Marriage will not stop the violence. Love will not give more jobs and healthcare to trans youth of color. Assimilation won’t get us any respect from the system…So, we can get married all we want but it isn’t going to help all of us. – Zain Ahmed from Ireland and the Institution of Marriage

tumblr_nqka29WAEh1upjw1jo1_1280There’s a part of me that is happy about the SCOTUS decision regarding marriage today but at the same time, I know that the decision won’t impact the most marginlized people, won’t fix the issues still at play, won’t stop violence or other forms of discrimination. We have a long fight to continue and many more struggles to face.

tumblr_nq9axvOnoU1st25zzo1_1280Throwing others under the bus while celebrating Pride and mainstream issues like marriage is definitely not what we should be doing. Booing and jeering an undocumented trans woman talking about violence in detention centers is not what we should be doing. Celebrating the cis, white, rich is not what we should be doing.

This is not a movement, it’s a marketing scheme.
This is not equality, it’s erasure.

Our bodies should matter even if we’re not in style this season.
Talk is cheap; show us your receipts.

When there are 200 beds for homeless queer youth in New York City
and your friends are signing leases for new mansions.

When all of the major national gay rights organization in the US invest billions in private prisons and drone warfare.

When marriage and not murder is the number one queer issue.

DarkMatter (a queer South Asian spoken word duo) from It Gets Bourgie Project

I love when the world makes things explicit: today when cisgender gays and lesbians and their allies will be celebrating…

Posted by Darkmatter on Friday, 26 June 2015

“Gay marriage isn’t gonna end oppression of queer people. Trans people are still underserved, trans women are still…

Posted by Guerrilla Feminism on Friday, 26 June 2015

Jennicet Gutiérrez – the undocumented trans women who challenged the President.

abp1zielkgprjsbjo3rbztbmhvjenzk4o4c0hnncca1zqowj8kpnozf1tp7zsbjvYesterday, President Obama was interrupted during his speech for a White House event for LGBTQ+ Pride Month by a trans undocumented woman named Jennicet Gutiérrez. Gutiérrez interrupted the president’s speech to challenge the increase in deportations under President’s term and was unfortunately escorted out by Secret Service. She later made a statement saying:

“I am outraged at the lack of leadership that Obama demonstrated… He had no concern for the way that LGBTQ detainees are suffering. As a transwoman, the misgendering and the physical and sexual abuse — these are serious crimes that we face in detention centers. How can that be ignored?”

Gutiérrez later spoke with Democracy Now about the event and why she challenged the president about deportations and the abuse faced by LGBTQ+ detainees in deportation centers. And the crowd at the event was the unfortunate definition of the mainstream gay movement and of Gay, Inc, who responded by booing and jeering Gutiérrez as she was escorted out by Secret Service.

I just want to say a big old fuck you to all that booed and jeered Gutiérrez as she left and to the fact that she was escorted out in the first place! Deportations and detention centers SHOULD be a priority within the LGBTQ+ movement – remembering intersectionality and fighting for all our brothers, sisters, and siblings in the struggle is vital. We should be centering the voices of trans women of color and other marginalized voices because the LGBTQ+ community is far from the homogeneous thing currently represented by white cis gay men. Instead of spending a ridiculous amount of money and time on fights like marriage equality (which is usually far from equal), we should be focusing on issues like youth homelessness, deportations and immigration, living wages, proper and accessible health care.

Ultimately, we need to support all trans women of color and not drown them out if they don’t fit into the Gay, Inc agenda of marriage equality and whiteness. All of the love and respect to Gutiérrez for her actions standing up to President Obama yesterday and for all of her hard work and activism surrounding LGBTQ+ and immigrant rights.

Feminist Friday: The Erasure of Our Own within the Queer Community.

There is so much that I absolutely love and adore about the queer community – this was a community that was often there for me when it felt like no one else was. I’ve gotten support and love and so much from the community but I also realize how much erasure exists here. I’ve learned about the world and about myself in a large part because of the support and resources I’ve found through the queer community. But I’ve also seen more than my fair share of erasure within this same community.

Women, trans folks, and people of color working at the nation’s largest LGBT rights group say they feel excluded:

— BitchMedia (@BitchMedia) June 16, 2015

It’s interesting to see how incredible white and masculine the queer community can be. A report has found that the largest and most funded “LGBT” group in the US (the Human Rights Campaign) is actually more of a white mens club than anything else.

femme1This comic is the first few panels of a much longer comic about the femmephobia within the queer community and 4 ways in which to support queer femmes. In a related article, Erin Tatum wrote about her own experiences as a bisexual person and the glorification of masculinity in the the queer dating scene. Tatum brings up so many good points in that article, including the bi erasure that often occurs and the invalidation of some identities (like bisexuality and pansexuality).

It’s so important to acknowledge the erasure within the queer community, especially for all the identities that are not the LG of LGBTQ+. Josh A. Goodman wrote his experiences as a bisexual man and the barriers that come with non-monosexual identities. Eliel Cruz has written about bisexual erasure before – in particular highlighting how 2014 was the year of bisexual invisibility.

I personally really relate to some of the experiences Michal Jones wrote about in their article on coming out as genderqueer and nonbinary in and out of the queer community. One of the things I particularly relate to was this:

The queer community was one of the first places that I felt free to explore the sides of myself that my childhood tormentors attempted to beat out of me, and still remains a primary source of strength, community, and voice for me.

But as I learned more about the messiness of gender and intersecting identities, I noticed and internalized gender roles and dynamics within queer communities that were reflective of values held by greater,heteronormative society.

everdayfem11-e1425317677882It’s also interesting to see how misogyny shows up within the queer community. Ryan O’Connell wrote about gay men and their not so cute misogyny problem, highlighting some of the misogynistic aspects some gay men have perpetrated.

Transphobia is yet another thing that stays within the queer community and alienates the transgender, gender nonconforming, non binary, and overall trans siblings that exist in the queer community. Laverne Cox says it all so much better than I ever could in the below interview:

(Transcript found here)

And of course, there’s the racism that’s so embedded within so many aspects of US society, including many parts of the queer community at large. Rev. Patricl S. Cheng, Ph.D wrote about his own experiences and other stories of racism against Asian queer people a few years ago, particularly highlighting the racist nature of many planned queer parties.

Like many things I’ve written about in the past, all of this is just the tip of the iceberg about this issue. The exclusionary nature of the mainstream queer community isn’t limited to people who are bisexual or transgender or to people of color. There seems to be a severe lack of intersectionality in the mainstream queer culture (as often highlighted and perpetuated by the Human Rights Campaign, which remains one of the largest and most funded LGBT organizations in the US).

Pride Month.

I’ve only ever been to one Pride weekend a few years ago and I ended up volunteering the entire time (which is another story for another time). That weekend came at a time in my life where I was struggling a lot with being queer and dealing with my incredibly horrible experiences at my now alma mater. It was really nice to be around a large group of mostly queer people for the first time really ever in my life. And I think that pride month can be really great for that. To be around other queer people when I was really isolated from that community? That meant so much.

I do think that Pride can be incredibly important because it will always be someone’s first time experiencing community and support. I sometimes think about my first (and only) Pride and remember how incredibly validating it was to be in a place that (seemingly) supported me as a person.

tumblr_inline_mqhct25cfT1qz4rgpBut at the same time I think it’s incredibly important to be critical of what Pride has turned into and the context of where it all began (as a way to remember the Stonewall Riots). Pride has turned into this capitalistic and celebratory festival (where some cities having more banks in the Pride parades than trans groups) rather than a way to remember the past.

Some have been really critical of the fact that places like banks, police departments, and even the US Department of Defense have not only sponsored but actively participated in Pride festivities. (Against Equality is a great resource of criticisms of the military industrial complex, prisons, and marriage if you want to learn more.) One good article to start with though:

  • Why I won’t be celebrating the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell: Queer soldiers are still agents of genocide
    • From the article:
  • My problem with the hype and pressure around DADT is that it distracts from the very things that the Queer Liberation movement was founded on: Anti-imperialism, anti-racism, equal access to housing and healthcare, and struggles against patriarchy. It seems almost irrelevant to me whether or not gay soldiers can “come out” in the military when the US military is not only carrying out two genocidal campaigns for US imperialism and corporate profit, but also when the war budget is draining the funds needed for almost every other service we so desperately need in this country. When I see the situation as such, not only does it become apparent to me that the Queer Movement must be antiwar, but also that the movement, as is, has been hijacked by a few high powered assimilaitionist dragging everyone along through corporate propaganda.

At the same time, allowing police departments to sponsor and participate in Pride with the law enforcement’s repeated track record of brutality and racial profiling seems (to me) to send the message that the only people welcome at the festivities are white people. Over the past couple years, it is hard to ignore the police brutality against communities of color, especially the African American/black communities. (The Huffington Post has an article about the 40 reasons why our jails are filled with black and poor people and shocker, a lot of it has to do with racial profiling and racial bias.)

As far as the commericialization of Pride, Christina Cauterucci wrote an article recently about how Pride has in fact turned into this commercialized party weekend, especially saying that:

When Fortune 500 companies reap the benefits of our show of pride in the face of oppression, when straight allies become integral to one of our precious few queer-majority spaces, what has Pride become?

“The first Gay Pride was a riot,” goes a popular radical queer slogan. Celebration and self-love, of course, are political in their own right, and essential to our communities’ well-being. We have the right to be more than a set of rights and disprivileges. We need frivolity and fun. We need to dance and fuck and throw confetti, to let our guts unclench and just laugh in an environment that affirms the core of who we are. But today’s Pride threatens to turn ahistorical, divorced from the context of ongoing battles for queer liberation in favor of a bland street fair that suits the least common denominator of the gay experience.

There have also been specific instances in some cities that have drawn criticisms, including the fact that one year, the San Francisco Pride endorsed a prison themed gay pride party. And there haven’t always been the most inclusive practices involving not only Pride itself but organizations and the movement itself – the push from mainstream groups and organizations to alienate women like Sylvia Rivera is incredibly messed up in so many different ways.

With big name straight headliners taking the stage at many Pride weekends over the years and the intense focus on marriage and inclusion in the military, I wish that there was more of a focus on issues like homelessness, employment and housing discrimination, racism, classism/living wages, and immigration. Intersectionality and recognizing more than a single focus goal should be so much more important than what Pride currently seems to offer.

There’s so much of me that wants to really love Pride, especially because of the history context and amazing way to reach out to those still struggling to find their community. But at the same time, I still can’t just overlook the flaws of what Pride has currently become.

History of Pride Month: Stonewall Riots

Understanding the history and context of the LGBTQ+ pride month that currently exists is really important, especially since the history tends to drastically erase major parts and key players. The current pride month happens in June every year, with major cities often having large parades and festivals during one of the weekends. But it was originally started as a way to commemorate the Stonewall Inn Riots in New York City that took place in June of 1969.

The riot took place in front of the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village of New York City after a police raid had begun arresting patrons of the bar. Raids like this occurred frequently and during the time, were perfectly legal because as the Stonewall Inn website states:

In 1969 Police raids on gay bars occurred regularly.  It was illegal to serve Gay people alcohol or for Gays to dance with one another.  During a typical raid, the lights were turned on, the customers were lined up and their identification checked. Those without identification or dressed in full drag were arrested. Women were required to wear three pieces of feminine clothing, and would be arrested if found not wearing them[1].

(This, of course, is just another example of the corrupt and unjust parts of the legal system that still exists within the US today.)

But the riots and protests continued into the night, being dispersed several hours later. But the protests continued the next day, with thousands of people gathering on Christopher Street in front of the inn and protests also continued the day after that.


A year later in 1970, the Christopher Street Liberation Day march was held to remember the events that had happened and people walked on Sixth Ave in New York City from Greenwich Village to Central Park. Other marches in different cities started to pop up as well. Although, this first march in 1970 wasn’t the celebratory parade that Pride currently is. One article about the evolution of pride by Yohana Desta states that:

Because of its celebratory nature, people often refer to the CSLD March as a parade, though it was always intended, and specifically called, a march. Its roots came from a somber place. Fred Sargeant, a man who attended the actual event, wrote a first-person account of the march for the Village Voice in 2010, writing that there were “no floats, no music, no boys in briefs.” Instead, they held signs and banners, and chanted “Say it clear, say it loud. Gay is good, gay is proud.”

There are two important figures from the history of the Stonewall Inn Riots that are often erased from the retelling. Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson were both present at the riots (and some accounts name the then 17 year old Rivera as one of the first instigators to throw something at the police that day in June 1969). Both Sylvia and Marsha worked together to form the unfortunately short lived shelter called STAR House (STAR standing for Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries).

Sylvia Rivera played a big part in the riots but also spent a lot of time advocating for those who continued to be marginalized when gay rights groups went more mainstream. David W Dunlap wrote about Sylvia after she died in February of 2002 and wrote about her struggle with the mainstream gay organizations:

Ms. Rivera often tangled with gay political leaders who favored a more conventional public front. When the Gay Activists Alliance eliminated transvestites from its civil rights agenda in the early 70’s, she turned on the group, Dudley Clendinen and Adam Nagourney wrote in ”Out for Good” (Simon & Schuster, 1999). ”Hell hath no fury like a drag queen scorned,” she warned. [2]

Sylvia worked tirelessly for people of color and low income queer and trans individuals and there is currently the Sylvia Rivera Law Project in New York City that does a lot of legal and educational work in memory of this wonderful woman. For more information on Sylvia, there is the ten posts for Sylvia Rivera’s Ten Year Memorial from several years ago and an article from the Village Voice calling Sylvia a woman for her time.

Marsha P Johnson spent time working with Sylvia on issues like the police raids, homelessness, and mentoring many youth. Some saw her as a mother figure and she often advocated for marginalized communities. Reina Gossett wrote an amazing tribute to Marsha on the Crunk Feminist Collective and quoted Marsha herself, saying:

In contrast to the equality movement assimilation strategies, Marsha P Johnson laid out a clear freedom dream during her interview “RAPPING WITH A STREET TRANSVESTITE REVOLUTIONARY” with Bob Kohler.  She told Bob.

“STAR [Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries] is a very revolutionary group.  We believe in picking up the gun, starting a revolution if necessary.  Our main goal is to see gay people liberated and free…We’d like to see our gay brothers and sisters out of jail and on the streets again.  There are a lot of gay transvestites who have been in jail for no reason at all, and the reason why they don’t get out is they can’t get a lawyer or bail.” [3]

[Video of the documentary Pay It No Mind, where Marsha and others are interviewed specifically about the life and work of Marsha P Johnson.]

Unfortunately, Marsha died in 1992, shortly after Gay Pride. The police controversially rule her death a suicide but many have advocated that Marsha was the victim of a hate crime and that her death was in fact a murder. Her case was reopened in 2012 but I unfortunately haven’t found anything about what has happened with the case since then.

[1] The History Stonewall Inn

[2] Sylvia Rivera, 50, Figure in Birth of the Gay Liberation Movement

[3] Happy Birthday Marsha “Pay it no mind” Johnson!

Critiques of marriage equality and the Human Rights Campaign

Because June is Pride month for many cities around the U.S.,  I’m hoping to highlight some critiques of the larger and more mainstream LGBTQ+ community. I’m also planning to write about the history of Pride and some of the key people behind it. Starting off though, I wanted to address the critiques that many other queer individuals have brought up regarding the mainstream marriage equality movement and the Human Rights Campaign that started roughly 35 years ago.

First and foremost, let’s start with the criticisms of the movement for marriage equality. I know that marriage means a lot to many people and I do think that if you and your partner want to get married, you should. However, the focus on marriage equality as the biggest issue for the entire LGBTQ+ community is incredibly problematic because it is often painted as this end all solution to a plethora of different issues (health care, visitation rights in hospitals, immigration, etc). When in reality, there are so many pressing issues like youth homelessness, violence, employment and housing discrimination, racism, and others that impact the every day life of so many within the community.

And marriage shouldn’t be treated as this solution to the broken systems that already exist (again like health care and immigration). There are broken systems within the US that won’t be fixed by allowing everyone to marry and we shouldn’t treat marriage equality like this end all solution to so many problems. Instead, we should work to address those problems. Drew Ambrogi wrote it best in an opinion piece about who marriage equality leaves out, saying that:

Talking about marriage as if it is the most important issue for the LGBT community silences those of us with needs that access to marriage will not address. Marriage won’t provide adequate health care to those of us who are without it. Marriage won’t address the domestic violence many of us face in our relationships. It won’t save the one in four LGBT youth who are homeless, and it won’t help those of us living with HIV as crucial assistance programs face budget cuts. It won’t address the routine violence faced by trans people and it will do little for LGBT people who are undocumented. And it will probably make things more difficult for those of us living outside of nuclear family formations.

aegreaterthan_notext-300x300Against Equality has a plethora of different queer challenges to inclusion, including queer critiques of the marriage equality movement. Marriage equality is one of the issues they address but they also have resources and critiques on the military and the prison industrial complex. But for right now, they do have a long list of resources to look into about the challenges posed by many different queer individuals about marriage and have highlighted the problematic nature by saying:

 Gay marriage apes hetero privilege and allows everyone to forget that marriage ought not to be the guarantor of rights like health care.  In their constant invoking of the “right” to gay marriage, mainstream gays and lesbians express a confused tangle of wishes and desires.  They claim to contest the Right’s conservative ideology yet insist that they are more moral and hence more deserving than sluts like us.  They claim that they simply want the famous 1000+ benefits but all of these, like the right to claim protection in cases of domestic violence, can be made available to non-marital relationships.

We wish that the GM crowd would simply cop to it: Their vision of marriage is the same as that of the Right, and far from creating FULL EQUALITY NOW! as so many insist (in all caps and exclamation marks, no less) gay marriage increases economic inequality by perpetuating a system which deems married beings more worthy of the basics like health care and economic rights.

– See more at:

There are also a lot of criticisms being lobbed at the Human Rights Campaign. One of the biggest (for me) is the company’s complete lack of intersectionality and diversity. Marriage equality is their biggest concern, rather than issues like youth homelessness (which is significantly more likely to impact LGBTQ+ youth), employment or housing discrimination, or others. Derrick Clifton wrote a great article for the Huffington Post about the criticisms of the Human Rights Campaign, saying among other things that:

With marriage equality occupying so much space in the conversation, many people have grown tired of the perfunctory strategies that eat up time, money and resources to address surface-level issues rather than work intersectionally to address the root cause of systemic issues impacting LGBT communities. That’s not to say marriage doesn’t matter — it’s indeed a big step that’ll move us closer to achieving equality — but the high, high level of its prioritization is troubling to many.

And the Human Rights Campaign has a rather terrible track record of excluding parts of the LGBTQ+ community in order to get parts of legislation passed, including repeatedly throwing the trans community under the bus. Personally, I can’t get behind a multi million dollar organization that repeatedly shuns a part of the larger LGBTQ+ community AND has repeatedly focused on issues that usually the more privileged only have access to.

#TransIsBeautiful and #CallMeCaitlyn

By now, you might have already seen Caitlyn Jenner’s photo shoot and cover on Vanity Fair. I am so happy for Caitlyn – living to your authentic truth is unbelievable freeing and wonderful. And having the exposure of transitioning late in life is also wonderful – it allows more people to understand that it’s never too late to come out of the closet.

It’s really heartwarming to see all the support and love being thrown in Caitlyn’s direction but it’s just as important to be critical of and acknowledge the fact that Caitlyn has access to resources that not many trans people (especially trans women) have access to. I should say that this isn’t an attack on Caitlyn herself but instead something to be mindful of when talking about trans issues. Laverne Cox put it brilliantly in a blog post about #CallMeCaitlyn, saying that

It is important to note that these standards are also informed by race, class and ability among other intersections. I have always been aware that I can never represent all trans people. No one or two or three trans people can. This is why we need diverse media representations of trans folks to multiply trans narratives in the media and depict our beautiful diversities. I started #TransIsBeautiful as a way to celebrate all those things that make trans folks uniquely trans, those things that don’t necessarily align with cisnormative beauty standards. For me it is necessary everyday to celebrate every aspect of myself especially those things about myself that don’t align with other people’s ideas about what is beautiful. #TransIsBeautiful is about, whether you’re trans or not, celebrating all those things that make us uniquely ourselves. Most trans folks don’t have the privileges Caitlyn and I have now have. It is those trans folks we must continue to lift up, get them access to healthcare, jobs, housing, safe streets, safe schools and homes for our young people.

It’s so incredibly important that with all of this support for Caitlyn that the rest of the trans community is also lifted up and supported. My post from the latest #TransDayOfVisiblity this past March is just as relevant today as it was a couple months ago. It’s still incredibly important to educate yourself about trans issues (and Google still should be your best friend as far as beginning that journey). And it’s so important to be happy that Caitlyn has come out but also remember that women like Caitlyn have access to many many resources that not every trans person does.

Sophia Banks brought up some good points, tweeting that:

 Sophia has so many great points about not only the media attention towards Caitlyn but her own life as a trans woman in Canada. Some of her tweets ended up in an article from The Advocate about how trans people are welcoming Cailtyn to Twitter. (Of course not everyone has been so welcoming…)

Ultimately I think it’s incredibly important when people like Caitlyn Jenner come out and let the world know something so personal because we definitely need more trans people in the media. But at the same time, I think it’s possible to be happy for Caitlyn while also critical of the level of access she has as a rich white woman and how there’s so much more work to do for the rest of the trans community. And it’s important to also discuss the violence and homelessness that many trans people (especially trans women of color) experience on a regular basis. 

There is so much more that goes into this that I could quite literally write for hours about this but in the end, I’m happy for Cailtyn and I have so much love for every single trans person out there. And to all the trans people reading this, I love you so much. I have so much appreciation for my trans siblings because I get how lonely and difficult it can be. I haven’t come out as trans to my family (especially after being called “too militant” in my correction of my mom’s pronoun usage for Caitlyn Jenner).


Along with spending a lot of time questioning my gender, I’ve also been spending a lot of time questioning my sexual orientation. I do know that I am at the very least romantically attracted to people with various genders but there’s definitely a part of me questioning whether or not I’m asexual as well. And because asexuality still seems relatively new to mainstream society (or at least in my experience), I thought I’d write about asexuality today!


[Cartoon reading: Hello! my name is Adri and I am asexual. What does that mean? Asexual: once who does not experience or rarely experiences sexual attraction to any gender or who otherwise has very little interest in sexual activity, if at all]

Kirstin Kelley wrote about her own experiences with asexuality and how asexuality is a minority in desperate need of understanding. Kelley also wrote about 8 things you shouldn’t say to an asexual person, particularly mentioning that:

People have a right to say no to sex for any reason, and pathologizing people who simply have no sexual desire sends the message that it isn’t okay to not want sex.

Femspire also ha a great article about asexuality, talking about how:

An asexual is someone who does not experience sexual attraction. This does not necessarily mean that they do not experience sexual arousal, or romantic or aesthetic attraction, or that they do not want intimacy from their relationships. You can even be an asexual and masturbate or have sexual encounters. Sexuality is a spectrum, on which asexuality falls at one end, but everyone who identifies as an asexual is an individual. You can be asexual and heteroromantic, or asexual and homoromantic, or asexual and aromantic, or anything in between.

There’s definitely a part of me that is asexual and I’m really glad to be seeing more resources about asexuality. But I do have so many concerns about fully identifying as asexual for so many reasons. I’m worried about dating while asexual and being constantly bombarded with questions from others.

Telling Someone Else’s Story and the White Savior Complex

One thing that has come to be my biggest pet peeves is allies trying to tell someone else’s story. While I was growing up and finding my own way as a beginning activist, I was fed the narrative to speak for those who are voiceless. But as I grew and learned, I realized that no one is inherently voiceless – people often are able and should be allowed to share their own stories, to create their own narratives.

Part of being an activist, of being an ally with any community is to listen to the people tell their own stories and lift up their voices rather than drown out them out by talking more loudly. And more often than not, if you’re not a part of the community, odds are you have no idea the extent of the issues or the solutions that could actually work. Linda Martin Alcoff wrote about the problem of speaking for others; some of her main points include listening to less privileged speakers instead of speaking over them and remain open to criticism.

For a transcript of the video, click here.

And a lot that comes with this topic is the problematic nature of white saviors because there’s this idea, this nature that as white people living in a western country (like the US), we have the answers to ending oppression and the world’s problems. Teju Cole wrote about the white savior industrial complex, highlighting some campaigns like #StopKony/#Kony2012.  Anne Theriault wrote about the white feminist savior complex, touching on some of the points that Cole wrote about particularly in the context of white western feminism. Toi Scott wrote about the problems with the white savior complex, including tokenization of people of color and erroneous assumptions. Julie Hall wrote about what really happens when white saviors try to ‘save’ Muslim women, writing specifically about an interaction she had with a white man attempting to ‘save’ Muslim women, saying that:

Not only that, but he denies women of color agency and heroizes himself and Western people who work in the developing world. “We, we, we, we, we,” he intoned. We have to take initiative.We have to go to the local authorities. We have to start these projects. We have to help them see. Because they obviously can’t fix any problems without the aid of the Great White Hero.

His condescension towards me is more than personally irritating. It is representative of how privileged people treat marginalized people. His disrespect of my work experience was evident and, regrettably, predictable. A white man arrogantly attempting to demean a woman of color is not new or shocking.

Having agency and control of your own narrative is such a unbelievably important thing, especially for marginalized communities whose stories are often removed to be told by others. Being an ally to any community and being an activist in general, to me, means listening to and uplifting the voices of those trying to speak. Highlighting the stories and narratives from marginalized and oppressed communities is a critical part of acting as an ally (particularly since a big part of being an ally also includes not having all of the focus on you).

Media Monday: Web Series and YouTubers

To be completely honestly, part of the reason I love web series is because I usually have the attention span slightly larger than a goldfish and the videos of web series tend to be the perfect amount of time before I move on to the next thing. So for this week, I thought I’d write about some of my favorite web series and regular Youtubers.

Ackee & Saltfish is a comedic web series that follows around the everyday interactions of two friends, Olivia and Rachel. There’s a short film in addition to the web series (for which the trailer is for above) that highlights more of the everyday experiences and conversations of two young black women raised in a quickly gentrified London.

Qraftish by Cristal is a (relatively) new part of the site Black Girl Dangerous and so far, only has a few episodes. But each episode takes on a different issue faced by Cristal, an 18 year old black queeringly.

The Peculiar Kind is a show I was introduced to by accident a few years ago and when I first found it, I watched all of the episodes on repeat for like two weeks. It’s a refreshing take on different aspects and issues of the LGBTQ+ community from mostly LGBTQ+ people of color.

WeHappyTrans is slightly different from the ones above but still so important. WeHappyTrans is a collection of videos of trans identified people talking about positive experiences they’ve had. And that’s exactly why I love it – the videos show a different side of the trans community, one of positivity and depth and context. It’s so easy to be overwhelmed by the violence faced by trans individuals (which is an important aspect to remember and fight against) so having a place of a bunch of trans individuals talking about other aspects of their lives is so great. The one above is just one of many videos that exist for WeHappyTrans!

Kina Grannis is a beautiful singer who posts original songs and covers on YouTube. The video above is just one of many that she has posted on her channel and was made using stop motion and a ton of skittles! Her voice is so beautiful and generally, I love her covers significantly more than the original version. Plus, her own songs are just wonderful.

All of these videos are a few of the many that exist from not only the same people I’ve written about but just some of the numerous creative ventures that are currently out in the world.