Does Advocacy Stop at Marriage?

Meredith Talusan offers her take on Jennicet Gutiérrez’s interruption of President Obama’s speech for Pride month. She offers a scathing critique of the administration’s deliberate dismissal of critical, life-threatening issues that trans folks experience in America.

“As I watched Jennicet Gutiérrez open her mouth to interrupt President Obama’s Pride Month reception address Wednesday night – because, she said, as an undocumented trans woman she couldn’t celebrate while LGBT detainees are being abused in US detention centers – I thought, That could have been me.”

Read Meredith’s full article here.

Wake Up, It’s Christmas! (plus 35 links to make you a better ally)

When I opened my Facebook today, one of my close friends had posted this on my wall:

“Wake up, it’s Christmas!”

It made me laugh, and a little teary, because really it did feel like that – that exquisite breath of hope and desire hovering over the day. My darling queer nephew woke us up this morning, poking his head in to whisper “Did you hear!?” We grabbed our phones to see, excited….I had visions of tiptoeing down the hall, hoping to catch a glimpse of Queer Saint Nick, and as we peeked around the corner of our virtual living room, we found this:

Supreme Court Rules Love is Love!

I’m not gonna lie, there’ve been a lot of tears. I’ve been obsessed with scrolling through my feed today, seeing all the pictures and posts, all the kisses and rings and declarations of love. It’s a heady thing, to have a feed literally filled with nothing but sunshine. It’s a big deal.

I’ve vacillated mightily today. I’ve cried tears of joy and rage. I’ve imagined a thousand weddings and mentally designed two thousand rhinestoned gowns, all while cursing the proprietary and historically oppressive institution. I’ve been excited, then furious with myself for being excited about something so freaking stupid.

It’s stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

The government denied civil contracts based on assigned sex, and then after decades of sweat, tears, blood, and lives, the government finally decided that maybe sex is not a legitimate reason to grant or deny the associated benefits of that contract. I’m furious that it took so much and so long to get something accomplished that’s not even close to the biggest issue in my community. What kind of idiot am I to jump up and down for this? You don’t get cookies for doing what you’re supposed to do.

Jennicet Gutierrez

Jennicet Gutierrez calls out to President Obama

And how can I cry tears of joy when there’s so much suffering? How can I throw sunshine to Obama after he shut down Jennicet Gutiérrez’s cry for help earlier this week? How can I be excited about the increasingly widespread acceptance of trans representation in pop culture, when there’s little activity in areas that actually impact the lived experiences of trans folks themselves?

How can I not be excited? How can I not feel a little victorious, a little hopeful? How can I not cry when I think about Chloe’s little niece, who’ll be rainbow-dadpresent at her (other) aunt’s now-legally-sanctioned wedding next Friday, never knowing a world where that wouldn’t be a thing? (I admit, I also cried when I imagine that baby showing her grandkids pictures in 60 years…”your aunts got married a week after the laws changed!”)

It’s a foothold, though. I think it can mean more than just marriage. Having SCOTUS-sanctioned legal protection in one area will make it easier to get it in other areas. Marriage equality can be another tool in the toolbox, but we can’t be fooled into thinking that marriage was the battle. It wasn’t. If we could spend the amount of money, time, energy, and meme-making on these other issues as we did on marriage equality, maybe we could make some progress that would feel more meaningful for the people in our community who are suffering.

tumblr_n7uvpqZeL91qinh1vo1_500So I guess I’m gonna accept that this day and this issue will always bring mixed feelings. It’s paradoxical, but not untrue, to be excited and angry. I can be jubilant, and still heartbroken. So I guess I cry, and let the tears mean what they mean.

So now that it’s done, here’s a new To-Do list (it’s actually the same to-do list, but now we’re less distracted):

Read this overview of LGBTQ issues, and this one.

Become familiar with issues around economic injustice  and financial hardships in LGBT communities.

Learn more about the reality of oppression and violence in Trans people’s lives (also this, and this).

Be a pen-pal for LGBQ and Trans people who are incarcerated.

Learn about and get involved with the Sylvia Rivera Law Project.

Help out with the Trans Life Line, the Trevor Project and the GLBT Hotline.

Learn more about the Trans and Queer immigration crisis.

Read this report about LGBTQ youth in America, this one about youth homelessness, and this one about violence against queer youth.

Learn about violence and hate crimes against LGBTQ people.

Get involved with LGBTQ issues in healthcare (also this and this) and in mental health care (and this).

Learn more about how racial injustice impacts the LGBTQ community.

If you’re in a caregiving or legal profession, read this about how to write about transfolks in a respectful way.

Remember when Obama won, and there were a ton of asshats who went around proclaiming racism dead in America? This is the same thing. Don’t be fooled into believing marriage equality means heterosexism is dead in America. It’s not.

the gracious mind discrimination

#WickedPissed

Gay pride parades are not always the most inclusive events, often focusing primarily on the most privileged members of the community. As part of an attempt to highlight within-community oppression, activists in Boston disrupted the parade for eleven minutes.

“The sit-in served to refocus attention on those most marginalized in the LGBTQ community, honor the lives of trans women of color, and raise awareness to the lack of representation and resources available to LGBTQ people of Color in Boston. The sit-in intentionally lasted for 11 minutes to symbolize the 11 lives of transgender individuals who have been beaten down, slaughtered, and brutally murdered in the United States this year. Every two days, somewhere in the world, a trans woman of color will be murdered! Today, we act to disrupt pride for eleven minutes to honor and bring awareness to the lives of each trans person murdered this year.”

Read the article and the activists’ statements here.

7 Talks on the Trans Experience

Hailey Reissman has gathered seven different TED/TEDx talks to highlight the difference in every Trans person’s individual, lived experience.

“Alice Miller was born in a body that didn’t feel like hers. Every day, Yee Won Chong has to debate whether to use the men’s restroom or the women’s. Geena Rocero found success as a fashion model — but kept her birth gender a secret for nearly a decade, fearing what others would think.

All these people have transitioned into their true gender. And all of them made the decision to share their stories in a TED or TEDx talk. What these seven stories show: There is no one “right” way to live a life. And no one should have to spend a life hiding who they are.

Below, seven talks on living life expressing your true gender:”

Watch all 7 talks here.

Talking Trans

Writing in the context of how mass media failed to show basic respect for trans lives, Thu-Huong Ha gives a brief guide on appropriate ways for people to discuss these topics, which deserves revisiting after the high profile introduction of Caitlyn Jenner to the public.

Read more here.

Image by Ray Lee

6 Genders of Judaism

A fascinating look at gender representations in classic Judaism. The Sojourn blog notes they’ll be exploring the original source texts over the summer, so follow them there for continued updates.

“There’s a huge amount of information to unpack here, and we’ll be continuing all summer long to do just that, including looking at the legal obligations of each of the genders and what the real-world application of this information is. For now, though, the main point to take from all of this: The male/female binary is not, in any way, the exclusive system of gender classification in traditional Judaism*. ” 

Read about the 6 genders here, and see the original source here.

Fashionably Genderish

Increased media visibility means increased capital investment – meaning new and better products for Trans and gender non-conforming folks. Hooray for fabulous fashion! Ivette Feliciano reports on fashion and gender in America today.

Watch the video, or read the transcript here: The Right to be Handsome

(it is a tad trans-masculine focused – hoping for a similar story looking at women’s clothing soon!)

gender news the gracious mind

Facebook Fail

Christin Scarlett Milloy reports on the case of a black, Deaf and disabled trans woman, Kylie Brooks, who, after having successfully advocated for change to local Toronto services whose policies forced trans individuals “out” publically, then found herself the target of Facebook’s “real name” policy.

““Kylie” is a woman’s name and her account identifies her as female. However, in her profile picture, she appears as a black person who would commonly be read as masculine, with short hair, and a bearded face. Brooks is trans, and someone who works for Facebook has looked at her profile photo and decided she doesn’t look “Kylie” enough.”

The irony of an anonymous employee many thousands of miles from Kylie being empowered with the discretion to control her name and access to her community is repugnant.

Read more here.