Tag Archives: Transgender rights

National Coming Out Day: Obsolete?

11 Oct

national_coming_out_day-395x400I know many of you will be clutching your pearls and grabbing your smelling salts when you now realize I am gay! Yes, there I said it.

I cannot underscore enough how important it is for LGBTQ people to be out and visible and I also realize there are still yet so many places in the United States and around the world where it is not safe to be visible. The more visible we are as a community, the more difficult it is to marginalize us and treat us as sub-human, or second class citizens, denied over 1,300 rights that our heterosexual brothers and sisters are granted just for being heterosexual. NO! National Coming Out Day is not obsolete, for it is still quite relevant and needed.

Much has improved! Watching President Obama advocate for LGBTQ rights during his inaugural speech brought me to tears, for I never thought in my lifetime I would witness the President of the United States talk about issues of equity for my community. Despite the fact that the LGBTQ community has made great strides in the past year, however, we are far from eradicating homophobia and all of the intersections that are linked to homophobia, such as racism and misogyny.

I actually think marriage equality is on the horizon for the United States and I caution people to remember this DOES not mean the end of homophobia.  While I am a great supporter and beneficiary of marriage equality, I also know we have to address the constant inequities for people who do not choose marriage. I would also encourage people to look at the many barriers transgender people still face, not to mention the increase in violence against the LGBTQ community in the past four years.

I hope that today there will be much celebrating as people find the courage to use their voices individually and collectively to be Out and Proud as a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer, or Transgender person.  Living one’s life authentically allows for great freedom and of course supports the Gay Agenda!


LGBTQ Pride/History Month 2014: Reflections and Work Yet to Be Done

30 Jun

pride_monthAs we celebrate the last day of LGBT History Month, I am reflecting on the amazing civil rights work being done by Binyavanga Wainaina.  Let us all hope that every country in Africa will celebrate and embrace the LGBTQ community.

I am also hopeful that the transgender community will be celebrated and embraced with the visibility and leadership of people like Laverne Cox and Janet Mock.

I think it is also important to look back and be able to honor those that came before us — to pay tribute to those who assumed level of risk, so that future generations might have an easier life just for being who we are.  Thank you, José Julio Sarria.  Thank you, Harry Hay.

While many states can now enjoy and celebrate marriage equality, this does not mean that LGBTQ people are no longer targeted or marginalized. Of course, we must not forget that the disproportionality of targeting/marginalization is greater for people of color who are also LGBTQ.

Of course, this is also the time when I get to highlight some of my favorite LGBTQ stories over the years.

Yes, our Dumbledore is on the list of favorites, as is Professor Sprout (Miriam Margolyes).  Of course, I have to include Bayard Rustin as one of my favorite heroes.

As with Black History Month and Women’s History Month, I wish we did not need LGBTQ History Month, but the fact is we do! We must not fall into the delusion that people in the United States and all over the world are treated equally by virtue of being human.  In most states in the south it is not safe to be part of the LGBTQ community.  In Uganda it is legal to kill gay people – a proposal seen just recently here in the United States.

I bring up Black History Month and Women’s History month because of all the people who have multiple identities and experience oppression on multiple levels. Marriage Equality is just a small portion of what needs to be addressed regarding civil rights.  Violence against the LGBTQ community has increased by 13% over the past year, with people of color, transgender and gender non-conforming folk being especially targeted.

A Call To Action: I ask that all of our allies/supporters to raise your voices — stand in solidarity with those of us in the LGBTQ community. Together we have the power to eradicate homophobia, transphobia, racism, misogyny, and poverty.

Progress for Transgender Brothers and Sisters

23 Jan

Nice Job Massachusetts

Thank you to my dear friend and LGBT ally, Jennifer Carey, for inspiring this story.  Last week we witnessed a move forward in the civil rights movement.  Governor Deval Patrick, of Massachusetts signed bill H.3810 into law.  Massachusetts is now the 16th state to offer protection from discrimination to transgender men and women.

Governor Patrick was quoted:

No individual should face discrimination because of who they are. This legislation gives Massachusetts the necessary tools to stop hate crimes against transgender people and to treat others fairly. I am proud to sign it.

Very nice, Governor Patrick.  Now let us hope that the next senator for Massachusetts will be Elizabeth Warren.

Hero of the Week Award: December 16, Elizabeth Warren

16 Dec

Hero of the Week

For regular TSM readers you will know this is not the first time our Elizabeth Warren has earned HWA.  Warren consistently proves her mettle and the courage of her convictions as a civil servant.  Warren’s speech yesterday on civil rights, equality, and preventing bullying not only made me weep a tear of joy and hope, but earns her another HWA.

Here are bits of Warren’s speech from yesterday:

I’ve had the chance to say it in living rooms and school auditoriums, but I’m glad to have the chance to say it here: No one – no one – should be discriminated against because of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or religion…As other states grapple with whether to support marriage equality, I’m ready to move to the next step: End the two-tiered system created by the Defense of Marriage Act. Our federal government should not be in the business of selecting which married couples it supports and which it treats with contempt. States define marriage among couples, and, once married, all those couples and their families should have the same protections, the same benefits, and the same tax treatments. Fairness and equality are foundational values in our country, and nowhere is that more important than in our families.

While I do hope she wins the Senate seat in Massachusetts, I really hope she will eventually become our first woman President. Click here to read her entire speech.

*TSM is taking nominations for Hero of Year Awards

Why I’m Still Supporting President Obama

3 Oct

Obama 2012

After talking with many of my intelligent, thinking, compassionate friends in Georgia this past week, who are quite fearful of all of the bigoted GOP candidates, and after reading one of Towleroad’s best articles, I felt I had to chime in about why I’m still supporting President Obama.

When I reflect back on the past three years, I am rather ashamed of the United States as a whole, specifically of the Teahaddists and the Birthers, who have given a new and explosively loud voice to blatant racism. I reflect on the civil rights that President Obama has fought for in the face of grotesque misogyny and homophobia, the face of John Boehner and his “Super” congress. I don’t think that word means what they think it means.

President Obama has worked to ensure all Americans have health insurance, like any civilized nation would.  He worked hard to repeal DADT, in the demonic face of John McCain.  President Obama also continues to promote the repealing of Clinton’s legacy, DOMA.  He also: introduced hate crime legislation, lifted the travel ban on people with HIV (a Bush Sr. legacy), worked for hospital visitation rights for same-sex partners, and introduced the “first comprehensive national strategy” to combat HIV/AIDS. I was also glad to see that Obama helped make it easier for our transgender brothers and sisters to change their passports. He has also spoken out against the rash of bullying-related suicides of LGBT youth, including making a Presidential It Gets Better video.

While I’m somewhat disappointed that Obama has not called out the racists’ bad behavior, I am exceedingly happy that he did call out the nothing less than monstrous behavior of the GOP Presidential candidates for their deafening silence during the debate:

We don’t believe in the kind of smallness that says it’s okay for a stage full of political leaders – one of whom could end up being the President of the United States – being silent when an American soldier is booed. We don’t believe in that. We don’t believe in standing silent when that happens… You want to be Commander-in-Chief?  You can start by standing up for the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States, even when it’s not politically convenient.

I can’t help but reflect that if this incident had occurred at a Democratic debate, the people that booed and the candidate would have been pursued out of the theater by torch-wielding villagers.  We should not forget the candidates’ silence when people were cheering for Death when given the option of helping or a 30 year old man or letting him die at the first GOP debate.

Yes, I do want a President that stands up for civil rights for all!  A leader who stands up for civil rights here at home also sends the message to the rest of the world that all of us must stand up to oppression where ever we see it. Click here to see Towleroad’s article.

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