Tag: LGBT rights

Brigid Hughes and the covers of the past few issues of 'A Public Space'

Is the Singular “They” Grammatically Correct?

Language is always evolving. The way we speak in 2018 will not at all be the way we speak in 2068, much in the same way that we don’t currently speak the way people did in 1318. The evolution of language is a fabulous thing; it reflects our capacity to adapt and change when presented with new information, and allows for the progress of the human species. But change is painfully slow, and the progress of language is especially hindered because of the irritating culture of linguistic gatekeeping. There are people in the world who take immense pride in their supposed mastery of the English language, to the point of being downright snobbish toward people who either have not had the privilege of an English language education or simply reject the idea that it is necessary to take grammar so seriously.


One of the current linguistic debates is over the use of “they” as a singular pronoun. In recent years, people have become much more attentive to the pronouns used to refer to others. Slowly, effort is being made to ask first before calling someone “she” or “he,” and while the question may seem small or unnecessary, it’s really not. Simply asking for someone’s pronouns indicates respect for the person being spoken to, acknowledgement of their right to determine their own identity, and reinforces that appearance cannot be and has never been the sole indicator of one’s gender, and truthfully, it never has been, but now people are starting to notice.


spectrum of gender

Image via Gender Free World


But even those who have gotten far enough to recognize the necessity of asking for pronouns may not have expanded their horizons far enough to include genders outside of the binary male-female system. In other words, even if you have recognized that the gender binary is not what you’ve been told it is, you may not know what exists outside of that binary.


Not everyone in this world is either a man or a woman, and even if one is a man or a woman, one’s relation to or expression of that identity may not be exclusive to traditional gender-based limitations. 


These people may accept she or he pronouns, but many exclusively accept “they.” Which is fine. There is absolutely no personal sacrifice required to refer to a person by the pronoun by which they have told you they will be referred to. But of course, some people just gotta be difficult.


"Are you a boy or a girl?" "No"

Image via Beyond the Binary


There is a alarming number of people in the world who are so hung up on the “rules” that they are completely dismissing the importance of using “they” as a gender-neutral singular pronoun. There is an even more alarming number of people who are fully cognizant of the importance of gender-neutral pronouns and use their conception of rigid grammar to disrespect and insult non-binary people.


To be clear, even if the singular they was incorrect, it would not matter. Language is capable of evolving, and if we use “they” as a singular pronoun, it is a singular pronoun. Every single word we speak today was once new and never-before-used. Many of our words mean something entirely different today than they did when they entered the lexicon. Words are invented and once invented, evolve further to fill the gaps in our language. We have words because we need them, and when a new linguistic gap presents itself, we improvise.


For example, have you ever wondered why English doesn’t have a plural second-person pronoun to compare to “you”? In the absence of such a pronoun, we resort to using “y’all,” “youse,” “yinz,” and the technically more correct, but clunky, “you all.” The answer is actually hiding in plain sight.


Back in the olden times (very olden, we’re talking like Shakespeare’s era), “you” was the plural pronoun. If you were speaking to one person, you’d address them as “thou.” That is, you would, unless you were speaking to royalty. It is not unusual to perceive and address a monarch as being plural; recall Queen Victoria’s famous line, “We are not amused.”


“Thou” eventually fell out of use in the 17th century due to being perceived as impolite. Therefore, if you have any qualms about “they” as a singular pronoun, then it would behoove you to start thou-ing people, lest you be taken for a hypocrite.


Shakespeare Folio

Image via Smithsonian Magazine


Aside from the historical evolution of language, the singular they is also defended by its formidable ally, Merriam-Webster.



Who would’ve thought Merriam-Webster was such a fierce LGBTQ advocate? But indeed they are, and listen to me: Merriam-Webster will fight you.




Image via Daily Hampshire Gazette


Featured Image Via Nonbinary Wiki and Dr. Jenny Arm

Nicole Maines

The CW Makes History With First Transgender Superhero in ‘Supergirl’

At Comic Con last weekend, CW announced some exciting news for ‘Supergirl’ fans! They are welcoming their newest cast member to the team, Nicole Maines!



If Maines’s name sounds familiar, that’s because it should; in 2014, the then sixteen-year-old went head-to-head with the Maine Supreme Judicial Court (and won) when she claimed that her high school was violating her rights under the Human Rights Act by not allowing her to use the restroom of her choosing. The court ruled in her favor, and Maines has been a leading figurehead in the fight for transgender rights ever since.


Maines went on to be featured in the HBO documentary The Trans List, along with playing a guest-starring role on the television series Royal Pains. And now, the twenty-year-old actress and activist will take on the role of the newest Supergirl heroine, Nia Nal.


The character is said to based on the DC Comics character Nura Nal, otherwise known as Dream Girl, who has the ability to foresee the deaths of others. 


Nura Nal original comics

Image via MajorSpoilers


This announcement came just days after the CW and Warner Bros. announced their plans to make Batwoman openly gay in their new Batwoman television adaptation, much like she is in the original comics.


It’s so exciting to see companies as prominent as the CW and Warner Bros. openly speak out and take a stand for the LGBTQ+ community. The LGBTQ+ community is rarely depicted in a real, raw, and normalized human way within film and television; it’s refreshing to see that begin to shift, especially after Scarlett Johansson’s Rub & Tug casting, in which Hollywood decided to cast yet another cis-actor as a trans-role. Johansson has since relinquished the role. Maines herself, spoke out against the casting (and you can read more trans-actors’ takes on it here):


We have straight people playing gay people all the time and that’s because there isn’t a larger conversation around—there’s not so much harmful rhetoric flying around that they are parading around, dressing up, pretending and so you have to think about context with that. And with trans folks, we have a lot of people accusing us of just playing dress up for whatever reason, and that’s not true. And so having trans people play trans roles shows that we are valid in our identity and we deserve to exist as we do. And so when we have cisgender actors play trans characters, it further that stereotype that we are playing dress up, which is not true.


The transgender community is the most-targeted community regarding hate crimes, acts of violence, and even homicide of any demographic. Researchers in 2017 discovered that one third of the transgender community has been the victim of a hate crime. And 53% of anti-LGBTQ+ murders are transgendered women. (If you’re looking for ways to get involved or more information on how you can help, click here.)


The hatred and oppression will only continue if we, as a society, continue to fail; we need to allow transpeople to share their stories, to be on television, to star in movies, to be so clearly, unashamedly visible and present and equal and here without the constant fear of being targeted because of it. We are one people and we need to uplift and protect each other; failure to bring equality to all is immoral and inhuman in the cruelest of ways.


The CW is leading the way towards visibility in the media with Supergirl and it’s time for the rest of Hollywood to follow their lead.


Trans Lifeline Hotline: 877-565-8860






Featured Image via USA Today

rainbow bookshelf

20 Queer Authors from History Who You Need to Know

Given the scarcity of satisfactory LGBTQ representation, one might be inclined to think that LGBTQ people haven’t existed for the bulk of human history. Nothing could be further from the truth. Queer folks have been around since the dawn of time, and we aren’t going anywhere. Discrimination, violence, and oppression have contributed to the erasure of queer individuals who have been blazing the trails since before your grandparents’ grandparents were born, and here is just a small drop in the ocean of queer writers throughout history.


1. Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

Image Via NPR

Image Via NPR


Walt Whitman was a American, poet, author, essayist, and journalist. His prolific career is perhaps best remembered for his epic poems Leaves of Grass and Song of Myself. Biographers have continually debated Whitman’s sexual orientation; his poetry, particularly Leaves of Grass, which faced serious censorship after its publication, contains several homoerotic images, however others argue that this was unintentional. Whitman himself was cagey (to say the least) about the queer tones in his work. He often denied that there was any homoerotic subtext in his writing, yet those who knew him claimed that in their relationships, he was rather frank about his sexuality.


Oscar Wilde (who also appears on this list), after meeting Whitman in 1882, was adamant that Whitman was gay, and even told the activist George Cecil Ives, “I have the kiss of Walt Whitman still on my lips.” Whitman suffered from poor health later in life, and eventually passed away in 1892 of several lung-related illnesses.


2. Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)


Image Via Telegraph

Image Via Telegraph


You knew this was coming. Oscar Wilde was an Irish novelist and poet, and is often remembered for his novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and the drama that surrounds its publication. Dorian Gray was originally published in Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine, and drew such harsh criticism for its depiction of “immorality,” (one character in the novel expresses a potentially romantic infatuation for another male character) that when it was later re-published as a book, Wilde toned down the novel’s homoerotic subtext.


In 1895, Wilde became embroiled in a libel case against the Marquess of Queensberry; this case did not turn out in Wilde’s favor, and led to his arrest and conviction on charges of sodomy and gross indecency. It was during this trial that Wilde was called upon to make his famous “the love that dare not speak its name” speech, during which he said, “It is beautiful, it is fine, it is the noblest form of affection. There is nothing unnatural about it…. The world mocks at it, and sometimes puts one in the pillory for it.” After his conviction, Wilde spent two years in prison, and his final work, The Ballad of Reading Gaol, was inspired by this imprisonment. After release, Wilde spent the rest of his life in exile and died destitute in Paris in 1900 (possibly due to complications from an injury incurred while in prison).


3. Virginia Woolf (1882-1941)


Image Via QZ.com

Image Via QZ.com


Virginia Woolf was an English writer and poet, best known as the author of Mrs. Dalloway and A Room of One’s Own. Woolf was a member of the Bloomsbury Group, a group of prominent English literary figures, who, among other things, encouraged a liberal conception of sexuality. This encouragement may have been what allowed Woolf to feel secure enough to have a long-term relationship with poet, writer, and garden designer, Vita Sackville-West. Virginia Woolf’s queer feminist classic Orlando (which you may know from the excellent film adaptation starring Tilda Swinton) is inspired by the events of Sackville-West’s life, and Woolf’s son Nigel Nicolson said of the novel:


The effect of Vita on Virginia is all contained in Orlando, the longest and most charming love letter in literature, in which she explores Vita, weaves her in and out of the centuries, tosses her from one sex to the other, plays with her, dresses her in furs, lace and emeralds, teases her, flirts with her, drops a veil of mist around her.


Woolf struggled with her mental health her entire life, and eventually succumbed to suicide in 1941.


4. Alain Locke (1885-1954)

Image Via YouTube

Image Via YouTube


Alain Locke was an American writer, philosopher, and educator, known as the unofficial “Dean” of the Harlem Renaissance. His influence was so pervasive that Martin Luther King is quoted as saying, “We’re going to let our children know that the only philosophers that lived were not Plato and Aristotle, but W. E. B. Du Bois and Alain Locke came through the universe.”


In 1925, Locke edited The New Negro: An Interpretation, a collection of short fiction, poetry, and essays on African and African-American art and literature; this text was a major landmark in Locke’s expression of his philosophy of “The New Negro,” a belief that African-Americans must reject white standards of behavior and invest in the concept of black advancement and equality. Locke was gay, and acted as a mentor and role model to several other gay members of the Harlem Renaissance, including Countee Cullen, who appears on this list. Locke died due to heart disease in 1954.


5. Frederico García Lorca (1898-1936)


Image Via Art Sheep

Image Via Art Sheep


Frederico García Lorca was a Spanish writer, poet, and dramatist; he, along with Salvador Dalí, was a member of the Generation of ‘27, a group of influential Spanish artists (primarily poets) dedicated to avant-garde forms of expression. Some of his works include Poem of the Deep Song, Gypsy Ballads, and The Butterfly’s Evil Spell. García Lorca was gay, and due to his inclusion of homoromantic themes in his work, he was heavily censored during his lifetime—his work was generally banned in Spain until 1953.


He was a target of Spain’s Franco-era government; official reports describe García Lorca as a “socialist” and participant in “homosexual and abnormal practices.” García Lorca was shot in 1936, likely by members of a Nationalist militia. The precise identity of García Lorca’s assailants is unknown, and his body was never found.


6. Langston Hughes (1902-1967)


Image Via Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

Image Via Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh


Langston Hughes was an American writer and poet, best known for being a leader of the Harlem Renaissance and a pioneer of jazz poetry. As a child, Hughes had a difficult relationship with his father, a relationship that inspired his story “Blessed Assurance,” which describes a young man struggling to get along with his father due to the son’s perceived effeminacy. Biographers are unsettled on the issue of Hughes’ sexuality.


Like Whitman, it is believed that he worked homoromantic subtext into many of his works, but some biographers argue that Hughes may have been asexual. However, others point out that in order to secure the support of certain churches for his activism, Hughes would have had to be very careful not to disclose his sexuality if it had been anything other than heterosexual. Hughes never married, and died in 1967 after complications from surgery for his prostate cancer. Hughes’ ashes were interred under a cosmogram at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem.


7. Countee Cullen (1903-1946)


Image Via Poetry Foundation

Image Via Poetry Foundation


Like Hughes, Countee (pronounced coun-TAY) Cullen was a poet, children’s writer, novelist, and a leader of the Harlem Renaissance. Unlike Hughes, Cullen was far more candid about his sexuality. Cullen was a mentee of the Harlem Renaissance’s “Dean,” Alain Locke, who guided Cullen towards queer-positive material that encouraged him to embrace his identity.


In a letter to Locke, Cullen wrote, “It opened up for me soul windows which had been closed; it threw a noble and evident light on what I had begun to believe, because of what the world believes, ignoble and unnatural.” Cullen’s career was devoted to the advancement of African-American literature and civil rights. He died in 1946 due to complications of high blood pressure, he was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx.


8. Michael Dillon (1915-1962)


Image Via Tranzgender

Image Via Tranzgender

Michael Dillon was a British physician and author, as well as the first man in England to undergo gender-affirming surgery (a surgery that was performed in secret by a trusted colleague). In 1946, Dillon published Self: A Study in Ethics and Endocrinology. The book is about the experience of “masculine inverts,” people we now refer to as men who were assigned female at birth.


In the book, Dillon argued for medical transition as a treatment for gender dysphoria, rather than conversion “therapy,” writing, “Where the mind cannot be made to fit the body, the body should be made to fit, approximately at any rate, to the mind.” Tragically, Dillon was publicly outed against his will, and in order to escape the undesired press, he spent the rest of his life in Buddhist communities in India, where he eventually died.


9. James Baldwin (1924-1987)


Image Via Los Angeles Times

Image Via Los Angeles Times

James Baldwin was an American novelist and prominent figure in the civil rights movement. Baldwin grew up in Harlem, and on that experience, he said, “I knew I was black, of course, but I also knew I was smart. I didn’t know how I would use my mind, or even if I could, but that was the only thing I had to use.” Frustrated by the discrimination he faced in the U.S., Baldwin emigrated to France when he was twenty-four, and spent most of his later life there.


In 1956, Baldwin published Giovanni’s Room, a novel that drew intense attention and criticism for its portrayal of homosexuality and bisexuality and is often cited as one of the most important queer novels ever written. In the 70s and 80s, Baldwin boldly and openly wrote about homosexuality and homophobia in several essays. Baldwin died of stomach cancer in France in 1987, his remains were interred in Hartsdale, New York.


10. Truman Capote (1924-1984)


Image Via Truman Capote

Image Via Truman Capote

If you love true crime writing, you owe a lot to Truman Capote, who, in 1966, published In Cold Blood, which revolutionized the form and style of crime writing. Capote is also responsible for Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Other Voices, Other Rooms, and A Christmas Memory. Capote was openly gay, and while he was never much of an active participant in the gay rights movement, the openness with which he expressed his identity in conjunction with his level of celebrity was an important milestone in queer history.


Capote was known for his sharp wit and searing humor; several years before his death, he said, “Life is a moderately good play with a badly written third act.” Capote died at the age of fifty-nine of liver disease and drug intoxication.


11. Yukio Mishima (1925-1970)


Image Via Medium

Image Via Medium


Yukio Mishima, widely considered to be one of the most important Japanese writers of the 20th century, was an author, poet, playwright, actor, model, and film director.  His first novel, Confessions of a Mask, is a semi-autobiographical tale of a young man who must deal with concealing his homosexuality in Imperial Japan.


Mishima was a nationalist and in 1968, he founded the Tatenokai right-wing militia, which in 1970 initiated a coup d’ėtat of the Japan Self-Defense Forces. The coup failed, and in shame, Mishima committed ritual suicide. Six years after his death, Mishima’s novel, The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea, was adapted into a British film.


12. Jan Morris (1928-)


Image Via Getty Images

Image Via Getty Images 

Jan Morris is a Welsh author, best known for her travel writing, especially the Pax Britannica trilogy. For this work, she was honored with a CBE by Queen Elizabeth 1999. Morris is transgender, and in 1974, she detailed her transition in her book Conundrum, which was one of the first autobiographies to describe a person’s gender transition.


In the book, she writes about growing up and discovering her gender dysphoria as a child, saying, “Perhaps one day, when I grew up, I would be as solid as other people appeared to be; but perhaps I was meant always to be a creature of wisp or spindrift, loitering in this inconsequential way almost as though I were intangible.” Morris still writes and lives mainly in northern Wales.


13. Lorraine Hansberry (1930-1965)


Image Via Sheen Magazine

Image Via Sheen Magazine

If you went to high school in the United States, you are probably familiar with Lorraine Hansberry. Hansberry is the American playwright behind A Raisin in the Sun, the very first play by a black woman to be performed on Broadway. Based on private journals and letters, as well as her enthusiastic advocacy for gay rights, it is believed that Hansberry was attracted to women.


Hansberry died of pancreatic cancer when she was only thirty-four, leaving behind a legacy of powerful activism, and throughout her life, she encouraged those on the furthest margins of society to push back against systemic oppression as hard as they can; “They must harass, debate, petition, give money to court struggles, sit-in, lie-down, strike, boycott, sing hymns, pray on steps—and shoot from their windows when the racists come cruising through their communities.”


14. Larry Kramer (1935-)


Image Via Instinct Magazine

Image Via Instinct Magazine

Larry Kramer is an American playwright and author best known for his passionate activism on behalf of AIDS victims, which most of his books and plays are written about. In 1980, he co-founded the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, which is now the largest private organization that works to provide assistance to people living with AIDS. Kramer became disillusioned with the pace of GMHC’s progress, and based his best-known play, The Normal Heart, on these experiences.


To counter the frustration he experienced with GMHC, Kramer helped found ACT UP, a direct action advocacy group dedicated to fighting the AIDS plague. Kramer still writes and advocates for AIDS victims, and in 2014, The Normal Heart was adapted into film by HBO.


15. Pat Parker (1944-1989)


Image Via Instinct Magazine

Image Via Lynda Koolish

Pat Parker was an American poet, activist, and writer known for her heartbreaking poetry on the experience of being a gay black woman in the U.S. From 1978-1988 she was the executive director of the Oakland Feminist Women’s Health Center, and she was also somewhat involved in the Black Panther movement. She spent her life advocating for the rights of LGBTQ people, victims of domestic violence, people of color, women, and the intersections among those groups.


One of her best known poems, Womanslaughter, is about the murder of her older sister at the hands of her husband, and the lack of justice that followed. Parker died of breast cancer in 1989; she is survived by her long-term partner, Marty Dunham, and their two daughters.


16. Angela Davis (1944-)


Image Via theGrio

Image Via theGrio


Angela Davis is and American activist, educator, and author, known for being a superstar of the Black Panther movement. In 1997, she identified herself as a lesbian in an issue of Out magazine. She is a prolific writer, and her work has taken on issues that face the black community in the United States, specifically black women. Some her works include Women, Race, & Class, Are Prisons Obsolete?, and The Meaning of Freedom: And Other Difficult Dialogues.


Davis still writes and teaches, and was recently featured in Ava DuVernay’s documentary 13th. Davis’ activism and writing has mainly been oriented around using education as a method of promoting social change; “We have to talk about liberating minds as well as liberating society.”


17. Jackie Curtis (1947-1985)


Image Via WarholSuperstars

Image Via WarholSuperstars 


Jackie Curtis was an American actress, writer, and singer. She is best known for being one of Andy Warhol’s superstars, but she was also a prolific playwright, having written Glamour, Glory and Gold, Amerika Cleopatra, Femme Fatale, among others. Several notable people starred in productions of her plays, such as Robert de Niro, Harvey Fierstein, and Patti Smith.


Curtis is also one of the figures named in Lou Reed’s Take a Walk on the Wild Side. Curtis was transgender, and cast several trans actors in her plays to counter the lack of trans representation on stage. Throughout her life, Curtis struggled with drug addiction, and died of a heroin overdose in 1985 at thirty-eight years old.


18. Kate Bornstein (1948-)


Image Via Signature Reads

Image Via Signature Reads

Kate Bornstein is a gender non-conforming trans author and performance artist, who has published several queer-oriented books, including, Hello, Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws,  and My New Gender Workbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving World Peace Through Gender Anarchy and Sex Positivity. Bornstein is still working and you can follow her excellent Twitter account at twitter.com/katebornstein.


Bornstein’s work has been primarily concerned with changing the way we understand gender, and transforming our understanding of gender as a binary system into one that acknowledges gender identities other than male and female. She is quoted as saying, “Gender is not sane. It’s not sane to call a rainbow black and white.”


19. Leslie Feinberg (1949-2014)


Image Via Wildgender.com

Image Via Wildgender.com


Leslie Feinberg was an American author and activist. In 1993, Feinberg wrote Stone Butch Blues, a memoir about hir experience as a butch lesbian in the United States in the 1970s. Known for hir gender non-conforming expression, Feinberg adjusted hir pronouns in different contexts, noting, “I like the gender neutral pronoun “ze/hir” because it makes it impossible to hold on to gender/sex/sexuality assumptions about a person you’re about to meet or you’ve just met.” Feinberg’s work was generally oriented around the progression of gender studies discourse; hir 1996 book, Transgender Warriors, was crucial in advancing gender studies discourse in mainstream outlets.


Feinberg passed away in 2014 due to complications related to Lyme disease. Ze was survived by hir spouse, Minnie Bruce Pratt, also a writer and activist.


20. Lou Sullivan (1951-1991)


Image Via JM Ellison

Image Via JM Ellison


Lou Sullivan was an American writer and editor who published several resources for transgender men, both independently and as the editor of The Gateway, a San Franciscan newsletter circulated amongst the local queer community. As a gay trans man, Sullivan was met with obstacles to his transition, for at the time he was seeking medical attention, heterosexuality was a criterion for recognition of medical necessity for transition. This put Sullivan on the path of lobbying the American Psychiatric Association and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health to remove the orientation requirement, so that all transgender Americans could have access to life-saving dysphoria treatment regardless of sexual orientation.


Sullivan was diagnosed with HIV in 1980, and later passed away from AIDS-related complications in 1991. Known for his grim and often brutal sense of humor, Sullivan once wrote, “I took a certain pleasure in informing the gender clinic that even though their program told me I could not live as a Gay man, it looks like I’m going to die like one.”

Featured Image Via LGBTQ Center of Durham

Marsha P. Johnson

17 Quotes from LGBTQ+ Trailblazers

It’s Pride month!


Now is the time for freedom, celebration, liberation, and love! The LGBTQ+ community has fought hard (and is still fighting) against societal and systemic oppression every single day (especially the Transgender community; here’s a list of all the lives that have been lost in 2018 alone).


This month is a time to celebrate how far we’ve come, to acknowledge the oppressions and inequalities that are still so prevalent, and to keep marching toward and fighting for the revolution we need.


It is also a time to recognize and remember the activists who got us here. We wouldn’t have rights, Pride, or any of the freedoms we get to experience day-by-day if it weren’t for their bravery, selflessness, and perseverance. 


Here are seventeen quotes from incredible activists who paved the way!


Marsha P. Johnson:

Now they got two little nice statues in Chariot Park to remember the gay movement. How many people have died for these two little statues to be put in the park for them to recognize gay people? How many years has it taken people to realize that we are all brothers and sisters and human beings in the human race? I mean how many years does it take people to see that? We’re all in this rat race together!


Harvey Milk:

If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door.


Laverne Cox:

It is revolutionary for any trans person to choose to be seen and visible in a world that tells us we should not exist.


James Baldwin:

Everybody’s journey is individual. If you fall in love with a boy, you fall in love with a boy. The fact that many Americans consider it a disease says more about them than it does about homosexuality.


Barbara Smith:

Remember, goals are stars to steer by, not sticks with which to beat ourselves.


Audre Lorde:

When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.


Bayard Rustin:

When an individual is protesting society’s refusal to acknowledge his dignity as a human being, his very act of protest confers dignity on him.


Andrea Gibson:

It is untrue that bravery can be measured by a lack of fear. It takes guts to tremble. It takes tremble to love.


Barbara Gittings:

As a teenager, I had to struggle alone to learn about myself and what it meant to be gay. Now for [48] years I’ve had the satisfaction of working with other gay people all across the country to get the bigots off our backs, to oil the closet door hinges, to change prejudiced hearts and minds, and to show that gay love is good for us and for the rest of the world too. It’s hard work—but it’s vital, and it’s gratifying, and it’s often fun!


Jennicet Gutiérrez:

Immigrant trans women are 12 times more likely to face discrimination because of our gender identity. If we add our immigration status to the equation, the discrimination increases. Transgender immigrants make up one out of every 500 people in detention, but we account for one out of five confirmed sexual abuse cases in ICE custody. The violence my trans sisters face in detention centers is one of torture and abuse. The torture and abuse come from ICE officials and other detainees in these detention centers. I have spoken with my trans immigrant sisters who were recently released from detention centers. With a lot of emotional pain and heavy tears in their eyes, they opened up about the horrendous treatment they all experienced. Often seeking asylum to escape threats of violence because of their gender identity and sexuality, this is how they’re greeted in this country. At times misgendered, exposed to assault, and put in detention centers with men.


Frida Kahlo:

I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.


Sylvia Rivera:

I was a radical, a revolutionist. I am still a revolutionist…I am glad I was in the Stonewall riot. I remember when someone threw a Molotov cocktail, I thought, “My god, the revolution is here. The revolution is finally here!


Martina Navratilova:

I never felt I had anything to hide. I never felt being gay was anything to be ashamed of, so I never felt apologetic. I didn’t have issues with it, didn’t grow up with any religion, so I didn’t have any religious, you know, issues to deal with as far as homosexuality is concerned. So, I accepted it very easily. For me, it wasn’t that big a deal.


Mabel Hampton:

I, Mabel Hampton, have been a lesbian all my life, for 82 years, and I am proud of myself and my people. I would like all my people to be free in this country and all over the world, my gay people and my black people.


Christine Jorgenson:

Everyone is both sexes in varying degrees. I am more of a woman than a man.


Brenda Howard:

Bi, Poly, Switch—I’m not greedy, I know what I want.


Janet Mock:

Self-definition and self-determination is about the many varied decisions that we make to compose and journey toward ourselves…It’s okay if your personal definition is in a constant state of flux as you navigate the world.








Featured Image Via Famous Biographies

fred and george that's rubbish

J.K. Rowling Liked Tweet Referring to Transwomen as ‘Men in Dresses’

The world would be a very different place without Twitter, there’s no denying it. Without it, perhaps we would live in blissful ignorance of the bad opinions harbored by those we admire. But alas, we do not live in that world. Twitter exists, and J.K. Rowling uses it to frequently get herself into trouble with fans. 


Over the past few months, Rowling has caused much upset amongst her fanbase with her defense of Johnny Depp’s casting in the titular role of the Fantastic Beasts film The Crimes of Grindelwald. Depp was accused by his ex-wife Amber Heard of abuse and fans were not happy about Rowling defending the alleged domestic-abuser. She blocked a Twitter user who questioned this and appeared to grow exasperated with the outrage surrounding the same film’s decision not to explicitly touch on Dumbledore’s sexuality, tweeting: 



But that’s all last month’s news. This week, the author favorited a tweet referring to transwomen as ‘men in dresses.’ Seriously.


Via Pinterest

Via Pinterest


According to Pink News, the blatantly transphobic comment was made in relation to an ongoing debate surrounding transwomen standing on the Labour Party’s women-only shortlists for Parliament. “A fringe group of campaigners have led calls for transgender women to be banned from standing [on the shortlists] and have threatened to resign from the party if it does not agree to their demands.”


Rowling, who is an outspoken supporter of the Labour party, liked the following tweet: 


Image Via Pink News

Image Via Pink News 


Journalist Shon Faye, who is herself transgender, tweeted: “Trans culture is seeing the beloved author of your generation like a transphobic tweet from a troll account which has repeatedly called you a man.”



Anti-trans* activists on the forum Mumsnet have expressed their joy at seeing the influential author supposedly supporting the exclusion of transwomen, with Pink News reporting that comments such as “Excellent news, hopefully young female Harry Potter fans might be taking note of her views on this,” and “Ooh. Have thought she might be for a while. Fingers crossed!” were made in relation to the news. 


Reps for the author have blamed a ‘clumsy and middle-aged moment’ on the liking of the offending Tweet, however Rowling herself has yet to comment or reconfirm her support of the trans* community. What a freakin’ mess. 


Via MakeaGif

Via MakeaGif 


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