Archive | September, 2010

Not all of our stories end well

28 Sep

Now comes this horrible story out of texas.  13 year old Asher Brown shot himself in the head with his stepfather’s 9mm just outside of Houston.  According to the family young Asher was tormented at school for a wide variety of things, not the least of which the perception of the other students that he was gay.

How long?

This is a prime opportunity for us to take action to stop these tragedies and create safe spaces for ALL children.  Coming up on Oct. 5th there is a National Day of Action put on by the Safe Schools Action Network.

This is the reason our children need these protections.

Lets make sure this kind of torture stops by creating safe places for all children.

3 Cheers for Boy Cheerleader!

28 Sep

6th grader Tyler Wilson is an unapologetic boy cheerleader. He joined the Flag City Youth Cheerleading Team this past summer. He didn’t imagine his decision would wind him up with a broken arm.

But being called a “sissy” and a “queer,” and even having his arm broken by school bullies, is not enough to dissuade him. In a happy turn of fate – Tyler has an incredibly supportive mother who is also not caving to these bullies.

Tyler has had an outpouring of support from professional male cheerleaders and has sworn “I’m going to keep going. I’m going to make a lifestyle out of it.” We can’t wait to see him in a few years on ESPN, as we indulge our guilty pleasures by watching the cheerleading championships!

One Nation?

28 Sep

It’s always a good thing when progressive organizations can work together towards equality. This Saturday, October 2nd, the new coalition calling themselves “One Nation Working Together” will be marching on Washington.

The coalition includes more than 300 organizations and their website lists 11 different goals with everything from full equality for women to energy independence to creating jobs. Among the endorsers are at least 25 LGBT-specific groups. Yet out of 11 reasons to march, there’s no focus on LGBT-issues – no mention of DADT, ENDA, transphobia, school bullying, marriage equality, hate crimes, nothin. In speaking to one of the Steering Committee members this evening, he sadly couldn’t confirm any LGBTQ representation among the speakers at the march, but not all decisions have been made yet.

With that being said, it’s vitally important that we build coalitions that will work together – and to stand up for all our allies in the fight against oppression. We have spent far too much time being splintered and it is only when we work together that things are accomplished. But we must make sure that we have a real place at the table – we must stand up and tell our stories.

So go to the march this weekend, and find someone to tell YOUR story to. If we have to change this world one person-one story at a time, we will. Hopefully this will be the start of something good.

Oak for King!

27 Sep

A classic fall high school story. Oak Reed, from Muskegon, Michigan, ran a facebook campaign for Homecoming King at Mona Shores High school and won.

The problem, for the administration, is that Oakleigh Marshall Reed used to be named Oakleigh Marie Reed.  So, despite the common belief that Oak earned the most votes, the school principal invalidated his candidacy on a technicality. The school records still indicate that Oak is a girl.

Another story of young people being affected by the short sighted policies of adults.  It seems everyone in the school community is aware of Oak’s gender identity, including the teachers who use male pronouns and even the administration who selectively allows Oak to act on his gender expression.

There is an interesting twist to this story, one that gives us hope for future generations.  It seems the student body, band parents, and  Oak’s mother have been incredibly supportive.  Some students even created an Oak is my King facebook group and are intending to wear solidarity tee-shirts on October 1st.
Oak Reed for Homecoming King!

Kudo’s to Oak for sharing his story with the world and living openly and honestly and to the supportive students at Mona Shores High School.

What Will You Lose?

27 Sep lose650

Our friend Mark Anthony Dingbaum at The Victory Fund sent us this incredible video unveiling their new campaign today.

Many of us have spent a great deal of time feeling disappointed in our elected representatives when they don’t follow through on promises or perhaps aren’t the “fierce advocate” they claimed they would be. But this November, we can’t let our frustrations make us complacent.

We need to hold our elected officials accountable, this is an absolute. But we also need to make sure the elected officials we put in office are those who will listen to us. Check out this video and find a way to get involved.

Building and Crossing Bridges

26 Sep

Today I had the unique opportunity to take part in Marriage Equality New York’s 7th Annual Wedding March. Around 2000 LGBT people, their families and allies rallied downtown and then marched with a rainbow of solid-colored umbrellas over the Brooklyn Bridge. We were joined by The Real Housewives of New York, and Claire Buffie – Miss New York, 2010, who is the first Miss America contestant to run on a platform of LGBT equality.

I was reminded of former Miss America Kate Shindle, who spoke at a marriage equality rally right after Proposition 8 passed. Kate is a straight, Republican Broadway performer who is for equality for all people. When she spoke at City Hall back in 2008, she reminded us that we can’t count people out. Our allies come in all shapes and sizes and we never know where we are going to find someone sympathetic to our cause – so keep building those bridges by talking about equality – you may be surprised what you find.

Enjoy some of our photos from today’s events!

Our Streets.

26 Sep

Reflecting on the recently departed summer an alarming and largely undiscussed trend emerges: a wave of violence against our community.  On college campuses, busy streets, in gay neighborhoods, parks, and many other spaces across Washington, DC there have been a string of alarming hate crimes.  Tracking the locations of these incidents demonstrates that it is a city-wide problem:

And that’s just a small sample of the reported crimes.  As you can see, these attacks are happening in high traffic areas and places where people traditionally feel safe.  So what are we doing about it?

There are many resources available for information and several organizations are attempting to tackle the issue.  This evening in Dupont Circle, which has faced the sharpest increase of hate crimes, there is a free self-defense class put on by a new organization: OutWatch.  OutWatch is a community watch group which is attempting to highlight bias-related crimes and to be a vigilant community presence.  This week at The DC Center Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV) will hold their next meeting, and the center is also promoting a self defense class.

This change has to come from us. Only by educating ourselves on the situation and letting the perpetuators of violence know that we are paying attention can we create the safe spaces we need.

Who’s streets? Our streets.

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