“Abeyance” ~ Rebecca Foust

letter to my transgender daughter

I made soup tonight, with cabbage, chard
and thyme picked outside our back door.
For this moment the room is warm and light,
and I can presume you safe somewhere.
I know the night lives inside you. I know grave,
sad errors were made, dividing you, and hiding
you from you inside. I know a girl like you
was knifed last week, another set aflame.
I know I lack the words, or all the words I say
are wrong. I know I’ll call and you won’t answer,
and still I’ll call. I want to tell you
you were loved with all I had, recklessly,
and with abandon, loved the way the cabbage
in my garden near-inverts itself, splayed
to catch each last ray of sun. And how
the feeling furling-in only makes the heart
more dense and green. Tonight it seems like
something one could bear.

Guess what, Dad and I finally figured out Pandora,
and after all those years of silence, our old music
fills the air. It fills the air, and somehow, here,
at this instant and for this instant only
—perhaps three bars—what I recall
equals all I feel, and I remember all the words.

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One Photographer Is Using Social Media To Celebrate ‘Queer Icons’ Of Color ~ Katherine Brooks

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Jahmal. 2014, From the series Queer Icons, Photogravure w/ Chine-Colle, 11×14, image size 8×10. Gabriel Garcia Roman

Icons are an essential part of the visual history of religions, including those of the Catholic, Coptic and Orthodox Christian traditions. From the familiar Mary and the Archangel Gabriel to the more obscure Saint Menas or Theotokos of Vladimir, iconic depictions venerate the figures we consider holy or miraculous, marked by a defining saintly feature — the halo.

For artist Gabriel Garcia Roman, the halo is a particularly mesmerizing aspect of spirituality. Born in Zacatecas, Mexico, he immigrated to Chicago at the age of two. There he grew up in a Mexican household heavily influenced by Catholicism and religious imagery. As a kid, Garcia Roman recalls being transfixed by halos in fresco paintings, which, to him, combined suffering and strength on the dark walls of his church. “I saw the halo as a badge of nobility and selflessness,” he explained to The Huffington Post. “So I try and bring that feeling into my work. I want the viewer to be mesmerized like I was as a kid and still am.”

His work, “Queer Icons,” consists of wildly vibrant portraits that mimic the splendor of religious iconography, with one very important caveat. His subjects are not centuries-old saints. His subjects are very real individuals who identify as QTPoC (queer and trans people of color).

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Sonia. 2015, From the series Queer Icons, Photogravure w/ Chine-Colle and silkscreen, 11×14, image size 8×10. Image by Gabriel Garcia Roman. Poetry by Queer Icon Sonia Guiñansaca 

Inspired by a desire to show the diversity of a population that often goes underrepresented, Garcia Roman renders friends and friends of friends, whether they are organizers, activists, poets or artists, in saturated colors and decadent patterns, halos always in tow. Much of his series highlights QTPoC “icons” — “people who are working at gaining visibility with issues or simply the identity of being a Queer person of color,” Garcia Roman said.

“The subjects in ‘Queer Icons’ are people of color, who maintain separate, individual identities within the queer community,” Garcia Roman writes in a statement on his website. “These explorations of the edges of genders take place in the nuances of the contemporary urban world. A simple eye shape, an angle of a mouth, the tilt of the head — indicate a queering of conventional forms and roles … Much like traditional religious paintings conferred a sense of safety, calm and meditation into a home, the works in this series aspire to a similar sense of refuge, drawn from the inner grace of the subjects out onto a world that might not always be safe.”

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Mitchyll. 2014, From the series Queer Icons, Photogravure w/ Chine-Colle, 11×14, image size 8×10. Gabriel Garcia Roman

Drenched in deep purple and electric pink, his contemporary icons incorporate sprawling text and geometric backgrounds that set them apart from the icons of yore. To create them, Garcia Roman first photographs his subjects, then silkscreens colors and patterns onto the printed photos using a chine-collé technique. The artist has described his icons as a combination of martyrs and warriors, made distinct by their penchant for fearlessly staring down the viewer. Like the portraits of American painter Kehinde Wiley or South African photographer Zanele Muholi, both of whom Garcia Roman cites as influences, his work is defiant and uncompromising. 

“I’m absolutely inspired by the stoic portraits of Jan Van Eyck and Albrecht Durer too,” he added.

For some of the portraits, especially those that depict poets or spoken word artists, he allows the subjects to take part in the process, providing them with a Sharpie and tracing paper and instructing them to hand write some of their work around their image. “I wanted to give them a canvas to speak about their identity,” Garcia Roman told Mic. “I wanted to amplify their voice.”

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Kathy. 2014, From the series Queer Icons, Photogravure w/ Chine-Colle, 11×14, image size 8×10. Gabriel Garcia Roman

Garcia Roman posts the finished products online, on his Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr pages. “I am very active on social media,” he said to HuffPost. “Right now my Tumblr page is getting a lot of hits and I get excited when I get a notification that one of my images got re-blogged because I know that it’s being seen by people outside of my own circle.”

His goal: to ensure that young people come across his images and see these “icons” as examples of powerful leaders. One way he’s achieving this outside of the Internet is by making inexpensive digital reproductions, “so that people who can’t afford to own an original piece can have access to them.”

See a preview of the series here:

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    Hiroshi. 2011, From the series Queer Icons, Photogravure w/ Chine-Colle, 11×14, image size 8×10. Gabriel Garcia Roman
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    Matsuda. 2011, From the series Queer Icons, Photogravure w/ Chine-Colle, 11×14, image size 8×10. Gabriel Garcia Roman
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    Kim. 2012, From the series Queer Icons, Photogravure w/ Chine-Colle, 11×14, image size 8×10. Gabriel Garcia Roman
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    Kenny. 2012, From the series Queer Icons, Photogravure w/ Chine-Colle, 11×14, image size 8×10. Gabriel Garcia Roman
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    Bruce & Tenzin. 2012, From the series Queer Icons, Photogravure w/ Chine-Colle, 11×14, image size 8×10. Gabriel Garcia Roman
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    Giselle, 2012, From the series Queer Icons, Photogravure w/ Chine-Colle, 11×14, image size 8×10. Gabriel Garcia Roman
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    Gerardo. 2014, From the series Queer Icons, Photogravure w/ Chine-Colle, 11×14, image size 8×10. Gabriel Garcia Roman
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    Jairo. 2014, From the series Queer Icons, Photogravure w/ Chine-Colle, 11×14, image size 8×10. Gabriel Garcia Roman
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    Sidra. 2014, From the series Queer Icons, Photogravure w/ Chine-Colle, 11×14, image size 8×10. Gabriel Garcia Roman
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    Julissa. 2014, From the series Queer Icons, Photogravure w/ Chine-Colle and silkscreen, 11×14, image size 8×10. Gabriel Garcia Roman
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    Bakar. 2015, From the series Queer Icons, Photogravure w/ Chine-Colle and silkscreen, 11×14, image size 8×10. Gabriel Garcia Roman

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/19/queer-icons-gabriel-garcia-roman_n_7313708.html

Rebel Girls: 7 Suffragists You Probably Didn’t Learn About in School ~ Carmen

We all know Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Alice Paul. (I hope.) We may not know their full stories, and we may have watched Iron-Jawed Angels and realized everything we knew about their movement for the vote was a lie, but hey, we know their names. And that’s more than most of us can say for some of the other women who won us the vote or raised hell for it on our behalf.

I wanted to take today’s lesson as an opportunity to totally school you on the suffrage comrades they didn’t teach you about in school, but there’s a ton, so I picked some of my favorites. Let me know in the comments if I missed someone you really love! The more the merrier, in my honest opinion.


Amelia Bloomer

Portrait of Amelia Jenks Bloomer (1818 - 1894), an American women's rights advocate and champion of dress reform, mid nineteenth century. (Photo by Interim Archives/Getty Images)

Amelia Bloomer married her husband, Dexter Bloomer, at 22 and began writing for his newspaper, The Seneca Falls County Courier. This work served her well in 1849, when she began editing a newspaper called The Lily that was distributed to members of the Seneca Falls Temperance Society. There was a lot of overlap in The Lily‘s pieces to the burgeoning movement for women’s suffrage, often credited to having begun one year earlier in Amanda’s then-hometown of Seneca Falls, and the paper proved to be a point of collaboration between Amelia and other, more well-known suffrage leaders like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. Eventually, the paper would reach a circulation of over 4,000 and Amelia would be its sole editor and publisher until it went out of print in 1853, creating a model for women’s suffrage publications that would outlast her original contribution to the movement.

Aside from suffrage and temperance, Amelia spoke out often about the restrictive clothing expected of women in America at the time, and advocated for a more relaxed style that let women do regular activities without, y’know, struggling to breathe or not faint. Her wish came true when fellow activist Elizabeth Smith Miller began wearing loose trousers and named them after Amelia. Thus, the bloomer was born. Women who wore them were scorned, giving me more reason to wear mine on a daily basis.

Amelia’s home in Seneca Falls is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and each year the American Library Association compiles an Amelia Bloomer List of books for young women with feminist themes.

“It was a needed instrument to spread abroad the truth of a new gospel to woman, and I could not withhold my hand to stay the work I had begun. I saw not the end from the beginning and dreamed where to my propositions to society would lead me.”


Frances Willard

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Frances Elizabeth Caroline Willard was a temperance reform leader, educator, instrumental suffrage activist, and bonafide queer. She was a well-known and tireless lecturer in the suffrage movement and helped found the national Women’s Christian Temperance Union, which she led for 19 years, the Illinois Women’s Press Association, and the National Council of Women, who elected her President. Prior to all of that, she founded Evanston Ladies’ College at age 30 in 1869.

As leader of the WCTU, she coined their slogan “Do Everything” to encourage members to lobby, petition, write, educate, and act. She was a die-hard progressive who believed in labor rights, ending child abuse, establishing laws to end violence against women, lifting up the poor, improving education, and strengthening public health.

Although not much is known about Frances’ sexuality, she is often referred to as a lesbian. She fell in love with her brother’s eventual wife in 1860, which seems really gay to me, so.

Frances may not be one of the household suffrage names we hold dear, but she has had her share of recognition. She was the first woman to ever be represented in Statuary Hall, and a handful of schoolhouses in her name have been added to the National Register of Historic Places. For a short time, Loretto Hospital in Chicago bore her name.

“The world is wide, and I will not waste my life in friction when it could be turned into momentum.”


Ida B. Wells

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Ida Bell Wells-Barnett was a leader in many arenas — suffrage, civil rights, sociology, and publishing among them. She is perhaps most well-known for her work speaking out and documenting the lynching of Black men in America, but what you probably never learned is that 71 years before Rosa Parks famously did the same thing, Ida B. Wells refused to give up a seat on a train. (She also sued the train company after they threw her off — and won.)

Ida was known for being fiery: she was kicked out of Shaw University for her temper, although she eventually finished her college education at Fisk, an HBCU, where she continued provoking the community with her political opinions and views on women’s rights. She went on to be a teacher, but her writing about her treatment on that train landed her writing gigs on the side with racial justice publications that eventually launched her career as a newspaper editor and investigative reporter.

Ida did eventually marry, though her interest in men appears to have been weak at best judging by her old diary entries. When she finally did say “I Do,” she kept her maiden name, again breaking boundaries for women. Although her family life made it hard for her to maintain her vigorous activism, she remained active in urban reform late into her life. She founded the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs, co-founded the National Afro-American Council, and raised hell with suffrage leaders to lift up Black voices. She died before completing her autobiography in 1931, making its ending in the middle of a sentence perhaps the worst cliffhanger of them all.

“I will not begin at this late day by doing what my soul abhors; sugaring men, weak deceitful creatures, with flattery to retain them as escorts or to gratify a revenge.”


Nannie Helen Burroughs

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Nannie Helen Burroughs was a religious leader, businesswoman, feminist, public speaker, and educator. She was born in 1878; her father was a Baptist preacher born a free man and her mother was born a slave. She began lighting fires for women and especially women of color in 1896, when she helped to launch the National Association of Colored Women; she would eventually also go on to be a member of the National League of Republican Colored Women and the National Association of Wage Earners, where she pushed for better pay and labor conditions for domestic workers, most of whom were women. She was a leader also in the National Baptist Convention, the largest Black denomination of the Baptist church, and worked as an associate editor on the convention newspaper, the Christian Banner. She is well-known for her speech to the convention in 1900 called “How the Sisters Are Hindered from Helping.”

Nannie’s work for women was made possible, most centrally, by her early access to education. She did her part to pass it forward by founding the National Training School for Women and Girls in Washington, DC, which she operated until her death in 1961 and which is now a national historic site.

“For a number of years there has been a righteous discontent, a burning zeal to go forward in His name among the Baptist women of our churches and it will be the dynamic force in the religious campaign at the opening of the 20th century.”


Nina E. Allender

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Nina Evans Allender was the National Woman’s Party’s official publication cartoonist. She came to the movement with extensive training in illustration and the fine arts, though her gender prevented her from being rightly recognized as one of the greats. (She obviously undoubtedly was.) At 38, she became a suffrage canvasser and organizer; as years went on, she rose to prominence in the movement, and when the suffrage factions split, she went with Alice Paul to the National Woman’s Party.

It was there that she began doing work for The Suffragist, the NWP publication, as a political cartoonist. In that capacity, she subverted media images of women with “The Allender Girl,” a smart, young whippersnapper and recurring character who symbolized the feminine power of their movement.

"Training The Animals," 1920


Rosalie Gardiner Jones

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“General” Rosalie Gardiner Jones was a socialite turned suffragist who led the infamous 1913 suffrage hike from New York City to Washington, DC. Under her leadership, suffragists marched 230 miles in 17 days to the nation’s capital, where they staged a protest in front of the White House and delivered President Woodrow Wilson a “Votes for Women” flag.

Rosalie was the rebel of her well-to-do family, which was filled with terrible people who didn’t think women should vote. She leveraged her influence and social clout to give the movement for the women’s vote more steam and to garner them press, often indulging in the attention herself. She was media-savvy, spirited, and relentless.

President-elect Woodrow Wilson:
We send and beg of you to accept this ‘Votes for Women’ flag as a memento of our pilgrimage through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland.
Yours Very Truly, Rosalie Gardiner Jones.


Virginia Minor

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It was unheard of in 1872 for women to vote, but Virginia Louisa Minor knew better. She attempted to vote in St. Louis that year, insistent that the Constitution encompassed women like her in its language and that all those like her were just missing out. When she was refused the opportunity to register, she took her case to the Supreme Court, arguing that women’s suffrage was protected under the 14th Amendment.

Although the case, Minor v. Happersett, was unsuccessful, it cemented Virginia’s place in suffrage herstory and raised the movement’s public profile, bringing the issue home for people across the country to learn about in the news.

“I believe the Constitution of the United States gives me every right and privilege to which every other citizen is entitled; for while the Constitution gives the States the right to regulate suffrage, it nowhere gives them power to prevent it.”

 

http://www.autostraddle.com/rebel-girls-7-suffragists-you-probably-didnt-learn-about-in-school-287677/

 

 

Living Out A Dream by Dani.Love

It has been a while since I’ve contributed to this lovely space. There are 3 incomplete pieces still waiting to be completed and posted. But for now, I wanted to share with you a project I’ve been working on for the past 2-3 years.

Have you ever read a book and felt or thought it would make a great film. Like, as you read the book, the visuals are just so vidid in your head. The best books live on in our dreams and daydreams, those are the ones you read multiple times and bring up randomly in conversations. One of those books for me was Water in a Broken Glass by Odessa Rose.

I first read the novel in 2006 or 2007 while I was living in DC (my hometown) right after underground. That was a rough time for me and I remember reading a lot to escape my reality and also writing a lot, a lot of dark pieces that were actually pretty revealing and therapeutic. At any rate, I ordered the novel from Amazon after coming across it during my many sessions of searching for novels with black lesbian/gay woman. When it arrived, I dived in immediately. To say the book was good and I could relate is truly an understatement. Odessa truly captured the struggle of coming into your own as a woman and a gay woman. The fear, the self talk, the wanting to do “right” by the people you love, the confusion…. everything one goes through during a time like this, she captured it so authentically and beautifully. Up until this time, I’ve never read a character who I could relate to on that level. So, of course, I fell in love with the novel because I felt it was part of my story. A story I was currently living.

Before finishing, I knew I had to find a way to get this story on the big screen. How was uncertain, but I knew this story had to be shared on a bigger platform. I ended up reading the novel about once a year, usually during the summer. Each time, I fell in love all over again. I believe it was the 4th time I read it, back in 2011 when I decided to look up Odessa Rose and contact her about adapting her novel. I didn’t even know what adapting a novel entailed but I said, F* it, let’s see where this goes.

After finding her email on her website, I composed a heartfelt message to Odessa, praising her work, letting her know what her (first) novel represented to me, and proposing to adapt her work into a screenplay. I even admitted I knew nothing about screenwriting but I would make it my business to not only get it done but do her beautiful body of work justice. She responded immediately, informing me that someone was already working on a screenplay. I remember her email being really nice but I was still a little crushed, beating myself up even, because I thought I missed my chance and I should have acted sooner.

During the following months of our initial email, Odessa and I kept in touch. She offered me words of wisdom as a new writer, as well as a list of books that inspired her to write (and keep writing). A few months later, she emailed me to ask was I still interested in adapting the novel. Uhm, of course!!!! So she connected me to the woman who has been working on the screenplay for the past year.

Fast forward 2 years later, the screenplay is DONE, we have casted and hired crew and uhmmmm, this little birdie isn’t only living out her filmmaker dream, she is adapting one of her favorite novels of ALL TIME and one of THE novels she has always wanted to see on the big screen! Like, how cool is that???

I’m truly grateful, honored, excited, and part of me still feels like I’m dreaming. A few weeks ago, we filmed our crowdfunding campaign video (Water The Film) and I got to meet the author, the wonderful Odessa Rose. Needless to say, I was super excited and just overjoyed meeting her. She is such a kind spirit and I’m glad I finally got a change to express to her, in person, how wonderful her work is and how, despite her being a straight woman, she really did a great job telling a story of woman struggling to live her truth as a gay woman.

I’m not too certain how to end this blog post. I do want to share this film journey’s story and hope whoever reading this is engaged and will support us, even if it’s just sharing it with your networks. I ask, please, and I encourage it!!

Thanks for reading this far. And please watch, read, and share Water The Film.

Peace.

TOM FORD LIPS and BOYS: The Full Feature by Giovannah Philippeaux

A very interesting find…

I am in love with this video. It is sexy, powerful, well composed, the music is awesome….and the women are in command. There is nothing more amazing than a woman in charge of herself, her body, and her sexuality.

What makes this video even better is that it features the extraordinary model Erika Linder. Self described as “I have too much imagination to just be one gender,” Lander is an inspiration to anyone and everyone who has ever felt greater than a label.

 

 

Ice Cream Doesn’t Have Feelings…but you do by Candice Ashley

Here is some food for thought on the matter of skin color, actually on “skin tone”.

Where does one’s skin color/tone preference come from? Is there a difference? This idea of being attracted to a specific tone recently came up in conversation with a friend, let us call her Suzanne. Suzanne likes fair toned girls. When naming the traits Suzanne is looking for in a female she expressed wanting to be with someone fair toned. This ideal girl could be of any race as long as she was fair toned or no more than two shades away from Suzanne’s own fair color.  Upon hearing this I had to ask myself, is this just a different way of saying white is good and black is bad?

Let’s ask the real question which affected me to write this, how does it feel to be on the receiving end of someone else’s preferences? Is it even allowed to say out loud you prefer lighter toned over darker toned or vice versa? Should I have an issue when people say they are not attracted to dark toned people? Should fair toned people have an issue if I say I am not attracted to them? Is this any different from saying I prefer **burly lumber jacks dressed in plaid as opposed to lean jockeys dressed in chevron? Where is the line!

It should be noted that I treat feelings as facts regardless of if they are unfounded or not. I am feeling them, they are here, and they are REAL. With that being stated, I immediately was put off by Suzanne’s comment. Now I am trying to understand why. Is it because I am outside of her ideal tone range? If I was in her ideal tone range would I feel differently?  Why do I care I’m not trying to date Suzanne! Do other people think like this? If so, are guys not choosing to date me because I fall out of their +/- 2 tone range?!

The logical side of me wants to shout out the obvious, PREFERENCES ARE REAL! Preferences for ethnicity, religion, education, financial well being, height and body type, exist. I just have never heard this preference phrased as Suzanne phrased it. It seems to be such an oxymoron, race doesn’t matter but skin tone matters. Personally I think the phrasing is a cover up by person in denial. Either way I came to my conclusion that our reaction to someone else’s preferences will depend on what side of the line we fall. Being the perfect shade of champagne toasted caramel that I am, I fell out of that range and felt some type of way about it. I was in my feelings and did not comprehend the non-inclusiveness of the comment. Ultimately we all have our preferences we just need to realize that those on the opposite side of our preference are people and have feelings too.

The excerpt below is of a g-chat conversation I had with a friend. It sums up everything I feel on this matter.

friend I gchat with: sayyy whattt, she missing out
me: at first i was like.. is that like having a preference in ice cream?! then i thought no ice cream doesn’t have feelings

** It should also be noted that I am color blind in the laws of attraction, and I really do love a burly lumber jack in plaid preferably driving a gas guzzling non-eco friendly truck!

Magic Monday – This is Wholesome

So Cheerios got the ball-rolling and now everyone is doing it, and it’s awesome. In their latest commercial campaign, Honey Maid decided to celebrate families; all families that come in different shapes, sizes, colors, and orientations. It is amazing and truly uplifting. Now they could be doing this just for the publicity, but I like to think that they are doing it to celebrate the true diversity of America. Grab your families, your loved ones, and some awesome Honey Maid snacks and be grateful for the amazing love and support currently in your life. With all the sadness and craziness of this past weekend I am wishing you a glorious Magic Monday and lots of love. Enjoy!

 

36D, Bra Not Necessary – On Acceptance By Giovannah Philippeaux

Yes, I am a 36 D which means I am pretty well endowed (which I am grateful for), but it also means that I am little chubby. News flash rubenesque women have rubenesque body parts; think Christina Hendricks, Adele, Queen Latifah. Sorry we all can’t be Sofia Vergara (tiny and curvy, still love her though don’t get me wrong).

I often feel like the world (and by that I really mean the media) likes to pick and choose the parts of me it likes and the parts of me it doesn’t. So big chest, YES!! Big body, NO!!!!! Thick lips, YES!!! Dark skin, NO!!!! Speaks English, YES!!!! With accent, NO!!! Long hair, YES!!!! Kinky hair, NO!!!!! And this could go on. But here’s the thing, I am a whole package; I can’t divvy up my parts for your liking. And I am not the only one with this story.

You’re a tall gorgeous blue-eyed blond…..with your body covered in tattoos and piercings

You’re a typical Abercrombie and Fitch male…..with depression and bipolar disorder

You’re a top black male athlete in your sport…..who’s openly gay

And there are many other people like this, whose true stories don’t match what the media tells us it should be and it’s crushing. It’s crushing to the people who can’t find a place to belong, who feel alone, scared, and bullied. It’s been crushing to me, being bullied by friends, teachers, and family, just because I was a little different they couldn’t understand. This is what happens when you, when we, have a single story.

Well NEWS FLASH WORLD….We’re not buffet tables. You can’t just pick and choose the parts of us you like and the parts of us you don’t. It’s all or nothing. And as we are here to stay it’s going to have to be all.