WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 
by David Watkins 04.28.2015 67 days ago
at 04:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Queer City Spotlight: The Jenner Interview

Local LGBTQ news and views

Disclaimer: Although Jenner gave ABC, some news outlets and Jenner’s family permission to use "he," "him" and "his" pronouns until people become comfortable with the change, I am using gender neutral pronouns "they," "them" and "their "and dropping Jenner’s first name out of respect to an individual that has dealt being misgendered for a large portion of their life. Jenner also has not released their preferred name. The black and white photo showed what appeared to be a twentysomething with a shaggy bowl-cut. The person was smiling, mouth open, revealing his probably perfect pearly whites as he looked off camera. Who is he looking at? Is he in mid-laugh or mid-sentence? What made the old photo interesting, despite it being posted on Instagram by Kylie Jenner in the first place, was how the person’s chiseled muscles and hairy abs contrasted with the tight clothes that concealed body parts our society likes to label “vulgar” and “inappropriate”. The last place I looked was in the eyes. I had noticed they were looking away, but I never really looked in their eyes and tried to read them. The eyes in the photograph read as distant, unfocused, not fully engaged. Was I just looking at it in a different light because my prior knowledge and context changed? The Instagram post read, “daddy throwback. #Tonight #DianeSawyer #ABC #love”. I had a lot of positive and negative anxiety about the Bruce Jenner Interview with Diane Sawyer. My two biggest passions — the queer rights movement and popular culture — were center stage, about to sing a dynamic duet under a hot spotlight. The iconic event would change my view on the direction of the trans* movement, how I view the Kardashian family — a guilty pleasure turned complete obsession, especially with Kim K. — and how the public views a community they have little knowledge about. Waiting for the interview to start, I was clueless as to what was in store. I only knew the duration of the interview and sneak peeks I viewed online. While I was confident I knew Jenner’s announcement after viewing the illegal paparazzi shots published by the New York Daily News of Jenner in a dress, I refused to give into the stereotypes I made based on photographs. Jenner was the only reliable source. I did not think it was a public relations scheme to promote a new reality show, but I wondered how it could last two hours. What are we in store for — two hours of ignorance and the same pictures on rotation from the 1976 Summer Olympics? As the interview began and progressed, I was pleasantly surprised with Jenner’s well-informed, genuine responses and the educational presence of the interview. I appreciated the inclusion of newsworthy events from the past couple of years, interviews from other transgender figures and the visual approach the interview took in terms of explaining and comparing terminology. Here are the good and bad moments before, during and after the interview that I found the most interesting:Morning talk show host and personality Wendy Williams has made controversial comments about Jenner for years and received flack again the morning of the interview. Then on Monday, she repeated that Jenner was “deceptive and really fame hungry like the rest of the family.” Here is my take on this: Even if the interview was a publicity stunt (which I do not believe it was), it almost does not matter. It educated a record 17 million people Friday about gender and sexuality. For many viewers, it was their first time hearing specifics about the subject. Jenner’s documentary series — premiering on E! this summer — was not mentioned until the last half-hour of the interview, and according to E! Online, writers will consult with GLAAD, The Kinsey Institute and other Ph.Ds. This makes me think the docu-series will have the same educationally driven tone the interview attained. Diane Sawyer played the part of uninformed mainstream America perfectly as she struggled to grasp the difference between gender identity and sexuality, changing her wording but essentially bringing up the same theme multiple times and asking the same questions about gender identity versus sexuality throughout the interview. I thought it was quite comical in the moment, but in retrospect — if Sawyer was playing the part of “at-home-viewer” — it showed society’s inability to grasp nonbinary ideals and accept an individual’s state of unknowing. Jenner shades the Kardashians. Being the Kardashian fanatic I am, I was shocked to realize 30  minutes went by without even mentioning Kim K! Jenner proved critics wrong in a tasteful, informative program without typical Kardashian sensationalism and not many people on social media noticed the family’s absence — proving Jenner really did have the only real story all along. Gasp! *cries in corner* Kim K is still American royalty to me! Kim K is the most accepting? Khloe is having the hardest time?! Jenner explained that Khloe has experienced a lot of heartache with the loss of her father, Robert Kardashian Sr., at an early age and then alluded to her ex-husband Lamar Odom’s downward spiral toward the end of their marriage. Jenner says Kim, on the other hand, is the easiest to talk to about the transition. One of the lighter moments was when Jenner quoted Kim saying, “Girl, you got to rock it, baby. You got to look good! If you’re doing this, I’m helping you. You’re representing the family. You got to look really good.” Jenner’s four children from his first two marriages — Brandon and Brody, who we occasionally see on Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and Burt and Casey (Jenner has another daughter?! Literally, how did I not know this?) displayed unconditional love. It’s always special when former The Hills star Brody Jenner reappears on television, but his brother Brandon had me swooning as he and his man bun sat by Jenner’s side in full support. But where were Kendall and Kylie? When a big televised event is on, social media goes wild with Vines, Tumblr gifs and tweets making fun of highlights from the show. When I scanned social media during commercial breaks, I saw inconsiderate and transphobic content, of course, but positive responses outweighed the negative drastically according to my newsfeeds. Jenner clarified they are not a spokesperson for the transgender community, but mentioned daily struggles the community goes through. “The suicide rates, the murder rates, the difficulty for especially black female women” were issues Jenner shed light on. One of my only complaints is Jenner answering Sawyer’s questions about their political views. We learned from the interview that everyone deserves to live an honest, authentic life. Individuals are entitled to support the political party of their choice. It just bothered me that someone in a newfound position of power to be a role model, which they are and will continue to be, would publically associate with a traditionally anti-queer political party. Jenner lost some clout and credibility I gave them — after an emotional, informative interview — when they said they thought Republicans Mitch McConnell and John Boehner would be receptive to a conversation about trans* rights… Newsweek reached out to both individuals. No comment. Shocker. Jenner’s mom got me choked up again at the end. Eighty-eight-year-old Esther Jenner, who was described as “rather conservative,” sent in a video message from her home to tell Jenner how proud she was. “I was very proud of you when you stood on that podium in Montreal,” she said. “I never thought that I could be more proud of you, but I’m learning I can be.” *chills* After an iconic, progressive and informative two hours spent challenging gender roles and learning about gender identity, Diane Sawyer feels the need to close on a sexist joke made by the Soviet athlete Jenner defeated at the Olympics. He asks, “How could I have lost to a woman?” Really? “I’m saying goodbye to people’s perception of me,” said Jenner. “I’m not saying goodbye to me because this has always been me.” Enough said. Respect. But Jenner was not the only one making national headlines that day. Cincinnati received coverage, but not for anything noteworthy. Senate, a gastropub in OTR that occasionally picks a celebrity or current event as inspiration to name and create the Dog of the Day, featured the “Bruce Jenner 2.0” Friday. The dish, described as “part hot dog part taco,” had a beef frank sliced in half and filled with taco toppings. After experiencing outrage on social media, Senate issued an apology and donated the proceeds to The Heartland Trans Wellness Fund. This whole situation is wrong for multiple reasons. In 2014, transgender folks received an unprecedented amount of media attention. Actress Laverne Cox, model Carmen Carrera and author Janet Mock reestablished how reporters and talk show hosts speak to trans* individuals by speaking out when they felt uncomfortable or triggered in interviews and making it an on-air educational opportunity. One of the main themes in these interviews was America’s fascination with transgender genitalia instead creating conversation about the trans* suicide rate or homeless queer youth. The bottom line was that trans* public figures wanted to be valued for more than what is in their pants. Sexual reassignment surgery is typically the final stage of the transformation, but not required or done by everyone. It is a monumental and hyper-personal moment for individuals that continue on in that journey. The “Bruce Jenner 2.0” was a symbol of how privileged individuals and businesses appropriate minority groups, even for just one day of media buzz, and increased revenue. Senate’s actions were regressive to the strides Cox and others made in regards to how we speak to trans* people. The Jenner interview was unprecedented and a major success for trans* visibility, but it does not change the suicide rate or the fact that seven trans* women of color were murdered the first eight weeks of 2015. Visibility in the media and educating the masses is crucial to the movement, but it must translate to policies and how mainstream society treats transgender people. Jenner is not the first to show public displays of bravery. As the trans* rights movement continues on and we meet new faces, let us not forget the historical events like the Stonewall riots and the unspoken queer heroes that paved the way for Jenner to come out and educate the nation on primetime television. Growing up, you always hear that eyes are windows to the soul. If that is true, why is it the last place we truly look? Why is it so romantic and out of the ordinary when you are on a date and the other person describes your eyes in great detail, as opposed to generalizations like, “You’re beautiful,” and “You look so hot in that”? During Jenner interview, I saw it all in their eyes — the pain, the relief, “her”. I saw it again as they replayed scenes from Keeping Up with the Kardashians. When now-ex-wife Kris made fun of Jenner’s clothing and style, what I perceived as annoyance when I watched the episode years ago I now perceived as hurt and pain in Jenner’s eyes. In the flashback scene of Khloe referring to Jenner as a strong male presence in her life, Jenner looks deep in thought and distant. Context changes a viewer’s perception, and we need to start paying attention. Reflecting back on Kylie’s Instagram photo of a young Jenner, I realized that I had to get past the short jean shorts and cut-off tee to truly see the photograph. You never really know someone’s life or the journeys they are on. Here was the model “masculine figure,” but inside Jenner was filled with emotions and feelings most people cannot begin to understand. Like society’s fascination with what transgender folks have below the waist, we could not see that Jenner had a lot more depth to him that we presumed. Jenner’s closing advice for people was to “have an open mind and have an open heart.” This ideology can be translated to different aspects of our life and the relationships with others, especially those we do not know. Together we are all connected, making up collective humanity. We are one. Watch the full interview with Jenner and Diane Sawyer here.
 
 
by Nick Swartsell 01.05.2015
Posted In: News at 09:26 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Morning News and Stuff

Three-hundred attend vigil for Leelah Alcorn; heroin in jail; check out the size of this CEO's package

Morning all. Hope your weekend was great. Let’s get to the news.About 300 people showed up Saturday outside Kings Mills High School for a candlelight vigil in remembrance of Leelah Alcorn, the Kings Mills transgender teen who took her own life last month. Many attendees were Alcorn’s friends and classmates, representatives from LGBT groups like the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network and trans-specific groups like the Heartland Trans Wellness Group. More than a dozen speakers addressed the crowd, including a number of trans people and their families. Their message: There is acceptance and support for people who identify as transgender or who feel they might be transgender.“It really warms my heart seeing so many strangers and friends of Leelah coming out to support her,” said Abby Jones, who worked with Alcorn at Kings Island. Jones said Alcorn came out to her as transgender and shared the struggles she was having at home. Alcorn, born into a highly religious family, said in a suicide note shared to social media that she had trouble finding acceptance and help from her family, which sent her to religious counselors and tried therapies designed to convince Alcorn she was male.• Heroin continues to be a huge issue in the Greater Cincinnati area, to the point where inmates are overdosing in jail. Local law enforcement and corrections officials are working to find out how inmates get the drugs while they’re behind bars. There have been a number of overdose incidents in Hamilton County jail, including two in the last 18 months, leading some to wonder whether guards are helping to smuggle the drug in. Officials say there’s no sign of that, and that inmates often smuggle the drug in by swallowing balloons filled with it before entering the jail or get it from visitors. In 2013, the county jail treated more than 9,000 heroin addicts. County jails in Northern Kentucky face similar levels of addicts and have also seen overdoses, a reflection of the swelling heroin epidemic happening outside the jails in the general population. Kentucky’s legislature will consider a number of often-contradictory bills in its upcoming session to address the problem. The bills seek to do everything from making treatment easier to attain for those arrested with the drug to increasing penalties for those caught with heroin without providing more funding for clinics and other treatment methods.• Tomorrow, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on who will lead one of the world's most powerful deliberative bodies. Currently, that honor goes to Rep. John Boehner, who has spent two terms as House Speaker. Boehner says he expects an easy reelection from his party, but some conservatives are dead set against him. Among those is Boehner’s neighbor to the south, Rep. Thomas Massie, who represents Northern Kentucky. Massie has signaled he won’t be supporting Boehner for the most powerful job in the House, though he isn’t revealing who he will vote for. Massie is a tea partier who has opposed Boehner in the past, though never quite so publicly. A few other tea party-affiliated Republicans in the House have also indicated they won’t be supporting Boehner and have said they’re searching for his replacement. It’s a sign that even if Boehner wins his job again (which he probably will) it won’t be easy going for him over the next two years.• Will Kentucky religious organization Answers in Genesis sue the state over the fact it rescinded tax credits for a Noah’s Ark theme park based on Answers’ hiring practices? It could happen, supporters of the group say. The group has been building its park in Grant County and was originally awarded millions in tax credits by the state. However, those credits were withdrawn after questions arose about requirements by Answers that prospective employees fill out a testament of faith and other religiously oriented pre-employment materials. Opponents of the group say those materials violate equal employment rules and therefore make the Ark Park ineligible for public money. But supporters of the park say religious groups can be exempted from such rules. • So, say you oversaw the loss of tons of peoples’ credit card and other personal data and basically had to quit your job or be fired. What happens next? If you’re retiring Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel, you get $47 million. That’s Steinhafel’s retirement package, and it’s raising big questions about income inequality. You see, normal Target employees (you know, the ones who didn’t screw up big time and let the company get hacked) have only paltry 401Ks to fall back on when they get too old to stock shelves or sell those little pizzas in the café area. Experts say Steinhafel’s huge package (sounds weird when you say it that way) exemplifies another element of the continued divide between corporate bigwigs and every day workers and that other CEOs get similarly lush goodbye checks. So, if you want to be a millionaire, just, you know, make sure your company gets hacked and push for that golden parachute when you’re on your way out.
 
 
by Richard Lovell 10.20.2014
Posted In: LGBT, LGBT Issues at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Laverne Cox to Speak at NKU Next Week

Actress will deliver LGBTQ History Month keynote address

Transgender advocate and actress Laverne Cox will give a keynote speech at Northern Kentucky University in celebration of LGBT History Month on Tuesday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m.Many will recognize Cox for her groundbreaking role as Sophia Burset, an incarcerated transgender woman, in the Netflix com-dram series Orange Is the New Black.Earlier this year, she made history as the first transgender person to appear on the cover of Time Magazine and the first to produce and appear in her own television show, TRANSForm Me.Her success in the film and TV industry has made Cox a highly sought after speaker. Her empowering messages about gender expectations and transgender issues have made her an icon in the LGBT community, being named in Out Magazine’s “Out 100” and one of the top 50 transgender icons by Huffington Post.Tickets for the event have been selling quickly, as less than 10 remain available to the public. They can be purchased for $10 in Student Union Room 320 on the NKU campus.The event is sponsored by the university's LGBTQ Programs & Services, which provides advocacy and support to NKU students, staff, faculty and the greater Northern Kentucky community. More info here.
 
 

JAC Stringer

Creating a community for trans* and queer people to connect and express themselves

1 Comment · Wednesday, June 26, 2013
JAC Stringer’s path to becoming your average fuchsia-haired twentysomething living, working and playing in Cincinnati has probably been a little bit different than yours. And that’s OK.    
by Mike Breen 05.09.2012
Posted In: Music News, Music Commentary at 12:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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Music Stars and Gender Identity

Before Against Me!'s Tom Gabel there was Wendy Carlos and Genesis P-Orridge

The Internet is abuzz today with Rolling Stone's teaser about an article in the mag's issue out this Friday. The magazine spoke with Tom Gabel, lead singer for successful Punk band Against Me!, about his plans to begin "gender transition" to become a woman (taking the name Laura Jane Grace). The article will include conversation with the singer about her years of struggling with gender dysphoria (gender identity disorder) and her plans to transition by undergoing hormone treatments and electrolysis. It's a huge story because a Rock star with such relative mainstream popularity has never come out as transgender. But she's not the first notable music star to pursue gender reassignment. The Rolling Stone article says she's the first "major Rock star" to come out, but two other notable (and way more influential) musicians have gone from man to woman (or almost woman). Walter Carlos was a musical prodigy who would grow up to be an Electronic music pioneer … as a woman. In 1967, he began hormone treatments and began living as a female. In 1968, Wendy Carlos released Switched-On Bach, an album featuring the music of J.S. Bach rendered on a Moog synthesizer (then a new instrument). The success of the album allowed Wendy to undergo gender reassignment surgery in 1972 (40 years ago this month). Carlos — who also composed and recorded the soundtrack to the legendary film A Clockwork Orange — didn't speak about it until a 1979 interview with Playboy magazine. After feeling exploited, she rarely spoke in public about it again. Carlos took her identity very seriously; in 1998, she sued a songwriter called Momus for $22 million after he wrote a satirical song called "Walter Carlos," about Wendy going back in time and marrying Carlos. The case was settled; Momus took it off his CD and paid $30,000 in legal fees. Genesis P-Orridge was also a pioneer of Electronic music, as well as Industrial and dance music, with the groups Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV. In the ’90s, P-Orridge and his collaborator/wife, Lady Jaye (Jacqueline Breyer) embarked on an interesting "Pandrogyne" project that found the two artists working to become one individual androgynous person, Breyer P-Orridge. Though it was more of a living performance art project — and quite a romantic notion, if you think about it — about gender identity and less about gender identity disorder, Genesis didn't have a complete sex change, but the couple each had various surgeries to look more like each other. Among other surgeries, they both got identical breast implants; Genesis had lip surgery, cheek implants and hormone therapy; Lady Jaye had her eyes done. They also wore identical clothes and makeup. Sadly, Lady Jaye passed away in 2007, but P-Orridge has continued the project with more surgery.An acclaimed documentary about the couple, The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye, came out last year. Check the trailer out below. Famous transgendered people are nothing new. Click here for a fairly extensive list.
 
 

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