Tag Archives: homophobia/transphobia

Today is International Day Against Homophobia, Bi-phobia, and Transphobia, and if there’s a blog hop, I can’t find it.

Scrolling through my Twitter feed today I saw some tweets related to IDAHOT—or IDAHOBIT, as some are calling it, events and news, and realized I missed the blog hop. I was shocked! How could that have happened? Admittedly, I’m not much good, these days, at calendaring, planning, or organizing. When I stopped working in social services, I stopped keeping any kind of day book, and now if I something doesn’t trigger my memory I either miss things or scramble to catch up to them.

But that’s just it. For the last several years, I’ve taken part in a huge blog hop for this international awareness event, and I’ve always gotten the reminders I needed it to get that all-important post up in time. This year—silence. Once I realized today was the day, I searched Google and visited the former organizers blogs, and the former event homepage for the hop—nothing.

So if there’s a hop, I missed it, but I’m blogging anyway.

It’s a bit of a mystery to me. I wonder if there’s been some huge black mark against the organizers of the “Day Against” queer phobias. It could be, and I could have missed it. I’m reminded that when I worked in an office environment I was always the last to know about office scandals—even when I was purportedly at the center of them. Maybe I’m somehow breaking ranks to commemorate the day at all.

I believe that “unity” is the key part of the word “community,” and if we don’t stand up together to celebrate our gains and commemorate our losses, to honor those who breathe our air, and remember those we’ve lost, then we cannot claim a right to the word. And make no mistake, we need community. We need it on a personal level, but now more than ever we also need it if we are to have any hope of undoing the untenable developments in governments around the world (and especially in the United States), which are driving us hell-bent for leather toward rule by the rich, for the rich, at the expense of our basic freedoms, our civil rights, and everything we hold dear and necessary to live as fully human.

What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other? —George Eliot

This year’s theme for DAHAT is family. No matter how you define them, families are community in the early stages. They make a great beginning. I celebrate them and am more than thankful for my several differently defined families. I feel the need to pull those families together for strength, though. All of us are the center of such a star-cluster of families, and though we are the center only from our own viewpoint, from that position we can exert our personal gravity to pull others in, rather than insisting on standing stock still rooted in cemented opinions and letting community fall away unwelcomed. Common cause is always strengthened by numbers, so the greater the community we embrace, the greater our ability to create and protect change for good.

Maybe, there’s no divide in the community and I’m jumping to the wrong conclusions. Maybe there is a divide and it’s because “bi” is not officially part of the acronym. (Note: I am bisexual and am truly sick of being “erased.”) Either way, I’m glad for IDAHOBIT, as it should be called, because the world today is chockfull of hate (yes, even if for some reason they hurt my feelings and I don’t know it). Remember those achievements we celebrated? Like marriage equality, protection for trans students, recognition of same sex couples as adoptive parents, protection of our rights in the workplace, housing, and the marketplace? Consider those the curtain wall around our castle. Armed with unfathomable financial support, white supremacists, Leviticus quoters, and twisted, greedy orcs who believe they are Nietzsche’s Übermensch are beating at our gates. We are under siege. They’ve got the money and the tools, and all we have is each other—community.

IDAHOT, behind which stands people who may, like me, be imperfect, calls itself a “Worldwide Celebration of Sexual and Gender Diversities”—a pretty inclusive term. Read this BBC article about Chechnya, or this attack in Portsmouth, England (though The Sun‘s article is presented as sensationalism), or any honest reportage about the shootings at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. You’ll see why I believe inclusivity, finding unity and community, standing together even if it means we must tolerate imperfections in our vision, in our line of locked shields.

“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.” —JK Rowling (Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)

Thank you for reading. Here’s the link to DAHOT’s page, followed by the text portion of their media release about 2017. Visit their site for news about related events and social media links.

IDAHOT 2017 media release

MEDIA RELEASE – For immediate release
May 17, 2017 marks the 12th annual International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia*
The celebrations will span the coming week. All over the world, lights will shine on the situation of sexual and gender minorities.

Many actions will focus on the horrible situation in Chechnya this year, where dozens of LGBT people have been rounded up, tortured and killed by government forces. Around the world, rallies and protests are being organised to denounce the situation and put pressure on leaders to bring it to an end.

But while mobilisation grows in some parts, IDAHOT events have had to be cancelled in several places due to pressure from opponents, as in Lebanon or Bosnia. In the Caucasus country of Georgia, activists have been driven off the streets by violent attacks for several years now, as opponents “claim” May17 as the “day of traditional families”.

To denounce the frequent usurpation of family values by conservative movements, this year the IDAHOT has teamed up with the International Family Equality Day, which is being celebrated on May 7ththis year, to declare that “Love is what makes a family”. Rainbow families, parents of LGBT children, and all their allies have rallied around this motto to organise events in over 50 countries.

These, and all the other IDAHOT events, will underline the tragic situation faced by many LGBT people along with their families. But they will also, and surely foremost, be a celebration of the courage, the strength and most of all the LOVE, that drives the fight for the rights of sexual and gender minorities.
Throughout the week, we will circulate information on events, statements from prominent supporters and bring family stories from around the world, all of which will resonate against hatred and extremism.

Among the first trends to which we bear witness this year, we note the strong commitment from progressive movements within churches. Just as families don’t accept the hijacking of their values by extremists fostering hate and violence, people of all faiths don’t resign themselves to the manipulation of their religious values.

We also see that the Day is increasingly recognised at official levels. This trend is not new as in previous years many heads of State, UN agencies, EU institutions and local authorities have marked the Day. But the trend is increasingly visible. To name just some examples, May 17 has entered the formal curriculum in Chile’s schools and in France the public television hosts a thematic IDAHOT evening with debates, documentaries and dramas. The UN Free and Equal campaign will once more release a special video, celebrating family.

One sign of this growing recognition is the lighting up of official buildings in rainbow colours; this is an increasingly popular way to mark the Day. Last week-end, Vilnius City Hall in Lithuania joined the global illuminations for the first time, but many more official buildings are on this year’s list, including the now almost “traditional’ Melbourne city bridge.

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Filed under IDAHOT, just a category

Hopping for Visibility, Awareness, and Equality—Focus: Visibility (Or, on peeing in North Carolina and such)

Hello! It’s IDAHOT (International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia), and I’m here (with the rest of the hop bloggers and readers) to talk about visibility, awareness, and equality.HAPHOBIAUMBRELLA2016

Well, that’s a lot to talk about, so let’s break it down. Let me start today by talking about visibility, and specifically visibility in the United States.

This year, Trans-related issues are big on everyone’s radar, what with hater legislation (let’s call it what it is) about—of all thigs—bathrooms being very visibly bandied about and enacted in several states, with North Carolina’s HB2 taking a front and center position though Tennessee and eight other states including Minnesota have similar bills. Yes, visibility is an issue across the LGBT-QIA spectrum, but for now, let’s talk about Trans, baby.

“Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry—which is happening as I write—is one of them.”

~~Bruce Springsteen

Why focus on visibility?

As I see it from a historical perspective, because visibility is the crux of this focus on toileting. Conversely, invisibility has been both a product and a tool of hateful bigotry for… well, maybe as long as there have been humans who hated. If you are a member of any group that has been marginalized (to any degree) by the dominant culture, you very likely have experienced invisibility. Sometimes, it is a protective instinct to retreat into it. If a hypothetical ‘they’ don’t know that a hypothetical ‘you’ is African, Native, gay, lesbian, refugee, bisexual, HIV+, immigrant—anything that doesn’t match ‘their’ perception of ‘like us’—if ‘they’ don’t know, it is possible to avoid being excluded, ridiculed, ignored, followed around by the store detectives, or beaten to a bloody pulp. Sometimes, invisibility isn’t on purpose. ‘You’ can’t or won’t or just don’t happen to hide your color, country of origin, sexuality, gender identification, age (etc), and therefore the store employee skips over you, your job application gets lost, you speak and no one hears you.

But it shouldn’t be like this. Not only does rendering certain people invisible in society result in numerous individual violations of constitutional human rights, it attempts to rob people of status as human beings. You realize, don’t you, that in the sixties, if you had asked school officials about gay or queer students, they very likely would have said they didn’t exist?

I believe bigoted people feel threatened because trans (and other rainbow spectrum) individuals have shrugged off their cloaks of invisibility—a brave thing to do, dangerous, but life-affirming. People have embraced their identity and thus their humanity. “I am this person, exactly as I am meant to be.” That is a joyful thing, to be celebrated.

Except to the person who keeps their mind closed around the training tapes they’ve heard all their lives, which make it clear that if someone is different, they’re dangerous. If that’s the case, you’re likely to be afraid.

Two ways to deal with fear. One: find out why and fix it. This usually involves a willingness to learn and understand—to listen and truly hear. Two: turn it into something else—hate.

Hate= “it’s not me it’s you.”

So we have Hate Bill 2 and around 100 antil LGBT-Q spectrum bills around the US.

Getting back to North Carolina where you might have to flash your birth certificate to get into a bathroom (because hey, what’s more important for a state legislature to spend time on than where people pee?), just today I saw an article relative to North Carolina’s ridiculous law, being trans, and visibility. Singer Laura Jane Grace, founder of the punk band Against Me, decided they shouldn’t cancel their appearance. In her particular case, she thought another approach would be more effective.

She’s a trans woman, you see, so she burned her birth certificate on stage.

© Brian Ach, Invision/AP

© Brian Ach, Invision/AP

“Goodbye gender.”

~~Laura Jane Grace

Thank you for reading and hopping for the cause. Comment on this post and enter your name for a giveaway: $15 Gift Certificate Dreamspinner Press, ARe, or Amazon. I’d love to hear how you feel about visibility, whether you have experiences to share, news, or thoughts on the subject. Or, comment on any aspect of these issues, the hop, or my post.

Here are all the blog hop links, for your convenience! (Thanks all you bloggers!)

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Filed under blog hop, Contests, homophobia, IDAHOT Blog Hop, just a category, Transphobia

HAHaT 2013: Thoughts About Legalities, Love, Fear… oh, and there’s a freebie

Hello blog-hoppers! This post is my contribution to the Blog Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia, or HAHaT 2013. I hope tons of you visit, and we can discuss some serious matters, while having some fun, too. Read all the way to the end to find out about the small but noticeably free-of-charge thing I’d love to give you…

The hop supports the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. Undoing the knotted mass of threads that is homophobia/transphobia is a necessary focus, because, well, it’s all over the place and it’s messed up.

“But,” you or someone you know says, “it’s all coming up roses, isn’t it? Laws are being passed, people are getting married. It’s a brighter day!”

Yes! It is a brighter day, indeed!

But before we assume that laws leaning more toward fairness and equality mean the demise of fear and hate, let’s think about history. Some questions to ponder:

  • Did legalizing the right of women to vote and work give them equal standing in the community? (If you think so, you and I should talk.)
  • Did abolishing legal slavery create attitudes of fairness and equality toward African Americans?
  • Did laws prohibiting brutality lead to the end of child abuse?

In the USA, we’ve had eleven states (I think) pass laws saying GLBTQ people can marry. In some of those states, the spouses can also adopt children, should they wish. These changes have led to many lovely, loving moments and years, and beautiful images, for us all to cherish, that have made it into our lives.

Like this one:

And this one:

But eleven states is only twenty-two percent of all the possibilities. To me, the progress of human rights in terms of marriage equality has seemed like a snowball rolling downhill. But there is no guarantee that the ball will keep rolling! If anything, I think this is the point in the battle when so much can go wrong, simply by virtue of a broader, shifting field–and this is even more true because the fight for fair laws is an international one.

And the fight for legal equality is also, moreso, a fight for the hearts of all good people.

Forgive me, for I am about to commit the fiction writer’s sin of thinking all points can be illustrated by a scene in their novel. No, really. This is a very brief excerpt from Saving Sonny James, the finale to the Vasquez and James series, which has been submitted to the publisher a few days ago, but not yet accepted. Here, Luki and Sonny have recently been through hell (which anyone who’s read the series has come to expect 🙂 ). In this case, hell is in Paris, France, where equal marriage has recently been codified as law, in the real world.

The black car rolled up to the embassy, an elegant building with an expanse of lawn, a pair of huge flags—US and France, and a red-trimmed, white fabric canopy over the entry walk. Jean Baptiste let them out at the street curb, and they walked along a paved semicircle drive, hand-in-hand, though they weren’t conscious of it until they got some looks from the Gendarmerie in their peaked hats. Sonny might have tried to extract his hand, but Luki held on tight and gave one or two of the gendarmes his iciest look.

When they reached the canopy, he quietly said to Sonny, “Tell me those bigots don’t have the power to make you ashamed of me… or of who you are.”

“Of course not, Luki!” Sonny was emphatic, but he chuckled and added, “But they do seem to have the power to make me nervous.”

Luki glanced sideways at him and back at the police—whose attention had gone elsewhere, now—“Fuck ‘em, baby. We’re legal in this country, you know. Just like at home.”

“Yeah but honey, when Washington State decided we could marry, that was a vote of the people, and the people that didn’t like it didn’t join up in mobs and start beating people up and killing folks wholesale in the street. Here…”

Luki heaved a tired sigh. “I know, but it’s—”

“Safer to be right up front with it. I agree. Thanks for holding my hand, husband.”

I invite your comments and discussion! I’d love to hear about fictional characters (movies, books, TV, ballads, whatever) that have put the haters in their place. Can be humor or badass-ness, or whatever. Tell me about your fave, and you’re in the drawing for a $15 certificate for Dreamspinner Press, anything at all from their catalog. The contest runs all ten days of the blog hop, and you can enter more than once as long as you have new material in your comment. ‘Kay? Please play! (By the way, I’ve had to put comments on moderate for awhile because of ugly spammers. Please don’t worry if your comment doesn’t show up right away.)

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Filed under Contests, Dreamspinner Press, Finding Jackie, homophobia