Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Friday, May 10, 2013

Activism at Historically Black Colleges and Universities

This posting is from Marco, who's not been able to post to the blog:

Upon researching LGBT activism and policy with respect to college campuses, I came across the Human Rights Campaign's Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) Program. Their home website is here (http://www.hrc.org/issues/pages/historically-black-colleges-universities-hbcus). The program, expectedly, states that it "educates and organizes students, faculty and administrators at HBCU campuses on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues specific to each institution's needs. The program is centered around the greater Washington, D.C. area, and was founded in 2000 as a response to a surge of on-campus violence at HBCUs against LGBT students.

One interesting facet within the mission statement of the HRC's HBCU Program that stood out to me has to do with what separates it from other LGBT programs around the country. It states, "For many in the African American LGBT community, it is challenging to be who you are because you have additional cultural factors to consider - including having to deal with strong family foundations that emphasize heterosexuality and strong conservative religious ties within the Black Church." The religious aspect of this statement got me thinking about the great role that religion plays within LGBT civil rights, and reminded me loosely of
The Anita Bryant Story with respect to the power of religion.

The HRC's HBCU Program's crowning event is its annual Leadership & Career Summit every fall. The Summit is recapped in this video here (
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdZ6Pfrhaoo) and also detailed on the HRC's blog here (http://www.hrc.org/blog/entry/wrapping-up-hrcs-hbcu-leadership-career-summit-2012). 

The Good Bigoted People

I just read this article from Thought Catalog and though it's not the most informative, I thought it was a touching attempt of starting discussion on subtler forms of bigotry.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Straight people answer when an age old question for gay people

Hey class,

I found this video that films people as they answer whether they believe that gay people choose to be gay or not, and then answer the question of when did they choose to be straight.  It's pretty interesting.

Do straight people choose to be straight?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


I just stumbled across the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network that seeks to create safe schools for all students and in which acceptance of all people, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity, is a paramount vision. If you have time you might find it interesting to browse their website: http://www.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/all/about/record/1874.html

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Gay Rights in Cuba

Relevant to tomorrow's discussion -- interesting NPR story about Raul Castro's daughter's advocacy for gay rights in Cuba.

Listen here:

Monday, May 6, 2013

Public Accommodation of Transgendered Individuals in the Prison System

My blog posting topic was on housing and public accommodation.  After today's discussion on jailing of gay victims of domestic violence, I was curious about how transgendered individuals are treated within the prison system.  Generally speaking, individuals are held in cells based on their biological sex as determined by "stop and frisk" policies.  Harassment and often assault have arisen from this discrimination, particularly M-F transgendered individuals housed in male prisons.  However in 2012 the LAPD, after receiving recommendations from the Transgender Law Center, announced changes to its policies in regards to the treatment of transgendered inmates including providing inmates with hormone treatments as well as addressing them by their preferred gender pronoun and name, if different from their legal name.  While the police chief recognized potential resistance from officers, he believed in the long term implementation of these revised policies. More information on the LAPD statement can be found here. Another interesting piece I found, which I literally would not have believed had it not been published by the New York Times, described a 2012 case in Massachusetts where a federal Judge ordered an inmate to be given sex reassignment surgery. The judge ruled that denial of surgery to fix extreme gender identity disorder would be "cruel and unusual punishment" in violation of the 8th amendment. The original article can be found here and a 2013 update in the Boston Globe can be found here. I hope that the extremity of this latter case does not undermine the gravity of reforms needed but rather further highlights future fundamental changes to the current prison system to accommodate transgendered individuals.  I found the array of materials fascinating and am curious to see how such recent prison reforms play out and if they are successful and able to reduce harassment and abuse.

Prop 8 - The Musical


50 Shades of Gay

This past January, TED talks published a video of iO Tillett Wright entitled 50 Shades of Gay.  I can't remember if anyone had brought this up in class (I couldn't find it on the blog) but I found it while procrastinating for my finals and thought you all might enjoy it.  Wright is a "tomboy-girl interested in boys and girls" who in 2010 began to photograph thousands of individuals who identify somewhere along the LGBTQ scale for her photo project Self Evident Truths.  Her talk touches upon many of the issues we have discussed in class including gender variance and fluidity, the marriage debates, prop 8 and the concept of identity boxes.  You can view the TED talk here and visit the Self Evident Truths website here.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

"Butch Please: Butch With a Side of Misogyny"

Hey y'all, just stumbled across this piece on the underlying misogyny within the butch community and I thought it related well to our class. The author discusses her personal experiences as a butch, and the gender roles associated with butches and femmes. It reminded me a lot of the readings that we did on lesbian bar culture, which surprised me personally because I wasn't aware that the butch/femme relationship was still prevalent today. The author explains that she's noticed many butches acting in a misogynistic manner towards femmes, leading to an objectification of the femmes. She comes to the conclusion that "queers can perpetuate rape culture just as much as the next frat boy, and among too many butches, there seems to be an acceptance of this very kind of behavior."  


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Religion, Faith and the Queer Community

We all know this is no new discussion. When it comes to homosexuality and religion, there is a huge range of responses and experiences. There are religions such as hinduism that is in full support of homosexuality. Some of their gods are of a third sex and they are generally more accepting. Most religions that are opposed to homosexuality find the behavior  more than the person to be sinful. There are places that offer such options as conversion therapy to "help" these people. However, as we move forward in history, more and more religions are becoming more accepting and understanding of the queer lifestyle, some even blessing same-sex marriages. As we all have read, religion is a huge reason people use to fight for the tradition and sanctity of marriage being between a man and a woman. It is important to note that there are many different interpretations of what is implied by religion texts when it comes to the subject of homosexuality. With likes like "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman: it is an abomination" (Lev 18:22) in the bible it is important to think about the way in which we interpret them. Should it be taken literally or should we think about the historical context? 

Here is a link to people answering what they think the bible says about homosexuality and a discussion about the context in which it must be read. 


Is religion a good enough reason to deny equal rights? Is was not when it came to slavery or women's rights. Why are gay rights any different?