Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"Where's the "T" in Media" TONIGHT @ Columbia University!

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:
Columbia Queer Alliance's website:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Does Dan Savage Get Off On Demonizing President Obama? Why Is Mr "Anti-Bully" A Big Bully Himself?

Seattle based gay advocate (I didnt say LGBT on purpose because I have yet to hear Savage care about true trans inclusion) Dan Savage is …well…a savage. Yesterday Savage wrote a letter to the president saying “F*** you” called “Confidential To The White House”: Very classy Danny! The same month Savage starts the “It Gets Better” campaign (where he does a video speaking out against bullying), days later he writes a nasty vitriol filled letter attacking the president, becoming a bully himself!

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”

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!

Ashley Love & Arianna Huffington (my hero!)

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:

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

Frontiers Magazine includes me in their "Our Heroes in a New Age of Activism" edition

Im happy that Frontiers Magazine, Los Angeles' oldest and biggest LGBT magazine, included me in on in their "Fighting 15 List" (California LGBT activist edition) along with some of my friends like Dustin Lance Black (screen writer of Milk) and Adam Bouska (NOH8 Photo Campaign founder), and more advocates for equality.

Here's part of the article below, to see the rest go to:

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.

Ashley Love

“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)

Dustin Lance Black
“I would refer back to some of the early gay rights ‘activists’ who said, ‘This is our lives we’re fighting for.’ I think that’s still true today, which is why I work not only with stuff that pushes us forward like the American Foundation for Equal Rights, but I also want to work with things like the Trevor Project, which is making sure that we have a safety net in place until a time comes that we have equality, and until the time comes when a child isn’t subjected to the sort of abuse they’re subjected to in their schools, homes and churches ... I try as much as I can to not look at this as a political issue; I try to look at it as a more human issue.” —Dustin Lance Black, Oscar-winning screenwriter of Milk; narrator, 8: The Mormon Proposition

Lt Dan Choi
“Rejecting any false sense of inferiority, helping future generations stand up tall, proclaiming, ‘I am somebody,’ and teaching them the hard-earned lessons to confront our oppressors, ridding them of delusions of abused privilege constitutes the work of the activist. An activist is the epitome of love.” —Dan Choi, former American infantry officer in the United States Army

Chelsea Montgomery-Duban

“Being an activist means fighting through the no’s, the criticism and the ignorance and standing up for your cause ... I have two gay dads that have been together for almost 29 years. They are the people that gave me life, unconditional love and help me follow my passions every day. I fight to defy a society that believes they are unfit parents and that they have somehow managed to raise me incorrectly. My dad and daddy inspire me to be a better person and I fight for them and for all gay families and couples.” — Chelsea Montgomery-Duban, daughter

Cleave Jones
“I’m trying in my life to be an organizer. I think there’s a difference between an activist and an organizer. An organizer works with large groups of people and that is what I find most satisfying about my work. Anyone can become an activist but I suspect one is born an organizer. There’s sort of a compulsion to do the work. I do this work because I love it. I like working with people and solving problems ... and every now and then there’s a really wonderful victory to celebrate.” —Cleve Jones, author-lecturer

Adam Bouska
“Activism is about using your own personal strengths to bring about awareness and change, and whether that applies to a lobbyist gathering signatures, a volunteer canvassing neighborhoods or even a photographer taking protest photos, everybody can be an activist in their own right.” —Adam Bouska, NOH8 Campaign creator-photographer

To see the rest of Frontier Magazine's "Fighting 15" list:

Sunday, October 3, 2010

New York City Vigil for the 7 Youth That Took Their Own Lives Due to Bigotry and Bullying.

The New York City vigil tonight for the current crisis of LGBTQI (or perceived to be) youth suicides tonight was very inspiring. New York’s Governor Patterson actually came and gave a very powerful speech, as well as NYC City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. Broadway star Cheyenne Jackson sang "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" The energy was amazing, and things will only go up from here!

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!

w/ Broadway star Cheyenne Jackson (who sang "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" at the vigil)

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)

City Council members Daniel Dromm and Christine Quinn

Saturday, October 2, 2010

2nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Advertising

The 2nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Advertising were held at the Hyatt Hotel in Manhattan this year. Many LGBT community leaders, allies and celebrities came out to show their support for LGBT positive images including Bryan Batt, Bethenny Frankel, Andy Cohen, Chely Wright, Christine Quinn and many more.

I’ve noticed a trend in the last ten years of more and more brands incorporating the LGBT community into their media campaigns. I see many ads of LGBT families in magazines. In numerous cities I have seen same sex couples, parents and families on billboards, which is something that would have been a really big deal in years past. Times are changing in the media world in a way that is more inclusive and celebratory of diversity. Its really nice to see us looking back at us!

That's right, more companies are realizing that the LGBT community is a thriving community that has a lot more to contribute to society then just the artistic talents and creativity that they are stereotypically known for. The LGBT demographic is actually a big international consumer market, and is only getting larger!

Many fashion houses are beginning to use transsexual women models who are open with their medical condition in their advertising campaigns, such as Givenchy hiring the transsexual model (soon to be super model) named Lea T. There has been many transsexual female fashion and beauty models since forever, but the majority of them have been pressured by society’s prejudice to not disclose their birth challenge status to their employers for fear of abandonment, which is why Lea T having such a warm welcome from the fashion industry is very hopeful and monumental (she has since been on the cover of Vogue Italia and has had additional jobs).

The top awards of the night were the Public Visibility Award, which went to ad critic Bob Garfield for his commitment to advocating for the LGBT community in the advertising world (in Garfield’s acceptance speech he talked about how he publicly called out ads which promoted bullying and homophobia), and the Corporate Responsibility Award went to American Airlines for their pioneering inclusion. (See video below of Chely Wright presenting American Airlines with their award).

GLAAD’s president Jarrett Barrios said at the awards, "Tonight's honorees, nominees and award recipients have set new industry standards which underline the value of [LGBT] consumers. More and more companies are moving toward ads that reflect truly reflect all people and learning that LGBT people should be accepted and respected, not only for their potential buying power, but for their contribution to the American cultural fabric. While LGBT representation on TV continues to grow, the advertising industry has not yet fully embraced our community. Tonight's nominees and honorees have set new benchmarks in the industry and continue to lead the way in fair, accurate and inclusive LGBT representation in advertising."

To see the rest of the winners of the awards please check out GLAAD’s press release:

Out country music star Chely Wright *

Ashley Love, GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios, William Kapfer *

Ashley Love, Mad Men's Bryan Batt hosted the awards, Lorna Kelly

Acclaimed advertising critic Bob Garfield (right) is presented the Public Visibility Award from Barbara Lippert, Editor-at-Large of Adweek

Wells Fargo won the Outstanding Interactive Campaign award, which was accepted by Candace McCullom, VP, Brand and Advertising Manager (far right)

with Christine Quinn (speaker of NYC City Council)

with IBM's Yvette Burton (former president of GLAAD's board)

GLAAD's staff have a group hug :)

with GLAAD's Jovan Carrington

with GLAAD's Johhny Angel Gonzales

with Bravo's Andy Cohen

with Marvette Britto

with GLAAD's Richard Ferraro
* photo credit: Kelsy Chauvin
The rest of the photos are the property of Trans Forming Media and Ashley