Em-URGE-ing Voices

Posts Tagged: creating change

Bridging Identities In The Newsroom

Being a journalism major at Texas State University, I look forward to the third week in October because every year it is designated as Mass Communication Week. Throughout the week mass comm professionals from all concentrations including journalism, advertising, public relations, and multimedia gather at my university to tell stories and share advice from within the professional world. I attended many presentations, but the one that I was most excited to attend was titled, “LGBT and media coverage/ Diversity in the newsroom.” Having attended two mass comm weeks prior to this one it was the first time that I remember there being a specific space given to queer journalists. The discussion was led by two people, Austin-American Statesman columnist Michael Barnes, and Texas State journalism student and University Star writer, Ernest… Read more »

Creating Change: The Importance of Belonging

This past weekend I had the amazing opportunity to attend Creating Change 2014, a conference hosted by the Gay and Lesbian Task Force, in Houston, Texas. I must admit, I entered the conference with certain expectations created and based off of my experience with previous conferences. But my expectations were completely blown out of the water. Creating Change was more than I could have ever hoped for. It was a safe space. It was a place for activism. It was place to see people like myself and those different from me come together and embrace our similarities and celebrate our differences. Never in my life had I been able to be surrounded by other queer identifying people who looked like me. For someone in that position, seeing so many queer… Read more »

How a Pool Party Could Spark a Revolution

This weekend, I had one of those moments that fueled me to continue to break down barriers and stigmas around bodies. This experience happened at the Trans* Pool Party at Creating Change: National Conference for LGBT Equality. Not exactly the place I planned to experience a transforming moment after hours of workshops, caucuses and networking. When I walked into the party, I was amazed. The small pool was crowded full of all types of people. I will never forget the range of bodies – from fat to muscular, with everything exposed, from bruises to moles to scars to tattoos and stretch marks. People who had transitional surgery, women with unshaven legs and adorable queer couples were swimming free of harassment. When I looked around, I realized that it was more… Read more »

Creating Change 2014: We Need our Differences to Build Solidarity

I’m writing this post as I wait for my flight to take me back to Kansas City and away from Houston, Texas where I’ve just spent the last few days with a couple thousand other queermos, at the largest LGBT annual conference in the country. It’s only been a few days, but it’s been days full of non-stop policy appraisals, organizing, outfit planning, strategizing, educating, waiting in 15 deep Starbucks lines, challenging, affirming, networking, (and maybe the tiniest bit of having-a-good-time-ing). I’m beyond exhausted. But I’m also sad to be leaving. Being around 4,000 individuals dedicated to so many of your own progressive core values, especially as a Midwest gal stuck in bleeding red state, is thrilling. And especially as a super queer Midwest gal who spent nearly 19 of… Read more »

Creating Change: Accessibility and Diversity

This weekend I attended Creating Change: The National Conference of LGBT Rights.  Basically, the conference covers a wide intersection of issues impacting the LGBTQ community, including homelessness, HIV/AIDS, marriage equality, immigration, and a whole host of other issues. One of the big themes appeared to be queering reproductive justice. This issue addresses a persistent dismissal of the LBGTQ community’s involvement in abortion rights and birth control access and other reproductive health-related issues based on the idea that LGBTQ-identified folks do not need access to these services. Several of the panels were based on how to address this concern and continue to organize for reproductive justice inclusively for folks of all identities.

Why Anti-Choice Groups are Afraid of Students…and They Should Be

Yesterday, the University of Central Florida (UCF) was paid a visit by the not so pleasant anti-choice organization Created Equal. They came toting large A-frames of doctored and extremely graphic images that they claimed to be “real abortions”, and literature urging women to bring a stop to this “modern Holocaust”. Now, personally the second I hear some compare anything to the Holocaust that isn’t…you know…THE HOLOCAUST I tune out and write them off. But it pained me to watch my fellow students

We Won’t Go Back: Raising Youth Voices in Reproductive Justice

History was recently made in Ohio when over 300 people rallied at the capitol in Ohio for reproductive rights. I was fortunate enough to attend the We Won’t Go Back rally at the statehouse in Columbus, Ohio with my Choice USA chapter (and a fellow Choice USA blogger!). At this rally, I was very inspired by the high attendance, chants and calls to action to vote and change the political climate around abortion rights in Ohio. I felt lucky to be in the presence of America’s pro-choice superstars, such as Ellie Smeal of Feminist Majority Foundation. I kept thinking of how fortunate I was to be part of something so historical and important for my generation. However, I observed something funny about the representation of the reproductive justice movement throughout… Read more »

The South And Marriage Equality, Part III: The Intersecti​onal Blueprint Of A Movement

From abolition to the civil rights, the American South has been the battleground for many social justice movements. When a place’s past is an intricate mural depicting so many hard-won struggles against various oppressions, it’s impossible to approach any ongoing conflict with anything but an intersectional perspective, acknowledging that all resistance to social change has originated from a common ancestor: Patriarchy. Working against patriarchy means not only working toward LGBTQ rights, but also those of women, the poor, and people of color. “Working on other issues that aren’t necessarily ‘gay issues’ may actually help to bridge whatever perceived divides there are between people of color and white gay folks. I say ‘white gay folks’ because they are “the members of the queer community most likely to be unaware of and… Read more »

Thoughts On Creating Change, Part II: Let’s Map Our Desires!

In my previous post on The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s annual conference, I wrote about the ways large gatherings like Creating Change help sustain LGBT activism, including queer reproductive justice activism. On the second day of Creating Change, these dialogues surrounding our bodies came to a head when I attended Sex Justice: Mapping Our Desire, an institute which lasted from dawn until dusk. According to the conference program, the session was designed to “focus on our desires: How we have shaped them and how they have shaped us. In this space, we can begin to consider: ‘What is just sex? How can my personal claiming of my desire foster more just sexual communities? Where do I begin?’ I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting myself into. But… Read more »

Thoughts on Creating Change: On Solidarity in Community, Part I

It’s been nearly two weeks since The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Creating Change conference in Atlanta, as recapped extensively by Lydia and Amanda. The high of sharing space with thousands of activists has since tapered off, and I’ve had time to wash the remaining glitter from my hair and reflect on what I gained from those five days of institutes, workshops, and collaboration with queers and allies from across the nation. There’s something to be said for this conference taking place in Georgia, my home state. I’m all too familiar with our ongoing fight for marriage equality, not to mention the Southern state’s problems with homophobia, the KKK, and abortion access. While Atlanta is one the most gay-friendly cities in the US, a short drive into neighboring rural… Read more »