The Latest

Former Leaders of Exodus International Apologize

Los Angeles, California) Three former leaders of an international ministry that counsels gays to change their sexual orientation apologized for their efforts, saying that though they acted sincerely, their message had caused isolation, shame and fear.

The former leaders of the interdenominational Christian organization Exodus International said Wednesday they had all, over time, become disillusioned with the group's ideas and concerned about what they described as the wrenching human toll of such gay conversion efforts.

"Some who heard our message were compelled to try to change an integral part of themselves, bringing harm to themselves and their families," the three, including former Exodus co-founder Michael Bussee, said in a joint written statement presented at a news conference in Hollywood. "Although we acted in good faith, we have since witnessed the isolation, shame, fear and loss of faith that this message creates."


Stonewall Anniversary

TakeMassAction has a great post about today's important anniversary.

sodomizers unite!

Happy Non-Missionary-Position-Penis-In-Vagina Sex Day!

Four years ago today co-sponsored a rally in copley square celebrating the legalization of gay sex (and other defined forms of sodomy that everyone can partake in depending on the way your state defined sodomy).

Ads for thought

This first picture was taken on a public bus while I was in Honolulu this past January. I liked this ad so much I had to take a picture of it. I find it in your face and honest and hits home the fear that many people have about people living with HIV/AIDS. This ad was created by the Life Foundation. They are working with more 600 of the estimated 3,000 Hawaiians living with HIV/ AIDS.

This picture I took this past week while I was in Road Town on the island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. The ad is from the B.V.I. Nurses Association.

Why Progressives Must Reframe the Narrow Terms of Marriage Politics

Kay Whitlock, a progressive queer organizer in Montana, has written an excellent piece for Peace Work magazine on why we must begin now to reframe the same-sex marriage debate for the benefit of everyone. Kay is one of the original authors of the beyond marriage statement.

You can listen to her article via mp3 or read the full article here.

Slightly more than 50 percent of households are headed by unmarried people, some single and some partnered, and almost a third of children in the United States are being raised in unmarried homes. About 40 percent of unmarried partner households, queer and heterosexual, have children under 18 years of age living in them. Many aging baby-boomers will spend a significant part of their senior years alone. Many will live with relatives or friends in non-conjugal relationships. Increasingly, both married and unmarried adults are serving as primary caregivers for aging and infirm parents or other relatives. Many people live in extended-family households. Needless to say, LGBT people in each of these categories often face the added burdens of homophobia and transphobia.

Requiring marriage as a way to access legal recognition and the economic support of a caring society is not a viable option for millions of households. Consider, for example, these kinds of families: senior citizens living together or serving as one another's caregivers, partners, or constructed families; close friends or siblings who live together in long-term, committed, non-conjugal relationships, serving as each other's primary support; extended families living under one roof (a practice common in many immigrant communities). Are they less worthy in our eyes?

QueerToday podcast is coming!!!!

We here at QueerToday like to try new things, may it be a new ice cream at JP Licks or the Kamasutra sex position of the day. In that fashion we are going to be starting a weekly podcast!!

We are going to be using Blog Talk Radio (thanks Mike for the suggestion!!.) There will be a phone number for live callers to call into the show, and it will allow us to post it as a download!!!

The first podcast will be on July 1st
(check back for more details!)

Woman Charged With Beating Gay Marriage Supporter

by Newscenter Staff

Posted: June 15, 2007 - 4:30 pm ET

(Boston) A woman who was part of a conservative Christian group rallying Thursday at the Massachusetts Statehouse for a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage is charged with assaulting a gay marriage supporter who was attending a rally across the street opposing the amendment.

Diane Steele, 52, was arraigned Friday on charges of assault and battery. -

WE WON!!!!!!!!!


3 legislators did not vote.

Victory is sweet....

(this hateful group is from Springfield)

Deval came out to say a few words!



Update on the Con Con.


BUSES OF "vote on marriage" arrive... Gay Marriage supporters still out number them.

Matt Forman Executive Director of NGLTF.


Legislative aids are saying they are not sure if their bosses will show up.. The Boston Globe has already reported potential no-shows..


(The Idea for the sign came from a legislative aid)


Update from the Con Con


Supporters of gay marriage keep coming. At this point i would guess that there could be around 500.


Senators come out to shake hands.

They are saying this is going to be the last time we are going to be up at the state house for this... But I would wait to see how the votes come in.

Live from the Con Con


Supporters of Gay Marriage out number the 'vote on marriage' gang 2-1


The Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry ended their service on the common and almost doubled the number of gay marriage supporters.

Word from MassEquality "Cautiously Optimistic"

(Photo's by Trevor Wright)

Shame on Bay Windows!

Two weeks after her paper failed to report on the brutal transgender hate crime in Lowell, and on the day for same-sex marriage, editor Susan Ryan-Vollmar chose to use her editorial space to bash the Ask Tell Act Coalition and the Dyke March organizers.

Susan's criticisms of our coalition are completely ignorant. She fails to understand that we have succeeded in sparking long overdue important discussions in our community, and she assumes we have no idea what queer pride is about. She must have been wearing two eye patches on Pride day because she didn't notice the sea of people supporting our coalition by wearing pink armbands, t-shirts, and more. Her reduction of the coalition into a small divisive group looks to me like journalistic bullying of our own community. In a speech I gave on Pride day I mentioned that I thought the way the media portrays groups like ours is a shame, but that our work has a bigger impact than their shotty and manipulative reporting. I still beleive that.

Ryan-Vollmar's criticism of the Dyke March decision is also uninformed, and frankly it is transphobic. She should have known the Dyke March has a historic policy of not allowing Mich-fest performers. It is sad that Bay Windows chose to portray our coalition as a nasty little divisive group rather than the broad inclusive coalition that we are.

Kill The Amendment!

Dear Massachusetts Legislators,

Last Friday a transgender woman was brutally attacked in Lowell. Her attackers yelled anti-gay epithets and told her she was not welcome in their town. Her lip was ripped into a bloody mess.
Gender identity and expression are not included in our hate crime laws, and in most areas of this great country of ours it is still legal not to hire, fire, or deny housing to someone because of their gender identity or expression. It is also still legal in most states to deny housing or not hire someone based on their sexual orientation.

As our community focuses so heavily on the issue of marriage, and as our legislators' time is absorbed with wheeling and dealing, lobbyists knocking at their doors, and thousands of calls and e-mails flooding their inboxes the most marginalized members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) community are being denied jobs, housing, and being beaten on the streets. Keep reading at>

QueerToday: Top Stories

Size Discrimination Bill

I wanted to wait until Pride weekend was over to write this, so that it would not get lost in the sea of Pride-related posts. I hope everyone had at least some really great experiences these last few days.

Anyway, for my second real post, I want to veer a little bit away from typical “queer politics” and talk about something that really directly affects me as a queer person (which means, some much needed time off from any concerns about "infighting!"). This is some information and action steps about H1844, a bill that is up for a hearing regarding discrimination (hate crimes not included) toward people regarding their size. I'm passing on this information because I think that action around this topic is really important. This bill has come up before and if it does not pass this time, the rumor I have heard is that it might not have a chance to again, but don't quote me on that because I don't totally get why, or what that would mean. The hearing for the bill is on Tuesday (June 12!), so please contact your representative or senator immediately if you want to make your voice heard.

If you want to talk to me about either how to support it or any concerns you have with it, please comment and I will do my best to respond, or maybe someone who knows more about it will respond. I know that there can be issues with bills that aren’t immediately evident on the surface and I am open to hearing about that. The reason I support this, though, is that this would make a difference in my life, and the lives of other fat people, in a number of ways. For example, when I apply for a job I am seriously worried every time that I will not get it because I am fat.

What I mean when I say that is this: I could go in for an interview. I could blow everyone away. And I could get a call the next day where someone literally said to me, “Wow, you are really smart and qualified and articulate and passionate, but you know what? I really don’t think you fit with the image of the company, so we are not going to hire you because you are fat.” If that happens, right now, I cannot do anything. I have no recourse.

I also regularly go to the doctor for whatever problem I have and my weight is focused on as the problem, even when it is clearly not relevant. If I switch jobs, even if I get past the hurdle I just mentioned, I can be denied insurance or forced to pay a higher premium because of my weight.

I know that, realistically, this bill will not prevent those things from happening (I definitely know that the whole answer is not through legislative action). I think it will, however, both a) give me more peace of mind that at least this is form of discrimination is validated as a problem, and that possibly the people who do the hiring, the doctors, etc have had some education on it, and b) give people some leverage if they want to call someone out for being actively discriminatory based on size—because, right now, unless I am in San Francisco or Michigan, people can be actively discriminatory on the basis of weight, and be fine under law. That is why I want to get this passed.

That said, i want to warn people, not surprisingly, that if this does start to get press coverage (which, you will read below, is not the goal, because it will spark an anti-obesity backlash), a lot of what the fat activists will say is that "fat is the last acceptable prejudice." And to be quite honest, I think that is bullshit. We live in a horrifyingly oppressive culture and I know that you can not hire people on the basis of other characteristics (history of convictions, gender identity in a lot of places, etc.), but I do think that this is a serious, huge (ha ha! Get the pun? Huge?) problem and I want to do what I can to work against it.

Also! if anyone wants to do other things--like work to build fat community, do fat positive education in the communities/scenes that we are a part of, do some sort of action somewhere that is actively *not* fat positive, I am always down for that and just want you to tell me!

What follows is the original post I got:


I'm Beth Kenny, the legal intern for FLARE, Fat Legal Advocacy, Research, and Education. I'd like to pass along some exciting info...

If you live in Massachusetts or know people there, you (and your East Coast friends) have a chance to make history!

The state legislature in Massachusetts is soon going to decide whether or not to make discrimination based on height or weight illegal.

Here's what you can do to help secure exciting new civil rights for people of all sizes in a whole state...

1. Call or send a letter to legislators in Massachusetts. See the form letter below, along with a link for locating your representatives (if you live in Massachusetts).

2. Testify at the upcoming hearings in Boston. To testify, please contact me, the FLARE intern. I will coordinate people's testimony and will make sure everyone has full info on when and where the hearing is happening. I'm at

3. Try to avoid participating in media coverage of this legislation, as negative press will seriously discourage lawmakers from supporting our cause.

Don't be shy. Help make history!

If you have questions or ideas about how to help get this historic legislation passed, please let us know. Thanks tons for your help.

Beth Kenny
FLARE legal intern

* * *
Find out who your legislators are:
Or, if you already know their names, find your legislators’ contact information:
* * *
Dear Rep. ________ (or Sen. _________)

I’m writing to ask you to support (or thank you for supporting) H.1844, which will add height and weight to the anti-discrimination law. People of all sizes deserve basic respect, and large people in particular are routinely discriminated against in employment, health care and education.

(If applicable, here you can write, “I have faced discrimination....”)

Thank you,

your name

your address

CO-SPONSORS: Rep. Christine Canavan, Rep. Linda Forry, Rep. Gloria Fox, Rep. Willie Mae Allen, Rep. Matthew Patrick, Rep. Carl Sciortino, Rep. Benjamin Swan, Rep. Timothy Toomey, Rep. Marty Walz, Sen. Susan Fargo

Rep. David Torrisi, Chair, Sen. Thomas McGee, Sen. Pamela Resor, Sen. Patricia Jehlen, Sen. Edward Augustus, Sen. Steven Tolman, Sen. Robert Hedlund, Rep. John Scibak, Rep. Paul Casey, Rep. Colleen Garry, Rep. Demetrius Atsalis, Rep. Barbara L’Italian, Rep. Sean Curran, Rep. Marty Walz, Rep. Thomas Calther, Rep. Paul Loscocco, Rep. Karyn Polito pink pride!

Below are some photos of the members of the Ask Tell Act Coalition and its endorsing organizations. The coalition marching contingent included Boston May Day Coalition,, Unite Here! Hotel Workers, Stonewall Warriors, Boston Bio lab opposition, Gay &Lesbian Labor Activist Network, SEIU 509 Lavender Caucus, and SEIU Eastern Region Lavender Caucus. In addition there were many people marching in the parade as a whole who wore pink in opposition to the pride theme, and in support of our mission to spark broader discussions about war, racism, transphobia, classism, and other issues. Over 500 armbands were distributed between the Dyke March & Pride Day. Most of the youth from BAGLY wore hot pink t-shirts in support. They gave their extra shirts to our coalition as they passed by. Theater Offensive was pink to the max! Many Unitarian Universalists and other religious groups wore our pink arm bands.

Reflecting on drag and offense and apologies.

So another drag queen has been offensive.

1. And this drag queen (the one writing this) is not making any excuses for her but yet she feels, as does her brother, that the anger and charges of racism and demands for apology and indeed the subsequent apology from Miss Kitty Litter are somewhat misplaced or misguided.

2. Drag queens are characters separate from the performers playing them. This line is sometimes blurred by the fact that the performance is often fluid and involves a fair amount improvisation, but they are still characters separate from the (usually) men who play them.

Miss Kitty Litter (MKL) is a character. And from all accounts, she is a character who does not believe in political correctness. Some of us might even call her character racist. She was hired by the Pride Committee to host a show. During that show she was her usual (again as far as has been reported) politically incorrect and/or racist self. A person in the audience complained, loudly and publicly. And now MKL has issued an apology and asked us not to blame the Pride Committee. But you see, I do. I blame them entirely.

3. As far as I am concerned, MKL was hired to do a job and she did it. Indeed going by the passion of the response, she did it very well. She has nothing to apologize for, perhaps hurt feelings, but she should feel absolutely no need to take any of what she said back, because her character is not interested in political correctness. Her character says things that are hurtful, and that was what she was hired to do, play her character.

More than once, in comments on this blog, it has been voiced that it is unbelievable that in 2007, people find racist jokes funny. I disagree, racist jokes can be funny. What is unbelievable is that in 2007, people can’t see why what they are laughing at is offensive.

4. Expecting political correctness from a drag queen is really problematic. More than once now on this blog, a drag queen has been called racist. Yet not once yet have I heard a drag queen called a misogynist. Why Are drag characters always either overtly sexual to the point of being two dimentional or silly? Can women not have a voice as opposed to moving their lips to what someone else is singing? No, and yet I never hear the charge of misogyny. Why do we ignore one kind of hate and oppression but jump all over another? What is really happening here?

I am personally disinterested in political correctness, I find that all it does is illuminate what a speaker is uncomfortable saying.

Now we might say, “but Boston Pride had no way of knowing EVERY thing that came out of her mouth”. To which I can only ask if Boston Pride knew the work of the artist they were hiring.

If they did, then the blame falls squarely on them. They didn’t need to know exactly what she would say. If they knew her work, then they should have known she is not interested in being politically correct.

If they didn’t know her work, then there is a lot more explaining to do. Why would you hire an artist whose work you don’t know? I’m guessing she was paid, it seems like a bad idea to invest in an unknown commodity. If she wasn’t paid, why was Boston Pride shipping a queen in from Rhode Island giving her publicity and prestige instead of supporting one of its own?

5. Why pick a drag queen if you don’t know her work? Certainly there is an appreciation at Boston Pride that all queens are different. Surely there is recognition that every drag queen brings with her something other than color and a dress. Drag queens are not, in fact, an indistinguishable mass of eyelashes, heels and sequins. They are in fact individuals. And ought to be treated as such.

If the Boston Pride Committee doesn’t know that, then I might ask, where have they been every year at well, Pride?

Again I ask, what’s really happening here?

Miss Kitty Litter: I'm sorry

Miss Kitty Litter just called me to say she is sorry to anyone who was offended for her remarks at Boston Pride Idol. She said it was off-color and she regretted saying it. She will be issuing a public statement in InNewsWeekly, and contacting appropriate organizations and individuals to apologize. She emphasized the importance of not blaming the Pride Committee becuase they have no control over what she says.

The Boston Pride Committee is rumored to be issuing a public apology in the next few days.

open letter to miss kitty and other white lgbtiqp... folks

An open letter to Miss Kitty, but ALSO to other white glbtiqp… people)

Dear Miss Kitty,

This is a letter regarding your performance at Pride Idol just a couple of nights ago. While I was not at the event I have heard numerous reports about how things went and your (racist) comments have been the center of attention as was one comment made by one of the (White) judges.

Your direct quotes are not the main point I am trying to address in this letter. The greater concern is how racism plays out within the queer/glbtiqp communities, including in art and performance. I do, however, think it is extremely important for you to take responsibility for the comments you made, and to seriously consider making a public apology for them. As an individual, you are participating in and perpetuating the systems of racism I would like to focus on in this letter, and I think you should take some time to think about the implications of that.

As I am sure you are aware racism has huge and detrimental effects within our communities. I find it helpful for myself to understand racism as manifesting on a number of different levels; interpersonal, institutional, and cultural. While certain aspects of racism fit under numerous categories, this separation best helps me reflect on the system of racism/white supremacy that we live in today.

First, interpersonal racism is the easiest for us to see. Comments you made the other night about Asian people and cleaners, for instance, fit under this category. These are things that people say or do that cut into others and degrade particular communities. Slurs, individual hate-crimes, stereotyping, etc. fall under this category. Interpersonal racism plays out all over the place in our communities, including the judge who described a Black contestant as, "a smooth cup of hot chocolate".

Interpersonal racism continues, and is in many situations tolerated, because other aspects of racism continue to exist. Institutional racism, defined by Crossroads Ministry as "systems and institutions in our country were created originally and structured legally and intentionally to serve the White society exclusively; institutional racism is the resulting affect of its being structured to function in a way that is not accountable to People of Color", can be seen right here in Boston as the South End continues to be gentrified by wealthy White gay people, as Jamaica Plain is also actively being gentrified by a similar community of people, and Dorchester is beginning to feel the affects of White gay gentrification. Because our communities feel marginalized as glbtiqp… we often feel entitled to take over other people spaces, causes, and resources, and that is simply destroying everyone. When queer organizations and institutions choose to support you and the comments that you make they are making queer communities of color invisible and choosing not to be accountable to Communities of Color, queer and not.

The deepest layer I am going to comment on is cultural racism. I see this as the piece underlying at the roots of our society. This is the part that makes it so you can say, "I was just making a joke," or, "Do I really have to be politically correct," and feel justified. As White people we have internalized this sense of superiority that makes us believe we not only have the right but are entitled to create and have whatever we want even if it hurts someone else. It takes being actively conscious all the time to challenge the process of internalization. It is exhausting! I certainly don't claim to be an expert. Like everyone else I am growing.

This letter is intended to be an invitation, not a personal attack. As White people we have the responsibility to challenge the systems of racism and White supremacy that privilege us at the expense of People of Color. I invite you to talk with me and other White people about how we can address racism within our communities. I invite you to look at the performing you do and see how you alienate and hurt other people with the justification of humor. This country was founded on institutional racism and that's REALLY not funny. Racism is still spreading its nasty tentacles through everything today whether it be through the prison system, immigration issues, police brutality, HIV/AIDS prioritization, homelessness, etc. Please take some time to educate yourself about these issues and engage with others also interested in doing so.

I would love to work with you on this at any time.

Happy Pride!!

Jason Lydon


THANK YOU, Boston Dyke March Committee!

In a show of support for trans women, the Boston Dyke March Committee has cancelled the performance of Bitch at tonight's event. This is an important action in the fight against transmisogyny!
Please contact the committee to thank them for responding to community concerns and standing up for their long-time values!

knowthyneighbor: fraud again

KnowTheyNeighbor (new endorsers of the coalition letter) caught the right-wing in another act of fraud. Turns out some of the signers of the evil parental notification bill (the one that would pretty much make GSAs and discussions of homosexuality void in schools) never actually signed on. Click Here for more.

Poison spreads silently

A bite from a king cobra is deadly. Within minutes, the victim’s nervous system faces agony, followed by a cardiovascular collapse. In the end, the victim falls into a coma or dies.


Why did I bring that up?

Because racism is poison. It permeates a community, a city, a nation and the world. It manifests itself in many forms from somewhat benign comments like “are my dry cleanings ready yet?” to a random Asian person to hateful racial bashing and sometimes even killing.

Like poison, racism can have different levels of effects. But when left untreated, a swollen ankle can turn into a paralyzed leg.

However, both poison and racism can be treated. And you know what the magic antidote is?

Speaking up.

A victim of a poisonous bite can get the necessary treatment if he or she screams out loud for help. But if he or she is unable to do so, it is the responsibility of others around to speak up. Being silent only leads to one direction.

My experience at pride idol was nothing short of a hazard to my health. Not only did the drag queen spew out strings of racist “jokes,” one judge even joined in the chorus of poison.

Luckily, someone spoke up against the racism last night where everyone else was too embarrassed to do so. What’s worse is that most probably didn’t even mind all the racist jokes and were just laughing along at the expense of the people of color especially the Asian community.

I don’t understand why people in our community especially the Asian community tolerate that type of behavior. I don’t speak on behalf of the whole Asian community but it is time for us to break away from our silence. Being silent only feeds the poison.

questions for the gay media

1. Why is there no coverage about the hate crime that happened on Friday in Lowell well before your reporting deadline for the papers that came out today? Update: BayWindows just posted a good report on the incident.

2. BayWindows responded to our request for the full poll results of last week's question about the Pride theme. THANK YOU BAY WINDOWS!!! They are below:

I hate it, it's too militaristic.
84 (33.07%)

I wish the theme was connected to marriage, given the upcoming ConCon.
62 (24.41%)

I like it, it's patriotic.
56 (22.05%)

Why does Pride need a theme?
52 (20.47%)

More Unions Endorse Ask Tell Act

In addition to the Hotel Workers Union, SEIU 509 Lavender Caucus and SEIU Eastern Region Lavender Caucus have signed on to the Ask.Tell. Act. Coalition letter to the LGBT Community today.

Have you signed the letter?

Vigil Tonight

Candlelight Vigil

Thursday June 7th

7:30 PM

St. Anne’s Episcopal Church

(corner of Merrimack Street & Kirk Street)

Downtown Lowell

Early Saturday morning, James “Jimmy” Nickola was the victim of a hate crime while walking down the street in Lowell. Jimmy was brutally assaulted by three individuals. The attackers shouted homophobic slurs while nearly tearing off Jimmy’s bottom lip. Hate crimes affect more than the individual who is attacked, they affect the entire community.

More Immigrant Raids

BlueMassGroup is reporting on the raids that happened early this morning. Click Here.

Racism At Pride Idol

I just returned from Pride Idol and I am still furious. After several racist jokes in a row, mostly about Chinese people, the host Miss Kitty Litter had crossed the line. After every racist joke she asked, "Am I politically incorrect? I know I am." Her commentary included jokes about dry cleaning among Asians and telling a judge that she "liked the blacks." One of the first things she said to the black contestant was "I like your hands and feet." She also made fun of an Asian contestant for his American sounding name. One judge's joke included calling the black contestant a "smooth cup of hot chocolate." I started yelling "racist!" each time Miss Kitty Litter"explained" herself after each joke. Then when she was near me she offered me the microphone. I took the microphone and told her that if she couldn't be funny in 2007 without being racist she fucking sucked. Members of the audience were booing me, and one man loudly said "sit down you freak," to applause. But there were others who supported our outrage. My partner Wing and I demanded our money back, and it was immediately granted.I was in tears after I left the event because I was so angry, and so sad that everyone could sit and tolerate what was going on. I also felt a bit embarrassed for my enraged inarticulate rant. I can not recall a time when I have been this angry at an event, or even saw this much racism from a "comedian" firsthand. Please write to the Pride Committee, "special judges" the Boston Herald Track Girls Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa and Miss Kitty Litter and demand a public apology. Just because you are an outrageous drag queen who laughs about being "politically incorrect" does not mean you can get away with such blatant racism. On a happier note, we met for the first time a regular queertoday reader who walked out with us in support.



Dyke March

Meet at the pink flag that will be flying in the air. We will march with our queer selves in support of this important grassroots, non-corporate pride event. We will also distribute flyers supporting and flyers informing people about the transphobic performer, Bitch.


We will be marching with the large (and still growing!) hot pink contingent. We will meet at 11:30am at 58 Berkeley Street. Endorsers now include the Gay & Lesbian Labor Activist Network, Stonewall Warriors,, Theater Offensive Members, Queers Without Borders, TakeMassAction, UNITE HERE Local 26 (Hotetel Workers Union)

We also encourage anyone who feels compelled, to join the Mass Trans Political Coalition contingent who will carry signs showing transgender people who were killed due to discrimination.

Saturday night we encourage you to attend The Neighborhood at Midway Cafe in Jamaica Plain. Its totally the funnest queer night in the Boston area - and this is Pride!

G8 and Other analysis on Venezuela

Hey guys:

I know we are focused on Pride now, but let's not forget the other struggles taking place around the world. Especially, if you have time, take a look at some deconstruction of the recent anti-Chavez spin in the US.

For more analysis from a pro-Chavez perspective, see:

Also remember the G8 protests taking place in Germany.

Queertoday Radio/ Podcast ?

We have been playing with the idea of creating a new media for queertoday. We would like any input for the best way of doing this (computer programs, equipment, web sites?). Please feel free to comment on ideas or leave any information that might be helpful.

Trans-misogyny in Dyke Communities: Bitch Isn't the Whole Issue

OMG so I love that I can choose the font for the post, but really, how would people react if I wrote this all in Webdings?

Anyway, this is my first post, and I wanted to follow up some on what Kasey was writing about yesterday and what I put in the comments. I agree with most of what he wrote in his post, but what I also want to talk about is how big the problem of not making queer women's spaces open to trans women is. Spaces for queer women have been so important to me, in so many ways, in my life, and I want all queer women to be able to experience them. I understand that trans women have been an integral part of dyke communities for a very long time, and hopefully will continue to be. What I want, though, is for those dyke communities to validate all women in the ways that feel important to them, and to not erase people's identities in the name of anti-oppression, feminism, and dyke identity.

Before going any further, I want to clarify that I am talking about two distinct, but related, things. First, there are policies, like those at Michigan Womyn's Music Fest (also referred to as MichFest or MWMF), that explicitly exclude trans women. Also, however, there are the ways that we, as people involved in dyke communities, implicitly exclude trans women, not through policies but through how we talk, how we interact, who we value. I understand why so many of us, including me, have focused a lot of our energy on changing this really hurtful policy, because I think it operates both as a barrier to the fest and a larger symbol of the exclusion of women. I can't stop wondering, though, what that means in terms of letting ourselves off the hook for the transphobia and misogyny we are perpetuating in our own scenes, under the radar.

I also want to clarify that I know that dyke/queer women's communities can be alienating to a lot of queer women. I don't for a second want to deny the very real racism, classism, ablism, and other systems of oppression that are playing out in these spaces that make them really hard for a lot of people to be in. I want to work against those forces, also. But I think that what I see happening, also, is that we have this institutional support specifically within the dyke community for the exclusion, active or passive, of trans women. I do not for a second deny that all systems of oppression have institutional support, but I think that the dyke/feminist specificity of trans-misogyny (a term coined by Julia Serano) differentiates it somewhat.

I am going to post part of a flyer I am making for dyke march (comment if you want to help distribute it!) to respond to some of what I regularly hear in terms of arguments about trans women in dyke spaces. I am looking for feedback still, but I do feel that it expresses a lot of what I am thinking in pretty well-developed ways (well, as well-developed as you can expect from bullet points).

· First off, patriarchy encourages women to hate each other and not to bond together. Refusing to support trans women totally plays into this. I want to support everyone who is getting directly hurt—not privileged—by the patriarchy.

· If we are excluding trans women on the basis of the bodies they were born with, that scares me. Trans women's bodies are women's bodies. Judging who is and is not an acceptable woman by virtue of the way their body fits into a mold of "feminine" is not okay and is something this community rightfully does not accept when it comes to non-trans women.

· If we are excluding trans women for the years that they did not experience the “shared girlhood” that gets talked about, where do we draw the line? My girlhood is very different than that of someone who grew up in a different country from me, or with different experiences of class or race or ability or many, many other characteristics.

· If we are excluding trans women because they were not “socialized as women,” I think that doesn’t account for the fact that socialization is happening every day to all of us. I was socialized as a girl when I was 5 and I am being socialized as a woman today. The pressures didn’t stop when I hit 18.

· If we are excluding trans women because non-trans women’s space is somehow “safer” due to the genitals that are presumed to be present in it, I worry about where that leaves those of us who were abused by women or by people who have similar genitals to us. Who can feel safe in non-trans women-only space seems to be based on this really specific combination of oppression and privilege. Safe space is not defined by what people and genitals are or are not present. Safer spaces are designed by community support, caring, and acceptance. Gender policing and judging works to destroy safer space.

· If we aren’t “excluding” trans women, and we just don’t happen to know any, I want to know why we don’t. How is that related to patriarchy and transphobia? Communities are not homogenous by accident. It’s usually related to a lot of different ways that oppression has played out over time.

· And finally, and most importantly, I don’t want to be excluding trans women because I am not comfortable with what that means we would lose. I know amazing, brilliant, hot, powerful trans women and I don’t want to be in a women’s community that doesn’t have space for them.

This is an intervention, an invocation to all of us, especially non-trans queer women, who are in dyke communities that don’t support trans women to try to figure out how we can change that. And it is a message to the trans women who are in our communities, to say, I am so glad you are here and that you are making our community what it is. I am asking us to work to transform our communities. I am saying, maybe it is time to start asking people these questions: Why do you choose to perform at/attend an institution that does not support trans women? If you consider yourself an ally to trans women, what work are you doing from the inside? What are you doing to make sure that your community is supportive of trans women? Do you talk about your dyke identity in relation to certain genital configurations? How can we speak up when we see transphobic things happening? How are we perpetuating transphobia and misogyny?

I could write about this for ages, but I should probably conclude my first post somewhere! I apologize for the length already. I would be very interested to hear people's responses. I am not trying to write this with the idea that other people haven't thought of some or all of this before--I just don't want to alienate people by making assumptions of knowledge, and then not being clear enough to really understand. I am writing all of this from a place of deep love for queer communities and for women. I want my community to have room for people I care about and to help me grow.

Bitch at the Boston Dyke March--Transphobia Continues!

The Boston Dyke March claims that "everyone is welcome" at this year's march. That's wonderful, but how can everyone be welcome when an actively transphobic performer has been scheduled?

The musician Bitch plays this years Dyke March, and proudly plays the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival. She is scheduled to play the MWMF (also known as Michfest) again this year. The MWMF has a "womyn-born-womyn" only policy, which means that a woman who was assigned male at birth is not allowed to attend, unless she is seen as a non-trans female 100% of the time and keeps her past a secret. This means that male-to-female transsexual women are not only not allowed, but, by virtue of being kept out of a space that's designated for women, considered not women at all. This is offensive, insulting, and degrading to women who didn't have the privilege of being born into a body that aligned with their mind. This policy is a very well-known one among fest performers and attendees, and those who participate in the fest without voicing opposition are complicit, and performers who profit off of a fest that excludes even worse.

Bitch is part of that second club, and doesn't try to hide it. The August 20th, 2005 entry of her web diary ( she says that:

what an act of rebelliousness for us to gather like that. claim our space. and you know what? it's fucking beautiful. out of this distinct oppression that people who all suffered girl-hoods share, comes such a vision of peace in the world, such a commitment to safety for everyone who comes there and all the creatures who stay there.

While women's space can be considered an act of rebelliousness--and I am absolutely pro women's space--there is no rebellion in transphobia. The commitment to safety she speaks of doesn't apply to the transwoman who have been forcibly ejected from the land, and is incongruent with accounts of transwomen who, while on Michfest property, were tailed by Fest attendees shouting "Man on the land!" Transwomen have as much peace in their hearts as any other women, and a women's community that excludes certain women hardly sends a peaceful message. While Bitch may consider herself to be trans-positive because her partner, Daniela Sea, plays Max, a female-to-male transgendered person on the L Word, supporting trans people includes supporting trans-woman, which does NOT include performing for and profitting off of those who do not include all women in women's community.

As a concerned person who was planning on marching with the Ask.Tell.Act Coalition at the March, and as a supporter of the March's grassroots efforts and positions, I will still be attending, and I encourage others who have been planning to go to do so. Instead of watching Bitch's show, turn your backs on her and start a conversation on this issue. Carry signs that show support for transwomen in dyke communities. I am not against the Dyke March, (nor am I against Michfest, for that matter), I am just opposed to policies or people who exclude transwomen from women's groups and events. The Dyke March is a positive event, and although I am critiquing one element of this year's event, I have no desire to protest the March itself. I applaud the Dyke March for attempting to create a trans-positive atmosphere by saying that everyone is welcome, however, their choice of performers is contradictory to their intent.

Ask Tell Act Raises Pink Pride Flag

On Friday June 1, a few QueerToday members represented the Ask Tell Act Coalition and raised a hot pink flag as the Pride Committee raised the official rainbow flag. We also held our Solidarity banner, and handed out hot pink flyers to the crowd letting them know why we oppose the Pride theme.

We have been accused of being divisive, but the Ask Tell Act Coalition is succeeding in sparking important long overdue discussions in our community. We are standing in solidarity with all in celebrating Pride, and we are not attacking anyone. We are drawing attention to our community's forgotten history and to current struggles. We have a lot of support from within the community that is not heard publicly. Many people, old and young, are happy to see that there are queer people in Boston willing to stand up for liberation, and continue the spirit of resistance that build the foundation for our community's voice.

When a Pride Committee representative mentioned the military ball our group booed and members of the audience joined us with hissing. Our presence has been noted from the podiums at several major pride events so far, and we have been in the LGBT news papers the past several weeks. TakeMassAction has a full report and photos from Friday!

*Did you know hot pink was once a stripe on the official gay flag? It meant sexuality.