For hundreds of years when being queer was criminal in western society, the public face of queerfolk was the most visible members of the community, those who were unable to hide by passing as heterosexual and consequently, those most often brought before the law. Trans* individuals, cross-dressers, and those who eschewed the gender binary were obvious, easy targets. When the political climate became unbearably repressive, and the civil rights movement to emancipate other minorities took off, one of the first acts of the community was to change the image of queerness in the public consciousness. Continue reading →
The original Pride flag was flown at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade on 25th June, 1978. It had been designed by Gilbert Baker, an artist and designer who made silk banners for gay rights and anti-war protest marches. The flag was inspired in part by Judy Garland’s “Over the Rainbow” (Garland had died a few days before the Stonewall uprising), and originally contained eight colours, each with a different meaning, the idea for which came from the Flag of Races used during the 1960s civil rights marches, which consisted of five horizontal stripes in red, black, brown, yellow, and white.
Thirty volunteers hand stitched and dyed the first two flags for the Freedom Day parade. Continue reading →
Through the 1960s as homophile organisations started to form in defence of queerfolk, the community which was only just forming began to fracture. Societies like the Mattachine wanted to present an assimilationist approach to queer emancipation, representing the white, middle class, straight-passing men who politicians and lawmakers would relate to and find most sympathetic. It wasn’t these men, however, that were being targeted by the police and rounded up by the dozen, but the butch women, effeminate queens, cross-dressers, and trans*folk who were the most visible and obvious targets for prosecution, and the easiest to turn into folk devils and scapegoats. It’s no surprise it was those members who first fought back and put queer emancipation on the political agenda. Continue reading →
The hundred-year period leading up to 1970 was a hugely significant one for queerfolk. From a series of small, disparate socio-sexual communities with no real sense of wider identity or framework for understanding their orientation, to an established subculture with a naming convention, identity, and political presence. In response to a repressive legal atmosphere in the UK and USA, “homophile organisations” such as the Mattachine Society and Daughters of Bilitis were formed with the aim of politically liberating queerfolk. While other rallys and marches had been organised in the past, it was the uprising following the botched raid of the Stonewall Inn in New York which really provided the catalyst for the modern Pride movement. Continue reading →
Yesterday was a bad day for you, wasn’t it? Heh.
I spoke to many people yesterday, more than one dismayed at the Supreme Court ruling. And I did what I always do when confronted with people like you, I tried to engage in a calm debate, and dispelled some of the more outlandish myths you’ve been sold. No, you’re not going to lose your house in a lawsuit if you play piano in church ever again. No, your priest won’t have to resign. No, a thunderbolt from heaven is not going to wipe out the United States.
And every time I end those conversations, here on my blog, on Facebook or Twitter or anywhere else, generally I’m thanked for remaining reasonable, for respecting your religion or opinion, and for allowing you to say to my face that you think I’m a lesser human being than you are.
And every time, I feel a little bit dirtier. A little bit more disgusted with myself for indulging you.
So it’s that time of year again, International Day Against Homophobia, and we’re all hopping to show our support. Two years ago, I showed you what homophobia really was. Last year, I encouraged people to share their stories. This year, I want to talk about changing the world, one person at a time.
Read on, there be prizes 😀 Continue reading →
Due to the absolutely overwhelming response we’ve received to our call for authors of LGBT fiction to donate books for a charity giveaway scheduled for 18th April, we’ve reached capacity and are closing the RSVP date for donors at the end of today (09 April).
Authors, if you want to make a donation, this is your last chance. Please contact me (author [at] kateaaron [dot] com), AJ Rose (ajrosefiction [at] gmail [dot] com), or Meredith King (diversereader [at] yahoo [dot] com) by the end of the day to get involved.
Readers: get excited! We’ve got hundreds of authors, review blogs, and publishing houses all offering rewards to anyone prepared to donate a little bit of time or money to charity, so be sure to keep an eye on DiverseReader on the 18th April for your chance to take part.
I love the LGBT community. I love our idealism, our optimism, our faith in a future that will get better. I love that we’re not afraid to stand up and fight to make the future better. I love how we look after our own, take kids in off the streets when their own parents don’t want them anymore, and are prepared to do battle all the way through the highest courts in every land to make our voices heard. I also love our allies, and the wonderful crossover community that is M/M. We are more than a genre, more than a disparate group of individuals. As a collective, we are righteous force to be reckoned with.
So when a certain pizza parlour in Indiana said they wouldn’t cater gay weddings (see my earlier post for my thoughts on that story) and within four days was creeping up on $1mil in donations from a GoFundMe campaign to support their brand of bigotry, I knew we could do better.
AJ Rose and Meredith King agreed with me, and together we came up with a plan. We want to gather as many authors as we can from our wonderful community who want to take a stand and give the collective finger to people cashing in on discrimination. We’d like to give something back to the people who are always giving back, we’d like to offer them a small token of thanks. We’d like to offer anyone who donates $5 to an LGBT charity of their choice, or shares a charity’s links and spreads the message, the chance to win an ebook.
Over the last few days, we’ve been contacting every author we know, and they in turn have been contacting their friends. So far we’ve got 125 incredible authors on board, and that number is rising rapidly, but we’d like more. Ideally, we’d like to reward everyone prepared to do something for charity.
So what do you say? Can you spare a copy of an ebook (reader’s choice works best, but we know some authors have publisher restrictions) for a worthy winner as incentive for readers to donate? We need to hear back by Saturday, April 11th (to diversereader at yahoo dot com, author at kateaaron dot com, or ajrosefiction at gmail dot com), for a blog post going up on 18th April at DiverseReader announcing the giveaway and the reason behind the fundraiser.
The day of the post, all we ask is that you share the post link on your various social media to alert your fans of the opportunity, and when the deadline for the giveaway passes, we’ll email you the name of your winner and their email so you can contact them about their prize. It’s easy, hosted in one place for readers to follow and enter, and will show that we mean business.
We want this fundraiser to be as big as we can make it. We want to prove to the naysayers that we have honour and justice on our side, that we’ll look after the people they kick to the kerb, we’ll fight for our rights to live and love equally, and to have equal protections under the law. LGBT people aren’t going anywhere, and our allies have loud voices. Help us use them.
*ETA, we’ve been contacted by some of the review site owners about adding in a gift card for the cost of a single book as incentive as well, and we’d like to say that’s awesome, if those sites are willing to do so. You’ll be emailed just as an author would to handle transfer of the prize to the winner, but we’d like to keep it to the cost of a book per gift card, so as to avoid a sort of lottery situation. Money for donations gets into potential legalities I’m not sure would help the cause.
My patience is wearing thin. I am done with the “reasonable” debate about the rights I “deserve,” if falling in love somehow makes me “less” than other people, if I’m safe to be around children. I’m done debating if my landlord has the right to evict me, if my boss has the right to fire me, if I have the right to be upset about people debating my rights.
I don’t care what your religion says, how grossed-out you are, how upset if someone calls you a homophobe. Fuck “reasonable,” “measured” debates. My life is not a problem other people have to solve.
Fuck the “same as you” arguments which pander to the fear of, and simultaneous fascination with, queer sex, fuck the way people try to “normalise” queerfolk. We were never abnormal to begin with.
Fuck wondering what jobs I’m capable of, what I’m safe to be allowed to do. I don’t need community rehabilitation, because I am part of the community already. We are legion. So fuck trying to keep us in the closet by threatening our livelihoods if we dare come out.
Fuck whitewashing us from history, from society, from the school and the street and the workplace. You have always lived alongside queerfolk, you have shared classrooms and changing rooms and office space and gym memberships with us your whole life. We are not shadowy strangers “out there,” we are here, beside you. Doing no harm.
Fuck the people who want us criminalised, who want us rounded up and gassed, who want us stripped of our rights to live and love, to lobby and assemble, to say fuck you to begin with. Fuck the president who let a plague go unchecked, and the people who hide behind false idols and fraudulent studies to strip us of our humanity.
Fuck those who say we can change, who prey on the fears of parents to torture and emotionally abuse their queer kids. Fuck every parent who has ever disowned a child. Fuck the families who come out of the woodwork after a death in order to loot the estate. Fuck the law which makes that possible.
Fuck the courts who hear the animus, fuck the “gay means stay” approach, fuck every pompous old man who feels uncomfortable acknowledging our existence. We will not go away, for we have nowhere else to go.
Fuck the mother scared of raising a “sissy,” who won’t let her son near anything pink or her daughter near blue, the father who tells his boy to “man up” and teaches his girl to be scared of men, the teacher who steers girls towards textiles and boys towards woodwork, the coach who calls a kid a “pussy” if he shows he’s hurt. Fuck gender normativity.
Fuck pink and blue, boys and girls, gay and straight. Fuck meaningless binaries and two-faced allies, every person who’s watched gay porn and turned against us in the privacy of the voting booth. Fuck delaying and denying our rights, fetishising our bodies, othering our lives, loves, desires. Fuck treating gay bars like zoo exhibits, gay men like predators, fuck the semantics of fear and loathing.
Fuck the closet, the word “partner,” fuck turning our marriages into business arrangements, forcing us to bind ourselves with powers of attorney and living wills and thousand-dollar pieces of paper to protect ourselves from our own flesh and blood when our hearts are no longer beating. Fuck smothering us, hiding us, pushing us away. We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it.
Okay, I’m going to talk about something which is going to make many of us uncomfortable: the gay PDA. More specifically, about the reaction to gay PDAs.