We want to extend our pride to the students at Biola University who published a seven-page PDF “Quearbook” online Wednesday, in which 15 students declared their involvement with the Biola Queer Underground. (Click on the image at right in order to see the PDF.) The organization went public last May in support of LGBTQ students on campus.
Read more about the reactions to Biola students here.
QueerArtLAB is a collaboration among staff member Haven Herrin, former staff member Alexey Bulokhov, and their partner in Italy, Giada Cotugno. QAL for short, it’s an itinerant school that sets up shop in various European cities to take a group of participants through a study and practice on sexuality, gender, public space, and artistic interventions in everyday life.
Only so many students can attend, so QAL has created a public adventure we want you to join. Called Acts of Self, it starts this Friday, May 17th, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia. Each Friday, we post a challenge on the Facebook event page
, such as, “What measures bring you your breakfast today?
In response, you might write a poem to the laborers who grew your oatmeal or make a photo exhibit of the inside of your refrigerator.
Every Friday from May 17th to August 2nd, you will receive a new call to an Act of Self. We invite you to dig deep. Ask hard questions about race, money, gender, sex, community, and power. As you complete your task for the week, please post it on the Queer Art Lab Facebook group page for all to consider and enjoy.
Selected submissions will be added to the Queer Art Lab site at www.queerartlab.com.
The next QueerArtLAB school is in Madrid, Spain from July 8-14,203. Some spots are still open. Contact Haven at email@example.com if you are interested.
By Linda Hawj, Soulforce Program Director
We at Soulforce are committed through collaborations with Ohio organizations Cedarville Out, TransOhio, and Equality Ohio to address anti-LGBTQ school policies, to support local community issues and policies, and most importantly, to end violence against LGBTQ communities, especially hate crimes and violence against trans people.
On April 17, Cemia Dove Acoff, also known as Ce Ce, a trans woman of color and resident of Cleveland, was found dead with multiple stab wounds in Olmsted Township, Ohio. Ce Ce is the third trans woman of color murdered in the U.S. in the month of April. The murder was a hate crime and was intentional, as reported by Lou Chibbaro Jr. of the Washington Blade, “Olmsted Township police said the initially unidentified body of Cemia “Ce Ce” Acoff was found April 17 tethered to a concrete block and dumped in a pond. The body was found about three weeks after Cleveland police announced Acoff had been reported missing by family members.”
Local Ohio media coverage made the situation worse, particularly the Cleveland Plain
Ce Ce Dove: Photo from Gay People's Chronicle
Dealer, by insensitive reporting on Ce Ce, using her male legal name and identifying her as “a strangely dressed man.” TransOhio, Equality Ohio, GLAAD, and BRAVO (Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization) have been working with journalists to prevent misportrayals or “misgendering” of trans people in future media coverage. The Ohio organizations have also supported Ce Ce’s family and friends through this tragedy, taking a strong stance to end violence against trans people in Ohio.
Shane Morgan, Founder and Chair of TransOhio told me about his and his organization’s feelings about the crime:
“The murder of Ce Ce Dove disgusts me. Brutal, personal and definitely intentional in that she was never supposed to be found. I wish that there were an easy fix to the issues we’re dealing with in regards to how media writes and portrays trans people, especially trans women of color.
“The outreach, support and education we’ve been able to respond with quickly has been helpful. We have been able to provide Ce Ce’s family and her friends with a strong shoulder to lean on. We’ve also moved quickly to set up meetings and educational opportunities with media outlets here in Ohio to address reporting and the misgendering of Ce Ce, and to stop it from happening again. This education and outreach is continuing.
“This type of violence against the trans and gender non-conforming communities has to stop. It’s not acceptable, and it’s not tolerated.”
The hate crime murder of Ce Ce Dove and the subsequent coverage in the media demonstrates how Trans people’s voices, issues, and bodies are often silenced and marginalized by popular heterosexual narratives, and even sometimes by gay, lesbian, bisexual, and queer people. The crime is another alarming reality check of how much more work we as lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and straight allies need to do in solidarity with trans communities to end hate crimes and violence that are often linked to racism and transphobia. These are two important issues that Soulforce is continuously committed to in our intersectional justice work, both in Ohio, and across the US.
Our LGBTQ communities are systemically and institutionally oppressed, and our movement for equality should not be divided and prioritized. For example, some LGBTQ organizations seem to have prioritized marriage equality (a worthy cause on its own) over all other issues, including legal non-discrimination, and protection for trans people. If marriage equality is to give us the status, protection, and freedom to love and define our own marriages and families, then we must remember that our families include our transgender sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, children, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Our issues and experiences are interconnected in more ways than we may know.