Showing posts from October, 2015

Transgender People Are Lightning Rods for Our Issues

Before we settle down with families to eat this Thanksgiving Day, let’s take the time on November 20th to remember those who’ve been killed as a result of what we’ve come to call transphobia -- the fear and resulting violence about gender nonconformity that is directed at transgender and gender non-conforming people. The Transgender Day of Remembrance was founded in 1998 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a transgender woman, graphic designer, columnist, and activist, to memorialize the murder of Rita Hester in Allston, Massachusetts because Rita didn’t conform to culturally-conditioned gender expectations. Now we remember all those human beings harassed, abused and killed because of gender nonconformity. This year’s reported murders have hit an all time high: 24 deaths in the U.S. alone as of October 15. Something is very wrong above and beyond the tragic suffering that people who identify as transgender or otherwise gender non-conforming experience. And, as in most such fear and hate based vi…

Stonewall: The Movie and the Reality

In October we observe, among other things, Gay and Lesbian History Month. And in the past weeks a new movie about an iconic event in that history hit the theaters. Director Roland Emmerich’s film Stonewall, a fictional story based upon real events of the Stonewall uprising in 1969, drew criticism as soon as its trailer appeared as “whitewashing” because it portrays white men led by Jeremy Irvine’s character, Danny, as central characters in inciting the fight against police brutality in those early morning hours of June 28, 1969. On-line petitions multiplied, one saying: “Do not support a film that erases out history. Do not watch Stonewall.” Though the events of those early morning hours in June 1969 outside a Greenwich Village gay bar called the Stonewall Inn are often called the “beginnings of the Gay Rights Movement,” we know that’s historically inaccurate. Organizations such as the Daughters of Bilitis, ONE, Inc., and the Mattachine Society were founded back in the 1950s. In that…