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Referring to a Person as “It” is Never O.K. Obviously.

16 Jun

So, something unfortunate happened last week that I have been trying to decide how to write about. One of my coworkers came out of a room with a client wearing a very confused and slightly shocked look on his face. I approached him assuming the client had been unruly or said something upsetting.

“What’s up?” I asked.

“I don’t know what it was.”

“You don’t know what?”

“I don’t know if it was a chick or a dude.”

I stared at him for a long moment at a loss for words.

“You don’t know whether they were a man or a woman?”

“Oh excuse me! They

He responded to me with an irritated tone, as if he had been the one offended by my comment, no matter how much his comment may have offended the person in the room.

The thing is I really like this coworker, he is a progressive thinker in general and a pretty decent guy all around- but it’s hard for me to forget this comment.

I have no idea whether the person in the room was transgendered or gender nonconformist. I have no idea what the correct pronoun would be to address them with because I did not meet or speak to them, but I can’t believe that anyone would think it was acceptable.

I think, at least from my very small worldview, many people are never really taught about appropriate uses of pronouns for people who are not cisgendered. Something that has been made abundantly clear with the shoddy reporting on R.Kelly’s child. I don’t think the thought that this person may or may not identify with the gender identity they were prescribed at birth ever even crossed my coworker’s mind. And sometimes I wonder how to go about educating people on this topic, when they don’t really have any desire to learn. It’s frustrating when something that doesn’t seem like a complicated issue to grasp is met with such ambivalence.

I understand we all have different backgrounds, education, and familiarity with transgendered people and issues, I myself don’t feel especially educated enough to even write about the topic in any great depth, but I would expect any lay person to understand that no one enjoys being referred to as an it.

I tried to use this incident as a teaching moment as best I could without appearing superior, which I feel I sometimes fail at. The thing is I was offended by his remark, which made it difficult to attempt to explain gender pronouns in a levelheaded manner. I did my best.

Thoughts?

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New Girl Journal

16 Jun

I’ve always been a proponent of sexual fluidity. I’ve never believed in a binary of whom we are attracted to. Falling in love, or lust, are things I’ve considered to be a spectrum of greys rather than a black and white. So for me and for those close to me it was no big surprise when I started being drawn more and more to women.

I won’t lie, it was something I dealt with alone in my own mind for a very long time before I began to open up about, or act on my own feelings. I was unsure if what I felt was a genuine or a fleeting experience. That girl’s eyes are gorgeous, when she touched my hand my heart sped up, that woman across the bar staring at me is making me blush all over

I just recently came out to my friends, family, and coworkers in the past few months and it has been a nerve-wracking, exciting, exhilarating time for me. I would say three-quarters of the time I am so unsure of myself and nervous I want to vomit, but I also feel more myself, more comfortable than I have felt in a very long time.

So this will be a short post, an introductory journal post on a new chapter in my life. In the next few months I am leaving New Orleans, which saddens me beyond belief, but I am excited for the adventures that lie ahead. And along with my regular (OK VERY IRREGULAR) blog posts I would like to keep a quasi journal of my first year as an out and open bisexual woman. It is such an intense time in my life. I feel like I am back in the kiddy pool of dating and sex, splashing around awkwardly, at a time when most of my peers have swimming smoothly. But honestly, there is nowhere else I’d rather be.

Wanting to share all of this with you all is more than terrifying, but I want to do it anyway. There isn’t really much more of a reason than that.

Here’s to a possibly very embarrassing year of blogging!

Forum for Equality Mardi Gras Masquerade

22 Jan

Thursday, January 23, 6pm – 9pm

2437 Jefferson Avenue, New Orleans, LA, United States Map

Hosted by Craig Magleby. Come join Forum for Equality for a fun night of masks, music and libations! Suggested membership donation $40 Drinks and light refreshments will be served! Come one, come all!

Facebook event info

New Orleans Free School Event: Intro to Harm Reduction

18 Jan

Friday, January 24: 2:30pm – 4:30pm

LGBT Community Center @ 2114 Decatur Street

Harm Reduction is a perspective and a set of practical approaches to reduce the negative consequences of drug use, incorporating a spectrum of strategies from safer use to abstinence. In this course, we will demonstrate some of the principles of Harm Reduction. Drop-ins welcome. Contact: Nora & Michelle nolaharmreduction@gmail.com or call 504-535-4766

https://www.google.com/calendar/render?eid=aTF0Ymc0ZThqcnNsMWNiOWxoZDIwZ2YxaGtfMjAxNDAxMjRUMjAzMDAwWiBub2xhZnJlZXNjaG9vbG5ldHdvcmtAbQ&ctz=America/Chicago&pli=1&sf=true&output=xml

Common Sense Immigration Reform to Include LGBT Couples

29 Jan

Today Obama called for “common sense” immigration reform to help immigrants “get on the right side of the law”. Ok well duh.

Before President Obama’s immigration reform speech, which he gave today in Las Vegas, BuzzFeed broke a story reporting that Obama would include same-sex couples in his immigration reform proposal.

As it is now, even a legally married same-sex partner under state law is unable to confer citizenship for their foreign-born spouse. In the same situation a heterosexual person married to a foreign born spouse would be able to receive a green card for that spouse. This pretty much leaves same-sex couples with the choice between separating or moving to another country.

While Obama did not specifically call for equal rights for same-sex couples in his speech today for immigration reform, the Write House did release a set of proposals that urges lawmakers to guarantee same-sex the same privileges granted to heterosexual couples.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/01/29/read-president-obamas-immigration-proposal/

Under the heading Streamlining Legal Immigration, and the bullet Keep Families Together the proposal states-

“It also treats same-sex families as families by giving U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents the ability to seek a visa on the basis of a permanent relationship with a same-sex partner.”

The Senate framework laid out by a bipartisan group of eight senators was unveiled Monday, and same-sex couples were not included. Additionally, the federal defense of Marriage Act, (DOMA) defining marriage as being between one man and one woman, is still in place. And while the Supreme Court is to rule on the legality of DOMA this year, it may not be overturned.

Even so according to Steve Rall a spokesman for Immigration Equality a group that supports immigration equality for LGBT families said this, “We’re really hoping the Supreme Court strikes down DOMA in June, but if it doesn’t happen, immigration reform is a critical safety net for lesbian and gay couple, because if DOMA does not get struck down, they would be vulnerable to separation.”

Even if an immigration proposal including federal recognition of same-sex couples fails, this set of proposals by the president is a great way to begin a conversation about gay rights. It may help work to shift public opinion towards a more positive one. Beginning with his inclusion of the LGBT community in his inaugural address, Obama has made it clear where he stands on the issue of same-sex rights.  It’s a bold move in the right direction that could potentially change the lives of thousands of American immigrants.

President Obama- “If Congress in unable to move forward in a timely fashion, I will send them a bill based on my proposal and insist they vote on it right away.”

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