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Last week I took part in an incredible retreat called Guardian Dead: Ancestor-Led Intellectual Practice. It was an incredible and magical space and time. We all have ancestors, those we share a familial lineage with and those who are soul-ancestors, with whom we share a deep energetic/spirit-based connection with. I have for the longest thought of Sylvia Rivera as one of my soul-ancestors, she inspires me and holds me accountable! So, in honor of the inspiration that retreat had for me, and especially as a blessing for Sylvia, who is still with us all, I offer up these two haikus.

Un testimonio pa’ Sylvia

      Brave Mamá-Guardian

      Gone too early, did more than most

      Radical love prophet


Soy Sylvia

      I am, Sylvia

      Divine Mother of street kids

      Hija de Virgen

Wanted to let folks know about a great book by Dr. Susana Peña titlted ¡Oye loca!: From the Mariel Boatlift to Gay Cuban Miami. There are very few books about TLGBQ Latin@s, and so I wanted to let folks know when something new comes out.

Wanted to let folks know about a great book by Dr. Susana Peña titlted ¡Oye loca!: From the Mariel Boatlift to Gay Cuban Miami. There are very few books about TLGBQ Latin@s, and so I wanted to let folks know when something new comes out.

Signal Boost: TLGBQ Latin@ Research

Volunteer for a Research Study!

Violence/Harm and Transgender, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Queer Latina & Latino Experiences

The Purpose

The purpose of this research project is to better understand the experiences of Latin@ transgender, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer people who experience harm/violence in their lives because of who they are.  The study seeks to understand what harm/violence people have encountered throughout their life, when and why they have felt safer or affirmed, and their opinions about harm/violence in society.

What You Are Volunteering For?

A confidential, audio recorded three (3) hour interview. A $25.00 VISA gift card will be given to all participants who complete the interview.

Where Is The Interview?

At a safe location the volunteer chooses.

Am I Qualified To Volunteer?

If you can answer “Yes” to all of the following questions, then you are able to volunteer:

1)    Are you of Latin American descent?

2)    Are you transgender, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or queer?

3)    Have you experienced some type of harm/violence because of who you are?

4)    Are you at least 18 years old?

5)    Do you currently live in the state of Texas?

6)    If an immigrant, have you lived in the United States for at least five (5) years?

This study has been approved by The University of Texas at Austin Institutional Review Board.

If you are interested in volunteering to be interviewed and would like more information, please contact David Glisch-Sánchez by e-mail at glisch.sanchez@gmail.com




¡Participe en un estudio de investigación!

Las experiencias de violencia en las vidas de latinas y latinos transgénero, lesbiana, gay, o bisexual.

Objetivo

El propósito de esta investigación es entender las experiencias de las latinas y los latinos transgénero, lesbiana, gay, o bisexual que han experimentado daño/violencia en sus vidas.  La investigación quiere documentar los tipos de daño/violencia que las personas han experimentado durante toda la vida, cuando y porque han sentido más seguro ó afirmado, y sus opiniones sobre el daño y la violencia que hay en la sociedad.

¿Qué hará Ud. si desea participar en ésta investigación?

Participar en una entrevista que será confidencial y grabado por tres (3) horas. Cada persona que termina la entrevista recibirá una VISA tarjeta de regalo que vale $25.00.

¿Dónde será la entrevista?

En un lugar seguro y privado que el voluntario o la voluntaria prefiera y escoja.

¿Califico yo para el estudio?

Si Ud. contesta con un “Sí” a las siguientes preguntas, puede participar en el estudio:

1)    ¿Tiene Ud. herencia latinoamericana?

2)    ¿Es Ud. transgénero, lesbiana, gay o bisexual?

3)    ¿Ha experimentado Ud. violencia u otro tipo de daño porque ser quien es?

4)    ¿Tiene Ud. a lo menos 18 años?

5)    ¿Vive Ud. en el estado de Texas?

6)    Si es inmigrante, ¿ha vivido Ud. en los Estados Unidos a lo menos 5 años?

Esté proyecto ha sido aprobado por la Comisión de Revisión Institucional de la Universidad de Tejas en Austin.

Si esta Ud. Interesada(o) a participar en la entrevista y desea más información, por favor envie un mensaje a David Glisch-Sánchez por e-mail a glisch.sanchez@gmail.com


Please Re-Blog!

¡Por favor, re-blog!

The difficulty in talking about police violence and harassment is that many people take it personally because they know someone or know someone who know’s someone who is a police officer. However, if we put any personal feelings aside and look at the patterns and trends of police agencies, it is quickly apparent that the actual function of law enforcement and police agencies from a sociological perspective is to manage, or in many cases direct, violence and harm, not prevent it.

The difficulty in talking about police violence and harassment is that many people take it personally because they know someone or know someone who know’s someone who is a police officer. However, if we put any personal feelings aside and look at the patterns and trends of police agencies, it is quickly apparent that the actual function of law enforcement and police agencies from a sociological perspective is to manage, or in many cases direct, violence and harm, not prevent it.

This is one of the “major findings” from a joint report of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). The report is called “Supporting and Caring For Our Latino LGBT Youth.” The report represents a subset of the overall data HRC collected with regards to LGBT youth.
If you read the 36-page document, you will soon see a theme emerge: Latino communities bad, schools and peers pretty good. Although they never say it explicitly (likely because they know how they would be criticized), there is an implicit conclusion by the authors that TLGBQ Latin@s face their greatest challenges in the communities where they live. They then conclude that schools, especially as it relates to peer attitudes are actually quite positive.  Additionally, when they report responses about schools and peers, they compare TLGBQ Latin@s to non-TLGBQ Latin@s and TLGBQ people of other races, especially white and black TLGBQ youth.  The impression you are left with is that all of these youth are located in similar school environments, namely a multiracial learning environment. Therefore we are left to understand that TLGBQ Latin@s are better off in a multiracial environment (read as “less Latin@”) and not in a majority or totally Latin@ community/neighborhood.
The reality however, as most people know (it doesn’t take a PhD to know this), schooling environments are incredibly racially segregated.  Although I cannot say with 100% certainty about the specific TLGBQ Latin@ youth surveyed, given the prevalence of segregated schools in American education, it is safe to assume that many, if not the overwhelming majority of TLGBQ Latin@ youth surveyed attend majority or totally Latin@ schools.  This is an incredibly important detail, because the language the authors of the report use make it look like TLGBQ Latin@ youth are unsafe amongst their own racial/ethnic community. In reality, the more accurate story to be told, is that it is a difference that is largely predicated on generational difference. Schools may be better relative to the neighborhoods where the youth live because schools are filled with young people and we know that young people are more affirming (or at least tolerant) of gender and sexual diversity when compared to older generations.
Lastly, and most profoundly, the report never engages a conversation of racism and white supremacy.  The report, and the questionnaire it is based upon, do not consider the racialized experience of TLGBQ Latin@ youth.  They reduce their analysis to simple considerations of sexual and kinda-sorta gender identities.  We have no way of knowing how the responses of these TLGBQ Latin@ youth are also informed by the racism and xenophobia they encounter around them. I’m sure this report was written with the best of intentions, but at the end of the day it reproduces inaccurate information and a denial of the full human experience TLGBQ Latin@ youth are having.

This is one of the “major findings” from a joint report of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). The report is called “Supporting and Caring For Our Latino LGBT Youth.” The report represents a subset of the overall data HRC collected with regards to LGBT youth.

If you read the 36-page document, you will soon see a theme emerge: Latino communities bad, schools and peers pretty good. Although they never say it explicitly (likely because they know how they would be criticized), there is an implicit conclusion by the authors that TLGBQ Latin@s face their greatest challenges in the communities where they live. They then conclude that schools, especially as it relates to peer attitudes are actually quite positive.  Additionally, when they report responses about schools and peers, they compare TLGBQ Latin@s to non-TLGBQ Latin@s and TLGBQ people of other races, especially white and black TLGBQ youth.  The impression you are left with is that all of these youth are located in similar school environments, namely a multiracial learning environment. Therefore we are left to understand that TLGBQ Latin@s are better off in a multiracial environment (read as “less Latin@”) and not in a majority or totally Latin@ community/neighborhood.

The reality however, as most people know (it doesn’t take a PhD to know this), schooling environments are incredibly racially segregated.  Although I cannot say with 100% certainty about the specific TLGBQ Latin@ youth surveyed, given the prevalence of segregated schools in American education, it is safe to assume that many, if not the overwhelming majority of TLGBQ Latin@ youth surveyed attend majority or totally Latin@ schools.  This is an incredibly important detail, because the language the authors of the report use make it look like TLGBQ Latin@ youth are unsafe amongst their own racial/ethnic community. In reality, the more accurate story to be told, is that it is a difference that is largely predicated on generational difference. Schools may be better relative to the neighborhoods where the youth live because schools are filled with young people and we know that young people are more affirming (or at least tolerant) of gender and sexual diversity when compared to older generations.

Lastly, and most profoundly, the report never engages a conversation of racism and white supremacy.  The report, and the questionnaire it is based upon, do not consider the racialized experience of TLGBQ Latin@ youth.  They reduce their analysis to simple considerations of sexual and kinda-sorta gender identities.  We have no way of knowing how the responses of these TLGBQ Latin@ youth are also informed by the racism and xenophobia they encounter around them. I’m sure this report was written with the best of intentions, but at the end of the day it reproduces inaccurate information and a denial of the full human experience TLGBQ Latin@ youth are having.

Violence is when there is no awareness of our inner soul, that the person next to us is also a sacred soul. It is when we make that decision to use whatever power we have…to injure another soul.


-Maria Elena Martinez, Local Council member, Alma de Mujer

This is one of my favorite definitions of violence that I have received in the many interviews I have done. It is simple and elastic; and by that I mean it is clear and to the point while resisting the impulse to be rigid in the criteria of what is and is not violence.  Many people’s own definition of violence, and certainly the definition of violence in the law, creates a very narrow idea of what violence is. The problem then becomes that many people’s, many groups’ experience of violence and harm because of racism, patriarchy, transphobia, homophobia, class exploitation, xenophobia, and ableism do not get recognized in the many forms they often come. Racist violence does not always come in the form of a lynching. Misogynistic violence does not always manifest in rape. Transphobic and homophobic violence does not always look like street harassment.

Maria Elena Martinez’s definition creates a space where we might recognize and acknowledge the many forms of harm a person can encounter.  Whatever language you use: soul, spirit, divine spark, or humanity; Martinez’s comment asks us to consider what institutional, group, and individual actions that denies or minimizes a person’s or group’s sacredness or humanity we may be witness to or participating in. At the very least, her quote asks us to reflect on how we come to define violence and what effect that might have on other folks.

San Antonio City Council Passes TLGBQ Non-Discrimination Ordinance - Goes Into Effect IMMEDIATELY!

On Thursday, Sept. 5th the San Antonio City Council added language to their local non-discrimination ordinance that outlawed discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.  The amendment to the ordinance is meant to provide protections to TLGBQ folks in public accommodations (local businesses) and government programs and services.  What is especially great about the San Antonio ordinance,is that it bans all elected and appointed public officials from discriminating and exhibiting bias towards TLGBQ people (and all other protected groups) in any of their official duties and responsibilities.

It has been a long fight to pass this piece of legislation. Of course, there were recriminations claiming people’s religious freedom is being challenged. Additionally, there were some really ugly, but old, trans and gay panic arguments.  Despite this, activists and concerned folks turned out and put pressure where it was needed.  This victory is due to the incredible and persistent work of Latin@/Chican@ TLGB/Queer activists and community folks.  The passage of this ordinance, which could not have passed without Chican@/Latin@ support, is a great testament that Chican@/Latin@ coomunities are any more or less transphobic and homophobic.

With all that being said, government policies/statutes/ordinances are a great tool to have in the arsenal for continued social justice work, BUT they are not the “silver bullet” some wish they were. Often they are not as effective as proponents wish or think they will, and can also have unintended consequences. In the end, I think it is a very good thing that the motion passed, but we have to keep everything in perspective. ¡La lucha sigue! (The fight continues!)

Rest in Peace/Descanza en paz: Jessie Lopez De La Cruz (1919-2013)

We lost an incredible warrior/activist/mother this past Labor Day. Jessie De La Cruz was a pioneer in the Farm Worker Movement, and a tireless worker for justice, in all its forms, during her long and incredible life. She worked alongside other incredible figures like Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez. We owe Jessie Lopez De La Cruz a huge debt and honor the work she did to make concrete improvements in the lives of millions.

It is easy to always focus on the many awful problems that our people encounter. Let us, for at least a moment, be inspired by the life of Jessie Lopez De La Cruz.  Let us be guided by the principles that formed the basis of her work. Let us never forget this amazing mujer!