Most Valuable Organizer RootsCamp 2013

  • Today I was nominated for Most Valuable Organizer for RootsCamp 2013. I am asking that people who read my blog often go too the link Vote for Bryan John Ellicott and vote for me and than share it on Facebook and on Twitter. We have the chance for a transgender and bisexual identified person to have the chance to be seen…lets been seen and allow us to have a place at the table.  
  • How the nominee exhibited innovation

I don’t think I’ve ever seen Bryan meet a challenge that he can’t handle. His most innovative moment came during the United for Marriage Equality Rally in Washington, DC in March. During this rally, he was proud to be holding a trans* pride flag near the rally stage and unfortunately encountered aggressive, transphobic comments and actions. He detailed his experience in a blog post (located here: http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/1-op-ed-my-supreme-court-marriage-rally-transphobic-experience-from-hell/marriage/2013/04/08/64584/#.Um8BfhBW0k0) and used that post as a way to bring attention not only to the shortcomings of certain HRC staff members, but to the general ignorance and overshadowing that the transgender community experiences whenever LGBT issues are discussed. But it’s simple to write an angry rant about a bad experience. What Bryan did took things a step further. The tone of his writing is calm and professional and he doesn’t complain about the problem. Instead, he offers solutions and suggestions for what can be done in the future to avoid a situation like this from happening to someone else.

  • How the nominee exhibited respect

Bryan is always absolutely professional and inclusive. His friends come from diverse backgrounds, but they are all committed to bringing attention to the issues faced by those who have been marginalized by society. He speaks up for himself and for his friends, he commits himself absolutely to whatever tasks he has to do, and his passion for working toward a safer, better world inspires enthusiasm in others. He is honest, he is plain-spoken, and he is trustworthy. He is also incredibly friendly and approachable, which makes everyone feel comfortable around him. All these qualities have helped him build a culture of respect within the campaign because when you interact with him, you know that you’re talking with someone who truly cares about those around him.

  • How the nominee exhibited courage

Going back to the SCOTUS rally incident, Bryan took a real risk by remaining standing with the trans* pride flag even when he was approached by two staffers and asked to remove the flag because the event “wasn’t about the trans* community”. In fact, Bryan only handed off the flag to another member of the organization he was there with, GetEQUAL, when an unnamed videographer threatened to burn the flag and Bryan no longer felt safe. But even then, he made sure that the flag was still visible and still standing with all the others, reminding everyone that the trans* community was there to support this very important step toward marriage equality for all people. And in taking that risk, in choosing to stand up for himself and the trans* community, he made sure that he was not silenced. He wrote the post that first appeared on his personal blog, but later appeared on a nationally recognized website. He also dared to name the people who tried to silence him, connecting them with this incident even though the organization publicly denies that it happened.

  • How the nominee exhibited excellence

Bryan’s intelligence and vast knowledge of the issues faced not only by the trans* community but also by New Yorkers in general is incredible. And whenever you’re in a discussion with him about something, you always wind up learning something new. He inspires others to come up to his level because he’s not only talking about these things, he’s out there actively working to enact change. His energy, his enthusiasm, and his tireless work ethic are what truly make him great at what he does. He never stops talking, writing, campaigning, and working toward the things he wants to see happen in New York, in the United States, and around the globe. That’s why he stands out and why people take notice of him – because he makes them notice him. He makes sure that he is seen and heard and watching him do what he does best, be a political activist and a force for change, makes you stop and think about what you’ve done today to try and make the world a better place, because he’s already done about seven and you need to step up your game.

  • Additional Comments

Bryan is one of my best friends and it has been an honor and a pleasure to know him. I can speak about his ability to inspire enthusiasm and passion for change in others because that’s the effect that he’s had on me since I’ve known him, and I’ve seen it in other people as well. He’s a consummate professional, highly intelligent, caring, honest, and hardworking. He has a real ability to motivate people and get the job done right, and I can’t wait to see how much farther he’ll go with the work that he does

Nominee’s Personal Statement

  • It is an honor to be nominated and considered for this award by RootsCamp and the person who nominated me Allison. I want the transgender to community to have a voice and a presents in the community, and a seat at the table at all times. Equality and social change happen when people can see faces hear stories and learn about the people that live and work in their city, state and country.
  • Submitted By Allison Unger
  • Relationship to Nominee: Friend

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SR-71 Lyrics So…

SR-71 Lyrics Song “Politically Correct”

I don’t mean to piss you off with things I might say
But when I try to shut my mouth they come out anyway
When I speak my mind, that’s when we connect
But that’s not politically correct

Your head’s so filled with thought, you can’t use your imagination
Like a sky so filled with stars, you can’t find a constellation
And everyone’s so sensitive to every bad vibration
We’re so impressing while we’re regressing

There’s nothing I believe in more than my own insignificance
So why does everybody think that my words can make a difference
I just don’t have time to think up every social consequence
I’ll just keep on talking you keep applauding

I don’t mean to piss you off with things I might say
But when I try to shut my mouth they come out anyway
If you spoke your mind you might feel more connected
But, until you get politically corrected

You lean a little to the left or the right but
You can only see what’s on your side.
Look a little like a deer in the headlights
A little blind a little hypnotized.
So you conform with the best of intention
Change comes from inside.
After all that’s what this country was founded on
Do nothing different just fall in line.

What happened to make us so afraid
You couldn’t make a Mel Brooks movie today
I saw Blazing Saddles yesterday

 
 

Myths and Misconceptions of The Bisexual Community

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The book Bi-Notes for Bisexual Revolution written by Shiri Eisner is a great book for any activist or person who wants part of the movement for full equality in all walks of life.   Unless you’re part of the community of the people under or identifying under the bisexual and transgender umbrella know whom Shiri Eisner.

“Shiri Eisner is a feminist bisexual and genderqueer activist, writer and researcher. She resides in Tel Aviv, Israel/Occupied Palestine, where she founded and currently heads the grassroots bisexual organization, Panorama – Bi and Pansexual Feminist Community. She is currently pursuing her MA in gender studies while keeping involved with various political movements, including Mizrahi, feminist, queer, disability, animal liberation and Palestine solidarity work. She hopes to incite the revolution very soon.” Amazon

Chapter One speaks too many of the discussions and thoughts of “What is Bisexuality” and many terms are given and explained. While reading this chapter a quote by lesbian activist Dorothy Allison caught my eye.

“ I want to have adventures and take enormous risks and be everything they say we are”  

When I came out too myself that “I am bisexual and transgender” that was a turning point, and it didn’t happen over night. I had been forced to come out as bisexual at one time in myself that resulted in much unfair treatment toward myself by others. It was not until once I was able to safely say out loud for myself about my sexual orientation and had come out ONLY as bisexual under my own power and my own time, that I am romantically and sexually attracted too people who personally identify either a man or a woman.

The time to figure out my own gender identity and gender expression was another moment. When I was able to tell myself that my feelings of masculinity shouldn’t be kept to myself and in that time and place in front of one person at the time that I could say out loud “I have always felt male and have always wanted to be male and it is my wish that I start the transition to become the person I have always wanted to be” but to be able to say both at the same time was a process as well.

I made the decision too those around as well as myself that, we need to have people discuss these topics because that is they way things change. Education and discussion is one of the way things change happens, while being visible is they way things change.

When people are able to say they know someone or they care about someone who does identify this way can help bring about change. While being able to answer the difficult and uncomfortable questions that have never be able to ask before in regards to these topics.

“You must be the change, you wish too see in the world.” Gandhi

Many things are said regardless of either fact or myth about both the bisexual and transgender communities all the time. It’s a persons own personal decision if they choice to be a part of the community and identify with the community knowing the positive and the negative about the community. I took the time to educate myself on these facts and myths and then after being educated took on part of educating others on what is fact and what is myth on the topics of bisexuality and identifying as transgender.

The common myths and misconceptions some of them are discussion at length in the chapter in regard to the bisexual community. I have my own feelings on some of these and want to discuss them in the simplest of terms, also with my own opinion too them.

  • Bisexuality Doesn’t Exist

It has taken lots of people a while to be come comfortable with the idea of homosexuality and heterosexuality. The notations that while you believe in nature or nurture that people can be attracted to the opposite or the same gender they identify with. The idea that people can base love and attraction on more than what happens between two consenting adults in the bedroom.

 

            “Bisexuality has a lot of revolutionary potential. Society recognizes this. It’s time for us to start as well.” [1]

  • Bisexuals are confused, indecisive or just going through a phrase

 

“Confusion, indecision, and phases indicate a state of instability, fluidity, and process. Confusion points to instability as well as doubt, marking bisexuality as a vantage point for questioning as well as marking a radical potential change. “[2] 

The thing about dating and being in a committed relationship with either heterosexual or same couples variable is that the gender identity of the people stays the same. Bisexuality is the curve ball in the persons understanding, that a person could during the course of their dating history in their life before settling down could date either men or women and then settle down in a committed relationship with either.It would be the result in settling down that they have gone through a phrase and are either “gay” or “straight” depending on the outcome of the settling down.

“Bisexuality can be thought of as a destabilizing agent of social change, promoting doubt in anything, starting with our own sexual identities, going   through the structure of sex, gender, and sexuality; heteropatriarchy, and racism; and ending with such oppressive structures as the state, law order, war, and capitalism.”[3]

  • Bisexuals are slutty, promiscuous, or inherently unfaithful

            “Bisexuality is here being hyper sexualized under the presumption that sex is bad that wanting too much of it is bad, that wanting any of it is bad, that wanting people of more than one gender is bad, and that wanting more that one person is bad. The concept of infidelity or unfaithfulness might help think about monogamy as one of society’s oppressive structures. Monogamy has been used historically and currently as a capitalist an patriarchal tool for controlling women, and for keeping all people in small, docile units where they are isolated    and unable to connect and organize (especially in minority-world cultures)”[4]

 

There are promiscuous and inherently unfaithful people regardless of sexual orientation all over the city, the state, the country and even the world lots of people have sex and have unfaithful relationships. The world wants to hold on to the idea that sex and sexuality are bad. That we need to continue to ignore that we need to educate people on safe sex protections and that there are services available and should some receive notice of STD’s of STI’s there are ways to combat it and protect your future partners. It’s not fair too the individuals of bisexual do not face unfair treatment for all of acts of the free will of people, just because they are attract too either men or women.

“Society based on rape culture the sexualization of bisexuality can open a window to a different kind of sexual culture, encouraging sexual independence, exploration, and enjoyment of our bodies, our sexualities our various genders and our sexual interactions “[5]

 

  • Bisexuals are carriers or vectors of HIV and other STI’s

            “metaphorically, AIDS is always imagined as “the queer disease” being both a “punishment” for being queer and the embodiment of the straight population’s fear of  disease having unprotected bisex…”[6]

 

In 2013 we know that AIDS is spread through sexual contact regardless anal, oral or vaginal sex with a person. It can also be spread through pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding as babies come in contact with mothers body fluids such as amniotic fluid and blood or even during breast milk during a feeding. People who take drugs that are injected into the body can transmit HIV through the sharing of needles.

“this image of bisexuality also destabilizes the border between sickness and health, calling society’s ableism in question and marked disabled and chronically ill bodies as yet another site of transgression and resistance..”[7]

 

Bisexual don’t deserve to be the line between sexual health and a disease that has taken the lives of millions. It is not the fault of the bisexual community for the HIV/AIDS epidemic but we do have the ability to be an encouraging all members of the community too take a active role in the sexual health of people of the world. We should encourage testing, education and prevention of all people.

 

  • Bisexuals are actually gay or actually straight

 

            “This permits us to critically reflect this phallocentrism back into society, exposing the underlying system of sexism and misogyny as we do so. It might also help us explore alternative ways of relating to the penis itself, as well as to   masculinity, subverting sexist connotations of the penis as an all-powerful, all   forceful, all-domineering, hyper sexualized, and hypermauslinized phallus.”[8]

 

It has always been mentioned that “bisexual women are actually straight, while bisexual men are actually gay” because the idea is that both genders are attracted to one sole object and focused idea they want a penis, as the “prize” in all of this.

  • Bisexuals can chose to be gay or straight 

            “In a movement where the dominant discourse relies on lack of choice as its political path to equal rights, this lack of choice (the “born this way” argument”   becomes a “tool” for attaining legitimacy and acceptance by society”[9]

Its not that at all we just like every other person straight our gay want to live our lives with someone else, possibly raise a family with an idea of children if they so wish, and at the end of that grow old together and retire. It’s about more than sex, its about more its about the idea of how people see their lives after the partying and after going wild as a young adult.


[1] Pg. 44- Bi Notes for a Bisexual Revolution

[2] Pg. 44- Bi Notes for a Bisexual Revolution

[3] Pg. 44- Bi Notes for a Bisexual Revolution

[4] Pg. 45- Bi Notes for a Bisexual Revolution

[5] Pg. 45- Bi Notes for a Bisexual Revolution

[6] Pg. 46- Bi Notes for a Bisexual Revolution

[7] Pg. 47- Bi Notes for a Bisexual Revolution

[8] Pg. 47- Bi Notes for a Bisexual Revolution

[9] Pg. 48- Bi Notes for a Bisexual Revolution

Bisexual Umbrella

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The book Bi Notes for a Bisexual Revolution by Shiri Eisner talks about a variety of topics. One of them is the bisexual umbrella and those who fall under that umbrella, its in way similar too those who fall under the transgender umbrella. “Bisexuality isn’t only a form of desire but also a carrier of multiple meanings.

 

Bisexuality is people who are sexuality or romantically to people of more than one sex and/ or gender, not necessarily at the same time, or in the same way and not necessarily of the same degree. Some of the identities those are included under the bisexual umbrella.

 

  • Pansexual/omnisexual– people who are attracted (sexually, romantically, and/or otherwise) to people of all genders and sexes or to multiple genders and sexes, or regardless of sex and gender, and who identify as pan/omni.
  • Polysexual– people who attracted (sexually, romantically, and/or otherwise) to people of many genders and sexes (but not all), and who identify as poly
  • Queer- a non-specific identities that describes anyone diverging from heterosexuality, monogamy, and vanilla (non-kink) sexuality. In a bi-spectrum context, its used to denote attraction to people of more than one, or of many, genders
  • Fluid- describes attraction that changes or might change over time (toward people of various generators)
  • Homoflexible/Lesboflexible– people who are usually attracted to people of genders similar to their own, but might occasionally be attracted to people of gender different from their own.

 

These are just some of the identities and words that fall under the bisexual umbrella. We need to come together as a group to achieve the goals of the bisexual movement from every state and across the country but also around the world. We need to break down the preconceived notations and myths of our community. We have an obligation to break down our barriers and make out presents known, just as know as those of the Lesbian and Gay activists and members of the movement and community.

 

It is mentioned in the book “Politics or the True Meaning of Bi” it is send that “bisexuality is much more than just an identity. Like with every concept in society, bisexuality carries many associations and connotations- not only about itself, but also about the world in general. As opposed to the popular belief I mentioned in the beginning, not only is bisexuality worth talking about, but also it offers a very rich array of connotations and knowledge, with enormous political and activist potential.

 

The Gay and Lesbian community are running a race for Marriage Equality across all 50 states, 14 of which now have it.  While some of the community Bisexual and Transgender how lack the basic human rights. The myths surrounding bisexuality make real problems in the medical community for us, and many other similar issues. 

Love without bo…

Love without borders? Ignoring borders won’t make them go away. Borders of poverty, of war and of social labels surround us where ever we go, cutting through the flesh. Our race turns from a source of joy into a suffocating limitations; rules of sexuality and gender prevent us from being who we are and loving whom we want; biological diversity is locked behind the bars of cages that imprison other animals. The borders always surround us. But we can climb over them and gnaw at them, slip and help others slip under barbed wire, deceive the guards and paint the walls with bold graffiti. We must struggle because every border surrounds someone chained, someone who is our ally in struggle, love, and liberation.

Cross borders of gender. Betray borders of of nation. Overcome borders of species. Break through racial borders…” Israeli radical queer group, Black Laundry.

De Blasio vs Lhota

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Last week Democratic candidate Bill De Blasio and Republican candidate Joe Lhota had there first public debate on local news channel ABC 7 with moderator Bill Ritter. The debate was heated and called many of the obvious differences in the candidates and their plans for the City of New York starting the first of January 2014.

Recently with the motorcycle gang and SUV incident on the West Side Highway the candidates were asked about how they would handle that situation. Lhota said he “wouldn’t sit down and have coffee with motorcycle groups” it appears that Lhota doesn’t want a relationship between the NYPD and the community.  De Blasio wants to bring back a sense of community between both the NYPD and Community, that includes motorcycle groups, explaining that these kinds of acts are unacceptable and these folks that did this are going to face jail time. De Blasio made it clear that we need to end the policy of Stop and Frisk in New York City and we need to have a brand new police commissioner under the new administration. Lhota believes that we need to use stop and frisk as a tool but it needs to be done differently, and he wants too keep Ray Kelly as Commissioner in the 2014 Administration

Charter School is a big issue among parents of children who attend those schools across the New York City Area. Bill de Blasio mentioned that ninety five percent of the schools in NYC are public schools, and five percent are charter schools. Bill de Blasio mentioned his plan to tax people in New York City who make half a million dollars or more a year and use that money to fund Full Day Pre-K for children in NYC. Mr. Lhota believes that charter schools are public schools, even when they have millions of dollars of there own, that they should not pay rent for their property.

Mr. de Balsio has a plan to find support and resource training for teachers across the city; he also has a plan for the retention of teachers and again discussed his early childhood education plan of full day Pre-K.

Mr Lhota also agrees that teachers need more resources and training. However the discussion on his afflication to the Tea Party is a big issue for many about Mr. Lhota. He declared he is Pro Choice and Pro Marriage Equality and Pro Gay Rights, however he has the support of the Conservative Party and the Tea Party of Staten Island. He also wanted to have the Affordable Health Care Act delayed by a year. Joe Lhota is playing both sides of the game, sides that don’t see eye to eye on these issues.

Both candidates answered questions about the Affordable Housing issue in New York City.  They have two very different plans; they both provide numbers for goals to build more affordable housing. Lhota makes it clear “I DO NOT believe inclusionary zoning” We must demand that all new buildings being built need to provide Affordable Housing to the city.

Lhtoa wants to declare a Housing Emergency as of January 1st. . Lhota said he would build 150,000 over years, that won’t be possible if he does not believe in “ inclusionary zoning” one again Lhota is one clear on his plan with his views on the issues.

Bill de Blasio wants to make sure that No New Yorker is left behind. He wants to address the inequality of this city. He has the endorsements of President Obama, former President Clinton, and former Sectary of State Clinton, and he was her regional director of Housing. He currently is Public Advocate and he has a grassroots approach too most of his work.

Lhota doesn’t seem to see the divide in the city. He makes a point of his direct management skills. He was Operations Deputy Mayor under Mayor Giuliani. He was the Chairman and CEO of the MTA. He gave tax breaks, which the moderator mentioned was 16 million a year.

De Blasio mentions that 46% of New Yorkers are at our near the poverty. We need to admit the problem and than fix it. De Blasio mentioned that Lhota believes in trickle down economics. He believes that his idea about full day Pre-K is just what the progressive and Democratic Party should support bold and big ideas on issues.De Blasio has a plan to build 200,000 Affordable Housing units over the past 10 years.

This debate made it clear that Bill de Blasio is the best candidate for the job of the 109th Mayor of New York City. We need to bring the Democratic Party back to City Hall. We need to have a strong group of Progressive Democratic Leaders in New York City. He has the plan to bring the people of New York City together to support the interests of all groups, while making sure the issues we all share as being important are taken care of.