Today, a coalition of public policy and family advocacy organizations released “LGBT Families of Color: Facts at a Glance,” which sheds light on the disparate impact of outdated laws and family policies on LGBT families of color and their children. The publication explores the challenges that LGBT Families of color face on a daily basis and dispels the myth often perpetuated in the media that LGBT families are largely white and middle class.
According to “LGBT Families of Color,” there are roughly 2 million children in the United States being raised in LGBT families and 41 percent of these families are people of color. Both black and Latino same-sex couples are more likely to raise children than white same- sex couples. Black lesbians for example are twice as likely to be raising children as their white lesbian counterparts. The report also notes that:
Children of color, in particular, are more likely to be raised in diverse family configurations that include de facto parents and are more likely to be raised by LGBT parents. Therefore, antiquated laws have a disproportionately negative impact on children of color.
An alarming number of LGBT families of color are living in poverty. For example, 32 percent of children being raised by black same-sex couples are living in poverty compared to 7 percent of children raised by married heterosexual white parents. Yet many of these families, simply because they are LGBT, are denied access to safety net programs and federal and state tax benefits that would improve their economic situations.
The two leagues that I have considered joining are:
BASL - They are an LGBT league that plays in different boroughs throughout NYC and some of Jersey, I believe. They seem to be very active in the LGBT community and they march in the pride parade and there are a good amount of poc in the…
In an effort to get the bill to the House floor, a special joint committee was formed and legislators were left scrambling for seats. Kach, who had previously backed attempts to define marriage as between one man and one woman, found a space right next to the witness table.
“I saw with so many of the gay couples, they were so devoted to another. I saw so much love,” he said. “When this hearing was over, I was a changed person in regard to this issue. I felt that I understood what same sex couples were looking for.”
A week later, Kach voted for the gay marriage bill on the floor of the House of Delegates, one of only two Republicans to do so.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Empathy is our most powerful weapon against hate and discrimination. As Abraham Lincoln said: “Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?”
Granted, the heart that was changed in this instance had the advantage of belonging to a key state representative, but in the course of everyday life you never know who you might meet. Who’s to say the person sitting next to the gay family in a restaurant doesn’t have power and influence? It happened in the Capitol, but this scenario could’ve happened anywhere.
I can’t help believing the most effective thing one can do is being out and being polite. Let everyone see your humanity. Its power is transformational. It changes people.
Come one come all to check out your fierce queer nigerian gender non conforming artist in chicago. i will be presenting a piece on Queering African Cinema in Chicago on March 1st. spread the word even if u can’t make it. see ya there fam. Peace Seyi
Center on Halsted 3rd Floor Irving Harris Family Foundation Reception Hall 3656 N. Halsted St. (at Waveland Ave.) Chicago, IL 60613 (773) 472-6469 http:// www.centeronhalsted.org/
7pm Doors Open 7:30pm Reading
Organized by Ahimsa Timoteo Bodhrán & Tony Valenzuela
Readers: OluSeyi OluToyin Adebanjo, Nancy Agabian, Ryka Aoki, Tamiko Beyer, Ahimsa Timoteo Bodhrán, Ching-In Chen, Matthew R. K. Haynes-Kekahuna, Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano, David Keali’i, Janet McAdams, Deborah A. Miranda, Claudia Narváez-Meza, vaimoana litia makakaufaki niumeitolu, Emma Pérez, Jai Arun Ravine, Charles Rice-González, Trish Salah, James Thomas Stevens, D. Antwan Stewart, & Jennifer Lisa Vest.
“Ancestors: A Queer Writers of Color Reading” is a literary reading featuring same-gender-loving, multiple-gender-loving, and transgender poets, non/fiction writers, filmmakers, and performance artists of Indigenous Pacific, Native North American, Arab/Middle Eastern, Asian, Latina/o, and African descent.
This event is sponsored by the Lambda Literary Foundation, which nurtures, celebrates, and preserves lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) literature through programs that honor excellence, promote visibility, and encourage development of emerging writers.
This reading is an off-site event for the 2012 Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) conference, which will be occurring in Chicago from Wednesday, February 29, 2012 through Saturday, March 3, 2012. http://www.awpwriter.org/ conference/2012awpconf.php
Last fall, I discovered that I am sexually attracted to women.
Let me tell you, it came as a bit of a shock to me. I am 28 years old. I have been serious about dating men since I was 17. I have been in stable, loving, long-term relationships with 3 amazing men. I had never so much as checked a girl out before October of last year. And not only am I attracted to women, but powerfully so. There’s no mistaking it. Seriously, I’m like a teenage boy.
How did this discovery happen? Not because I fell in love with a woman. Not because a woman came on to me or tried to kiss me. It came to me while I was alone, eyes closed, seated on my meditation bench, trying to be as present and aware as possible.
I realize now that there were some pretty big clues in the months leading up to this discovery. The most obvious was that I had a serious crush on, and physical attraction to, Starbuck (from Battlestar Galactica).
My transformation this year has been much bigger than the discovery of my sexuality, though that has been a profoundly important part of it. I sincerely believe that my meditation practice has been the key to this transformation. And it is the reason the changes have not been limited to who I sleep with. So how do I express in words the amazing changes this year has brought to my life?
Except for this year, I have been anxious and depressed since I was 11 years old. At times I was keenly aware of my unhappiness. At other times I was able to numb myself using television and movies, computer games, food, and relationships. At all times, however, I lived in a constant state of fear and stress.
What happened when I was 11? I realized I was different from the other girls. For one, I was confident and happy. I was a high achiever in school. I was “teacher’s pet” in every class in elementary school. I was creative and talented, musically and artistically. Also, I was a “tomboy.” I cut my hair short in Grade 6. I liked boyish clothes. I excelled in sports. I was really nerdy too, maybe as a result of all these things. Even my Grade 6 teacher made fun of my sweat pants (they were white with blue and purple tie-die swirls. No joke!).
On Valentines Day in Grade 5, a cute boy in my class asked me out. I didn’t want him in “that” way, but I thought, why not? He was nice enough. We dated until the following winter, which is to say, we would hold hands at recess and we went to a movie together, once. We never kissed. He wanted to. I didn’t. I was deemed, by our classmates, to be a “freeze”. When we broke up, I decided to throw a party. I assumed, wrongly, that all the popular kids who had befriended me while we were dating were still my friends. I found out, the day of the party, that the girls had decided to “boycott” the party, and so none of the boys were coming either.
It hurt, and I took it very personally. I was angry with myself for being the overachiever, the tomboy, for being enthusiastic and nerdy, for not wanting to kiss my boyfriend: for being “uncool.”
Two things happened after that. First, I withdrew into myself. Every day of high school, lunch hour, afternoons, and evenings, I would go home and watch television by myself. I never again spoke to a teacher unless it was absolutely necessary. I never telephoned a girlfriend and invited her over. I never threw another party. In fact I still haven’t!
Second, eventually, I learned to project a “cool”, non-threatening image of myself to others. I wasn’t any good at this for a long time – until about Grade 12. Then I started dating boys again and was able to have friendships with girls who were willing to do all the work (because God knows I wasn’t going to take any risks ever again).
Basically, I rejected myself. And it wasn’t until this year that I finally discovered, or re-discovered, who that person is and how vitally important it is for me to know her. In order to deny who I was I had to deny almost every feeling I had. The negative feelings grew into a massive ball of anxiety that I have carried with me for the last 17 years. And when you get so out of touch with yourself, you lose the ability to fully feel anything positive.
As part of my meditation practice, I have made a point of having encounters with those deeply buried emotions. There is a heck of a lot of grief in there, as well as anger and frustration. I don’t think about them. I don’t analyze. I just feel, and when I do, there is a release of energy that happens. I believe the release makes space for good feelings to grow in me: love, kindness, compassion. And believe me they have.
Another part of my meditation practice is trying to cultivate those positive feelings, for myself especially. It is stunning, the amount of self-hatred and shame we can carry around.
I’m also learning how to love and care for others, and the sheer happiness that it brings. I actually get a “high” when I do loving kindness meditation. No joke. The way I practice is to say:
May you be well.
May you be at peace.
May you be filled with loving kindness.
May you know the love of your own heart.
I make a point now of giving “secret” blessings to friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances, children, dogs, pretty much anybody, because it makes me feel so good.
And you wouldn’t believe the effect it has. It’s not that they know I’m silently wishing them well. But somehow they sense that they are safe with me, that it’s okay to smile, to say hi, to open themselves a little.
A new friend told me that she likes being around me because I have such a calming presence. She said it’s like an aura. This was the best compliment I’ve ever received. It is also a good indication of how far I’ve come this year.
Don’t get me wrong, discovering you like women, after all this time, is a downright scary thing. And making peace with myself, after all this time, hasn’t been easy. It takes a whole lot of love and patience. But I’m learning. And most importantly, I’m finally happy again. I feel so good some days I want to go singing and skipping down the street. Sometimes I do, though never both at once.
There are words I didn’t understand the meaning of until now. I had no idea what it meant to “swoon” over someone. I didn’t really understand what “joyous” meant. Now I can tell you, with confidence, that I get it, and I am extraordinarily thankful.
It has nothing to do with being in love with a girl (I’m not). It has nothing to do with loving my job (trust me). It has everything to do with simply accepting myself (and others) as I am. And what a beautiful thing that has been.
“Because when we find ourselves believing that killing a man makes us more of a man, but loving a man makes us less of a man, it’s probably time to reexamine our criteria for manhood.”—Jay Smooth, founder of New York City’s longest-running hip hop radio program, WBAI’s Underground Railroad and video blogger. (via spunkywarcannon)
“Sandy” had a common experience: She is a 35 year-old transgender woman from Mexico who arrived in the United States in her twenties. In her hometown, she had been ridiculed for her gender identity, and she was beaten and severely bullied most of her life. Like many of her peers, Sandy dreamed of a life where she would be safe and accepted, and she looked for that life in New York City. Once she was in New York, Sandy suffered an abusive arrest for prostitution and sought our help. As she talked about her immigration experience, it became clear she was a survivor of human trafficking. In Mexico, she had been unsure about how she could move to the United States with little money and no family support. Ultimately, she was approached by an older man, seduced, and brought to New York City, supposedly, to be his girlfriend. But once they were in New York, he quickly used violence and threats to force her into prostitution, and he took the money she earned. She escaped after a year of this sustained abuse. As is typical for many trafficked persons, Sandy was reluctant to tell us her story, as she was convinced we would not believe her… Lack of social power and political voice make immigrant transwomen of color vulnerable to police violence in a city where police violence is rampant. Transwomen sex workers, and transwomen incorrectly profiled as sex workers, have likely been improperly arrested at some point in their lives. In this context, there is no opportunity for law enforcement and victim to have a discussion about her life. There is no common ground or trust. Even though the police are supposed to come to the aid of crime victims, these victims are rendered so invisible by bias and discrimination that they have no chance of being identified.”—Human Trafficking of Immigrant Transgender Women: Hidden in the Shadows (via thetart)
Wow. Check out this letter written last year by six-year-old Ian Rosenberg-Scholl to Minnesota State Senator Warren Limmer, who introduced the marriage discrimination amendment that’s being put before that state’s voters this November. Ian wrote this letter after he found out that Sen. Limmer…