Posts Tagged ‘glbt issues’
Writing for NBC News, Mary Emily O’Hara looks at the queer casualties of the Oakland Ghost Ship disaster.
The fire at an Oakland artists’ warehouse on Friday night was so devastating, officials said the current death toll of 36 people comes after only 70 percent of the building was searched.
[. . .]
As of Tuesday, 22 victims had been positively identified and their families notified. Most of the bodies were so badly burned in the fire, identification has been difficult to accomplish.
On social media and in shared Google Docs, people are still searching for their missing family and friends. The LGBTQ community has been especially impacted by the realization that many who attended the ill-fated event on Friday identified as queer or transgender. In a year that saw the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history take place at an Orlando gay bar, the mass casualties at Ghost Ship have left many in the LGBTQ community distraught.
San Francisco resident Elisa Green told NBC Out she had planned to attend Friday night’s music show at Ghost Ship but was tired and decided to stay home at the last minute.
“If I had gotten more sleep the night before or if my friend had called and encouraged me, I would have been there,” said a stunned Green, who counted multiple friends among the Ghost Ship community and said she was grieving.
“It was such a positive, open community of people,” Green added, “At this time in the world, it really hurts.”
Daily Xtra carries Ahmed Danny Ramadan’s lovely autobiographical essay drawn from his experience of how he, a refugee, came to feel himself Canadian and Vancouverite.
Butterflies are beautiful creatures. Their journey from caterpillar to cocoon to colourful butterfly illustrates the beauty and dynamism of life.
Like butterflies, refugees to Canada have their own evolution, one I’ve experienced first-hand living for the last two years in Vancouver.
I think we should respect that evolution. An assumption that gets on my nerves is that gay refugees will shed their old skin, covered in scars from the homophobic communities they left behind, and replace it with a new colourful skin that fits into Canadian society.
I can tell you this is not true; this change takes time, effort and painful transformation. This is not because Canadian LGBT society is not welcoming, or because refugees don’t want to integrate. It’s a simple fact of life: Change is not easy. Immigration is a sudden change, and accepting and celebrating it requires time and hard work, from both the newcomer and society.
I believe this change happens in three stages, just like the transformation of a butterfly.
Steven Maynard’s article in Daily Xtra offers some interesting arguments about the police crackdown in Marie Curtis Park and its wider import. Are there things we are forgetting, I wonder, traditions or entire populations?
Marie Curtis Park has its own history. Even the police know this, with one officer noting that “we’ve really got our work cut out for us. This has been something that has been so ingrained in the area for decades.”
When it comes to policing and public sex, it’s the same as it ever was. Or is it?
I detect some subtle but significant shifts in the way police are framing their practices in “Project Marie.” In particular, I’m struck by how the police are at pains to point out this is not about “sexual orientation,” to use their phrase. As the spokesperson for Toronto police put it, “I don’t think this has anything to do with the sexual orientation of those involved.” Rather, she says it’s a “type of behaviour that is not welcome in our public spaces.” Another officer said, “I want to make it very clear that the purpose of this project is not to target any one specific orientation or anything like that.”
In a certain way, the police are right. Men who cruise parks for sex, then and now, have a range of erotic identifications, not all of them gay. But I’m fairly certain the police aren’t offering a primer on the non-identitarian notion of MSM, or “men who have sex with men.” Rather, the police are anxious to reassure us this is not about sexual orientation in order to avoid accusations of homophobia and harassment.
According to police, it’s about “lewd behaviour” and “sexual activity in public,” irrespective of the erotic preferences of those engaged in such activities. Activists have countered that this is a smokescreen designed to obscure “an old-school queer-catching crackdown.” This is undoubtedly true, but if our analysis stops here, I worry we may be missing something important.