Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Coming out is hard enough, but coming out in front of your entire high school? That takes chutzpah!

1. "We" have not overcome racism
2. A lot of folks coming out face more severe issues than finding love like being kicked out of their homes, depression, substance abuse, suicide, violence, abuse, murder <--- gaining equal marriage won't solve these issues.
3. There have been A LOT more than 5 suicides in the past few months was a nice speech that most folks wouldn't be allowed to deliver at their schools. It was also a nice touch that this speech was delivered on MLK Day. We have to keep fighting to end ALL oppression!!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

To tip or not to tip...

My roommate and I went out to dinner a few nights ago and we had a very...disconcerting experience. A little bit of back story, my roommate and I are both people of color, the Jets-Steelers game was on so a lot of folks came in and stayed a while, our table happened to be right next to the wait staff station, and I have VERY good hearing.

Towards the end of our meal, three wait staff, our server included, were having a conversation about how bad the tips had been that night. One person blamed the football game and lack of table turnover. Another person blamed the weather, but our server had her own reason for why she had made less money. "All those hispanics and blacks...they just don't tip well. I just want to get paid for what I deserve."

Initially I was SHOCKED, but then shock led to anger, and anger to damn-near explosion. Let's just put it this way: I had a moment. Luckily for our server, my roommate was there to talk me through it, and before she came back to the table to give us our check, I had decided that I wasn't in the right state of mind to address the situation head-on.

The question then became: to tip or not to tip?

If we didn't tip, we would just be enforcing what she already thought of "people like us," but if we did tip, we'd be tipping someone that really pissed us off. The pressure to not give my entire cultural group a bad name was immense. Now...I was a waitress for 5 years, so I ALWAYS tip at least 20% if not more...but this woman didn't know that about me. She saw brown skin and assumed that I would be a bad tipper. Here's a tip: if you're going to make racist comments, try not to make them in earshot of your customers right before you give them the check.

We tipped...but I won't ever be going back to...


700 Plaza Drive
Secaucus, NJ 07094
(201) 330-8856

...ever again.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Vaginas DO have teeth...

The title of this post is actually almost completely unrelated to the content. The movie "Teeth" is an independent film about a woman whose vagina has teeth that attacks anyone that tries to take advantage of her. The movie is actually incredibly witty in that it depicts a seemingly impossible defense to sexual violence.

Except....vaginas with teeth are not actually science fiction anymore. There is a new anti-rape device being marketed in South Africa as a method to apprehend rapists. The device is similar to a "female condom" except that it is thicker and lined with mini blades/teeth that hook into an a rapist's penis and can only be surgically removed. As someone who is planning on spending a month in South Africa this summer (HOORAY!), information about how high the rape statistics are in there are incredibly frightening to me, especially those practiced on lesbians for "corrective" purposes. But I wonder if the pros of this device outweigh the cons.

>Rapists will be apprehended in medical facilities.
>Rates of rape could potentially decrease.

>Women are still being raped. Just because the penis will be immediately removed from pain, that doesn't mean women are not being violated physically and mentally.
>The responsibility to stop rape now falls on women to remember to where the device, rather on men to NOT rape?
>While the rapist will be in pain, it's possible that they may be able to overcome the pain and commit further acts of escalated violence.

I guess in the end, this drastic issue calls for drastic measures, but I'm not sure if this is the only solution to ending rape in South Africa. What are your thoughts?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Born This Way

I found out about this blog, called 'Born This Way.' In the author's own words, its goal is to provide "A photo/essay project for gay adults (male and female) to submit pictures from their childhood (roughly ages 2 to 12) - with snapshots that capture them, innocently, showing the beginnings of their innate LGBT selves. It's OUR nature, our TRUTH!"

Personally, I am surprised that I haven't come across something like this sooner. It's an interesting blog. While it is presented in a lighthearted manner, the objective couldn't be more serious. The author decided to start this blog to counter the right-wing rhetoric that propelled Proposition 8 to success. I challenge any LGBT person who has unaccepting and bigoted relatives to show them this blog along with a photograph of himself or herself as a queer child.

Oh, and in case you are wondering, that picture with my post is of yours truly (I know, I was quite the looker back then) with a childhood friend circa '97 or ' a Spice Girls concert. Born this way, baby!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sex +

Going off of Zaneta's post about body positivity, I have chosen to write about sex positivity :)

In very basic terms, "Sex Positive" means that there is nothing shameful about sex (between consenting adults) or about our bodies. The Sex Positive Movement provides a safe space for people of all sexual orientations and "relationship structures" (ex: polyamory). It promotes the idea that we are all individuals who develop and operate in unique ways. Sex Positivity is based on respect, consent, diversity, and choice.

One of the most prominent bloggers/YouTubers in the Sex Positive Movement is student and activist, Laci Green. As she puts it:
The truth is, we live in unenlightened times. It’s 2011 and our bodies are still a political, social, and cultural battle ground. The abundance of fear mongering about sexuality, slut-shaming, homophobia, and pushes for abstinence-only education are manifestations of the majority view of sexuality. The problem is, these ideas generate misinformation, herd mentalities, hatred, and serves to divide people for no reason at all. Perhaps even more detrimental is the fact that sex negativity divides pieces of ourselves.... Your body is YOURS ALONE and it’s beautiful; you should be able to use it however you like without feeling guilty.
Definitely couldn't have said that better myself.

Laci produces a show on YouTube called "Sex+" which provides a platform to learn about and discuss issues surrounding love, relationships, sex, gender, language, the queer community, and more. Check out her latest episode, THE BREAST EFFECT:

For more on the Sex Positive Movement, Sex+, and Laci Green, check out her YouTube Channel and website.

Just for fun...

Sometimes I like to sacrifice Family Feud points for good ol' queer humor.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Our Fierce Advocate...

...Nope not President Obama. I'm referring to the newspaper/magazine. I always feel slightly smaller and pissed off after reading 'The Advocate.' Maybe it's because I don't make enough money? Not really, it's because too many of the major gay news outlets are ridden with class division and this publication is one of biggest perpetrators.

'The Advocate' focuses very heavily on the New York City centered, hyper consumerist, upper-middle-class brand of homosexuality. I could also write about how almost every photo is completely and unapologetically gender-normative, but that would go beyond the relevance of this post.

Just to serve as a small example of their disregard for LGBT of the lower classes, 'The Advocate' created a photo project called "A Day in Gay America," which contained all different pictures that were supposed to represent typical gay Americans doing typical things. Here is the project's caption:

"What does it look like to be gay in America in 2010? There are some people who insist that if you don’t look like a stereotype, you’re just not doing it right. But the truth is that our gay lives are simultaneously as mundane as those of our heterosexual peers and more wildly varied than even we acknowledge at times."

Among the 37 photographs of typical gay Americans are Rachael Maddow, Jake Shears, and other celebrities. Also, most of the photographs featured people with well-paying, white color jobs or opportunities, such as an NBC correspondent, a man who works behind the scenes for the US Senate, and a paleontology doctoral student. This is hardly an effort to include representation of the daily lives of countless LGBTQ Americans. Since class is so important to people's identity and lifestyle in the United States, any project that claims to represent the daily lives of people within the American Gay Community must have pictures of people from all class levels.

Where is the inclusion of the gay worker who struggles to earn a living? What about the unemployed? What about the lesbian who had to drop out of college due to tuition costs? I don't see any photo of people who have been impoverished due to the economic effects of social discrimination. There is not even one photograph of a blue-collar worker. Perhaps gay blue-collar workers do not exist?

The project does include a picture of a Sylvia's Place worker (Sylvia's Place is a shelter for homeless LGBTQ youth). At least they mentioned the existence of homeless LGBTQ youth, but the photograph featured only the presumably successful staff member. Only if the photo actually included a homeless LGBTQ youth would I then have labeled it a token effort.

I do not want to criticize the 'Advocate' without good reason, it's just that as "the worlds leading source for LGBT news and entertainment," the publication has an obligation to represent the full spectrum of the Gay Community. Class stratification in America hurts, and sadly it is no different within the Gay Community.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

More on Body Positivity and Health at Every Size...

I'm on a roll...roll? I'm terrible at puns but I sure do love this project!!!!!

Fantastic Films: The Fat Body (In)visible

This full length film from Margitte Kristjansson is well worth the watch.

the fat body (in)visible from Margitte Kristjansson on Vimeo.

I thought this film was powerful and inspiring. Body positivity is not always a comfortable issue to discuss, but I appreciate people like Margitte for encouraging the conversation!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"Rock Out for Roe" with me and a bunch of awesome folk!

If you're free this weekend, you're a super-cool feminist, and you can get to NYC you should totally come to this amazing fund-raiser for the New York Abortion Access Fund (NYAAF). It's been a tough year for choice, and women everywhere need your support!

Attendees will include:

Shelby Knox & Steph Herold / Jessica Valenti / Lynn Harris / Sady Doyle / Bloggers from Feministing & Jezebel / The Women’s Media Center / Paradigm Shift /NARAL Pro-Choice New York / Planned Pa…renthood of New York City / National Organization for Women (NOW) – New York State Young Feminist Task Force / Women’s eNews/ & MORE!

RSVP here today and I'll see you Saturday!

Women's History is RADICAL and now little bit easier to find...

Shelby Knox, featured in the amazing film "The Education of Shelby Knox," is starting a calendar project that will feature daily posts with events in Women's History! Even though some of the entries thus far may not strike you immediately as "radical," the acknowledgement that women have a distinguishable recorded history is radical in and of itself. The project started on January 1st and will continue everyday for an entire year. Check it out!!!

My favorites so far:

January 1st,1977: Jacqueline Means becomes the first woman ordained in the Episcopal Church with official sanction.

January 2nd,1857: M. Carey Thomas, 1st female dean in the US, 2nd president of Bryn Mawr College, suffragist, born.

January 11th,1935: Amelia Earhart began a trip from Honolulu to Oakland, CA, becoming the 1st woman to fly solo across the Pacific Ocean.

January 18th, 1777: Baltimore newspaper publisher and postmaster Mary Katherine Goddard produced the first printed copy of the US Declaration of Independence.

Keep the Women's History coming, because this history buff is LOVING it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Doubles Standard: Venus Williams and the Media

The last two times I logged into my Yahoo account, the front-page stories have both been about one of the most famous women in tennis, Venus Williams. Now, I'm not much of a fan of tennis (or really any sport except basketball), but I think its awesome that Venus has been able to succeed and make a name for herself in the male-dominated world of sports. What disappointed me about these two stories is that they were not celebrating a victory of hers or reporting any news; they were reporting on what she was wearing during her tennis matches.

In the first article, author Chris Chase jokes, "The length of Venus Williams' hemline is inversely proportional to the tennis star's age: as she gets older, the dresses get shorter." Why is this news? You can view the articles here and here.

When was the last time you read an article in which a victory by Tim Duncan was overshadowed by his fashion choice? Or Tom Brady? Is it fair to judge a female athlete, especially one of Williams' stature, based on what she wears as opposed to how she performs? Far too often in the media, whether it is sports, politics or entertainment, women are reduced to only their appearance, as opposed to their performance or what skills and talents they have to offer (think Hilary Clinton and how much she was criticized for daring to wear a headband....).

I realize that Venus may be trying to pull a publicity stunt by choosing unconventional outfits for her matches. However, the point I am trying to make is that women are held to a different standard in the media. I am tired of seeing the media rob women of talent.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Thank You and Hello!

It was my secret New Years goal to get the total number of blog views past 5,000. I'm happy to say that on New Years Eve, we reached that goal. Here is a map of where our readers are coming from:

You all, as well as Google analytics, are super awesome! Thanks for reading, and please keep coming back for more!

Friday, January 14, 2011


After reading this post from Feministing today, it reminded me of a veeeeerrrry good Tyra episode. I'm not always a fan of Tyra or the way that she approaches different issues, but I do appreciate that she sheds even a small amount of light on difficult issues. Many of these issues or experiences are ones that folks want to learn more about, to understand. But, sometimes it's difficult to voice experiences. And sometimes, you don't feel like teaching a lesson on your oppression. I totally understand, but at the same time I wan't people to know where I'm coming from so they don't have to ask anymore! It's totally a Catch-22.

Colorism and racial ambiguity are topics I've written about quite a bit, but it always makes happy that after I watch something I can say "yeah, that's EXACTLY what happens to me too." Well except for the fact that I actually LOVE all of my ethnicities haha...I'm more so talking about the segment around 16:10...So learn a lil something, and check out this piece on colorism!

Oppression Olympics. Thoughts, reactions, questions?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Give us something to believe in...

I've been waiting to cover the recent shooing in Arizona because the motive is still really unclear. Whether or not the shooter was acting on his own accord, was influenced by the volatile political sphere, had ties to the hateful organization AmRen, or took direct action after viewing Sarah Palin's "crosshairs" campaign is yet to be seen. Regardless of the motive, I think what has become clear is that this country is broken. Bi-partisanship is becoming more and more implausible as extremist-politics seem to take center stage.

I just want to feel...
Like my vote meant something.
Like world peace isn't just talk.
Like the politicians are listening.
Like they can walk the walk.
Like change is happening.
Like my love is not a sin.
Like people aren't suffering.
Like...just give me something to believe in.
I just want to feel...

Sorry for the poetic break, but it was easier than forming a paragraph. But seriously, I'm tired of hearing about death, hatred, violence, fighting, filibusters, and inaction. I'm DONE! I'm also a little aggravated that every time a brown person in implicated in some sort of crime against a government they're terrorists but the shooter in this case is just an individual criminal. I'm sick of hearing politicians capitalize on tragedies in order to show us how much we need them. If they were doing their jobs with civility in the first place, we would have avoided quite a few of those tragedies in the first place. Simply put, current politics do NOT equal a functioning government.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What's the difference between Obama and Palin...

Obama knows that a tragedy is a tragedy and that the focus of any public statements should focus on the victims, the survivors, and healing. Check out his BEAUTIFUL address.

Now check out Sarah Palin's response:

I'm paraphrasing but what I heard was "Keep on being angry America, that's the only way the Republicans will win the presidency in 2012. Don't let this hateful act by a terrorist...I'm sorry...individual criminal stop you from voicing your opinion (as long as you are conservative of course. And you big old mean media monster you, don't make this 'blood libel' in my name."

Definition of Blood Libel: "refers to a false accusation or claim that religious minorities, usually Jews, murder children to use their blood in certain aspects of their religious rituals and holidays. The accusations often assert that the blood of Christian children is especially coveted, and, historically, blood libel claims have been made to account for otherwise unexplained deaths of children."

Great choice of words Palin.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Controversial HIV/AIDS NYC PSA

I'll be honest, I'm torn. On one hand, I understand where the PSA makers are coming from. HIV/AIDS is serious and has serious complications. But on the other hand, are these extreme tactics really affective? This PSA is heavy with shame, and doesn't even remotely depict that plenty of folks with HIV/AIDS are out there living their lives. I wonder what folks out there who are already positive would feel after watching this commercial? And why is the commercial only targeted towards gay men of color? Certainly, they are disproportionately affected by the epidemic, but there are not the only group out there living with HIV/AIDS. To depict them as being so is dangerous, irresponsible, and perpetuates trite misconceptions.

Do you think this type of advertising is affective and appropriate?