Opinion and Perspective

Pride: Conflicted Feelings

As I am sure many of you know it is officially June, which means Pride season is upon us! While I think pride is very important and it is something I make a point to attend, I still have my critiques of it.

Firstly, let’s start with the history of pride. Gay pride has been a staple of queer culture for decades, however, as LGB people saw more and more progress in their favor, the community shifted. Although pride was started by trans women and other queer people, the movement turned into a white, middle class, cis and gay exclusive club. In the Netflix documentary about the life and death of Marsha P Johnson, the viewer explores this through real footage of Silvia Rivera and Marsha P Johnson. Trans people and lower income queer folk alike were pushed to the back of the movement.

This was at first clear to me during the battle for marriage equality or “gay marriage”. Such an issue actually does not just impact LGB people, as trans people with partners that have the same gender marker were also barred from marriage. Lucy Hick Anderson was a trans woman who was charged with fraud because she married her cis male partner. The promotions occasionally felt as though they were shaming single-parent families, with slogans like “two moms are better than one”. And above that, in my personal opinion, the tactics and promotions used to gain marriage equality were often cissexist, classist and forming to a cisnormative view of family. This is not to say that I am unhappy that I can now marry my partner, because I am grateful for that, yet the posts made by allies and community members makes me feel somewhat uneasy.

It is so vital that the LGBTQ+ movement does not forget its roots again. Our roots are the activism and efforts of trans people, queer folks, and people of color. Although the current view of the community is often images of two cis gay people holding hands, saying “Love wins”, the truth is that LGBTQ+ (especially trans folks) of color are not being represented. The image of trans people is often post-op, straight, passing trans women, which is a good start but trans men are also under-represented in the media. The issue of representation could be another post all together. The LGB community seems to have abandoned their trans brothers, sisters, and siblings, which cannot happen when trans women of color are being murdered and trans people are still facing employment, housing, and other types of discrimination.

Pride is not trans-inclusive, in fact, I attended a trans pride recently, and while it was great to see so many resources for trans folks, I was upset by the separation. Trans pride is needed, but it is also vital that our cis allies (LGBTQ+ or not) see us for all our diversity and for our unique experiences and challenges. I felt the use of the word pride was a betrayal to the only history the trans community has to hold on to, our founders. The trans people who sparked a movement before having the word “transgender” to describe themselves.

I find this topic conflicting because I do not always feel safe or included in spaces created by people like me, and while I enjoy pride, it does not make my uneasiness fade. I have other issues with pride which I will get into in other posts.

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Opinion and Perspective

LGBTQ+ vs Queer as an Umbrella Term. Can We Ever Win?

There is debate within the LGBTQ+ community over what terms or acronym best encompasses all our diversity. Today I will be discussing the pitfalls I notice with both using one word or using an acronym.

LGBTQ

This acronym is seen as the most inclusive. However, to identities not listed it can feel ostracizing. Especially considering that many of the other LGBTQ+ identities have less visibility.

The pitfall of the acronym is that as long as we continue to expand our knowledge and language for sexuality and gender, we will always be adding letters.

QUEER

Using one word to describe all LGBTQ+ identities is controversial, especially in regards to the reclaimed term “queer”. However, by using one word, we have to oppurtonity to lessen the stigma of those who chose umbrella terms and we can open the door for meaningful dialogue about identity.

The short coming of using a one word term for people of many different identities means that not everyone will feel represented. Using one word could also spread misinformation conflating sexuality with gender identity.

Can We Ever Win?

My belief is that we, as a community, likely will never find an all inclusive term or acronym that embraces and acknowledges our growing understanding of ourselves. For that reason I use the two interchangeably, but it is up to each community member to find what they feel comfortable with.

Comment your thoughts! I truly love hearing from you all. I plan on posting shorter posts so we can get some dialogue going! Comment on this topic or mention one you want covered!

Opinion and Perspective

Chosing A Name- A Trans Person’s Guide

Chosing a name can feel like a daunting task, and you may not get it right the first time. Here are some tips I have used to find my name.

1. Pick out a set of names

For me, it mattered most to find a name that honored the person I was named after, because we were very close, but if that is not the case for everyone. If you want a totally different name narrow down a list of possible names, if you like names that can be shortened to a nick name or if you like longer names then have your list reflect that.

2. Test names to find the right fit

Test out each name by saying “Hi, I’m ______” or by having your friends call you each name a couple times. This was the most effective way I found to remove names from the list of the ones I was considering.

3. You may not find the right name right away and that’s okay

Your parents probably went through dozens of names before picking a name for you, so don’t expect yourself to get it right the first time! If you do that’s great, if not don’t beat yourself up over it.

4. Getting comfortable

It can take a little bit to get used to the new name, just try to make a conscious effort to respond to it. If you have close friends/allies, I recommend having them use your name so you can get used to hearing and responding to it.

5. Put your needs first

No matter what those around you tell you, stay centered in your own needs first. Pleasing others all the time is impossible and draining. I had people tell me that my name was too close to my deadname among other things. When negativity comes around keep grounded in your own sense of peace and happiness.

Uncategorized

“Trans Privilege” – Does Not Exist.

If you have not heard by now- Chadwick Moore, a gay reporter, said that Christine Hallquist, a transgender woman, won the Vermont Democratic primary because of “trans privilege”.

“Trans privilege”, according to Chadwick Moore is being known only for being trans, somehow giving Hallquist an advantage. This is false for many reasons. The first being that she has policies, she has ideals and ideas. To simplify a trans person down to just their trans identity and in doing so also invalidating their accomplishments, is morally wrong and dehumanizing.

Trans people often face discrimination, violence, hatred, isolation, and economic instability. No cis person has ever faced such hardships directly because of their gender status. In short, cis people have the privilege of not being harmed because of their gender status as cisgender.

With that in mind, we should be celebrating trans folx who are running for office. We need to be lifting up our trans brothers, sisters, and siblings. By celebrating and amplifying trans voices, stories, and people, you effectively are working to dismantle cissexism.

Opinion and Perspective

Agitate. Educate. Organize. A Guide to Community Organizing at the Local Level.

Before I begin, I have been organizing for over a year now at the local level and this post is in no way an exhaustive resource.

1. Plan

I was working for the addition of gender identity to my public school county’s anti discrimination policy. The first step I took was to set up a plan and list of goals. I recommend the Midwest Academy Strategy Chart, which you can find online in printable form.

To set up your own, seperate a page into 5 categories: goals, target, tactics, organizational considerations, and people. “Goals” can be broken down further into three more categories (short, medium, and long term), and “people” can as well (constituents, allies, opponents). “Target” refers to the key decision maker you seek to influence.

Fill out this chart as best you can. I recommend leaving “tactics” for last so they can have the most direction as possible.

2. Agitate

Get people talking about the issue. Go door to door, set up a social media account, and identify allies. You need to get people excited about the change you are seeking to create. Make sure you find ways to get people in decision-makers’ social circles to discuss the issue. Write letters to the editor of your local news paper where you detail the problem, have allies write them as well, make sure you are sending in a steady weekly flow of letters.

3. Educate

Now that you have allies and constituents behind you and you have the leaders thinking about the issue, you can take steps to educate the decision makers and the public. Be clear with your intention and calm in your demeanor. This step will keep the conversation going in a productive way!

4. Organize

Now that you have an educated group of people behind you and possibly even some leaders as well as public support, you must get those people to meetings or demonstrations. If you want a policy change within the board of supervisors in your county, set up one on one meetings with them, get their input and move forward with it. Be careful not to aimlessly listen, I’ve experienced officials telling me misleading information so that I would no longer be their “problem”. Another step to take would be getting people to pack meetings, make sure the decision makers can see exactly how much support there is for your issue, this pressure will eventually cause them to collapse.

5. Persist

Do not give up. Often times politicans will try to wait out any kind of action, some of them believe that they can wait for you to give up before they have to take action. Do not prove them right, instead persist. Change tactics, get media attention, get local businesses or non profits to endorse your change, and do everything you can to block decision-makers from ignoring your issue. Do the work for the officials, have a draft for them so they have to do as little work as possible, increasing the chances they will vote it in.

Leave your experiences in the comments to help some other folks out!

Art

Exciting news! Art Sale!

Hello!

I am hosting a huge sale on my art store! Please consider checking it out and sharing on your social media accounts. A simple share on facebook or twitter would help me out tremendously!

Courageartcorner.threadless.com

I just uploaded new work to the site as well, but I did so at the marked off price point! This will only last until about 11:30pm tonight.

If you want to stay updated on my art, follow my instagram @queerartcorner

Thank you all for your support!

Opinion and Perspective

Trans Representation in the Media is Nothing to Celebrate.

Trans representation is a topic I’ve touched on in the past. Here is a deeper look at why trans rep is not satisfactory.

When I was 16, I watched “Boys Don’t Cry” for the first time. This was also the first movie I saw that included a trans man. If you know anything about the movie, you know that it isn’t an empowering film. It follows the adulthood and death of a real trans man who was raped and then murdered. While stories of true trans people need to be told, and I am sure the film helped at least some people become more sympathetic to the trans community, we must create representation that is positive as well. Affirming trans people in film can mean so much more than having each trans character die at the end.

For me the ideal representation is all kinds. White trans people? Cool! Trans people of color? Great! Queer trans people? Marvelous. Disabled trans folks? Amazing! Non binary trans people? Lovely! Non passing trans folks? The more the better! Post transition trans people? Perfect! All trans representation is great, as long as it is affirming to the community and shares our stories accurately.

Trans people are rarely consulted when our stories are being written as scripts. Trans actors are so often rejected because of cissexist beauty standards or simply denied the oppurtonity to audition for the roles of trans people. This is a problem that we must fix. Which brings me to our main topic, everything that’s wrong about “Rub and Tug”.

If you haven’t heard yet, “Rub and Tug” is a film about a trans man of color who owns massage parlors. While it is hard to place terminology on historical figures, Dantè (the main character) referred to himself as a man, which is a very clear indicator of a male of center non cisgender identity. Now, this movie could have the potential to carry positive historical representation to trans folks, but Scarlett Johansson was casted as Dantè. Instead of acknowledging that this role should be played by a trans man, her representative just pointed to other actors who were awarded for portraying trans people. After a week, Johansson did withdraw from the role, but the idea that the casting directors thought that casting a woman was appropriate for a trans male character is infuriating. Ideally, trans people should be in all types of movies playing cis and trans characters, but in this time of fighting for visibility it is so crucial a trans character is played by a trans person.

This is so important because when we allow cis women to play trans men and cis men to play trans women, the media implies that these trans characters were never actually or will never be their gender identity. The most common argument against this is that when characters are pre transition they should be played by cis actors that are of the character’s assignment at birth. But this just furthers stigma and invalidation of pre transition and non passing trans people. To make “Rub and Tug” worse, Johansson was cast to play a character of color. White washing and trans erasure happen enough in the media, why continue this?

Here is what you can do-

Boycott the movie unless a trans person of color is casted as Dantè. Similar to the boycott of “Stonewall”, which depicted a cis gay white man as the instigator of the riots, we have the power to send a clear message: casting cis white actors to play trans people of color is wrong. So I urge you not to see “Rub and Tug” in theaters. Encourage those around you to also boycott.

Further info on Dantè Tex Gill.

~~ feel free to share movies with positive LGBTQ+ representation in the comments~~