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Which Stonewall? Whose Stonewall?

“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.

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

Fighting for Our Rights 50 Years Post Stonewall

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.

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

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

"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.

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

Resisting the Dangers of Michigan’s Abortion Ban

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.

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

Transmissions: The Lines Blur

Caster Semenya is a South African middle-distance runner. She took home Olympic gold in both 2012 and 2016 and has won the world championships three times. She grew up in the village of Fairlie, located [...]

By |2019-05-15T17:02:05-04:00May 15th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

HHS Rule Allows Religious Discrimination in Health Care

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.

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

As in a Mirror

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.

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

Being Seen

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.

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

Let’s Talk About Drinking and Health

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?

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

Adoption Case Settlement Win for LGBTQ Michiganders

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.

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

Mombian: Of Budget and Bias

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.

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

Ducking Transgender Athletes

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.

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

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

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.

By |2019-03-06T14:51:57-05:00March 6th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

Whatever Happened to? …

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.

By |2019-02-20T14:38:10-05:00February 20th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

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

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.

By |2019-02-06T15:56:46-05:00February 6th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

A Look at LGBTQ Artists in Burlesque

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.

By |2019-02-06T15:54:35-05:00February 6th, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

I’m Positive

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 [...]

By |2019-01-23T15:38:35-05:00January 23rd, 2019|Opinions, Viewpoints|

A Holiday Wish

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.

By |2018-12-19T12:48:11-05:00December 19th, 2018|Opinions, Viewpoints|

Digital Footprints Last

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 [...]

By |2018-12-13T12:29:06-05:00December 5th, 2018|Opinions, Viewpoints|

Legislature Must Stop Health Officials’ Invasive Plans

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.

By |2018-11-28T16:43:49-05:00November 28th, 2018|Guides, Opinions, Viewpoints, World AIDS Day|

The Morning After: No Pill, Just Hard Work

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.

By |2018-11-07T16:37:52-05:00November 7th, 2018|Opinions, Viewpoints|

On Nov. 6 Ballot Firsts Abound

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.

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

The Transgender Community will not Be Erased

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.

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

50-50

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.

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

Breast Cancer Awareness Month LGBTQ Recommendations

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.

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

Bring Out Your Dead

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.

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

Standing with Survivors, Standing for Justice

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.”

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

A Beacon of Hope

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 [...]

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

Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Our Story?

To me, it becomes an issue of accuracy versus truth. It may indeed be accurate, for example, to include the name I was born under, answered to and used on legal documents until I was in my early 20s — but this isn't exactly my truth. That surely isn't me, and isn't my identity now. It's not the person who pens these words, or has been under this name and gender for the more than half of this life.

By |2018-09-19T12:20:15-04:00September 19th, 2018|Opinions, Viewpoints|