Doing More as an LGBT Ally

image.pngI’m an ally. You probably knew that by now (at least, I hope this blog has made that clear). Sometimes I don’t feel like I’m doing enough, and wonder how I can be more effective in supporting those who live under the rainbow.

I found the infographic below on FaceBook, and I wanted to share with you all here in case it helps you too.

Never underestimate the power of being an ally. The LGBTQ+ community needs us now more than ever.

#proudally #ivegotyourback #transinclusion

(Image courtesy of the Transgender Training Institute.)

Effective Trans Ally.jpg

#iAMPROUD of you!

Today’s guest post comes from Charlotte Summers, who is behind a global movement to be proud of gender and sexuality. While writing blog posts for thatswhatlynnsaid, more than once I’ve been disheartened by the treatment of the LGBTQ+ community. From bullying to suicide, homelessness to violence, and helplessness to hopelessness, I have wished I could do more than just shed some light on the pain this group endures.

Screen Shot 2017-12-04 at 3.58.52 PMThen I heard about Charlotte’s efforts with #iAMPROUD, and I asked her to let me share this project with you in hopes of giving it more visibility and giving a stronger voice to those who identify as LGBT.

You can learn more about #iAMPROUD through Charlotte’s words below. And in case I haven’t told you lately, #iAMPROUD to be an ally!

______________________________________________________________________

Understanding your sexuality or gender is a long and scary journey.

How will my family perceive me?  Will all of my friends turn against me? What will everyone say about me?

Many valid questions whizz around your head & it all gets too much. When you finally come out, you could get mixed reactions. You see, some get it easy, others don’t. But that’s part of life.

Many of us for years are ashamed of our sexuality/gender as the stigma attached is too much to handle. But this needs to stop, we need to be proud of who we are. No matter sexuality, gender, race, religion and so on. We should all stand proud.

We want to showcase how amazing LGBTQ+ individuals are & we are going to share the worldwide.

The #iAMPROUD project highlights how amazing we all are. From discrimination, hate crimes and daily judgement we still stand proud as ever.

For the younger generations and those struggling with their gender,  they will see us unashamed and owning our sexuality/gender.

And this is what they need. With increasing percentages of young children being bullied at school for their sexuality, they need us to stand up for them and say ‘ We are LGBTQ+ and proud.’

To help us achieve this, there are two ways you can join the movement. 

1. Take a picture of yourself with the hashtag ‘iAMPROUD’ with your sexuality, gender or identity.

Then follow the simple rules below:

  1. Tag us on Instagram at @iamproudd
  2. Use the hashtag #iAMPROUD

(For example: ‘Bisexual & Proud’ with #iAMPROUD below)

That’s it! You will be featured on our gallery as well as on Instagram!

2. Email us your coming out story.  Share your story to the world & show us all how proud you are to identify within the LGBTQ+ community. Our email is Uniteuk1@gmail.com

I hope you join us on our journey in being proud of who we are.

Learn more at https://prouduk.wordpress.com/2017/11/28/get-involved/

 

Transgender Awareness Week


Transgender_Pride_flag

Happy Trans Awareness Week! This is a time to raise the visibility of transgender and gender non-conforming people and the issues these groups face.

It’s a big week in the community, and it ends on Friday with Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), in observance of those who’ve lost their lives to violence and hatred against them. To learn more about it, visit the TDOR website.

It’s also an important week for me personally as I launch my book tomorrow! Who Am I If You’re Not You? is centered around a same-sex couple facing a gender transition, and their journey to weather the change and all it entails. I’ll be holding a launch party and am excited to get this book officially out into the public!

Whether you’re a member of the trans community or an ally, please do something this week to acknowledge those who are transgender and gender non-conforming. Check out GLSEN’s website, or GLAAD also has a list of ways to support and mark the occasion.

Happy Trans Awareness Week!

“I’m Pregnant … and I’m a Stud”

That headline’s not mine but it sure caught my attention, so I stole borrowed it. It belongs to FreedomTwoLove, a blog written by my friend, Rena Ingram, who founded that organization.

I try to bring fresh perspectives to this blog of mine that’s focused on learning about the LGBTQ+ community. Today, I’m excited to introduce you to Rena, an LGBT activist, blogger, motivational speaker, and all around great person to know! Read on to learn more about her and her wonderful organization that’s going to great lengths to reinforce the message of #NOH8.

FreedomTwoLove, A Light for All

FreedomTwoLove originated in February 2014 when it held its first event on the campus of Fort Valley State University under the #NOH8 umbrella as it was called, “#NOH8: Addressing the Misconceptions of the LGBTQ Community.” As the founder and current CEO, at the time I was a senior at the illustrious historically black college and university (HBCU) and was a little apprehensive about holding the event because I had never seen anything of the sort provided on the campus – a mark that specifically supported the LGBTQ+ community. Although I knew I had built the leverage to hold such an event by holding various leadership roles throughout my matriculation at the university, building strong relationships with others on the campus, and holding the title as Student Government Association’s Vice President at that time, it was still nerve wrecking to attempt something that had never been done. I began to develop the mindset that if I didn’t do it, no one else would, and it was just as important then as it is now that I stood as an advocate and created a safe space for others within my community – so I did, and it became a moment that would change my life forever.

In 2015, I returned to the university as an alumnus and held yet another Noh8.png#NOH8 event which I rightfully deemed, “Part II.” The outpouring of support I received at that event pushed me to press play on my ideas and develop my own brand that branched away from the shadows of the #NOH8 movement – a decision that inspired the creation of what is now called, FreedomTwoLove. Freedom is defined as the power to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint, love is unconditionally self-explanatory, and “two” is used as a form of unique wordplay to be inclusive of both gay and lesbian love. This brand is different from every other LGBTQ-ally campaign because it strives to bridge the gap that currently alienates those of the LGBTQ community from their heterosexual peers by creating a safe and supportive space for dialogue through events and monthly blog postings for those of the community and others to generate open conversations about the negative biases and stereotypes that are present and evident in today’s society. Its overall mission is to serve as an aid in the fight against the injustices targeted on the LGBTQ+ community and encourage those within the community to build resilient confidence within themselves while simultaneously raising awareness of what’s going on within the community.

FreedomTwoLove is most popularly known for its blogs that are released on the 2nd of every month, such as, “I’m Pregnant … and I’m a Stud,” “The Fragility of Black Masculinity”, and “#ReclaimingMyTime: Don’t Let Your Story End.” By visiting www.freedomtwolove.com, you can not only keep up with the monthly blogs, but can also stay alert to what’s happening in the LGBTQ+ community with weekly news postings. In addition to being a Group Noh8blogger for the brand, I am also a motivational speaker and certainly a LGBTQ+ advocate as I make my way through various communities in effort of helping my community receive better treatment in all facets of life. One moment in particular that I’m proud of consisted of helping train an academy class of police officers for the Atlanta Police Department with a segment called, “Transgender Interaction Scenarios” along with transgender women in the community to ensure that the new police officers will be respectful in body searches, pronoun usage, etc. once they got out into the field.

Ultimately, I understand that this is one of my life’s missions and I also know that the work has just begun. As long as I have air in my body, I’ll be the voice for others that can’t, won’t, or simply don’t know how; and when it’s all said and done, I can only hope that FreedomTwoLove was a light for all.

 

Hats off to Cville Pride but not a stupid hat vendor

As if Charlottesville hasn’t had enough to deal with lately, the city’s Pride Festival is now the victim of discrimination.

The Festival organizers were working on merchandise orders, like this awesome purple shirt (in case you didn’t know it, I’m a tried and true purple fan). They also tried to order hats through a company called Legacy Athletics.

Notice I used the word “tried.”  Wanna know what they got in response to the order they placed?  This:

I am sorry for the delay, this is a design that we would not be able to produce.

While Legacy does offer custom logos, we also carefully nurture and protect our brand.  One of the ways we keep a positive connotation to the brand, is by avoiding doing any products with custom logos that might be deemed as controversial, political, offensive, etc.  This does not in any way mean that we either support or do not support the organization making the request, but the reality is that in light of recent events in Charlottesville as well as the fact Gay Pride events are political activism; we respectfully decline this order.  Again, I hope you can understand our position.

Ummm, sorry, no. I don’t understand your position. I understand you’re discriminatory.

So hats may or may not be part of Cville Pride Festival this year. You know who definitely will be? Me. I’ll be there with my book, and I’ll be prouder than ever to let my Ally flag fly.

I hope I’ll see you there, with or without a hat on.