The New Color of Pride?

Over the last week I’ve seen several articles regarding a change to the rainbow flag, the instantly recognizable symbol of unity for the LGBT+ community.  The change, while seemingly minor, has started a heated debate within the community, of which I found myself getting involved in.  The change is a simple addition of brown and black stripes to the top of the traditional rainbow flag, which is meant to represent people of color within the LGBT+ community.  Upon first reading about the change, I found myself completely against the idea, and I argued that way.  I even had a few arguments that I felt were quite logical, which I’ll go over now:

  1. The rainbow flag is meant as a symbol for sexuality / gender identity minorities.  It’s not about race.  Bigotry against both racial minorities and those of sexuality and gender identity is extremely prevalent in our society, but nevertheless they are still separate issues.  Combining the two will inevitably cause one issue to be overshadowed by the other, and due to the fact that a majority of those within the LGBT+ community are white, I can’t help but fear that it will be the racial minorities that are overshadowed and left out, with blatant racism being ignored.  
  2. We shouldn’t allow bigoted people to force LGBT+ people of color out of the community.  The rainbow flag is meant to be a sign of pride and equality for all LGBT+ people and creating a new symbol gives those that are hateful a big win.  It says “fine, take the rainbow flag, we’ll go make our own.”  
  3. Racism isn’t exclusive to the LGBT+ community, so only focusing on the racism within its boundaries is far too limited.  We should be attacking the plague of racism in all of our communities, and working to drive it out to change our society so that racism isn’t acceptable any longer.  

As I said, to me, these arguments seemed completely logical… They still seem completely logical, but they just aren’t strong enough arguments to deny that something needs to be done. If making even a small change makes people of color and other minorities feel more included, then why not make the change?  What’s the harm? The argument, my own argument, that began to make me rethink my stance was number 3.  Racism isn’t exclusive to the LGBT+ community.  It’s a problem that plagues the entire country, if not the world, as Donald Trump’s rise to power has shown us.  It definitely needs to be fought on a much larger scale, but that is an even better reason to start “small”, right here inside our own community.  Mahatma Ghandi said be the change you want to see in the world” and starting small, changing the way our community presents itself to those in the outside world, in order to make it a better place for everyone, is the best way to start.  If we can’t end racism within our own community how in the world can we expect to end racism in our states, our country, or the world?

Within the LGBT+ community almost all of us have fought our own personal battles; many have been driven to suicide or murdered by bigots, and LGBT+ people of color have had it harder than anyone else.  Not only have they had to deal with hatred against them because of their sexuality or gender identity, they’ve also had to deal with hatred against them because of their skin color on top of that. Even within our community, a community that is supposed to be “all inclusive”, they’ve been ridiculed and driven out.  But in spite of that, they have so often been the leaders in the LGBT+ movement.  From Bayard Rustin, fighting for Civil Rights and LGBT+ rights right alongside Martin Luther King Jr., to Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, heroes of the Stonewall Riots, LGBT+ people of color have been leading the fight for equality for all of us for as long as there has been a movement.  Those within our community have proven again and again that we are strong and resilient, that we’ll keep on fighting until we are no longer physically able to do so, and our LGBT+ brothers and sisters of color have been some of the strongest among us, right on the front lines.  

In a world that continues to see those representing hatred and bigotry growing bolder on a daily basis, our community should stand up and say we won’t allow it to divide us.  We have to say loudly and clearly that we won’t allow the Donald Trumps of the world to infect our community with their poison and that we are better than that.  We have to “be the change we want to see in the world”, and if that change starts with something as simple as changing the rainbow flag to make LGBT+ people of color feel more included, then those that truly want to end racism once and for all should embrace that change gladly.  Yes I was against the idea initially, but after doing some soul-searching and giving it some serious thought I’ve realized that it’s the least… the very least… that we can do.  

James Garcia – 6/16/2017

 

 

Still Proud

To those people that would carry / have carried out violence against the LGBT community I have this to say:

Chances are good that if your religion teaches you to hate other people, so much that you’d murder them in cold blood, simply because they’re a little different than you, then the problem is with your religion, not the other people.  

If your “god” tells you to hate people simply because they love a little differently than you, then you don’t worship a god at all, you worship a monster.  No all-intelligent being, supposedly capable of creating the universe we live in, would ever sanction the kind of atrocity that happened in Orlando today.   

Your actions, and the actions of those like you, only make me more proud of who I am. They make me more proud to be a part of the LGBT community. You see, the LGBT community, in spite of petty government employees refusing them marriage licenses, in spite of hateful business owners refusing to sell them cakes, in spite of discriminatory “religious freedom” bills, in spite of ridiculous bathroom laws that seek to dehumanize them, and yes, even in spite of all the physical violence that has been carried out against them, they keep on fighting.  Why?  Because the LGBT community is built up of people from all different races, religions, cultures, and backgrounds. It’s built up of people that are brave, caring, and accepting; while you and those like you, are nothing more than sick, pathetic, cowards.  You’ll never win.  In fact… You’ve already lost.
#StillProud #Pride2016 #Orlando

 

James Garcia:  June 12, 2016

Hurry! God Apparently Needs Your Help!

I’ve seen a couple of different articles in the last day or so that, while serious in nature, made me chuckle just a bit, and also shake my head in disgust… Probably a combination of both at the same time.  Apparently a “Christian” couple from Iowa is hoping to have 1,000 billboards (pictured left) put up across America (they’ve got one so far…)  They have a “Help us spread our hate!” account to raise the money for the billboards that has made a whopping $156 so far! Here’s why I find this both a little funny and very disgusting.

Here’s the funny part:  These people claim to be Christian and it is well known that Christians believe god to be all powerful, all seeing, and all knowing… Yet for some odd reason, god “needs our help” to stop gay marriage?  If god is “all-powerful” then why in the world can’t he just make gay marriage a non-issue on his own?  Why does he need the help of fundamentalists?  Apparently, in their opinion, the “Gay Mafia” (as some right-wingers like to put it), has so much more power than god that he has to ask far right-wing fundamentalists to help him defeat it.  In addition to being funny, it’s also frighteningly arrogant that these people think that they can speak for a god (whether the Christian one or not.)

Here’s the disgusting part: What I find disgusting, is that people like this couple still don’t understand why those that don’t share their flavor of faith (and even some that do) think that this sort of thing is hateful. With this sign, what they’re saying boils down to is: “Please! Help us force our religious beliefs on those heathens that don’t share them! Help us make laws that place our religion over all others because ours is right and theirs is wrong! Oh and by the way, if you don’t you’re all going to Hell! Come on people! We can’t share this country with people that aren’t Christian!”

The thing about these fundamentalist types is that they can’t seem to say how gay marriage affects them in any way, other than the fact that they’ll have to live in a society where gay people can get married.  They don’t have to marry a gay person.  At worst they’ll possibly have to sell a cake or something at their business, that they already sell regularly! But, again, they don’t even want to have to see gay people, much less sell them one of their products.  Again, they can’t even explain how selling a product to a gay couple somehow violates their religion, but selling a cake to a couple getting married for the second time doesn’t.

They also can’t explain how Jesus could supposedly feed free bread and fish to 5,000 people, regularly dine with prostitutes, thieves, and liars (all of them sinners according to the Bible), yet for some bizarre reason they can’t sell something that their business offers without supposedly violating their religious beliefs (which they claim are based on the teachings of Jesus… Even though their Bible says he did the exact opposite…)  None of this nonsense makes any sense.  I have to hope that before long these types of beliefs will be looked at like the beliefs of those that opposed interracial marriage and segregation.  Or even better, that they just fade away all together, never to be seen or heard again.

Blasphemer

James Garcia – 8/5/2015

Caitlyn Jenner IS a Hero

The following is my response to this blog post:

https://emilysuzanne11.wordpress.com/2015/06/02/bruce-jenner-is-not-a-hero/comment-page-103/#comment-9963

Hello,

Per your follow up post, you state that you have received over 4,000 responses so I’m sure you won’t read this, but I feel the need to have my say anyway.  Your second sentence immediately caught my attention as being slightly funny “Most are so deeply embedded in presuppositions…”  Why do I find this funny? Maybe I should have used the word “hypocritical” instead.  You accuse others of holding to presuppositions, but then you proceed to write an article filled with them.  Throughout the article, you have shown your complete lack of empathy towards other human beings as well as your absolute ignorance on what it means to be transgender and what those that are transgender have to go through in their lives.  The premise of your article seems to hinge on three statements you claim as fact:

1) God does not make mistakes

2) “He made them male and female”

3) Caitlyn Jenner (that is her name) is not a hero.

I will address these points one at a time:

1) God does not make mistakes: This is a wonderfully trite Christian belief that just doesn’t hold up to sound reason or any of the available facts.  First off, if there is a God (which is questionable), and he did create the Universe and all that’s in it, then it is littered with mistakes.  I will point out just a few:

  • Genetic errors that lead to downs-syndrome (or any other genetic disorder in a world filled with them)
  • Cancer
  • AIDS
  • Natural disasters
  • Creating a world so bad that he had to destroy it with a giant flood and start over
  • Making his “Perfect Word” so vague, obscure, and hard to understand that religions dedicated to him are so fractured with different beliefs and denominations that their history is littered with internal wars where they slaughtered each other by the thousands

Need I go on?  I’m sure you will attempt to say “God didn’t create those things! Those are a result of sin entering the world!” So please tell me then… Who created sin?  You might say that was Satan, but then… Who created Satan?  If God knows all things, past, present, and future, then he had to know what Satan would do before he even created him. Right? Christians like to claim that everything is a part of God’s wonderful plan, but then that means sickness, disease, pain, and suffering are all a part of God’s divine plan.  That means that God created people specifically to suffer, and specifically to be sinners that hurt other people, which means they have no choice in the matter, and yet He will still punish them with eternal torture in Hell because they served their supposed purpose in his plan?  That sounds like a loving God to you?

Another common Christian response to this is “But sin is just the absence of God’s light!” But… Christians also claim that God is omnipresent, meaning that he is everywhere, even in the darkest, most vile of places.  In other words, if God is truly omnipresent then there can be no place where he doesn’t exist.  If he is truly omnipotent then he sits back and watches as people suffer, when he could step in at any time to stop it.  If you say he can’t because of free will, then he is not omnipotent. So the “God didn’t create sin” and “Sin is the absence of God” arguments just don’t hold up.  Either God created sin, created suffering, and chooses not to do anything about it.  You can say he sent Jesus to save us from all of that, but that doesn’t hold up either, because there is still plenty of suffering around and there is still what you would call sin, even among people that Jesus has supposedly saved. Besides that, you’re honestly going to try and claim that an omnipotent God couldn’t think of a better way to save the world from the sin he created than to have his own son (who is somehow himself) brutally tortured and killed? I could think of a thousand other ways and I’m not claiming to be omnipotent! Anyway… On to your second weak argument.

2) “He made them male and female”: This one is by far the easiest to refute and probably the most ignorant of the world we live in.  With this statement that you claim is fact, you ignore the actual scientific fact that there are other gender variations outside of your black and white fantasy world.

  • Pseudohermaphrodism: Where an individual has both male and female external genital organs, sometimes at the same time. Female embryos exposed to high levels of androgens (the male hormones) develop female internal reproductive organs but male external genitalia. Alternately, genetic defects cause children to be born with female external genital organs, which change at puberty, with the development of a penis and the closure of the false vagina.
  • Androgen Insensitivity Syndrom: Androgen insensitivity syndrome is a condition that affects sexual development before birth and during puberty. People with this condition are genetically male, with one X chromosome and one Y chromosome in each cell. Because their bodies are unable to respond to certain male sex hormones (called androgens), they may have mostly female sex characteristics or signs of both male and female sexual development.

So yeah… “He made them male and female” except in those instances where people have biological characteristics of both, by no choice of their own.  I guess that could also rebut the “God doesn’t make mistakes” argument you make.  In light of these two things (and there are more out there), is it honestly so hard for you to believe that perhaps someone was born with the body of one gender and the brain of the other?  We use medicine to cure countless diseases and ailments, yet you claim it’s a sin to use medical science to correct that? And finally…
3) “[Caitlyn] Jenner is not a hero”: To you? Maybe not… But to the thousands of kids out there that are transgender (or just LGBT in general) who have to suffer in a society that treats them like they are nothing, Caitlyn Jenner can be an amazing hero.  She is someone who has been through it all, rose to fame as an athlete, lives a very public celebrity life, and yet still chose to be herself knowing that people like you would attack her, demean her, and call her a sinner for making that decision.  In spite of the presuppositions that you make from your place of privilege in society, that represents the very definition of courage.  So how dare you try and claim otherwise.  As if you have any basis for doing so.