As much as I craved my mother's warm embrace, the smell of the sea and the happy moments that I did share with my partner in our home, I couldn't help but wonder if my homophobic attackers were still around. And that uncertainty - coupled with the fact that our love is still considered a crime there - was my wake-up call.
As I watched the saga surrounding Kim Burrell's homophobic sermon unfold over the last week, I made several attempts to speak about it and could not. Why? Because I was afraid of what might have come out of my big lesbian mouth. I was too furious to write and I wanted this piece to reflect the ideals of my rainbow family.
Imagine being persecuted by law for practicing your faith in schools, offices and public spaces. My former student told me that his office colleagues had stopped having lunch with him when they found out about his Ahmadi beliefs. Such social ostracism only throws a minority community into the closet.
I'm just going to come right out and say it: I think Americans have a lot to be concerned about unless, among other things, they don't care about their freedom to choose and their basic human rights. Have you been paying attention to Donald Trump's nominees? Do you know what they believe in and stand for? I have been keeping up with his picks and their platforms. And let me tell you, unless I was an affluent, white, heterosexual, conservative Christian man, I'd be more than a little nervous.
I'm sure most of us have had experiences with an overly aggressive man trying to strong-arm you into a sexual relationship. Why does this happen? My theory is simple. These men overcompensate. They fight this, they embrace "bro" culture -- anything to feel they have "reclaimed" this lost masculinity.
I am a non-binary trans person. I know that many people do not yet understand what this means. Many people refuse to acknowledge my existence. Being seen as I am by people is a remarkable feeling, and my grandmother gave this gift to me in the most unexpected moment. My grandmother spent her minute of clarity, while suffering in a state of almost perpetual dementia and physical exhaustion, to give me a beautiful gift of cross-generational respect as a trans person. To see me as I am.
Trans people are diverse, but we are not all the same. Non-binary trans people have been largely excluded from the discussion about trans people, and this erasure delegitimizes our identity. What troubles me is that some people are acting out dangerous forms of transphobia to erase non-binary trans people.
In the LGBTQ community, "coming out" means the voluntary self-disclosure of one's sexual orientation and/or gender identity. I believe that coming out means a person feels they can be completely free to be true to themselves and live authentically. It's a fundamental right, and one that everyone deserves equally.
Since Black Lives Matter Toronto's sit-in during Pride 2016, many of you have shown woeful levels of misunderstanding of where our community as a whole sits with the police. I've heard several of you say that the police don't pose a threat to LGBT people, because we've made "progress." "The bathhouse raids were 35 years ago. Everything is fine now between LGBT people and the police!" is how the argument goes, as if conflict between police and LGBT people is a thing of the past. What you mean to say is that your battle for your rights (which did not include an agenda for LGBT people of colour) was already hard fought decades ago.
Allegedly, we are denying our son the right to a mother. Does Milo have a mom? No he doesn't. Does he have two loving parents that will do anything in their power to make sure he is loved, safe, happy, healthy, accepting, tolerant, kind (OK, this list can go on, but I'll stop there)? Will he grow up being less of a person because he doesn't have a mother? No he won't.
When I was approached about being one of the hosts for the CaribbeanTales International Film Festival's LGBT Love screening, I said yes without hesitating simply because I am a proud Caribbean lesbian and LGBT activist living in Canada who loves everything queer. (When you see my outfit, you'll understand.)
I am a proud queer radical brown woman who was a single mom for several years, feeding and housing my child on a combination of arts worker wages, home daycare earnings and hustling. So the idea of ever spending thousands of dollars on a dress to wear for only one day of my life seemed preposterous, most especially when I could use the cash to fund my daughter's education. So I made one myself.