LGBTQ

Survey Shows Progress For LGBTQ High Schoolers Is Slowing Down

According to the 2017 National School Climate Survey from GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network), progress in making schools more inclusive and less hostile for LGBTQ students has slowed down after years of improvement.

The survey polled more than 23,000 students across the United States ages 13-21 between April and August of 2017.

The average age of participants was 15.6 years-old and four in ten of those surveyed identified as gay or lesbian.

The results of the survey showed that after years of declining harassment, the improving climate seems to have plateaued (see graphic below).

From the survey:

• Almost 60% of LGBTQ students felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation; 44% because of their gender expression

• Almost 35% of LGBTQ students say they missed a day of school in the past month because they felt unsafe

• 4 in 10 avoided gender-segregated spaces like bathrooms or locker rooms due to safety concerns

• 98.5% of LGBTQ students have heard the term “gay” used in a negative way; 70% say they hear these remarks frequently

• 70.1% of LGBTQ students say they’ve experienced verbal harassment based on sexual orientation; almost 60% based on gender expression

• Almost 30% say they’ve been physically harassed (pushed, shoved) based on sexual orientation; 24.4% based on gender expression

• 12.4% of LGBTQ students say they’ve been physically assaulted (punched, kicked) based on sexual orientation; 11.2% based on gender expression

• 42.2% of LGBTQ students say they considered dropping out of school due to harassment

• 48.7% of LGBTQ students have experienced cyberbullying in the past year

• 57.3% of LGBTQ students reported being sexually harassed in the past year at school

The majority of LGBTQ students (55.3%) who were victimized in school did not report the incident believing no effective intervention would happen or the situation could become worse.

Of the students who did report an incident, 60.4% say school staff did nothing or told the student to ignore it.

One piece of good news: more students reported having a Gay/Straight Alliance (53.3%) at their school than ever before.

The data shows that when a school offers a GSA, LGBTQ students were less likely to hear homophobic or transphobic slurs; saw more intervention by school personnel; and were less likely to feel unsafe at school due to their sexual orientation.

Head over to GLSEN to read the full report.

(h/t NewNowNext)

Sesame Street Writer Confirms He Always Wrote Them Like Gay Couple

This week,   of Queerty published an interview he did with Emmy Award-winning writer, Mark Saltzman, who worked on Sesame Street for a large portion of his career. Mr. Saltzman spent 15 years with The Muppets and wrote scripts and songs for Sesame Street during that time. During the interview, Queerty asked whether he thought about Bert and Ernie as a gay couple. Giving his honest perspective, Mr. Saltzman said:

“I always felt that without a huge agenda, when I was writing Bert and Ernie, they were [gay].”

As the interview continued, he said that during the time he was working on Sesame Street he was in a relationship with Arnold “Arnie” Glassman, film editor, and drew from those experiences to write the two characters as a loving couple. He elaborated:

“The things that would tick off Arnie would be the things that would tick off Bert.”

However, he also added that he would never tell the head writer that the characters were being based on his experiences with his partner.

The characters have always had a complicated past due to the nature of their relationship. While many consider the two to be LGBTQ+ icons and adopting them as a gay couple, the show thought otherwise. When a Change.org petition was created about 7 years ago to have the men be married on the show, the show released this statement:

“[The characters are] best friends and created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves. Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most Sesame Street Muppets do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation.”

Now, in 2018, Sesame Workshop has tweeted the same message, maybe in response to Reddish's interview.

 

In a similar perspective, Gary Knell (Sesame Street Workshop boss) once said Bert and Ernie “are not gay, they are not straight, they are puppets.”

h/t: Queerty, PBS

Get Inspired For The HoliGAYS With These LGBTQ Icons!

For a couple of weeks now my partner and I have been stringing lights, putting up wreaths, hanging ornaments and stockings, and making our place feel as festive and ready for the holigays—you know, like the holidays but gayer. And what makes it the holigays? Well, the fact that everything is done with a little something extra—fabulousness.

Usually, I wait to find some inspiration from social media to be overcome with the spirit—but this year we got a head start—it’s the only thing that will make it feel like December in the 90 degree Southern California weather.

Still, we both like to sit on our couch, drinking hot chocolate with the fireplace playing on the T.V. as we swipe through the social media accounts of our favorite LGBTQ icons to see how they are making the holidays a gay ole time!

So here’s a little something to keep you going as you wrap those gifts, listen to Sia’s Everyday Is Christmas album, and dance around in those holiday jammies.

Happy Holigays!

 

Christmas AF.

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Feeling my elf fantasy #christmasqueens #transqueen #Tour #england #wales #tramshed

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The 99 cent store is THE BEST place to shop at during the holidays!! #LaFamiliaHilton

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I'm dreaming of a white Christmas

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Jason is kvelling.

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Christmas came early this year...

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And some area already getting ready for NYE!

 

Palm Springs Swears In Newly Elected All LGBT Council

At Wednesday night’s council meeting, the City of Palm Springs swore in the two most recent elected council members, Lisa Middleton and Christy Holstege. Middleton and Holstege are the two local politicians that had a record-breaking win last month and made Palm Springs, the gay Mecca, the first California city with an all LGBTQ council.

Holstege is the youngest councilmember who identifies as bisexual.

Middleton is, remarkably, the first transgender person to be elected to a non-judicial office in the entire state of California.

After her win, Middleton shared with the Desert Sun:

We’re very proud of being an inclusive community. And I’m absolutely convinced that commitment to inclusivity is one of the factors in the growth and the Renaissance of Palm Springs.

 

 

Middleton and Holstege join Mayor Robert Moon & Councilmembers J.R. Roberts and Geoff Kors.

Here’s a video posted by a council meeting attendee that welcomes the two councilmembers to the city.

 

 

American Horror Story's Naomi Grossman: LGBTQ Advocate

You want a little Pepper on that? Sure, I’ve got some for you – directly from the red carpet in at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills.

Actress Naomi Grossman – who played the character of Pepper on American Horror Story for two seasons – described herself as an “advocate” for the LGBTQ community. And I kind of believed her, seeing as how we were both at a major annual fundraiser for LA’s LGBT Center.

Why are you here tonight?

Because I’m a little bit Babs, kinda Liza…and a whole lot of…well, I’m my own self. At then end of the day I’m a real advocate [for the gay community}.

As an LGBTQ ally how would you describe your journey in terms of accepting gay people. Did you have to evolve into it or was it immediate for you?

It was immediate. My family had a million gay friends. We’re artists so we’re automatically sort of allowed. My parents were not, but I wondered about my dad. He was always so well-dressed, very artistic. He was an architect…the original metrosexual. So I always wondered.

He’s not…but he gave me hope. He made me feel like, “You know what? There are straight men out there that can dress. They care about the way things look.”

I’ve met straight guys who go to gay bars because gay guys’ straight girlfriends come with them and then they can just clean house.

Oh wow! I’ll have to try that. Actually, I do try that. [laughs]

A lot of people are here tonight because they value equality and social change. If you could                                                                                wave a magic wand…what kind of change would                                                                             you most want to see?

God. I think I’d just take away Trump’s Twitter.

I think that would solve a lot of problems. Obviously I’m being cheeky, but if we could just respect each other…which would be taking away his Twitter.

He’s been an advocate for anti-cyber bullying…and yet he’s the cyber bully OG!

On American Horror Story you played Pepper, a character living with microcephaly. What has having been on that show brought to your life?

I mean, it’s definitely been fan interaction. The fact that I, honestly…[would wake] up at night fearing a backlash. I assumed [the disabled community] would be after me, [seeing me as] taking away a role [from a disabled actor], but it’s been quite the opposite. Now [people with disabilities] ask me to come to their events and speak on their behalf.

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Trans Awareness Is Everyday for This Trans Activist

November 13-17 marks Trans Awareness Week, a week when individuals and organizations around the country have helped raise the visibility of transgender and gender non-conforming people.  Transgender people and allies have taken action to educate others on the injustices that the trans community faces on a daily basis and to, hopefully, end violence against trans individuals.

According to the HRC, 2017 has already seen 25 transgender people killed due to violence that spawns from racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia. But awareness and advocacy for the trans community necessitates more than a single week of exposure. Prejudice is killing us all—we endure ridicule and regardless of the progress we have made as the LGBTQ community, we have a long way to go.

Acceptance must also begin from within our inner circles. In the LGBTQ family, we often are quick to ignore members of the acronym or discredit narratives we don’t identify with. We come from positions of privilege and must understand that no matter how perilous our path, there are others whose struggles are fatal because we choose not to speak up.


Qween Amor, a 26-year-old trans activist from New Orleans promotes trans awareness every day. It is her reality and she uses her platform on social media to supplement her in-person demonstrations. With a larger-than-life flag that reads “I will not CENSOR myself to comfort your ignorance!” and attire that would definitely warrants a response, Qween Amor stops traffic, dancing to the beat of her own drum, inviting others to react to the way she carries herself—for the good of others. She welcomes dialogue and hopes that her own cosmic journey will shed light on the beauty that is our diverse world.

 

 

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I will not censor myself to comfort your ignorance! #qweenamor #transawarenessweek #translivesmatter

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What kind of dialogue do you hope to create with your demonstrations?

I'd really like to start conversations that include creating safe environments for Transqueer POC. That includes acknowledging pronouns and not assuming gender. If you don't know or aren't sure, please feel free to ask. We, as a society, need to have real conversations about Police Reformation. The biggest threat to our community are the police. They reinforce racist social structures and often times are not held accountable for violent or excessive force. What can we do to reprogram the program? I hope my work inspires people to take action and feel inspired to fight for what they believe in because the truth is unless we stand United, we don't stand a chance and things can get so much worse. Let's not forget that there are still concentration camps in Chechnya for gay men and trans women, of which the media stopped reporting on back in May 2017.

 

 

Police violence is real #qweenamor #disarmthepolice #qweenamor

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With the death toll rising on a daily basis for the trans community, how can trans Awareness be a catalyst for change?

Visibility! Visibility! Visibility! The reason the death toll is rising is because we are often times running in the shadows of society. A lot of us are sex workers and that's how we survive in a world that says we shouldn't exist. Our government is doing everything in it's power to dehumanize the trans community, from passing bathroom bills to denying us healthcare and firing us from our jobs. These struggles that we are facing are struggles that we can only overcome through the support of our community. In my experience, as a transqueer person of color, staying safe means being involved in community. People need to know you're here, people need to see and meet you. We need each other to protect our rights and our freedoms. Trans Liberation is Gay Liberation. True liberation for our community cannot exist until we are all liberated. 

 

 


Do you feel the LGBTQ community often forgets the trans community? If so, why do you think that is?

Oh fuck ya. Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera are the Mothers of our movement. They gave us permission to fight back and stand our ground. Our pride celebration started as a riot because two Trans Women of Color had enough. In all the years I've celebrated pride, I never hear Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera mentioned. Gay men forgot about those two women and they don't see us now. Trans women of color face oppression from their own community because We are no longer sexually desirable. I find that a lot of people in the LGBTQ community find safety in hetereonormative lifestyles but that is a privilege that most Transqueer POC do not have and that failure to meet such heavy societal expectations is why trans people of color are the most marginalized and oppressed communities in our society.

 

 

I will not censor myself to comfort your ignorance! #qweenamor #transawarenessweek #translivesmatter

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How are your demonstrations received by others?

Alot of time people are moved to dance and take a small break from life for a moment. I open space for everyone to let go and breathe. I give people permission to be themselves and through this we experience our humanity. The best is when I get hundreds of people dancing in the street, TOGETHER! I do understand that my performances really force people to confront their prejudices. I have been assaulted, I have been targeted by police, I have been dragged through the dirt. Each time, I pull myself up out of the gutter, brush that shit off my shoulder and keep going. I have to keep fighting.

 

 

We need #guncontrol laws #qweenamor

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What messages do you hope to convey?

I hope to convey a message of freedom and love. And that no one in this world is just gonna hand you freedom. You take your freedom, you take it and you own it. The most powerful force in the world is when the people actively take their Freedom. Together, we can move mountains like poverty and racism. The most important event that could ever happen in human history is US coming together. That's what we're waiting for. Our power lies in our unity. That's our revolution. Our rights are human rights and they can never deny our humanity. The love I aim to spread is a love that can only be found within. True love is self-love. Love your body. Love your skin. Love your hair. Love your mind and your heart. No one told me growing up to love myself, it would have been great had that told me that secret.

 

 

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#metoo For the first 24 years of my life I walked through the world as a man. Revered and respected by society at large because I happen to have a penis. The worst case scenario was that I was hyper feminine and i would get the occasional faggot by a stranger out the car window as they drove by. I used to call myself lucky as I heard the horrifying stories of other people (women, really) about their encounters with sexual violence. My mother was molested as a little girl, I had a friend who had 3 daughters and her daughter's were molested. I once had to fight 3 men off as they tried to coerce my drunk girl friend into their apartment. It wasn't until i started my Trans-queer journey that i realized my experience wasn't "lucky" it's absolute privilege. As soon as I started my transition, my experience dramatically shifted. I went from walking down the street feeling fairly safe to walking down the street being verbally and sexually berated because I was perceived to be a biological female. I've had to do live videos as I walked home because the onslaught of harassment just kept coming with every block. Since my transition, I've had men follow me home because they assumed I was a prostitute. Ive had had men drag me in the street and physical assault me once they realized what was between my legs, they went from sexualizing my body to pure hatred and disgust just as quick as lightning. Surviving those encounters is lucky because a lot of my trans sisters didn't survive those same encounters. Last New year's eve, I was performing at a party and this man kept touching my butt, I asked him to stop because I'm literally standing on an amplifier during the performance, I asked him to stop twice and on the 3rd attempt he shoved his finger up my ass to display some show of force and entitlement that my body was not mine but his, so I cracked him in the head with my crucifix and blood gushed from his forehead. His response, "look what you did to me with tears in his eyes and blood dripping down his face." The fact that he didn't believe he did anything wrong in that moment to deserve a cracked forehead just triggered the fuck out of me.

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For more information on Trans Awareness Week, visit GLAAD

Watch: LGBTQ Koreans Talk About Gay Love & Bullying to An Elementary Schoolboy

Today, I went down the rabbit hole of Youtube and found… a nice surprise.

Every now and then we may watch a video, click on a recommended video, and end up on a part of Youtube that we don’t visit too often. That’s what happened to me.

One moment I was watching cooking videos, then tasting videos, then tasting videos from South Korea, and then suddenly I found the treasure of a video down below.

In it, we're taken to a studio that seems to be like a Buzzfeed of Korea (in that they make a variety of videos like tastings and “what’s it like to be ____” videos).

And in this particular video, we see a few LGBTQ+ South Koreans talking to a elementary aged boy about issues like dating, confessing, and bullying.

More: Kpop Star Hansol of Topp Dogg Came Out As Asexual

What’s refreshing about this video, other than getting a taste of a culture outside of my Western/American perspective, is to see these older people talking delicately but earnestly about falling in love and about same-sex love.

The video is very somber with three women and one man responding to the boy’s questions. Questions like, “What is love,” “Shouldn’t love be between a man and a woman,” and “Don’t they tease you?”

It’s conversations like this that make adults squirm as they don’t know how to gently talk about love, and specifically LGBTQ+, love to young kids. But, projects like the video below, Ryan Benee’s “In the Dark,” and Beth David and Estaban Bravo’s “In a Heartbeat” are showing that younger viewers are fully capable of understanding love in all forms.

So, without chewing your ear off (or rather, eyes) anymore, check out the video down below.

Department of Justice Argues "Homosexuals" Aren't Protected At Work

Less than a day after Donald Trump announced a ban on transgender individuals in the military, the Department of Justice has issued an amicus brief that argues against protections for LGBTQ employees. Jeff Sessions and the DOJ claim to prove that the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not protect "homosexuals" from discrimination in the workplace.

Oh yeah and "homosexuals" is the term they're using again. Way to go, America! Total facepalm day!

In a nutshell, the brief declares that sexual orientation is NOT sex discrimination. Currently, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) mentions that the Civil Rights Act "makes it unlawful to discriminate against someone on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity) or religion." But basically the DOJ is saying it is OKAY to discriminate against LGBTQ individuals in work environments!

The brief comes during a case Zarda v. Altitude Express in which a skydiving employee filed a lawsuit claiming his employer discriminated against him because of his sexual orientation. His claim was rejected by the district court as they stated he was not protected from the discrimination of his being gay. The employee, Donald Zarda, died in a skydiving accident in 2014 and the case is currently open in the court of appeals. And here we are with this amicus brief.

The main points being argued in the amicus brief are:

  • TITLE VII’S BAR AGAINST DISCRIMINATION BECAUSE OF SEX IS NOT VIOLATED UNLESS MEN AND WOMEN ARE TREATED UNEQUALLY
  • DISCRIMINATION BECAUSE OF SEXUAL ORIENTATION IS NOT DISCRIMINATION BECAUSE OF SEX UNDER TITLE VII