Archive for the ‘LGBT’ Category

My friend Kim McKinstry posted the following email she received Monday:

Dear Kimberly:

Thank you for writing, and for your service to our country. Throughout our history, generations of Americans have brought us closer to fulfilling the ideals at the heart of our Nation’s founding—that all of us are equal, and that all of us should be free to make of our lives what we will.

Our country has come far in its acceptance of transgender Americans, but transgender individuals still face terrible violence, abuse, and poverty here at home and around the world. I know that some people have a hard time understanding what it means to be transgender, especially if they haven’t had the opportunity to know someone who openly identifies that way. As brave individuals come out at all levels of business, government, sports, and entertainment, the power of their example is slowly but surely changing hearts and minds.

We need to ask ourselves what kind of society we want to build for the many young people struggling with their identities who deserve a childhood free from harassment or ridicule. Too many transgender people, especially youth, take their own lives because of discrimination and violence, and no one should ever feel so alone or desperate that they feel they have nowhere to turn. That’s why my Administration took a stance against the use of conversion therapy on minors, and why we have been working to address bullying. And when schools sought advice about how to ensure learning environments are respectful and inclusive for all students, the Department of Education provided guidance to educators—because all of our children deserve to know that their safety is protected and that their dignity is affirmed.

We have also taken actions to help ensure that transgender Americans have the same rights as any other Americans. I issued an Executive Order that prohibits discrimination in employment by Federal contractors based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and I signed legislation that includes protections against hate crimes. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, there are now important protections in place against discrimination in healthcare, including discrimination based on gender identity. And this year, my Administration lifted the ban on transgender individuals serving in our Armed Forces—because no American who wishes to serve our country should face unnecessary barriers, and our military is strongest when it draws on the skills and talents of all our people.

Again, thank you for writing. Please know I will keep pushing to advance the safety and dignity of every American as long as I hold this Office and beyond.

Sincerely,
Barack Obama

 

Rest in Power

Posted: June 22, 2016 in death, homophobia, LGBT

Untitled

Never forget their names:

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old
Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old
Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old
Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old
Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old
Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old
Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old
Kimberly Morris, 37 years old
Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old
Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old
Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old
Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old
Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old
Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old
Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old
Amanda Alvear, 25 years old
Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old
Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old
Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old
Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old
Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old
Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old
Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old
Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old
Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old
Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old
Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old
Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old
Cory James Connell, 21 years old
Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old
Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old
Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old
Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old
Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old
Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old
Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old
Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old
Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old
Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old
Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old
Yilmary Rodriguez Sulivan, 24 years old
Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old
Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old
Frank Hernandez, 27 years old
Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old
Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old
Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old

Also killed this week, trans women Goddess Diamond, 20 years old

“When will they ever learn?
O, when will they ever learn.”

 

On Orlando, And Other Atrocities

Posted: June 15, 2016 in homophobia, LGBT
Tags:

Today’s post is something friend Sarah posted on Facebook. It speaks for itself.

“My mother texted me this morning. After asking how our trip was, she said the following:

"And please please please be careful when you are out anywhere that you and friends have gathered! I was shocked and sickened by what went on in Orlando…not to mention, scared for you! I love you!!"

I told her that Julia and I are an old married couple and don’t go out clubbing, because, well, I needed to say something to reassure her.

Because, how do you explain to your mother what it’s like to have to be careful all the time?

How do you explain that going home to Ohio makes you anxious because, what if you kiss your wife in public without thinking about it prior to – because, heaven forbid, you love each other – and it happens to be in front of someone who thinks it’s an abomination?

How do you explain that when you’re on a family vacation to somewhere like Tennessee, outside of your hotel, you and your wife silently agree it’s safest to pretend to be best friends or sisters because you’re in unfamiliar territory?

How do you explain that when you plan trips and know you’ll have to drive through small, rural towns you don’t know, that the thought that you might need to get gas or find a restroom in those unknown places gives you a near panic attack because you’ve convinced yourself that the person with the Bible verses littering their car will immediately know you’re gay and take great pains to make sure you know you don’t belong there?

How do you explain that, on your very first date with a girl – a euphoric, wonderful thing where you were awkward and nervous and just all around kind of stupid like a love-struck teenager – that someone saw you talking. Simply talking. And felt the need to scream "DYKE" at you?

How do you explain the feeling of how that immediately stole the wind from your fresh-out-of-the-closet sails and reminded you that you needed to be careful, that you couldn’t let your guard down?

How do you explain how completely fucking liberating it was to go to a gay club for the first time. Overwhelmed and self-conscious, but also so sure that these were YOUR PEOPLE and at last you were home?

How do you explain that this attack shakes you to your core because this is the stealing of the safe haven that LGBTQIA+ clubs have always been. That the places where you weren’t afraid to truly be you – no mask, no worrying about what others think – are now tainted and you feel like you need to be even more on guard anyplace your community gathers?

How do you explain that every time you meet a new person, you have an anxious knot in your stomach because you don’t know how they’ll react about your "wife, Julia". And you war inside yourself about how you’ll react if they aren’t approving. How every interaction can sometimes feel like a choice to be an outspoken activist or to keep yourself safe?

How do you explain that, as a middle-class white woman who can easily pass for straight with little effort, you often get overwhelmed thinking about how hard it must be to be any other combination of gender, race and economy, and that you get mad at yourself a lot because, in that way, you have it pretty easy, so shouldn’t you just stop whining?

How do you explain that the words of caution and staying safe are so, so hollow, because you’ve ALWAYS had to be safe. You’ve always had to be aware?

How do you explain that when you’re in a town like Northampton or Provincetown and you can hold hands with your wife without thinking first, and you can say I love you without worrying about who might overhear, it feels like a goddam miracle and you never want to leave?

How do you explain that you’re sobbing while you type this because everything has finally hit you and it all feels so goddam PERSONAL, even though it’s so far removed from your actual reality?

I am queer. I am blessed and lucky to be married to the absolute love of my life. I lead a life full of so many wonderful people that it almost feels like an embarrassment of riches how lucky I am.

So how do I explain that, yes mom, I’ll be careful, but it’s not me you have to worry about.

It’s the people who hate me for being happy. Who hate me for being in love. The people who have weapons of mass destruction and are driven to use them.

They’re who you need to worry about, mom.

I’m always careful, mom.

But, surely, so were those we lost in Orlando.”

Sara Hickman-Himes