Queer Voices of Color: Saidue Karmo - I'm Not White, But Am I Ugly?

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Queer Voices of Color is a multimedia blog series highlighting personal issues of queer racialized people. Saidue Karmo is a co-host on Queer State of Mind, and a NYC-based performer and real estate professional.  (Photo by  Ben Taylor/Lit Riot Press )

By Saidue Karmo People always told me I was a beautiful baby. An even bigger deed, since I almost died from thrush when I was young. Born on February 22, 1979, in Cincinnati, Ohio, I shortly was shipped to Monrovia, Liberia where I’d live till I was 13. My wide, bright smile and facial structure meant I often received the question “Are you a boy, or are you a girl?” all through my young preteen years. The thought of color was something of a fairytale to me, like a lot of young kids growing up in Africa. We long to come to America to believe what we saw on television. We wanted the toys, to see all the great places and have what the American kids had. This dream would come true, even though it was due to an unfortunate situation. And the dream was quite different than reality. I never realized people saw me as something ‘different’ until I came to the U.S. at thirteen. I arrived and started school at the age of thirteen, and remember being called lots of names and put in many uncomfortable situations. I came to terms with my sexuality at the end of high school and during my early college years, as many do. And, my first group of gay friends were mostly white, as is the case many times.  That’s when all the interesting stuff began. I remember them always asking me about black things and experiences I knew nothing about. As a young, naïve African kid I always carried around this notion that people were all equal. Well, that all changed when I first heard the line “You are so much fun and cute…but I don’t date black guys.” I was very confused. I tried to figure out how you could be attracted to someone, but not at the same time. It only got worse when I people shopped me around to all the white guys who ‘liked’ black guys. I remembered feeling very sad and disappointed. The next year, I completely changed the group of people I was hanging around with. I found a group of friends that were all young gay black men. Of course, this is not to say I exclusively had black friends, but my inner circle was.  I finally felt a brotherhood (Sisterhood) like I never had before, so it when my next experience happened much later, it shook my world. I remember being out at a club with my friends and dancing the night away. I often fellowship with the other black gays outside of my circle, so it was a great surprise to me when one of them said to me “You are so cute and funny but I wish I was into black guys.” I stepped back and went, ‘Wait? Am I talking to a white woman!?’ This was a normal occurrence during my ten-year stint in Columbus, Ohio.  I would have people consistently reminding me that I’M NOT WHITE. This was not exclusive to me but also happening to others around me. I remember seeing a joy in the eyes of some of my black friends’ eyes because they heard that a particular white boy liked black boys. And it made my soul sad to watch it. It got so bad in the city that I had friends who loved other men of color start to give up. Some stopped dating and some deemed every black guy with a white man a ‘Snow Queen’, in order to avoid rejection. I still carried the hope that people should be judged as individuals. Cut to 2006, I moved to NYC living the poor artist dream. I was surrounded by great artists  and  so many different types of people . I thought, ‘Surely, dating here was definitely going to be better than the Midwest’. It was the spring of 2008 and I was at one of my favorite NYC bars. There was a tall, beautiful black man standing alone and I decided to strike up a conversation. We had many laughs, flirted, drank and exchanged numbers. I was excited as I headed home. I exited my train on my way to my apartment and sent him a text saying, “It was nice meeting you and let's hang soon.” He responded, “It was great and just so you know I am not into black guys.” Here we go again…and it seemed to happen to me a lot, even follow me from place to place. It was the first time I said to myself, ‘I’m not white but am I ugly?’  So many layers define beauty, but it seems that racialized beauty standards have overtaken a community that is supposed to be all-inclusive. I have had this situation happen to me so many times over my past ten years in NYC , I feel jaded by it all. Ninety percent of my messages on apps or online come from someone searching for a BBC (Big Black Cock) or some other racist, fetishizing mess. I encounter it so much, and so badly, that when I travel with my friends, we turn it into a game to see who gets the most disturbing message. There have been many articles on Racism in the gay community although I think many stem from being validated by the white boys. It’s not about their validation. But, it is very hard to live in a world where no matter what you do or how educated you are, your desirability rests on what you are not. And sometimes, even often, people of color hold each other to the same white supremacy based beauty standards and prejudices as some white people do. And as I sit here, 37 and single, It makes me think these words each time I see an attractive guy. “I’m not white, but am I ugly?”

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Spring is here, and we're getting our groove back!

Dear QM Kids: QMR - Podcast Hey y'all, Orie here. It's been a while since we've posted on our blog so I thought I would reach out and let everyone know what's going on with Queer Minded. We've hit some bumps, and a milestone, and I thought I would share. Since SaRea and I relocated in separate parts of the country, leaving James to head up the Columbus office, we've been conspiring on ways to keep the project going and expand into new territory. And, with the expansion of Queer State of Mind and the Brown Table we've added to our crew. It's been an interesting ride so far - and we've tried (and failed) at a lot. When you're a small team of volunteers (all with full-time jobs) for an organization with big goals, everything is an experiment. Sometimes it's a wonder we even have shows on the air and a website that's up and running (believe me, it's harder than any of us thought). Today, I logged into the blog to get it updated (we've had a LOT going on, and posts or feeds haven't been as current as they should, we're sorry for that) and noticed one thing. We hit 3,000 unique downloads this month. Since we started tracking in 2015, 3,000 episodes of our shows have been loaded to iPhones, tablets, transmitted through RSS feeds and streamed all across the world. Now, let's not get it twisted...the big shows get that in a day or for an episode. But for the little QPOC network from around the way, that meant something. QueerMinded Radio Network is a passion project. We don't make money; In fact, we pay - studio fees, website hosting, etc...we do it because we love it and we dreamed of it, and we were able to bring it to life. It began as a show that just wanted to provide an opportunity for more voices to reach the airwaves, an opportunity for our founders Dwayne and Deo to contribute an LGBTQ perspective to a new network. And then, we decided to try to bring it to anyone who would listen - and create a model for expansion to help our communities across the country. Each week, our hosts connect with listeners on topics big and small, silly and serious and everything in between.  We live in a world where you can talk about being queer, or being trans, and/or being black and be reasonably open. That doesn't mean that we live in a world where you can be queer or trans or black and be reasonably open. Despite that long road ahead, the future is bright for us, and for QueerMinded. But we need your help so that we can reach our true potential - connecting queer people of Color around the world, lifting and amplifying voices and contributing to the conversations and decisions that affect our lives. So that we all can be free to be. To help us in our mission - we ask three very important things. If you like our work - Download. Share. Engage. Download our podcast to your favorite device. Share us with your friends, especially if they are Trans or Queer people of Color. And engage with us. Tell us what you think about our shows, our posts, and what you would like to see more of. We're also looking to add new voices to our shows to represent all the communities we can, so if that sounds like something your down for - let us know! We have some exciting things coming up, and we want everyone to be a part. New shows, new projects and more - so stay tuned! Love, O  

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What's Going On @ The Ohio AIDS Coalition w/ The Mics of The BrownTable - 12/10/15

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Kalaeja, Adrian, Darìus, Ericka, Evan, & Alex

Today on The BrownTable, we are talking about those living with HIV/AIDS in honor of World AIDS DAY.  We are joined in the studio by Adrian Neil, Evan Robinson and Alex Hernandez.  Taking a break from the important work they do at The Ohio AIDS Coalition, they join us for a discussion on the stigma of having an HIV positive status, what programs & leadership opportunities exist for positive people living in Ohio, as well as the current state of HIV decriminalization in Ohio.    And in the second half of the show, we are back to the TeaRoom with Kalaeja Fincher, Ericka Holmes, Darìus Fincher, Adrian, Evan, Alex and  James Purtue to discuss what we thought of Chiraq  ***spoiler alert***   Nick Cannon is fine as Hell in this movie, and  he definitely can get it!  Also we talk about Trump's sorry ass and #WhiteCoats4BlackLives.   Recorded live in studio December 10th, 2015.

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LGBTQ History Month: Interview with Major! Documentary Filmmakers Annalise Ophelian & StormMiguel Florez

Screencapture from Major! from missmajormovie.com

Screencapture from Major! from missmajormovie.com

This month we continue the celebration of our Queer & Trans historical figures, and the rich history of our intersectional cultures and identities with a name you definitely should know, but may not - many call her "Mama", but most know her as Miss Major. Miss Major Griffin-Gracy is one of the women instrumental in the movements to advance the rights of Queer & Trans people of color An LGBTQ rights pioneer, Stonewall Veteran Griffin-Gracy has worked diligently for her most marginalized brothers and sisters of trans* and cis experience alike, and especially for trans women of color. She is Executive Director of the TGI Justice Project, a group focused on helping trans identified incarcerated people - and  a position which she will retire from this month, according to the website. A documentary that chronicles the life of Miss Major, from her words and the words of others premieres next month, November 13,  at the San Francisco Trans Film Festival. In August, we spoke with the creators of the film, Analise Ophelian and StormMiguel Florez about their experiences, in light of the well-publicized erasure of historical figures like Miss Major from the motion picture Stonewall by Roland Emmerich. And, if you are on the west coast, Miss Major's retirement party is this weekend in San Francisco on Sunday, October 15th. Help celebrate her decades of service and purchase tickets, or donate to Miss Major's Retirement Fund.
Screenshot of invitation to Miss Major's retirement party

Screenshot of invitation to Miss Major's retirement party

 

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BREAKING: QTPOC Activists Say "cis/whitewashed" "Stonewall" Movie Erases Queer, Trans, POC Participation, Anti-Movie Organzing Ensues

New petition on youth activism website GSA Unite represents a major movement to boycott upcoming "Stonewall" movie.

New petition on youth activism website GSA Unite represents a major movement to boycott upcoming "Stonewall" movie.

On that June Night in New York City in 1969 on Christopher Street at the iconic Stonewall Inn, police pushed a group of queer rebels to their limits. "We were in the Stonewall [bar] and the lights came on,  said the late activist Sylvia Rivera, in a 2001 interview with Leslie Feinberg at the New York Gay & Lesbian Center. "We all stopped dancing." The latest of what were regular raids forced the bar patrons into the"hot, muggy" streets for the last time. "We were not taking any more of this shit," said the Puerto Rican woman of trans* experience who was 17 then. "We had done so much for other movements. It was time." The drag queens, gays and lesbians and transgender people of all stripes trapped the police inside the bar for 45 minutes according to Rivera's account. The riot now infamously called "Stonewall Rebellion" was the first time the LGBT community had physically fought back against police oppression. They had no idea that, with the toss of a bottle, it would  be a riot for the history books. "The people who did the most fighting were the drag queens and the hustlers," said Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt, one of the rioters, in an interview with David Carter for the book "STONEWALL: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution." But that's not the story that we seem to get in the latest Hollywood trailer for the movie "Stonewall". The feature, coming to theatres in September, takes a different approach that has many upset. Queer and Trans activists of Color are taking to social media and more to express their outrage over  images and a trailer released this week from Roland Emmerich's upcoming wide release feature. Centered in the posters and the trailer is a white, seemingly cis-gender man from the midwest who is seen throwing the first brick...and many in the QPOC and greater LGBTQ communities are calling the portrayal  "erasure" , and a "whitewashed" and "cis-washed" version of reality. "It's kind of upsetting and equally disappointing," said Pat Cordova-Goff , a California-based college-student, writer and activist of POC trans womyn experience featured for her story on cable network Fusion. "The fact that I wasn't shocked is the reason I became angry." The anger made her create the GSA Unite petition to boycott the movie that, since Wednesday 5 August,  received over 12,000 signatures -- with  more and more adding with each page refresh.  Cordova-Goff thinks the support is "empowering," but, along with the supporters, there are some who disagree. "I am seeing many queer folks who are just not understanding of why we are doing this and where we are coming from, and often times those queer folks who are not supporting the petition are cis gay men," said Cordova-Goff via phone. Many accounts cite Sylvia Rivera as the woman who threw the first projectile in the riot. Others, like sources in Carter's book, cite Marsha P. Johnson as someone who was yelling in the middle of it all and throwing rocks at the start. Rivera says in a 2001 speech about the movement that “This was started by the street queens of that era, which I was part of, Marsha P. Johnson, and many others that are not here." Images from the time vary, some showing predominantly white crowds while others with queer and trans people clearly among the groups. Despite the debate on who threw what and who was there, the negative reaction this trailer, that "coincidentally" comes on the heels of another arguably white-washed movement, marriage equality, caused has been swift, vocal and unapologetic. The erasure of people who aren't white, able-bodied cis-gender people is nothing new; people are no longer shocked, but they are very much angry.

Who's narrative is it anyway? Transgender women of color started the Stonewall Riot! No movie will erase the true history of the LGBT rights movement. Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera & Miss Major Griffin-Gracy were not background actresses in this movement. They were the leading ladies of this movement. The real revolutionary S.T.A.R.'s! Any movie produced telling you otherwise is a flat out lie! Boycott the @StonewallMovie!!! #WeWillNotBeSilenced #TransHistory #SylviaRivera #MarshaPJohnson #StopTransErasure #TransErasure #StopTheShade #BlackLivesMatter #BlackTransLivesMatter #TransLivesMatter #TransIsBeautiful #ABeautifulTransition #Transgender #TWOC #StonewallMovieFake #StonewallMovie #Disaster #BoycottStonewallMovie #STAR #Stonewall #StonewallInn

A photo posted by Elizabeth Marie Rivera (@elizabeth_lolita_ninja) on

"It's hurtful...it's insulting...it's infuriating...I actually have made the disconcerted effort to not view the trailer," said Elizabeth Marie Rivera, a case worker and activist of trans experience living in New York.   "I had  a feeling that the trailer...that the movie... was going to be, I'm just going to be plainly honest, garbage." Rivera took to social media shortly after she heard the news, and started posting images on social media explaining her thoughts. The long-time activist, who works with queer and trans youth, made the comparison to James Cameron's "Titanic" and how that fictional story wrapped around the historical event. "Imagine James Cameron filming 'Titanic' with no  iceberg," said Rivera. Rivera continued that "Titanic" seemed to stick more to history even with fictional stories, while "Stonewall" seemed to change history for marketing and box-office sales. "The fact that this movie has been made in the way that it has is a good example...a good point to how we're still struggling for visibility, for acknowledgement, for recognition. That we're not even being recognized as being historical figures that created a movement that created rights. And the people who got this started were Marsha P Johnson, Silvia Rivera, Miss Major Griffin-Gracy and others who were there," said Rivera. The IMDB listing for the movie lists a character with the name "Marsha P. Johnson", but is listed far down on the list of characters, in the full cast list on IMDB. Another recognizable name, Ray Castro, is listed as one of the top 5 characters in the movie. Castro, who was born in Puerto Rico, is being played by  Puerto Rican actor Johnny Beauchamp according to IMDB records. Emmerich makes a reference in an interview with Vulture that Beauchamp is straight, saying" I think Jeremy did an amazing job playing gay, acting gay, and then there were gay actors who also did an amazing job. It was more about who was the best actor for the part, and I always do it like that." The article also indicated that gays and lesbians were cast, but the one recognizeable trans* character seems to be cast by cis male Brooklyn-born actor of Nigerian heritage Otoja Abit. Beauchamp has also played a trans* identified character on the show Penny Dreadful. The cast list doesn't include Sylvia Rivera or Miss Major. "It's ironic that given the visibility with the trans community that the director would even do this," said Rivera. She noted that with visible trans* storylines becoming more prevalent in media, that it would make sense that the director would want to capitalize on that, and depict more trans* and gender non-conforming people in the initial trailers. Emmerich made a statement on his Facebook page in response to the criticism that the trailer release caused, which also leaves activists like Cordova-Goff unsatisfied.
Screenshot from Roland Emmerich's facebook page regarding the controversy surrounding his upcoming movie, "Stonewall".

Screenshot from Roland Emmerich's facebook page regarding the controversy surrounding his upcoming movie, "Stonewall".

“I hear a lot of 'white savior complex' in that a cis man hears a sad story and thinks it's his responsibility to get the story out there, as if people of Color aren’t trying to do that... for example “Happy Birthday, Marsha!" said Cordova-Goff, in reference to another project in the works focusing on events leading up to that night at Stonewall. And, in light of the attention on "Stonewall" erasing QTPOC stories, many have put the spotlight on that story of legendary activist Marsha P. Johnson co-directed by Reina Gossett and Sasha Wortzel. According to information on the site, the movie is  is currently in Post-Production and the film creators are seeking donations to bring it to screen. Cordova-Goff said that supporting movies like "Happy Birthday, Marsha" is really what Hollywood should do to support QTPOC communities. "I honestly think in order to be allies they basically need to be intentional about creating space for people to tell our own stories instead of putting millions towards a white actor telling our story for us," said Cordova-Goff, who said that we need to do a better job of lifting all of our less-visible communities up at once, queer and trans people of color, sex workers, drag queens, all of the most marginalized. And for many who are hopeful that the movie isn't going to be as bad as many think it will be, the biggest impact is that anyone who might watch "Stonewall", they'll come away not knowing the richness of that movement and it's complete diversity. And although Emmerich says that "We are all the same in our struggle for acceptance," Cordova-Goff and others say the interpretation of how he and the writer depicted the events of 1969 shows a clear difference, to the detriment of viewers new to the movement. "They're getting a whitewashed cis-washed version of our actual history. And that’s not doing justice for our communities," said Cordova-Goff. The film is scheduled to debut at the Toronto Film Festival in September, and in wide release thereafter. Until the full movie is released, it's still up for debate how inclusive "Stonewall" will be. But activists like Cordova-Goff and Rivera said that the reality is that our most marginalized communities can't afford to be erased any longer, because their lives depend on it. And whether or not the movie is more accurate than meets the eye,  more is to come to make these voices heard, because their communities are still feeling the impact of the injustice, erasure and indifference toward against them - and, as we recognize an alleged 11 murders of trans* women of color this year in America, anti-trans* violence transphobia is still very real and deadly. "It's those types of things that make me realize that we have a long, long, long way to go...and this movie certainly didn't help that," said Rivera.              

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Queer Voices: Let America Be America Finally

Langston Hughes/Image from biography.com

Langston Hughes/Image from biography.com

We have a huge fireworks display in Columbus every year, and mostly every year I make the pilgrimage downtown to see friends, eat bad food and watch things go boom and light up the night sky. Each year, though, i've felt more disconnected from the idea of Independence Day and our country's celebrations of "freedom and liberty". Don't get me wrong, I love where I live, and i'm as American as anyone else whose born of this soil. But each year as we put on our all-flag red, white and blue everything and corral at the nearest city center to revere America's glory, it's hard not to see the smoke-and-mirrors of it all. I know that's way Debbie Downer, but it is what it is. Freedom is a privilege not granted to many, but promised to all. The pursuit of happiness is a journey that only some have the ability to embark on, others are just on the road to survival hoping to see the exit to happiness. When Langston Hughes wrote "Let America be America Again", it was a different time for sure. But the words are still real, still inspiring. And as a fellow QPOC, it spoke to me, especially in its relevance today. His words influenced, inspired and encouraged mine - and this poem is an adapted work from his original 1936 work.  Be well, and enjoy this day with people you love...reclaim it for you...and eat some barbecue. --- Let America Be America, Finally (inspired by and adapted from the 1936 Langston Hughes’ work, “Let America be America Again”). By Orie Givens   Let America Be America, finally Let it be the hope we wished it to be Let it be the change we’ve paved the way for On the long, twisted, uneven and deadly road to equal prosperity   (America still isn’t America to me)   Let America be the place where freedom rings, for all to hear and see Let it be the pride for true liberty for not just you but me and us equally Where all can be affirmed despite their race, color, religion or ethnicity Where genderfree love really wins for all, and all kids count and can be happy In cities and towns big or small, north or south, from sea to shining sea   (Nope, wasn’t ever America to me)   O, finally let our land be a land where Liberty Is more than the ritualistic, annual, glorified gun-blazed allegiance to flag and country But people are free to love, and be loved as they want to be And our primary values are not money or commodity but fairness and community   (Damn it, I’ve never felt truly free to be; not one minute, not one day in this “homeland of the free”)   And who are you heard in whispered tones, hushed and huddled in dark spaces, in nearly inaudible moans? Who are you that breaks silence of night with screams turning darkness into light? Who struggles not even to thrive, but to simply survive   I am the black man seen as number 1 public enemy, even killed, or told to “make it” but to never feel fulfilled, because you’re still a stupid nigger no matter how many accomplishments you build I am the black woman, seen, objectified, vilified but ignored almost blissfully despite achieving greatness daily in the face of adversity Unless it’s to talk about her being angry, or to comment on her hair or booty I’m the poor, hungry white dude living entitled expectations unfulfilled, rebuilding a life I never thought I’d have to rebuild I’m the exiled two-spirit trying find peace within Yearning to be a part of the circle again I am the genderqueer kid told he was an accidental freak, violently silenced by the burden of being unique, seeking self-harm to illuminate the bleak I’m the undocumented trans latinx woman fighting, phoenix rising Tethered down by, but still breaking, the shackles of our oppressive powers that be Standing up even when other oppressed people told her she had no right to speak   I am the young man full of strength and hope Bound by society’s ancient endless chain To be the “man’s man”, alpha dog - to always meet that unattainable pinnacle of masculinity To fight! to fuck! Conquer and control the weak! To take! To own! To seek and win, for all is mine and mine to keep. No matter the cost. Living original sin. But still wanting something different than the skin he’s in Trading fitting in for being truly free men Playing the part expecting to win, but losing over and over again   I am the corporate slave, indentured to the 9-5 master of endless hours a week,, pushing virtual papers tirelessly just to compete But still the new, sullen face in the pantry line, desperate and failing simply to make ends meet   I am the lost unemployment statistic, now calling my home that place on the street I’m the migrant worker picking produce so you all have something to eat While you tell me I’m not welcome, and call me a rapist on national TV I am the people, breaking, broken, broke   Yet still hopeful, hoping, hope inspired by little things – small victories in the lifelong war for me. Smiling in the gleam of rainbow-flags waving, our first family manifesting the hope and the dream - the sweet, sweet fruits of yesterday’s toil The yield of my ancestor’s tended soil, their endless toil now fueling me But their work never ending, now endlessly working me Because we continue fighting to be free, since America still isn’t free to me We see in every broken barrier one more opportunity But fall in every hidden pothole made to keep us from destiny We feel our creativities driving the pulse of our globalized identity While feeling suffocated, usurped and robbed of any upward mobility Despite the empty promises of equality through conformity Freedom granted to all, unless you’re like me   Why can’t I be me yet still be free? People like me? Black? Brown? Queer? Can we be free? What about those detained by I-C-E? Or the new human capital in modern day slavery? Building the prison industrial complex into our new global economy? Those working maximum schedules for minimum pay, that can’t afford family dinner at the end of the day? What about the kids cast away, because they were simply born this way? Those whose parents put the word of a book over the life that they made, without a second look? The girl whose only option for an honest day’s pay, is stroking a john at the end of his shitty day – because when she goes for interviews they whisper “she doesn’t look the right way, she's probably a mister."   For all the marches made For all the elections won And the times that we sang “We shall overcome” For all of the chants for equality and pride For the fists in the air, and the fighters outside, for the blood, for the pain, for the lives For all of the facebook debates, pithy memes, shade, side-eyes and twitter beefs And those working for justice causing chaos in the streets The millions who are broke, disenchanted and tired of wanting, waiting to be free Not able to pay their light bill with the little change we’ve seen.   Please, oh please let America be America, finally. The land that still has yet to be But still must be – where all people are free The land that’s ours – the land that’s too of the poor, the black, the queer, the land for me! Place in this “land of opportunity” built by our forefathers, the legacy left, the pathway cleared The land protected by men and women who died in war, Many of whom were just like me – black, brown, queer, just hoping to be free We are the controllers of our destiny It’s up to us to turn change into opportunity, hope into reality We must now demand “Let America be!”   Sure, call me nigger, fag, cocksucker or wussy queen Verbal venom is not poison, but fuel to me Make your laws and rules, keep your spaces elite Your systemic oppressive norms are just targets for me to seek Continue to beat me; by hand, custom or speak Physical and emotional pain but opportunity to identify what’s weak From those who use fear, power, money and greed As tools to cloud our destiny, to be free, truly free - From them, we must take back our beautiful country, America!   Time now to make ourselves free.  

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QueerVoices: I AM NOT MY BOA

by Cameron Scott, QueerMinded Contributor Is It possible to be conscious and Gay?? IMG_2857 As it stands, there are many different variations of Black American Consciousness. You have those who are unapologetically black, standing in the face of adversity with all types of "hell naw!". You have your Black Americans who are concerned with identity and respectability politics (what do they think of me, should I code switch etc.) Then you have people like me who stand somewhere in the middle of unapologetically black and your normal independent free thinking American. I like many of my gay brethren, and sisteren (is that a word?) love everything about being a Black American. Our words, music, culture, food and clothing have permeated American culture in such a way that you can’t go anywhere without seeing our influence. But there is a sect of the heterosexual Black culture that feels as though we don’t fit. These people are uber “Black” and use various African references to attest to this. Images of Egyptian Pharaohs are held as icons. Different variations of African folklore are brought up in casual conversation. But when it comes to us gays, if you ask many they will tell you that we do not fit inside of the construct of Black or African American consciousness. For those of you who may not be familiar with the movement, Dictonary.com describes Black Consciousness as: a movement of the 1960s after the civil rights movement of the 1950s, involving the cultivation of pride in a cultural identity for black persons Basically it’s a worldwide communmity that celebrates blackity blackness in all forms. But as with every movement you have your go hards. Conspiracy theories abound, Many so called “conscious” black folk or as I like to call them “The Super Negro”, began changing their pictures to the RBG colors (red,black and green) in protest. A lot of these people felt like the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Marriage for gay folks was an all-out attack on blackness by the powers that be to detract America’s attention away from the violence against black bodies as of late. Not everyone who changed their profile pic to the RBG colors did so with this in mind. But if you were to take a look inside various conscious Facebook groups you would see where the so called movement had its orgins. I belong to many of these groups and let me tell you, I held up the blood stained banner for gayphigay by my lonesome. It was tiring but a brutha don’t mind putting in that work. Now I have my feelings on how the media does it’s news cycles on which will be discussed on another blog but for right now I have a few choice words for my fellow so called “Super Negro” brothers and sisters. First off, I am a black gay man but black first. There is this rhetoric in these so called intelligent circles that the homosexuality is a European construct unknown to Africa prior to colonization. This is completely wrong. We first have to start with the fact that Africa is not a country it is a Continent with thousands of different tribes, dialect, rituals and creeds. To try to lump Africa as one monolithic “thing” is preposterous. Most of these so called “Super Negro’s” call on references of Egypt and ancient Ethiopia not paying attention to the fact that those regions are miles and a desert away from where our so called ancestors came from. Almost 97 percent of Africans transported to the Americas during the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade came from West Africa so your ancestors probably came from countries like Nigeria or the region that is now modern day Ghana, not Egypt. Secondly, Homosexuality was present and is still present in many different tribes in Africa till this day. There are many tribes that recognize a “third gender” like the Mukodo Dako amongst the Nilotico Lango men in Uganda. Or you have, the act of homosexual sex between men was know as Bian’nku Ma, in what is now present day Cameroon and was/is considered to bring wealth to the men who participate in it. There are countless other examples that one would only have to do a little research to find. Thirdly, It wasn’t until the Christian missionaries arrived in Africa that the concept of Homosexuality was all out condemned. You have to understand the reasoning for this. Africans were considered non civilized to Europeans who considered themselves to be the upmost forms of human beings on the planet. Christian concepts were brought to the would be slaves to tame them and keep them calm. African kings did indeed sell some of their slaves to the colonist participating in the slave trade, but slavery in Africa was more like indentured servitude where the slave could work or buy his way to freedom. Once the African kings heard of the harsh treatment that the slaves they sold were receiving and learned from escapee’s the plan to brainwash their fellow man, all hell broke loose. This is the part of the slave narrative that is never ever EVER told. It is widely believed that homosexual acts were ceremoniously done between warriors before battle as a marker for good luck and for a while the Africans were kicking the Europeans ass… Until they came back with guns. So yes, Shaka Zulu an nem did butt stuff. A lot. Without going any further into a whole dissertation on the presence of homosexuals in Africa pre colonization, I say all this to say that, "No, mister “Super Negro”, you are wrong." The claim or allegation that gay Africans did not exist before European take over and, that the original black man was and could not ever be gay is absurd. There is no evidence that supports this theory; and, frankly, common sense would tell you otherwise. If all of this were inherently true then I myself and a million other black gay men across the globe must be unicorns or something because last time i looked in the mirror I damn sure well was indeed black. As hell. Being gay does not take away from my blackness in any sense of the word. To be considered conscious one must have a full understanding of self. Having a full understanding of self is what led me to come out the closet. How can I not be conscious when I am the full personification of the definition of the word? Furthermore, for anyone in the conscious community to align themselves with post-colonial ideals of black masculinity is giving up to the construct of white supremacy which is something that the so called “Super Nego” vehemently detests. I would expect more from you "Mister Mega Negro." It should also be noted that it was black trans women and drag queens that threw the first punch in the Stonewall Riots, sparking the whole gay rights movement. Yes black women are magic, no matter which form they may come in. When you pray to your African Orisha, give a shout out to Erinle, an African Orisha who was known to be androgynous, wear refined garments and is the official gods of the gays. This comes out of the Yourba tradition in West Africa, the area that our ancestors came from. So while you pick and choose which tribes to take traditions from, remember that there is a queen that members of your bloodlines prays and gives offerings to, to this very day.

Image created by @DaniloLejardi

Image created by @DaniloLejardi

So yes a black gay man can indeed be conscious. To have knowledge of self is powerful, and it takes a lot of power to be this fucking fierce amongst the world of racism and micro aggressions rather it’s coming from the so called “man”, or that ambiguously fragmented group “The Hyper Conscious, Pseudo Conflicted Super Negro” There is no way in hell that I or any other black gay man should let a small group of Mega Nigga’s police my blackness while being black themselves. The whole concept is stupid when you think about it. In all seriousness, Black Gay Americans were elated at the Supreme Courts decision on gay marriage, but we also felt a twinge of immense sadness due to the fact that yes one part of our minority status is victorious, but on the other hand our brothers are getting shot up by police, and our churches are being burned. Hell yeah we are still angry. Foaming at the mouth even, and aint no way some simple minded, dread head wearing, sandlewood oil rubbing, incense burning Super Negro going to down play my emotional connection to my people and the community to which I love and fight for. Fuck y'all, fist my fist stays up. Ashé.

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Editorial: Why I'll Take This Marriage Win For QPOCs - But, I'm Still Mad About It & Demand More

It's about more than marriage. Courtesy of GetEqual

It's about more than marriage. Courtesy of GetEqual

The US Supreme Court spoke powerfully on Friday; and, though I am thrilled at the decision, it's hard not to think that same-sex marriage became a whitewashed money-driven politicized campaign issue that has little effect on marginalized queer people, especially QPOCs. To me, this statement from the NBJC says it all: "Today, the Supreme Court’s decision to recognize that all people have the right to marry affirms the powerful work of so many in our beloved community who organized and paved the way for us to see this day, and be respected with the dignity due to us as human beings.” And then the reality, too, that this is just a point on the timeline, with many more to go continuing with, “There is still much work to be done moving forward in the pursuit of racial justice, full equality and an equitable country for all people. For those that live at the intersection of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, faith and many other identities, critical issues like violence against our community, access to employment and housing, stigma and hate crimes, immigrant rights—or simply being accepted by family, houses of worship, and your community—are present barriers that prevent many in the Black LGBT community from living their most open and authentic lives. Lifting up these issues that impact the most marginalized in our communities is the unfinished business for full equality in our nation.” I know, I know “but we should be happy, right?” Sure, at the same time, allow me to echo the message of my timelines and twitter lists and the statement above: Marriage is a victory; however, it is absolutely the case that we are nowhere near the end of our fight and must continue to demand much more focus on the issues prominent in the minds of people whose voices have been silenced or further marginalized in order for love to win. And it’s up to our LGBTQ organizations to help lift the QPOC groups that have been fighting for these causes while they weren’t, not take them over and push people further out of view. “It will have a positive impact on same sex couples and LGBT families across the nation, but of course, it won’t solve everything, said Ineke Mushovic, Executive Director of LGBT Movement Advancement Project, the organization that released the report on LGBT POC economic instability last April. That report outlined three reasons why QPOCs are more likely to suffer from economic instability. Number 2 was lack of family recognition by governments.  Numbers 1 and 3 are lack of comprehensive LGBTQ inclusive-measures in schools, and lack of protections from systematic discrimination in areas such as housing. So even the data says we're not done. While people were trying to get married, these things were also happening: Violence against POC and LGBT POC - both physical and psychological, securing full trans* rights and protections, rampant global murders against trans* women of color and transphobia, lack of universal protection against employment and housing discrimination, systemic racism, xenophobia and mistreatment of immigrants, unfair immigration policies governing entry into stolen land, continued oppression of indigenous populations and displacement from their original lands, heterosexism and misogyny and other unquantifiable institutionalized barriers to LGBTQ POC, POC and LGBTQ success. Those are all important issues literally affecting the lives and livelihoods of millions that have been ignored or pushed to the side or overshadowed by the blind pursuit for marriage. And i'm tired. People are fucking dying.  We can and should still be fired-up and angry about those things, and the government and Gay Inc.’s ignorance of them, all day every day until we get the resolution we demand. So know that I have no desire to tell anyone how they should feel about this ruling. I do want to outline just how this ruling will have more impact on LGBTQ POC than some perceive , especially those who are in same-sex partnerships with children.
Screenshot from report "Paying an Unfair Price" from LGBTMAP

Screenshot from report "Paying an Unfair Price" from LGBTMAP

In our Why Are QPOC So Broke segment earlier this year, we discussed some of the economic factors that cause LGBTQ POC to be at an increased risk for economic instability and the results of the report Paying a Higher Price: The Cost of LGBT POC …Those who live in states that formerly prohibited same-sex marriage missed out on several economic and legal protections for themselves and their families that are now guaranteed. Access to adoption, taxation benefits, insurance, pension – all of these things can have true financial benefits for QPOC families. Plus, the security that comes for children when both their parents are legally able to protect them and advocate them despite biology is priceless. But, those things are only guaranteed if, and only if, if you and your spouse have walked down the aisle and/or signed the dotted line of a marriage certificate. And that’s simply not enough. "We also have to recognize that different families are living in different circumstances, and the most important thing is that we look at ways to create laws that protect families and children, even if by choice or by circumstance they aren't in the type of legal relationship that we normally would think of," said Mushovic. For some people I know (hell even for me, with all of the privileges that I have ) who are queer, or trans* or LGB people of color, the other protections not currently granted, coupled with the rampant intolerance, hatred, anti-queerness, anti-minority sentiments that still exist right now in all corners of our nation and even our world  are much more present at the top of our minds than marriage equality. And everyone’s excitement about it only serves to increase our acute awareness of how little those other issues matter to the mainstream, and how invisible we still are. At the same time, damn it, we're not ready to marry! Not because we haven't found love or don't want it, but because many of us still cannot live our full selves openly. Who is going to run to the altar when many people like me didn't even used to see gay marriage as an option, and still live with those psycohological scars of growing up in America as a gay, black child? A child conditioned to think  that he can’t possibly be in a partnership with a man in the same way they can be with a woman? A child who knows that, because the institutionalized heteronormative, white supremacist, anti-queer and anti-black rules of conformity have conditioned them to believing it is right, some see people like me  as unsuitable partners or toys to be played with and put away. And they treat people like me as second class. How about my trans* sisters and brothers who tell me they experience trauma daily, from going to the grocery store and enduring stares like they're on display at Macy's, or being accosted by the police and then harrassed because of identity documentation that doesn't accurately reflect their identity, or having to defend their very right to live to people, queer or not,  who feel somehow supreme because of their gender identity and exact violence with their words or actions. Or being killed because someone felt uncomfortable and felt that their comfort meant more than a life. It's a happy day, but it's a sad day. People are still dying because of intolerance, and whether or not this ruling has an effect on changing that is yet to be determined. I’m cautiously optimistic. It’s a victory, but it’s certainly not the victory – we’re capable of so much more. We cannot and will not continue to allow voices to be suppressed, ignored, marginalized, silenced, whitesplained, queersplained, cis-splained, demoralized, dehumanized and/or victimized any longer as they have been throughout our history as a nation, and specifically throughout this movement toward same-sex marriage. Voices were excluded from the conversations; and, those voices were the ones whose messages we critically needed to hear. The result was sharp increase in trauma against LGBTQ POCs from both queer and non-queer people alike. It’s time to listen and act on what we hear from new voices, now. It’s really time for these big organizations who usurped all of our resources in order to move the marriage equality movement forward to give back and step back so that other progresses can be made, and use the resources and capital they’ve built to help strengthen the lives of LGBTQ POC and other marginalized queer people. That needs to happen right now, today and until all those things I mentioned above are much closer to being the past instead of the present or future. HRC don't call me and ask for another goddamn dime until your agenda and actions begin to make marked improvements in the lives of queer and trans* people of color. But, again, I'm not the only one...many, many writers and reporters and activists have echoed these sentiments...it's just time to actually listen, hear and act. Last week, my friends and I experienced blatant and traumatic homophobia and racism which I wrote about in the coming up show blog. Like many instances, it's still burned in my mind, for now. Then i'll file it away in the trauma folder and move forward.  Every day it's real to me just how deep the problems are in this country, and how much still we need to achieve so everyone feels empowered, capable and able to live their full life and be their authentic selves to everyone. Again, it's so much more than marriage that needs to happen in our world that I can't even fully explain - but the United States government literally affirmed that all marriages are equal, our couples (many of whom are comprised of LGBTQ POCs) can marry like everyone else and that is still a “big fuckin' deal”. Imagine if our government  put an emphasis on ending violence against trans* women of color 5 or 10 years ago? Or there was no "War on Drugs" or "Broken Windows" policies unfairly criminalizing and targeting poor people and people of color, or unjust sex work prohibitions that also unfairly target poor people and people of color. What about if our government started to really explore and find solutions for how systemic racism, homophobia and transphobia have permeated through our social structures at all levels back when the AIDS epidemic first became news in the 1980s, or even the civil rights movements in the 60s or the women's rights movements before that? What if race riots didn't burn black settlements, businesses and communities in the post-Slavery era? We might have fewer names on the lists we keep to remember our fallen minority men and women who have lost their lives at the hand of systemic violence...we might have had fewer young people and adults who took their lives because they thought the world would never accept them.  We'd have fewer people in jails serving ridiculous sentences and fewer people who are unemployable after rehabilitation because of criminal pasts, also disproportionally poor and of color. Fewer people could have died from AIDS. Not only do the laws we have not truly protect us, our great nation did (if one even thinks it did any job) a poor job of of making it right after we "gave people their rights" either by law or by order. So, trust,  I surely understand and join in the skepticism, criticism and even disbelief in the fact that this order of the court really matters to our every day lives. Show me the change, and i'll believe it. The time is now, and as many have said we are not asking, we are demanding! In my opinion, we mark this in the book as a "W" in a scorecard yet to be fully tallied. That's a good thing. And we did this. QPOCs did this. Sure the billboards and the ads were blindingly white, and the talking heads were cis gay and lesbian couples from affluent backgrounds. But we know the truth, and just as we call out and say “you built this movement on our backs”, we also have to know that it’s ours. I think of the movie “The New Black” and all of the communities like that who fought against amendments in their local areas. The QPOCs that fought. This victory is ours, too. And now that we know our government and our courts can be responsive to what we want as a people, let's get more of what we deserve. (and here is where I delve into the part of the editorial referred to as the "call to action" - take it as you will) Keep being loud. Keep talking about what we experience every day. Keep making people with privilege uncomfortable with raw, fruitful and engaging conversations about your experiences. Take the asterisks of the word nigger and the word faggot and all the other slurs and talk about how the problem is NOT that they are offensive to our sensibilities; but, that the problem is how those words and other overt and covert words, phrases, symbols, images, ideals and beliefs are tools in the toolbox used to form opinions and prejudices in the minds of people causing them to do unjust, violent and oppressive things to us nearly every moment of our lives. And, that ceasing to use them or give them power is not succumbing to the "PC-police", the "liberal agenda" or the "language police", but trying to create a more affirming world for all to live their best, true selves. If you are a person of intersectional identity, continue to call people in on topics of race, gender, sexual orientation, disability status and other marginalized identities to which you ascribe, but maintain your presence as a person who has a right to exist without justification or legitimization from others and maintain your safety and wellness above all else! We are not hear for your entertainment, education or information – but, and I can only speak for myself, I will engage and educate anyone who respectfully comes to me to do so. If you feel empowered or comfortable enough to do so, I encourage you to do, as it builds bridges stronger than anything else. And I offer you QueerMinded as a platform to help bring your stories to light, and to keep our communities informed. If you are an ally to a person with a marginalized identity -- even if you, too, hold a different marginalized identity -- recognize that you're experience and opinion, however valid, may only be so in the perspective of your experience as an ally. It DOES NOT refute or replace the first-hand experiences of a person living a specific marginalized identity or intersection of one or more marginalized identities. Your strongest asset is your ability to speak in spaces inaccessible to marginalized groups, and have conversations (albeit, uncomfortable ones) with people like you about people like us. It is not to question, condemn or explain our feelings or experiences. Be our cheerleader, advocate and defender in those spaces where we have no access or voice; because, in my opinion that's where it matters most. And learn to be supportive, and sometimes silent, in our spaces - because the depth of the trauma we have endured may make us very sensitive to those who have not directly experienced what we have, and your mere presence or words may invoke flashbacks of violence or trauma. I know that I have both felt that from allies, as well as caused those feelings to those whom I wanted to be an ally. President Obama just echoed what scholars, activists, grassroots leaders and others have said for years - racism is everywhere, homophobia is everywhere, misogyny is everywhere and we have to disinfect our society of it from top to bottom. I think of people like Audre Lorde, Silvia Rivera, pioneers in our movement that many people don’t even know about. People before us who said powerful things that are still true today, that some of us don’t even want to acknowledge. Laws, flags, symbols – they are all just things created as a part of a complex, oppressive and inherently biased system that really is THE problem. Rulings like these are like spraying a spot of cleaner on a really dirty bathroom, in a really messed up house. We haven't even begun to get into all the nooks and crannies around the back of the toilet, but hopefully, eventually, we'll get our whole house clean (Or at least presentable enough for company, as my mom would say).

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BREAKING: US Supreme Court Declares Same-Sex Marriage Legal

We’ve just received word that the Supreme Court of the United States has declared in a 5-4 decision that marriage equality is now the law of the land. The decision came just after 10am this morning, with the court holding that the fourteenth amendment requires a state to licens a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognized those marriawges The decision overturns that of the 6th circuit court of appeals – the group of cases included Obergefell V Hodges from Ohio, as well as cases in Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee…QMLogo We’ll bring you more on this historic decision as information becomes available.

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Coming Up: Our QueerMinded Anniversary! An Editorial Reflection On The Past Year

orieselfie Hello QueerWorld! It's Orie your co-host and News Director, Orie. For this coming up post, I'd like to write a bit differently. Bear with me. I can't believe it's been a year. When I sat with Dwayne at Olde Towne Tavern to talk about QueerMinded in May of 2014, I didn't know exactly what that next year would bring. I'd always had a dream to do a show like QM, something focused on issues important to LGBTQ people, lifting voices of those seldom heard (lawd jesus I sound like Barbara Walters...) Reporting news that mattered to our community. It was kismet that this show came along, and I'm thankful for Dwayne and Deo for entrusting me with it. 10500519_10102575345523954_5810251078307801924_n Our first show was rocky. We tackled Marriage Equality. Oddly, that subject is one of our forefront (but certainly not our only, don't get it twisted) issues today. We're currently waiting in front of our internet-driven devices with SCOTUSblog on the ready, waiting for this very Thursday or Friday to tell us, once and for all, that the United States of America recognizes our love just like we do...regardless that it's made up of two men or two women. It was the first (and last) show of my friend and colleague Jillian Eugenios, who is a big-time reporter at CNN money and had to dedicate herself to that full-time. It was also the on-air hosting debut of my co-host SaRea Surmon. You wouldn't know it now, but SaRea had never been on the air before as a host...and really never reported as a journalist. Now, she might as well have a degree. As a journalist, I made a couple of mistakes in that show. I completely botched an interview subject's name. Not once, but multiple times. In J-School that would get you an auto-fail, and I beat myself up about it for weeks to come (and instituted a rundown and scripting protocol thereafter). And after the show aired I got a very polite but disappointed  email about it from the guest (for which I absolutely am not mad at all, and understand completely where she was coming from) You see, it was my first day on the job, too. I'd been on the air several times before in my long relationship with the airwaves - but this time was remarkably different. QueerMinded was mine, now. It's like when you're the name under the Nightly News banner...it's a wonderful, pressure-filled and powerful responsibility that anyone who is in news doesn't take lightly. When you put your name on something, you stand by it, you represent it and it represents you. And for the first time, that name was mine. On a whole freaking show. That was just the beginning of what was to come, and you realize that from Day 1, every day is a learning opportunity and an opportunity to make mistakes. As I listen back to that show, which is posted for you all to hear below., as News Director and that name on the show I can't help but to  think back over the past year  on all the mispronounced names, missed cues, botched taped interviews, bad news reads, miswritten facts, poorly asked questions, horrible sound, dead air, interviews that ran too long, guests that could have been a bit more engaging and you might think that well...we have a lot to learn. And we do, we always do, and we will do as long as we air. But, I also think about what we did do - we discussed issues that you don't hear about on Nightly News...at least,not until recently. We covered issues in the trans* community before Caitlyn( but not as well as we could have or should have, we humbly admit), we discussed race and identity not as a blight but as a point of pride. We interviewed people across the country and around the world. We traveled to the Gay Games and reported on-scene. We explored all of the letters of our community with an open, honest wish to provide our community with a voice to tell their stories. We laughed, we cried, we drank a lot of whiskey and gin (shoutout to Dani at Olde Towne!), but we managed to put shows on the air that reflected stories and uplifted voices of Queer People of Color across the globe. And we provided a platform for queer people to share their thoughts, opinions, voices and views. What an amazing thing?! It was a big queer news year, too. Kicking off with Windsor, and all of the federal and state court decisions that would follow. Plus the instances of injustice big and small that were near and far, from unjust laws, to vicious attacks. Countless LGBTQ people across the world have faced violence, discrimination, or even lost their lives. But there were victories, too. Laws are changing. Attitudes are changing. Same-sex marriage is legal in more states and countries now than ever before. And more people are speaking out, telling their stories and identifying the aspects of our society where more work needs to be done. Some of us are still asleep; but, it's not because those of us who have awoken aren't screaming. Our official anniversary was last week, when we celebrated Columbus Pride. For us that was a moment of pure magic and joy, a culmination of our efforts over the year and a representation of how far we've come - oh yea, in case you didn't know, it rained like a monsoon and completely washed everything out. We marched anyway, and we saw so many wonderful people lining the streets. Our QueerMinded team (Yes, after a year, we have a whole team! more like a basketball team than a football team, but a team nonetheless!) were complete troupers hanging out in the rain, walking down the streets and waving and greeting the crowds. James and I took selfies with as many people as we could, especially QPOCs along the parade route. It was truly spectacular, and I can't thank everyone enough. Special shoutout's to James' mom Ms Sherri, who brought us ponchos and marched right along side with us, rain and all...she even helped pass out cards and took selfies' too. This was true pride...also, step 2, "Ignore Adversity," but I digress. But, it wouldn't be all soggy rainbows and puddles of glitter...that same very day we saw the beauty of Columbus, we saw the ugly. I won't go into too much specifics, but intimate partner violence was involved between a neighbor couple, and when members of my team tried to intervene, they were referred to as "niggers" and "faggots". We just left the damn parade, and immediately there after racism, homophobia, anti-blackness and anti-queerness are thrown in our helpful faces. Again, we wouldn't let it get the best of us...and we decided to do the gayest and blackest thing we knew how - a bunch of grown-ass men played double dutch in the street, just steps away from their front door. Bye, Felicia. All of this is to say that I know how far we've come, both as a show and a society. But we have so much work to do, I need that football team. (Note, if you want to help make QueerMinded happen and join our volunteer team, let me know what you can do). Trans* women of color are dying around the world and we need to talk about to people who may not hear about it, and lift our trans* sister's voices and silence our own so they can tell their stories. We need to lift more voices from our smaller ethnic and racial queer communities of color...we want to hear your voices, and we will work to bring your stories to our platform. QueerMinded isn't just about news and information, it's about promoting a safe space for our identities, and a platform for our ideas. It's about sharing our voices, and informing each other about both our diverse and collective experience. It's about establishing our place on the map, and providing a venue for those who come after us to know that who they are is no accident, no shameful secret and no phase to be dealt with or prayed away. It's so that anyone with an internet connection who is LGBTQ and a person of color, or allies with LGBTQ people of color can find a place on the web where people talk like them, sound like them and discuss things that are relevant to them - as well as help to open eyes to new things outside of our daily experience. We are at the beginning of something great, and I hope you'll continue with us for another year and beyond. To all our team, past and present, thank you for all that you have done and continue to do - SaRea (my partner in this adventure, the gin to my whisky, the first one that was like 'I'm down for the whatever, let's do it'), James ( My voice of the people, the one who will always do the most no matter what) and his partner Daniel (our gracious host and benefactor!) Jillian, Brandon & and all our guest co-hosts, guests and supporters, we really could not have done all of this without each and every one of you. Here's to another year, all the awesomeness to come, and 365 more days of living courageously! Finally, if you've managed to read along this far - make sure to take part in our show. You're a welcomed contributor to QueerMinded. Email us, message us on social media, send us a message on our website...let us know you're listening and what you think. Who knows, we might ask you to come on the air and share your story, because you're exactly who we want to hear from. Join us live for the celebration 8/7c on TalktainmentRadio Thursday, or in podcast anytime the following weekend.  

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