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Hello. I Love You.

Hi there.

Lots of us trans and queer folks are struggling today, reeling from the way the North Carolina legislature just went out of its way to tell us our lives don’t matter.

And if you’re reading this, I just want to let you know that I love you.


You are beautiful, just as you are. So beautiful it makes my heart explode. You deserve dignity and respect, no matter what the powerful tell you. You deserve to be safe. You are not alone. I see you. I stand with you, with an aching heart and a burning rage.

I don’t know if it gets better, or it gets worse, or it stays the same. But I do know that you have to be alive to find out. I know that sometimes it feels like you can’t go on one more moment, and then you do, and then one more, and then after a while it might feel possible to go on. If you feel like this is impossible, and like you are all alone, the folks at the Trans Lifeline would really like to hear from you at 1-877-565-8860 (US) or online here from anywhere.

If you need to cry or rage or get into bed or write in your journal, that’s ok. You don’t need to be in the streets to be worthwhile. So please find a way to stay. I’m processing my rage with love and I really need you in this world to do it.

And when you’re ready, these folks would really like to raise their voices with you. So would I.


Love Letter to Weirdos (crossposting)

Crossposting my Love Letter to Weirdos here.

Dear Freaks, Outlaws, Queers, Agitators, Rabble Rousers and Misfits:

This is a valentine to you, for being brave enough to be your amazing selves. Whether you choose to live your life outside the lines of societal expectations, or whether you find yourself put there; whether you are engaged with changing the system or working around it; and frankly, whether we agree or disagree; your very existence makes people grapple with their assumptions, examine their own lives, and expand their perspective on the world. It’s tough to be an outsider, and by definition you don’t fit in, but know that I admire your courage and conviction and commitment. I am proud to be in your extended family, and though you may not see me as one of you anymore, I am with you in heart and spirit. You are loved.

With deep affection,


Beyond Tolerance

Looking into the history of the India Point Project for yesterday’s post, I was struck by how our description of ourselves and our organizations changed as we became more visible to the mainstream. Take two articles from the same publication, by the same author, describing community groups meeting at two different locations. In this 2002 Bay Windows article, one of the partners in the still yet-to-open India Point Project was described as “the Enforcers (a gay social group that funds nonprofits)”. But in this 1999 article about the groups displaced by the closure of RITA’s Place, the same group is described as “Enforcers RI, a group of leather, S&M and fetishist people that conducts fundraising for AIDS and other causes”. I remember when the Enforcers were still around – they met at AIDS Project RI when I worked there and were my first exposure to an organized leather community. While they were certainly very engaged in raising funds for LGBT groups, I wonder how they felt about having their central purpose vanillafied to “a gay social group that funds nonprofits”.

Part of the reason that I left full-time LGBTQ activism is that I didn’t want to sell the “we’re just like everybody else” line. (Also because the pay and the hours sucked, but that’s a post for another time.) Our movement was launched out of the closet by a police raid on a club full of drag queens, butches, gutter punks, homeless queer youth and sex workers who couldn’t be pushed any farther (see pic below), but we’ve lost track of our roots. We’ve moved from Stonewall Riots to Stonewall Kitchen. As I said to Jef a while ago, there’s no gay sex in the gay rights movement, because talking about gay sex makes people feel squirmy and we’re just here for our rights. I guess I’m sort of a bourgeois queer liberationist, believing that there are differences in our various subcultures which should be embraced and celebrated. As the gay rights movement nationally moved toward a set of mainstream ideals (queers should have the right to get married and join the army), and sold out our trans brothers and sisters again and again, I got very personally disillusioned with the work, and very concerned about my own ability to personally represent the party line. We started to push a “teaching tolerance” agenda that I just couldn’t get behind. I don’t want to be tolerated, like a bad smell or a too cold meal. I don’t want to be asked to change or pretend or tone it down and stop making people uncomfortable. I want to be part of a liberation movement that asks us all to confront our own discomfort and recognize that difference is beautiful and vital and critical.

I’m not sure how to end this post except to acknowledge that this is an ongoing conversation that I hope keeps happening within and outside queer communities. I’d love to have some of it here, so please feel free to respond or repost.


Community Center?

Do you remember when Rhode Island had a gay community center? The India Point Project briefly operated one on the East Side in Providence, but went belly up and abruptly locked its doors back in 2004, when I was still a Baby Professional Queer. While part of the vision behind this blog is to function as a virtual community center for LGBTQQIAXYZ Rhode Islanders, we’re clearly quite a ways away from achieving that vision. So in the meantime, we encourage you to take the Community Center Survey that Options Newsmagazine is running right now. We’ll post the results when Options does.


Bishop Tobin is a Neb Nose

The Bishop and I are share a hometown with a unique dialect, wherein “neb nose” is someone who is butting into another’s business without warrant.
(And let me be very clear that while I disagree wholeheartedly with his position here, I also wholeheartedly support his right to believe, and preach, whatever he likes.) We might both bleed black and gold during football season, but that’s about all we agree on. Here’s his absolutely appalling statement on civil unions, released despite the horrible Corvese Amendment that basically allows religious institutions to ignore civil unions in any context (including making medical decisions at religious hospitals, recognizing parental rights at religious schools, and obtaining housing from a religious shelter). Essentially, this is like passing legislation that allows religious institutions to ignore divorces. Hope you feel good about having your first wife make those end-of-life decisions for you….

I am deeply disappointed that Rhode Island will establish civil unions in our state. The concept of civil unions is a social experiment that promotes an immoral lifestyle, is a mockery of the institution of marriage as designed by God, undermines the well-being of our families, and poses a threat to religious liberty.

In this context it is my obligation to remind Catholics of the teachings of the Church on this matter. First, the Church continues to have respect and love for persons with same-sex attraction; they are indeed children of God and our brothers and sisters in the human family. We pray for their well-being and offer them spiritual guidance and pastoral care. We also extend our love and support to families of homosexual persons who sometimes struggle with this difficult emotional issue.

At the same time, the Church reminds its members that homosexual activity is contrary to the natural law and the will of God and, therefore, is objectively sinful. Persons with same-sex attraction are required to live the Christian virtues of chastity and modesty, as all persons are. The importance of these virtues is clearly established in the Holy Scriptures and in the constant tradition of the Church.

Because civil unions promote an unacceptable lifestyle, undermine the faith of the Church on holy matrimony, and cause scandal and confusion, Catholics may not participate in civil unions. To do so is a very grave violation of the moral law and, thus, seriously sinful. A civil union can never be accepted as a legitimate alternative to matrimony.

Can there be any doubt that Almighty God will, in His own time and way, pass judgment upon our state, its leaders and citizens, for abandoning His commands and embracing public immorality? I encourage Catholics to pray for God’s patience, mercy and forgiveness in these distressing times.