Happy Pride, Indeed!

The month of June brings a colorful array of events for and by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) communities, especially here in the city of Philadelphia. History shows us these communities have experienced their share of triumphs as well as tribulations. More recently, the roller coaster climate of anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-trans laws, policies, and sentiments continue to bring pain to the LGBTQ+ communities. In a 2021 national poll conducted by The Trevor Project, 85 percent of transgender and nonbinary youth surveyed indicated a decrease in their mental health due to anti-trans bills being debated in this country. For those who encounter challenges due to racism in addition to anti-LGBTQ+ actions, anxiety and depression are even more heightened.  Over the years, I have had my share of growth around identity. As an immigrant first, a member of the LGBTQ+ communities, and a person in recovery – the times I felt most able to thrive and succeed were when those around me would engage with me in a way that it was clear they were open to learning. Perhaps I was not understood, or the person next to me did not wish to acknowledge nor agree with my Queer identity. However, I am grateful for the times where spaces to learn, unlearn, and connect were created through mutual respect [...]

2022-05-31T20:22:50-04:00May 31st, 2022|LGBTQIA|

LGBTQ+ History Month

October is LGBTQ+ History Month. To celebrate, let’s turn our attention to a couple Philadelphians whose advocacy contributed greatly to the advancement of LGBTQ+ civil rights in the United States. John E. Fryer was a psychiatrist and a faculty member of Temple University School of Medicine. He was also a homosexual. (A note on usage: Homosexual was the word Fryer and others used to self-identify. Today the term is discouraged in favor of gay and lesbian.)  At the time, a homosexual psychiatrist was thought to be an oxymoron. This was because for much of the 20th Century, “homosexuality” was classified as a mental disorder in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual. Of course, Fryer and others like him knew there was nothing inherently disordered about LGBTQ+ identity. Due to their personal and professional experience, they understood better than anyone that the classification of homosexuality as a mental health disorder reflected not pathology in individuals, but deep-seated prejudice in the field and in society at large. Although people like Fryer were ideally positioned to challenge harmful professional practices about sexuality, doing so incurred great personal risk. A psychiatrist who avowed their sexual identity risked the loss of their license and professional ruin. Because of this, LGBTQ+ psychiatrists were faced with a stark choice: conceal their identity or forfeit their careers. Barbara Gittings was [...]

2021-10-11T12:20:25-04:00October 11th, 2021|LGBTQIA|

Transgender Day of Remembrance

In memory of loved ones lost to acts of anti-transgender violence. Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is an annual observance on November 20 that honors the memory of those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.  Additionally, during the week of November 13-19, people and organizations around the country participate in Transgender Awareness Week to help raise the visibility of transgender people and address the issues trans people face.  Along with honoring the memory of those lost to acts of anti-transgender violence, the transgender community is also honoring long time community organizer for TDOR, Dawn Munro who passed away last month. This year, we are bringing attention to transmen who have died by suicide, such as comedian Daphne Dorman. On a national level, 40% of transgender adults report having made a suicide attempt.  92% of these individuals report having attempted suicide before the age of 25, and it is estimated that 1 in 3 trans or non-binary youth have made a suicide attempt (Trevor Project). Compared to the general youth population, attempts are higher among trans youth in the US (Youth Risk Behavior Survey) 19% of all teens have seriously considered suicide 15% have made a plan to attempt suicide 8% have attempted suicide 2.5% have been injured by a suicide attempt. This study found that transgender youth [...]

2019-11-20T01:01:45-05:00November 20th, 2019|LGBTQIA, Suicide Prevention|

Remembering Pulse

Saturday night had given way to Sunday morning and the club was packed. It was Latin night, and the music was loud and the bodies were feeling it: a sense of belonging, the joy in one another. Then it began. By daybreak the mass shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando would be reported as the deadliest act of violence against LGBT people in the whole, bloody history of the United States. Forty-nine dead. Over fifty wounded. Most of them Latinx. Queer people do not have often have the luxury of safety. The things I imagine other people take for granted, like walking down the street or taking the subway, can feel scary if someone around can read the queerness of your body. For this reason, we create makeshift spaces for ourselves when we can, where we can. In my own life, I have found safety and community on so many dance floors. Sometimes people challenge me on that point. What kind of community can you find among strangers? What kind of safety do you find in the dark? I remind them that the founding mothers of the gay rights movement threw the first brick fifty years ago at Stonewall. Queer people and dancefloors have a cozy history. I woke up to news of Pulse the day I was set to [...]

2021-01-02T19:57:25-05:00June 24th, 2019|LGBTQIA|
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