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.
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.
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.
Can a business fire someone because they’re LGBTQ? The Supreme Court will soon tell us.
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.
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?
Lori Lightfoot was elected Mayor of Chicago! Let that sink in – an African-American Lesbian was elected Mayor of the nation’s third largest city. If that wasn’t historic enough, on the same day Madison, Wisconsin, and Kansas City, Missouri, also elected queer women as mayors - Satya Rhodes-Conway and Jolie Justus.
On the morning of Saturday, March 22, 2014, I received a call from my lead Deacon demanding, “I need you to get to the Oakland County Courthouse. Now!”
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.
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.
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.
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.
It is vital that we continue the discussion on suicide with the recent loss of a member of the trans/gender-nonconforming community. Our community shared this advice in Transcend The Binary's recent study, "Finding Our Strength."
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.
People and families come in many forms, as any LGBTQ person can attest. Now, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company or MassMutual, as it's more commonly known, is using that concept to improve upon its already [...]
NEWS ANALYSIS Jan. 28, 2019, Heritage Foundation, Washington, D.C.: Four self-defined feminists present on a panel entitled “The Inequality of the Equality Act: Concerns from the Left.” Featured speakers: Jennifer Chavez, lawyer and board member [...]
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.
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 am a Detroiter, born and raised. So was my mother. My father, although born in Kentucky, grew up in Chatham, Ontario, before settling in Detroit.
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.
This year I finally came out to my best friend as bisexual. But first, I have to tell you about my first pap smear. You see, I have cerebral palsy and often my legs spasm [...]
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.
My religious teachings tell me that I should not be fearful. However, real and tangible fear should always be met head on. I struggle with that. On voting day, which has come and gone, there are two fears that I confess I faced:
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.
A friend reached out to me yesterday to see if I was OK. She said, “Everyone I care about is under attack.” My dear friend was referring to the administration’s desire to “erase” trans identities [...]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
So, in the spirit of inclusion, LGBTQ organizers should make it a responsibility to pick venues that are as accommodating as possible — even for disabled LGBTQ people. More importantly, organizers should put an effort into making disabled participants feel welcome, not like it is inconvenient to include them.
“Drug addict,” “philanderer,” “lifestyle” ... these are the pejoratives that substance abuse professionals used in a workshop I recently attended at a national conference on substance abuse. I was shocked to hear such judgmental and stigma-laden words casually thrown around the room by trained professionals. I have issues with judgmental words and labels; not only on a professional level, but also when talking to others from the LGBTQ2+ community. We are already fighting for our equality on many other fronts, specifically fewer barriers to health care and we don’t need labels to be used against us.
Our older son in particular was harassed from the beginning. Not only was he biracial and darker than most of the kids who attended his school, but he also had two gay dads.
There are more than 13,000 children in Michigan’s foster care system who are need of permanent loving and supportive homes.
I look at that photo from 1921, at those proud, resolute transgender people from nearly 100 years ago. How many of them were able to escape what was happening around them, or were they forced into hiding? We're any of them amongst those beaten when the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft was destroyed? Dare I even ponder if these folks enjoying a nice day in the sun would, just a few years later, be forced to wear the pink triangle and live out their remaining days in a concentration camp?
I had explored a variety of options but nothing seemed very viable until, one day, I was having a conversation with one of my staff and she mentioned that she had worked for a child welfare program. She said that they often had difficulty in placing children who were older than the average child up for adoption. I called the agency to set up a meeting, and no sooner had I walked through the door than I realized that the woman who was interviewing me was a lesbian and very sympathetic.