The Future is Bright: LGBTQ Youth Leaders Convene in Oregon

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“Sitting in what appeared to be a second grade classroom, one of the conference’s youth organizers walked us through interactive role-playing activities to learn how we could be respectful and empowering allies to youth. Much of this involved checking our assumptions that we had to step into caretaker roles when interacting with youth, and instead practicing active listening to determine what, if anything, we needed to do to be an actual support and ally. It felt pleasantly appropriate for a room full of adult allies to spend a portion of our time at OQYS in a classroom learning all we could from these extraordinarily capable youth teachers.10455310_660342550720396_6915029344656935698_n

My clear takeaway from this summit was that this is not where queer and trans* youth come to learn how to become engaged leaders—it is where engaged you

th leaders come to further develop their already expansive skills, build connections with their peers from across the state, and use their energy to create meaningful social change—and have some fun while they’re at it.”

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http://www.pridefoundation.org/future-bright-lgbtq-youth-leaders-convene-oregon/2014/08/

 

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Red Rainbows & Green Carnations: What are LGBT Symbols

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Through the years the LBGT movement has adopted a variety of symbols to represent and unite our community in the struggle for equality.  But is their meaning always clear?

The Rainbow 

The original eight colors were pink for sexuality, red for light, orange for healing, yellow for the sun, green for natural serenity, turquoise for art, indigo for harmony and violet for spirit.

Green Carnations

Originating in the Victorian era, green carnation lapels were used as a way for gay men to discretely identify one another. Awards like the Green Carnation Prize celebrate gay writers and the history of the symbol. 

 

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Lavender & Pink

“Since 1977, the pink triangle has been adopted by the LGBT community as a symbol of the fight against oppression and the work for acceptance.” Says the Carleton Gender and Sexuality Center.  Later, activists including ACT UP would continue to use the pink triangle and associate it with the chant “SILENCE=DEATH”

The Greek symbol lambda

The Lambda

The greek Lambda has been associated with some of the first prominent LGBT Activist groups since the early 1970’s. According to the International Gay Rights Congress in Edinburgh, Scotland “the lambda signifies unity under oppression” and is still used by the gay rights group Lambda Legal and the Lambda Literary Award

 

Delve more into the history and communities represented by lgbt symbols: http://www.swade.net/gallery/symbols.html#labrys

 

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Body Ownership

Carmen Cordis is a rad CHATpdx Sexpert, Activist and Leader in Portland, OR. 

I’ve recently encountered a lot of people, whether they identify inside, outside, or on the fringe of the alphabet soup community (LGBTQQAAPIT-S and any I missed, in no particular order), who have given me an ultimatum, namely that I must make some kind of physical or surgical alteration (of other people’s choosing) to my body or appearance in order to “earn” their acceptance, approval, respect, charity, or support.

I am taking a stand against our culture of non-binary-gender-phobia, body-shaming, photographic alteration, unrealistic body image fixation, cissexism, transphobia, and discrimination based on gender identity, gender presentation, sexual orientation, or bodily appearance.

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I am a living, breathing, feeling human being with a heart, a brain, a plethora of dreams, a past, a future, and a story.

I am not someone else’s narrow vision of a quickly-labeled “other” identity that ceases to exist outside of those narrowly imposed boundaries.

I was born with human dignity.  My gender is my own; it does not belong to anyone else.  It cannot be ripped away from me and reshaped by someone else, because no one else owns it.

Likewise, My body is my own. No one the right to make serious, irreversible, potentially harmful or deadly decisions regarding MY BODY but me – and those I designate as my agents in the event that I desire assistance.

Because of the culture of fear, my body has been made into my worst enemy for as long as I can remember.  I also tend to avoid conflict and prefer mediation or compromise in order to diffuse conflict.

Unfortunately, at times I have lost the control of my own body because someone other than myself decided to own my body or change it to suit their desires.

Willingly, or unwillingly, I surrendered my body to someone else, sometimes to avoid external conflict, and found myself waiting for the hell to be over when I began to drown in the internal conflict I created by capitulating.

Carmen Own Post

Too many times, I have tried to destroy my body, in order to satisfy the demands of a fear-hatred culture, and to escape from the hell of conflict by giving up and throwing in the towel, saying, “Okay.  You win.  Are you happy now?”

I no longer wish to propitiate those people who would delight in my destruction.

I deserve to be happy, and one step toward my happiness is to own my own body.

Please consider my words the next time you notice someone (perhaps yourself, even) making serious entitlement claims to someone else’s body, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

Please consider my words the next time you notice someone else making serious entitlement claims to your own body, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

Do not surrender to anyone who would delight in the destruction or invalidation of your essential self, the self of your definition and determination, the self of your life experience.

No one is infallible, but maybe by educating each other we can make a better world, one step at a time.

Carmen Dignity Post

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Do You Understand The Difference Between Sex And Gender?

From Sonakshi Samtani:

Sex is biologically determined, Gender is socially construed. Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviours, attributes and activities that are considered appropriate for men and women.

These gender roles aim at governing everything, from our behaviour to our sexuality. However, it doesn’t come as a surprise that our largely patriarchal society has inherent prejudices constituted in its gender roles. In theory our country has progressed, but the fact is that we are still caught in the shackles of patriarchy. The female population is still facing numerous socio-economic hurdles in gaining access to quality education. It can be clearly attributed to our orthodox mindset which deems fit for women to accept their role as home-makers. Even the educated employed women are under the glass ceiling preventing them for getting higher posts and equal pay as their male counterparts.

So, when a woman gets raped, the society goes ahead to attribute it to her behaving in a brazen manner, for a man is a sexual being and can’t keep it in his pants if a woman provokes him by dressing in a certain way. While one can go on and on about what the repercussions of the gender rigid culture are, it is important to first realize that the society cannot govern our freedom of expression and choice, each of us as an individual has the right to decide what is normal and acceptable for us, a right that shouldn’t be compromised with.

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Read the whole story!: http://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2013/06/do-you-understand-the-difference-between-sex-and-gender/