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Posts Tagged ‘Texas’

Today I get to perform a comedy cabaret of sorts in Harrisburg, PA. I love this sort of presentation. I get to pick and choose from scores of excerpts out of my shows along with stand-up comedy, improv, and storytelling. The casual setting and lively audience result in a fresh show of old favorites that is never quite the same each time. This performance will benefit Common Roads.

Common Roads, program arm of the LGBT Community Center Coalition of Central Pennsylvania, provides education, advocacy, and programming to empower lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth throughout the Central Pennsylvania region.

I also get to hang out tonight with Louie Marven, the very cool director of Common Roads, and his boyfriend, roommates, and puppy (ah, the gay lifestyle!)

Tomorrow I get up wicked early (demonically early?) to fly to San Antonio, Texas. There I will lead two classes (religion and theater) and give two lectures (transgender Bible characters and Wired for Activism) at Trinity University. Details here.

This morning I am frantic with packing for all of these events. Where is Marvin’s wig? Where are my shorts and sunglasses I got for South Africa? Is it really going to be 90 degrees in San Antonio tomorrow? What should I wear to the performance by a self-identified Xicana-Indígena lesbian multi-disciplinary artista? How many Homo No Mo DVDs should I bring? How many sets of earplugs? What should I download from iTunes onto my iPad? So many critical questions.

Today I am filled with so much happiness and energy after the GSA Leadership Summit at Dickinson College (I got to see my buddies from Mechanicsburg!) In my keynote about bullying I stressed that the bullies do not have the power nor should we simply react to their negative behavior as we seek to create safer schools. We need to find creative ways to affirm gender non-conforming students and students who are or may be bisexual, lesbian, transgender, gay, and queer or questioning. It’s getting beyond simply correcting “That’s So Gay” statements. It’s beyond tolerance. It’s about thoughtful inclusion of LGBTQ people and those with queer connections (lesbian, bi, gay, trans parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, etc) in the curriculum, school policy, forms, etc. It’s about education and not simply avoiding legal liabilities. It’s about creating schools where people can come out as themselves.

I’m also buzzing from the recent bizarre podcast I recorded with Zack Ford. (Reference for Lime Green Gas Mask) Goodness we bounced all over the place on this one. From Zack’s blog:

Zack’s sick and Peterson’s been busy, so this week’s episode isn’t exactly coherent. The most recent Glee episode gives us plenty to talk about, including bisexuality and anti-gay violence. Plus, there’s that whole Lady Gaga and Target thing. We also honor the passing of a local LGBT activist with the poem that was used in her 1993 wedding program. The episode isn’t over without appearances from Rev. Dr. Meadows and Marvin Bloom. There’s something for everyone in this episode!

Apologies for some of the audio quality; we have some kinks to work out when we use Skype to record like we did today. Kinks don’t scare us in the least.

Okay, need to finish packing AND need to help my partner, Glen Retief, with setting up readings for his soon to be published memoir, The Jack Bank. Oh, and I need to pre-order my copy of David Weekley’s new book! In from the Wilderness is David’s story about being a female to male (FTM) transsexual and Methodist minister and what happens when he comes out to his children, his church, and the world.

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Nikki Araguz

Nikki Araguz

In securing equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people, national and regional LGBTQ organizations have not typically been supportive of or engaged in transgender rights and issues. For many of these organizations the “T” for transgender is merely a silent “T” or an accessory.

Routinely at transgender-themed events, I see that virtually no  non-trans gay and lesbians leaders and community members attend unless they are partnered with a trans person. In spite of all the publicity and outreach in the queer press and directly to LGBTQ orgs, I see precious few non-trans gays and lesbians at TransForm events and Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR.) Last year one well-known “international” LGBT organization, the Equality Forum, acted thoughtlessly and with great hubris when it organized a memorial for a gay male victim of violence the same night as the International Transgender Day of Remembrance.

The Dallas Voice reports:

Phyllis Randolph Frye, the well-known transgender attorney from Houston whose clients include trans widow Nikki Araguz, sent out an e-mail Sunday slamming national gay-rights groups for ignoring the issue of “‘tranny’ same-sex marriage” in Texas.

Although the plight of Mrs. Araguz and her fight for justice has been covered by the mainstream media and some queer press outlets and blogs, Lesbian/Gay organizations have not even offered a tepid or token respond. In referencing recent marriage equality struggles in California and Maine, Ms Frye raises critical questions,

Where is the same national support given for the L and G same-sex marriage struggles?” she added. “Has it remained nonexistent for over six weeks now because this Texas fight is insignificantly and merely a ‘tranny’ same-sex marriage fight, so who nationally gives a shit? Then are we a National LGBT-inclusive community, but NOT when it comes to financing the ‘tranny’ same-sex marriage fights?

Mrs. Araguz is in a fight for marriage equality, for the recognition of her identity, for human dignity. You can learn more about Mrs. Araguz’ story at MetroWeekly.

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