As I’ve mentioned before, I was raised in a strict Christian household. It was full of love, but it was also a house that didn’t like Ellen DeGeneres or Rosie O'Donnell simply because they were gay. A house that would turn off the tv when the lesbian episodes of Friends were on (while I ran to the tv in my room and pressed “mute” to see it). One that would roll their eyes at the idea of gay marriage. Parents that meant well and just went by what they were taught, wanting us to grow up with something to believe. I remember sobbing in high school, thinking they would absolutely kill me. Things slowly started changing when I was 16+.
My Mom was the one who asked if I was gay. She was my biggest supporter, my secret keeper, and the one I told everything to. My Dad? He went from not wanting me to come out, to protect me, to telling everyone he knows if they ask if I’m “dating any new guys” - because that’s simply who I am. In his words “why hide it? Who cares?”. My Mom came to me about Carol on her own, wanting to watch it to see the love story. When gay marriage was legalized, I called my Mom sobbing. She was sobbing with me, after yelling “YES! THANK GOD” in front of all of her friends.
After being raised to hate who I was, not even allowing it to be an option - to now, my Mother texting me just now saying “Do you have any more Human Rights Campaign stickers like you have on your car? I want one on mine”
Change is a beautiful thing. Believe in it and believe in people.
I am making TV look like the world looks. Women, people of color, LGBTQ people equal WAY more than 50% of the population. Which means it ain’t out of the ordinary. I am making the world of television look NORMAL.
I am NORMALIZING television.
You should get to turn on the TV and see your tribe. And your tribe can be any kind of person, any one you identify with, anyone who feels like you, who feels like home, who feels like truth. You should get to turn on the TV and see your tribe, see your people, someone like you out there, existing. So that you know on your darkest day that when you run (metaphorically or physically RUN), there is somewhere, someone, to run TO. Your tribe is waiting for you.
You are not alone.
Shonda Rhimes at the humanrightscampaign Gala in Los Angeles. You can read her entire speech on “normalizing TV” here.
Since the massacre, congress has voted down common sense gun safety laws… four times. Meanwhile, more than 200 bills targetting the LGBTQ community have been introduced in states this year. It will take all of us to change that.
Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, gave a powerful, almost shocking keynote speech at the Southern Comfort Conference in Atlanta this week. In the speech, he apologized for the organization’s past mistreatment of transgender people.
Griffin also announced HRC’s renewed commitment to trans equality, including a fully inclusive antidiscrimination bill, tackling antitrans violence, pushing for equal bathroom and public accommodations access, and opposing the “womyn-born-womyn” policy at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival.
The link above includes the full speech, but here’s an excerpt:
So I am here today, at Southern Comfort, to deliver a message. I deliver it on behalf of HRC, and I say it here in the hopes that it will eventually be heard by everyone who is willing to hear it.
HRC has done wrong by the transgender community in the past, and I am here to formally apologize.
I am sorry for the times when we stood apart when we should have been standing together.
Even more than that, I am sorry for the times you have been underrepresented or unrepresented by this organization.
What happens to trans people is absolutely central to the LGBT struggle. And as the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, HRC has a responsibility to do that struggle justice, or else we are failing at our fundamental mission.
I came here today in the hopes that we can begin a new chapter together. But I also came here to tell you the truth. We’re an organization that is evolving. We may make mistakes. We may stumble. But what we do promise is to work with you sincerely, diligently, with a grand sense of urgency, listening and learning every step of the way.
And I also want to be clear that I’m not asking you to be the ones to take the first leap of faith. That’s our job. My mom taught me that respect isn’t given, it’s earned.
Last month, the Human Rights Campaign issued a report on bi youth based on results from a survey of over 10,000 LGBT youth between the ages of 13-17. The stats below from this report illustrate the social isolation and exclusion many bi youth experience every day, as well as the need for school- and community-based approaches that better support bi youth.
For #spiritday today, take a stand against bullying. Go purple.
Transgender people and people of color comprise large portions of the bisexual community –– with more than 40 percent of LGBT people of color identifying as bisexual, and about half of transgender people describing their sexual orientation as bisexual or queer (according to various other research studies Bisexual is the largest self-identity for Trans people. Followed by percentages: Queer, Heterosexual/Homosexual, Other, and Asexual) –– making these groups vulnerable to further disparities that occur at the intersections of biphobia, racism and transphobia.