Good Queer News: Symbols of Solidarity

Safety Pin Solidarity

I’m not really good at ranting. It just isn’t me. Very seldom do I actually get mad, and when I do, the last thing I am capable of doing is focusing that anger into anything coherent. Usually, when things bother me that I could rant about, I usually just feel sad. But while rants might not be my thing, there is something that I can do: spread happy news.

Immediately following the last Presidential election on November 8, 2016, I felt like completely crushed. In the process of trying to feel better — to do something more than I was already doing — I wore a safety pin. Despite thinking that demonstrating solidarity with others was a good idea, I didn’t wear the safety pin too long. Everywhere I turned I read articles about how wearing a safety pin was an insult.

After a few days, I quietly removed the safety pin from my shirt and tried not to cry. It seemed like even trying to feel solidarity with other people that were suffering was anathema.

While showing solidarity with other people that are suffering isn’t really anathema, too many people seemed to think that by wearing a safety pin to show solidarity, the person wearing the safety pin was trying to absolve themselves from actually having to do anything. That wasn’t the way that I looked at it. The way I viewed wearing a safety pin was that the person was actually doing something even more than they were already doing. And since so many people were doing such wonderful things over the last eight years, doing something more was going above and beyond the call of duty, so to speak.

It might actually be that there is no easy way to show solidarity with people that are suffering, but there are enough people that are fed up with the seeing others suffer that they are getting creative in showing their support.

Solidarity In Speech

On November 26, 2016, The New York Times posted an opinion piece by R. Derek Black that should warm the heart of anyone that is looking for allies.

Mr. Black was born into a “prominent white nationalist family” that included David Duke as his godfather and the founder of Stormfront as a father. Despite being socialized into such extreme white nationalism, Mr. Black overcame his background to stand by the people that he once stood against.

… For me, the conversations that led me to change my views started because I couldn’t understand why anyone would fear me. I thought I was only doing what was right and defending those I loved.

I think the “Hamilton” cast modeled well one way to make that same connection when they appealed to Vice President-elect Mike Pence from the stage: “We, sir — we — are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us.” …

The entire article is worth reading if you want to feel the power of what is possible.

But there is more to solidarity than a one-time enemy turning into an ally.

Solidarity in Symbols

In Ann Arbor, Michigan, a woman had been flying a rainbow American flag. Originally, it hadn’t brought much attention. That all changed after the previous election when she was left a note about someone’s disappointment with the flag she was flying.

In truth, after reading the original note, I can understand the point of view of the writer. While he didn’t seem to have any intention of being divisive, Ms Pearlman, who has a daughter that is lesbian, was hurt. Her neighbors, after finding out about the note, showed their solidarity with symbols.

Her neighbours reacted swiftly to the incident – with dozens of people also buying rainbow flags and flying them in solidarity.

Ms Pearlman continued: “How did my wonderful, loving neighbors respond? They built a wall of flags.

“As of today there are 20 flags flying and more are to come. Love will always trump hate.”

In this instance, you might be telling yourself that there was no need for a show of solidarity. After all, it is possible to argue that the man didn’t mean any harm with his note. He might have just been insensitive to the pain he caused. Even if that is true, there are enough people out there that are trying to hurt others that any show of solidarity should be welcome.

Solidarity in Lights

A woman that left the Mormon church was visited by another woman that still belonged to the church. The visiting woman didn’t realize that they weren’t of a similar mind on the question of LGBTQ issues. The story describes how the visitor proceeded to say things like this:

“Anyway, thinking that we were allies, she went on to tell us how horrified she was when her son got turned down for prom because the girl was already planning on going with her girlfriend.”

The neighbour’s anti-LGBT views just got more open as she told the ex-Mormon couple how they disagreed with the local school raising awareness about transgender issues.

“That, coupled with the school’s justification for letting lesbians attend the prom together and doing an assembly that taught kids the facts about being transgender were just too much for her,” Mrs Rosey Crotch writes.

“She said that she had to move away because she was so sick of the gays and transgenders and everyone making their ‘lifestyle’ okay.”

Her solution to show the visitor, and anyone else that was interested, where she stood on the issue of LGBTQ equality was to create a display with 10,000 rainbow colored Christmas lights.

Rainbow Colored Christmas Lights

So yes, symbols of solidarity are important. While I might have to find another way to show solidarity with those that are suffering, I will continue to praise anyone that takes a step — no matter how large or small — to show solidarity with those that need their support.

Michelle Rodriguez and Walter Hill know nothing of trans people

Straight (no pun intended) from the “Holy Shit!” department comes a comment from one of the stars of the movie (re)Assignment. Michelle Rodriguez, one of the stars of the movie, stated the following in an article on The Daily Mail (yeah, I know… The Daily Mail?)

Rodriguez, who starred in the ‘Fast and the Furious’ series, took issue with criticism, asking: ‘Are they mad that somebody decided to take their branded transgender operation and use it on heterosexual people?’

She also noted the film was a ‘B-movie noir genre comic book take on something’ and that she herself was part of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.

So, “She, herself, was part of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community”? That can only serve the purpose of putting a point on the fact that not every member of the LGBT has a clue.

I find it difficult to believe that she has given the transgender community any thought at all other than to assume that trans women must, in fact, be gay men. While that is the trope that is put out there by the Religious Right and some of the more clueless politicians, no one in the trans community would describe themselves in this way for the simple reason trans women are not gay men, and trans men are not gay women.

Continue reading Michelle Rodriguez and Walter Hill know nothing of trans people

A pro-lgbtq Republican party?

I’m just catching up on the news from the final night of the Republican National Convention. As a liberal, there wasn’t much for me to like, but there was one thing that really stood out to me even if it was overshadowed by other issues: the LGBTQ wasn’t used as a boogeyman.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that the Republican party has turned over a new leaf with respect to the LGBTQ. The Republican platform is still the most anti-LGBTQ platform in Republican history. Donald Trump — while seeming to change opinions over time — last said that he would appoint judges to the Supreme Court of the United States that would overturn the marriage equality ruling.

Despite all that, the founder of PayPal, Peter Thiel, said he was ‘proud to be gay’ from the in a speech at the RNC. This was the first time in history that someone from the LGBTQ actually talked about LGBTQ issues at the RNC.

The Verge also reports:

In his speech pledging support for Donald Trump, Thiel also referred to North Carolina’s controversial transgender bathroom law, asking the audience, “Who cares?”

Further, Donald Trump also made an overature to the LGBTQ in his speech. While it wasn’t about domestic policy, he said that he would defend the LGBTQ from the hostilities from foreign countries. When there was cheering from the floor of the convention, Donald Trump said that, as a Republican, it was good to hear them cheering that point.

Do I believe that the Republican party has turned the corner and is now supporting LGBTQ people? No. But I do hope that it is the first step in the death of the culture war that many Republicans still continue to fight.

Kinky Boots: Just Pee

This is absolutely awesome! Cyndi Lauper has been a hero (heroine?) to me for as long as I have known her music. She became even more of a hero when I learned how much she cared about the LGBT community.

I’ve had a crush on Harvey Fierstein since I saw him in the movie “Independence Day”, and became a true fan of his after I saw him in a documentary talking about how he loved effeminate men. And truthfully, what’s not to love about effeminate men?

And Kinky Boots? Besides being absolutely fabulous, their music is as stunning as they are. Put all of them together in a video for trans rights, and you have a winner.

Norman OK extends helping hand to LGBT Oklahomans

I am proud to say that there is a town in my state that was willing to stand out in this Christian, Republican stronghold and take a stand for the protection of minorities. While protecting people and providing them with equal rights shouldn’t be divisive, there are still way too many people in Oklahoma that are willing to do everything in their power to make life as torturous as possible for the people that they don’t like.

And one of the groups of people that they don’t like are members of the LGBT community.

The city council in Norman, Oklahoma has taken a stand to provide the members of the LGBT community with the protections that are still desperately needed in many parts of Oklahoma.

One of our local TV stations, News 9, reported the following:

Norman is now the first city in the state to pass inclusive protections for the LGBT community.

Supporters called Tuesday’s vote historic.

“It should have been done a long time ago,” said Troy Stevenson, Freedom Oklahoma director.

They’re inclusive protections that are intended to match those already in place for minority communities.

Stevenson said this has been an ongoing fight for years.

“This is actually one of the most important fights that’s going on in the state of Oklahoma,” Stevenson said.

Norman, Oklahoma is one of the college towns in Oklahoma. Being a college town, there is naturally a more diverse and well educated population that makes it easier to pass legislation for minorities than in many of the other municipalities around the state. But even these little progressive havens around the state can demonstrate the need for such legislation.

It was in the same city in 2010 that the dialog was so toxic that it contributed to the suicide of a young gay man.

Here is a reminder of that time frame as reported by Queerty. I wouldn’t recommend following the link unless you are ready to experience flashbacks to the times when people were more prepared to wear their hate on their sleeves.

Zach Harrington, a 19-year-old in Norman, Oklahoma, attended a City Council meeting Sept. 28 where council members were asked to simply recognize October at LGBT History Month in the city. In a 7-1 vote, the council approved the resolution — but not before three hours of incensed debate back and forth between members of the public during an open comment period. It was this “toxic” exchange among neighbors, railing against the recognition of queers’ contributions to society, that led Zach to take his own life a week later, his family says.

 Since Norman is the first town in Oklahoma to approve protections for the LGBT community, we still have an enormously long way to go to reach equality. Still, it is nice to see that we are making progress even in the reddest of states.

OKLAHOMA: House Advances Bill To Fire Officials Who Issue Marriage Licenses

Every time someone asks me about something specific that Oklahoma is doing that is bigoted, I can never think of an example. Well, here is a good one for the ages.