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Pointing it Out

Pointing it Out

by Sage Piper

For all of you who voted for this ‘Toddler in Chief’ who think you are supporting me in my relationship ... think twice. You’ve actually given me and all who are LGBTQ the clear message that you do not respect me.

So, read a Facebook post from a close friend this week, who’s lost patience for those who continue to hold that Donald Trump, while not openly a friend to the LGBTQ community, is not a menace. As we begin to revel in Gay Pride Month and celebrate in our communities, it is vital to dispel this myth, clearly and forcefully. Vague campaign promises to protect the gay community long since cast aside, the current occupier of the Oval Office in Washington is a purveyor of anti-gay pride, progress, priorities, and policy, and its high time we organize against his administration.

Dissecting Trump’s Executive Order

It has certainly been a year of mind-bending presidential perversities. Donald Trump continued the farce in a morning Rose Garden ceremony last week to officially celebrate “National Prayer Day.” As a group of conservative religious leaders gathered to serve as his smug and satisfied background props, Trump triumphantly signed the “Religious Freedom” executive order of 2017. Even before the ink had dried, many in the LGBTQ community drew a sigh of relief that the order did not contain the same language as the discriminatory draft which had been widely leaked in the media back in February. Thankfully, it does not single out specific anti-LGBTQ protections for repeal. However, in a move which targets women in general and lower-income working women in particular, the order does open the door to allow companies to deny employees access to contraception – this is the name of granting “freedom” to religious people.

The Gay Movement’s challenge in 2017

It is our individual responsibility to continually educate and reeducate ourselves about how we have arrived here – 2017 Trump America. This is a daunting task, and one that cannot be taken lightly. It includes studying our history through today’s eyes and then engaging in the critically thinking necessary to keep publicly testifying the ways that history has shaped the present. It is this continual affirmation: 2017 Trump America did not randomly happen, and those who are marginalized are not so because they “deserve” to be. The injustice and inequality are the results of the conscious decisions of individuals and institutions which have shaped what is now collectively accepted as our “given” societal codes and norms. If our “givens” were scripted, then they are capable of being rescripted. This is the lifelong task of many among us, and I believe they are the heroes among us. However, I fear that their life’s work has been rendered unfathomable in Trump’s America, where social progress is being besieged and assaulted at every turn.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Checking in with Julia & Vanna

Flavor at Baltimore Center Stage debuts with theatre’s grand reopening

When Baltimore OUTLoud profiled Julia and Vanna Belton in October 2015, they had just renovated and opened Flavor Restaurant, Bar & Lounge on Centre Street. Their story was pretty damn epic: married in 2014, they met two years after Vanna had almost completely lost her sight in a week’s time and had come to terms with life as a visually impaired person. The couple, both with backgrounds in the restaurant business, hit it off right away and began their personal and professional relationship, vowing to one day open a restaurant/bar in Baltimore where the LGBT community would thrive and feel safe. They were also determined to fight Vanna’s condition and seek a cure.

Friday, February 03, 2017

The Goddess is in the Connections

“It’s a heart rending time to be both a woman and an immigrant in this country... our dignity, our character, and rights are all under attack.” So spoke America Ferrerra as she gazed out over the hundreds of thousand of women who descended on Washington on Saturday, January 21st for the Women’s March. Women who came from all over the country, sleeping on friends’ floors, crossing coasts, and riding buses through the night to be there. We wore pink pussy hats, accepted free doobies, and marched bearing homemade signs or bearing the five official images of the March. We broke out into impromtu verses of “Lean on Me” and cheered and chanted our throats raw as four-plus hours of speakers proclaimed that Donald Trump is not America.

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