#IndieGoGo Love: All Of Us Project Making Schools Safer for LGBT Students

#IndieGoGo Love: All Of Us Project Making Schools Safer for LGBT Students

20131016024909-allofusususuusa9d92c

“Sadly today in Australia, school is the place where young people report the most homophobic abuse. Since 1998 levels of homophobic abuse reported by students, experienced in schools has risen from 69% in 1998 to 80% in 2010.”

- All of Us Read more

The Baby-Makin’ Music YouTube Playlist

Trans* and queer people can’t make babies? Okay, “Naysayers…” really?

Of course queer and trans* folks can make babies. People co-create babies…duh!

Anyhow, this mix doesn’t cover perfunctory, rote or mythical falsehoods. This playlist is all about…ahem. “Practice.”

Queer and Trans* imagery, entertainers and sensibilities are all up in this mix. You might call some of these tracks sensual or romantic. Tried to adhere to the ol’ “Keep it classy” standby, which only happened occasionally.

Sorry, not sorry?

homosexualmen Read more

All Purple Everything: #SpiritDay and Purple Prose Reflections

It seemed like the world turned purple on October 17th. So…did you wear or share purple on Spirit Day?

An unprecedented amount of celebrities (http://www.glaad.org/blog/celebs-showing-support-lgbt-youth-spiritday) and participants took part in celebrating Spirit Day’s anti-bullying mindset and campaign for peace.

spiritday2012purple1_320x245

Most notably, the #SpiritDay thought stream on Twitter, experienced a flurry of activity with somewhat minimal and hardly noticeable newsjacking and hashtag jumping occurring between the many supportive updates and social shares. Unfortunately anti-gay and anti-trans* push back was still somewhat present, but the signal-to-noise ratio tipped in favor of the celebrations at hand.

 

Read more

No More Bullies: Wear, Share and Go Purple on #SpiritDay October 17

 

No More Bullies: Go Purple for #SpiritDay on October 17

 “Spirit Day was started by a high school student in 2010 as a way to prevent bullying and show support for LGBT youth. Roughly eight out of 10 LGBT students experience harassment while at schools and as many as 63 percent of them report they also feel unsafe, according to GLAAD. The event takes place annually on every third Thursday in October.” CBS LA

Have you got the spirit?

Then put your Purple where your heart is. Read more

#YesGawd | It’s All Butch #Lesbian Calendars: Get Yours While It’s Hot!

Hm…Now, About This Calendar…

Tomboys, Tomboi’s, Butch Queens, James Deans, Studs to Love and oh so much more….

If you’ve got holiday gifts or GIFs in mind, be sure to make your way to ItsAllButch.com to buy yourself a little soupçon first–start with 2014. Then of course, you’re free to share the wealth–backtrack and ogle all the previous years’ selections.

butch-lesbian

Touted as Florida’s leading lesbian calendar, the claim’s more than understandable: the delicious yang’ed up grrl-grrl smorgasbord features a diversity of images that are diverse. There’s nothing sexier than an accurate reflection of all the sexy people in the community. Y’know…all the colors of the rainbow. Read more

#SOFFAs in Transition: Resources for Partners and Family of Trans* Persons

Finding a kind and loving support network for all but the world’s luckiest folks is a lifelong project. Multiply that times…what…infinity?…and it’s that much more challenging for trans* persons of experience to cultivate and to find.

Times are changing…we have trans* prom kings and queens, and public shaming or dismissal of trans* folks is becoming the real taboo, as it should be. Unfortunately for every advancement, inexcusable ignorance becomes much more identifiable and still continues to proliferate.

So of course, we still have a long way to go—and the more resources, gatherings and health-related modalities and methodologies that come to light in order to support, help, uplift and empower trans* persons of experience and their loved ones, the better.

If you’re reading this, you aim to support or share supportive resources with trans* persons, friends, families members, peers or others in solidarity. Here’s hoping you find useful resources, places and spaces to share below.

doc_145

Read more

Call for #Edu Proposals: OUT and Greek #LGBT Fraternity & Sorority Leadership Conference

 

Call for #Edu Proposals / Call for Workshop Submissions

Campus Pride is a national college advocacy organization for LGBTQ students and allies. Among its various outreach efforts, the nonprofit proactively educates Greek fraternities, sororities and supporting groups in order to encourage more LGBTQ-Friendly groups, college campuses, Greek-affiliated bodies and communities.

This week, Campus Pride posted its latest call for workshop submissions, encouraging participants and attendees for the upcoming 2014 OUT & Greek LGBT & Ally Fraternity & Sorority Leadership Conference which will take place April 10-13, 2014 in San Diego, California.

Please note: the deadline for submissions extends until December 15, 2013, and more information can be found below.

-

Call for #Edu Proposals: OUT and Greek #LGBT Fraternity & Sorority Leadership Conference

Affiliated with Campus Pride’s Lambda 10 Project

From the website–

Just Announced: Submit Workshops for 2014 OUT & Greek LGBT & Ally Fraternity & Sorority Leadership Conference until December 15, 2013

Registration Opens November 1st.

Now you can submit workshops for the Call for Programs for the 2014 Out & Greek LGBT & Ally Fraternity & Sorority Leadership Conference in tandem with the Association of Fraternal Leadership Values 2014 Conference. The Out & Greek conference provides intentional programming for members of our LGBT and ally community and the opportunity to submit a program proposal is now available online. The conference takes place from April 10-13, 2014 in San Diego, California.

Please note: Registration opens on November 1st.

Program submissions for Out & Greek are due on December 15, 2013 by 11:59 p.m. PDT.  Before applying, thoroughly review the Call for Programs website and the Call for Programs Informational Packet. Finally, submit your online submission.

Registration includes OUT & GREEK LGBT & Ally Conference program resources, featured keynotes, educators in residence, workshops and special LGBT & Ally opening welcome reception.

Last year,  the Association of Fraternal Leadership Values (AFLV) and Campus Pride announced a strategic partnership between the West Fraternal Leadership/National Cultural Greek Leadership Conference (WFL/NCGLC) and the Out & Greek LGBT & Ally Conference.

Campus Pride is the leading national educational organization for LGBT and ally college students and campus groups. The organization initiated its Lambda 10 Project in 1995 to create visibility and support of LGBT members of the college fraternity. The project works actively to develop resources and educational materials to educate on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression as it pertains to the fraternity/sorority experience.

The Out & Greek Conference cannot be possible without YOU! We need student leaders, campus-based professionals, we need headquarters staff members, we need professional speakers, and we need fraternity/sorority advocates. We need all of you to contribute to the educational experience at Out & Greek. Please submit your workshop today.

Now you can:

  • Learn how to become an effective straight ally
  • Share your story of coming out and being Greek
  • Network with other LGBT and ally fraternity and sorority leaders
  • Learn strategies for your organization and community to be safer and more LGBT friendly

-

Listed Keynote Speakers for 2014 are:

Shane Windmeyer, Co-Founder and Executive Director of CampusPride.Org

Kara Laricks, NBC Fashion Star Winner

-

This year’s conference takes place April 10-13, 2014 in San Diego, California.

To find out more information, please visit www.CampusPride.org.

 

 

#LGBTHM Q and A with Angela Gardner – Editor, TGForum.com

Sometimes you are pleasantly surprised by the acceptance you weren’t expecting.”

                                     – Angela Gardner, Transgender Forum (TGForum.com)

TGForum.com is a weekly online magazine with news and features for the trans* community featuring a resource library, regularly published articles, and a safe space for connection, creativity and raising trans* consciousness.

Editor Angela Gardner took some time to connect with us via email to answer some questions about the one-of-a-kind online forum.

-

Jaye: Hi, Angela: your business is so robust. TGForum.com is extremely comprehensive–equal parts community website, news website, secure/private shopping stop, and much more. There’s a lot of introductory/Trans* 101 available too. That’s alongside resources for trans* persons of experience and the community.

So from 1996 to now, can you share with us how the site’s evolved over time?

Angela: The site was founded by JoAnn Roberts, Cindy Martin and Jamie Fenton. In 1996, there was no pre-built social networking site software like there is today, so Jamie Fenton built it from scratch. The first iteration of TGF was all HTML code done by the writers who contributed. Cindy Martin was the editor and she would get everyone’s HTML file by email and put the new content together for publication every Monday.

Content wise, the site was always meant as a forum where people could discuss and learn about all transgender issues. There was input from the significant others of TGs, humor in the form of cartoons, TG history in the form of articles and photos of drag through history and medical info; the list goes on.

At the time it was started,TGF was a subscription based site. You had to pay a yearly fee and when you became a subscriber, you could see all the content and use all the features such as the bulletin board, the chat room and create your own profile and post your photos. Non-subscribers could read the articles but couldn’t see the photos or graphics. That was the Free TGForum version.

As the Web got more and more free spots where TGs could interact, TGF subscription began to go down. The two other partners left and JoAnn Roberts hired me to be the editor. At my urging, she went to a free publication plan and solicited more ads to support the site, as well as asking for donations from users. The loyal users did step up with contributions and the site made it through the first decade of this century. Software for Web publication had caught up and surpassed TGF, so JoAnn changed over to a WordPress based site.

That was tweaked and modified into the TGF you see today. Two things occurred when we moved to the WP format: we started accumulating more registered users (registering unlocks certain features) and our page views began to increase. The old TGF archives going back to 1996 were taken down. So there is a wealth of information that is now not available, but I try to add back the more important and still relevant things every year. 

Jaye: Ever-expansive. That’s so great. I know your your publication and forum addresses drag entertainers as well–do you think we’re coming to a place where trans* persons and drag performers are more mutually welcoming and inclusive?

Angela: I’ve always felt, and TGF’s stance has been, that drag artists are attracted to the whole idea in the first place because there’s some bit of “transness” in the personality. Most gay queens just think it’s because they’re gay but how many gay men take the time, effort and expense to dress flawlessly in drag? Some may do it for Halloween now and then but most have no more interest in wearing women’s clothing and makeup than the majority of straight men. So we feel that drag queens and female impersonators are our sisters on the transgender spectrum. There is still a lot of education to be done, but you’re going to see content about RuPaul’s Drag Race and other prominent queens on TGF.

Jaye: Fighting for the right to exist/fit in/have a “normal life…” it feels like such an irony. Societally, it feels like trans* living is still very much a battlefield. Achieving normalcy seems to be a right so many aggressively seek to deny. Have you seen a shift in-culture in terms of trans* persons around the idea of being stealth?

Angela: Stealth still goes on. It takes courage to declare openly that you were born a different sex than the one you’re presenting to the world. In some places that can still get you killed or beaten up. Not just in rural areas, but areas of some of our big cities TGs are often in danger. Stealth may actually increase that danger as a transwoman interacts with people in her sphere as a woman. Men are a threat since she doesn’t know how they will react if they learn that her genitals are not matched to her presentation or have been reshaped by surgery. Transphobia is homophobia and again, the world needs more education.

Jaye: What about feeling pressured to declare a gender (and opting out of doing so)?

Angela: Pick a gender! Start playing! Seriously, people should just be who they are. If a person doesn’t feel particularly one gender or another they should be free to experiment with any spot on the gender spectrum. Gender identity should be left up to the individual and once chosen should be honored by everyone. But being different will always be a challenge to some people. Again — education!

Jaye: On that note, do you hold any official TGForum events, or is your website more of a conduit and connection space?

Angela: No events other than our new content addition on Monday. It had been discussed from time to time, but we decided that our place was to bring information and a safe space to transgendered people on the Web. So no conventions or rave parties.

Jaye: Curious to hear your thoughts on this. Mister Cee’s public revelation about his connections with trans* persons has opened up some great discussions about love–why cis men and others are shamed for loving trans* women and what this says about our culture.

Janet Mock, Laverne Cox and others continue to address the idea and open the floor to a more inclusive and affirming discussion. Do you have any thoughts to share with our readers in light of these latest events?

Angela: I think this is part of the education that needs to be done. Mister Cee by coming out and being supported, even though he was outed against his wishes, lets other men who enjoy sex with transwomen know that their life might not be totally ruined if they stopped living on the down low and let their circle of friends and family know that TG ladies turned them on. Every TG admirer isn’t going to suddenly declare himself right away but it will get them thinking and maybe the hiding and skulking around TG nightspots to have brief encounters will diminish and they can start having honest relationships. That would be better for everyone.

From a personal perspective, I have a boyfriend and we go out to dinner a couple times a week. Often we are in the suburbs and now and then we do fine dining in Philadelphia. The number of times we have been treated with disrespect (presumably because I am TG) can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Or less. Most of the places we go, from diners to fine restaurants, people all treat us with the same degree of respect that they give the other patrons. So I think, at least around Philadelphia, the idea that TGs and their partners are as normal as any other couple is beginning to sink in. Again, with the caveat that there are some places it’s best not to go just because they may not be that enlightened. But sometimes you are pleasantly surprised by the acceptance you weren’t expecting.

Jaye: What is your opinion on the CIS cookies/CIS tears meme, and similar? [e.g. http://chaseross.tumblr.com/post/30953527685/recipe-for-cis-cookies]

Angela: I was unaware of the page. It seems an attempt at ironic humor but seems a bit bitter. TGs need to be aware that “CIS” people have never stopped to think about what gender they are. They may have experienced attractions to same sex people and had to wrestle with “am I gay” but the majority of them wake up in the morning and don’t even think “it’s great to be a man” or “I love being a woman.” That’s just the way they have felt all their lives. It’s only TGs who feel like a gender that doesn’t match their genitals, whether they feel that way all the time or part of the time.

So TGs might just want to give the other people a break. Go ahead and answer their stupid questions. Point them at websites where they  can learn more. Yes, it’s annoying but if you bite their nose off they’re going to just spread the word that “boy those TGs are cranky.”

Jaye: TGForum proactively shares triumphs and successes that trans* people experience along with breaking news and calls to action. Is the LGBTQ community trending more towards this focus? Can you recommend similar sites, art or media that articulates the entire spectrum?

Angela: It’s hard to say. I am so focused on making TGForum the best source for information that I haven’t spent much time looking around. I suppose I should but….

Jaye: I understand you’re an artist as well, and expert at graphic design along with your editorial work. Do you have your own consultancy as well, and is that affiliated with TGForum?

Angela: I wouldn’t call myself an expert and I haven’t marketed myself as such. I look at TGF and see something that needs done (like the new content slider graphics each week) and I just do them. I learn the technique I need and apply it. Shortly thereafter, I may forget how I did it. So I don’t feel I’m an expert, just a person with some of the tools needed and a search engine to find out how I make this or that appear on the screen. If people want some graphics I’d give it a shot, but other than my weekly TGF deadline I don’t work well with deadlines.

Jaye: How can folks get involved with TGForum.com (article submissions, joining the site, advertising, volunteering—are subscriptions required for membership)?

Angela: There’s a link right on the home page under my picture that lets people submit an article or article idea. I’m happy to hear from anyone who wants to contribute and recently, we have added some folks who used the link. As I said, you don’t have to subscribe anymore, but if you become a registered user I can give you contributor or author status and your posts will be credited to you and your profile info will appear at the bottom of the post.

Jaye: Do you accept financial donations?

Angela: We stopped soliciting donations when JoAnn Roberts sold the site to a new publisher. What people in the community can do to add their support is to tell vendors who have products the community wants/needs to contact us about advertising.  

Jaye: Excellent—thanks again for connecting with us and our readers, Angela.

Angela: Thanks Jaye! Let me know if you need clarification or have more questions.

-

As you can see, Angela is very accessible—if you want more information, you’re seeking resources or would like to contribute to TGForum in any way, she welcomes you to connect with her at www.TGForum.com.

 

 

#ASPCA | Pet Lovers 101: Choosing Your New Animal Baby

Are you one of those rare birds who does not yet have a pet? According to the Gay and Lesbian Consumer Online Census, nearly four out of five gay and lesbian folks share their lives and homes with at least one pet.

The survey found that lesbians were more likely than gay men to be pet owners, (87 percent vs. 71 percent), gay men were slightly more likely to own dogs than cats (41 percent vs. 38 percent), and lesbians were more likely to own cats than dogs (60. percent vs. 53 percent. The Humane Society says 73 percent of US households own dogs and cats, period—not even giving props to exotic and rare species…Go figure….

Though LGBT peeps, more often than not, are accused of anthropomorphizing and spoiling our “animal babies,” owning a pet of any kind can be one of the most rewarding things in our lives. Aside from that, you could very well be saving a life if your pet of choice is an animal rescue, and what could be lovelier than that?

Unless a stray wanders onto your doorstep and into your life, planning for your first pet is strongly advised, and there are a few things that you should keep in mind:

  • Honey, Should We Adopt?” People in the United States spend over $36 billion on their pets, but acquiring a pet doesn’t have to be expensive. You don’t have to buy purebreds, or specific breeds of any kind. There are more than enough animals in the world who need compassionate, adoptive Moms like you, and loving homes like the one you’ll provide. Pay a visit to your local ASPCA, or call The Humane Society. Your little bundle(s) of joy may just be waiting for you there.
  • It’s Not You, It’s Me! I Need More Space!” There are more than enough animals and breeds that can suit your schedule and lifestyle. From guinea pigs to chickens, horses to rats (it takes all kinds, mkay?), chinchillas, spiders, snakes— to your more common fish, birds, cats and dogs. Most importantly, you need to make sure that you have enough time and space, and the correct environment and climate to commit to caring for one or more animals for the length of their lifespan. If your time and availability is limited, you might want to think about birds, fish, hamsters, or other such sweet critters that require less attention than Fido, or Boo-Boo Kitty.
  • Money Changes Everything.” The bigger the pet, the more expensive its food and vet bills will be. Birds are said to be the easiest to care for, while dogs and horses are pricier. So, think about it: are you sure you have to have a “purebred whatevs?” Basic needs make up just the preliminary costs. You’ll also need to think about vaccinations, flea treatments, grooming, training, toys, and unexpected expenses.
  • Create a No-Catfighting Zone. If you’re not home much, it might be best think about introducing two animals into your home at once. But if you do decide to do that, you have to be able to commit dedicate time to encouraging them to hang out together, and hopefully come to love (or tolerate) each other. If you don’t invest the time in the beginning, you’ll wind up having to care for them as two separate entities, which defeats the purpose of your getting two animals in the first place. They didn’t invent the term “cat fights” for nothing!
  • Who’s Your Auntie? – Who’ll be the babysitter/primary caregiver while you’re away? This person also needs to commit to the same type of loving care and treatment that you give to your animals when you’re there. This includes holidays—if you can’t take the animal with you—as well as proper feeding and exercise.

Whichever animal you choose, remember than animal companions are good for your health, and your loving care is great for theirs.

Resources for LGBT Animal Guardians

LelePets.com and Coupaw.com

Like Groupon for pet owners. Online deals and flash sales sites for pet needs and supplies.

Over the Rainbow Shop
www.overtherainbowshop.com

This online destination sells itty bitty wittle outfits to keep your pets warm, and gear for you too.
Gay Pride Pet Clothing Search @Zazzle
http://www.zazzle.com/gay+pride+pet+clothing

Don’t laugh and don’t front: you’ll be prepping for your poolside party and you (or someone you know and love) will suddenly have a cray cray urge to dress your animal babies up in rainbow gear. Find several LGBT-themed pet accessories including rainbow tags, collars, leashes and toys. Straight up adorbs.

Perfect Petzzz

www.perfectpetzzz.com.my

Animals, kids and pet-owners-to be love these virtual buddies that aren’t quite the real thing, but are an incredible simulation.

Dogster and Catster – For dog and cat lovers who take their parenthood seriously: create profiles for your dogs and cats and meet other dogs and cats…um, owners.

 

-

October is Adopt A Shelter Dog Month. To show your support at the ASPCA, click here: http://www.aspca.org/adopt/adopt-a-shelter-dog-month

Pet-Friendly Travel Tips

 

A friend of a friend is an LGBT travel consultant. Out of curiosity, I asked him about booking pet-friendly trips with businesses that are also LGBT-friendly—was this a common thing?

His cheeky response was: “We do not allow any pets to accompany their owners on our adventures. This is at the pet’s request—they like to stay home and have the house to themselves and hold big parties with their friends.”

Clever, eh?

He got my golf claps and 10′s across the board for snarkiness. Meanwhile, I did a little snooping and discovered some things. Community Marketing’s gay and lesbian consumer index (including responses from over 10,000 gay men and 10,000 lesbians) found that 61% of gay men and 83% of lesbians are pet owners. Just as travel agencies, destinations and agents become more LGBTQ-savvy, slowly but surely they’re including our love for animals in the mix.

Whether you’re driving or flying, it’s crucial to remember that you need to be the “pack leader,” literally and figuratively. Pack both practical and comfy-cozy gear for you, your friends and family, and your beloved animal-babies. Always envision and prepare for a smooth trip and plan, plan, plan!

Below, you’ll find some pet travel tips for road trips and more.

 

Pet Travel Tips:

Don’t just think about amenities—think about travel costs and fees. Hotels and motels may enforce pet’s weight requirements and require fees or deposits. Call ahead to find out as many details as you can so you’re sure to have a good trip.

Make sure your animal babies are current on all vaccinations. Keep a copy of your animal’s papers in your glove compartment, just as you would for yourself and your girlfriend/wife. Keep all appropriate meds with you, and make sure your pet’s wearing his/her tags.

Bring plenty of familiar sights and sounds for your doggies, kitties, etc. (Like binky-blankets, toys, and yummy but healthy snacks). Bring appropriate animal carriers with you.

If you’re flying, be sure to be conscious of any rules other states may have about traveling with pets (no pets in motels if you’re traveling to North Carolina, may?).

Try to keep your pets on their regular feeding schedules once you’ve reached your destination, but don’t feed them too much on the morning that you’re heading out. If your animals fall ill, that’s no good for anybody. And poop scooping in the car ain’t cute.

Take regular breaks at rest stops, especially if your pets aren’t easily entertained inside your vehicle.

As you’ll be in less familiar territory, never leave your animals alone or unattended, and never leave them in a car alone in an unfamiliar place (even with the windows cracked open).

Just as you can leave your animals in the house for a few hours at a time, so too can you travel on the road without frequent stops. Still, if your animal-kid has behavioral problems, find a great sitter or leave ‘em at home. Not only is it bad “pettiquette” to upset strangers, it could also be potentially unsafe.

Bring and acquire water. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate–and that goes for you too.

 

Purrfectly Pet-Friendly Sites:

PetsWelcome.com – www.petswelcome.com

Features lodging Listings for over 25,000 hotels, B&Bs, ski resorts, campgrounds, and beaches that dig felines, canines and friends. Also features a pet sitters’ registry, and an acclaimed series of readily available travel books.

Pets on the Go – www.petsonthego.com

A definitive guide detailing animal-loving B&Bs, inns, hotels, resorts and private rentals. Includes reviews and professional advice and a special “pet-friendly car rental company” section.

Yahoo Pets – http://shine.yahoo.com/blogs/pets

Offers information about all kinds of pets including adoption information, breeds, pet pictures, pet finder, videos and so much more.

Kimpton Hotels – www.kimptonhotels.com - 1-866-544-3576

Yes, smarty-pants travel agent dude: there’s at least one pet-friendly and LGBT-friendly hotel chain I discovered along the way. Scoring a perfect 100 percent in HRC’s Corporate Equality Index, the Kimpton chain, with properties in San Diego, San Francisco and beyond, also features an LGBT customer loyalty program, 10% Pride discounts and packages, and amenities and discounts for LGBT singles, families, and pets.

-

October is Adopt A Shelter Dog Month. To show your support at the ASPCA, click here: http://www.aspca.org/adopt/adopt-a-shelter-dog-month