Archive for the ‘Queer Thoughts’ Category

Well us old gals are at it again. Traveling in search of a new home. This should be our last trip. We have contacts who have contacts who are in the know of where to live and where to go. Where to stay away from and where to check out.  Someone told us Vermont is full of cows, well we said even if we don’t drink milk, eat cheese or ice cream we love cows. Bonnie said with giggles, “you should see the place during rush hour, cows here, cows there, cows everywhere.” Yeah okay we will be in the city where we are sure there are very few cows. We’ll see some cows from the train give them a moo moo and be glad we don’t have to clean the barn. We love cows even if they do a job on the ozone. “I have to wonder,” said Bessy Marie, “do cows ever escape the field and come and stand on the train tracks?” I really hope they don’t as the train has no cow catcher in the front of it and if we hit such a creature it would be all over for the cow and cause delays. ( 1 ) Let’s hope not said Olga, lets hope the cows know where they at suppose to be and if they go anywhere else they will not hear the dinner bell. Here is a little song to start us on our way.

I am Cow, by Arrogant Worms.

Rush Hour In Vermont.

 

Lots of these on our trip. No worry the train is only 5 cars long. We were happy we weren’t waiting to cross the road or go on through to the other side of the tracks in Springfield as there was a freight train with almost 75 cars passing by.

The train route

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We know that by the time the train gets to us the bathrooms can be and usually are very smelly. Olga is the smart one in the bunch always brings a mask to wear when she is in the toilet. I just can’t sit there and smell that horrid smell, do my business and not have vomited all over the floor. Then the train folks would have another mess to clean up. So I get one of those masks fold it up keep in in my pocket along with a Lysol wipe or two. No telling what germs lurk around in the train. Germs are a funny thing can’t see them but if they get into you man can they do a job. Both of us gals are too old for that and thank our lucky stars we haven’t contracted anything this past winter on top of what either one of us have all ready. We take our Elderberry syrup each and every day. Getting old, now that is a whole other story. We don’t know too many old folks to sit around with and talk about getting old. I wish we did as then we would say, “Hey we don’t have it all that bad.” At the very least we would know what this getting old is all about and if this or that pain is worth complaining about. Maybe it will go away in a couple of days.

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Gals like us love the train. Having never learned to drive we take it all the time. You know the things you see on the train are much different than what you see in a car whizzing by at 60 miles per hour. These highways leave a lot to be desired as far as good scenery is concerned. Trees, cars, trees, cars. We love the train we get to see the backside of the cities, usually the older part, the graffiti along the tracks is always something to marvel at, an art show caught out of the corner of our eyes and then it retreats into the distant. Last time we were amazed at all of the mullein patches along the tracks. Huge Mullein plants, skunk cabbage, and ferns, ferns, ferns all along the tracks edge and into the woods. Something we very rarely see around these parts are white birch trees. The white lines among the green and brown, lovely. We came home last year in October and what a site to see out the windows of the trees changing colors. Never saw such beauty. What will we see in the spring time wondered Bessy Marie, of course we will be north and hopefully the gardens of tulips near the State Capitol will be in bloom. (more…)

The LGBTQ Movement is an Intersectional Fail

By GLN Co-founder Andy Thayer
Reprinted from CounterPunch

In recent years “intersectionality” has been the biggest buzz word in progressive circles, liberally sprinkled in activist conferences and social media. Yet few movements have been as long on intersectional talk, and little on action, as the LGBTQ movement.

Few events point up this fail more clearly than the impending release from prison this Wednesday of Transgender heroine Chelsea Manning. She is by far the single most important, impactful anti-war activist and whistle-blower that the LGBTQ movement has ever produced.

She exposed war crimes by the U.S. and its allies in Iraq and Afghanistan, including murder and torture, such as the infamous “Collateral Murder” video of two Reuters journalists and ten other civilians. She gave the most expansive documentary evidence ever provided of U.S. support for a host of corrupt and vicious dictators across the Middle East. This information helped fuel the wave of Arab Spring revolts, the largest democracy movement ever seen in the region, knocking out a number of these dictators.

Yet from 2010 arrest through her subsequent arduous trial and most of her incarceration – the longest imprisonment of a whistleblower in U.S. history – none of the big LGBTQ non-profits defended her.

You might think that her 2010 incarceration would have produced a “perfect storm” of intersectional and identity politics support. Here you had a working class person who identified as gay, and later came out as a Trans woman, who exposed some of the most scandalous secrets of the U.S. military and State Department in what was to that date by far the largest document dump in U.S. history.

You would think, for example, that in the heart of the most powerful military empire that the world has ever seen, that an activist who opposed the savaging of other countries by the U.S. military would receive intersectional support from a broad section of the U.S. left. And particularly since this activist identified as LGBTQ, the LGBTQ left would particularly be in her corner.

But no. Years earlier a top official in what is now known as the National LGBTQ Task Force told me that “we will never” again come out against a U.S. war, following the Task Force’s public opposition to President George H. W. Bush’s first war against Iraq. He said that the Task Force’s coming out against that war had “nearly destroyed” the organization, as wealthy donors pulled their donations and threatened to never support it again. And this was with the Task Force, the group that likes to posture itself as the “hippest” of the big LGBTQ non-profits.

But it was not the first, nor certainly the last time that LGBTQ non-profits – rightly derided as “Gay Inc.” – prioritized donors’ dollars to fund their salaries and offices, over alleged adherence to intersectional principles.

For all their talk of “grassroots organizing” – another phrase that’s become hackneyed thru repeated misuse – Gay Inc. organizations are staff-driven at best, and at worst, controlled by self-selected boards chosen for their ability to tap contributions from wealthy donors. In this way the wealthiest LGBTQs control the political agenda of what passes for our movement, a pink version of the class stratification talked about in straight society, but rarely mentioned in the movement.

Some say that the reason for this conservatism is Gay, Inc.’s affection for “heteronormativity” – the aping straight people. This is said to explain their recent emphasis on winning equal marriage rights, for example. But this interpretation doesn’t adequately explain where “heteronormativity” itself comes from, and it also radically mis-reads the chronology of how the marriage issue became center-space in our movement.

For many years almost all of the large organizations of LGBTQs opposed pushing for equal marriage rights (the one exception being the Metropolitan Community Church). As late as at its 2005 “Creating Change” conference, for example, the Task Force had only anti-equal marriage speakers at one of the conference’s two plenaries – with no opportunity for proponents to rebut.

More recently, of course, Gay Inc. mercilessly mined the marriage issue for donations, not unlike how they have done with Transgender issues for the last couple of years. The cynicism in both instances is quite breath-taking, especially when you consider, for example, the Human Rights Campaign’s well-documented betrayal [2] of Transgender employment rights under the tutelage of gay Congressman Barney Frank.

The root of Gay Inc.’s betrayal of Chelsea Manning, and their flip-flops on marriage rights and Trans rights, lie directly in their being joined at the hip with the Democratic Party. The incestuous revolving door between military contractors and ex-military officers is only exceeded by Gay Inc’s revolving door with the Democratic Party.

The pollsters and media “professionals” who gave us the disastrous failed campaign against California’s 2008 anti-gay Proposition 8, for example, were drawn directly from the Party. The current president of Gay Inc’s biggest and wealthiest group, the Human Rights Campaign, Chad Griffin, “got his start in politics volunteering for the Bill Clinton presidential campaign, which led to a position in the White House Press Office at the age of 19. Following his stint in the White House and his graduation from Georgetown University, he led a number of political campaigns advocating for or against various California ballot initiatives, as well as a number of fundraising efforts for political candidates, such as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.”

A big reason why Gay Inc. was initially so loath to take on the equal marriage issue was because their main guy, President Bill Clinton, was directly implicated in the worst measure enacted against it – the Defense of Marriage Act – and the series of failed Democratic presidential candidates who followed him also opposed equal marriage rights. As I’ve written elsewhere,

“After Bill Clinton appeased the right by passing the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (and NAFTA, and Anti-Terrorism & Effective Death Penalty Act, etc, etc), he took out ads on Christian Right radio stations bragging about it, as part of his re-election bid.”

Similarly with Chelsea Manning. Besides exposing George W. Bush’s dirty laundry, she also exposed the Obama White House’s illegal support for the military coup which overthrew the elected government in Honduras, with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton providing crucial support for the murderous regime that took over.

Only when an issue is considered acceptable to leading Democrats – or forced onto their agenda by incessant campaigning by truly grassroots activists – has Gay Inc. switched up its issues list. So only after years of polling numbers showed that marriage was a top issue for LGBTQs – reacting to the religious right beating us up on the issue – did Gay Inc. change its tune and decide the issue was “realistic.”

Left to their own devices, Gay Inc. groveled to the Party’s needs. This is why after the 1998 lynching of Wyoming college student Matthew Shepard and the protests in hundreds of cities that followed it, Gay Inc. quickly moved to divert the movement into meaningless, if not positively reactionary, calls for “hate crimes” legislation, feeding the racist mass incarceration boom then underway.

Gay Inc. was loath to embarrass then-President Clinton for his support for the Defense of Marriage Act two years earlier, or the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” military employment ban three years before that, in enabling the anti-gay hate that killed Shepard.

All of the pro-LGBTQ reforms of the past two decades that were eventually supported by the Democrats have one thing in common:  They cost virtually no money. From hate crimes legislation to marriage rights to Trans people’s access to public restrooms, all cost the profit system little, if any, serious money. (more…)

We went to the Immigrant Rights Rally yesterday in Hartford. We have long been supporters of immigrants. When Obama was deporting, and given the title of Deporter in Chief we stood up and out and demanded an end to his policies. Our comrade Jennicet Gutierrez of Familia Trans Queer Movement spoke out during a White House PRIDE celebration against the deportation of immigrants and the detaining of Trans women in ICE facilities. Ms. Gutierrez was escorted out to cheers from the crowd of Lesbians and Gays. We stood with Jennicet and will continue to stand with her and our other comrades who speak the truth.

The important thing to remember about this action is Ms. Gutierrez was not afraid to speak out and the most important idea is she was not afraid to speak up even to a democrat president in the White House. She knew while elite members of the LGBT community were fawning all over the Deporter in Chief that there was a real problem, a problem that would not be solved by pretending that the problem did not exist and that everything was okay.

We thought of Ms. Gutierrez and many other trans people who not only fight daily for their lives but who at anytime may be rounded up, detained and deported by ICE. Familia Trans Queer Liberation Movement has this to say, Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement (Familia: TQLM) is the only national organization that addresses, organizes, educates, and advocates for the issues most important to our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) and Latino communities. Familia: TQLM is inclusive and serves of all LGBTQ Latinos, Latinas, and gender nonconforming individuals. We also collaborate with non-LGBTQ families and friends who support our vision of a united LGBTQ Latino and Latina community. They stand up and speak out when any injustice comes their way. (more…)

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Friday May 5th we march in remembrance of our black Trans sisters who have been killed this year, we march for LGBTQ+ rights , we march because we are fabulous and here to stay.
#QueerLiberation #TransLiberation #NewHavenPride #BLACKLGBTQLIVESMATTER #F4J

What a bunch of bull some people try to feed us and have been fed by others. When I saw this I had to cringe.

The person who posted this titled it Peaceful Resistance Always. Of course she is a democrat and a supporter of Obama.

So what is the real story of Obama and Peaceful Resistance:

Obama embraced the US drone programme, overseeing more strikes in his first year than Bush carried out during his entire presidency. A total of 563 strikes, largely by drones, targeted Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen during Obama’s two terms, compared to 57 strikes under Bush. Between 384 and 807 civilians were killed in those countries, according to reports logged by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

That figure does not include deaths in active battlefields including Afghanistan – where US air attacks have shot up since Obama withdrew the majority of his troops at the end of 2014. The country has since come under frequent US bombardment, in an unreported war that saw 1,337 weapons dropped last year alone – a 40% rise on 2015.

Afghan civilian casualties have been high, with the United Nations (UN) reporting at least 85 deaths in 2016. The Bureau recorded 65 to 105 civilian deaths during this period. We did not start collecting data on Afghanistan until 2015.

Total US drone and air strikes in 2016
Pakistan Yemen Somalia Afghanistan
Strikes 3 38 14 1071
Total people reported killed 11-12 147-203 204-292 1389-1597
Civilians reported killed 1 0 3-5 65-101

Notes on the data: The Bureau is not logging strikes in active battlefields except Afghanistan; strikes in Syria, Iraq and Libya are not included in this data. To see data for those countries, visit Airwars.org.

 

 

This is what Peaceful Resistance gets you.

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and this bullshit is overwhelming we only need one photo even if there are many more: The Obama administration has insisted that drone strikes are so “exceptionally surgical and precise” that they pluck off terror suspects while not putting “innocent men, women and children in danger”.

and really folks. Did the Nobel committee lose their minds?

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According to St. Pete for Peace here is a run down of peaceful resistance: (more…)

Many thanks to Kai Russo for permission to publish this speech.

Intersecting Oppressions Speech at Trans Rally

Speech at Rally to Support Trans Youth, State Supreme Court, Hartford, CT
1 April 2017

by Kai Russo

Trans and gender nonconforming people are beautiful. We are beautiful because we all have a unique story, a personal identity and a collective struggle. There is not one trans story or one way of trans people look, even though we are still encouraged to ascribe and conform to white, cis norms of beauty in order to be accepted and feel safe in public. Yesterday was trans day of visibility, which is our designated day where we are supposed to celebrate who we are and how far we’ve come – because the other 364 days our problems, our issues and our beings are supposed to be invisible. As trans writer, entertainer and performance artist Alok Vaid-Menon wrote on their facebook page yesterday, “visibility is not the same thing as justice. What has become increasingly evident is that the system is, in fact, more willing to give trans people visibility that it is to give us compensation, resources [and] safety.”

When I was 16, I was one of 75% of trans people who felt unsafe at school. It is estimated that about a third of LGBTQ students will drop out of school due to reasons such as bullying, being denied access to public spaces and bathrooms. Black and Brown LGBTQ youth are constantly being funneled into our broken so-called criminal justice system through the school to prison pipeline. Halfway through my junior year I dropped out of high school because I was unable to cope with the loss of friends and treatment from my peers as I has started to transition. I am privileged to say that I was able to continue my education and I graduated with my Associates degree in January this year. Yes, high school drop-outs can have college degrees.

There has been outrage over the recent executive orders and rightfully so. But do not let us be surprised by what has happened as it is far too predictable. As much as we would like to deny it, exclusion and discrimination, racism and xenophobia, homophobia and transphobia have been built into our society from the beginning. In the past, our country has not been welcoming to immigrants and refugees who do not hail from the West. We would like to believe that we have come farther than we have, that time is able to heal, but do not be fooled by time. Time does not mark change. Time only allows for the same systems of hate to reconstruct themselves. We are the ones who need to be actively fighting against these systems. My favorite professor told me the only good thing to come of this mess is that finally, finally, people are starting to realize that we don’t live in a post-racial society where everyone is equal. Finally more and more people are starting to understand the injustices of our society now that we have a president who sexually assaults women and is supported by the KKK.

When we speak about trans issues, we should not be limiting our conversation to bathrooms. I can tell your from personal experience that trans people are probably more afraid to use the bathroom with cis people that the other way around. It is even harder for trans people who are gender non-conforming or are not able to pass as cis. Bathrooms are not the real issue – bathroom access is the excuse for people who are uncomfortable by the very existence of trans people in the first place. We must come to understand that deportation, incarceration and health care are all inherently trans issues. We must know that Black Lives Matter and the brutalization of Black and Brown people at the hands of police is a trans issue. Refugees and the displacement of people due to violence perpetuated by the United States abroad are trans issues. Flint Michigan and the denial of access to clean water in an area where there is a majority Black population is a trans issue. This has not been fixed since April 2014. Standing Rock and constant discrimination against Indigenous people is a trans issue. The murder of more than eight trans women in 2017, most who were women of color, is a trans issue. We must protect and work towards supporting and liberating those among us who are the most at risk for violence. As trans lawyer and activist Dean Spade explains: in our activism, we must work towards improving the conditions of those who are the most disadvantaged, or what he has coined as “trickle up social justice.” We cannot expect the liberation of upper middle class white able-bodied LGBTQ citizens to reach those among us who are not afforded the same privileges.

All that being said, we have all gathered here today to support and uplift trans people. To come together and celebrate our beauty both inside and out. As Angela Davis said, “Freedom is a constant struggle, but it is in collectivities that we find reservoirs of hope and optimism.” Thank you.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1449739031726213/

 

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In memoriam Gilbert Baker (1951–2017): Artist, designer and lifelong activist for LGBTQ equality. Gilbert created the rainbow flag for the 1978 Gay Freedom Day celebration in San Francisco. The flag is now an internationally recognized symbol of LGBTQ pride.
A native of Kansas, Gilbert lived in San Francisco from 1970 to 1994, contributing his distinctive designs for countless events. In 1994, he moved to New York City, where he spent the rest of his life. He remained active as an artist, with his work commemorating gay victims of the Nazi regime recently displayed in San Francisco.
Gilbert’s longtime friend Cleve Jones reported his death this afternoon. We have lost one of the greats of our community. Let us now lower rainbow flags worldwide to half mast in Gilbert’s memory.( Don Spradlin)

as posted on Homophobia Exposed. What a beautiful tribute.

Read about Gilbert Baker over at Towleroad written by Andy Towle HERE.

Our condolences to David V Moore and Cleve Jones and out community. Long may our rainbow flag wave.

“I am heartbroken. My dearest friend in the world is gone. Gilbert gave the world the Rainbow Flag; he gave me forty years of love and friendship. I can’t stop crying. I love you forever Gilbert Baker.”- David V Moore