Bye-Bye Pride Month 2017

I can’t believe June is almost over! This summer is flying by already, before we know it’s going to be August and school will be in session again.

June was LGBTQIA+ pride month and so I did quite a few posts on the topic:

 

Pride month is coming to an end, but for the LGBTQ+ community, pride never stops. Sure there won’t be a parade, or rainbows and glitter plastered all over advertisements, but we continue to celebrate who we are all year long. My LGBT posts may slow down a bit, but they won’t stop.

I hope everyone had an amazing pride month, whether you were able to/chose to celebrate or not. This year I’m going to my very first Pride parade, but it doesn’t take place until September, so for me and many others Pride is not over. I’m really excited to spend a day being surrounded by lot of love, acceptance, and community.

Did you celebrate Pride?

Reclaiming LGBTQ+ Slurs

In the past five years or so “Queer” has become an increasing popular label for many people to describe their gender and/or sexuality. However not that long ago it was widely used as slur to harm the community. Is it okay to “reclaim” slurs?

I’m coming from the stand point of someone who has never been called a slur. Sure I’ve heard them many times, in both positive and negative ways, but no one was referring to me. Queer is a word I sometimes use to describe myself and the community. When writing “Queer community” I often wonder if that phrase is offensive to some people in the community. To be honest I use it mostly because saying LGBTQIA+ community over and over is long, and begins to feel repetitive. I would never mean for it to make someone feel uncomfortable or bring back bad memories for them.

For many people like me, we’ve never heard “queer” used in a negative connotation so it doesn’t seem like a negative thing. Recently I was watching Ash Hardell’s video about this topic and they had some really great things to say. Ash talked about how “Queer” is not commonly used as a slur anymore, and they felt that in order to reclaim a slur is shouldn’t be commonly used. Maybe it’s just the area I live in but I’ve never heard someone say “queer” as a slur. They also brought up the point that “Queer” originally meant “peculiar or odd” and didn’t have a violent background like some of the other slurs.

There are other slurs like the f word, or the d word, or the t word that haven’t been completely reclaimed. A handful of of people will use the word to describe themselves in order to try and take back the power from the bullies and hateful people who have used it towards them. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with doing this, but using the word to describe a whole group of people can be problematic. Some people who have been deeply hurt by a certain word do not want to be called that in way, shape, or form. Labels are all about personal preference, and some words shouldn’t be used to describe a group of people as a whole.

How to you feel about reclaiming slurs?

Do you use any reclaimed slurs to describe yourself?

Religion and The LGBTQIA+ Community

Religion is quite a touchy topic in the LGBTQIA+ community.

Many people have experienced homophobia, transphobia, and general bigotry in the name of religion. These acts of hate often drive queer people away from religion and spirituality in general. However there are also a lot of people, me included, who actively practice a religion and are a part of the LGBTQ+ community.

In my shoes, being gay and a Christian, I find it hard to find other people like me. You get push back from conservative Christians, and I get push back from people in the LGBTQ+ community who have had bad experiences with church. I wish the queer community was more positive and open about some members being religious. I also think if more LGBTQ+ had experiences at welcoming and affirming churches, they would think differently about Christianity.

There are a lot of people who have been deeply scarred by religious parents or leader, and I would never want to belittle them or act like abuse and bigotry don’t happen in the church. However, I would like to see more conversations taking place about the intersection of faith and gender/sexuality. Lots of people are very cynical about the idea of religion, and like to push their negative feelings onto those who are religious. If you aren’t religious or spiritual or whatever, that’s completely fine and your prerogative. It isn’t your place though to tell others how they should live, or what they should believe. Religious people are always told not to push their religion onto others (and they shouldn’t), so don’t push your lack of beliefs onto me.

There are LGBTQIA+ people of every religion. I hope to see more positivity for queer Christians, Jewish people, Hindu people, muslims, buddhists, and queer people of any other religions, in the near future.

Are you religious?

Were you raised in a certain religion?

 

Having a Political Identity

Once you come out as being part of the LGBTQIA+ community, society labels your sexuality as “political.”

Part of this is because sexuality and gender have always been seen as a political issues. Getting married, having children, going to the bathroom, and even just existing in public are political fights we’ve had over and over, and continue to have. We’ve been labeled “other” and our rights are not a given like our heterosexual and cisgender counterparts. Our rights are debated on stages and we’re often thought of as an issue on a ballot rather than human beings by homophobic and transphobic law makers.

Not long after coming out I remember having an a-ha moment. “People hate me because of my sexuality and I am now considered a minority.” In my privileged white-suburban-Christian-girl world, this took my brain for a tale-spin. I had never been hated for just existing before, and it didn’t feel good. The other thing that set in, especially after the 2016 election, was that my right’s could be taken away at any time no matter how unconstitutional or morally wrong that is.

Due to these reasons and a million more, I embrace society viewing my sexuality as political. I believe being an out LGBTQIA+ person is a form of resistance. While being LGBTQIA+ isn’t a choice, being out is (Most of the time.) I feel pride in actively resisting our cultures standards and beliefs by simply existing. Personally I live in a largely republican area in Texas, so I feel an even greater urge to exist as my queer self. I needed to see other people who were LGBTQIA+ just living life when I was younger, and now I want to be that for someone else. It truly humanizes the experience to see other queer people in public enjoying life and being care-free.

I no longer have the privilege of not being actively engaged in politics. Between being gay, being a woman, and being disabled, someones always trying to take away my rights. So I will continue to embrace my “political identity” and practice acts of queer resistance.

How do you practice queer resistance?

What do you think about having your identity politicized?

 

Intolerance in the LGBTQIA+ Community

In a perfect world the LGBTQ+ community would be all sunshine and rainbows and acceptance, but sometimes it isn’t.

There’s a big problem with racism within the community, specifically with gay men. Having “no asians” or “no black people” on their Grindr profiles. When confronted most of them say, “well it’s just a preference.” A preference is liking strawberry jelly over grape jelly or liking tennis shoes over sandals, not segregating an entire race and labeling them as “undateable.”

Biphobia and transphobia are also another problem, mainly amongst cis-white-gays. They believe that people use the label bisexual as a stepping stone to being gay and just haven’t accepted that they’re gay yet. Transphobic queer people sometimes use the term “LGB” instead of LGBT, in order to excluded trans people from the community.

My main question for people in the community who behave like this is, why? Why discriminate against someone who belongs to the same minority group as you? We’re all going to face our fair share of bigotry from the outside world so why be bigoted to one another? We should be supporting and uplifting one another, not tearing each other down. If you don’t like someone else erasing your identity, then don’t do it someone else. You aren’t them, you don’t know how they feel. Just because you don’t understand something doesn’t mean it isn’t real.

The worst thing we can do as a community is not support one another. How can you expect love and support from people outside the LGBTQ+ community, if you don’t love and support others in the community yourself? I think we all have a responsibility to call out this behavior and set an example for others by treating one another with tolerance and respect.

One Year Later: Pulse Orlando

June 12, 2016 49 people died and 53+ were wounded in a hate crime committed at Pulse Night Club in Orlando, Florida.

 

I remember waking up Sunday morning and seeing the news, unaware of the magnitude of the situation. I read some tweets and a short article, but continued to get ready for church as I always did on Sunday. It wasn’t until later that day after reading more online news articles and watching the news that I began to understand the atrocity that had taken place.

This was the first time that it became clear to me that there are people out there who want me dead because of my sexuality. It’s a terrifying thought that shakes me to my core. In a club where people were celebrating Latin Night and just wanted to dance, their lives were taken. “Gay Clubs” are supposed to be a place of refuge for those in the LGBTQ+ community, but this safe space was shattered and turned into the deadliest mass shooting in US history.

My heart breaks for the friends and families of those who were victims that day. With the oldest victims being in their early forties, all of these people were taken way too young.

  • Stanley Almodovar III, age 23
  • Amanda Alvear, 25
  • Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, 26
  • Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33
  • Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21
  • Martin Benitez Torres, 33
  • Antonio D. Brown, 30
  • Darryl R. Burt II, 29
  • Jonathan A. Camuy Vega, 24
  • Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28
  • Simon A. Carrillo Fernandez, 31
  • Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25
  • Luis D. Conde, 39
  • Cory J. Connell, 21
  • Tevin E. Crosby, 25
  • Franky J. Dejesus Velazquez, 50
  • Deonka D. Drayton, 32
  • Mercedez M. Flores, 26
  • Juan R. Guerrero, 22
  • Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22
  • Paul T. Henry, 41
  • Frank Hernandez, 27
  • Miguel A. Honorato, 30
  • Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40
  • Jason B. Josaphat, 19
  • Eddie J. Justice, 30
  • Anthony L. Laureano Disla, 25
  • Christopher A. Leinonen, 32
  • Brenda L. Marquez McCool, 49
  • Jean C. Mendez Perez, 35
  • Akyra Monet Murray, 18
  • Kimberly Morris, 37
  • Jean C. Nieves Rodriguez, 27
  • Luis O. Ocasio-Capo, 20
  • Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25
  • Eric I. Ortiz-Rivera, 36
  • Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32
  • Enrique L. Rios Jr., 25
  • Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37
  • Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24
  • Christopher J. Sanfeliz, 24
  • Xavier E. Serrano Rosado, 35
  • Gilberto R. Silva Menendez, 25
  • Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34
  • Shane E. Tomlinson, 33
  • Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25
  • Luis S. Vielma, 22
  • Luis D. Wilson-Leon, 37
  • Jerald A. Wright, 31

I think the fact that the deadliest mass shooting in US history, and the deadliest terrorist attack since 9/11 was committed against the LGBTQ+ community, specifically queer poc speaks volumes. Marriage equality did not end homophobia, it is alive and well across our whole nation. This is the result of hate, this is the result of prejudice, this is the result homophobia, this is the result of racism. We cannot continue to let any hate in the slightest form we tolerated, because 49 people are dead. 49 people who wanted to have a good time lost their lives, and their families have to continue to live with the pain of them being gone forever.

If you have any queer friends hug them, send them a text, call them, let them know you love and support them. Today is going to be a very hard day for many people in the LGBTQ+ community and I’m sure any love and support would be appreciated. The queer community has always been incredibly resilient and will continue to carry on even in the face of tragedy.

Lots of Love,

Alyssa

 

How To Be a Good Ally

Allies are great.

They help us fight for equality and often offer love and support as friends, family members, and significant others. Where do you start? Here’s how I think you can be a good ally:

  1. Listen – Listen to those in the LGBTQ+ community and don’t talk over us. Wait for your time to talk and recognize when your opinion isn’t needed. Let people tell you what they need, instead of assuming. Listen to how your friend/partner/family member feels and what they need from you. An open mind and listening ears goes a long way, especially when someone is trying to figure things out or has just come out.
  2. Educate- Educated yourself about the community, all of the community. Learn different sexualities, genders, and romantic identities. Learn about LGBTQ+ issues and stay up to date on news that involves the community. Try to educate others, especially when other people are saying bigoted things or using slurs.
  3.  Love- Everyone just wants to be loved. Respond to the LGBTQ+ people in your life with love even when you don’t understand what they’re going through. There’s no way you’ll be able to understand it all, but listening to them and loving them will make a huge difference.
  4.  Vote- Voting is one of the biggest ways, in my opinion, that you can help our community. Vote against discriminatory laws, and vote for people who are going to bring about positive change. Do not stand idly by while bigoted people try to attack our community, especially right now.
  5. Respect- Respect everyone’s identity. Use the correct pronouns and preferred name for everyone you meet. Respect that someone may not be open to talking about their sexuality or gender, or being queer in general.

 

What did I miss? How can someone be a good ally to you?