? Other adults? Some religion’ss anti LGBT campaigns? Music, TV and other medias? School?
I think there is a correlation between the pattern of many states and the federal government stripping LGBTQI people of their human rights, or refusing to pass needed legislation that has been on the table for years, and the current wave of LGBTQQI suicides and hate crimes being committed against trans women of color (sadly, the media rarely takes notice when trans women are murdered). When these children look up and see society voting away their dignity, it must have a negative effect on them. When you vote against equality, you are part of the problem!
We need to petition all the schools, PTAs, government, high profile advocates and adults to help rid our world of bigotry.
This crisis has inspired me to get more involved. I want to be a big sister to another girl born with similar birth challenges as I. I wish those 7 boys who took their lives recently had someone to talk to. Things will only get better if we take aggressive action in making it so. Consoling words are good, but as adults we need to do more than say “it will be ok one day”. We need to take those words to the streets and demand that things not get better “one day”, but RIGHT NOW DAMNIT!! Our youth need us, now is the time to stand up, grab a mic, speak out, and not let these children's lives be cut short for no reason. NOW is the time to take action, now!
with Queer Rising activists Alan Bounville and Iana Di Bona, and married coupple Yvetta Kurland and her wife Elizabeth Koke
NY Governor Patterson gave a powerful speech
We all put our glo stick candles in the tree at the end
hanging with some of the NYU students who planned the vigl. I just love todays queer youth!
hat says "Im different, and that okay!"
Broadway star Cheyenne Jackson singing "Somewhere Over The Rainbow"
w/ Diedra Meredith (Chairwoman of Out Music (LGBT Academy of Recording Arts)