elizabeth. mixed race. queer. seattle fatty living the post undergrad lifestyle.


Unnamed Couples, March 8, 2011

Wuhan, China

These couples married publicly as a form of activism on behalf of equal rights. China does not legally recognize same-sex marriages. 

(vía ch0chalapan0cha)

Why immigrant rights are an LGBTQ Issue →


“On Tuesday September 27th we are collaborating with the Chicago LGBTQ Immigrant Rights Coalition to present a community forum on the intersection between immigrant rights and the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) communities. Using the event as an excuse, here is a short list of these intersections put together by the Association of Latino Men for Action’s LGBT Immigrant Rights Project coordinator and IYJL organizer Tania Unzueta. Find more info here, or watch the live broadcast.”

7 simple reasons why the LGBTQ community needs to care about immigrant rights:

#1. We are immigrants too: Of the 10.8 million people who live in the United States undocumented, many are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ). Some of these are LGBTQ youth who came with their families as minors and consider the U.S. their home, while others came to escape persecution in their own countries. They have built their lives here, fallen in love, and started families, but under current U.S. immigration law there is no legal process for them to become citizens. Today they remain in the country in limbo, vulnerable to abuse, and under constant threat of being deported.

#2. Our families have limited options: LGBTQ immigrants, both documented and undocumented, face hurdles when attempting to regularize their status or become citizens. If an immigrant with a visa happens to fall in love with a U.S. citizen of the same sex, their partner cannot help them change their immigration status to that of a permanent residentv. Because same-sex relationships are not recognized under the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), for an immigrant who is in a same-sex marriage, there are an extra 2 years of residency before citizenship if the application is accepted compared to one who is in a heterosexual marriage. But if the application is denied, the immigrant partner will be put in deportation proceedings. There are at least 35,000 same-sex couples in the U.S. that are affected by the immigration system.

#3. We can’t help our immigrant partners: If a person is in deportation proceedings, whether it is because they traveled undocumented or were denied adjustment of status, there are very few options for them to remain in the country – heterosexual or LGBTQ. Some get a “cancelation of removal” from immigration when they have family members- children, husbands or wives, except that for same-sex couples, their citizen spouses do not count. As of May 2011 the policy of the Obama administration has explicitly been to deport immigrant same-sex partners of U.S. citizens, regardless of marital status. This year the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has estimated that they will deport over 400,000 people, the most annual deportations in the country’s history. According to statistics by DHS a third of immigrants detained have no criminal record, many of them include LGBTQ people, and permanent partners of U.S. citizens. [NOTE: This may change under the recent change in enforcement priorities announced by the Obama administration, and the guidelines for prosecutorial discretion announced by DHS. These procedures include LGBT people and same-sex couples, according to the White House, however there are still many questions about the implementation and efficacy of the policy].

#4. We are here escaping persecution: Many LGBTQ and HIV positive immigrants leave their country of birth escaping homophobic and transphobic violence, including threats to their lives. Since 1994 the U.S. considers this ground to request asylum and eventually permanent residency. However, the process for asylum can be a long and harsh process, where in the end, there is no guarantee that it will be granted. There are several cases of gay and transgender immigrants, who could not meet the burden of proof for their asylum claim. Some of them have accused immigration judges and officials of holding biased standards based on stereotypes of safety and behavior, and are still in limbo, or detained.

#5. We face harassment & death in detention: A civil complaint by the National Immigrant Justice Center against DHS details “sexual assault, denials of medical care, arbitrary confinement, and sever harassment and discrimination” against LGBTQ immigrants. The complaint is on behalf of 13 transgender and gay people who came to the U.S. to escape persecution in their won countries. In addition, there have been several documented cases where transgender immigrants have been denied access to hormones, and HIV+ detainees denied access to medication, resulting in a number of deaths and investigations into human rights abuses. These abuses reflect the wrongful treatment that thousands of immigrants face in detention facilities throughout the country, under a system that disproportionately affects LGBTQ immigrants.

#6. Queer undocumented youth are fierce: LGBTQ undocumented organizers have taken leadership roles in the national campaign for immigrant rights. This has been most visible in the campaign for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM), which would provide a conditional path to citizenship for immigrant youth who arrived to the country before the age of 16. LGBTQ youth have “come out” to speak about being LGBTQ and undocumented, using their stories to advocate for change.xiv Additionally some of these youth make specific references to the gay liberation movement as inspiration, citing Harvey Milk’s activism in the 1980s. If these youth were to be deported, some would be going back go countries that they have never known, and that may not be accepting of their sexuality and gender. For many of these LGBTQ undocumented youth the only country they have known is the U.S. and they are fighting for their lives.

#7. Our struggles are intertwined: The same politicians and organizations that oppose the rights of undocumented immigrants oppose the rights of LGBTQ people. Data shows that we are more likely to encounter a person who favors both immigrant and LGBT rights, than someone who supports immigration, but opposes same-sex marriage. Homophobic politicians are likely to attempt to block immigration reform to prevent LGBTQ immigrants from gaining legal status through same-sex permanent partnerships. LGBTQ movements need to build strategic alliances with immigration movements to ensure equal rights for all.

(vía dreamactnow)

Tiger Beatdown › Queering Your Politics, Politicking Your Queers →

There’s been a lot of conversation in the queer and trans community about politics and goals; some of us, for example, are not as concerned about marriage equality as we are about skyrocketing homelessness and suicide rates for queer and trans youth. As we discuss our own goals and priorities, cases like this illustrate the huge obstacles we have to fight against. Whether you think parents shouldn’t kick queer kids out of their homes, want to see hormones and reconstructive surgery fully covered by insurance, or believe that marriage equality and military service are the number one priorities for the movement, I think we can all agree that it’s an uphill battle to get society to admit we are human beings, let alone to extend us equal rights in any field.

(Fuente: misswizzle, vía tofuboots)

Question for the LGBTQ and Trans Community:


I work at an organization for womyn of color that is very conscious of words and how we use them to define ourselves and our community. We are inclusive of our LGBTQ family and I have a question about terminology:

Is the word “womyn” a term that folks feel comfortable with? Are there other terms I should be aware of? We use the word “womyn” already but wanted to get some feed back on it just so that I become more educated moving forward.

would like to see what other people think of this word. i’ve been using it lately, and am also a coordinator of my college’s women of color org. thanks for posting! interested to see feedback. 

(Fuente: ynannarising)

Tiger Beatdown › Queering Your Politics, Politicking Your Queers →

There’s been a lot of conversation in the queer and trans community about politics and goals; some of us, for example, are not as concerned about marriage equality as we are about skyrocketing homelessness and suicide rates for queer and trans youth. As we discuss our own goals and priorities, cases like this illustrate the huge obstacles we have to fight against. Whether you think parents shouldn’t kick queer kids out of their homes, want to see hormones and reconstructive surgery fully covered by insurance, or believe that marriage equality and military service are the number one priorities for the movement, I think we can all agree that it’s an uphill battle to get society to admit we are human beings, let alone to extend us equal rights in any field.

(Fuente: misswizzle, vía mylifeasafeminista)


Labels Project, Vol. One

The Labels Project is a collaborative project between myself and Hedda Hammer, a bay area artist and writer, and came after we attended our first pride events in Los Angeles and Long Beach.  Being newly out we noticed quite a few groups and sub groups that we felt were not properly represented in the media, even our own media.  We felt that there was so much about the LGBTQ community that we did not know, and I’m sure others don’t know about.

Though the project has gone through some changes since it’s initial conception, we hope it hope it will continue to grow and evolve as does our community.

(vía activistaabsentee)

"Queer Sex Doesn't Count" And Nine Other Myths Uncovered- And Debunked- at the Harvard "Rethinking Virginity" Conference →





Myth #1: The hymen is THE definitive marker of virginity. There is no one physical trait that indicates virginity or sexual activity- not even the presence of a “hymen.” I put hymen in quotes because I’ve come to learn that it is really a nebulous entity. At yesterday’s conference, Professor Kathleen Kelly of Northeastern University discussed the history of the hymen and highlighted the way our understanding of the hymen has become misinformed. As she puts it:

“What we recognize as the hymen today was not always considered as such….If we trace the etymology of the word hymen from Greek through Latin to English, we can observe how the word progressively narrows in meaning, first denoting any sort of bodily membrane, then referring to the womb, and finally coming to mean almost exclusively “virginal membrane” in the early modern period. ..The hymen is an overdetermined, widely misunderstood sign precisely because it has never been a fixed part of anatomy…the hymen is both an anatomical part and a metonym.”

So it’s- surprise!- incredibly oversimplified to think that there is some magical vaginal barrier that only virgins have. Sometimes it works like that, sometimes it doesn’t. In part for this reason, back in December, a Swedish sexual rights group renamed the hymen the “vaginal corona.” Food for thought.

Myth #2: Valuing virginity protects girls and women. Nope, valuing virginity puts girls and women at risk of violence, abuse, and assault by members of a society that believes a woman’s worth lies in her sexual behavior. As I discussed on my panel, violations of girls’ and women’s sexual and reproductive rights and health occur every day in the name of preserving and protecting girls’ virginity, delaying sexual activity, or controlling the circumstances under which girls and women lose their virginity. From forced child marriage, female genital cutting, and breast ironing to slut-shaming to the deliberate withholding of information on reproductive and sexual health, the emphasis on preserving virginity has pernicious consequences for girls in the West and beyond. I can do without that kind of “protection” thanks very much.

Myth #3: Queer sex doesn’t “count”. As the panelists yesterday pointed out, heterosexual vaginal intercourse is often privileged above other sexual acts because of its association with reproduction (and because of good old-fashioned heteronormativity and homophobia), and so people often rely on a problematic concept of “virginity” that can exclude, marginalize, and ignore the experiences of queer folk. But in rethinking virginity yesterday, panelists said: F that! It’s important for us to create and reinforce alternatives to this heteronormative penetration-focused view of virginity and how it’s “lost”. What about a female-bodied person whose sexuality does not involve being penetrated? Are her sexual experiences somehow less valid? Part of rethinking virginity has to include incorporating a more nuanced and more queer-friendly concept of sex and virginity that doesn’t serve to devalue the experience of any person or group of people.

Myth #4: You can only “lose it” once. This myth is false on a number of levels. First of all, the term “losing your virginity” is problematic, as it suggests that something is inherently lost as a result of sex and therefore engages in slut shaming. Secondly, many people find the idea that you can only experience something new once to be limiting and/or oppressive. The alternative concept of having multiple virginities was talked about a lot yesterday- some found this concept useful and meaningful, some less so. The idea is that there’s a first time for lots of things, not just penetrative vaginal intercourse, thus, we all have multiple virginities to lose over the course of our sexual lifetimes as we take part in new sexual experiences that are meaningful to us. I find this concept useful because it’s not specific to one particular kind of behavior, and emphasizes sexuality as an ongoing journey rather than an all-or-nothing situation in which you’re either completely abstinent or fully sexually active. It also seems to make more room for queer folks whose sexuality includes being attracted to more than one sex or gender, as well as trans people who may have had sex before transitioning as one gender, but have yet to experience sex as another gender, and anyone else who has had what they define as sex in the past but feels for some reason they now approach the same activity from a new mindset or attitude.

Myth #5: Sex within marriage is the “healthiest” kind. Unfortunately, a marriage license isn’t a magical key to a “healthy” and pleasurable sex life. In fact, sex within marriage is not even always consensual, and sadly, rape occurs within the institution of marriage every day. Remaining a virgin until marriage doesn’t guarantee a “healthy” sex life any more than having sex before marriage does.

Myth #6: There’s one universal definition of sex. This one’s also false. In fact, there seem to be just about as many definitions of sex as there are people in this world. Among yesterday’s conference participants, some people thought oral sex should be considered sex, and some people didn’t. Some people thought the context of the situation determined whether or not it was sex- for example, if proper consent was obtained for a certain act (Some survivors of forced first intercourse identify as virgins because they consider rape to be an act of violence, not sex). Others took into consideration whether or not the partners had intended to “go further” but were interrupted for some reason. Some common factors that folks seemed to take into account when deciding whether something “counts” as sex or not:
-when and how consent was obtained
-number of partners
-existence of orgasm and/or ejaculation
-length of time engaged in activity
-intentions of the people involved
Perhaps most importantly, we established that even though there are many different ideas of what “sex” is, my definition of sex and your definition of sex can coexist simultaneously. One doesn’t invalidate the other.

Myth #7: Slut-shaming plays an important social role by discouraging “risky” behavior. Um, yeah. This is actually a more prevalent idea than you might think. We’ve covered this a lot here at Feministing, so I’ll keep it brief: Slut-shaming (as opposed to educating and empowering by providing comprehensive sexuality education) doesn’t discourage risky behavior or encourage healthy sex, it simply perpetuates a culture of shame, fear, and silence around sex and sexuality that has very real and dangerous ramifications for everyone, not just girls and women. Also, it’s important to note that while feminists have talked a lot about the harmful nature of slut-shaming, virgin shaming can be just as harmful, and is something we need to actively discourage as well.

Myth #8: Teens should learn that sex is dangerous so they won’t put themselves at risk for unwanted pregnancy and/or STIs. This myth is so pervasive that the government has bought into it: all federally funded sex ed is currently obligated by law to teach that sex before marriage will do psychological, physical, and emotional harm. It’s true that sex has consequences, and unsafe sex can be deadly. We need not look far to be reminded of this- HIV infection rates are unacceptably, devastatingly high, and we are in the midst of a global epidemic. Yet our response must not be to spread fear and misinformation. Physical risk can be mitigated with reliable facts and access to services and contraception. And arguments about the emotional consequences of sex won’t ring true for anyone who knows the great pleasure and intimacy that can come as a result of sexual activity- including teens- unless it paints a more accurate and comprehensive picture of the wide range of emotions that can come as a result of engaging in a sexual relationship with a partner, rather than making blanket statements about what teens might feel based on pseudo science and moral judgments. We must arm our youth with the skills they need to navigate their sexual lives with safety and emotional maturity. Why are we traumatizing the next generation with misinformation and scare tactics? Let’s stop policing people’s sexualities and start educating them to make informed decisions about their bodies and their lives.

Myth #9: Teens don’t want to talk about sex with their parents. As the ever-sharp Shelby Knox pointed out, surveys consistently show that teens would prefer to receive sexuality education from their parents. And when you don’t have a community that supports you, no amount of sex ed in the world will suffice.

Myth #10: There is no such thing as sex-positive abstinence. This myth is sometimes even found in feminist circles when people assume that abstinence can’t be taught as part of a comprehensive sexuality curriculum. This is false. When included as part of a comprehensive and factually accurate program, abstinence can and should be taught as an excellent method of birth control and STI prevention, as well as a valid and legitimate choice for sexual beings of any age. In fact, this is a crucial part of any sex positive curriculum.The unfortunate prevalence of this myth is indicative of a much greater need for inclusivity and sex positivity in sexuality education: now that we know that our ideas and experiences about sex and virginity aren’t as simple as they seem, sexuality education programs really need to catch up and become more inclusive of a fluid range of experiences, sexualities, and attitudes about sex.

D.C. activists fight back against violence targeting trans women →


Another hate crime against trans women in the D.C. area, this one by an off-duty police officer no less, sheds a glaring flood light on the work ahead in challenging gender-based violence.

Last week, the off-duty District police officer allegedly fired a pistol at three transgender women and two male friends while the group was sitting in a car on a city street, after propositioning them for sex and being turned down. The police issued a statement saying three people “sustained non-life threatening injuries” and that the officer involved was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon and driving while intoxicated. What the statement didn’t explain, but was clarified by Jeri Hughes ofTransgender Health Empowerment, was that one of the trans women involved was struck by a bullet in the hand, another was grazed by a bullet, and one of the men in the car–identified as the brother of one of the women–sustained a “very serious” gunshot wound and was in critical condition at George Washington University Hospital.

A rally was held Friday by a coalition of LGBT organizations that brought out some impassioned speakers and even some political powerhouses, like D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray. While it’s heartening to see people like the mayor acknowledge that this is a critical and ongoing issue and see the police force responding rapidly and ethically, there’s so much urgent work left to do.

 For starters, the public must be educated about the ways in which this incident, and the many others like it that have happened in recent months and years, are not symptomatic of individual bad apples, but a culture that still condones violence against anyone that doesn’t conform to the gender binary. The DC Trans Coalition summarizes:

Violence against trans women does not only exist as individual hatred or bias-motivated crime. It comes in many forms and for many reasons. Trans women are systematically placed in circumstances where we are more likely than others to experience multiple forms of violence. In order to end violence against trans women, it is important to understand that more than just personal prejudices are at fault. Other kinds of oppression like racism, laws like the criminalization of sex work, economic forces like poverty and gentrification, and many other forces are also at play.

As with all feminist issues, the recent rash of violence against trans women demonstrates just how intertwined oppressions become, and how much sweat, vision, and audacity will be needed to untangle and challenge the dangerous and discriminatory status quo in this country and beyond. In practical terms, that means taking the first steps to expressing solidarity by showing up these rallies, supporting these organizations, and educating those in your own community about the ongoing existence of this kind of immoral and unacceptable violence. This is all of our fight.

(vía projectqueer)

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