28 Jun 2014

Stonewall Riots, June 28, 1969 (and following days)

(Source: livefasttryingnottodieyoung)

23 Mar 2013


More than 100 private schools in Georgia accept a combined $170 million in state money each year while openly discriminating against LGBT students.



More than 100 private schools in Georgia that bar openly LGBT students are accepting $170 million in state money each year while continuing to discriminate against students. The schools receive a tax credit program that turn state funds into scholarships for religiously based private schools.The 115 schools, however, explicitly enforce policies that condemn homosexuality, often punishing students who come out by expelling them.

Steve Suitts, the vice president of the Southern Education Foundation, wrote a report for his organization, showing that at least one-third of the state’s private schools that honor the scholarship have antigay policies. Furthermore, two of the seven organizations that provide accreditation to private schools also adhere to antigay policies.

For example, the 500-student Augusta Christian School states that:

“each student of the school shall be of the highest moral character and be obedient to all Biblical principles, including, but not limited to, prohibitions against fornication, drug use, alcohol use, pornography and homosexuality.”

The Cumberland Christian Academy stipulates that:

“Students shall not promote or participate in immorality such as pornography, adultery, fornication, pre-marital sex, or homosexuality.”

The Cherokee Christian Schools in Woodstock, Georgia will punish students for even making the statement of being LGBT “or otherwise immoral.” Providence Christian Academy will not only expel gay students, but also students who support or condone gay rights.

“[P]ublic funds should not support schools that exclude, condemn, and demonize students for who they are and who they accept in their lives,” Suitts wrote. “Tax dollars should go to schools that educate all students. That is the promise and virtue of our democracy.”

4 Feb 2013


LGBTQ* Basics: ‘Femme’ Lesbian and Bisexual Women of Color

(Following from Femme on a Mission)

In a way, the women showcased below are members of a triple minority based on gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, making their successes all the more impressive and inspiring.

1. Jessica Clark

A successful model, out lesbian Jessica Clark has appeared in advertisements for Alexander McQueen and runway shows for Hermes and Julian McDonald. She also starred in Usher’s music video “Let It Burn.”

2. Natasha Kai

American soccer forward Natasha Kai set multiple records in her college career playing for the University of Hawaii.  Now a superstar athlete, Natasha plays professionally for the Philadelphia Independence. She was also on the women’s National Team, representing the U.S. in the Women’s World Cup as well as the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Natasha is an out lesbian and was one of only two openly gay athletes on the 2008 USA Summer Olympic team.

3. Malinda Lo

Author Malinda Lo was born in China and moved to the United States as a child. She has written several young adult novels; her most successful being Ash, a lesbian retelling of Cinderella in which the title character gets the girl – not the prince. In 2006, Malinda received the Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for Excellence in LGBT Journalism by the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association.

4. Gloria Bigelow

Gloria Bigelow is an out lesbian comedian. As well as a variety of comedy specials, Gloria has had appearances on The Rachel Ray Show, Lifetime’s Cook Yourself Thin, and LOGO’sNewNowNext Awards. She also is one of the four stars of Cherry Bomb, a lesbian talk-show hosted on AfterEllen.

5. Dalila Ali Rajeh

Out bisexual actress Dalila Ali Rajah is a co-star of Gloria Bigelow on Cherry Bomb,  as well as the producer of the series. With an MFA in acting from the California Institute of the Arts, she has appeared on stage in The Vagina Monologues and Joleta, and was the winner of the GLAAD Media Award for “Outstanding Los Angeles Theatre 2007.”

6. Vivan Wu

Vivan Wu came to the front of the lesbian scene recently as a member of the supporting cast of The Real L Word Season 2. But she is more than just the (ex?)-girlfriend of Claire; Vivian is an up-and-coming stylist, recently featured in Vogue Italia.

7. Staceyann Chin

Staceyann is a spoken word poet and political activist. Unabashedly feminist and an out lesbian, Staceyann produces poetry that is fearless and cuts deep.

8. Tasya van Ree

Photographer and artist Tasya van Ree is making a name for herself with her compelling and sensual work, most of which is in black and white. As well as still photography, Tasya also creates short art films often featuring her muse and girlfriend, out actress Amber Heard.

9. Margaret Cho

Margaret was recently featured as a Pretty Lady…on Femme on a Mission. Funny and fearless, Margaret has been a successful comedian, actress, recording artist, and all-around badass since the early nineties. She is openly bisexual, Wikipedia says that 15-20% of her body is tattooed, and my mother hates her, so basically she is awesome.

10. Jasika Nicole

Out lesbian actress Jasika Nicole is lighting up the small screen on Fox’s Fringe, playing the part of Astrid Farnsworth. She is also an illustrator, with a new comic in the works called Closetalkers about the beginning of a lesbian relationship formed between two roommates.

Related posts: 10 ‘Femme’ Lesbians You Should Know

18 Dec 2012

15 Dec 2012

While conducting a seminar with college students about self-esteem, Yolo Akili heard a young person say something that remains an important touchstone for those of us trying to do liberatory work in our communities. When talking about loving oneself, a Black woman said, “Self love? That shit’s gay!”

I’ve turned this statement over in my head a million times as it so accurately and unintentionally reveals so much about the constructions of sexuality in our culture. “Gay” has become an all purpose insult that means something is not cool, wack, aberrant, and not worth your time. How deep is it that loving yourself is a weird and unworthy pursuit? If self love is gay, what is straight? Is straightness self hatred?

I want to be clear that I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with being a cis gender man or woman engaged in loving consensual relationships with cis gender women or men. Like with race in our country, the problem isn’t necessarily white people, but how whiteness as a problematic social construct impacts everyone. Similarly, I would argue that straight people aren’t the issue but the way straightness and heteronormativity operate in our culture are serious impediments to self love and self actualization.

I choose to be queer. My choosing queerness has a lot to do with the scripts that exist for straight men and women’s relationships. Take the recent box office smash, Think Like a Man. So much of what is prescribed for straight couples is for women to change themselves into what they imagine men want from them.  You can see it if you want to but it’s essentially a feature film length infomercial for Steve Harvey’s similarly titled book. It had the requisite gay jokes (for both men and women) and many a strong black woman cut back down to size. By thinking like a man, you ensure that he gets what he wants, sex, and women get what they want, a man. This reductive view on what motivates straight relationships depends on strict gender roles.

Straightness/heteronormativity sets up roles for men and women that serve a capitalistic agenda more than the building of loving relationships. The script is simple; find a member of the “opposite sex”, date, get married, buy a house, have kids and do all of this as an individual family unit. Our culture will sell you the tools to properly achieve these ends, to properly conform to gender norms that will hopefully help you attract someone to walk down the aisle with you. Buy this men’s loofa and women will be all over you, buy this lady razor and your man will love to get close to you. Selling people the idea that they are somehow insufficiently performing their  gender, and therefore not attractive, reinforces a sense of self doubt and looking externally for validation, which is great for capitalism. You have to do something or buy something to be worthy of relationship. What a queer thing to say that my relationship with myself is important and I should invest in it over and above my ability to pull a partner.

And this is why I and other queer folks are giving Obama’s announcement regarding gay marriage the side eye. Leveraging privilege for certain types of households does nothing to address systemic inequality or combat discrimination that queer folks face. Why do romantic ties afford rights and access that would otherwise be denied? And I use the word “afford” deliberately because so much of what is obscured about marriage are its roots and continued relevance as a financial institution. Love takes a backseat to the structural realities of couple privilege in our culture. Society continues to give us messages that marriage is valuable, perhaps even at the expense of our own personal safety and freedom.

Self love is awesome. It should be celebrated and encouraged, not derided because it hinders an economy that’s dependent on folks feeling insecure. If loving yourself is gay, I don’t want to be straight.