Category Archives: glbt

China’s Transgender Community

by Guest Contributor Monica Roberts, originally published at TransGriot

Since the turn of the 21st century, China has begun making another ‘Great Leap Forward’ in terms of modernization and putting itself in the world’s spotlight.

We got a glimpse of just how much it has progressed during the recently concluded Beijing Games, and its space program continues to take giant leaps as well toward their ultimate goal of becoming the second nation to put a man on the moon.

One interesting thing that has come to light is that China, like ‘errbody’ else on our planet, has an estimated 400,000 transgender people in their midst. Over 1000 of them have had surgery, and we in the West have been getting introduced to them and their stories as well.

It’s not unusual now to Google ‘china transsexuals’ and see many links to various stories about transpeople in China. But all Chinese transsexuals probably owe a major debt to internationally acclaimed dancer Jin Xing. Her struggles and eventual SRS in 1995 basically opened the door that has made life easier for other transpeople across China to follow.

Chinese society has become more open and tolerant towards transsexuals to the point where in 2004, Chen Lili won the Miss China Universe pageant and was poised to become the first transgender contest in the 50 plus year history of the event that was being staged in Ecuador that year. But rules were quickly passed limiting the event to cisgender women and Chen was barred from participating.

Maybe the Donald should rethink that ban. Some of the biggest traffic days I get on TransGriot is when I post video or photos from various transgender pageants around the world.

As the examples of Jin Xing and Chen Lili show, Chinese transpeople are being fully integrated into society. They can now change their ID cards without hassles, their civil rights are protected by law, and after they have surgery can get married and have those marriages recognized by the state as valid.

They are examples that the rest of the judgmental Western world would do well to emulate, especially in my own country.

(Photo Credit: China Daily)

When Xenophobia Meets Homophobia

by Guest Contributor Marisol LeBrón, originally published at NACLA and Post Pomo Nuyorican Homo

An ugly blame game ensued after the passing of California’s Proposition 8, which restricted the definition of marriage to a union between a man and a woman. With exit polls reporting 70 percent of Blacks and 53 percent of Latinos/as supporting the ban on gay marriage, many white members of the LGBT community blamed people of color for the ban’s success.

The December issue of gay news magazine The Advocate stepped into the fray. The cover of the issue provocatively announced, “Gay is the New Black.” Although the cover story’s author, Michael Joseph Gross, dismissed blaming Black voters as a “false conclusion” and a “terrible mistake,” comments posted to the site took him to task for other reasons. Most comments strongly disagreed with Gross’ Black/gay comparison, but many others asked why communities of color and queer communities are still considered mutually exclusive in the mainstream LGBT rights movement.

A comment posted by “Greg J,” pointedly charged, “Gays of color, transgender, and yes, even lesbians are missing from the larger discourse of the gay rights struggle – primarily the gay marriage issue. The gay right’s movement was and remains the ‘gay, white, middle class’ movement!”

The Prop 8 fallout shows how much work remains to be done to connect the LGBT rights movement with other struggles for social justice across a spectrum of issues. Unfortunately, it may have taken the brutal murder of Ecuadoran immigrant Jose Oswaldo Sucuzhañay to highlight the invisibility of queer people of color – particularly queer immigrants – in LGBT rights discourse. His murder will hopefully provide an impetus for coalition building.

Jose Sucuzhañay and his brother Romel were attending a Sunday evening church party on December 7, 2008. They later decided to end the night with some drinks at a local bar in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn. The two brothers left the bar at 3:30 a.m. and walked home arm-in-arm to support each other. Three men drove up to the Sucuzhañay brothers, one man got out of the car and began to shout anti-gay and anti-Latino slurs at them. Continue reading

Off-Topic: Ain’t Saying He’s A Gold Digger: Looking At Bromance & I Love You, Man

By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

Editor’s Note – While checking out tips from readers, evaluating episodes of Daddy’s Little Girls, and checking up on The Real World, something kept grating on my nerves. The heavily promoted Bromance dances into decidedly homo-erotic territory – but the wink and nudge protestations from the cast members (complete with “Dude, that’s so gay” remarks to keep people in check) I started to wonder what was up. I asked Arturo to take a quick peek at the show. – LDP

The question of male friendship and how “gay” it may or may not be is getting a little extra scrutiny these days, with new projects from Brody Jenner and Paul Rudd.

In the wake of Prop. 8’s passage in California, Jenner’s Bromance is taking MTV’s new approach to dating shows: same-sex humiliation. Produced by Momma’s Boy’s mastermind Ryan “I was Metro when that was still another word for subway” Seacrest, the show is Entourage by way of The Bachelor, with several dim-witted if sort-of-well-intentioned young men competing for a spot at Brody’s side. And really, who wouldn’t want to hang out with a professional do-nothing and his friend Sleazy T and Frankie Delgado — especially after their “initiation” involved getting dragged out of their beds wearing nothing but their boxers (or less) and a black bag over their head? My buddies and I play Gitmo Gotcha all the time!

The show’s challenges answer that question: money, and random women. Each of the show’s skill challenges features two or three random white female ornaments. The lone exception, of course, was the “Dating Game”-style game which cross-promoted Lauren Conrad – she’s random enough on her own. The contestants’ first task, in fact, was to bring “hot chicks” to a lingerie party. (It also should be noted that seemingly 75 percent of the women who were convinced to go were Caucasian blondes.) Continue reading

African-American Transgender History-50’s Style

by Guest Contributor Monica Roberts, originally published at TransGriot

One of the beauties of surfing the Net is that from time to time, you’ll stumble across a nugget of history or some photo that you weren’t even aware existed.

I’ve mentioned that JET, EBONY and the now defunct HUE magazines when they first started back in the day served as historical chroniclers of the Black experience in America. Google just negotiated a deal in which they will be digitizing pre-1960’s EBONY and JET magazines so that you can access their content on the Net.

One of the things I discovered to my delight is that in order to fulfill their mission of documenting the Black experience, EBONY and JET also covered events and discussed Black GLBT issues.

In addition to asking pointed questions about the Black GLBT experience, they also covered the New York and Chicago drag balls as well. Continue reading

Can Victims be Perpetrators?

by Guest Contributor M. Dot, originally published on Model Minority

Yesterday the internet was abuzz with the fact that Prince might be homophobic.

Carmen from New Demographic commented on Twitter that this didn’t make sense. She wrote ,

“I’m still amazed that Prince is a homophobe. I mean, isn’t there a good chance he’s been gay-bashed in his life? (Even if he’s not gay).

I responded back saying that she presumed that possessing a “fringe Black masculinity” would make him more likely to be tolerant. I added that tolerance, like hate is taught. She responded saying she agreed, but it was still sad.

I agreed.

Even before I read the evidence of what Prince said, I suspected that if Prince was being intolerant, then perhaps may have something to do with his interpretation of the tenets of his faith practices.

This Prince moment also reminded me that our generation has a hard time accepting the fact that victims can be perpetrators. Continue reading

Can the LGBT community spare some outrage for Duanna Johnson?

by Guest Contributor Jack, originally published at Angry Brown Butch

On February 12, 2008, Duanna Johnson was brutally beaten by a Memphis police officer after she refused to respond when the officer called her “he-she” and “faggot.” That night, Johnson became yet another of the countless trans women of color to be targeted and brutalized by police in this country. Two officers were fired after the attack; neither was prosecuted.

Just to be trans, just to be a woman, just to be a person of color in this country is enough to drastically increase one’s exposure to hatred and violence; when oppressions overlap, violence tends to multiply.

This past Sunday, Duanna Johnson was found murdered on the streets of Memphis. I didn’t hear about this until today, when I read a post on my friend Dean’s blog. When I read the awful news, I felt heartsick in a way that has become all too familiar and all too frequent.

After reading Dean’s post today, I was surprised to find out that Johnson was murdered nearly three days ago already and that I hadn’t heard about this until today. I know that I haven’t been very good at keeping up with the news or the blogosphere these past few days. But I can’t help but notice that despite this relative disconnection, I’ve read and heard no shortage of commentary, protest, and outrage about Proposition 8.

A Google News search for “Duanna Johnson” yields 50 results, many syndicated and therefore redundant. Much of the coverage is tainted by the transphobia and victim-blaming that tends to inflect media coverage of violence against trans women of color (like this Associated Press article). A search for “Proposition 8″? 18,085 results – 354.6 times more than for Duanna Johnson.

The skew in the blogosphere is less severe but still pronounced. A Google BlogSearch for Duanna Johnson: 2,300 results. For Prop 8? 240,839, or 100 times more. Continue reading

Open Letter: Resisting the Racist Blame Game Post Prop 8

by Guest Contributor Adele Carpenter

Dear Friends,

I am writing because I am disturbed by the string of articles, blog entries, and list serve threads that have come out in the last few days suggesting that the high turnout of African American and Latino voters for the presidential election was responsible for the passage of California’s proposition 8, which dealt a heavy blow to LGBT families by banning gay marriage in the state’s constitution.

These articles mistakenly imply that the struggles for civil rights for LGBT people and communities of color are separate or even at odds with each other. They deny the work that LGBT people of color do to combat homophobia and transphobia in their families and communities, often while facing racism within the queer community as well. These articles deny homophobia among white people. They displace blame away from those who actually have the power to consistently deny others civil and human rights, and instead, charge that when communities that have long been disenfranchised and alienated from political processes participate, that the results with be negative for LGBT people.

I believe all communities need to be held accountable for their homophobia and transphobia. I want to acknowledge the suffering and hardship that the passage of Proposition 8 has caused for LGBT couples and families. But, while the media casts blame on communities of color for the passage of Prop 8, it is imperative that we struggle against the logic that tells us that struggles for LGBT civil rights and racial justice are separate—that we re-examine our strategies for advancing LGBT civil rights and gay marriage and, in particular, look at places where LGBT communities have failed to align our struggles for civil rights with ongoing struggles for racial justice. Continue reading

Noah’s Arc: Jumping the Broom Movie Plays to Modest Success

by Latoya Peterson

Well, look at what slipped under the radar.

In the midst of the election run up, the results, and the waves of discussion about proposition 8, Logo launched a movie based on their popular (yet mysteriously canceled) series Noah’s Arc.

The New York Press’ Armond White has a thought provoking review on the significance of the movie, titled “MEET THE BLACK CARRIE BRADSHAW – LOGO’s Noah’s Arc makes the jump to the big screen—showing a completely different African-American experience”:

Noah’s Arc’s quartet of young black men counteracts the prevailing image of gayness as a young, rich, white male phenomenon. The title refers to Noah (Darryl Stephens), an L.A.-based aspiring screenwriter whose love and social life resist Hollywood storybook cliché. Noah may dress in couture like Carrie Bradshaw (he enters Jumping wearing a Russian toque, cape and calf-high boots) but his style is provocative; he flouts ideas about masculinity, blackness and class. If you accept Noah (his gentle, gazelle-like demeanor stresses effeminacy), his friends still test your tolerance: Chance (Doug Spearman) is a snooty, over-enunciating university professor; Alex (Rodney Chester) is a plus-sized drama queen who likes to cook when not dispensing counsel at a gay men’s health center; and Rickey (Christian Vincent) is incorrigibly promiscuous. Continue reading