A new report from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the University of Connecticut (UCONN) reveals the experiences of Asian and Pacific Islander (API) LGBTI youth in the United States.
Their experiences consist of high rates of mental health struggles, discrimination, and harassment, stemming from homophobia, transphobia, and racism.
The data in the report was taken from HRC’s 2018 LGBTI Youth Survey. There are 1,243 respondents included in the report, with a majority identifying as cisgender, as well as bisexual and gay/lesbian. A total of 369 of the respondents identify as not cisgender (either transgender, non-binary, or genderqueer).
Respondents range from the ages of 13 to 17.
HRC and UCONN have previously released reports specifically on California, transgender and gender-expansive, and black youth.
Feelings of worthlessness, struggle to sleep, and self-criticism appeared frequently in the report.
Most of the respondents stated they had trouble getting to sleep (93%), rated their average stress a 5 or higher on a 10-point scale (84%), and usually felt depressed (77%) or worthless (71%).
These feelings and experience can come from a unsupportive home life.
30% said they’ve heard their family say negative things about LGBTI people and only 19% feel they can ‘definitely’ be themselves at home.
‘I’m already out, but my mother hates that I’m a lesbian and doesn’t want me telling anyone about my “flaw,”‘ one respondent said in the survey.
A total of 43% of respondents said their family makes them feel bad about their LGBTI identity, including 57% of non-cisgender youth and 35% of cisgender LGBTI API youth.
A lack of counseling services makes these experiences worse. Only 31% of API LGBTI youth said they’ve received counseling in the past year and, consequently, 46% said they’re critical of their own LGBTI identity.
Feeling uncomfortable at school
One respondent said in the survey they attend a Catholic school.
‘Even though my counselor says we can talk to them about anything,’ they said. ‘I can’t be sure how they would respond to discussing my identity. It simply feels taboo.’
Most API LGBTI youth don’t feel comfortable at school, with only 29% saying they can ‘definitely’ be themselves there.
A third said they’ve been bullied on school property within the last year, 65% said they’ve been verbally insulted, and a quarter said they’ve been physically threatened.
These feelings are consistent with larger reports about LGBTI youth in schools across the country.
Racism compounds the issues
85% of the youth have experienced racial discrimination, with more than 1 in 5 thinking about racism on a daily basis. Only 17% believe API people have a positive reputation in the US.
These feelings compound the discrimination and harassment API youth also face for their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
‘My counselor is a straight, cis, white woman,’ one respondent said. ‘And while I wholeheartedly believe she has no issue with me, it is just hard to relate to her enough to talk at length about these topics with her.’
Written by: Anya Crittenton. 22 May 2019. Gaystarnews.com
Surveillance footage showed two men running away from a Baltimore business front after setting fire to a rainbow flag on display last Saturday (4 May).
The store in question is Same Gender Love, a boutique owned by Marva Laws in the city’s Mount Vernon neighborhood.
Detective Jeremy Silbert confirmed the city’s police opened a hate crime investigation after an employee reported it. The department’s LGBTI liaison is also involved with the investigation.
Though no one in the shop said they saw the culprits in question, Merrick Moses, board chair of the Pride Center of Maryland, had been in Same Gender Love at the time of the incident.
Moses was filming an episode of Queer Conversations when it happened. Both he and LaToi Williams, the show’s host, ran outside and found the remnants of the flag.
‘That flag represents not just a people but it also represents a struggle of a people to live as human beings,’ Moses commented. ‘The flag… shows our strength and the promise of our country, that all people are created equal.
‘When someone burns this flag, it says we don’t respect your humanity and we think you don’t belong here.’
Still fighting to make it a safe place
‘My first reaction was full of emotion,’ Laws told the Baltimore Sun. ‘I was very angry because this is mine. It belongs to me. Of course, I took it personally.
‘My second reaction, after I think about it, is I feel sorry for whoever did it. What statement are you making, other than showing that somebody ignorant walked past my store?’
Laws aren’t letting this incident frighten her away, however. She wants to make it a safe place for everyone in the LGBTI community and is working on rebranding the store now.
‘Our store was built and created on love,’ Laws explained. ‘That’s why I’m rebranding. I want to be completely inclusive. Love is love — period.’
Love Is Love is the store’s new name and Laws is hosting a new event there on 9 June.
GSN reached out to the Baltimore Police Department for further comment.
Written by: Anya Crittenton. 13 May 2019. News. Gaystarnews.com
Last year, the gay adult studio Icon Male launched a new site named Noir Male whose tagline is “Showcases Black Men as They Deserve to Be Seen.” However, one of its biggest name performers, Jacen Zhu, has quit the studio, stating, “We are being used to sell a product that doesn’t cater to our community.”
Before we get into it, any casual observer of gay adult videos knows that the medium generally has a poor and problematic record of handling race and performers of color.
An informal 2015 study of five mainstream studios — Men.com, Sean Cody, BelAmi Online, Randy Blue and Helix Studios — found that of each one’s roster of performers only 0.8 to 10% were black (compared to the estimated 12.1% of black men in the general U.S. population).
Black performers are typically used in scenes far less often than white ones, and many scenes in gay adult videos showcase black men as submissive arrestees or hung thugs. Black performers are also siloed into low-production niche sites catering specifically to black men.
That’s why it seemed like such a breath of fresh air when Noir Male appeared, promising some long overdue representation with decent production quality.
But in a series of tweets, Zhu wrote (link NSFW):
I stopped working for Noir Male when I woke up. When I saw that everything was a lie and I would like to apologize for [helping] the wolves in suits to sell this lie. Wake up y’all and see it’s not about us.
I [want] to be clear: I’m not angry I just sat back and watched as the aspiration didn’t meet the reality. We are being used to sell a product that doesn’t cater to our community.
As the gay adult gossip writer Zachary Sire explains, “Icon Male and Noir Male are part of the Canadian straight porn conglomerate Mile High Media, which is owned by a straight white man named Jon Blitt.” Sire points out that when Noir Male launched, only 44% of its 29 actors were black; today that ratio is 55% (37 out of 67).
It makes sense that a black gay adult studio would feature white and non-black performers to appeal to a wide swath of viewers, but if Zhu’s tweets are any indication, the gay adult video industry still hasn’t figured out how black men “deserve to be seen.”
We have reached out to Noir Male for comment and will update this story if they respond.
Written by: Daniel Villareal. 02 April 2019. Undertones. Queerty.com
Police in Palm Springs, California are seeking a Latinx man in his 20s or 30s as a suspect in the shooting of two individuals which happened at Toucan’s Tiki Lounge, a gay-friendly bar, around 2 a.m. early Sunday morning. Both shooting victims survived after being treated at a hospital.
Police say the shooting started as an argument in the bar that moved outside to the parking lot.
Witnesses fled before police could question them.
A Twitter video (below) following the shooting shows patrons cowering and crying inside the bar, using their phones and shielding themselves with tables and barstools while someone urges them to “Stay the f*ck down.”
It also shows a person bleeding through their jeans from a bullet wound on their thigh. Police then enter the scene.
Here’s a video posted on Twitter just after the shooting:
The Palm Springs Police Department has asked witnesses to call 760-778-8411 or provide information anonymously via Crime Stoppers at 760-341-7867.
The shooting is somewhat similar to an October 2018 San Antonio incident in which a shooter injured three people, allegedly after being kicked out of the Pegasus gay bar. Two men and one woman sustained non-life-threatening injuries in that shooting.
Two days after the shooting, 44-year-old Jose Rincon Hernandez surrendered to police, but he claimed that his brother-in-law was responsible. Nevertheless, police charged him with at least one count of aggravated assault.
Barely a year after the June 12, 2016 shooting at the Pulse nightclub, one media outlet counted at least nine attacks on gay bar patrons.
While these attacks weren’t necessarily attributed to homophobia, hate crimes have steadily been on the rise since Trump’s election. In fact, a recent study showed that hate crime incidents have risen 226% in areas where Trump held rallies.
Written by: Daniel Villarreal. 25 March 2019. queerty.com
Brazil’s notorious anti-LGBTI president, Jair Bolsonaro, said he and the US were ‘side by side’ in efforts to ensure ‘traditional family values’ on a visit to the country on Tuesday (19 March).
Far-right Bolsonaro, who took office in January, has described himself as a ‘proud homophobe’.
He also said he’d prefer to have a dead son than a gay son.
In a joint press conference with Donald Trump, Bolsonaro said they stood together ‘against the gender ideology or the politically correct attitudes.
Trump, who himself has a questionable track record on LGBTI rights, nodded along.
Trump began his speech to journalists by saying he and Bolsonaro have ‘many views that are similar’.
Trump also congratulated Bolsonaro on winning his election. What’s more, Trump claimed he was ‘thrilled’ to host Bolsonaro at the White House.
Trump of the Tropics
Bolsonaro visited Trump on his first foreign trip as president.
Known for his far-right policies and anti-LGBTI, misogynistic, and racist comments, some people call Bolsonaro ‘the Trump of the Tropics’.
LGBTI activists have warned Bolsonaro will usher in a new wave of terror for Brazil’s LGBTI community.
In January, Brazil’s only openly-gay lawmaker fled the country.
‘For the future of this cause,’ Jean Wyllys told Folha de S. Paulo, ‘I have to stay alive. ‘I don’t want to be a martyr’, he also said.
He said he did not plan to return to Brazil.
Many LGBTI Brazilians who said they were fearful for their rights and safety under the rule of the openly homophobic Bolsonaro.
Prior to the presidency, Brazil saw a spate of same-sex weddings, as same-sex couples rushed to marry before Bolsonaro took office.
Though same-sex marriage has been legal in Brazil since 2013, many LGBTI people worry that Bolsonaro might begin rescinding LGBTI rights during his presidency.
2018 was one of the deadliest years for Brazil’s LGBTI community.
In September, Brazilian LGBTI rights group reported more than 300 LGBTI people have been murdered in Brazil in 2018. Importantly, that’s from 220 by the same time the previous year.
‘I would be incapable of loving a homosexual child’ Bolsonaro once said.
‘If your son starts acting a little gay, hit him with some leather, and he’ll change his behavior’ he also said.
Written by: Rik Glauert. 20 March 2019. gaystarnews.com
Paddy Smyth was born with cerebral palsy. In a op0ed written for International Day of Persons with Disabilities he opens up about being disabled and the impact it’s had on his love life.
“My insecurities about having a disability included not feeling hot enough, not feeling like I was worth enough,” Smyth writes candidly.
“We live in a society where it’s all about the image you have. And I never fit into that ideal of a gay person.”
Smyth describes dating with a disability as “cutthroat.”
“Us gays can be bitches,” he says.
Recounting some of the conversations he’s had with guys while out on the scene, he writes:
Guys would be direct–they’d say ‘can you even have sex though, are you able to do it?’ or ‘it must be really difficult for you’. Hearing those things can be very disheartening. Disabled people are treated like babies, like newborns, people are very protective. I think that’s a lot of why they can’t find someone with a disability attractive–because society’s instinct is to protect them and keep them safe, like we’re going to shatter.
Apps like Grindr and SCRUFF aren’t much better.
Smyth says he could hide his disability on them for a while, but sooner or later “I’d have to have that weird conversation–‘I’m actually disabled’ and then guys would go ‘how disabled?’ and then it would turn into a thing where they would think I’d be worse than I am.”
When he wasn’t dealing with that, Smyth was fielding off guys who fetishized his disability.
“Sometimes for guys, I would have been a fantasy. They would be like–‘oh my god, you’re disabled’, so I could be a notch on the bedpost. They could fantasize about it–overpower me almost.”
Today, Smyth is in a relationship with a man who he says loves him for him and couldn’t care less about his disability.
Thinking about what advice he might give his younger self, he writes:
The advice I would give to my younger self would be to believe in myself more. And to not try so hard to fit in- to accept my own flag and fly it. And don’t be afraid not to be liked! Have the confidence in yourself to be okay with people not liking you.
We all know that stereotypes in the gay community is rampant and pervasive. A 19-year-old masculine bottom says he has problems keeping men’s attention as a black “extremely masc” bottom. He believes that it due to the face that he doesn’t conform to perceptions of what bottoms should look and act like.
“I’m the big black muscle guy that looks like a top,” he writes on Reddit. “I’m 19, but I’m beefy as hell, so most people think I’m in my late 20s. I’m also a complete submissive bitch, but most guys don’t expect that out of me. I’m not opposed to topping, but I only like to top guys that I know will be around for a while (like a FWB or a romantic interest). I’ve been told I’m handsome and all of that, but all guys want is the lightweight twink they can throw around. All of my hookups have called me a big dude in a good way, but it seems like it isn’t the dream. Plus, I’m black so everybody thinks I’m a top as well.”
This author would be glad that he is the dream for some men. “How rare of a species is this?” one wrote in a DataLounge forum thread about masc bottoms. “I think I’ve finally found one, and, damn, am I in heaven.”
“Masculine bottom porn suggestions most welcome,” commented another user.
On another DataLounge thread, someone asked if masculine guys bottoming is “hot or not.” Responses to that post included “very hot” and “the best.”
That addresses the perception that masculine men can’t be desired as bottoms, but what about the bias against black men as bottoms? Unfortunately, the Redditor is far from alone, and the fetishization of certain races is yet again to blame. Take this Thought Catalog essay titled “Dear White Gays: Not All Black Guys Are Tops.”
“I want you to know that when you approach me at the bar or online and you assume I’m a top, or that I’m hung, or that I’m hung and a top, I feel dehumanized,” the author writes. “It feels like you’re reducing me to a thing that can perform a service for you, not like a mutual bond, the way sex should be.
He concludes: “When you’re a black gay guy, bottoming is a political stance. It’s a small way of saying, I don’t want to play the game of upholding dehumanizing stereotypes and images. I don’t want to confirm media and cultural stereotypes about black ‘virile’ masculinity.”
Moral of the story: We should all just appreciate humanity in its all many forms, and, more specifically, men who have sex with men in all their many roles.
Rapper Ja Rule is being accused of transphobia after posting a photoshopped image of 50 Cent wearing make-up and a wig.
The image was posted on social media after 50 Cent bought 200 seats to Ja Rules concert, the goal was to make the venue look empty.
The two have been in a nearly 20-year feud.
He wrote in the caption: “What a show, 👏I mean just f***ing great. Do it again😆my kid went to the restroom. LOL #bellator #lecheminduroi.”
Ja Rule responded by posting three photos of 50 Cent either photoshopped as a woman or portrayed in a way that negatively suggested he had sex with trans women.
The rapper has since deleted two of the photos on Instagram, following backlash, but the image on Twitter is still online.
Ja Rule posted alongside the photoshopped image on Twitter: “This beef is a JOKE to everyone except this lil ape looking b***h… she mad mad!!! 😡😂🤣😭”
Social media users were quick to criticise Ja Rule over the images.
“So Ja Rule got back at 50 by ….. making jokes about the trans community,” one person wrote on Twitter
C-SPAN callers wasted no time in tearing about Christian hate group leader Tony Perkins live on television. Perkins is the leader of the Family Research Council, an extreme far-right group that portrays itself as a Christian charity.
One caller took Perkins to task for abandoning Christian values and principles such as love and helping others all to become a “worshipper of Trump.” Another caller wanted to know how they could support a person accused of adultery and sexual assault.
“I was an evangelical Christian,” Steve, a caller from North Carolina said. “But I gave that up. I went back to being a true Christian.”
“A true Christian follows the teachings of Jesus,” he continued. “Evangelicals have become paranoid, white Christians losing their country to minorities. They have only one goal and that is to keep America white and Christian. And that’s exactly opposite of what Christianity is. Christianity is about love and helping others and taking care of others.”
“The paranoid white Christians have now become worshippers of Donald Trump. They follow all of these false prophets out there living in $16 million houses, flying around in $10 million jets. They need to wake up. Jesus is love, not hate.”
Perkins wasted no time is hitting back saying: “I know we want to describe Jesus as all love,” the evangelical leader opined. “He is love, but he’s truth. And we cannot sacrifice his truth because if we do that, we’ll never experience his love.”
To make matters worse Perkins defended his support of our less-than-Christ-like President by stating Clinton’s policies are not Christian enough for their liking. “The choice was between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton,” Perkins replied. “Hillary Clinton openly supported policies that were antithetical to Christian beliefs. What were we to do?”
“Between that and Hillary Clinton, it is no-brainer,” Perkins added. “We supported him. We said we said we’re going to give you a chance. We don’t agree with what you [did] in the past. We think your lifestyle is anathema when it comes to the standards and values we embrace, but here is the choice. We gave him an opportunity, and he has not disappointed us.”
The support of Trump is solely based on the evangelical wish list and since Trump has checked most of the boxes that they demanded for their support. For example, he has placed far-right appointees to the Federal bench, attacked LGBT people and dismantled several civil rights protections.
Commentary - Hassan Shibly
Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson robbed, pistol-whipped, tortured, and left Matthew Shepard to die on a wooden ranch fence in Laramie, Wyo. A cyclist passing by — who first mistook Shepard for a scarecrow — discovered him in a coma 18 hours after the attack. Twenty years ago yesterday, Matthew Shepard died.
The murder of Matthew Shepard didn’t happen in a vacuum. McKinney and Henderson grew up in a culture permeated with hate crimes targeting minorities. Crimes motivated by bias don’t just affect the victims, but everyone who shares their identity. Minority groups must contend not only with finding their place in a society that looks, believes, and prays differently from them but also with the lingering threat of violence in the back of their mind.
In the years since Shepard’s death though, the LGBT community has organized and made significant gains in securing legal protections. One of the most significant advances — hate crimes legislation that expanded the federal definition to include sexual orientation and gender identity — was even named after Matthew Shepard. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, which I am a part of, supported the legislation that was signed into law by President Obama in 2009.
Regardless of our religious, political, ethnic, social, economic, or moral differences, we can all agree that violence expressed as a result of these differences can never be tolerated.
The law also removed a prerequisite that hate crimes related to the race, religion, or national origin involve the victim engaging in a federally protected activity like voting or going to school.
Out of a traumatic event, the movement against hate crimes achieved remarkable progress.
We’re now seeing a rise in hate again, from President Trump’s rampant Islamophobia, numerous synagogues defaced with swastikas, to white supremacists openly marching in Charlottesville are just a few examples of rising hate in our country.
But just like after Shepard’s murder, hate is not the totality of the story.
In the midst of the Trump’s administration attacks on minorities, we are currently witnessing a record number of minority candidates running for office and standing strong against hate. Over 90 Muslim-Americans are running in this election cycle. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, the Democratic nominees for the House of Representatives in their respective districts, could be the first Muslim women in Congress.
These candidates proudly stand strong against hate targeting all minorities and are disturbing the cycle of hate in hopes of ensuring victims like Matthew Shepard did not lose their lives in vain. Violence against one person is violence against us all. As the Holy Quran teaches, “Whoever kills a soul, it is as though they have killed all humanity. And whoever saves a soul, it is as though they have saved all humanity.”
Our communities would rather be protagonists in the story of an inclusive America, rather than resign ourselves to live in fear of hate crimes.
We will also not be divided by politicians and pundits who seek to divide and conquer minority groups. We saw then-candidate Trump attempt to do this after the Pulse nightclub shooting. Yet what saw on the ground here in Florida is communities of all backgrounds coming together across our differences to stand united against all forms violence.
When black and brown Americans, the LGBT community, women, and religious minorities — as well as white, straight, men of goodwill — stand together for civil rights, we can’t be ignored. That’s why our opponents try so hard to divide us.
Twenty years after Matthew Shepard’s murder, my heart continues to break for victims of hate crimes. But I also know that they, along with Muslim-Americans and all others who face the brunt of white supremacy, see a better future for our country. We intend to make the founders’ commitment to equality real and are actively working across targeted communities to do just that.
Source: Shibly, Hassan. What’s Changed and What Hasn’t Since Mathew Shepard’s Murder. 13 October 2018. Advocate.