qpoc news

2

Toronto Pride just voted to ban police floats from pride festivities, putting QPOC needs first

  • Pride Toronto voted to ban police from official participation in future pride parades, Vice reports. 
  • The vote to ban police comes only a few months after queer people of color within Black Lives Matter Toronto protested at the 2016 Toronto Pride Parade. 
  • BLM Toronto activists presented a list of eight demands to the parade’s organizers. Among the demands were more support for the organization Black Queer Youth, increased funding for LGBTQ people of color party Blockorama, a commitment to diversity within Pride Toronto’s staff and, most notably, the removal of police floats from the celebration.
  • BLMTO co-founder Alexandria Williams told Vice that the “glorification of police at Pride is just completely irresponsible and disrespectful to a community that has been heavily policed, heavily controlled, experienced an extreme amount of violence by this force.” Read more
youtube

“We can’t claim to be for equality if we show up for marriage and not black lives.” Watch this video. 

In honor of World Book Day, I want to tell you about this book, the best queer novel I’ve ever read. 

It’s called Juliet Takes a Breath, it’s written by my dear friend Gabby, and it’s about a Puerto Rican lesbian from the Bronx who’s figuring out identity, relationships, allyship, family, and everything else that happens all at once when you’re coming out. Juliet is the young queer woman of color protagonist that the YA scene desperately needs. Her voice is fresh, funny, thoughtful and authentic. And her story is the book I wish I’d had when I was 16. 

Gabby has lovingly agreed to make a video with me to talk about Juliet, and I’ll also be doing a giveaway of the book (maybe even signed copies!), so be on the lookout for both of those in the next month. In the meantime, buy the book, follow Gabby on Twitter and Tumblr, and support queer writers of color who are making the world better one book at a time. Happy World Book Day! 

Being bisexual, lesbian, gay, or sexually queer in a heterosexist society means you’ll be subject of heterosexist violence. Being female, feminist, transgender, or genderqueer means you’ll be the subject of sexist, misogynist, or patriarchal violence. Being a person of color means you’ll be the subject of white supremacist violence. Being two or more of those things compounds the violence you experience and the reasons you’re experiencing it. It also makes it more difficult to feel some semblance of safety because you could be targeted for one of those identities in a space that is set up to be safe for people with [an]other one of those identities.
—  H. Sharif “Herukhuti” Williams, PhD, interview with Vox
youtube

Queer poet Danez Smith takes on police brutality, racism, homophobia, violence and so much more in this stunning Brave New Voices performance. 

huffingtonpost.com
Sara Ramirez comes out as bisexual
She opened up about her sexuality while speaking on behalf of homeless LGBT youth.

The bi team has one more member! Sara Ramirez came out as bisexual over the weekend at a summit for the True Colors Fund. Ramirez plays the bisexual character Callie Torres on Grey’s Anatomy. 

“So many of our youth experiencing homelessness are youth whose lives touch on many intersections – whether they be gender identity, gender expression, race, class, sexual orientation, religion, citizenship status,” she said in her speech, which can be viewed in the video above. “Because of the intersections that exist in my own life: woman, multi-racial woman, woman of color, queer, bisexual, Mexican-Irish American, immigrant, and raised by families heavily rooted in Catholicism on both my Mexican and Irish sides, I am deeply invested in projects that allow our youth’s voices to be heard.” […]

“It made sense for me at this time as it was one piece of a larger context I was communicating,” she told HuffPost. “Our most marginalized youth touch on many intersections, and in describing the concept of inter sectionalities, I decided to describe the ones that exist in my own life.”

She went on to note, “The days of pressuring our LGBTQ youth to conform to one homogenized way of presenting LGBTQ are over. We must acknowledge and maintain awareness around their complex narratives.”

Simply wonderful. <3 

There have been numerous debates, articles, columns, movies and documentaries about how the legacy of racism has had a negative effect on so many aspects of African-American community, from our families to the way we interact with each other. It stands to reason that the legacy of racism didn’t leave LGBT people of color unscathed. But information about what LGBT people of color did during those awful times in our history or what effect it has had on us is practically nonexistent.

It is a subject hardly ever mentioned. No one talks about it in the black community and that includes leaders, intellectuals, journalists, authors or any other person with some type of platform.

And this leaves me feeling as if the events of black history, which are supposed to be a part of my heritage, are nothing more than hand-me-downs donated to me out of charity because there are very few, if any, events which are specific to me as an LGBT person of color.

Or at least that’s what I am led to believe by the black community at large.

It’s all part and parcel of being an LGBT person of color. Generally in both the LGBT and African-American communities, LGBT people of color tend to always find ourselves in the background while someone else is doing the talking and planning. Apparently we are only good enough as faces but without voices or opinions regarding strategies or leadership. And our issues are not considered important, but examples of “identity politics” gone too far.

—  The Erasure of ‘Gay’ From Black History & the Black Community Must Stop | Alvin McEwen for the Huffington Post Gay Voices
As a black gay man, owning up to my sexuality and being out with it came with a price tag and one that has discouraged many other people to follow suit. ‘Would I do it again’ is a question many black gay men have asked me. In the face of rejection, depression and loneliness, the answer might not be yes. However, when we take time to see the impact coming out has on the lives of many black LGBT people who unfortunately have limited role models in the media, then we realise that every time a famous LGBT person of colour comes out, a taboo is dead somewhere.

Holy spaces where you thought nobody could hurt you. 

The space of prayer in a prophet’s mosque during Ramadan.

The passenger’s seat in a family car where your daughter sits right behind you. 

A gay club promising you a night of being free.

Holy spaces, human rights and human lives, hunt like game and irreversibly destroyed.

Tune in to the ascending whistle of the kettle and realize it’s an immutable cry.

This is the boiling point. We must fight for what we stand for.

TSER’s Eli Erlick was featured in an LA Times article on California’s new trans* student rights bill: “Transgender students ‘just looking for their place in the world’
It is important to note that the fight for “gay rights” has not been won. While people can marry and there is some public support, queer people, especially queer people of color, are still facing disproportionate amounts of violence, economic inequality, and victimization in schools.

huffingtonpost.com
Senate confirms first black gay judge, second black lesbian judge to federal bench

This week, the Senate made two historic votes, and two black LGBT leaders achieved huge milestones. 

Darrin Gayles, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, is the first openly gay black man confirmed to the federal bench. Staci Yandle, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, is the second black lesbian federal judge in the nation’s history. 

The latest confirmations come as the Senate has been plowing through President Barack Obama’s nominees, and they reflect the diversity that will remain on the federal judiciary long after he is gone.

A White House aide said Obama has appointed more female judges than any other president, breaking the record previously set by President Bill Clinton. He has also appointed more Hispanic judges than any other president, breaking the record previously held by President George W. Bush. Obama has also appointed more Asian-American judges than all presidents combined and has nominated 12 openly gay federal judges. Last month, the Senate confirmed the first-ever Native American female federal judge in the nation’s history.

Yes, yes, yes. Many congratulations to them for the amazing achievements, and to everyone who made this possible. 

In the Black Community and the Black Church, if you’re queer, you’re forced to wear a scarlet letter. People don’t want to hear about it. They’d rather you suppress your sexuality to accommodate their insecurities, self-hate and comfortability. It wasn’t until one day, I realized something: No one is forcing me to do anything. No one is responsible for holding this scarlet letter to my chest, but me. I have the authority to free myself. The same way God gives us the authority to bless ourselves and our neighbors. We have the authority to free ourselves and free our minds, bodies, and spirits of things that are not of him. Hate being included.
—  Black, Gay Christians Do Exist, And It’s Time You Hear Us | Brent Thomas Whiteside for the Huffington Post Queer Voices

I found solace in my friendships with other gay Latinos, men like me who loved their families but who were estranged from them, men who still craved the flavors and music of home — a nostalgia for comforts that managed, if only for a few minutes, to assuage the pain of separation, of distance. But most importantly, perhaps our strongest bond to our homelands was our language. What a relief to communicate in Spanish, perhaps a chance encounter with the slang or lilt or speech of our towns. For many of us, our first tongue. For many of us, the words through which we first expressed love and fear and sadness and joy. And to have those words while inhabiting our queer bodies felt just right.


The club. Let me be clear about something I’ve learned as a gay Latino: No place is entirely safe, no building is a sanctuary. I have encountered violence and prejudice, or at the very least exclusion, in every social space. Like home, like school, the gay club was another complicated network of human interactions. It was not always pretty, it was far from perfect, but it felt necessary because my queerness was necessary, because my body hungered for attention, for the pleasures of movement on the dance floor where I was in close proximity to the other bodies I desired.

—  I Found A Home In Clubs Like Pulse In Cities Like Orlando | Rigoberto González for BuzzFeed
Black and Latino MSM, in facing a risk of HIV infection that’s wildly disproportionate to other populations, are embroiled in a genuine public health emergency. Of course, this won’t come as news to advocates already working on HIV/AIDS among those groups; but it reiterates the need for education, community-specific messaging, and, above all, access to prevention tools in the effort to stem the tide.