What does the Asian Pacific Islander National HIV/AIDS Awareness Day mean to me?

What does the Asian Pacific Islander National HIV/AIDS Awareness Day mean to me?

I have never heard of the Banyan Tree Project nor National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, which falls next month on May 19. Each year A&PI Awareness day is sponsored by Banyan Tree Project. National Asian Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day goal is too highlight the negative stigma, lack of communication and general awareness of HIV/AIDS in the API community. The theme for 2012 is “Saving face can’t make you safe. Talk about HIV–for me, for you, for everyone.” An idea that is very important to highlight in our community.
Growing up as a Queer Chinese Asian American; I have seen the hush, hush of just talking about the queer community. It’s something you don’t acknowledge nor talk about subject. Heck, I didn’t even know that there are community groups out there dedicating themselves to informing and educating the Asian Pacific Islander Queer community. Over the years, I have to learn to embrace myself, my community and all those that are a part of it. It was recently that I became even deeper part of the queer community and making myself part of the local API group, Asian Pacific Islander Pride, which had made me aware locally of the Asian Pacific Islander community and events. This is step one of many steps in my life to make myself a more engaging part of the API community. I’m proud for simply reaching out and help to increase awareness, decrease negative stereotypes and providing information that helps keep people informed.
Just like the other National HIV/AIDS Awareness Days, it is very important to embrace awareness into the ethnic groups of all backgrounds as those are the ones who generally are looked over and forgotten. I am glad that we, the Queer Asian community, are standing up and putting a voice to bring education and awareness to help make HIV/AIDS less of an impact while ending the stigma of being Queer in API community. The motto this year is for you to make our issue, your issue. Go and simply Speak Up! Get yourself involved in an organization, like Asian Pacific Pride, that you feel strongly with. It’s all starts with YOU.
What does A&PI HIV/AIDS Awareness Day mean to you?

Can I GLEEfully Drink?

By: Maya Luque

Mix one part lonely, two parts self pity and one part wishful thinker and you’ve got me in a very rough moment.   The kind of moment Rachel from the show GLEE had when she said she’d throw a party.  The kind of moment Rachel had when she opened her father’s liquor cabinet for her “friends.”  She was probably thinking along the lines of “I want to be popular.   I want to be liked.”  These thoughts can be dangerous because they lead to:  I need to be popular.  I need to loosen up.  What will make people like me?  The answer to all of these questions, in the show GLEE, was alcohol.  But that doesn’t mean it’s always the answer.

Personally, I wish there was one solid answer to making more people like me but I know for myself that drinking and/or partying isn’t what’s going to make people stick with me when times are rough, or even when I just don’t feel like drinking that day.  And the fact is that I want people to stay with me when times are tough, which is bound to happen at points.

Rachel was peer pressured into throwing a party, by others and by herself.  She wanted people to like her, she wanted to “live” for once.  Along with the outside peer pressure she was getting this was a precarious mix.  All of this nonsense made her forget and forgo her true passion, songwriting, to go after something with an expiration date; her fellow GLEE members’ company and “friendship.”

I’m not saying that drinking is all bad and I’m not trying to say that it’s a cure-all liquid either.  The fact is, there is no magic potion that will make everything better.  There just isn’t.  There are ways, though, that you can make yourself feel a bit better about your own situation and standing in life.  You can write down the word “why?” on a piece of paper and anytime you have a hasty thought such as “I need to drink” look at it and answer it for yourself.  I have one above my wall at home and it actually helps.  The visual of seeing something makes me think why I am doing what I am doing, or why do I care that others think I’m boring for not drinking.  I think if everyone stopped and looked at their own “why?” cards we as a society would have less “whys” and more actions we can be proud of.

Rachel could have asked why but she didn’t really give herself a chance.  She didn’t have the visual to snap herself back into reality.  The visual of a word, even if it isn’t the word “why” can really help.  It can begin a change in a direction we can be proud of.

I know I can’t sing like Rachel and I’ve certainly never been thrown up on like Rachel but I have felt lonely or depressed like she has before.  And I’ve thought like her too.  I’ve thought maybe it’d be easier to just drink and “be cool.”  But now as I grow in more directions I’m learning to not give in to the party peer pressure.  I want to be proud of my actions and one day if that includes drinking so be it.  But I want to like myself and like my decisions and I know I won’t if I get peer pressured into drinking.   After writing this I am more confident in choosing my own path.  Drink or not I am now one part more confident, two parts ego boost, and three parts relieved.

Film Friday- Questions (not) to ask a Trans person

Greetings CHATmosphere! This week I am in Washington DC with a group of about 120 activists talking about sexual and reproductive rights. While here we had a great conversation about some of the questions LGBT folks are asked and how inappropriate they can be. At the extreme level of these horrible questions are the ones that sometimes get asked of Transgender folks. Language is a great way of communicating and asking questions is a great way to learn things you do not know, but when the questions are inappropriate it can also be a really easy way to be pretty offensive. Even if that is not the way you are asking, it is important to know how your questions can be taken. Below is a video of some of the questions Trans people are asked. It is pretty humorous and points to some great points about being aware of how we ask questions. Make sure that any question you are asking about someone’s identity is a question that you would feel comfortable answering yourself. Have you heard any of these questions? Have you ever been asked them or ever asked anyone questions like this? Let me know! -Ernesto