Category Archives: queer and trans

Meanwhile, On TumblR: Hart Explains Gender Expression And Sexual Attraction For The Cheap Seats

By Andrea Plaid

This video from vlogger Hart has had me ROTFLing all week. I came for the watermelon, stayed for the message, and got life from the saxophone, Hart’s mom, and Hart’s dimples. Just…just watch it.

Check out who and what else is giving Racializens life on the R’s Tumblr!

Open Thread: Michelle Obama Heckled By LGBT Activist

By Arturo R. García

First Lady Michelle Obama. Image via ABC News.

Without having video of this encounter between First Lady Michelle Obama and a heckler from GetEqual, an LGBT rights group, here’s how the pool report says it went down:

When Mrs. Obama was roughly 12 minutes into her 20-minute remarks at a home in Northwest Washington, a woman at the front of a crowd of about 200 people began shouting for President Obama to issue an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity. But where Mr. Obama, more accustomed to such interruptions, typically waits in place for the protester to stop and perhaps acknowledges the complaint, his wife chose direct confrontation.

She left the lectern and moved toward the heckler. “One of the things I don’t do well is this,” she said, to loud applause. She said the protester could “listen to me, or you can take the mike, but I’m leaving. You all decide. You have one choice.”

The crowd yelled for Mrs. Obama to stay, with one woman nearby telling the protester, “You need to go!” Attendees escorted the protester out as she yelled further, at one point identifying herself as a “lesbian looking for federal equality before I die.”

The group’s co-director, Heather Cronk, confirmed to Buzzfeed Tuesday night that the group had planned for the protester, Ellen Sturtz, to be there, along with other members of the organization.

[Full disclosure: I have interviewed GetEqual’s other co-director, Felipe Sousa Rodríguez on two occasions to comment on immigration-related stories for my other job as an editor at The Raw Story.]

Sturtz specifically called for President Barack Obama to sign the Employment Non-Discrimination Act into effect with an executive order. The bill has been taken up in both the House of Representatives and the Senate but has stalled.

However, Sturtz’s response to being directly addressed by the First Lady was the source of the heaviest debate on social media Tuesday night:

Sturtz was escorted out of the room. She said in an interview later she was stunned by Obama’s response.

“She came right down in my face,” Sturtz said. “I was taken aback.”

Sturtz said she told Obama she was happy to take the microphone to plead her case, which, Sturtz said, appeared to fluster the first lady.

“I said I want your husband to sign the executive order,” Sturtz said. “Her husband could sign this order tonight and protect 22 percent of the work force in this country.”

On the surface, part of that response seems incongruent: Sturtz went to the event specifically to call Obama out, yet was “taken aback” when Obama responded to her. But, as more facts start coming in, let’s get the ball rolling and get everybody’s impressions of the encounter.

Update: I did a follow-up piece for Raw Story today, featuring both GetEqual’s rationale for engaging the first lady at the event and MSNBC contributor and Penn University professor Anthea Butler talking about the reaction online.

Transgender Studies Quarterly Plans To Kick Ass With The Help Of Kickstarter–And You

By Andrea Plaid

More info from their Kickstarter page:

Transgender Studies has far-reaching implications across many academic disciplines, including not only gender and women’s studies, sexuality studies, and LGBT Studies, but also social sciences, health, art, cultural studies, and many other broadly defined fields. The development of transgender studies also makes a politically significant intervention into the lives of trans community members with tremendous unmet needs, by changing what and how we know about transgender issues.

This project began in 2008, when we were invited to co-edit a special transgender studies edition of Women’s Studies Quarterly. We received more than two hundred submissions for publication, yet we could only publish twelve of them. We knew then that it was time for transgender studies to have its own high-profile publications venue. Five years later, there is still no place to accommodate the kind of conversation we want to foster on transgender issues. Your support right now could change that.

You have the opportunity to be part of this historic moment. Once the journal is launched in April 2014, subscriptions will eventually cover the cost of publication. To subsidize the cost of publishing the journal, we need to raise at least $100,000 in start-up funds. We’re already more than halfway to our goal, and would now like to invite you to invest in the next stage in the development of transgender studies, by helping us complete our fundraising for launching TSQ. Your support will help us create a first-rate platform for publishing peer-reviewed transgender-related scholarship—something that can only benefit the entire field of gender and sexuality studies.

There’s 13 days left to donate, so please kick in what you can and spread the word!

Meanwhile, On TumblR: Congrats To Janet Mock For Getting On The Out List!

By Andrea Plaid

Janet Mock (2nd row, far left) makes it on The Out List!

Janet Mock (2nd row, far left) makes it on The Out List!

Y’all know I love me some Janet Mock, so I’m too thrilled that she’ll be in Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’ (The Black List) upcoming HBO documentary, The Out List. The doc, premiering Thursday June 27–just in time to close out Pride Month this year–features her life story and  the wisdom gained from so far, as well as the stories of other renowned cisLGBQ and transgender people.  And, from the number of the R’s Tumblizens liking and reblogging it, I can see you share the excitement!

And check out who and what else we’re sharing some excitement about on the R’s Tumblr!

Queer Web Series Worth Watching

By  Joseph Lamour


The Summer Doldrums, as I like to call the break network television gives us from June to September, are quickly approaching. Hot temperatures and a new season of The Bachelorette go hand-in-hand, and I take that as my television telling me, “Go Outside.” But, like all couch potatoes, I just turn from one tube to another. Join me as I say ta-ta to my TV, and hello to my Macbook Pro. Below the cut are two queer web series worth watching.

This post comes with a STRONG LANGUAGE warning… for some of you. See what I mean, after the jump.

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Meanwhile, On TumblR: Media’s Racefail Regarding Sexual Violence Survivors Of Color

By Andrea Plaid


April was Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and this excerpt from Wagatwe Wajuki this past week touched a lot of Tumblizens:

Image via

Image via

As a survivor of campus sexual assault, and as someone who became a feminist and an activist after my own experience of institutional apathy towards my attacks, I feel conflicted. I am so glad that this serious issue is getting more attention, but I am increasingly frustrated and almost scared by the lack of diversity that I see in the survivors receiving national media attention. As I look at photos and watch the media appearances of these resilient, brave survivors I can’t help to feel invisible. I browse a network of campus rape survivors who are working to combat institutional apathy towards rape victims and struggle to find other women of color who are like me.

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Racialicious Crush Of The Week: Janet Mock

By Andrea Plaid

Janet Mock. With permission of the interviewee.

Janet Mock. With permission of the interviewee.

The lyrics to the Mary Tyler Moore Show were written several decades too early–or really, really prescient. I contend that the woman in those lyrics refer to is this week’s Crush, trans activist and writer–and Mad Men fan–Janet Mock:

Who can turn the world on with her smile?
Who can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
Well it’s you girl, and you should know it
With each glance and every little movement you show it

Fab Janet graciously took time out of her busy, busy schedule to answer a few of my questions. But first, I had to get her vibe on something and a fashion scoop. Read on…

Gurl, can I first say “Thank you!” for being there for and with me on Melissa Harris-Perry!! I felt so much more comforted seeing your face when I got to the Green Room! How did you think the MHP‘s “Scandal Watch Party” went this past Saturday? And I have to ask the question on quite a few minds that day: where did you get your dress?

Wasn’t it a phenomenal space to be in? Beyond just the five of us on camera discussing a show we shamelessly adore, I was gagging over the brilliance of the women of color behind the scenes who made this moment possible for all of us to bask in. So shout-outs are in order for MHP staffers! I wish I could’ve been able to discuss my love for Olitz and their chemistry and the whole scandalous, out-of-this-world, only-in-Shonda’s-head, star-crossed lovers thing. I wish I was also able to discuss the fact that Olivia is shattering other stereotypes too, like the fact that she was on the swim team in high school and keeps her laid mane in check via swim cap plus a fierce white one-piece swimsuit. Get into her style, honey!

I was surprised by the number of #nerdland tweets about my dress, which was a purple sheath from It was a nod to Kerry Washington’s first appearance on MHP Show, in which she wore a purple leather frock. Gorg!

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Meanwhile, On TumblR: Casual Racism In LGBTQ Communities, Banning Beloved, And The Door

By Andrea Plaid



Everyday Feminism’s contributing writer Jarune Uwujaren wrote a post (which is excerpted on the R’s Tumblr) that resonated with a lot of Racializens about casual racism in LBGTQ communities–and ways for white queer and trans* folks to work on making the communities more inclusive:

So if you see casual racism, remember it. And talk about it.

Notice if you’re ever guilty of it and, if you are, take responsibility for it.

I would say explain it to other white LGBTQ people, but it’s frustrating when it takes a white person saying the same thing people of color have been saying for ages to convince other white people to change their actions.

Instead, tell them to take the race related concerns of LGBTQ people of color seriously–as in listen to us.

As LGBTQ people, we get silenced all the time, told we’re too sensitive, told not to flaunt our sexuality.

Sexual minorities of color can find themselves silenced further when their concerns about race are dismissed by the predominantly white, mainstream LGBTQ community.

Let’s keep working to change that.

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