Sunday, November 23, 2008
We started out at The Fountain on the corner of Vernon and Crenshaw, where only a few years ago you wouldn't quite visit for a picnic. I grew up going to the mall in the area, changing buses and even walking the various stretches of Crenshaw. When I came out I did stop visiting as regularly, preferring to come only for the odd event or filming at Lucy Florence. When I want to kick it, I tend to gravitate more southbay or west hollywood -- places where you know you're safe if you mention gay things, where you could kiss a girl and get strange looks vs. getting it in the head with a bottle. Since I grew up in a conservative, country small town, I'm familiar with the anonymous bottle or rock that comes flying from who?
You get used to these things, or you only move within circles where they are not.
To freely rally and protest against H8 in spots I'd fear'd being out as a kid was beyond liberating AND only possible because we are now MORE than ever before. Determination in our steps and screams no longer strangled made our hearts soar. Hear the toddlers in strollers chanting along, "Eqwal Rights!" and see teens ignore the verbal attacks on their parents, brushing hate off with ingrained nonchalance. Are we real to you yet? Are we re-emerging as missing pieces a whole soul? YES, YES, YES!
Even when we wound down and the homophobes crawled out of their hate pits toward us
(almost see their shredded souls dragging behind?)
They cursed us and our kids, they called their "homies" and said people were coming for us. One attacked my shirt especially, how dare I be wearing a Che shirt to a gay rally. How dare we be here at that fountain, why not give our children a chance to live without sin?. All this they tossed at us, with a bottle in their hand. The police arrived and dragged the brothers to the ground, and all the queers bristled at the police while sighing just a bit in relief. As one organizer told me, I never want a Black man handcuffed because of me. And I could understand, I get followed and profiled like everyone else (certainly less so than the male identified). But how can they tell us they'll shoot us, how can they say guns are coming for the gays and get away? Cops drew down when they arrived and dudes became quite fucking contrite, "oh we didn't say anything. just free speech officer, are the handcuffs necessary?"
And I remembered our ancestors who walked before us for different and the same rights. Those who spewed vile hates were not the every day person, they were not the norm but their behavior reflected what society considered "acceptable". A country's heart changed when children were being attacked by dogs, when video and pictures of us fighting insurmountable odds in the south surfaced. Paradigm shifts, and what was inconceivable becomes reality -- with blood, tears, and protesting sweat. I'm young and proud to be an LGBT American, any one want to tell me different?
Check us out on the news tonite, Fox 11 at 10pm (Fox?! Tricia, I'm Faith.)
My video of Rev. Freda's Speech:
Saturday, November 22, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 21, 2008
Official Statement by leading BLACK LGBT organization on this weekend's political action supporting the repeal of Proposition 8
LOS ANGELES, CA – Ron Buckmire, Board President of the Barbara Jordan/ Bayard Rustin Coalition, released the following statement regarding the Black GLBT March and Protest planned for Leimert Park on the morning of Sunday, November 23, 2008.
"African-American Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Americans have something unique to add to the multiple activities attempting to repeal Proposition 8. The Jordan/Rustin Coalition supports, endorses and will participate in any and all peaceful and lawful actions involving our own communities which support this goal. We are excited to announce our participation in the community grassroots organized rally for LGBT rights this Sunday at 11am in Leimert Park (corner of Vernon and Crenshaw).
"The event is organized by 'Love at Work – The Exchange' and Reverend Freda Lanoix. Starting at 11:30am on Sunday, Black LGBT people will march in solidarity in a predominantly African American neighborhood to peacefully protest the passage of Proposition 8. We call on all fair-minded Black people to join us!
"As we await the California Supreme Court's decision on the legal status of same-sex marriages entered into between June 17 and November 4, the Jordan/Rustin Coalition will continue to work in the many communities we are part of to engage in discussion about equal rights for all LGBT Californians. We encourage our many allies in the LGBT and African American communities to join us in grassroots activism in hopes of change."
ABOUT the Barbara Jordan / Bayard Rustin Coalition
The mission of the Barbara Jordan / Bayard Rustin Coalition (or Jordan Rustin Coalition) is to empower Black same-gender loving, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals and families in Greater Los Angeles, to promote equal marriage rights and to advocate for fair treatment of everyone without regard to race, sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
Ron Buckmire, Board President of the Jordan/Rustin Coalition is available for interviews by calling his cell phone, 323-314-2949 or email at email@example.com
So, now that I have been schooled in the art of the two-and-three-ball dribble by a 5-year-old, I feel like I need to work on my D, because I don't know when the next pre-school kid will come to the park, throw the rock in my face and say, "Let's do this." - Rob Benson, Yahoo Sports
Friday, November 14, 2008
Feel the impact this Saturday as well, LA City Hall @ 10am!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
On Saturday, the Silverlake protest went well, peaceful and tons of folks. Lots of chances to dispel the myth of black lgbt folks being forever invisible. I was so proud of the many POC queers out in full force, and uber proud of the mainstream lgbt love for us. Sure, there was a sign or two, "Gay is the new Black" being one of them, but the Black Revolutionary Committee made their own signs too: "Gay is not the new Black, Black Gay is!" UCLA's Queer Alliance, La Familia and BlaQue joined us and we're able to do a couple chants of our own, "Colored, Queer!" and "Si, Se Pueda"(Yes, We Can) which was cool. It's hard as hell to be out there sometimes, but we gotta do it. Most of the time when I'm marching in these things my signs are pointed in as well as out, because racism and ignorance within the mainstream LGBT community absolutely exists.
It's been an amazing wake up call for the larger LGBT movement when it comes to the Black community. I've been telling my non Black LGBT friends for years, don't get it twisted, just because someone likes you as their hair dresser or finger snaps along with you don't mean shit. After years of delivering homophobia workshops to the black community, protesting injustice from within and getting royally screwed by mainstream LGBT groups -- I kinda hung up my spurs and focused more efforts on my other margin, bisexuality. But hearing the words of that young woman in West Hollywood, "Is this a Latino or Gay Rights Rally?", boy it spurned me back into BlaQue action. I'm so sick and tired of being sick and tired though, aren't you?
People like Wilson Cruz keep me going. Actor extraordinare, you may remember him best from "My So Called Life", he's out in the streets at every protest flyering!
I've read Jasmyne Cannick's piece for the LA Times, and I had the opportunity to speak with her re: a bit of it and general protests. She feels like so many BlaQue folk, we need to focus on our own community issues. I can respect that, and lord knows Black folks are in need of activists who are dedicated to the issues that disproportionally affect us due to color. HOWEVER, I STRONGLY FEEL THERE NEEDS TO BE A BLACK LGBT VOICE WITHIN THE LARGER SAME SEX MARRIAGE BATTLE. And so I plan on continuing to speak. I will continue to form coalitions and take names, cells and emails from LGBT Black folks who are ready and willing to be out and proud for this 'cause. We must continue to get our faces in front of the leadership and the press, so we can show the world what the rainbow really looks like.
I got to talk a little bit about that on KPCC's Talk Radio, download the program here. If you're a member of the press looking to speak with LGBT African Americans who are actively part of the movement, contact firstname.lastname@example.org! I've got several folks who're ready and willing to be heard, and who want to know more folks of the same ilk. We plan on having a kickback BBQ in the next month or two, hang out and organize and just be. Black, Queer, and still here.
Bi's love Linds! I once saw Lindsey Lohan on the UCLA campus, she was being driven in from Hilgard and at the stop sign she tried to drink some water and instead the bottle splashed cold water all down her front. She laughed all the way down the hill and it was pretty much adorable. I liked her in Parent Trap, Freaky Friday and Mean Girls. I was super impressed with her dancing, singing and hosting skills at the VMA's awhile back. And then she slipped into the celeb downward spiral slip stream...once you get caught as a clickable, it's hard for the tabs to let you go. Been real encouraged by her pulling ass up by the bra straps all the while combating her fake ass dad, girl I can understand that!
Asked if she considers herself bisexual, Lohan, 22, says, "Maybe. Yeah."
A lesbian? "No," Lohan says.
"I don't want to classify myself," she explains. "First of all, you never know what's going to happen — tomorrow, in a month, a year from now, five years from now.- Us Mag
Lindsey and her old friend Courtney Semel, who now dates Tila Tequila. I think Semel has the cutest ears ever, lil elfin bits. Neways, back to other things.
Friday, November 07, 2008
Thursday, November 06, 2008
I stayed out of the fight for the most part this time. Just moved back to LA, and after years of on campus and off LGBT activism I'd been focusing on increasing awareness of the bisexual politic. Most of the black lgbt activists I know were all over the Obama campaign, devoting their time and resources there. Only a few were contacted by EQCA, No on 8, and other marriage rights orgs. I even spoke with a black lesbian couple last night that felt unwelcome in EQCA headquarters. This was after the long rally ended and we'd heard ever so much about people of color fighting against civil rights for the LGBT community. Such arguments never sits right with me unless there's a wide representation of people of color around chiming in. As I listened to the speeches last night my passion grew, peaking during a LGBT Latino speech when one part of a White female couple behind me remarked, "Is this a Latino rally or Gay Rights?" She was obviously LGBT with rainbow accoutrement, holding on to her partner. And I turned back and said, "Haha, Racist". And she groaned and said, "Please not tonight, not tonight." And I said "There are people of color who are queer, and I was offended by your comment" before turning back to hear the rest. When it was all over, I went with the BlaQue couple who had felt unwelcome in No on 8 campaign headquarters to speak with Lorri Jean of the Gay and Lesbian Center. They shared with Lorri how they had felt and I told her, "Next time I will be on that stage with you. We need Black people up there saying the words too". I went off into the crowd collecting emails from all the BlaQues I saw and we plan on starting a political group with the very purpose of combating hatred of queers in the Black community and racism in the LGBT community. You can hear my thoughts on a bit of that this Saturday between Noon and 1pm on 89.3, KPCC as I did a little interview last night.
This conversation of Blacks in particular facing racism with the mainstream "gay" rights movement has been a discussion point for a long time and plenty of us were sick of being asked why we're shopping in the gay porn store or bookstore. Plenty of us were sick of being unsupported by mainstream orgs like GLAAD (when I was the subject of a debate on homophobia that happened to be featured on Oprah, GLAAD helped shove under rug...producer was getting an Image award the next week so...). Plenty of us were sick of fighting the fight within our churches and communities, with little to no LGBT org support. And I think a lot of us Black LGBT activists sat it out or worked only on the Obama campaign.
There were little to nada ads spent on the African American community by the No on 8 campaign, even with a known surge of first time liberal Black voters in CA, there wasn't much effort. That was a factor in this loss. Is it racist to say more Blacks are homophobic than Whites because of the Christian Industrial Complex as I like to call it? I used really battle that idea, saying proportionally homophobia is the same. However as education about LGBT civil rights grows in the mainstream, people of color organizations especially African Americans are being left behind. Extremely unfortunate as Blacks have the 2nd longest minority history in this country, and LGBT African Americans have been out and proud for more than a hundred years. Many non culturally identified LGBT folk read James Baldwin first, many queer women hold Alice Walker and other out Black women like Angela Davis close to their hearts. Before Lorri Jean and others went after people of color with abandon, I wanted her to recognize why POC LGBT don't show up all time. Lorri Jean said herself, "We have a lot of educating to do within our own community". Had that been a factor in the strategy, the percents indicate 8 would not have passed.
I grew up with a missionary mom in the Pentecostal Church of God In Christ, and part of my journey to self acceptance was a reconciliation of my faith with my sexual orientation. I did a lot of workshops over the years, but I feel slam poetry has more impact so I turned mine into a poem. It is specifically for the Black community, but feel free to share it with anyone you like.
Once was a dude named Saul, in the Bible look him up under Paul. Raised Jew, he made it his business to pursue Christians right after Christ died and left for the sky, he even stood by and watched Stephen, the first "official" martyr die.
But one day on the way to Damascus came a light and the Lord, and he fell to his knees.
Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?!!!
I am not a threat to the Jews, I fulfill all you hold true.
And Saul was struck blind, yet Paul's sight was restored!
"... I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord's mercy has been found trustworthy."
Jotted down by the apostle who wrote to Rome and told them to stop sleeping with their own sons, it's a favorite moment of mine, a time tested version of ultimate conversion, a point I hope will illuminate a true existence of love, finding a way to stop the hate.
For who can say that gay people today are not by the Lord's mercy, trustworthy?
Police profiling, infighting, lack of community kindness, straight people's license to kill, corporate ill will, crystal meth, a new black death…Many of us have LOVED without even picking up the phone to call home. We have wished we would be asked to tell and survived.
Now, before you get up from your seats and wander away, take a second to consider what change means today, we have internet, millions of books and time to look—seen past sinners become saints: divorcees, Joan of Arc, haters and interracial daters.
Didn't know that's an abomination to? According to the Bible only 7 or 8 exist...Interracial marriage was one tossed into the mix, women wearing gold jewelry or men's clothing, check. And now we come to… gay sex.
THAT sex is SO NASTY you say...funny, last time I checked isn't all sex that way? Wasn't your first time a mess of wetness, slapping sounds a mix of pleasure and pain? Isn't all sex the same? Love IS TOO and here we find the righteous and true course. When one loves but cannot say, hey that's my wife after 30 years and many tears... something's gone horribly wrong, hear?!!! To not be able to say goodbye before you die? To never feel safe and comfortable in school, to be a lil black boy who's breaking all the rules?
I'm telling you, you know who we are. You seen us as kids, see the parents desperately trying to put back the lid, boys a lil too "sweet" or girls too sour...now you see us behind makeup counters shouting "girl power", we're the women on softball teams with 10 up, the drag kings holding court, we've also got soldiers in every fort! Some of us even become actors, but please believe that being closeted and queer is totally a factor.
This Love exists.
The past knows this truth, who knows how well, as Brother Huey of the Black Panther Party so eloquently put it, "Quite the contrary, perhaps a homosexual could be the most, revolutionary". They are now never alone as they wait for you: Bayard Rustin who led the March for the Dream with Martin Luther King, Langston Hughes still perched on a crystal stair waiting for YOU to know what it's like to be really disappeared. James Baldwin, up in Giovanni's room listening to Billie sang bi blues...they turn to tell you this love has always existed.
All the way back to African times, where there were women warriors and boy wives before Christ came and was battered into our brains. Don't get me twisted, I'm not dissing Christ or saying we should give 'em up. I'm just wondering why no one is listening to the son of god crying out to us from our communion cup?
Love one another! Love one another! Love one another!
It's never been a riddle, ain't no missin jot or tittle.
He said, "I am the vine and you are the branches", so stop leaving your fruit on the tree!
So sad, that for some black folk an invisible closet has instead been key. And I'm finally here on the other side, finding it locked, kicking it down, and letting you have it; opening your ears to the tragic w\ word magic.
So speak to your pastors and wonder aloud…ask yourself what to do now. Do it before your son or daughter starts showing the trait and before "your best friend" asks for a date. We can all be delivered if you vote to turn the tide against hate, your voice has much weight so use it and tell others for we are your sons and mothers, brothers and daughters, baby's mamas, sisters, father's brothers, grandmothers, your baby boys and girls. We are the love that exists.It was by the Lord's Mercy that I was found trustworthy...and hence suffered and suffered, like Paul I was once even beheaded and put back together…all because one day on the way to Damascus came a light and the Lord, and I fell to my knees. I am not a threat to you, I only fulfill all you hold true. I am the love that has always existed.
-- The debates unnerved both candidates. When he was preparing for the Democratic primary debates, Obama was recorded saying, "I don't consider this to be a good format for me, which makes me more cautious. I often find myself trapped by the questions and thinking to myself, 'You know, this is a stupid question, but let me ... answer it.' So when Brian Williams is asking me about what's a personal thing that you've done [that's green], and I say, you know, 'Well, I planted a bunch of trees.' And he says, 'I'm talking about personal.' What I'm thinking in my head is, 'Well, the truth is, Brian, we can't solve global warming because I f---ing changed light bulbs in my house. It's because of something collective'."
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
On ABC's Grey's Anatomy last week, Calliope Torres played by the amazing Sara Ramirez (above) had a bi moment. She had an awesome sexual experience with a woman, and hours later had an awesome sexual experience with a man. The 2nd awesome led to the heartfelt bi moment, oh me oh my I like both and that's weird (but ok).
At least that's what it seemed like. Perhaps I was being super generous in hoping so and biphobia lurks abouts after all. It seems half of the same sex pairing is getting the boot from the show, and GA show runner Shonda Rhimes is defending said boot with:
ONTD! Oh, but you did. Now I'm wondering if Callie sleeping with a man and a woman in 1 day was just the first step in "her journey"...to lesbian. She liked it, and she "liked" it but she's a lesbian character? How much did you just diss the bi community?"Brooke Smith was obviously not fired for playing a lesbian. Clearly it's not an issue as we have a lesbian character on the show – Calliope Torres. Sara Ramirez is an incredible comedic and dramatic actress and we wanted to be able to play up her magic. Unfortunately, we did not find that the magic and chemistry with Brooke's character would sustain in the long run. The impact of the Callie/Erica relationship will be felt and played out in a story for Callie. I believe it belittles the relationship to simply replace Erica with 'another lesbian.' If you'll remember, Cristina mourned the loss of Burke for a full season."-Response to Michael Ausiello, EW
Here's some pointers to avoid ending up on The Bi Bitch List:
1) Recognize real life bisexuals like Angelina Jolie exist. Women can love and be with men, women, then men, then women, then women, then men...you get the picture. Unsettling to est. heterosexist rhetoric AND true. You will meet, know, love and care for people who are emotionally and/or sexually attracted to both sexes. They are not anomalies.
Bisexual families look like this too.
2) Avoid the stereotypes. Yes, "both sides of the fence" jokes can be fun, but for those who have no fence it makes little sense and is an offensive ignorance. Many bisexuals are monogamous, partner up and have kids. Some are more free loving and do not. All are separated from lesbians and gays, since they are "bi" and do not see in mono. All are separated from straights in the very same way. So a bisexual is not a 1/2 gay, or 1/4 straight or some mathematical equation that adds up to 1.
Who Likes Fences Anyways?
3) Check in with bisexual resources and organizations from time to time. Every studio and network flack has the GLAAD bus on call, but bisexuals are plenty sick of being thrown under it. When Transgender characters are written into shows, writers and actors often talk about their learning experiences...'cause they actually met with Transgender folk -- not just their Gay and Lesbian support group.
I hope film and tv writers keep trying to show the other sides of the rainbow. I've not counted them out just yet.