Archives for category: LGBTQ
A queer family at dinner, holding hands during grace.  There are three children and two women, a couple.  One appears white, and the rest black.

Photo Credit: NY Times

An article yesterday in the New York Times reveals recent census data that shows that gay families raising children in teh U.S. are more common in the south, and that Black and Latin@ gay couples are more likely to be raising children:

The pattern, identified by Mr. Gates, is also notable because the families in this region defy the stereotype of a mainstream gay America that is white, affluent, urban and living in the Northeast or on the West Coast.

“We’re starting to see that the gay community is very diverse,” said Bob Witeck, chief executive of Witeck-Combs Communications, which helped market the census to gay people. “We’re not all rich white guys.”

Black or Latino gay couples are twice as likely as whites to be raising children, according to Mr. Gates, who used data from a Census Bureau sampling known as the American Community Survey. They are also more likely than their white counterparts to be struggling economically.

Some of this we have known for a long time – that queer people of color struggle economically far more than white queers, that queer people struggle economically more than straight people, that queer women of color are raising kids far more than gay white guys – but it is nonetheless refreshing to see it getting this kind of exposure.  LGBTQ people are thought of in the collective imagination as a group of wealthy, educated white people, and because almost no data collection captures the rest of us, social programs that address our needs are a hard sell.

What really pleases me about the data and this article, though, is the way that it shatters assumptions of where gay people are geographically.  In fact, we are everywhere, and I am ready to be done with antiquated ideas of New York and San Francisco being the only good places to be gay.   I am ready to start centering the experiences of our southern queers, our rural queers, our poor queers, our immigrant queers, our queer people of color; that people in these communities do have particular struggles, but that we also resist, and live vibrant, rich lives.

I live in New York City, and I always recoil a little when a fellow New Yorker talks about the south, the midwest, or rural areas as if they were filled with ignorant, homophobic masses.  This class-tinged insult – because let’s be clear, much of this is as much about class as it is about geography – is sadly common, and I’m ready to be done with it.

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A woman at a rally holds a sign that says "Support Higher Education"

Photo credit: Think Progress

I am somehow less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein’s brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops.

-Stephen Jay Gould

When I woke up on Saturday morning, I started streaming C-Span and made breakfast.  The Senate was talking about immigrants and gay people at the same time, something so unusual that it struck me as amazing – even if they didn’t exactly realize that sometimes immigrants are gay, that sometimes gay people are immigrants.

As I ate I watched  the Senate effectively repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and kill the DREAM Act; and I was crushed.  I know DREAM wasn’t perfect – I am not a fan of the military, and I know that recruiters must have been salivating at the thought of newly-available low-income people of color to send off to die in our greedy wars.  But the Senate’s vote that we, immigrants, are not worthwhile, not equals…just puts a heavy weight on my chest.  And sure, it’s good that DADT isn’t around anymore, but making a totally fucked up institution slightly less so doesn’t quite feel like that much of a victory for me.  It makes me glad my queer friends who love military folk can rest a bit, but even as an indicator of how the country feels about gay people, the repeal of DADT hardly brings any relief for me because  I know that vote is a reflection of a certain kind of “acceptable” gay – not the immigrant queers, the radical homos of color, the queer weirdos who resist assimilation. Not my people.  My heart is heavy for them – for us – and for the young people who have put themselves at risk by being outspoken about being undocumented.

But they are wrong about us.  They are on the wrong side of history.  And after we cry, we pick up the pieces and keep moving.  Forward.  Always.

pilgrims (while in front of native american folks building a wall): "they say they are building a wall because too many of us enter illegally and won't learn their language or assimilate into their culture..."

Thanksgiving’s coming up, and I just wanted to post a couple of things before the “holiday.”

Last year for thanksgiving, my girlfriend put together a pamphlet to share with guests at a dinner we went to that night.  It’s important to remember the implications of the historical event that is celebrated every year – and the huge loss that the people who lived here experienced.  Because she is from upstate New York she put together some info on the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois), the people whose land that was; about their government, about early U.S. feminists being inspired by Haudenosaunee women and culture, and some other interesting bits.  They went over really well at our last thanksgiving, and we’re printing out some more for this year.  It’s just pieced together from sources listed on the back, but I’m putting it up here, if you’d like to print one for your own gatherings.  Even better, find out more about the people who lived on the land you will be on this Thursday, if you don’t know much about it. Read the rest of this entry »

angie zapata with her nephew

Angie Zapata, who was 19 when she was murdered in 2008, with her nephew.

This weekend is Transgender Day of Rememberance y’all, and I highly recommend you head on over to Colorlines to read the piece they have put up about it today.  A snippet:

At least 22 people were killed in 2009 because of their perceived sexual orientation, four out of five of whom were people of color. Half of the victims were transgender women and most of the other half, according to the Anti-Violence Project, were men who were either dressed in typically feminine clothes at the time of their murder or were generally gender non-conforming. Not one of these murders made national headlines

Go on over and read the whole thing.  This weekend, think about the trans lives lost, and tell someone you know about this.  So many times the lives and histories of the most marginalized people are glossed over, and it’s important to tell those stories of violence and marginalization.

It’s also important not to paint trans women of color as perennial victims though, so I want to point you to this awesome report by Queers for Economic Justice – A Fabulous Attitude, a participatory action research study by and about low-income queer people surviving, thriving, and makin’ it happen.  So take this weekend to remember those we have lost, remember the survivors, and educate your community.