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San Antonio School to Make Changes After Transgender Student Leads Protest

February 26, 2015 By: jaysays Category: activism

Memorial High School Transgender ProtestYesterday, we learned that Jayden Blake Castillo, a transgender student at Memorial High School in the Edgewood School District of San Antonio, Texas, had planned a protest at the school to highlight the discrimination he has faced. Through social media, Jayden recounted the problems he had been facing with the school. Many teachers, including the school Principal, Michael Rodriguez, refused to acknowledge Jayden’s correct gender and insisted on referring to him with female pronouns. The catalyst that sent Jayden into action was a recent episode on a school bus, when Jayden was forbidden from riding the “boys bus” under a newly implemented gender segregation policy.

At approximately 11:30 a.m. yesterday, Jayden, along with his parents, several supportive students and human rights activists, arrived at the school seeking action and answers. Several media outlets were also present. During the protest, Principal Michael Rodriguez, who Jayden alleges had previously been dismissive and condescending to him, greeted the protesters and invited Jayden, his parents, and transgender activist, Nikki Araguz-Lloyd to come speak with him.

Jayden emerged from the meeting with several promises from Principal Rodriguez, which if implemented properly should make the remainder of Jayden’s high school tenure more tolerable. The agreements included sensitivity training from Memorial High School staff and a promise to lobby the Edgewood Independent School District officials to do the same at all schools within its District. The Principal also promised they would stop gender segregation on the buses and would work directly with Jayden to provide him access to a bathroom, in hopes of avoiding future problems.

According to Roland Martinez, a spokesperson for Edgewood School District, the district is reviwing its policy on interaction with transgender students. The current policy is to address such students according to the gender noted on legal documents supplied to the school.

Jayden’s “victory” yesterday isn’t his alone. He’s bold action and bravery will undoubtedly impact future students at Memorial High School and how those students are treated by faculty and staff. However, there is much more work to be done to insure a safe learning environment for transgender youth. As noted earlier, Jayden experienced severe bullying at his prior school.

The Texas legislature enacted anti-bullying legislation in 2011, which provided for a formal reporting process for Texas School Districts with respect to incidents of bullying. However, the original text of House Bill 1942 and its sister legislation Senate Bill 471, were modified after concerns were had over whether the bill was passable with sexual orientation and gender identity included in the enumerated categories. To overcome this concern, the enumerated categories were removed and such enumerations were left to each school district. The end result is that each of the 1,031 School Districts in Texas will be responsible for determining how episodes of bullying are reported, making statistics gathering more difficult and addressing the underlying causes of bullying particularly challenging. Thus, district by district we must walk, to effect the change we hope to see within the education system so that students like Jayden, and every other child in our public schools, has not only equal access to education, but fair access to it.

Community College District Won’t Discriminate – Except in the Bathroom

June 18, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Discrimination, Featured

Bathroom discrimination - a okay!The San Antonio LGBT Community has been petitioning the Alamo Community College District, which oversees 5 community college campuses in the San Antonio area, to amend its existing policies to include sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.  The initiative has largely been led by the student organization, Gay and Lesbian Association of San Antonio College.  After two meetings and many conversations with the Board, the ACCD has agreed to vote on a policy which would include sexual orientation, but not gender identity/expression.

However, in what could be called an effort to be inclusive, the Chancellor for ACCD, Bruce H. Leslie, issued a “Chancellor’s Clarification” citing the existing policies against discrimination based upon gender to be inclusive of “gender identity.”  In the clarification, the Chancellor writes:

The Alamo Colleges values and affirms the diversity of its students and employees. The Alamo Colleges also supports inclusiveness that recognizes, values, and reflects the diversity of our community. This inclusiveness extends to transgendered individuals.

Sounds pretty good, right? But the Chancellor didn’t stop there.  While in one breath he declares discrimination against transgender individuals to be a violation of policy, in the next he condones discrimination:

…nothing in this clarification or the policies or procedures shall be construed to establish discrimination or harassment based on gender identity due to the denial of access to shared facilities in which being seen unclothed (even partially, such as in restrooms) is unavoidable.

Thus, denial of the use of a public restroom to transgender persons will not be construed as discrimination under the policy.  I believe the popular term for this is, “FAIL!”

In a meeting with the San Antonio Gender Association last night, representatives of the LGBT community discussed an approach to deal with this harmful “Clarification” and the pending vote on inclusion of sexual orientation in the non-discrimination policy.  I sat in on the meeting and have never been so proud of our community.  LGB person after LGB person agreed that we will not leave the “T” behind.

On Tuesday, June 22, we will again appear before the board and ask the board to postpone decision on these policies for a period of 90 days for the purpose of: (1) additional education; (2) allow reconsideration for inclusion of both sexual orientation AND gender identity/expression in the policy; and (3) a retraction of the Chancellor’s Clarification.

This decision is not without critics.  Some LGB people feel that moving forward with the exclusionary policy would best serve the community and we can fight for transgender inclusion at a later date. But they forget our history.

Some readers may note the similarity between this current issue and the ENDA episode where HRC staffers drafted a version of ENDA which was not “gender identity” inclusive.  Although it was clear that the purpose was to ensure that protections for sexual orientation would make it through the House and Senate, the authors of the proposal defended their position claiming that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provided protection for “gender identity” under the heading “gender.”  However, it’s widely accepted that the real reason was that we could not get an inclusive ENDA passed (at that time) without throwing the “T” under the bus.

While Title VII should provide discrimination protection based upon gender identity/expression, that position is, at best, only partially correct.  The Supreme Court decision in Ulane (1982) clearly excluded transgender people from the definition of “gender” as it applied to Title VII.  Although a subsequent decision by the Supreme Court in 1989 (Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins) seemed to redefine “gender” in Title VII to include gender expression (or more specifically, discrimination based upon gender stereotypes), lower court’s continue to cite the Ulane decision as precedent (even as recently as this year!).  The rare exception seems to be within the 9th Circuit, which has cited the Price Waterhouse decision to be inclusive of gender identity/expression in some instances.

The ramifications of the former exclusive ENDA proposal were far reaching, rattled our community to its core and underscored our own prejudices, fears, intolerance and selfishness.  We must learn from our history and our present and unite in order to establish full equality for all of our brothers and sisters.

Everything Mississippi Should Have Learned from Glee.

April 30, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Youth Issues

Ceara Sturgis denied photograph in High School Yearbook

Ceara Sturgis Class of 2010. Congratulations Ceara on your graduation from all of us at jaysays.com!

It’s starting to seem like the State of Mississippi has declared an outright war on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender teens.  This bully pulpit is evident in numerous decisions by school districts to exclude openly LGBT kids from school activities.

There’s the obvious and well publicized case of Constance McMillen, an openly lesbian student at Itawamba Agricultural High School (“IAHS”), who, after receiving notice that same-sex couples would not be allowed at the school’s prom, requested permission from school officials to take a same-sex date.  School officials knew they couldn’t legally deny her request, but to prevent her from taking the date she wanted to (and from wearing a tux) they canceled the event all together.  The school eventually had two proms, sending Constance and a few other students to one and the rest of the students to another.

Of course, this wasn’t the first attack at IAHS against LGBT students and won’t likely be the last.  Prior to Constance there was Juin Baize, who was suspended for being biologically male but wearing make-up and woman’s clothing.

It seems it’s now Copiah County School District’s turn at the bully pulpit.  Graduating senior, Ceara Sturgis, not only had her photograph removed from the yearbook because of her choice to wear a tuxedo and sport a “male” hairstyle, but there was no mention of her in the yearbook.

That story line may sound a bit familiar to my fellow Gleeks?  In the Mattress episode of Glee, Rachel wanted the Glee Club photo included in the yearbook; however, Sue Sylvester objected stating that it would subject the student’s photos to graffiti and humiliation (her real purpose wasn’t so noble).  History had not been kind to the outcasts of the Glee Club as photographs were defaced with mean commentary by fellow students; essentially because the vast majority felt that the Glee Club was representative of the outcasts, the geeks, the nerds and the homos.  Unlike in Mississippi, however, the Glee photograph made it into the yearbook.

While no state is immune to bigotry, Mississippi has long since had a reputation for racism, homophobia and sexism that is virtually unchallengeable.  Through the “Christian Identity Movement,” many Mississippians have excused their hate in the guise of religion. Members of my own family from the state have preached the soullessness of the black man (the Curse of Ham), women’s servitude of man, and homophobia in the name of Biblical law.  While it must be stated that not all Mississippians feel the same, it certainly seems to be a prevalent and recurring issue.

Maybe it’s time we give Mississippi a little dose of Glee – Equality style.

This Thanksgiving: Proud to be the T in LGBT

November 26, 2009 By: Lauryn Category: Commentary, Featured, Thought of the Gay

FallLeavesAt one time I thought I really liked holidays.  Over the years as we have lost family, I realized that what I really liked was the time off to spend with family and friends.  Today I give much greater thanks for my family than ever before.  I have truly learned what it means to have others you can connect to in heart, mind, and soul.  My own journey is one that is unique, as we each are unique.  I have been amazingly blessed to have been able to continue to have all of my family as close allies through my entire transition.

I am sure over time you will all hear my full story but on this day of Thanksgiving I want to especially focus on my family.  I consider my family to be all of those that I feel near and dear to, both my nuclear family and my family of choice.  In my family we are bonded and we are very close.  We stick together and although we fight we always stand together against the outside world.  I think this is true with my family of choice as well.  I am using the family of choice term to identify those to whom I feel a special closeness within my band of friendships.

The friends I have are from many places and are as diverse as the rainbow.  I feel very close to my friends at church, they accepted me and saw God’s blessing in me.  I also have many friends in the T community, some of which I bonded with very quickly, Michael Brown being a good example.  Others are in the L, G, B, or H alphabet soup.  I feel blessed to have very close friends that I can depend on who happen to be lesbians, gay or heterosexual (ok some are actually U-unknown).  I am very proud to be associated with each and every one of them.  I sometimes wish I could feel less like a T and more like a “woman” with them but that is really the fault of society as a whole.

I get up almost every day and think today has to be the day that I just go stealth.  Then I get dressed and do it all again being proud of my friends and accepting that they are proud of me for being T.  The relationships are mutual but we don’t always agree.  Sometimes I think they are too gay and they think I am too T, but always we love each other.  I know that I should be more angry or more hurt when gays bash Ts or even worse, just forget us altogether.  It just really isn’t in me to strike back because there are so many wonderful gays, lesbians, and others that I proudly call my brothers and sisters!  I truly believe that each of those I hold close stand with me, and when we are together the haters do not matter.

I am very thankful for all of my family and friends today, I love all of you.  I especially love my partner of 27 years and my 2 children.  The boys have now grown into young men and they have been supportive every step of the way.  It is actually my eldest son who pulled us all from the closet, and as I tell them now, they all had to transition.  I had been transitioning for many years but now it has been their turn.  They have transitioned better than could have been imagined, I am thankful for that as well.

In closing I want to share a blog that my son wrote only a day or 2 after meeting Lauryn for the first time.  Both of my children got their intelligence and writing skills from their other parent, I am also thankful for that blessing.  This short statement expresses what I hope, and believe, much of my family feels, both nuclear and by choice.  I am proud to be the T in LGBT because of the love the L, G, and B have shown and that they continue to demonstrate every day.  Today, I am blessed and I give Thanks!

Dear T – by Mark Farris

I am writing to you because you have been left behind, because you have been pushed into the wilderness alone. There has been a lot of ground made on the part of the L, G, and B but alone still stands the T. The conservative right, have grown to accept the L, G, and B as mere lost souls.  They are lost souls that need to be “saved” by God’s grace to free them from their chains of self identity.  The T though is still being accused of having a diagnosable disorder, one that with time and patience can be cured.  The Conservatives raise the claim that God created humans as man and woman, forever to be separated as one or the other.  They claim that the perfect union of these two sexes comes with marriage and marriage alone.

At one point the slaves of this country were considered to be nothing more than beasts of the field. The African American population with time rose up to meet their oppressor.  With time people began to accept them as humans.  At one time women were nothing more than domestic robots that were to do as they were told, and leave the rest to men. With time they rose to meet their oppressor.  With time the glass ceiling fell away in small pieces here and there.  People however came to accept them as humans.  At one time homosexuals were viewed as the cause for the AIDS virus.  With time it was realized that the AIDS virus was affecting the whole human race.  Slowly but surely they were not blamed any more.

It is time for people to realize that the L, G, B, and T are all people.  God created man and woman, Genesis 1:27 “in his own image, male and female.”  This is the passage quoted by the conservative right.  The claim made is that God purposely created men and woman separately to be different from one another.  This language is not present here.

God created humankind in his likeness.  The use of the pronoun “his” is used as the label given to God by the original translators and writers of the texts.  There is no language to suggest what gender God is.  God is a being that created human in the likeness of self.  Woman and man were created to complete the picture of human kind.  Humanity would not be complete without both woman and man. The T, you represent both aspects of humanity.  You are the full representation of the image of God.  There will come a time when even the T will be accepted, and there will come a time when accepting both genders will not be viewed as a disease but will be viewed as a blessing.

With this blessing I would like to stress, that I am a heterosexual that is in support of this cause of this fight. I will not stand silent any longer. All I ask is that the LGBT people unite not only within themselves but unite with the H, the heterosexual population.  We as heterosexuals are not disadvantaged by not being T, we in many cases choose to challenge our gender in different ways.  We all must accept our humanity.  We all must accept each other as a member of humanity.

We must unite together, with a creator in mind.  The road is long, but it is a road that needs to be walked down.  I hope to do my best to fight this fight, with the resources and skills that I have.  We must not be hung up on the labels of “male,” “female,” “gay,” “straight,” but we should unite together under one label, one soul, humanity. God is not a man or a woman, God is not gay, or straight. God created an identity for all living things.  I hope this message finds you well T.  With courage you shall rise up and shall break the closet door down. “After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision:”Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” With devotion and hope, Mark Farris.

LGBT Notable News Happenings – (September 3, 2009 – September 10, 2009)

September 12, 2009 By: MJ Category: Featured, LGBT News

LGBT NewsGay Sailor Brutalized by Own Unit and Discharged in CA (September 3, 2009)

Former Petty Officer Third Class Joseph Rocha was brutalized for more than two years by members of his own unit in Bahrain. He was returned to CA suffering from P.T.S.D. and was forced to admit to his sexual orientation – then was discharged under D.A.D.T. Others were also brutalized and the military is investigating.

Bill Recognizing Harvey Milk’s Birthday Passes CA Legislature (September 4, 2009)

Once again a bill to recognize Harvey Milk is waiting for the signature of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger – and would recognize Harvey Milk on his birthday – May 22nd.  If signed – Harvey Milk would join the only three other days of recognition in the state.

LGBT Activist Runs For Mayor in Idaho Town (September 5, 2009)

Melissa Sue Robinson is an LGBT activist and transwoman running for mayor of Nampa. She was previously married for 17 years and her ex-wife now plays a major role in her election campaign. Some of those not so pleased that she is running include a person who started a fraudulent Twitter account in her name – which has since been closed.

Los Angeles Mourns Death of Albert L. Gordon –  Gay Rights Attorney (September 6, 2009)

Albert L. Gordon was married and had twin sons – both sons are/were Gay. Mr. Gordon became an attorney in his 40’s and fought for LGBT rights. His first wife and one of his sons died before him. He was known as the leading pro bono lawyer to L.A.’s Gay community.

Catholic Church in Maine Supporting Anti-Gay Marriage Referendum (September 6, 2009)

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland has requested that its parishes have a special second collection this coming weekend – with the money collected to go to Stand for Marriage Maine. Stand for Marriage Maine is leading the effort to repeal legal Same-Sex Marriage in Maine – the Catholic Church is exempt from federal taxes as a non-profit religious institution in spite of its political dealings.

Openly Gay Man Accepted for Training in Church of Scotland Ministry (September 8, 2009)

The Church of Scotland has selected to train a Gay man –  in a Civil Partnership – for ministry despite a ban. Church officials backed his candidacy after receiving advice from an internal body that supports would-be trainees. The ban was put in place after the appointment of The Rev Scott Rennie.

Lesbian From U.S. Army Fighting Deportation From Canada (September 8, 2009)

Former Pte. Bethany Smith – who changed her name to Skyler James – requested discharge then decided to leave the U.S. Army after harassment and death threats from within her unit. She was unable to report the threats because of D.A.D.T. and was outed by another soldier. Skyler James is now fully employed and living in Canada. but faces deportation.

Proposed Law to Repeal Ban on Healthy Gay and Bisexual Blood Donations (September 8, 2009)

There is new proposed legislation which would allow healthy Gay and Bisexual men to donate blood. The legislation was approved by the Assembly Tuesday and is called the U.S. Blood Donor Nondiscrimination Resolution – and it moves to the state Senate in January 2010.

Gordon Brown Honors Contributions of Alan Turing During WWII in UK (September 10, 2009)

Alan Turing was a brilliant mathematician and was most famous for his work in breaking German Enigma codes during WWII. In 1952 he was convicted of ‘gross indecency’ (for being Gay) and sentenced – then took his own life just two years after that. Gordon Brown acknowledged that a coalition of computer scientists, historians and LGBT Activists made it possible for Mr. Turing to be honored.

mjpngwnz: MJ, a/k/a pngwnz, is summarizing LGBT current events each week for jaysays.com and the Why Would You Say That – Really? series. She is an out lesbian with an affinity for the music of Phil Collins and Carole King.

Closet Talk: Candace Metzler and ENDA

September 10, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Closet Talk, Community Outreach, Featured

Closet TalkCandice Metzler lost her job after beginning her transition from man to woman. Her employer was initially fine with the transition, but after clients began taking their business elsewhere after learning of Candice’s transition, the struggling company felt it had no choice but to let Candice go.

Unemployment didn’t take long to scar Candice’s life, leaving her homeless and forcing her to rely on the friends that remained in her life after her coming out.

Candice tells her story in this episode of Closet Talk and explains how employment discrimination impacted her and her family. Although her story is full of tragedy, it is a story is of hope and determination.

Recently, Candice organized a community forum on workplace discrimination against lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender employees. and continues to work toward the passage of an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

LGBT Notable News Happenings – (August 26, 2009 – September 2, 2009)

September 06, 2009 By: MJ Category: Featured, LGBT News

LGBT NewsFL Gay Adoption Ban Goes to State Appeals Court (August 26, 2009)

November 2008 a Miami-Dade County judge ruled that the Gay Adoption Ban is unconstitutional.  The ruling made in the case of Martin Gill and his partner who had adopted two young boys.  State attorneys have taken the case to the court of appeals and the ACLU is representing Mr. Gill.

Men to be Tried for Murder of Lesbian in South Africa (August 26, 2009)

Last year a group of men assaulted and then stabbed to death Eudy Simelane (29 yrs) who played on national sport teams.  Gay Rights activists are using this case to show that women continue to be raped in an attempt to change their sexual orientation.  Lesbians who attended the hearing were threatened by young men and the three men accused have pleaded not guilty.

Proposal in MI to Add Sexual Orientation to Anti-Discrimination Law (August 26, 2009)

The House Judiciary Committee heard testimony recently on whether to add Sexual Orientation to their existing Anti-Discrimination laws.  This legislation would extend housing and employment protections to the LGBT community.  Recently Steven Harmon (15 yrs old) of Portage was beaten for being gay and his case seems to have added more impetus to the fight for the legislation.

Men Convicted For Assault on Gay Man in Texas (August 27, 2009)

Jimmy Dean was walking home during the summer of 2008 when he was brutally beaten by Bobby Singleton and Dean Gunter.  Mr. Gunter has already been convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison.  Officers classified the assault and robbery as a hate crime and Mr. Singleton – who more seriously assaulted Jimmy Dean – has now been sentenced to 75 years in prison.

Death of Sen Kennedy in MA is Loss for LGBT Community (August 27, 2009)

Many will miss Sen Edward Kennedy including his family, friends and the LGBT Community.  He was a strong supporter of HIV/AIDS funding, LGBT Hate Crimes legislation and Same-Sex Marriage.  In 1996 he was one of only 14 senators who voted against D.O.M.A.  Bye to Ted.

Camp in Canada for LGBTQ Youth Offers Comfort & Variety (August 27, 2009)

In Manitoba there is a one of a kind camp for LGBTQ  youth (ages 14 to 21) to have fun and just be themselves.  Those who are not yet out are also welcome to join in the activities and supportive atmosphere.  The camp has most activities available at other camps – but for those bored with the regular camp activities – there is an introduction to drag.

Female Transgender Inmate Sexually Assaulted in Hawaii (August 27, 2009)

She is a 31 year old Transgender female who has not yet had gender reassignment surgery – but she was held in a prison module for men.  While working on the breakfast cleanup crew a male adult corrections officer forced her to perform a sexual act.  An investigation has been launched and she will be released after having  served eight years of her 10 year sentence.

Uruguay House Passes Same-Sex Adoption Bill (August 27, 2009)

The Chamber passed the bill and it is now on it’s way to the Senate which approved a previous version to the bill.  They must now vote on the most recent modifications which would allow Uruguay to be the first country in Latin America to allow adoption by Same-Sex couples.

Transgender Women Stabbed in D.C.-One Dies (August 27, 2009)

Nana Boo and her friend were walking on the sidewalk when a man approached and stabbed them both.  Nana Boo’s wounds were caused her to die and her friend was severely wounded but lived.  The police said they are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.

Action Taken as Result of Rainbow Lounge Raid in Texas (August 28, 2009)

The Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission has fired two agents as a result of the raid.  Their direct supervisor Sgt. Terry Parsons  is also being fired effective September 2, 2009. Sgt. Parsons’ direct supervisor Lt. Gene Anderson will be suspended three days then on probation for six months, and Capt. Robert Cloud has received a written reprimand.

Lawsuit Filed by Gay Man – Victim of Harassment in PA – Reinstated by Fed Judge (August 29, 2009)

Brian Prowell of Penn Hills had filed a lawsuit against his employer after he was harassed by co-workers then laid off by his employer.  A federal judge then dismissed the suit claiming it was based on Sexual Orientation not covered under federal law.  A federal appeals judge reinstated the lawsuit stating the decision should be left up to a jury.

LGBT Group Requests Temporary Block of Referendum 71 (September 1, 2009)

The LGBT group Washington Families Standing Together are still working to keep Referendum 71 off the November ballot – and to allow the new law broadening recognition of Domestic Partner benefits to take effect.  The secretary of state’s office claims there are enough signatures to put the Referendum on the ballot, but supporters of the new law claim many signatures are not valid.

Vermont First Same-Sex Marriages Begin One Minute After Legal (Sept 2, 2009)

The new law was only one minute old when Bill Slimback and Bob Sullivan became one of the first couples to say their vows and become legally married.  They travelled from N.Y. and had a midnight wedding at a rustic lodge where the co-owner is also a Justice of the Peace.  Now five states allow Same-Sex Marriage.

School District Decides in Favor of Student in Minnesota (September 2, 2009)

Earlier this year two teachers repeatedly mocked a student who they believed was Gay.  The student Alex Merritt (18 yrs) said he was heterosexual but because the teachers persisted he eventually had to transfer to another high school.  The school district has recently made decisions and the two teachers are now on a leave of absence – and substitute teachers will immediately take over their classes.

Ex-Roommate of Murdered Transgender Woman Arrested for Sexual Assault in Colorado (Sept 2, 2009)

Angie Zapata was roommates with J.J. Alejandro for three months before she was murdered.  J.J. Alejandro is now in jail facing charges for sexually assaulting five teenage girls.  Authorities had difficulty finding Mr. Alejandro during the murder trial for Angie Zapata – but he did show up just in time to testify for the defense.

mjpngwnz: MJ, a/k/a pngwnz, is summarizing LGBT current events each week for jaysays.com and the Why Would You Say That – Really? series. She is an out lesbian with an affinity for the music of Phil Collins and Carole King.

FREE! “Everyone’s A Freak to Someone” Sticker – Just for Being a Freak!

September 04, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, Thought of the Gay

THIS OFFER HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED – NO STICKERS LEFT.

freakIn a recent post on Pam’s House Blend, discussions turned to Lil Mama’s “apology” for making the following statement to transgender “America’s Best Dance Crew” Contestant, Leiomy:

Leiomy, come on. Your behavior … it’s unacceptable … You were born a man and you are becoming a woman. If you’re going to become a woman, act like a lady … It gets too crazy and it gets confusing.

Lil Mama issued an apology and TMZ had an article advising it’s readers of the apology.  The readers of TMZ were not pleased about the issuance of an apology.  One of the comments, as published on Pam’s House Blend, stated:

I’m so sick of this….now we have to apologize to freaks of nature. FU to all you Fwads that want to call me a hater. This thing is a freak. End of story!!!! We live in such a PC society we have to say sorry to every whack job that’s out there. [via Pam’s House Blend:: Thursday This & That: Open Thread, emphasis added by jaysays.]

I loathe the use of the word freak.  LGBT people are even guilty of using it to refer to one another, i.e. “Those freaks snorting coke and having sex in the bathroom of the club…,” or “that freak dude in the dress…”.  These are comments I’ve overheard from our own people!

In response and in an effort to be proactive, I’m giving away jaysays.com “Everyone’s a Freak to Someone” bumper stickers in hopes of reminding people that we are all different – we are all “freaks.”  To obtain your sticker, just answer this question, “Why are you a freak?”

Unfortunately, supplies are limited and I’m not one of those wealthy gays, so only 20 responses will be chosen at this time to receive the sticker – hurry up and submit your answer!  It may be as long or as short as you like.  Just complete the form below Remember, by submitting an answer you are authorizing your response to be published at jaysays.com.

All fields are required.  You will receive a confirmation email once your submission has been reviewed advising you as to when you may expect your sticker.  Thank you!

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Closet Talk: TransIssues with Allyson Robinson, Associate Director of Diversity, HRC

August 31, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Closet Talk, Community Outreach, Featured

Closet TalkEven a summary of Allyson Robinson’s life and work within the LGBT community would fill a book. Allyson is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, a pastor with a Masters in divinity, the Associate Director of Diversity for HRC, a wife and a mother. Just in case I forget to mention it later, Allyson is also transgender – and she blogs! In this episode of Closet Talk, we discussed Allyson’s life before coming out/transitioning and her life now.

Interestingly, Allyson is also legally married to a woman, something we further discuss on the show.  Their marriage, while illegal for most same-sex couples, is recognized by the United States government because Allyson was married prior to her transition.  Listen to the show to learn more about this “loop-hole” in the law.

Unifying the Queer Community: Trans-Inclusion

August 24, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Closet Talk, Community Outreach, Featured

transgenderJust because those of us who blog like to think we know everything, doesn’t mean we do – so here’s your chance to help me learn a thing or two.  My guest this week on Closet Talk will be Allyson Robinson, Association Director of Diversity for HRC.  We will be discussion Allyson’s transition process and I’ll be getting a lot of questions about the transcommunity answered for myself.  I do hope that by becoming more educated about issues outside of the “G” in LGBTQ, I can become fully inclusive in my activism and at jaysays.com.

In preparing for the show, I’ve been considering how to be more “transinclusive” at jaysays.com.  Perhaps, in the near future, a contributor from the transcommunity will be added to the site in order to fill the hole here.  In the meantime, it’s all on this gay boy from a red state to try to figure out.

So, to you dear reader, how do you feel we (the LGBTQ bloggers of the world) can be more transinclusive?  What sorts of questions do you have about the transcommunity?  You may submit your thoughts via the comments to this post or, if you feel more comfortable for privacy’s sake, you may use the contact page.  Either way, please share your thoughts – seems I’m running out of my own!