I received a lovely text the other night from Chris Stewart (our managing editor) saying that he had arranged for a press visit to the Whitney Museum of American Art. We went for the Grant Wood and Zoe Leonard exhibitions, but one does not simply go to the Whitney and not check out every floor. We started at the top and worked our way down. The Wood show was a funhouse experience, and the Leonard was one of detailed thoughts.
But what stood out to me was the 6th floor, “An Incomplete History of Protest.” This show “looks at how artists from the 1940s to the present have confronted the political and social issues of their day. Whether making art as a form of activism, criticism, instruction, or inspiration, the featured artists see their work as essential to challenging established thought and creating a more equitable culture.” Of course there’s no way a museum can provide a whole account of the history of protest — it goes back forever and it will go forward forever, but the show is viable proof that artists “play a profound role in transforming their time and shaping the future.”
In various forms, there is art protesting the AIDS crisis, the war in Vietnam, racism, abuses of power, sexism, and the Whitney itself. In several rooms full of affecting work, it becomes clear that the show is much more than the sum of its parts. It’s a profoundly moving experience that needs to be felt in person. …
Back in June, I woke up at 3:30 in the morning to travel via the fabulous 1 train from my then-apartment in Washington Heights downtown to the LGBT Center. I boarded one of 3 Grindr-sponsored coach buses and rode down to DC with a bunch of LGBTQ+ activists to participate in, and document, the National Equality March. The temperature that day was a scorching 90 degrees and the sun was making her power known — but the energy on the Mall and throughout the march route was positively kinetic. And palpably so. But in the months separating then and now, it has become increasingly apparent that our country has a rampant gun violence problem. And this violence isn’t limited to those whom the stereotypes may suggest. It’s affecting Black and Brown lives. It’s affecting Queer lives. It’s affecting young lives — children’s lives. This weekend, there’s another march taking to the streets of our capital, the March for Our Lives. Gays Against Guns, one of the organizations sponsoring the march, will have a plaza in Pershing Park (next to the march route) that “will be open for all to gather in a safe space to take in the day’s events, share stories, and get to know other activists participating in March for Our Lives.” Gays Against Guns is also “staging voguing performances on the “NRA SASHAY AWAY” runway, a “tell us why you’re here” speakers’ corner, and a living memorial of gun violence victims through GAG’s signature “Human Beings” demonstration at 2pm.” There’s so much that shouldn’t be missed. Now is not the time to be complacent or overwhelmed by our current state. Fight for your — our — existence.
Today, thousands of students around the country rally in solidarity to end gun violence.
As you know (and I assume our readers are political, hip to the latest news, and support great causes), this Thursday is a nationwide walk out. The students from Florida’s Stoneman Douglas have been working their asses off in the past month since they fell victim to the latest school shooting. In what has become a very familiar story in America’s gun rights debate, Stoneman Douglas students have started rallies, marched on Washington, got major retailers to pull guns off the shelves and have boycotted companies largely affiliated with the NRA. Now that is cunt. There is a lot of bullshit activism going on today, but these kids are the real damn deal. Emma Gonzales, who kind of launched a movement accidentally now has millions of followers on Twitter, and she uses that damn platform like she damn should: for change.
At 10:00AM, in support of the students’ call to action, parents, teachers, students, and schools’ staff are encouraged to participate in #ENOUGH. For 17 minutes, campuses will take a moment of pause to remember the kids who were shot and killed at Stoneman and everyone is encouraged to wear orange to show their support. I feel so jazzed for change every time I see these kids in the media (they’re so earnest and fucking mad… I wish I weren’t so jaded…) and we should be supporting their cause in every way. Pulse happened in our community; I shouldn’t have to write It’s only a matter of time before we’re targeted again. …
They gathered to commemorate Zelim and all LGBTIQ people who have perished in Chechnya.
When news first broke of the queer Chechens being rounded up, beaten, imprisoned and murdered, it was honestly hard to believe. When The New Yorker covered it a few weeks later, I admit that my passivity on the topic turned sour, meaning my initial denial became full-blown fear. A lot of you reading are probably thinking, “OK” — well that just makes you an asshole, which is fair! But seriously I read so many things on the internet everyday, when it comes to LGBTQ+ community news, I’m always apprehensive to believe what’s being reported. We used to be a community that operated solely by word of mouth, and I think my gay heart still honors that. I first met Adam Eli in the street at Pride, which I note because he’s now a go-to voice for contemporary LGBTQ+ activism. He sent me a note about Voices 4 Chechnya which “is a group of New Yorkers who are passionate about using their privilege as out Americans to bring about change around the world.” On Saturday, October 14, they will rally at Stonewall and march to Tr*mp Tower to help raise awareness and money for those LGBTQ+ people attempting to flee Chechyna’s murderous escapade. V4C hopes to procure humanitarian parole visas and allocate proper funds for so LGBTQ+ Chechen’s can resettle. “Every day queer Chechens are rounded up, abducted, tortured and killed. Over twenty Chechens have escaped and are living in safe houses in mainland Russia, with no way out. Head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov has denied the existence gay people in Chechnya, and refers to them as subhuman, including the approval of familial honor killings.” As Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera taught us, we have to speak up to bring safety to our global community.
The rainbow flag, which was designed by Gilbert Baker, whose life and legacy we honor in Issue 7, is going up permanently at the Stonewall National Monument. For those of you who may not know — which is totally okay, you learn something new everyday — Stonewall is the birthplace of the modern LGBTQ+ liberation/rights movement. It’s only fitting that queer activists have succeeded in giving our community’s symbol of pride a home there. Also significant is that this is the first time that the rainbow flag has flown on federally funded land, “under the permanent stewardship of the National Park Service.” Cool, but what a contrast that our flag flies above federal ground for the first time less than a week after the US voted against a UN resolution condemning the death penalty for homosexuality. Michael Petrelis, the AIDS and LGBT activist who spearheaded this initiative, says, “It is a victory for our Community to have these symbolic colors flying majestically over our Stonewall, designated as a National Monument by President Obama, even as our LGBTQ brothers and sisters are under attack by the current regime in power…. As we gather today, we are reminded of another October 11, thirty years ago, when the names of our fallen comrades were symbolically celebrated on another national monument — the AIDS Quilt — during the reign of another President who waged an attack against us.” The other October 11 that Petrelis is referring to is that of the 1987 March on Washington for Lesbian Gay Rights. October 11 “also marks the annual National Coming Out Day, a day celebrating the idea that all members of the LGBTQ community should be able to live their lives openly, honestly, and with pride.” The flag is to be unveiled at noon via a nice ceremony, but it’ll remain flying with unwavering courage, so make that pilgrimage to Greenwich Village and see it when you can. The weather is supposed to remain gorgeous — just like you — throughout the week, so you really have no excuse, love.
NYC fights back in response to the Charlottesville violence
NYC fights back
Two days ago hundreds of white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and KKK members rallied in Charlottesville, VA to “protest” the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue, chanting racist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, and anti-LGBT slogans, praising Tr*mp, and committing violent acts of domestic terrorism against counter protesters. One of these terrorists rammed his car into a group of people on a crowded street injuring at least 19, and murdering one. Many politicians, activists, and celebrities denounced these actions of white supremacy, while our pig-in-chief, in his first statement about the terror, blamed “both sides” for the violence. This is all happening in 2017 — and it shouldn’t be shocking.
We are living in a time where racism and many other systems of oppression are thriving in the United States, and it has always been this way because these systems are institutionalized. It’s crucial that we take accountability for this display of white supremacy. We need to ask ourselves daily what we are doing to combat it while taking note from Kimberlé Crenshaw and recognizing our individual privileges on an intersectional level.
If you’re in NYC, there’s a protest at Tr*mp Tower on 5th Ave. today (August 14th) at 4:30PM, and he’s going to be staying there —so show up. And if you can’t show up physically, show up with coins and donate to organizations like the Charlottesville Chapter of the NAACP. Kamala Harris said, “If you’ve ever wondered what you would have done during the Civil Rights Movement, this is your opportunity to find out.” …
Earlier this week, the current “president” was on Twitter asserting that “the US government will not allow transgender individuals to serve in the U.S. military,” and then reasoned (without grammar as usual) that the medical costs for having transgender individuals in the military would be “disruptive” and “burdensome.” So yeah, this is just your weekly reminder that Donald Tr*mp is a fucking transphobic scum. Also, just a heads up that providing necessary services for troops who are trans would cost anywhere from 0.004-0.017% of the Defense Department’s $49.3 billion-dollar health care budget. It’s really important in a time when transgender and gender non-conforming communities are subject to discrimination and oppressive rhetoric that we speak up and support the “T” in our LBGTQ+ community. 2016 was the deadliest year for transgender americans with 27 individuals murdered (predominantly trans women of color), and so far in 2017 there have been 15 recorded murders. If you aren’t saying or doing anything about Tr*mp’s new ban or trans & gender non-conforming issues in general, donating to The National Center For Transgender Equality is a great place to start! They do vital work for trans and gender non-conforming communities. However you feel about the U.S. military, it’s important to recognize the effect this ban will have on the estimated 15,000 active serving transgender troops who are, as our fav Janet Mock put it, putting their lives on the line for a country and president that have not and will not fight for them. TRANS PEOPLE ARE NOT A BURDEN.