Category Archives: Arts

Don’t Whitewash the QPOC Victims of #Orlando

Right now, the ethnicities of the 50 people killed at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando are being erased from the conversation.

They were predominately Latino and/or of African or Afro-Caribbean descent.

Few queer people of color have been interviewed by major news media outlets. Faisal Alam, a queer Pakistani-American LGBT rights activist of Muslim religion, is one of those few.

And what’s worse: the fact that they were predominately LGBT, that this was a gay nightclub, that this was a hate crime, is also being whitewashed in some outlets, like Sky News in the UK:

This bears repeating: The first victims of Orlando were Latino. The majority of victims were Latino and/or African-American. Almost all of the victims were queer. And Pulse is a gay nightclub.

Never Forget This. Queer People of Color were mass murdered on Sunday, 11 June 2016, and were killed because they were queer. Don’t whitewash this.


GLAAD Announces Nominees for 2016 Media Awards

nominees_gma_featuredGLAAD announced today their full list of nominees for their 27th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, which will be televised on Logo TV in April 2016. Ethnic and gender diversity in the wake of the fallout from #OscarsSoWhite has played a large role in the nominating process for GLAAD. Here’s the full list:

English-language categories:

Outstanding Film – Wide Release

Outstanding Film – Limited Release

  • Tangerine
  • 52 Tuesdays
  • Appropriate Behavior
  • Boy Meets Girl
  • Drunktown’s Finest

Outstanding Drama Series

  • Empire
  • Sense8
  • How to Get Away With Murder
  • The Fosters
  • Grey’s Anatomy
  • Arrow
  • Black Sails
  • Nashville
  • Orphan Black
  • Shameless

Outstanding Comedy Series

  • Master of None (stars out actress and producer Lena Waithe who plays a lesbian)
  • Orange Is the New Black
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • Faking It
  • Grace and Frankie
  • Looking
  • Modern Family
  • Please Like Me
  • Transparent
  • Vicious

Outstanding Individual Episode (in a series without a regular LGBT character)

  • blackish – “Please Don’t Ask, Please Don’t Tell” (epi features Raven-Symoné)
  • The Carmichael Show – “Gender”
  • Royal Pains – “The Prince of Nucleotides” 
  • NCIS New Orleans – “Rock-a-Bye-Baby” 
  • NCIS – “We Build, We Fight” 

Outstanding TV Movie or Limited Series

Outstanding Reality Program

  • I Am Cait
  • I Am Jazz
  • New Girls on the Block
  • The Prancing Elites Project
  • Transcendent

Outstanding Daily Drama

  • The Bold and The Beautiful

Outstanding Documentary

  • Kumu Hina
  • Limited Partnership
  • Mala Mala
  • Tab Hunter Confidential
  • Tig

Outstanding TV Journalism – Newsmagazine

  • “Bruce Jenner: The Interview” 20/20 (ABC)
  • “The Courage Game” SportsCenter (ESPN)
  • “Dividing The United Methodist Church” To The Contrary (PBS)
  • “Showdown in Indiana: The Battle Over Religious Rights” CNN Special Report (CNN)
  • True Life: I’m Genderqueer (MTV)

Outstanding Newspaper Article

  • “Cold Case: The Murders of Cosby and Jackson” by Dianna Wray (Houston Press)
  • “Gay and Transgender Catholics Urge Pope Francis to Take a Stand” by Laurie Goodstein (The New York Times) 
  • “Meet Dr. Levine, The State’s Top Doc” by Michael A. Fuoco (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
  • “Navy’s First Openly Gay SEAL Builds His Life Anew” by David Zucchino (Los Angeles Times) 
  • “Transgender Today” [series] (The New York Times)

Outstanding Magazine Article

  • Essence Magazine – “Pride & Prejudice” by Linda Villarosa
  • “Behind Brazil’s Gay Pride Parades, a Struggle with Homophobic Violence” by Oscar Lopez (Newsweek)
  • “The First Black Trans Model Had Her Face on a Box of Clairol” Jada Yuan and Aaron Wong (New York)
  • “Gus Kenworthy’s Next Bold Move” by Alyssa Roenigk (ESPN The Magazine)
  • “Just Your Average (Transgender) Teen” by Andrea Stanley


Outstanding Talk Show Episode

  • Super Soul Sunday (OWN) – “Janet Mock”
  • Late Night with Seth Myers (NBC) – “Alison Bechdel”
  • The Ellen DeGeneres Show (syndicated) – “Aydian Dowling”
  • The Meredith Vieira (syndicated) – “Jazz Jennings”
  • Last Week with John Oliver (HBO) – “Transgender rights”

Outstanding Musical Artist

  • Brandi Carlile, The Firewatcher’s Daughter
  • Miley Cyrus, Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz
  • Adam Lambert, The Original High
  • Le1f, Riot Boi
  • Troye Sivan, Blue Neighbourhood

Outstanding Comic Book

  • Angela: Queen of Hel, by Marguerite Bennett, Kim Jacinto, Israel Silva, Stephanie Hans (Marvel Comics) 
  • Harley Quinn, by Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, Chad Hardin, John Timms, Jed Dougherty (DC Comics)
  • Lumberjanes, by Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, Kat Leyh, Carolyn Nowak, Brooke Allen (BOOM! Studios)
  • Midnighter, by Steve Orlando, Aco, Hugh Petrus, Alec Morgan, Stephen Mooney (DC Comics)
  • The Wicked + Divine, by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Kate Brown, Tula Lotay (Image Comics)

Outstanding Magazine Overall Coverage

  • The Advocate
  • Cosmopolitan
  • Seventeen
  • Time
  • Variety

Outstanding Digital Journalism Article

  • “How the Killing of a Trans Filipina Woman Ignited an International Incident” by Meredith Talusan (
  • “The Faces of Transgender Teen America” by David Yi (
  • “The Ky Peterson Saga” [series] by Mitch Kellaway and Sunnivie Brydum (
  • “This Is What It’s Like To Be An LGBT Syrian Fleeing For Your Life” by J. Lester Feder (
  • “This Tiny Clinic is Fighting for Trans Patients Illegally Denied Medical Care” by Jennifer Swann (

Outstanding Digital Journalism – Multimedia

  • “Freed Trans Woman Ashley Diamond On Life Behind Bars In Men’s Prison” HuffPost Live (
  • “Holler if You Hear Me: Black and Gay in the Church” by Clay Cane (
  • “Queerness On The Front Lines Of #BlackLivesMatter” MSNBC Originals (
  • “Stopping HIV? The Truvada Revolution” Vice Reports (
  • “Transgender, at War and in Love” by Fiona Dawson (

Special Recognition

  • Beautiful As I Want To Be (
  • This is Me (Amazon Instant Video)

Spanish-language categories:

Outstanding Novela

  • Antes muerta que Lichita
  • Celia
  • Los miserables
  • Rastros de mentiras

Outstanding Daytime Program Episode (Spanish Language)

  • “La armonía de su casa se rompió”Casos de Familia
  • “¿El marido de mi padre o yo?”Caso Cerrado

Outstanding Television Interview (Spanish Language)

  • “La confesión de Bruce Jenner” Showbiz (CNN en Español)
  • “Entrevista con Claudia Valenzuela y Karolina López” Enfoque (Telemundo)
  • “Lucha por su identidad” Al Punto (Univision)
  • “Matrimonio igualitario” Cala (CNN en Español)
  • “Orientación sexual y acoso escolar” Realidades en Contexto (CNN en Español)

Outstanding Local Television Interview (Spanish Language)

  • “Entrevista con Kael Escobar” Vida Mujer (WGBO-Univision 66 [Chicago])
  • “Entrevista con Tony Lima, SAVE Dade” Ahora en Nuestra Comunidad (WLTV-Univision 23 [Miami])
  • “La nueva transgeneración” Enfoque Los Ángeles (KVEA-Telemundo 52 [Los Ángeles])
  • Reacciones al caso Jenner” A Primera Hora (KMEX-Univision 34 [Los Ángeles])

Outstanding TV Journalism – Newsmagazine (Spanish Language)

  • “Abre su corazón: entrevista con Patricia Velásquez” Al Rojo Vivo (Telemundo)
  • “Amor que rompe barreras” Un Nuevo Día (Telemundo)
  • “En cuerpo ajeno” Aquí y Ahora (Univision)
  • “Reveladora historia: entrevista con Patricia Velásquez” Un Nuevo Día (Telemundo)
  • “Viviendo con dos mamás” Primer Impacto (Univision)

Outstanding TV Journalism Segment (Spanish Language)

  • “Decisión histórica en Estados Unidos” Noticiero NTN 24 NTN
  • “Entrevista con Tamara Adrián” Encuentro CNN en Español
  • “Parejas del mismo sexo celebran la legalización del matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo en todo el país”  CNN en Español
  • “Permiten matrimonios” Noticiero Telemundo Telemundo
  • “Víctimas de abusos” Noticiero Univision Univision

Outstanding Local TV Journalism (Spanish Language)

  • “Aprendió a vivir en plenitud con el virus del VIH” Noticias Arizona (KTVW-Univision 33 [Phoenix])
  • “Cada 29 horas” Noticias 19 (KUVS-Univision 19 [Sacramento])
  • “Decidí ser feliz” Noticias 34 (KMEX-Univision 34 [Los Ángeles])
  • “Descubriéndose” Noticiero Telemundo (KVEA-Telemundo 52 [Los Ángeles]
  • “Reporte especial” Noticias 14 (KDTV-Univision 14 [San Francisco]

Outstanding Newspaper Article (Spanish Language)

  • “La constitucionalidad del matrimonio gay en EE.UU. queda en suspenso” por Selene Rivera (Hoy Los Ángeles)
  • “Iguales bajo la lluvia” por Marcos B Guzmán Rivera (El Nuevo Día) (El Nuevo Día)
  • “Indocumentados y gays: Un romance con desafíos” por Laura Wides-Muñoz (Prensa Asociada)
  • “Mujeres transgénero piden respeto a sus derechos” por Jorge Morales Almada (La Opinión)
  • “Padres transgénero – El único requisito para ser papá es el amor por los hijos” por Virginia Gaglianone (La Opinión)

Outstanding Digital Journalism Article (Spanish Language)

  • “Bruce Jenner o el nuevo rostro de las personas transgénero en los medios” por José Ángel Gonzalo (
  • “Inquietud en la comunidad transgénero ante el incremento de asesinatos” por Juan Carlos Gomi (
  • “Mujeres transgénero latinas exigen fin de violencia física contra colectivo” por Aitana Vargas (
  • “Perú: violaciones correctivas: El terrible método para ‘curar’ a las lesbianas” por Leire Ventas (
  • “Soy Jazz retrata la vida de una niña transgénero de 14 años” por Marinés Arroyo (

Outstanding Digital Journalism – Multimedia (Spanish Language)

  • “Así reciben la legalización del matrimonio gay en Florida” por Hirania Luzardo (
  • “Caitlyn Jenner quiere ser legalmente reconocida como mujer” por Isis Sauceda (peopleenespañ
  • “Campeones de la igualdad” (
  • “Undocuqueer, dos palabras, un tema” por Joanna Rentería (
  • “Voy a ser mamá, mi novio está embarazado” por Andrés López (

Outstanding Music Artist (Spanish Language)

  • Ricky Martin, A quien quiera escuchar (Sony Music Latin)

Bobbi Kristina Brown, Only Child of Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, Dies at 22

Bobbi Kristina Brown, the daughter of late music legend Whitney Houston and R&B singer Bobby Brown, died on July 26, surrounded by her family, at Peachtree Christian Hospice in Duluth, Georgia. She was 22.

“She is finally at peace in the arms of God,” the Houston family said in statement to ET. “We want to again thank everyone for their tremendous amount of love and support during these last few months.”

On Jan. 31, Bobbi Kristina was found unresponsive in her bathtub, and was then taken to North Fulton Hospital in Roswell, Georgia, where she was put on a ventilator to assist her breathing. She was later placed in a medically induced coma at Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital.

via EXCLUSIVE: Bobbi Kristina Brown Dies at 22.

EDITORIAL: On LGBT rights, SGL and Why It’s Not OK to Ask Us to Play Catch-Up

Found via Tumblr.

Reading the Mother Jones editorial on anti-LGBT sentiments among African-Americans, and the disgust against the article from pro-LGBT AfAm users on social media, I have been wondering about the editorial’s logistics.

Maybe the article was being targeted to a specific segment(s) of the African-American population: the black nationalists, the Pan-Africanists, the folks who are immersed in the politics and image of the “black church” and of “black music”, those who are disenchanted by the disproportionate narrative of women’s and LGBT rights/dignity/livelihoods being incredibly important while the state of predominately-African-American neighborhoods, homes, rights and bodies remain a parallel, semi-separate country.

If so, the translation of the message of admonishment to the sex/gender-conservative segments of the African-American populace has been a disaster. Despite the movements by African-Americans of influence and power to advance LGBT rights on the matter of principle, despite the participation of several African-American LGBT people in the politics and machinery of the movement for LGBT (and women’s) rights, the visibility of the sheer scale of AfAm advancement of LGBT rights and visibility in the U.S. has been on a far smaller scale than the emotive visibility of the homophobia and transphobia which emanates from any African-American person, from those who possess religious/social/political power in the community to the average person-on-the-street who may or may not have voted for Prop 8 in 2008.

But here’s the bigger issue for me, an African-American who is LGBT: when LGBT discussions, media, pleasures, delights and what-have-you are not focused on rights/dignity/power, the semblance of an LGBT community unconsciously splits into separate realities, specifically along racial lines.

I’m not just talking about the socio-economic deprivations which hit so many African-Americans, which are the reality of so many AfAms, but the representations of our celebrations, our fantasies, our imaginations, even our erotica.

The reality is so separate, so disparate that many AfAms have their own term for their identity: “Same-gender loving (SGL)“. Such a term replaces words like “gay”, “lesbian”, the clinically-oppressive “homosexual”, and even the re-appropriated “queer”. Since being promoted by activist Cleo Manago to predominately-AfAm audiences from the 1990s onward, it has plodded forward in increasing its linguistic currency.

Imagine that: a term of the English language promoted to specifically highlight the reality and fullness of the average AfAm who may feel isolated from the LGBT community and media in one’s own country. Heck, there are even SGL erotica and literature, and organizations which use the “SGL” word (by itself or alongside “LGBTQ”) to describe their initiatives for SGL people.

“SGL+T” may be a better descriptor than, say, “black gay” or “black LGBTQ” to describe the AfAm experience which doesn’t emanate from the myriad subcultures of the LGBT experience in the Western world. It may be a better descriptor for the conversations regarding our dignity within the institutions of the African diaspora and continent. It may be a better descriptor for the everyday socio-economic struggles which emanate from gender, sexual and racial binaries, and the uncommon victories over such binaries. SGL may be a better description for when we dream, fantasize, love, affirm, perform and categorize ourselves in an SGL environment, be it in religion, arts, politics, tourism, the sciences.

Perhaps if the SGL+T experience, as a distinct experience with its own history, subcultures and complications, were highlighted in and of itself instead of African-Americans being portrayed as late-coming laggardly hangers-on of the “Western” LGBT rights movement, the blinkered perception by many AfAms of non-het sexual orientations and non-cis gender identities among those of the same ancestry would become less clouded by the racial disparities of the Global North. Maybe the struggle against the pervasive forms of discrimination and inequity in public accommodations, public and private employment, housing and healthcare will be felt across both SGL and heterosexual AfAm communities as being shared and necessary.

We are beneficiaries of LGBT advancements internationally, but we are not hangers-on or laggards. We have been fighting for ourselves, our dignity, our lives for the longest time. The ongoing struggles we face with homophobia, transphobia and misogyny are just as ridiculous, life-threatening and insipid as those faced by European-American LGBTs for the entirety of their struggle. But when we go home to our families, before or after our rights are attained, we will live with ourselves in our waking lives, we will despair or fight against the bad aspects of our lives and we want to see, hear, and feel more of ourselves in our affirmations, loves and dreams.

In a world in which we happen to be born in a parallel America, why must we play catch-up? We even have to craft our own “language” just to reach to those parts of the Afro-American experience not touched by the LGBT experience, just to make a little bit more sure that #BlackLivesMatter. Otherwise, the homeless SGL+T people of color in our country are just as isolated from empowerment as the homeless SGL+T Jamaicans living in sewers in Kingston to hide from the wrath of religious bigots.

Given the inheritance of racism and homophobia/transphobia from European colonists, slaveholders and men of power over the centuries, as well as our still-inferior socio-economic position in U.S. society, how can we demand that Africans in the diaspora and continent pull ourselves out of this historic mess without addressing the mess from a language with which we can empathize for and empower ourselves?

It’s time to change the message, not from a position of “let’s catch up” but from a position of “let’s change our perspective for the better”, AKA, “we want more than what our parents were allowed”.

That means our health, our arts and literature, our tourism, our economics, our relationships, our rights, our forms of expression and empowerment. Change all of it. Make it all in your images. Demand it all for your empowerments. Use your traits to empower yourselves.

If we make these changes, but remain true to what we cannot hide as SGLT people, eventually we will get to a place beyond our current imaginations. We will open new doors, build new bridges and chart new paths for those of similar ancestry as us. I look forward to it.

Let’s do it.

EVENT: CV Pride Festival is Back On! September 17!

11406509_305984396191881_2334664346362361255_oInitially, the Festival was cancelled due to lack of funding. But that has apparently changed. From Joshua Clay-Wheat, CV Pride Center Director:

CV Pride welcomes you to come join us at our 17th annual Pride Festival! This festival has been being held at Flat Rock Park, but this year we’re having it at the CV Pride Community Center and surrounding area!
It is being scheduled for Saturday, September 26. Once again, Columbus and the Chattahoochee Valley will have two prides in separate seasons of the year, which is not unprecedented as far as Pride events go.
More from CV Pride Center:

ATTENTION: We are currently looking for the following for Pride:

1.) Pride Committee members to help plan and coordinate the festival. If you’re interested, please contact Joshua Clay-Wheat

2.) Financial and decorative donations for the festival. If you have anything to donate, please contact Kevin Blackstock

3.) Vendors. If you are interested in setting up a booth, please contact Kevin Blackstock, Joshua Wheat or Nichole Red Tanner

4.) Entertainment. If you’re interested in performing, please contact Candy Ohara

Last year’s Festival was hit with torrential downpour at Flat Rock Park, which delayed the event for at least an hour. The switch of venue to CV Pride Center may likely face a logistics issue in regards to parking space along 13th Street and building occupancy within the former sign store which houses the Center.

However, this will be a return of the Festival to having a larger shelter, as in years past, the Festival had once used a large shelter at Flat Rock Park in which to hold Pride. The open-side shelter burned down some time after the 2010 festival, resulting in subsequent Prides being divided between a small lodge in the Park for vendor booths and the surrounding outside space being cordoned off for drag and other performances.

This year’s CV Pride Festival, the 17th in the festival’s run since 1999, promises to offer a more accessible experience for those who live closer to uptown Columbus, compared to the drive required to the near-edge of Muscogee county to reach Flat Rock Park.

Finally, holding the festival in a dedicated LGBT-affirming safe space like CV Pride Center may offer a new experience for LGBT pridegoers, even in a time as far removed from the typical Pride festival as September. While June’s Colgay Pride focuses on advocacy, held a Pride march and is more business-friendly (a must on Broadway), September’s CV Pride Festival will take more advantage of the Center’s safe space for freedom of expression. Expect dance, music, food, performances, vendors, activism, and general edginess.

OPINION: Darkly-Scanning Rihanna’s “American Oxygen”

First coming across this music video on 17 April, this last release from Rihanna’s upcoming 8th album is on another level for her career as a recording artist. Numerous reviews of the song and video have noted the striking difference in the content of this material from her already-large library of music.

But a few of these reviews have noted the subtle reference of “Breathe out/breathe in” to the choking death of Eric Garner at NYPD hands and the resulting protest chant “I Can’t Breathe”, and have hence related the song to the topic of police abuse.

Some have related the lyrics of “young girl hustlin’ on the other side of the ocean/she can be anything at all in America, America” to Rihanna’s background as a recording artist born and raised in the island nation of Barbados, and have thus related the song to immigration as America’s lifeblood.

Some have related the lyrics “This is the New America/We Are the New America” to the growing ethnic diversity of the country, or “we sweat for a nickel and a dime/turn it into an empire” and “Young boy, hustlin’/Tryna get the wheels in motion” as a commentary on the struggles and painful hilarities of America’s capitalism. The irony of the “Man in the Mirror”-style music video being first posted to the paywalled Tidal streaming site before being released to the masses’ favorite video site, as well as the seemingly “tacky” move of featuring the artist alongside historic footage, have also been noted.

But the most telling lyrics, perhaps the ones which are most damning with faint praise, are these:

“Oh say, can’t see/Just close your eyes and breathe…”

Notice the pause at the end of this lyric. Plenty of time to inhale and exhale two breaths.

It calls us to close one sense – ignoring the reality surrounding us – and open another – “breathe in this feeling”. Even as we are horrified by what we see on the Internet or TV, or even physically feel when we are unfortunately targeted in the thick of violence, the “best” thing to do for our sense of optimism is to turn off the screen, retreat into the suburb, and breathe in the “normality” of life around us.

“Just close your eyes and breathe” is something which calms our nerves, relieves our despair, takes our mind off the issues which face us. Just put on this breathing mask and close your eyes. The world and its pulse fades out for two precious beats.

Preoxygenation_before_anesthetic_inductionThe “oxygen” in this song may as well be laughing gas.

These lyrics tie to a portion of the chorus “Every breath I breathe/Chasing this American dream“.

You don’t dream when you’re awake. You’re usually asleep or unconscious when you dream, and when you wake up, you only remember the parts of the dream which stood out most (if you remember any of it at all).

Out of all the dreams which we could possibly dream in all the American lifetimes which have existed, which one is the American dream? And how does it relate to the reality which we see around us?

If anything, dreams are sensory distortions which may offer us a completely different reality than that which faces us. Sometimes, our dreams can offer us an achievable vision of our society, one which we can flesh out into a reality, for better or worse, for inclusion or exclusion, for life or death.

But a dream, once fleshed out into a reality, varies in how that reality seeps into others’ longer-lived realities.

What compels us to dream? If we’re tired and wish to rest our senses, what tires us? And if we choose to act on our dreams, how will our dreams affect others?

The American dreams of many LGBT people include the potential to live, breathe, eat well, marry our true love, be single and content, define our genders, be protected from discrimination, have more access to power available to us, and advance ourselves in life. Our dreams may be newer and more progressive than what LGBT people or women of the past dreamed (let alone lived), but we live portions of those realities every time and every place when we live without harassment or prejudice, within regimes of respect.

Day_12_Occupy_Wall_Street_September_28_2011_Shankbone_33There are also those who have dreams of returning to an earlier era of severe sex discrimination against women, against same-sex-attracted people, against transgender people. Such dreams offer promises of “chivalry”, of “tradition”, of “decency”, of a time when “men were men” and everyone “knew their place”, of a time when the American dream was dreamt with a more restricted audience in mind. At least “things were simpler” and less “confused”. Our continued dreaming of such a status blinded us, until rather recent times, to how such “tradition” flexed a tragic deal on humans – even Americans – who fell outside of that straight-and-narrow.

We slept through much of the histories of slavery, lynching, genocide, mass deportation, mass incarceration, militarized police, disenfranchisement, wars on false pretenses, extrajudicial murders, domestic terrorism, racism, sexism, hetero- and cis-sexism, class bigotry against our homeless citizens and unionized workers, and so on. Such blindness has impaired many of us from looking to another side of ourselves.

In many American dreams, we “can be anything at all”, but are we free to be our true, self-defined, mutually-affirmative, intersectional selves?
In many American dreams, do we even allow ourselves to entertain the thought of being “anything at all” within our own choices? Do we free ourselves to make more than one choice? Do we free ourselves to make choices which adapt to the universe around us? Do we free ourselves to take responsibility for these choices or identities and adapt them?

Our choices, like our dreams, are formulated in our minds. We can dream any dream we want, but I argue that the best dreams are the dreams which help make our waking lives more fulfilling.

Similarly, the “oxygen” in the song may help us sleep, calm our nerves, and dream our American dreams, but at some point, we must wake up. Let not the oxygen dull our sense of urgency, justice or mercy. May our dreams inform our waking moments to a better humanity for all people.

Rise and shine, people.