Archives for posts with tag: LGBT

I haven’t been around much the past few months. RL and my paying work went insane on me, and well…yeah. I’m trying to get back in the groove but it’ll be a slow process. Sadly, if you follow my poly blog, you’re used to these long disappearances.

Today, a friend on Twitter shared this story with me: World Aids Day: Stigma of living with HIV strong inside gay community

I can sum up the story in two sentences. 1) A gay man with HIV found acceptance and love from the Mormon father he was terrified to come out to, but rejection from the Gay community he trusted to support him. 2) Stigmatizing and hurting  people with HIV/AIDS makes it harder to fight the epidemic.

I’d like to add a third part: What the fuck is wrong with us. Whether we identify as LGBT, sex positive, kinky, poly, feminist, POC or any other fucking label…How can we do this to our own? And it’s not just in LGBT communities. We, as marginalized groups, and those who are fighting for our own rights and protections, have turned, over and over and over again, on some of the most vulnerable among us. We have stigmatized them, penalized them. Driven them from us and far to often left them to die alone.

For over a year, I researched and wrote for a medical blog on HIV/AIDS. I wish I could link to it, but it’s down now. The things I learned in that year would blow your mind. Things like, sexual transmission is actually extremely difficult if the virus is under control, so difficult that many doctors believe it is perfectly safe for a person with HIV to have sex if their T-cell count it high enough. (I don’t remember the specific number, but I invite you to do your own research.) Like using condoms reduces the risk of transmission even further–depending on the study you read up to 95% when used consistently and correctly.

Now, percentages seem to hurt people’s brains, so let me spell this out for you. Go back to that ‘extremely difficult’ link. On the chart it is says that highest risk sexual activity is receptive anal intercourse. 50 out of 10,000. If 10,000 people have receptive anal intercourse with an HIV+ partner, 50 of them will get infection. That is half a percent, people. Now add in condoms. Figure condoms are 60% effective, that’s the low-end, but let’s be safe. Condoms cut risk of infection by 60% does NOT mean that your risk of getting infected if 40%. It means that half a percent risk (0.5%) drops even further to 0.2%. That’s 1 in 500. Hey, how about this? If the person with HIV/AIDS is on bottom, the risk of the penetrative partner in anal intercourse using a condom is something like 0.03%. In English, that’s 3 in 10,000.

So why the fuck did I spend a year reading news reports of people afraid to shake hands with a person who has HIV/AIDS. Of people with HIV/AIDS going to jail for35 years for spitting on someone.

Look, I admit it. The idea of getting AIDS is scary. Especially for someone like me without insurance and decent medical care. Knowing that HIV is a manageable disease (did you know that? someone infected with HIV today is just as likely to die of a heart attack or cancer. Science, she does progress) doesn’t do me any good when I can’t get the care to manage it. So yeah, if I was dating someone and found out they had HIV, I’d be uncomfortable with the idea of penetrative intercourse. Why? Because I’m human, and AIDS has been the Big Bad Boogeyman since I was in grade school. It’s hard to think rationally about it. But that wouldn’t stop me from being a relationship with someone who has HIV or AIDS.

News-fucking-flash: There is a lot more to dating a person than sticking tab A in slot B. There’s even more to sex than sticking tab A in slot B. Unless you learned your sex from porn, in which case, please educate yourself.

The stigma against people with HIV/AIDS is a particularly pervasive form of ableism. It’s one that doesn’t belong in our communities, in our homes, in our relationships.

It’s time to person-up, get over the stupid “Ew! They have cooties!” and start treating the people around us with HIV/AIDS as the individuals, friends, and comrades they are.

 

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After some time to think and recharge, rather than collating links here, I’m going to folks on summarizing major stuff in various social activisms that I feel should be part of a wider conversation and occasionally personal thoughts and ramblings. I will also be building up the 101 pages to provide a place to find information both about various identities, and how can happen when they intersect.

If you follow what’s going on in feminism at all, you will have heard about Hugo Scwyzer. If you haven’t, here’s background.

Short version: Scwyzer has a long history of abusing people, and especially women. His history of abuse has long been ignored by feminist media (let me put this in perspective: 3 years ago, when I didn’t know anything at all about feminism, I had heard of Scwyzer and knew he was an abusive asshole who I didn’t want within a mile of me, my daughter or any other woman I knew. There is no way feminist media missed this. They ignored it.) Now he’s finally gone ‘too far’ and people are trying to make excuses for him based on mental illness, while shutting down or ignoring the WoC he abused, pleading for understanding about his illness and calling upon ‘community’.

I am told (haven’t read it myself) that some places are even raising the cry of ‘ableism’ in Scwyzer’s defense. Flavi Dzodan’s has a very good response to that shit. The abuser getting a pass due to his mental illness while the abused is victim blamed and their illness – which is caused often caused by the abuser – is ignored and swept under the carpet. Anyone who is familiar with rape culture recognizes this pattern. It should not be happening within feminism.

Mental illness is not an excuse for abuse. It is not a reason for abuse. If my mentally ill partner ever hit our child because the kids screaming during an anxiety attack cause him to lose control (something I have no fear of him ever doing, but work with me here) I would be out of this place so fast the carpets would catch fire and my partner would be talking to the police and/or the residents at a psych-ward. The fact that he is mentally ill would hopefully get him treatment rather than jail time, but it would not excuse his abuse.

And using his illness as an excuse to shut down my voice is not protesting against ableism, it is aiding and abetting an abuser.

Which is exactly what mainstream feminism has done to WoC who had stood up to demand Scwyzer be held accountable for his actions.

Scwyzer was allowed to brand himself as a feminist, to build a media career on the backs of the women he abused, and was aided and abetted in this by the feminist media who should be rights have denounced him for the way he behaved.

WoC color have been harmed repeatedly by this man, and by the brand feminism that supported him. WoC have a voice, have a right to be heard, have a right to be able to name their abuser without getting further abuse from the very people who should be supporting them. WoC have a right to not be erased by mainstream feminism.

If you aren’t in the habit of listening to the voices of WoC, then Red Light Politics and Tiger Beat Down are good places to start.

ETA: For more on this, check out twitter hashtag #solidarityisforwhitewomen

 

Mother Russia is not actin very motherly, at least not to her LGBT children. I will not link to the sickening shit that has been going on over there in the wake of the anti-LGBT laws that were recently enacted. Those who are familiar with history are loudly noting the similarity between the actions of Vladimir Putin and the early days of Nazi Germany. And anyone who wants to start crying about how what’s going on is nothing in comparison to the Holocaust, educate yourself on 1935-1939 in Germany. The Holocaust didn’t start as the Holocaust either.

Ironically, and furthering the parallel, Russia is scheduled to host the Winter Olympics this year. Varying Olympic committees in different countries have reacted in less than ideal ways, such as saying that if LGBT athletes don’t feel safe going to a country where LGBT people are being beaten to death while the police look the other way, they shouldn’t compete. Athletes who take action to protest the anti-LGBT laws or support gay pride, such as wearing rainbow pins, have been threatened with fines.

Thankfully, there is one huge difference between now and 1939. LGBT has far more support around the world than Jews did during Kristallnacht or the 1939 Olympics. From sidewalk graffiti to political protests people are speaking out.

For a wonderful summary of the situation and why the Olympics don’t belong in Sochi this year, check out Stephen Fry’s open letter to British PM David Cameron.

Multiple petitions have been started, asking the International Olympic Committee to relocate the 2014 Olympics to Vancouver.

And Colinology is looking ahead, to what may need to be done if Russia truly is walking in the Nazi’s footsteps.

Also, the first link in this section raises some alternatives ways to challenge this development.

As a bisexual, Jewish woman who studies history, this in parallel with some of the developments in Greece is terrifying. Because as bad as what is happening to LGBT in Russia is right now, if those of us looking at the parallels are right, it is only going to get worse.

 

There is a slightly disturbing trend in non-monogamous discourse. In short, it’s become all about polyamory.  Mainstream media has latched on polyamory as the ‘ethical’ non-monogamy and that many other forms of non-monogamy (which are just as ethical as polyamory or monogamy) such as swinging, open relationships, and the many, many other varieties non-monogamy can take are getting swept under the rug. Some folks inside polyamory (myself included) are disturbed by this and see a parallel to the way L&G interests have dominated LGBT discussion to the point of erasing or abusing B&T folk. Its a complex mess with no easy answer, but I’m putting out an invite for folks who practice a non-poly form of non-monogamy to contact me. I’d like to get a Yahoo! Discussion group going for people who formulate their relationships in any way that doesn’t match mainstream monogamy, so that we can start building an umbrella that can fit all of us and the political and social strides being made can begin to extend beyond polyamory.

ETA: If anyone knows of such a group or umbrella that already exists, please let me know!

Folks, life has beat the crap out of me lately and I had largely disappeared off the ‘net due to mental overload and loss of the ability to give a fuck. Luckily, I regained my feet just in time to meet the tidal wave of SCOTUS related news which is this week in activism. I’ll try to resume regular posting next week. Usually I try to take a couple of days and several revisions before putting up a post like this, but right now timing and topical counts. Apologies for any typos or errors.

It has been an amazing and horrid week in SCOTUSLand. Rarely do simultaneously want to jump for joy and break down weeping. Lady Justice, where the hell were you Tuesday? Certainly not in chambers.

Alright, anyone who isn’t living under a rock has heard about the so-called ‘big news’ of the week. The Supreme Court has struck down part of DOMA (After DOMA Fact Sheet) and dismissed the case on Proposition 8, both of which are major wins for LGBT rights. Personally I wonder just how much bile Scalia had to swallow in siding with the majority on Prop8 (here’s some legalese on why the Prop8 decision isn’t actually about SSM – I am not endorsing this guys conclusions, per se, but he has his facts in order).

The sadly-less heralded news came on Tuesday. NAACP, wake up and remember that you are not irrelevant! The media blitz from the overturning of the Voters’ Rights Act should have rivaled the celebrations today, instead SCOTUSLand’s butching of voter rights has passed relatively quietly.

For anyone who has not been following the VRA case, here’s the gist:

Last year, Texas tried to redraw their voting districts in such a way as to deliberately hurt PoC. This redrawing was done by white members of the Texas legislature in secret from their black and latino colleagues. Basically, here’s what happened: the white guys looked at the voting districts and said “This district is a majority PoC, which means they won’t vote the way we want them too, so we’re going to change the borders of the district to remove some PoC and add some white folks, this way the PoC won’t have a majority any more. This other district has a majority white folks, we’ll leave that alone.”

Well, understandably PoC and their allies weren’t to happy about this. They challenged the redistricting under the voter’s rights act, which among other things, said that states with a history of severe and institutional racism and voter manipulation had to run changes in voting laws past the Federal government to insure that any changes they made weren’t going to infringe the voting rights of PoC.

The Feds took a look at Texas’ new-and-improved voting districts and said, “What are trying to pull here? This is blatant racism and you aren’t allowed to pull that crap!” And the old districts stayed. But Texas didn’t like being told what to do (who does?) and sued the Feds for the right to set any voting laws they want, no matter who got hurt.

Yesterday, SCOTUS ruled in favor of Texas, and less than two hours after the ruling was handed down, Texas Attorney General said the redistricting and associated voter ID law might go into effect immediately.

And the reason SCOTUS tossed out the VRA? Because everyone has the right to vote now, and racism is gone in America, so it wasn’t needed any more.

As Justice Ginsburg says in the dissent: “Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”

For fairly obvious reasons, white LGBT folks are a bit happier with SCOTUS today than straight PoC. For LGBT people of color, well sadly the DOMA and Prop8 don’t apply if you live in any of the states that were covered by the VRA, because none of those states have marriage equality, so you can’t get married and they can now fuck with your voting rights. Yay for the puff pastry of oppressions.

Yeah, I’m snarky today. It’s keeping me somewhat sane in the face of this insanity.

In a somewhat related note (very related to intersectionality, somewhat related to SCOTUSLand), last night Texas Senator Wendy Davis pulled a marathon filibuster* that prevented the passage of a bill which would have shut down 80% of abortion clinics in Texas and outlaw abortion after 20 weeks (SB5 Primer) Wendy Davis is one of the Texas senators whose district would have been redrawn before the November elections, meaning she likely wouldn’t have been elected and standing on the Texas Senate floor to pull off her feat of awesome if that redistricting had gone through.

*One source claimed she spent most of the 10+ hour filibuster reading the stories of women whose lives would be negatively impacted by the bill. Sorry I lost the link for that one.

As always, there is a lot to say about LGBT in the news and media. As the most prominent movement in the US today, LGBT always gets lots of inches. This past month saw a lot of discussions on the Black LGBT community, largely triggered by the coming out of NBA player Jason Collins.

Today is the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia. Let’s all do our parts to educate ourselves and others.

On the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia: how far we have to go

BBC Survey for LGBT Survivors of Domestic Abuse. Please Spread to UK Audiences

European Union LGBT Survey results

LGBT Marriage Wins weren’t inevitable, they were worked for. Here’s how.

Confronting Black masculinity and being gay

Puerto Rican Bill Against LGBT Discrimination Passes Senate and moves to House

LGBT Characters in Video Games

Pentagon Recognizes Transgender Servicewoman

UK Black Pride partners with Pride in London

Family of Slain Gay Candidate Seeks Federal Inquiry

Anti-LGBT violence in the rise in Russia; Church & politicians support anti-gay legislation

Old News Worth Revisiting: CeCe McDonald and the Justice systems treatment of Black transexuals

Radio Show Host claims LGBT media and news can make kids think they are gay

how Star Trek Dropped the Ball on LGBT characters

Philadelphia Mandates Gender Neutral Bathrooms and more in sweeping bill

Demographic Overview of LGBT Parenting

A Look Back at Andrew Sullivan’s 1993 Essay on LGBT politics

Love for All campaign promotes LGBT Acceptance in the Arab world

LGBT Sports Hall of Fame in Announced in Chicago

LGBT Activism is still needed in the US

Hip Hop, Shaming, and the Right to Stay in the Closet

LGBT movement in India Overshadowing Existing Hirja Community

Centuries Old Trans Festival Held in India

Related: Hijra

Christianity as the New Hated minority?

Midwest LGBT Film Festival to be held in July

Good news for College Students: FAFSA recognizes LGBT Families

Methodism’s Same Sex Marriage Split Catches Father in the middle

60 Years Later: Eisenhower’s Anti-Gay Order

A Challenge to Mainstream LGBT Organizations

LGBT needs to remember its intersectional roots

Proposed Bill Would Open up fostering and adoption to LGBT, Provide homes for thousands in foster care

 

Catholic contradictions

Catholic Bishops portray LGBT Supreme Court Case as “Roe vs Wade of Marriage”

Catholics Need to Make LGBT Outreach a priority

 

 

Education

California Transgender bill protects students and eases name changes

PA School District Won’t Revise Policies for Trans Students

California Takes Steps Towards Teaching LGBT History