Tag Archives: LGBT activism

I am afraid, or, 2017: Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here

I am afraid on the basis of all of my identities. That fear is not just of Trump himself, but of unchecked Republican control of the executive and legislative branches of our government, and likely soon the top level of the judicial branch as well.

As a black person, I’m afraid that Republican power will continue to deny that my and my people’s lives matter. That there will be no push from the federal government to hold police who kill unarmed black men and women accountable. That we will continue incarcerating absurd proportions of black and brown communities. That the fact that a businessman who was openly supported by the KKK was elected will give racists and white supremacists a larger platform, a stronger foothold, or even just make them more likely to take action in support of their beliefs.

As a woman, particularly as a sexually active woman of childbearing age who does not want to become a mother now or ever, I am worried about what full Republican leadership at the federal level means for reproductive rights. I have an IUD right now, that was made possible by the stipulation in Obamacare that requires all insurance companies to cover the cost of all forms of birth control. If (it pains me too much to say when) Obamacare is repealed, I will be required to pay for the medically necessary removal of my current IUD in 2018 and for the cost of inserting a new one, which can be upwards of $1000, if I choose to stick with this birth control option that has worked very well for me. If I choose to go with a lower cost, but also easier to misuse option, like the pill, I am scared that I’ll mess up and forget to take it one day, or forget to bring it with me on a trip, and then be faced with a potential unwanted pregnancy under an anti-abortion federal government. I am afraid of catcallers and other predatory men feeling emboldened by a president who has bragged about grabbing women by the pussy.

As a queer person, I am afraid that Trump himself doesn’t care about us, as he has released no policy plans for LGBT rights or HIV/AIDS. But I know how anti-LGBT the Republican party generally is: 2016 has seen pushback on marriage equality and adoption rights for same-sex couples, bathroom bills that have devastating consequences beyond just where we pee, endorsements of gay conversion therapy for minors, and a resurgence of “religious freedom” bills designed to allow businesses the ‘right’ to refuse to serve us. Trans women, especially trans women of color, are being killed every week in this country, and I have no hope that they will be protected under our new president-elect’s leadership. In fact, as the people who oppose QTPOCs very existence see how strong their numbers are, it’s hard to do anything other than expect the violence to get worse.

And speaking of the twisting of “religious freedom,” as a non-Christian, I am worried that a conservative majority in all branches of the federal government de facto pushes church and state closer together. I have extended family members who are Muslim (of the black power, Nation of Islam variety, but that didn’t matter to folks who abused and discriminated against them post-9/11). I am afraid for their safety in the red states of Georgia and Florida under a Trump administration.

As the daughter and granddaughter and niece and sister of people who have worked in the casino industry, literally for Trump himself and/or for people like him, I am worried that Republican control means even further erosion of what little safety net is there for our senior citizens who didn’t work fancy desk jobs with 401ks or pensions and now depend on Social Security and Medicare to literally feed, clothe, house, and care for themselves. I am afraid of what will happen to my father and my grandmother. I am worried that people who don’t make living wages will lose the scraps of support they are currently able to receive from programs like SNAP, TANF, and Medicaid, and won’t be able to literally feed, clothe, house, and care for their children. I am afraid that this administration will do nothing but widen the gap between the rich and the poor in this country, and further marginalize the voices of those being trampled upon.

As the daughter of a woman who has held down a full-time teaching job through multiple rounds of chemotherapy in order to keep her healthcare coverage, I am afraid that people will literally die as a result of this election. Obama was able to bring health insurance (albeit imperfect) to hundreds of thousands of people who did not have it before, and made it so that people couldn’t be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions. I am afraid that if my mom gets too sick to work, a post-Obamacare America will be one in which she cannot be insured, and my family will have to watch a disease she beat once before overcome her because we can’t afford the treatments.

I feel America’s distaste for people like me, a distaste that ranges from a lack of empathy to a straight-up hatred, writ large this morning, feel it in my bones and in my spirit more heavily than I’ve ever felt it before. This place was built by us, but not for us, and is about to be run by people who aggressively don’t support us. I feel unsafe and unwanted here on the deepest of levels. If I joke or even more genuinely consider fleeing, don’t tell me it’s my responsibility to fight through and fix this. I didn’t break it. I don’t know how to heal the divide between rural America and urban America, between white America and diverse America, between people who legitimately support Trump’s platform and ideas and people like me. I don’t know if it can be healed. I am not hopeful this morning.

LGBT pride does not mean being proud of having been born lesbian, gay, bisexual, or trans.

It means being proud of having survived.

It means being proud of living in a homophobic, biphobic, transphobic society — a society that commonly treats us with contempt at best and violent hatred at worst — and still getting on with our lives. It means being proud of flourishing, in a society that commonly thinks we’re broken. It means being proud of being happy, in a society that commonly thinks we should be miserable. It means being proud of being good and compassionate, in a society that commonly thinks we’re wicked. It means being proud of fighting for our rights and the rights of others like us, in a society that commonly thinks we should lie down and let ourselves get walked on — or that thinks we should be grateful for crumbs and not ask for more. It means being proud of retaining our dignity, in a society that commonly treats us as laughing-stocks. It means being proud of loving our sexuality and our bodies, in a society that commonly thinks our sexuality and our bodies are disgusting. It means being proud of staying alive, in a society that commonly beats us down and wants us dead.

It is not easy to do any of this. Despite the many advances LGBT people have made over the decades, we still live in a society that commonly thinks we should be ashamed simply for existing. It is incredibly difficult to listen to people denigrate us, taunt us, humiliate us, bully us, shame us, from the earliest days of our childhood until the day we die — and still flourish, still be happy, still be compassionate, still fight for our rights, still retain our dignity, still love our bodies and our sexualities and our selves, still survive.

It is not easy to do any of this. It takes work.

When LGBT people talk about LGBT pride, when we attend LGBT Pride celebrations, when we say we’re proud to be gay or lesbian or bisexual or trans, this is what we’re talking about. It is a hugely important aspect of LGBT history and culture. And when people mock it and denigrate it in public, many of us take it rather personally. Experience has taught us that when people treat the concept of LGBT pride with hostility and contempt, they tend to treat us — our history, our culture, our struggles for equality and rights — with hostility and contempt.

Peter Boghossian, and What Gay Pride Actually Means

(via QueerIntersectional)

Gay marriage advocates brush aside generations of queer efforts to create new ways of loving, lusting for, and caring for one another, in favour of a 1950s model of white-picket-fence, “we’re just like you” normalcy.

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore – There’s More to Life Than Platinum: Challenging the Tyranny of Sweatshop-Produced Rainbow Flags and Participatory Patriarchy

(via queering the game of life)

Dyke anger, anticolonial despair, racial rage, counterhegemonic violence, punk pugilism—these are the bleak and angry territories of the antisocial turn; these are the jagged zones within which not only self-shattering (the opposite of narcissism in a way) but other-shattering occurs. If we want to make the antisocial turn in queer theory we must be willing to turn away from the comfort zone of polite exchange in order to embrace a truly political negativity, one that promises, this time, to fail, to make a mess, to fuck shit up, to be loud, unruly, impolite, to breed resentment, to bash back, to speak up and out, to disrupt, assassinate, shock, and annihilate.

–Judith Halberstam, The Queer Art of Failure

(via Queering the Game of Life)

What is striking is that my son’s romantic thoughts and feelings toward a gay male character do raise eyebrows. People worry about it being too adult and wonder what my son could possibly know about sex. But these are never things we worry about when little girls want to be Cinderella. A little girl of that age would be humored if she said Prince Charming was her boyfriend. There would be no raised eyebrows and no pointed looks. And no one would think it was about sex. It would just be a little girl doing her little-girl thing. It is only ignorance and prejudice that keep people from thinking the same thing about my son. He’s just a little boy doing his little-boy thing.

Boys and Girls and Their Prince Charmings | Amelia for the Huffington Post Gay Voices

(via The Sexual Intellectual)

For me, queer theory is the emblematic example of how we say the value of what queer politics brings is a challenge to what is the normal. And it’s of course what that whole angst is about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and marriage equality. On the one hand, those are basic citizenship rights, right? You always know that there’s some second-class citizenship going on in military policy and marriage policy, right? If you’re looking for second-class citizenship, look in those things and you’ll often find it. So it’s a very reasonable set of political strategies, but the problem is also a very normative set of political strategies, right? It’s not about, “We have a right to be queer and create different kinds of communities and different definitions of family.” It’s about, “Look how much just like you we can be; look how respectable we can be, see; we can have our families look just like your families, and we can serve in the military just like you; and so look how straight we can be!” Rather than, “Look how queer we can be and look at how valuable it is to take queerness and open up the very definition of what constitutes respectable and normal.

–Melissa Harris-Perry

(via Sister Outsider)

The question lesbian and gay people need to answer is not “Why are transgender issues suddenly demanding so much attention?” but rather “Why have we abandoned transgender people and their concerns in our rush for equality?”.

—Transgender Communities: Developing Identity Through Connection
Lev AI in Bieschke et al (2007)

(via Queering the Game of Life)