Which Stonewall? Whose Stonewall?

By | 2019-06-26T15:46:10-04:00 June 26th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

“Ho Ho! Hey Hey! We won’t pay to be gay!” The chant, led by Vivian Thompson on a bullhorn and in unison with a couple dozen or so other protesters, announced the stance of Lansing People’s Pride as they marched on June 17th through Old Town, home to this year’s Michigan Pride celebration.

Fighting for Our Rights 50 Years Post Stonewall

By | 2019-06-12T15:31:42-04:00 June 12th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

June 28, 1969. With no civil rights protections available for LGBTQ people and rampant harassment and brutality by law enforcement against our community and LGBTQ establishments, a group of brave men and women — including two transgender women of color, Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson — stood up to the New City Police Department and determined that they were not going to take it anymore.

Mombian: Transgender and Gender Creative Children Star in New Picture Books

By | 2019-05-29T15:45:32-04:00 May 29th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

"When Aiden Became a Brother," written by Kyle Lukoff and illustrated by Kaylani Juanita (Lee & Low), is a sweet and joyous tale about a biracial (black and South Asian) transgender boy awaiting the birth of his new sibling. The book starts by explaining that everyone thought Aiden was a girl when he was born, but he later realized he was a boy.

Resisting the Dangers of Michigan’s Abortion Ban

By | 2019-05-22T16:16:26-04:00 May 22nd, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

For the past week, I haven’t been able to log on to social media without seeing controversy about the abortion bans that are sweeping the country. Even the most politically apathetic people are weighing in on it.I grew up in a cultishly tight Evangelical Christian community. I went to private Christian schools. It shouldn’t be a surprise that I was raised to be pro-life.

HHS Rule Allows Religious Discrimination in Health Care

By | 2019-05-08T14:23:12-04:00 May 8th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has finalized a new rule that will allow health care workers to refuse to provide or assist in providing medical services if doing so violates their religious or moral beliefs. In other words, it will allow them to discriminate widely and putting LGBTQ people and our families, among others, at risk.

As in a Mirror

By | 2019-05-01T14:08:21-04:00 May 1st, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

So often when people who are not transgender speak of transgender people, there is one important thing that is gotten terribly wrong, and I think it's a core part of understanding exactly what it is to be transgender.

Being Seen

By | 2019-04-10T16:58:53-04:00 April 10th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

I grew up in a Southern California suburb in the 1970s, a short distance from the smog-filled skies of Los Angeles. Right around the time of Fleetwood Mac's Rumors album, mood rings and bell bottoms, there was a veneer of patriotism brought forth thanks to the bicentennial.

Let’s Talk About Drinking and Health

By | 2019-04-10T16:02:47-04:00 April 10th, 2019|Health & Wellness, Opinions, Viewpoints|

I am often asked from clients and friends if I believe there is a healthy amount of alcohol that may be consumed on a regular basis. Of course, no one likes my response: actually no, there is not. However, I also like to reframe the question: How do you define healthy? More specifically, is there a use for alcohol?

Adoption Case Settlement Win for LGBTQ Michiganders

By | 2019-03-28T02:17:05-04:00 March 28th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

This past Friday came the announcement that the ACLU of Michigan and the state of Michigan settled a lawsuit that we, the ACLU, had filed — challenging the state’s practice of allowing state-contracted, taxpayer-funded foster care and adoption agencies to use religious criteria to exclude same-sex couples.

Mombian: Of Budget and Bias

By | 2019-03-20T14:12:44-04:00 March 20th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

President Trump’s proposed 2020 budget, released March 11, reinforces his intention to let foster care and adoption agencies discriminate against LGBTQ people and others in the name of religion, using taxpayer money. There is legislation pending that could stop these religious exemptions to non-discrimination laws, however. Here’s what you need to know.

Ducking Transgender Athletes

By | 2019-03-13T13:43:26-04:00 March 13th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

Centuries ago, during the witch trials of the medieval era, a unique way of determining who was or wasn't a witch was created. A woman suspected of being a witch would have her right thumb bound to the big toe on her left foot. She would then have a rope tied around her waist, and be thrown into a nearby pond or river.

Positive Thoughts: I’m an HIV-Positive Gay Man Committed to Racial Justice

By | 2019-03-06T14:51:57-04:00 March 6th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

The day the universe decided it wanted to see sugar, spice and everything nice, it was June 10, 1991 – the day I was born. Even as a child, I was always talkative and quite the jokester. Winning "Loudest," "Class Clown," and "Most Likely to Work for The New York Times" my senior year of high school proved not only that I could make anyone laugh, but that my banter always led to greater conversation.

Whatever Happened to? …

By | 2019-02-20T14:38:10-04:00 February 20th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

As I rework my dissertation into a book manuscript — cutting sections here, smoothing out passages there, tugging at paragraphs like taffy over there, finding the through line — I have been sneaking out and doing some last-minute oral history interviews. Even though many people have told me to stop, that I need to get the book done. I can’t quite help it.

Valentine’s Day Visibility: To Stay in or Go Out?

By | 2019-02-06T15:56:46-04:00 February 6th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

As a lesbian, I often feel the urge to be vocally happy in my engagement to a woman. It’s a spiteful parry to a book I keep on my shelf as a joke: "The Unhappy Gays," a messy assortment of Christian ramblings about how queer people are actually miserable, pilfered from the collection of my deceased grandmother.

A Look at LGBTQ Artists in Burlesque

By | 2019-02-06T15:54:35-04:00 February 6th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

One would think that in the field of burlesque, sex and the discussion of it would be welcome, but this may not always be the case. In 2019 there is open discussion about all things LGBTQ as well as openly gay celebrities, but in the burlesque world, sex and sexual orientation are still considered dirty words by some. Why is this the case? Perhaps the answer to this and many other questions lies in pondering why humans readily embrace some things and people and not others. Normally, that which is deemed different is looked at with suspicion and approached with caution — as is the case with the LGBTQ or queer burlesque performers.

I’m Positive

By | 2019-01-23T15:38:35-04:00 January 23rd, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

Every HIV story is a sad story. And, generally, it’s always a surprise story for people, something they weren’t expecting. In January 2014, I was dating a guy in Memphis, Tennessee, named Andre. We fell [...]

A Holiday Wish

By | 2018-12-19T12:48:11-04:00 December 19th, 2018|Opinions, Viewpoints|

So, once again, we reach the closing of the year. For many of us, this is a time of trees festooned with tinsel and glass baubles, or nights filled with candlelight or a myriad of holiday traditions. It's a time of gingerbread and gelt, kinara or hanukkiyah, and all sorts of things we hold dear.

Digital Footprints Last

By | 2018-12-13T12:29:06-04:00 December 5th, 2018|Opinions, Viewpoints|

A recent FOX2 news story appeared on my Facebook feed this week, “Michigan mother and son share their transgender transformation,” that delivered an honest and straightforward reporting of a New Baltimore, Michigan, family – and [...]

Legislature Must Stop Health Officials’ Invasive Plans

By | 2018-11-28T16:43:49-04:00 November 28th, 2018|Guides, Opinions, Viewpoints, World AIDS Day|

PQ: As long as Michigan continues to criminalize people living with HIV for engaging in sexual behavior that may not even transmit the virus, the genetic clustering work could be abused by zealous prosecutors. Perhaps those prosecutors believe they are working to stop HIV transmissions. Perhaps they are driven by animus against certain at risk populations.

The Morning After: No Pill, Just Hard Work

By | 2018-11-07T16:37:52-04:00 November 7th, 2018|Opinions, Viewpoints|

One of the lasting lessons I learned from Detroit’s legendary activist Jeff Montgomery was no matter what the outcome was of an election, we must prepare for the morning after. As I write this before knowing the results, I know that things could go either for or against us, but we have to be prepared. When he said this advice, Montgomery was talking about the 2004 Michigan vote that made it unconstitutional for the state to recognize or perform same-sex marriages or civil unions. So much was at stake.

On Nov. 6 Ballot Firsts Abound

By | 2018-10-31T14:42:02-04:00 October 31st, 2018|Opinions, Viewpoints|

What to say to get you to vote that isn’t already in a meme? That’s my task and conundrum. So let’s start with this: LGBTQ Michiganders, when sufficiently motivated, vote and do so in large numbers. For example, 2014 post-election modeling done by the national Stonewall Democrats determined that 14 percent of all Democratic voters in Michigan were LGBTQ. Assuming that we’re 3 to 5 percent of our state’s overall population, that outsized voting percentage is hugely significant.

The Transgender Community will not Be Erased

By | 2018-10-31T14:40:47-04:00 October 31st, 2018|Opinions, Viewpoints|

It’s been a challenging week this week for members of the transgender community, their allies and supporters. Over the weekend, the New York Times revealed that officials within the Trump Administration are pushing for a narrow definition of sex in enforcing federal civil rights laws. By defining sex as “either male or female, immutable and determined by a person’s genitals at the time of birth,” governmental departments could refuse to recognize and address incidents of discrimination against transgender people in employment, education, housing and access to health care.

50-50

By | 2018-10-24T15:41:44-04:00 October 24th, 2018|Opinions, Viewpoints|

1968 was indeed a year that had a profound impact upon this country - the assassinations of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, protests of the Vietnam War and racial inequality - most notably during the Democratic Convention in Chicago and the fist raised during the Olympic ceremony by two Black athletes. And 1968 saw winners – Richard Nixon won the White House and the Detroit Tigers won the World Series! The year also saw the birth of the Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC), and yours truly was born in December of that year.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month LGBTQ Recommendations

By | 2018-10-17T14:57:39-04:00 October 17th, 2018|Opinions, Viewpoints|

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, making it an important time of year to raise awareness for the need of screening and early detection, advocacy, support and ongoing research. Unfortunately, the reality is that breast cancer doesn’t care what month it is and doesn’t just go away until October. It's vital that any person with breast or chest tissue, meaning everyone, understands that they may be at risk of developing breast cancer.

Bring Out Your Dead

By | 2018-10-10T15:50:15-04:00 October 10th, 2018|Opinions, Viewpoints|

So, for this year’s National Coming Out Day, bring out your dead. If you have deceased LGBTQ friends or relatives who may not have been out during their lifetimes, bring them out, even in some small way. Help them take their next step. Tell someone about them. Write up an account of their lives for some future reader (or perhaps a historian). Maybe, in the fashion of cemeteries planting American flags on veterans’ graves, place a rainbow flag at their final resting place.

Standing with Survivors, Standing for Justice

By | 2018-10-03T19:16:06-04:00 October 3rd, 2018|Opinions, Viewpoints|

The stories are all different, but they are the same. The family friend or member who comes into the bedroom at night. The uncle, grandparent or friend who touches inappropriately with a hug. The boys who cop a feel in the hallway. The “nice” guy who after a few beers forgot that “No means No.”

A Beacon of Hope

By | 2018-09-26T14:12:40-04:00 September 26th, 2018|Opinions, Viewpoints|

Recent reports say that 0.7 percent of teens identify as transgender. At the same time, a recent study from the American Academy of Pediatrics reports that 50.8 percent of trans masculine people attempt suicide, with [...]