I know that those of us in the queer and sex-positive community are greatly saddened today to learn of the death of Bettie Page. Bettie Page was one of the first Playboy models, a dancer, and one of the first people who made “fetish” type sexuality (spanking, bondage, etc) “Ok” in the eyes of the mainstream. Of course, as the video shows, the stuff she did pales in comparison to the stuff today–but that makes me sorta sad actually. How beautiful is this stuff?
Living & Luchando la Vida Latin@
I think it’s a question most Latin@s already know the answer to, but I was very happy to see that the mainstream news is taking the question seriously–and even allowing the voices of the LGBT community into the mix as well.
“In Suffolk County, if you don’t watch where the areas are that you’re going, are they’re whites, and they see that you’re Latino? They’re chasing you,” said Marcus Morales of the Lower East Side.
“Absolutely. I think Latinos are being targeted,” added Sandra Cruz of the Lower East Side.
But while concern is growing in Latino neighborhoods like Jackson Heights in Queens, when you look closer, the anti-Latino wave is not so “black and white.” There is a strong anti-immigrant component to what’s happening in Suffolk County. And when Jose Sucuzhanay and his brother Romel were attacked in Brooklyn, it was because the brothers were walking so close to each other, the attackers went after them because they were gay. It’s something Marcus Morales knows a bit about as a 53-year-old gay Puerto Rican.
“I’m still here. There’s a reason why: ’cause I knew how to walk, and there were just certain areas that you couldn’t be in,” Morales said. “I’m sad to see that for some reason, we’re backtracking. We’re going back in time.”
Mike Huckabee pulls out every well thought out reason why gay marriage sux big hairy man balls here, and fortunately, Jon Stewart calls him on every single one of them. In light of the fact that two Latin@s were brutally beaten, one of them to the point of death, because of gay hate, it’s important to remember that not calling out even the well thought out homophobic reasoning has consequences.
There is no reasonable hate–I am glad Jon Stewart, at least, recognizes that.
From the beyond irritating Dan Savage:
I’m not sure what to do with this. I’m thrilled that we’ve just elected our first African-American president. I wept last night. I wept reading the papers this morning. But I can’t help but feeling hurt that the love and support aren’t mutual.
I do know this, though: I’m done pretending that the handful of racist gay white men out there—and they’re out there, and I think they’re scum—are a bigger problem for African Americans, gay and straight, than the huge numbers of homophobic African Americans are for gay Americans, whatever their color.
This will get my name scratched of the invite list of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, which is famous for its anti-racist-training seminars, but whatever.
Finally, I’m searching for some exit poll data from California. I’ll eat my shorts if gay and lesbian voters went for McCain at anything approaching the rate that black voters went for Prop 8.
It’s interesting to me how mainstream organizations (oh, excuse me, I meant a few gay white guys) are only marginally racist (and yet they don’t even have signs printed off in different languages despite the fact that these organizations exist in one of the most diverse freaking states in the nation), but Black folks (and as usual, the marginalized Latino population) are *hugely* homophobic–homophobic enough, in fact, to deny all the mainstream white gay folks their rights.
But what really gets me is how freaking clueless us Black and Latinos really are. As one commenter noticed:
it’s bizarre that you’re talking about this. i just walked into work (in beverly hills) and sat down. the only two co-workers of mine that are in at the moment are black. we’ve spent weeks talking about politics, we all watched the debates together, etc. I just mentioned my shock and disgust at prop 8 getting passed. they didn’t say anything and quietly went back to work.
It’s a good thing that we have gay white folks running around covertly quizzing Black folks on their voting records. What better way could there be to let Black folks know that they were supposed to vote for Proposition 8 because they owed white folks something?
And never you fear, the quizz master will be sure to quizz Latinos about their votes once he’s figured out how to covertly ask questions in Spanish…
My, oh my, how far we’ve come since the days when racism existed…
::Queue La Macha pointing ironically at the ironic title of this ironic post::
The Mercury News ran another article about how it’s all the Blacks/Latin@s fault that Proposition 8 passed.
Even as African-American and Latino voters were a powerful force in boosting America’s first black president to victory, in California they also were crucial to passing Proposition 8, a ballot measure labeled, “Eliminates right of same-sex couples to marry.”
Exit polls showed that 70 percent of black voters, and a majority of Latino voters, voted yes on Proposition 8, one likely reason why the measure won a slim majority in Los Angeles County, where pre-election polls had suggested it would lose, even though it lost by a huge margin in the Bay Area.
But like I mentioned yesterday, while I don’t deny that the Black and Latin@ communities have some big time issues with queer hate, I also think gay organizations have to confront their very real racism within their organizing strategies. For example:
Gloria Nieto had a sense of those demographic forces, too. When Nieto, a lead organizer for the No on Proposition 8 campaign in San Jose, wanted to distribute campaign signs in Spanish and Vietnamese this fall, she had to get them made herself because the statewide campaign only had signs in English.
What this suggests to me is that communities of color have their problems–but largely white organizations seem to not value those communities until the time comes when they need them for their own agendas, and even then not so much.
Will gay organizers do anything to confront this problem? Or will they hide their racism behind “They’re just conservative” excuses? The answer remains to be seen.
Jennifer told us earlier about Proposition 8 in California passing. Well, as I’ve been surfing around looking for updates, I found information on other anti-gay ballot measures that have also passed in Florida and Arizona–and it’s not surprise in this Macha’s mind that those measures passed with alarming ease.
A major move in the right direction in Brazil with regard to trans rights: the government has decreed that it will subsidize all gender reassignment procedures for its citizens:
The decree was published in the official bulletin and recognizes sex changes as a “right”, as was defined in a 2007 decision which the government denied a reversal, in spite of protests by conservative and religious groups.
The only requirements for the subsidized procedure is that the patient be over 21, and have undergone 2 years of psychological evaluation, which means that the first procedures will not take place until 2010.
Spain’s 20 Minutos reports that the Brazilian Health Ministry projects that without the economic barrier, the procedure might be requested by one out of every 10,000 Brazilians.
Via / 20 Minutos
Argentine lawmakers have signed a resolution which would grant inheritance rights to same sex couple widows and widowers. The surviving partner would inherit the pension of their partner upon their death.
Gay rights activists are praising the move as a huge step in the recognition of their civil rights. The Argentine government says its part of a larger human rights plan under the administration of president Cristina Fernández.
To be eligible for the benefit, couples must prove that they have lived together for at least 5 years.
Via / El País
Over the weekend Mexico City’s LGBT march — held each year in the city as a manifestation of solidarity and a chance to decry rights not yet granted to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in Mexico — celebrated its 30th anniversary.
While strides have been made in the movement, like the recognition of civil unions between same sex partners last year, organizers say there is still much to be done. Same sex couples still do not have access to their partner’s social security benefits or inheritance.
Image via Skene on Flickr
It’s a historic day in California. Finally, a light at the end of the tunnel for the state’s LGBT couples:
The court’s 4-to-3 decision striking down state laws that had limited marriages to unions between a man and a woman makes California only the second state, after Massachusetts, to allow same-sex marriages. The decision, which becomes effective in 30 days, is certain to play a role in the presidential campaign.
“In view of the substance and significance of the fundamental constitutional right to form a family relationship,” Chief Justice Ronald M. George wrote of marriage for the majority, “the California Constitution properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right to all Californians, whether gay or heterosexual, and to same-sex couples as well as to opposite-sex couples.”
I didn’t think this day would come so soon, but it’s an extremely pleasant surprise, especially after having lived through all the drama in San Francisco after the marriages were declared null. Congrats to all those couples!
Via / The New York Times
Image via LA Times Getty Images