We are in a queer media movement, but is increased visibility the answer to violence?

By George Johnson

This June marked the 17th celebration of “Pride Month,” a designation declared by Bill Clinton to recognize and observe the heritage and culture of LGBTQ people. As LGBTQ rights continue to be attacked politically, growth in pop culture and media is simultaneously surging in areas of journalism, television, Broadway, and the big screen, creating new narratives and shifting the conversation from a hetero focused lens to one more inclusive of what life actually looks like.

However, these two opposing trends lead one to question whether increased visibility and representation is only doing the beneficial work we presume it to be doing in the fight for LGBTQ existence.

Black and Latinx queer people need safe spaces, too

By Preston Mitchum

This past Pride month marked the one-year anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Fla. At approximately 2:00 AM, 29-year-old Omar Mateen – who allegedly pledged allegiance to ISIS on a 911 phone call during the hate crime and terrorist attack – walked into Pulse on June 12, 2016, killed 49 people, and injured 53 others on the club’s weekly “Latin Night.”

As a Black queer man, it’s hard not to see myself in the victims and survivors. Despite much of the media’s attempt to whitewash this tragedy, the fact that the victims were largely Latinx and Black queer and trans people matters because our communities are often told that safe spaces are not a reality, and only part of our fictitious imaginations. But if Pulse made anything apparent, it is that spaces for Black and Latinx queer people are now, and always have been, necessary.

1 year after Pulse, the vulnerability (and strength) of queer people of color is more apparent than ever

One year ago yesterday, a gunman snatched away the lives of 49 dancing souls at a gay nightclub in Orlando, FL. This tragedy became known as the Pulse Massacre, the largest mass shooting (that was not a military operation) in American history.

As a few queer people of color pointed out amidst the predictable rush to deracialize the incident, the shooting took place during the club’s Latino night, with Black and Latina transgender women as the headliners.

Keep your white friends and partners away from Black Pride events

This June marks the 48th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, a series of violent acts of resistance in New York City credited with sparking the modern Gay Rights Movement. The uprisings, led mostly by trans people of color and drag queens, are commemorated each year with celebrations across the globe during what is known as Pride Month. For many LGBTQQIA+ people, this is a time to reaffirm their right to life and liberty against the backdrop of anti-queer stigma and violence they experience at the hands, knife- and gun-points of society-at-large.

“I’m not gay no more”: on Andrew Caldwell, static sexuality & gender expression

In 2014, Andrew Caldwell was introduced to the world via a viral video in which he proclaimed his deliverance from homosexuality at an annual COGIC convention in St. Louis.

“I was already fighting for deliverance,” he told me in an interview two years later. “That night I said, ‘God, if you’re real, I want you to show me.’”

It was truly a spectacle. In a loud, purple top with a giant mustard bowtie and matching handkerchief hanging out the pocket of his patterned suit jacket, he screamed what seemed an impossibly even louder, “I’m deliver’t! I don’t like mens no more!”

How femmephobia and the gender binary caused me to hate myself

By Latonya Pennington

Until recently, gender identity and expression made me feel like a mannequin that has to be dressed up and put into poses. It started when my mother would make me wear this pink, puffy dress when visiting my dad while he worked and lived overseas. The dress just didn’t feel like me. Even after only wearing it for a few hours, it felt confining and uncomfortable–like a costume.

Why I can’t hold onto the gospel of Pastor Kim Burrell

By: Kelvin L. Easiley, Jr.

Where does one seek solace when faith fails? Where do the lost find shelter when the leaders that claim to love them preach “death and hell fire” for the simple act of existing? When the music that once soothed and brought peace only sounds like a cacophony of chaos and the choir’s chorus rings a melody that you and your kind are not welcome?

This past week, two major influencers in gospel music openly spat venomous vitriol from the pulpit to the raucous amens from their respective audiences.

Amandla Stenberg Opens Up About Their Gender Identity

By: Angelica Bastien

Actress Amandla Stenberg, who recently appeared in the Beyoncé film Lemonade, has quickly become an icon for teens thanks to her intelligence and wit when it comes to racial and gender issues. On her Tumblr blog, Stenberg is known to talk openly with fans, which led to a fascinating exchange recently about what pronouns they prefer given openly identifying as non-binary.