Jazz Jennings has a book out!

Teen transgender activist Jazz Jennings has a book out! She co-authored this illustrated children’s book about her experience growing up as a transgender kid. Reviewers are calling it inspirational, touching and affirming. There are a few comments that call out an emphasis on stereotypical gendered behavior, so that’s something to know, but overall it is getting rave reviews. Click on the image below to visit the Amazon page for I Am Jazz, and click here to watch a YouTube video of Jazz talking about her book.

An illustrated children's book cover - a  smiling girl takes up the front center with the title "I Am Jazz" above, and drawings of family photos in the background.

 

Jazz Jennings has a book out!
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CeCe's Free

I’ve been thinking about CeCe McDonald a lot lately. That’s not surprising, really, since she was just released from prison. She spent 19 months in men’s prison for killing an attacker while defending her life.

I just…life is so fucking unfair.

I ranted about CeCe’s case in almost two years ago. She was sentenced to 41 months in prison, so she’s getting out early, but still. 19 months. Every time that I think about the fact that I live in a society that sentenced a transgender black woman to prison – a men’s prison! – for defending her life against bigots who targeted her because she is a transgender black woman it makes me angry and whatever the word for sad-angry-frustrated-helpless-to-tears is. And really, really angry.

I’ve been keeping an eye on her blog. CeCe turned 25 years old in prison. That was a heartbreaking post.

But as of today, she’s out. CeCe is out and she’s going to have a big ol’ party over at Intermedia Arts this Saturday.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvN4CTjR-Cg

Welcome back, CeCe.

CeCe's Free

CeCe’s Free

I’ve been thinking about CeCe McDonald a lot lately. That’s not surprising, really, since she was just released from prison. She spent 19 months in men’s prison for killing an attacker while defending her life.

I just…life is so fucking unfair.

I ranted about CeCe’s case in almost two years ago. She was sentenced to 41 months in prison, so she’s getting out early, but still. 19 months. Every time that I think about the fact that I live in a society that sentenced a transgender black woman to prison – a men’s prison! – for defending her life against bigots who targeted her because she is a transgender black woman it makes me angry and whatever the word for sad-angry-frustrated-helpless-to-tears is. And really, really angry.

I’ve been keeping an eye on her blog. CeCe turned 25 years old in prison. That was a heartbreaking post.

But as of today, she’s out. CeCe is out and she’s going to have a big ol’ party over at Intermedia Arts this Saturday.

Welcome back, CeCe.

CeCe’s Free

Gay Marriage TONIGHT!

Okay…technically tomorrow. But in less than four hours and before I go to bed tonight, so tonight.

A little before midnight I’m going down to City Hall with friends to take in the smiles and tears and wedding couture and to celebrate the history in the making that will be the first several dozen gay marriages in Minneapolis.

GM2
Two women and two men cake toppers under a rainbow

There are marriage ceremonies happening all over Minnesota, including St. Paul, Rochester, Duluth and even at the Mall of America!

Other friends are heading down to the Minnesotans United Married At Midnight party at Wilde Roast Cafe

I’m so excited. And it feels surreal. It’s just…it’s HERE! After all of the controversy, the legal and political fights, the heart-wrenching personal stories, the injustices…People are GETTING MARRIED.

TONIGHT!

Click on the image below to be taken to the Star Tribune article on tonight’s marriages. R.T. Rybak, the mayor of Minneapolis, says a few words, and you can hear from Cathy ten Broeke. She and her SOON-TO-BE WIFE!!! will be among the first to be married at Minneapolis City Hall.

1st marriage

Gay Marriage TONIGHT!

Twin Cities Pride 2013

This weekend was Twin Cities Pride – our annual LGBTQA celebration – and there was a big gay party going on in Minneapolis! There were bar nights, a run, an art show, a boat cruise, concerts and more, but my favorite events were “Pride in the Park” and the Pride Parade.

On Friday night, vendors, artists and LGBTQA groups of all stripes descended upon Loring Park to set up their booths. Over the course of the weekend they would peddle wares, entertain, and spread information. I walked through on Saturday morning, picked up literature and stopped by booths to say hi to friends at Minnesota Atheists, Outfront, ROR Taxes and others, signed some petitions, and watched a few performances on different stages. I bought two theater-type papier-mâché masks from an artist, ate some tacos from one of the food trucks, and went on my annual Pride in the Park condom hunt – collecting condoms and safer-sex kits from the various groups handing them out. This year wasn’t as fruitful as some – only eight condoms and two dental dams. Ah well. Sometimes the catch is slow.

On Sunday morning over 130 groups marched down 12 blocks of Hennepin Avenue in the Ashley Rukes GLBT Pride Parade. The atmosphere was extra-charged with excitement this year, what with Minnesota legalizing gay marriage last month (it goes into effect August 1st!) and the overturning of DOMA. Many of the parade floats were wedding-themed and almost every group had signs and banners celebrating the recent victories.

Pride celebrations have been going on in Minneapolis since 1972, and the events are held in June to honor the Stonewall Riots, which took place on June 28th, 1969. Recent estimates of yearly attendance have been around 400,000 people, which means that little ol’ fly-over country Minnesota hosts one of the larger pride festivals in the United States.

Pride weekend means a lot to me; it’s a celebration of people being themselves, a celebration of recognizing and accepting our diversity. Even today – even in a year when our state and the federal governments have finally, grudingly said “Okay, we guess you lot should be treated as equals” – that kind of bravery is breathtaking. It takes a special kind of courage to find out and admit to ourselves who we are, who we love, where we feel comfortable, and what turns our crank. To get to that point of self-discovery, and then to share that with the world – wow. That makes me all feelsome.

There are a lot of people who aren’t free to celebrate publicly. Not everyone can openly take part in Pride weekend; the reasons for participating or sitting out of the public Pride events are vastly different. Our society still has prejudices against gay men and lesbian women, and against same-sex relationships and families. We are still pathetically lacking when it comes to accepting and respecting bisexual and trans* people, those who participate in one or more of the many flavors of non-monogamous relationships, and unconventional sexualities and fetishes. There are still judgments passed and real-world consequences for being different: Arrest, loss of jobs or opportunities to advance in a career, loss of family, loss of children, loss of friends, shaming, outing, embarrassment, exclusion, harassment, violence – these are still concerns for some people who dare to speak up and say “I’m different.”

My hat is off to everyone who came downtown to celebrate pride, as well as to those who joined in spirit (aside from those not able to take the risk of being outed, not everyone handles screaming, bustling crowds well!).

Happy Pride to all.

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Bartenders at Insert Coins in downtown Minneapolis show off their Pride special – rainbow shots (As an aside – blech! So. Much. SUGAR!!!)

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Hoola hooping in front of the Rainbow Stage on the north end of Loring Park.

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Arriving early to the park on Saturday meant that I had first dibs at the coffee tent in the Outfront Minnesota booth.

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Me with a “queen-sized” rainbow slushie. Behind me is a very nice gentleman from the gay naturist group, Naked Minnesota. In their “party naked” barrels, they’re some of the most photographed people in the park!

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After the parade was over we started our trek back from Loring Park to the beginning of the parade route where we had dropped the bike. The street was littered with garbage and discarded decorations, but the clean-up effort was amazing. As we walked east we ran into a small army of city employees picking up recycling and leaf-blowing the garbage from the sidewalks into the street. Next two huge trucks first swept the streets and then washed them. After they were done you couldn’t tell that there had been a parade!

Twin Cities Pride 2013

Out In Droves – Arguing Same-Sex Marriage

House Bill H.R.1054 was up for a vote in the Civil Law Committee on Tuesday. On that day the committee took testimony from any and all citizens who wanted to share their views on the bill. Many presented their own views and some introduced themselves as representatives for a group.

I don’t often watch political committee discussions (but when I do…), but this is a topic of great interest. H.R.1054 is a bill that, if passed by the MN Congress, would give same-sex couples the right to get married in Minnesota! I also wanted to watch because August Berkshire was scheduled to speak on behalf of Minnesota Atheists. August live-Facebooked the event. Fellow MN Atheist members Greg Laden and Stephanie Zvan also blogged about the committee meeting.

Continue reading “Out In Droves – Arguing Same-Sex Marriage”

Out In Droves – Arguing Same-Sex Marriage

If you haven't met Jazz…

I’m very late to this party, but damn. This is Jazz. She’s incredible. Her parents and siblings are incredible. It makes me very emotional to see a transgender girl who has been so loved and supported. Her parents have fought for her right to be herself, and they’ve raised her with such an apparent sense of self-worth, happiness and self-acceptance. If you haven’t met Jazz, do.

httpv://youtu.be/AelO2L4HneE

httpv://youtu.be/bJw3s85EcxM

You can see more videos by and about Jazz on her Mom’s YouTube channel. Jazz’s family started the TransKids Purple Rainbow Foundation, an organization that provides inspiration and education about issues affecting transkids and transyouth.

If you haven't met Jazz…

If you haven’t met Jazz…

I’m very late to this party, but damn. This is Jazz. She’s incredible. Her parents and siblings are incredible. It makes me very emotional to see a transgender girl who has been so loved and supported. Her parents have fought for her right to be herself, and they’ve raised her with such an apparent sense of self-worth, happiness and self-acceptance. If you haven’t met Jazz, do.

You can see more videos by and about Jazz on her Mom’s YouTube channel. Jazz’s family started the TransKids Purple Rainbow Foundation, an organization that provides inspiration and education about issues affecting transkids and transyouth.

If you haven’t met Jazz…

6 O'Clock BS: Bridegroom

I sent $25 to this Kickstarter, because damn.

As of this writing the Bridegroom project needs less than $7000 to meet their $300,000 goal, and they’re got eight days to do it. They’re proposing to use the money to enhance the production value of the film, and for marketing, distribution and music. They want to release the documentary by this fall – just in time for November elections when a lot of us will be faced at the polling booth with choices that could affect the equality of our gay and lesbian friends, family, neighbors and fellow citizens.

From the Bridegroom Movie Facebook group:

BRIDEGROOM, AN AMERICAN LOVE STORY, will tell the emotional journey of Shane and Tom, two young men in a loving and committed relationship – a relationship that was cut tragically short by a misstep off the side of a roof. The story of what happened after this accidental death– of how people without the legal protections of marriage can find themselves completely shut out and ostracized– is poignant, enraging and opens a window onto the issue of marriage equality like no speech or lecture ever will.

6 O'Clock BS: Bridegroom

6 O’Clock BS: Bridegroom

I sent $25 to this Kickstarter, because damn.

As of this writing the Bridegroom project needs less than $7000 to meet their $300,000 goal, and they’re got eight days to do it. They’re proposing to use the money to enhance the production value of the film, and for marketing, distribution and music. They want to release the documentary by this fall – just in time for November elections when a lot of us will be faced at the polling booth with choices that could affect the equality of our gay and lesbian friends, family, neighbors and fellow citizens.

From the Bridegroom Movie Facebook group:

BRIDEGROOM, AN AMERICAN LOVE STORY, will tell the emotional journey of Shane and Tom, two young men in a loving and committed relationship – a relationship that was cut tragically short by a misstep off the side of a roof. The story of what happened after this accidental death– of how people without the legal protections of marriage can find themselves completely shut out and ostracized– is poignant, enraging and opens a window onto the issue of marriage equality like no speech or lecture ever will.

6 O’Clock BS: Bridegroom