ChoiceWords Blog

Posts Tagged: LGBTQ

Having Pride in Wichita

On September 29th, URGE Kansas members had the opportunity to be part of Wichita Pride and march in the parade. For me, it was my first time at Pride in Wichita, and for many of our members, it was their very first Pride! It was also the first time that URGE has had an official presence in the parade here. Overall, we had so much fun together, and we even had a few people shout out in support of our #AbortionPositive banner.  For me, it was so transformative to see this side of Wichita. For too long, the local queer community had felt like it was only the small group I’d come to know through my time at college. And while there were many familiar faces, there were so many… Read more »

Don’t Be Afraid of Checking Yourself. We Have to do Better.

Earlier today, it was reported that openly gay and black actor Jussie Smollett was the victim of a hate crime in Chicago that left him hospitalized but in stable condition. A horrific act of violence like this not too long after comedian Kevin Hart refused several times to apologize for his homophobic remarks in the past isn’t surprising in this country. Homophobia and racism are rampant, and people found in the intersection like Smollett are particularly vulnerable. And as news reports were quick to call it a “possible” hate crime, referring to it mostly as “racially charged”, a phrase which almost always simply means racist, I can’t help but marvel at the aversion the media has at referring to a person as a racist. It’s as if they fear the word… Read more »

It Was Never A Secret

Victoria’s Secret chief marketing officer Ed Razek has come under fire after an interview with Vogue where he insinuated that trans and plus-size models are not attractive enough to be a part of the “fantasy” of their brand. The brand has been met with criticism since his comments, and #boycottvictoriassecret was a trending topic on Twitter. But let’s be honest: even if you haven’t seen what the models look like in the annual fashion show, anyone with a passing familiarity with Victoria’s Secret knows the brand always has been a blatant catering to the white male gaze. Look back at the “Perfect Body” campaign from 2014 that showcased only one type of body. Or the many extreme uses of PhotoShop. Not to mention the many instances of cultural appropriation over… Read more »

Cis People Can’t Be Misgendered

I honestly cannot tolerate another instance of a cis person recounting their experience being “misgendered”. The stories all follow the same predictable format – a late night grocery store run, clothed in sweats and a baggy hooded sweatshirt turns into a comical story of being mistakenly called “Sir.” These back-pocket stories seem to be collected meticulously as if to sooth me of my pain, as if to say “It’s okay, we get misgendered too! And it’s funny!” But my experiences being misgendered aren’t eagerly collected, nor do I find them entertaining or the least bit amusing. Perhaps that’s why cis people are able to dole out these stories so seamlessly. For them, being mistaken for the wrong gender is a laughable one-time experience while for me, each instance of misgendering… Read more »

Tackling LGBTQ Homelessness in America

Imagine that being who you are, is the reason you are homeless. Living your truth out loud is your crime and the consequence leaves you abandoned from family and shelter. Well, that sad reality is exactly the case for 40 percent of LGBTQ youth in America. Too often, when LGBTQ youth disclose and announce their sexuality or gender identity to their family members, the next step is being kicked out and becoming homeless. Although the majority of LGBTQ homelessness is tied to family reactions and issues, not all LGBTQ youth become homeless that way; over 20 percent comes from aging out of foster care programs. Not only is this an issue of family abandonment or negligent foster care systems, but LGBTQ homelessness is an attack on human rights and justice…. Read more »

The New LGBTQ Health Measure You Need To Know About

Last week was historical for the transgender community. In the span of five days we saw the U.S. Government sue North Carolina over their discriminatory bathroom bill, HB 2, arguing that it violates federal law; we watched the U.S. Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, deliver a powerful public speech on transgender rights and equality; President Obama directed public schools to allow transgender students to use whichever bathroom fits their gender identity; and, finally, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a nondiscrimination ruling on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), banning discrimination in the healthcare context based on gender identity or sex. It was a big week. Rounding out the week was the ACA nondiscrimination rule. This ruling deserves additional attention, not only because of the immediate and widespread impact… Read more »

Kansas Law Creates a Bounty for Trans Students

This month, the Kansas state legislature passed two bills that pay students to openly discriminate against their trans peers. Unfortunately, Governor Brownback signed both bills into law. One of them forces institutions to pay religious student organizations for partaking in active exclusion of any group under the guise of religious liberties. The second effectively places a bounty on trans students who use the restroom that they are most comfortable in by saying that they are a threat to ‘physical privacy.’ The ironically named Student Physical Privacy Act, states that students using facilities designated for the opposite sex of their biological sex threaten the psychological and physical safety of others. This narrow definition of biological sex completely excludes intersex folks from the discussion. The language of the Act also states that public schools, including universities, need… Read more »

From One Caitlyn to Another: You Can Do Better

My favorite thing about Caitlyn Jenner is her name. Maybe I’m a little biased, but the name Caitlyn just has a certain ring to it. When she first came out as transgender, I was looking forward to a well-known celebrity voice bringing more visibility to the underrepresented and often ignored trans community. When she unveiled her new name, I was excited because I saw the potential for her to have a huge impact on how the world views the LGBTQ+ community and wouldn’t it be cool to share a name with someone like that? When she gave her speech at the ESPYs, I applauded from the couch. But now, those initial feelings have worn off and I have become disenchanted with Ms. Jenner. There are so many reasons that I… Read more »

Trans Day of Remembrance — We Remember

Tomorrow is Friday, November 20. Exciting times because we’re a few days from Thanksgiving, turkey, warm meals and family, but equally and devastatingly more important is TDOR — or Trans Day of Remembrance as the traditional finale to Transgender Awareness Week, which is celebrated November 14-20 of each year. For those who are unaware, the Trans Day of Remembrance was started by trans* advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. The vigil Smith held was a tribute to all of the trans* people who lost their lives to violence that year and has since become an annual memorial to be celebrated, mourned, and remembered all across the globe. The amount of trans* folks that were… Read more »