LGBTQ youth are being disproportionately placed in Juvenile Detention Centers. In this video, youth talk about ways to stop police from targeting LGBTQ youth, and services to be given to youth after incarceration.
On Sunday, February 11th, the “Unity Ball” promoting solidarity with trans women will be held at the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria from 6:00 PM to 10:30 PM. Only the first 450 people will be allowed to enter, and the tickets on Eventbrite have already been sold out.
“It’s actually a three-part series, and it’s called the unity projects,” Ebony Harper said in a previous interview. “And they’re to promote solidarity with trans folks, predominantly trans women of color.”
The three-part event included a Sacramento screening of two movies, Major! and KIKI. that occurred last year and the creation of a mural of Chyna Gibson, a trans woman who had been murdered.
The dance is based on “ballroom scene”, which is an LGBT based organization. Ballroom scene involves many art forms, such as dance, modeling, and singing. In ballroom scene, there are usually competitions in which members of the ballroom scene participate in.
“So the ballroom scene is an underground organization, I call underground but it’s actually really really big…” Demetriel Colon said in a previous interview. “It’s associated with a lot of different houses, or similarly, families of the LGBT community and what they do is compete regularly for cash prizes or trophies and things like that.”
You can read more about the Unity Ball on Sol Collective’s website here, or check out their Facebook page.
What does the new Gender Recognition Act mean for California
For many of us socialization, our family and school taught us about the gender binary. We learned to categorize people into a box: either you are female or male. Girl or boy. Feminine or masculine. Pink or blue. On the surface, the gender binary helps us make sense of the world in simplistic black-or-white terms; however, boxing gender into just two categories doesn’t allow for the exploration or freedom for one to discover one’s individual gender expression and identity.
Think about it – How many times have we taught our young children to stay within their gender lanes? Multiple studies have shown that when interacting with babies as young as 3 months old, adults play with babies differently based on the babies’ perceived gender (look up the Baby X experiment). “Boys aren’t supposed to play with dolls. Nice girls don’t run around and roll around in the dirt. Boys will be boys. Nice girls behave.” What’s wrong with these statements, you ask?
Not only are we constricting and imposing gender roles on impressionable and malleable children, we are not allowing our children to explore and express who they really are. We are also teaching our children to be intolerant of differences. While at times the gender binary can be confining, in other times, the gender binary can have even more insidious effects.
If we dig deeper into the gender binary, we find that gender norms often go hand in hand. For example, female-identified individuals are expected to be feminine, soft, nurturing, submissive, and uphold purity. Male-identified folks are held to a masculine, assertive, action-oriented, dominating standard. On the surface, these are harmless generalizations but upon closer inspection, they can breed toxic masculinity and patriarchy that oppresses women and men alike.
It is not a coincidence that transgender women are at very high risk of homicide and suicide in the U.S. For people who have wholly invested their identity on the gender binary, when they encounter people who do not prescribe to the same ideals, it can cause people to be confused, scared, or act out violently and aggressively to nonbinary people who are simply trying to live their authentic lives. There are whole courses in college dedicated to this topic that this article can hardly scratch the surface of. Embracing the concept of non-binary gender expressions is just one way of disintegrating the gender binary.
According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, non-binary gender is defined as a someone whose gender expression does not fit neatly into being either male or female. Under the umbrella of non-binary gender expression, a person can identify as being a mix of female and male or fluctuating between male and female at any given moment and many more nuanced expressions. There are numerous terms to describe this spectrum, such as agender, genderqueer, genderfluid, and bigender. These terms are not necessarily interchangeable and the differences may be subtle but important. It is crucial to note that although some transgender and intersex people may identify as non-binary, it does not mean the same thing and not all identify as such.
This idea of non-binary gender is not new, not something created by the young whippersnappers of today’s generation, and not a phase. Being nonbinary has been recognized by Native American cultures since the dawn of time and have been given a name – Two Spirit. In fact, most Native American cultures recognize 5 genders – female, male, Two Spirit female, Two Spirit male, and transgender. In the Native American culture, parents give their children gender-neutral clothing from birth to encourage them to form their own gender expression and identity. Community members revered Two Spirit people because they were perceived as wiser for being able to tap into both masculine and feminine perspectives.
I’d like to think that some regions in our country, specifically California, are slowly changing to more inclusive practices for the better. In October of this year, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into effect the Gender Recognition Act, which will allow transgender, non-binary, and intersex individuals to update their gender on state-issued identification documentation to a third gender – non-binary. This includes California state-issued IDs, driver’s licenses, birth certificates.
The Gender Recognition Act will streamline the process to make it easier for individuals to change their gender on legal documentation by bypassing the requirement to obtain a sworn statement from a physician confirming that they have gone through clinical treatment. The law also allows minors to update the gender on their birth certificate with parental permission. The Gender Recognition Act will go into effect in 2019.
So how can you be a good ally to the non-binary community? If this is your first encounter with the non-binary community and you are confused, that is okay and understandable. The great news is you don’t need to have full comprehension of the gender spectrum to be a respectful human being. A good rule of thumb is to never assume someone’s gender. You can respectfully inquire about someone’s gender by asking for their gender pronouns. Introduce yourself and your pronouns and then ask them for theirs in return. And the best thing to do is simply listen.
As a queer Hmong woman who is a member of multiple marginalized and historically silenced groups, the FAIR Education Act feels like an action long overdue. Growing up, I remember learning only about the contributions of white and presumably heterosexual men. I can recall feeling disconnected and confused. I looked around me and saw a myriad combinations of ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, religions and various other backgrounds in my peers. For that not to be reflected in history lessons baffled me. How is it that only one subset of a single race be the sole contributors to this nation?
October marks National LGBT History month, an opportunity to spend 31 days highlighting the achievements of LGBTQ-identified folks who have brought progress to America. But soon, thanks to state lawmakers, students in California will be able to learn about these contributions all year round.
In 2011, Governor Jim Brown passed the FAIR (Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, Respectful) Education Act to include the accomplishments made by LGBTQ historical figures in social science curriculum at K-12 schools all across California.
Current existing laws require that schools depict a fair representation of Native Americans, African Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, European Americans, and members of other ethnic and cultural groups in textbooks. Not only will the Fair Education Act require school lessons to be LGBTQ-inclusive, the list will expand to include other marginalized groups, such as persons of disabilities and Pacific Islanders.
On September 28, 2017, the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) met and approved revisions of history and social science textbooks to include these marginalized communities. Emily Bender, Program Director of Sacramento LGBT Community Center, provided testimonial support at the IQC hearing because she believes that “the struggle for equality that we LGBTQ people have faced over the years helps us better understand our current day issues.” The California Department of Education will vote on accepting the recommended revisions in November 2017.
The law has faced opposition from religious, conservative, and parent groups. Some parents fear it as a tool to teach homosexuality and that children are too young to be discussing sexuality. According to the Protect Kids Foundation, parents feel concerned that by incorporating LGBTQ-affirming studies in school, schools are “impos[ing] their private lifestyles on all school children…” and that “It reduces the teaching of core academics in favor of political and sexual indoctrination.” Other oppositional claims include that the law would violate the innocence of children, promote gender confusion, and violate the parents’ rights to consent to have a say in their child’s education. Some go even as far to say inclusion of LGBTQ affirmative education is a form of “sexual brainwashing”.
Despite these claims, experts say children as young as age 2 or 3 start to develop a sense of their gender identity and attraction to genders. Teaching inclusivity for LGBTQ people has not been correlated to the conversion of heterosexual people “turning gay”. Additionally, LGBTQ-identified students report experiencing bullying at a rate twice as much due to their sexual orientation and/or gender expression when compared to their heterosexual peers.
LGBTQ students report being five times as more likely to not attend school because of bullying. Being LGBTQ affirming has been shown to create an accepting, nurturing and open environment where everyone can express who they are, develop compassion for others who are different, and thrive.
I remember vividly the day in my high school history class when we learned the chapter about the Vietnam War and read about the Hmong involvement in the Secret War. It was only a small, single paragraph out of the entire chapter but reading that one passage filled me up with a sense of immense pride and validation. The struggles and victories of my people are seen and heard and will not be forgotten. Not if we are still alive and not unless we allow it to.
It’s time to disrupt the status quo. It’s time to teach our children American history that is fair, accurate, inclusive, and respectful of all its citizens who have built this country on their backs.
Equality California, Health Access California, and The Sacramento LGBT Community Center recently hosted an LGBTQ town hall to discuss how changes to Obamacare will affect the LGBTQ community.
A presentation about homeless LGBT Youth was held on at the Q-Spot on Wednesday, March 29th in Sacramento. The presentation was put on by youth working at the center. They went over facts about homeless youth in Sacramento as well as other parts of the United States. After the slide show they opened it up to the audience to ask questions about the information that was presented.
During the presentation, Maya, one of the young people putting on the presentation, talked about the troubles homeless youth face in Sacramento.
“There (has) been quite a few road blocks in Sacramento (to help homelessness), including the 2016 anti-camping ordinance, that continues to allied to the arrest of homeless folks,” said Maya. “This law allows for rampant discrimination. In a general synopsis it’s basically ‘you can’t have your belongings on the ground next to you, and if you do, a police officer is allowed to tell you to move, or to arrest you’, and these laws are wildly discriminatory to the undocumented, and the homeless.”
The Q-Spot also provides care packages for the homeless people who visit the center. The packages contain toothbrushes, soap, sunscreen, water bottles, and other necessities that a homeless person may not have. The packages are distributed to homeless in the Sacramento area.
“The Q-Spot is open everyday from 12 to 6 for LGBT and allied youth 13 to 23,” said Jessie, a youth program coordinator at the Q-Spot. “We have resources like showers, washers, and dryers; resources like hygiene supplies and warming supplies. We have different support groups that meet throughout the week. Every first Monday of the month is youth with disabilities, Wednesday is 13 to 17, Thursday is youth of color, and Friday is 18-23.”
The presentation lasted about one hour, and closed with questions from the audience. Many of the audience members who spoke up had other organizations to help the LGBT community, or to help the homeless. If you’d like to find out more about their organization, click here to go to their website.
It’s that time of year again! SCUSD is holding their Annual LGBTQA Youth Leadership Conference.
SCUSD is holding this event on May 21st, 10am to 4pm at the Met Sacramento High School at 810 V Street.
This year’s 5th annual LGBTQA Youth Leadership Conference theme is “Be Brave, Be You.”
The conference will include workshops for any youth in the SCUSD school system from K-12th grade to teach them how to embrace themselves, be comfortable in their own skin, and learn how to treat and help other students, with an emphasis on students who identify as LGBTQA.
“I attended the conference they had (before) and met a lot of new people from different schools,” says Alina Reid, a student in John F. Kennedy High School Rainbow Alliance Club. “I think their e workshops really teach and help students of LGBTQ background to learn more about themselves and to prosper on for their rest of their lives.”
The event is free and has been planned by the youth, for the youth. The workshops will be interactive and fun for all ages and will also include pizza and drinks for the attendees of the conference. The event does not include transportation; students must provide themselves with transportation to and from event.
The event requires a permission slip for students interested in attending this year’s youth leadership conference and can be found right here. The permission slip must be emailed to Emily Herr, coordinator of the conference at: email@example.com.
It’s time to empower yourself and “Be Brave, Be You”!
With Caitlyn Jenner recently on the front of many magazine covers, many Americans have come to have a new understanding of the transgender community, and all people who are qualified as LGBT or Q. Even so, organizations in our area have had trouble finding proper placement for LGBTQ foster youth.
Just in time for many events designed to raise awareness and show off pride, a Foster Parent Recruitment will be taking place on June 17th, from 6:30 pm to 9 pm. The event will be held at 3 Fold Communications, 2031 K Street.
According to an article on hrc.org, 4 in 10 LGBTQ youths feel that the community they are in are not accepting of people like them.
Familieslikeours.org has been reported as saying, “the need to provide safe foster homes for LGBT&Q youth has been increasing nationally. It is estimated that between 15% – 20% of current foster youth identify as LGBT&Q, and nearly 40% of run away street kids are LGBT&Q; it is estimated that 30% of which are in, or have been in the foster care system.”
The goal of the event is to hopefully gain a few new LGBTQ affirming homes, as well as raise awareness of a subject not often thought of or talked about. Every foster child, no matter what their orientation, have needs to be met and should be treated with kindness and respect.
You can email the co-chairs Ben Hudson or Bev Kearney at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Those interested in attending the event are urged to RSVP with Karen Parker at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do so before noon on June 12th.
“The worst part was the fear,” says Alex C., a transgender youth. “Feeling so completely alone with no one else to turn to. I tried to get used to it – to the idea that my body was messed up. I only felt worse. Depression. Anxiety. Suicidal thoughts. When you’re trapped like that, you don’t feel like yourself. You don’t feel like anyone. No dreams, no future, and a past you can barely remember. You detach from yourself. It’s no longer your own life that you’re living.”
2-years of community based research was used to create this report. The research was used to pinpoint areas that community members felt needed to be changed.
The organizations recently published three fact sheets that breakdown the report into easy-to-read infographics:
“When a child is shunned or bullied by their peers for other reasons… the solution has not been to ask the child to change, but to find interventions which remedy the social oppression,” states the fact sheet.
This fact sheet has extensive information and statistics on youth who identify as LGBTQ. It also states information on transgender youth and their mental health issues. The fact sheet has information on recommendations for improving student mental health outlined in the original report.
This fact sheet focuses on suicide rates and suicide prevention among all age groups in the LGBTQ community. This fact sheet also has links to websites with information on the intersection of racial identities and sexual orientation.
This fact sheet tackles information on the LGBTQ community and mental health stigma within different ethnic communities.
The recommendations in this report range from the standardization of sexual orientation and gender identities, to creating safe spaces for LGBTQ people. This report will help smaller organizations to receive government funding for their programs.
Welcome back to another episode of Sacposé, the youth-produced podcast featuring AccessLocal.Tv’s Neighborhood News Correspondents. This week, the Correspondents discuss LGBTQ acceptance in today’s society? What issues do young people face while they come to terms with their status? How does maturity factor into LGBTQ acceptance? Find out what the Correspondents had to say by listening now!
Do you agree with the opinions that the Correspondents shared? Chime in below with your comments!