Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Pre V-Day Post

If you haven't been paying attention of late, the madness of Legislative session 2013 rages on from folks like Andy Mayberry's "20 week abortion" mash-up in his attempt do ignore Supreme Court ruling on Roe vs. Wade. Meanwhile our rush to the bottom also continues with news sources citing Jason Rapert as always a source for material. Remember his Tea Party speech, in which he talked about the "stars and bars," Obama's birth certificate and minority viewpoints? He also railed about a Ramadan event at the White House and implied Obama lacked of good Christian bona fides. Imagine what Rapert could have doe at a Tea Party event with a vote such as he just cast. Several readers note his support of a Senate resolution (by Republican sen. Bryan King) lauding contributions to Arkansas by citizens of Azerbaijan and urging Arkansas relationships with the Azerbaijani people. Readers think this is hypocritical of Rapert, given that the country is 99.2 percent Muslim. Maybe it's merely evidence of his ecumenical spirit, welcome after his nativist tirade against the president, a theme of Christian exceptionalism that's rarely far removed from his Twitter stream. With King as the sponsor, however I'd be more likely to suspect a pecuniary angle at the heart of this onion. Hello is this thing on?? Is it not time to storm the capitol with torches with pitch forks in hand!! Can anyone stop this insanity? Well I said anybody?...Hello any one listening....?

A Lavender Conundrum??
What Makes a LGBTQ Community

COP 24/7 has been dedicated to exploring as many levels of "being gay"ranging from questions about masculinity to refocusing the lens on transgender and gender expression issues. During last December's leadership capacity building event sponsored by The Living Affected Corporation, audience members raised a serious of questions that cited the perplexities of what is a "gay community" and who does it encompass. On Tuesday of this week during a meeting of the Tobacco  Prevention and Cessation meeting the issue of "gay community" also became a focal point in their efforts to address tobacco usage in the gay and lesbian community.

Oh yeah, you did know that there was a "coalition" to address how big tobacco is impacting the local community with all its sponsorship and  products? No? Well it true and these folks have been in the planning mix for some three years, but unfortunately has had problems engaging the local gay community because as I learned they are not sure where to find us? More on that later in a later post, but in the meantime this brings us to the question of "who is us?," not to mention "why are we existing in plain sight," but apparently invisible to individuals whom claim to care about us, are allies or proclaim to want to protect us. According to, they define the gay community as:

a socially constructed collective reference that refers to those people in society who are homosexual, and who interact to some degree with other homosexual people, in the pursuit of some common homosexual-related interest. The term is also sometimes seen more broadly as including people whose sexuality or gender identity is outside the mainstream heterosexual norm.

Does this cover it or not?  When we think of community there are so many factors that are now apart of the mix. Especially as the gay alphabet soup moniker keeps expanding with folks now recognizing as "questioning," "intersexed," or "non gender conforming," how can we expect non gay folks to keep up with us if we find ourselves incapable of messaging or demonstrating who we really are. This is most evident when I've seen "us" over reacting or lashing out at each other on so many trivial matters that one would wonder "what's really going on with those people." I'm amazed at those whom grumble in the shadows, lie to each other, harbor grudges and do hatchet jobs on each other all the while talking about some sense of "community."

 Even COP 24/7 hasn't been immune to being seen as airing the community dirty laundry or hurting folks with our on point coverage, but in my defense often times truth hurts and as far as that is concern facing facts or the lack of them often puts folks on the defensive. If we can't be real with ourselves, then why would we expect our allies or supposedly supporters to be really real with us. During that December exercise it was fleshed out that perhaps we as a local "community" hasn't fully embraced what community really means or what makes up that body.

Of course we all realize that there are many opinionated and some times arrogant among us. We know that many have a "girls just want to have fun" attitude while others have "bodies by Fisher and minds by Mattel." but no matter where you find your self in the continuum, if we don't learn to accept "us" for our shortcomings and imperfections then we will continue to languish as a body of folks with jaded thoughts and fragmentation that will never allow us to form the true coalition that can be addressed by those allies, supporters or policy makers who want to impact our lives without us. The question of community is an open one and needs as many voices as possible to echo that together we can be a family if we just try.  Think about it...we'd love to hear from all of ya!

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