Tag Archives: Pride

25 Books to Read & 25 Movies to Watch this PRIDE Month

Books

This is a list of queer books that have stayed with me. I provide only the citation and genre so that you can enjoy them without preconceptions.

Allison, Dorothy. (1985). Bastard Out of Carolina. fiction

Baldwin, James. Giovanni’s Room. fiction

Bechdel, Allison. (2008). The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For. graphic novel

Brown, Rita Mae. (2014). RubyFruit Jungle. fiction/romance

Califia, Pat and Robin Davies. (2012). Public Sex: The Culture of Radical Sex. nonficiton

Chee, Alexander. (2018). How to Write an Autobiographical Novel. nonfiction

Dimassa, Diane. (1993) Hothead Paissan: Homicidal Lesbian Terrorist. graphic novel

Enos, Kristien P., Heidi Ho, Cassandra Gurllon et al. (2016). Active Voice: The Comic Collection: The Real Life Adventures of an Asian-American, Lesbian, Feminist, Activist, and Her Friends! graphic novel

Espinoza, Alex. (2019). Cruising: An Intimate History of a Radical Pasttime. nonficiton

Eugenides, Jeffery. (2002). Middlesex. fiction

Feinberg, Leslie. (2004). Stone Butch Blues. fiction

Forester, E.M. (2018). Howard’s End. fiction

Frank, Judith. (2004). Crybaby Butch. fiction

Gay, Roxane. (2017). Hunger: A Memoir of My Body. nonfiction/memoir

Habib, Samra. (2019). We Have Always Been Here.https://amzn.to/3vTsfnD nonfiction

hooks, bell. (2006). Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representation. nonfiction

Kramer, Larry and Reynolds Price. (2000). Faggots. nonfiction

Maupin, Aristead. (2008). 28 Barbary Lane: Tales of the City (Books 1-3). fiction

Neely, Tom. (2017). Henry & Glenn: Forever and Ever: The Ridiculous Edition. graphic novel

Ngho, Vo. (2021). The Chosen and the Beautiful. fiction

Serrano, Julia. (2008). Whipping Girl: A Transexual Woman on Sexism and Scapegoating of Feminity. nonfiction

Shilts, Randy. (2007). And the Band Played On: People, Politics, and the AIDS Epidemic. 20th Anniversary Edition. nonfiction

Taylor, Sonia Renee. (2021). The Body is Not An Apology. 2nd edition. nonficiton/self help

Waters, Sarah. (2000). Tipping the Velvet. fiction

FILMS

Each of these films is amazing in its own right. I provide the genre without review because you should watch without expectations.

All About My Mother (1999) foreign drama

Angle’s in America (2017) drama

A Single Man (2009) drama

Beautiful Thing (1996) drama

Bound (1996) thriller

Booksmart (2019) romcom

Call Me By Your Name (2017) drama

Favourite (2018) drama

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001) musical

Je, tu, il, el (1974) drama(first on film lesbian scene in mainstream movie)

Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985) drama

Living End (1992) drama

Maurice (1987) drama

Moonlight (2016) drama

My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) drama

My Own Private Idaho (1991) drama

Paris is Burning (1990) documentary

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019) drama

Shortbus (2006) drama

Special (limited series on Netflix) (2018) comedy

The Watermelon Woman (1996) drama

Tongues Untied (1989) documentary

The Kids are Alright (2010) romance/drama

A Very English Scandal (Limited series on Amazon) (2018) drama

Victor/Victoria (1982)comedy/musical

Woke (first season on Hulu) (2020) comedy

#Pride #prideMonth #books #booklists #top10 #top25 #films #movies #gay #lesbain #queer #recommendations

Pride: Be Queer. Fuck the Patriarchy

Happy Pride Month!

This year Pride has been cancelled in most locations due to COVID-19 and celebrations are looking a bit different. Much of Pride has been overshadowed by the protests for racial justice in the United States.

Additionally, Larry Kramer passed recently. Kramer was one of the gay leaders who has loomed large in my queer development. As a kid, I feared him. He seemed angry, virulent, and too in-your-face with his tactics for my shy self. I respected his work, both with the creation and leadership at GMHC and ACT UP. But his personality scared me.

The more I became involved in queer activism and came into myself, the more I understood and identified with Kramer. In 2018 GMHC awarded Kramer a lifetime achievement award. In his acceptance speech he talked about how he came to believe in evil. Evil, he said, was standing by and watching thousands of people die because a government could not be moved to care about them.

We are witnessing evil. We have been witnessing evil for decades, but now more of us are paying attention. Killing people under the color of law is evil. Using law enforcement to terrorize Black and Latnix communities is evil. Allowing the entire system which keeps these murderers on the streets to hunt more Black and Brown folx is evil.

I am glad to see many of my queer brethren at the protests, supporting protesters, and financially supporting bail and legal funds for protesters. We must keep doing this. We must also work to address the racism which is so rampant in our own queer community.

The skeletons in the backs of the closest we came out of is our own racism. Before you jump in and say, “But I am [fill in a racial ethnicity] so I can’t be racist!” Yes, you can. If you benefit from the white supremacy power structure to benefit you as a slightly more desirable minority candidate because your race is preferred over another and you don’t work against it, that’s racist. If you are part of the power structure (say, in law enforcement) and don’t call it out in your ranks, that’s racist.

Before you jump up and say, “I date a [insert racial minority],” or “My partner is [insert racial minority]” so I’m not racist!” stop. Just because you eat a salad does not mean you are vegetarian. If you haven’t worked on eliminating your racial biases and actively work against racism, you are racist.

We, as the LGBTQ+ community, must actively work to dismantle racism within our ranks.

Within Our Institutions

The queer community has a lot of institutions: LGBTQ+ Centers, Health Centers, Counseling Centers, legal groups, political groups, and more. Most of these groups have boards or other leadership structures. Whatever groups you are part of (or donating too) look at the leadership. Who holds the top spots? Who is making policy? Who is the face of the organization? We must have a diverse racial and ethnic leadership in all of our organizations now! There is no excuse for an all white or majority white board. White folxs (and I say this as one of y’all) cannot adequately represent racial minority voices. I have my Ph.D. in political psychology and have spent 20+ years working to understand race in American and listening to all sorts of folks (and have a Black partner) and still would not claim to be able to speak for Black, Latinix, Native, or Asian folx. Get minority folx in organizational leadership (and more than your one token Black person, please).

Review your organization’s literature. What is the language you are using? Are you inadvertently using coded racialized language? What is being signaled to minority groups in your written documents and websites? Unsure? Ask a group of non-white folx to review your stuff (and pay them).

Review your funding priorities. We must put our money where our mouth is. If we want to deal with our community racism, we need to fund activities both focused on or featuring minority speakers/performers/etc. and we must fund education to help members of our communities unlearn racism.

In Our Social Groups

Racism starts at home. We have long had “white” clubs, “Black” clubs, “Latinix” clubs and other distinctions in our social groups. I am all for racial minority groups having their own bars. Sometimes people don’t want to deal with white BS when they are out for a good time. If you don’t get that, think about how you feel when a group of straight bachelorettes invade the local gay bar and start rubbing upon you and spilling their drinks over their Old Navy capris.

We have to make sure that our bars and clubs are accessible to minority folks. This means creating an atmosphere where someone who isn’t white can come in, be served in a pleasant fashion, included in the nightlife, and leave un-harassed. This means making sure your security staff don’t have different screening standards for non-white people. This means serving people as you would any clientele. This means not doing things like asking your Asian patrons, “So where are you really from?”

It also means looking at your personal circles. What do your close friends look like? Who comes to your parties? If they all look like you there is a pretty good chance you need to unpack some of your racist ideas.

Use Your Skills

Lots of us in the LGBTQ white community have had a shot at higher education and some of us are really well off. Many more of us have skills in social organizing, protesting, and movements. We must leverage these skills to help the current protesters for racial justice.

Know how to run text and phone banks to get people to call their legislators? Sign up with a BLM group to help with that work. Got a law degree? Defend arrested protesters pro bono. Love making signs with lots of glitter? Get to work! “Fuck the Police” looks great if highlighted in silver glitter.

Why Does This Matter

Beyond just being a decent human being and fighting for the right for people to be able to jog, get pulled over at a traffic stop, jay walk, or breathe without being killed by a cop, we have a huge non-white LGBTQ community. If you are shocked by this, well you may have some work to do on your feelings around race. Additionally, this is our fight. The same cops who kill Black folks have killed queer folx. The same politicians who want to keep the current power structure in place want queer folk to go without healthcare, to dissolve our families, and to allow our jobs to fire us for no damn good reason.

This fight is a queer fight.

Go. Be queer. Fuck the patriarchy.

#Pride #Pride2020 #LGBTQ #racism #BLM #GeorgeFloyd #whitesupremacy #gaybars #protest #communityservices #skills

I’m Tired. Can We Just Shut Up and Fuck?

I’m feeling old and crotchety after a month of Pride. Maybe its because I have been doing Pride for more than three decades and it is not as bright and shiny as it used to be. Maybe its because now that I am older and sicker, 30 days is a long time to do all things rainbow. Maybe its that I have had an unrelenting headache for nine months now. Whatever it is, I just want us all to shut up and fuck now.

I am thrilled there are several new generations of queer activists up in arms about all things queer. I am. We need new blood, new views and new people willing to take on the fight. And many of you are doing great things! I want you to keep going.

However, it seems to this old queer that the new trend in activism is to always be in activist mode, always looking for the “perfectly inclusive” events. Always on the look out for something- an image, a word choice, a seven year old tweet from a presenter- which would indicate that an event must shut down and become #woke. In that quest, we forgot why we are fighting for rights. We cannot fuck those we love without facing retributions.

Don’t get me wrong. As part of the older generation I have long taken issue to the accessibility of our events. This comes in many forms. Making spaces physically and emotionally accessible to folks with all forms of disabilities is a critical need in the queer and kinky communities. Making sure all bodies- fat, trans, POC – is critically important. Representation really matters. Off-duty cops in uniform don’t belong at Pride, ever. Yes, all these things need to be addressed.

BUT… from the decades of experience of this old activist, y’all need to turn off the angry activist switch and fuck a little more.

Being queer and kinky isn’t just about “love is love.” Its about getting hot, sweaty and freaky in ways which scare most folks in our repressive society. If I was just loving women without fucking them there wouldn’t be a need to fight fight for my rights to exist without harm from the government and public. If I was getting it on all vanilla with some dude, fighting for things like access to sex toys and consensual assault laws wouldn’t be an issue. Being queer and kinky is about fucking. We are losing that as communities.


Being queer and kinky we get to prioritize pleasure and connection.


This last Pride month I watched celebrations and events get derailed because of the quest to please every single activist group who might potentially speak up about an issue. In Sacramento, the LGBT Center who manages the main Pride celebration handled the inclusion of uniformed off-duty officers at Pride poorly. They initially announced they had reached a compromise with the police to allow off-duty officers to participate wearing polo shirts with insignia but not uniforms at Pride. Then, two days before the celebration they changed that in ways which were not transparent or open to public comment and the community melted down. This resulted in (mostly) white performers pulling out of the event in protest and to show they were allies of POC.

The same thing happened in Natomas, CA (a neighboring town to Sacramento).

I saw discussions online of two kink conferences cancelling because they could not find a hotel which did not pump in scents to their spaces. The presences of chemical scents can trigger severe negative reactions for some folks with chronic migraines and other disabilities. Rather that acknowledge this would be an issue and keep looking for next year, conference organizers decided to cancel the conferences until such a time as they find a hotel which is large enough to manage participants, which is happy to work with visible kinky queers running around in their space for four days, which is affordable for the majority of participants and which has the dates for the proposed conference in a few years.

I appreciate the desire to ally with those of us with invisible disabilities. I find it unfortunate when conferences or events occur in spaces which are not accessible to me. However, as a disabled kinky queer, please don’t cancel an entire event because someone like me has difficulty accessing it. I recognize my needs are not the same as a vast majority of people. I am not the center of the kink world. The importance of people accessing community, information, and connection is way more important than if I can tolerate the physical space you booked.

The other thing is allies need to stop this peak public performative allyship. I get it. You want to show how much you care about queer, or POC, or ethnic/racial groups. Great! Then listen to them and follow their examples.

Problematic Events and Public Responses

I look at the artist boycotts of the Sacramento Pride event. When the announcement that off-duty officers would be allowed to attend in uniform there was an outcry from the community. It was up to individuals to decide how to respond. Several artists made public announcements they were pulling out of the event to support POC. Here is the thing though… I looped in my partner (a Black man) who was performing with two other Black artists (a queer woman and a queer man). They discussed the issues among themselves and then decided to play the event. They didn’t think sacrificing a paid gig with lots of visibility among queers was worth the trade-off of the “statement” of leaving the stage to a few white artists who didn’t pull out of the event. And my partner’s group was in line with almost all the POC groups performing, including Lizzo.

It’s okay to have a “good” event even if it isn’t perfect. We don’t need to sacrafic our education, connections, and parties because we couldn’t meet the needs of every single person in the community. To be an activist who is still going 30 years later, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Prioritize Progress. It takes a while to get to the perfect event (if that is even such a thing). We need to strive to be an inclusive community which means an accessible (accessibility writ large) community. If you are hosting an event, you need to think about physical accessibility, emotional accessibility, and messaging. You won’t get it right the first time. Prioritize making it as inclusive as you can and accept you will miss something.
  2. Listen and incorporate feedback. As an organizer you will mess up at some point. When a person or group approaches you and criticizes you, listen to them. If they tell you your messaging was racists, listen to the criticism and ask for specifics so you can learn and improve. If they tell you it was inaccessible, listen to the needs and drill down so you can make it more accessible next time.
  3. Apologize when you mess up. When you have missed something, apologize. If it was unintentional, its okay to say, “I didn’t understand how that would impact you. Thank you for letting me know.” Pleading ignorance by itself is often seen as defensive. Acknowledging you didn’t know something AND THEN thanking people for information goes much further. Additionally, you may want to offer to work with them in the planning of your next event.
  4. Evaluate the benefit of the event to the problems of cancelling it. Some events get highly criticized in the final stages of preparation. If you can correct a real oversight, then you should do it. If it is something which cannot be corrected at that time evaluate how egregious the oversight has been and if cancelling the event outweighs the benefits of holding a less than perfect event.
  5. Set up time to shut up and fuck. Being queer and kinky we get to prioritize pleasure and connection. Talking politics (even for those of us who are professionals at it) gets exhausting and really kills the mood. It is fine to turn down your activists side to shut up and fuck. Celebrate the community you are fighting for. Trust me, getting your queer, kinky groove on is as revolutionary as anything you are doing with your activism. We are activists because our fucking is discriminated against. Let’s take some time to celebrate who we are!

OK, I’m off to go get fisted. : )

#Pride #PrideMonth #kink #BDSM #LGBTQ #queer #disabled #invisibledisbaility #Sacramento #SacramentoLGBTCenter #SacramentoPride #inclusion #advocacy #woke

Make Pride Queer Again

It’s June, Pride Month. I have been out for three decades and have spent most of that time as a queer rights advocate. I have very mixed feelings about Pride.

Most Pride events have basically devolved into your average street fair with more rainbow crap. Replace rainbow flags with any other merchandise and these events would be no different than every other street fair in town all summer.

That isn’t what Pride was meant to be.

Pride was a demand for queer people to be safe to occupy public space.

Pride was a rejection of the dominant heteropatriarchy.

Pride was an embrace of those of us who didn’t want to get married to one person, own a home, have a kid, and host barbecues with the neighbors while serving potato salad with raisins and dried tomatoes. Pride was for queers, not the “professional passing homosexual.”

Pride was not for corporations to sell crap and cheer the “normalcy” of homos.

While Pride has been co-opted and diluted, we still need it. Queer folks still lack basic rights in employment, housing, and healthcare. We are still targeted for violence. We are still homeless more often, assaulted sexually and physically more often and hetero folks, and are still kicked out of families in ways that hetero folks never experience. We have to keep fighting for basic rights and protections.

We need more queer leaders to step up and focus on changing policies and rights rather than making money and making hetero folks comfortable.

While it is too late to make a difference for Pride this year, I encourage all of you out there going to Pride celebrations or not, to send letters or emails to the planning committees for next year with suggestions on what needs to change. I did so this year with several committees where I know the organizers. But one or two letters alone will not change things. We need to work en masse if we are going to reclaim Pride.

Ask to reclaim Pride. Ask that Pride committees stop hiding queer folks who embrace sexuality. Demand leather folks, kinky folks, sex educators, sex worker rights groups and bear groups stop being hidden at Pride events. Demand that Pride events be accessible to poor folks. Charging even $10 or $15 for entrance makes Pride inaccessible to poor/working class queers. Embrace POC and trans folks and provide accessible space. Demand that Pride be accessible for disabled folks.

Let’s face it. When the LGBTQ movement asked POC, drag folks, kinky folks, and leather folks to hid in the shadows until rights were secured for the “acceptable, professional homosexual” they sent the message to straight America that it was okay to discriminate against the rest of us. When marriage equality silenced our work for employment and health protection, we elevated the needs of rich and upper middle class white queers over the ability for the rest of us to have doctors treat our health needs and for us to stay gainfully employed.

When we put white, younger, mostly cis male faces on our movement, we abandoned everyone else.

We don’t need more rainbow chotchkes. We don’t need more “family friendly” (meaning “DON’T ADMIT QUEERS HAVE SEX!!!) events. We don’t need more face painting booths or events celebrating that some politician made it through the year without completely selling us out.

Let’s bring queerness back to Pride. Let us recognize once again that this originated because trans POC stood up to the power structure. Let us recognize that not all queers are financially stable. Let us demand that members who are POC, or immigrants without legal status, those of us who are poor, and those of us who embrace our sexuality are part of the  movement.

How do we do this? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Sliding scale entrance fees or donations. Make sure members of our community who can’t afford to shell out $15 for entry can still get in an celebrate.
  2. Charge $$$ for corporate booths, churches, politicians and campaigns, and vendors who are only selling knicknacks or snacks. Charge minimally or nothing for advocacy groups, people registering folks to vote, and groups promoting rights of trans folks and POC.
  3. Limit the kid friendly areas. Since Pride has become a tourist event where “allies” want to bring the kiddies and are afraid that their 10 year old might see a nipple or dude in chaps (“assless chaps” and the hets call them) create a small “family” area and let the queer folks actually occupy the Pride space rather than the current trend of hiding anyone talking about sexuality and making the vast majority of Pride space a G-rated event.
  4. Stop seeking out politicians to head events when they have done minimal work to help the community. Sure, your mayor may happily open the Pride event or lead the parade because its great PR. But if they haven’t championed major policies for improvement of the lives of queer folks, they can just show up and march with the rest of us without any special hoopla. Lets start recognizing the people who are working to make serious changes to better our lives and let the politicians pay for their PR stunts if they want to come.

I wish you all a happy Pride and challenge you to get back to the roots of the movement.

#Pride #LGBTQ #Queer #power #politics #trans #POC #change #advocacy

Landmines and Pride

Everyone fucks up. It is the result of being human beings. Pride this year has presented one million more ways for us to screw up and make people mad. We have mined our own fields. So, lets talk about that.

What Was Pride?

Pride was originally created as a protest to being forced to hide who we are. For generations, we hid in closets and never let people in the general public know we were gay. There was good reason for this: we could (and still can) lose jobs, our physical safety is at stake, we can lose family and friends.

Early Pride participants came out at risk to themselves to announce we were here and would not be shamed to going back into the closet. When I was 16, I attended an event in San Jose, CA where the keynote joked that the last Pride was her and eight other queers in Chicago who marched around the block with a pride flag and then retired to a nice brunch.

Pride has grown since then. It has also been commodified and turned into a spectator sport by some heteros. This is annoying at best and overall deeply problematic. Businesses vie for queer dollars without necessarily working to change policies to make the world a safer place for us. Heteros can treat us like an entertainment spectacle and not like humans fighting for basic rights.

Pride has also began to expend to include more groups. We went from gay, to Gay and Lesbian, to LGB, to LGBT… .and now I believe we are up to LGBTQQAAI (can we please just go for Q! [Q factorial]). However, as these groups have been added in the acronym we aren’t always equally welcome. Bi couples that are also dual-gender are seen as heteros and sometimes treated badly. Trans folks are excluded or marginalized. POC are not always included equally.

So now, Pride organizations across the country are trying really hard to make sure all groups are included and honored. It is a huge job. And, as an organizer, I will attest, largely impossible to do without pissing off some group.

It has come down to issues of small parts of our community feeling left out, then calling for a celebration to be boycotted because they are angry.

I don’t think this is the solution. As with a fuck up in a kink scene, it is how you handle your mistake that makes the difference.

Pride is important. We are a long way from having basic rights as queers. Our rights to work, to get our partner’s benefits, to adopt, to get health care and more are either non-existent or currently under attack. This is still a political movement, even though so many forget that among the glitter and rainbows.

So, if you are an organizer and you are made aware of some group being offended. be thoughtful and genuine in your response. A heartfelt, “I’m sorry. How can we do better?” is appropriate. And it is critical that is followed with trying to do better.

It is also important to remember when you are the group transgressed against, it may genuinely have been an accident. Not everyone is up on the latest etiquette around gender and sexual orientation. You may truly read as hetero when you are bi (I know I sometimes do). Gently address the issue and move on. Being a giant dick about an accidental transgression helps no one.

If someone is genuinely a dick, have them escorted out of the event.

We will all mess up this year. Let’s work on how we handle the recovery.

#Pride #LGBTQ #POC #PrideMonth #inclusion #trans #bisexual