LGBT Pride Month: The Fight To Be Seen As Human Beings

Maybe because I’ve been that suicidal teenager/adult. Maybe because I mentor lgbtq youth and adults who deal with rejection, self loathing, self harm, abusive parents, and suicide ideation. I deal with people who live their lives as “straight” but are scared to come out. It’s okay if they don’t. That’s up to them. I know what they have to lose. I also know what they will gain but everyone decides for themselves. I recognize the judgmental and hypocritical culture we live in. I recognize that we, as human beings judge and behave in hypocritical ways. I recognize that we all are all full of contradictions.
I don’t post every youth we lose to suicide because of bullying about their sexual orientation or gender expression. I don’t post every time a trans person is murdered. I don’t post when parents shoot their children and their loved ones in the head or when people throw boiling water on a gay couple to teach them a lesson. I don’t post about places in the world where it’s illegal to be gay. Where we are stoned to death or thrown off high buildings. I don’t post about the “corrective” rape used against men, women, people, to “fix” them and make them heterosexual.
Partially I don’t post these things every time it happens because everyday there’s something. Partially it’s to spare people the reality of how many of us live. It’s depressing and distressing. I care so much but I am afraid that you don’t. Or you’ll think I’m exaggerating. Or that I should just focus on something else.
Maybe because friends of mine, highs school teacher, counselors, strangers, and many lgbtq people reach out to me for advice and support. We all have our fights and ways we contribute to society. We all have our issues we care about. This is one of mine.
I’ll speak on human rights for as long as there are people being persecuted, oppressed, discriminated, beaten up, set on fire, acid thrown in their face, bodies disregarded and left in dumpsters, alley ways, abandoned buildings, placed in de-gaying camps. facilities, mental hospitals, kicked out on the street to fend for themselves because of who they are and who they love.
Dramatic as it may seem, It is a life or death thing for me.
It is a life or death thing for many. It is about being a compassionate, aware human being thing for me. I wake up this way. A mixture of gratitude mixed with anger and righteousness, laced with hope. Always hope.
It is the siren song of my blood.
It seems I am always fighting. And even if you are not a QUILTBAG person, I know some of you understand what I’m talking about. You are always fighting for your lives. To better your life or those you love. Always fighting and we know the exhaustion that comes from that. I’ve been at it so long, recently I’ve been looking to fight. Preemptively defensive. I don’t particularly like this development but I recognize this is where I am right now.
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Image by Katie Barnes

LGBTQ Pride Month June 2016

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When we say we have pride in ourselves, we are not trying to sound arrogant or trying to put down those who are not bisexual, gay, lesbian, queer, transgender, etc. We are trying to show our strength and solidarity. LGBTQ pride is about inciting understanding and (self) acceptance.
We have been questioned and accused, abused, diminished, and dismissed, throughout history. We have been told that we are deficient and defective, that we are either mentally ill or dealing with residual emotional baggage brought on by childhood tragedy. It’s assumed that our misguidance or rebellion can be fixed through therapy and that we will eventually abandon our “lifestyle” and become heterosexual.
Pride is a deliberate attempt to equalize society.
Pride is a statement, an attitude, and a decision.
Pride is the desire and ability to be brave even though we have been told all our lives that we are less of a person because we’re LGBTQ people. Pride is our response to a world that dehumanizes us. And if your response is Straight Pride, you’re missing the point entirely.
-Shane Jordan + my own words/thoughts

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Straight Pride, Really? by Shane Jordan

Dead Root

Below is commentary after watching Person of Interest Season 5 Episode 9. We were giddy. It was so good! Root and Shaw, finally reunited. 

Can we talk about how Shaw underestimated how much Root loves her? ” I cant live without you” -jr

Yes!! It’s one of the most awesome things. I immediately went back to watch 6,741, to see again what was going on in Shaw’s mind. This episode was better ONLY in the sense that Shaw now knows how much Root loves her, which before she couldn’t even imagine!! Brilliant.
-me

And then, the next day, the next episode, S5E10

episode later roots dead lol. I give up on showrunners and writer’s killing incredible female character for garbage reasons
-aj

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The trope defined!  And the writers say it’s not!
I’ve watched the show since first season aired. I’m in the midst of a series rewatch (s3e7 currently) whilst S5 is wrapping up. This is not an either or situation as far as storytelling goes. Root’s demise is true to her character and the show AND it absolutely is an exact example of the lesbian death trope.
I love(d) Root. All episode (s5e10, watched it twice) she was saying goodbye, first to Shaw , echoing back to If-Then-Else, (s4E11, which I also re-watched last night), when she said, “no time like the present Sameen”.  I actually thought Shaw was going to die and Root was going to go rogue, freeing The Machine, fighting Samaritan and turning against the rest of Team Machine to pursue her revenge, BUT Root and Shaw both survive their flirty, metaphysical, discussion, shoot-out scene. A scene which turned out not to be a simulation. According to Root though, everything can be considered a simulation, and she says this to “comfort” Shaw and seemingly to comfort/prepare the audience.
Shortly after that, Root’s talk with Harold in the car, continuing the conversation they had earlier at the near start of the episode, basically saying he needed to step up, they were just surviving, they were losing, let the Machine help them, the Machine had a right to choose. The machine had a right to choose a voice.
That Root died the episode after she and Shaw were re-united after, what, 20 episodes apart?, after both declared their love to one another (the audience saw this clearly/definitively in s5e4 and s5e9) is the lesbian death trope. That can’t be denied.
That Root died alone is so upsetting and unfair. She deserved better! The fact that her last words to Shaw were that she didn’t want to leave her again and Shaw’s last words to her were threatening to kill Root if she didn’t save Finch, is also pretty shitty.  Fitting with the show, Harold’s number came up and Team Machine did their job protecting him/saving his life AND Root died to serve as a catalyst for his story. Another lesbian died to serve to forward a white heterosexual man’s story.
Maybe if this happened 5 years down the line things would be different. Maybe I could step back and just focus on how incredible Root is/was as a character and her arc on the show played out logically and in spirit with the show is about. I could focus on how well done her last episode was (minus her alone on a slab at the end). The storyline would still be the trope. The lesbian death trope, sometimes the Bury Your Gays trope (gay characters just aren’t allowed happy endings. Even if they do end up having some kind of relationship, at least one half of the couple, often the one who was more aggressive in pursuing a relationship, thus “perverting” the other one, has to die at the end”.  The fact that it happened in this US  Television 2015/2016 season of  many dead lesbians, is seriously disturbing.
To diverge a little bit. Recently a friend pointed out, that all these Writer’s Rooms wrote this season in the midst and after the Supreme Court Decision in favor of Marriage Equalitly. We can marry now (yay!) but a few months later, we are now plagued with this dead lesbians season of TV. We are being bombarded  with over 150 bills/potential bills targeting lgbtq people and in my belief, really targeting women, all women’s bodies, and women’s outward expression of their gender though clothes, makeup, hairstyles etc.
I do not think the content creators/showrunners are maliciously plotting to kill their lesbian characters (I hope not!) but the thing is, they think they are being original and/or that the trope doesn’t apply to them.  They are unwilling to concede that all these deaths of women loving women matter in the larger cultural context.  These showrunners, writers, media content creator’s imaginations I believe are fueled by unconscious bias which has led  them to repeating this dangerous and problematic trope, which impacts the lives of all who watch these stories play out, time and time again.
To bring all this back to Root, she is now one of many dead TV lesbians, who died soon after she learns that the woman she loves, truly loves her back and she was killed in the narrative as a way to move a man’s story arc forward. This type of storytelling is played out and truly needs to STOP!

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