Monday, July 27, 2015

#ITLQBM - Blackness & Equality Under Attack (Video Update)

Intersectionality Through the Lens of a Queer Black Man

Waller, TX




Houston City Council



In recent posts, I have discussed at length the Sandra Bland case and on a macro level about how #BlackLivesMatter. On the flip side of the coin, my involvement with the #HERO (Houston equal rights ordinance) has been very active, especially since a rushed ruling just came down from the Texas Supreme Court. These are the intersections that I and many of my counterparts of Color speak of when we are doing the work to demand respect and the decriminalization of Blackness. As of today, I am faced with a choice to testify at Houston City Hall tomorrow during the Council meeting on behalf of HERO or be in Waller county to meet with my cohorts in front of  the county jail to stand in solidarity for our fallen sister Sandra and discuss next steps beyond our planned event on August 9th.


***For some background on both issues follow these links:


When you think about it HERO intersects with the movement for Black lives in ways that are quite interesting. Here is how: 

*The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance provides protections in employment (both public and private), housing and public accommodations for the following classes as it applies to my intersections:
- sex - race - sexual orientation - color- ethnicity- gender identity*

As a Black man I choose to be part of movements that impact all People of Color for the better and isn't it interesting that regardless of where I stand, I am under attack by the current power structure. In this case the power structure is clergy, government, law enforcement and at its foundation is homophobia, racism, prejudice and bigotry. In a previous post I said "...Honestly, the factors that I have just pointed out are a primer for the real discussion about being a “Black Queer Man.” Take all of those factors and apply which ever resonates to you individually now add to it being out and Gay. We still have to deal with those stigmas that our heterosexual counterparts have to deal with and then some. We are attacked by those who look like us for not cosigning what I described earlier as what it means to be a strong Black man, we are told that because of who we are that we do not exist. IN FACT, we do have the same issues and then we are treated as if we are no longer Black and are still niggers in the eyes of society on a systemic and structural level. Now, let me take that down to a micro level and deal with all that I previously mentioned and combine it with the issues that we experience as Queer Black Men of color. First, we still have to deal with racism from a group that we are supposedly part of and are “welcome” to, which is the mainstream LGBT community. In many ways we are shut out by mainstream White gays unless we bring something to the table that they just cannot function without, DIVERSITY...We are only needed when it’s beneficial and then we have to live in our poverty that people think we don’t experience. We work in jobs that not only attack our race systemically and structurally, now we have the vector of homophobia in the work place to deal with. In fact, the structural and systematic homophobia that plague the LGBT community at large is much worse on people of color due to the same racial barriers to access as our heterosexual counterparts. We work in low paying jobs that range from fast food to hospitality and then we have to deal with being looked down upon by the ones that look like us and are gay like us who are making some good pay and etc. There is an overriding theme that we are being attacked from all sides, do you see it?"

When I wrote this, I had no clue that it would be so relevant to my feelings and what I am currently experiencing. I feel extremely stressed out and emphasis on being under attack. Do you know what it feels like to have people vying to be Mayor of Houston, currently elected/appointed judges tell me and so many others that an ordinance that protects me as an individual in six different ways is void in the eyes of the state of Texas. It is a constant feeling of siege when I hear about the loss of a Black life at the hands of some cop who likes to use excessive force and abuses his/her power. There is no way that Sandra Bland killed herself and it is clear that this is a cover up of epic proportions. Black Lives truly do matter and intersectionally speaking, this is the time to rise up, not just for the protections from discrimination and for law enforcement to do right by us. The time is now to rise up and recognize that we are being pushed out of affordable housing while being moved to the outskirts of the city, we lack access good healthcare facilities, and our kids are sent to schools in one of the most segregated school districts in the country that has a focus on the early criminalization of students. Who expels a kindergartner? WE are under a level of attack that cant be quantified or measured, we need our voting rights restored, we need affirmative action to be protected! What good is it if I can get same sex married at city hall and walk out to the possibility of some bigot protesting my rights, a cop ready to put his bullet in my brain, the prospect of losing my job for being gay, and a host of other issues not being discussed. Lets expose the hate, racism, and bigotry where ever it may be hiding....

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A CALL TO ACTION: #BlackLivesMatter


EVENT RSVP

In remembrance of Michael Brown who died last year (8/9/14) from an encounter with violent police officer Darren Wilson and Sandra Bland who Died on July 13th under very suspicious circumstances an event will be held at Waller County Jail. This is a response that requires the participation of all who demand justice in the face of police brutality, racism and hate. Our blackness is not a crime, we are not terrorists, and we will not lie down and take this abuse anymore!

    1. Map of Waller County Sheriff's Department
  1. Waller County Sheriff's Department 
  2. Sheriff's Department
  3. Address: 701 Calvit St, Hempstead, TX 77445

THIS IS A CALL TO ACTION: ALL TEXAS ACTIVISTS ARE INVITED, ALL ACTIVISTS FROM AROUND THE USA ARE INVITED.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

#HERO Interrupted - Texas Supreme Court Ruling

Yesterday the Texas Supreme Court ruled in favor of the opponents of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance. This comes as Dave Wilson's law suit to change the city charter with his rejected petition that was signed and supported by Mayoral candidate Ben Hall. You can read what I wrote about from that angle HERE and HERE. In its ruling the court ordered the Houston City Council to repeal an LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance it passed in 2014 or put a referendum opponents had sought on this November’s ballot.

 “Once the City Council received the City Secretary’s certification, it had a ministerial duty to act,” the court stated. “If the City Council does not repeal the ordinance by August 24, 2015, then by that date the City Council must order that the ordinance be put to popular vote during the November 2015 election.” 

Here is Texas Supreme court ruling: http://www.txcourts.gov/media/1047360/140667.pdf

MAKE A DONATION:


HOUequality is an information clearinghouse regarding the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance
HOUEQUALITY.NATIONBUILDER.COM

Here is some background on HERO:

During the first half of 2014 the effort to passed  HERO was under way and it was met with delays, protests and support. The ordinance on the table would protect 15 classes of citizens and give a way to affordably challenge those who commit discrimination.

*Houston Equal Rights Ordinance provides protections in employment (both public and private), housing and public accommodations for the following classes:

- sex                          - age                                         - disability
- race                         - familial status                        - sexual orientation
- color                        - marital status                         - genetic information
- ethnicity                  - military status                        - gender identity
- national origin         - religion                                  - pregnancy

Here is the Ordinance:




Since its passage in an 11-6 vote of the City Council on May 28, 2014:


In July, after thirty days of collecting signatures, opponents of the ordinance turned in a petition that they claimed to be  more than the minimum number of signatures needed to trigger a November 2014 vote on whether to repeal the measure. Once the city received the petition, the City Secretary's office had 30 days to verify the alleged 50,000 signatures that HERO opponents collected.  The required minimum threshold to beat HERO was 17,269 signatures from registered Houston voters. The issue that opponents attacked the ordinance for, boiled down to the protections it extends to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and  mainly transgender residents.



They basically used the "the man dressed as a woman to rape women and children" argument which is disproven by this:

Houston Penal Code: Sec. 28-20. Entering restrooms of opposite sex.permanent link to this piece of content It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly and intentionally enter any public restroom designated for the exclusive use of the sex opposite to such person's sex without the permission of the owner, tenant, manager, lessee or other person in charge of the premises, in a manner calculated to cause a disturbance. (Code 1968, § 28-42.6; Ord. No. 72-904, § 2, 6-2-72)

The community got together to do an independent count and verification of the signatures and by or count, there was fraud, forgeries and etc.  Then in the first week of August, in compliance with the city rules, Mayor Annise Parker and then City Attorney Dave Feldman released their findings on the petition count. As I was at the press conference here is what Feldman had to say: "There are simply too many documents with irregularities and problems to overlook. The petition is simply invalid." With that statement the signatures were declared to be invalidated:



We expected a court battle and got one, the lawsuit was immediately filed:


In between the filing and the final ruling this is what happened:



In this trail there was a jury verdict and a final ruling by judge Schaffer:


The rest is history....


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Dave Wilson - Your Campaign of HATE Will Not Win: Enter Ben Hall 4 Mayor


Previously: 

What many of you may not know, is that for the past few months Wilson has been making attempts at gathering signatures to attack the TRANSGENDER community:


"PETITION FOR A CHARTER AMENDMENT TO PROHIBIT MEN (WHO PERCEIVE OR EXPRESS THEMSELVES AS WOMEN) FROM USING WOMEN'S SEX - SEGREGATED FACILITIES OR WOMEN (WHO PERCEIVE OR EXPRESS THEMSELVES AS MEN) FROM USING THE MEN'S SEX - SEGREGATED FACILITIES."

Now look closer at the petition, which he mailed out to Houstonians:

- He already has their voter registration info on the form with a bar code.
- All they have to do is sign an date

This petitions for a charter amendment that would require the city to change all policy so that gender is interpreted as the gender a person was assigned at birth. It would also require "all entities doing business with the city to abide by the same definition."

******THIS IS AN ALL CALL TO THE LGBT COMMUNITY TO TAKE A STAND AGAINST DAVE WILSON, SHOULD THE CITY OF HOUSTON ACCEPT THIS PETITION *******

I want you to know that, regardless of how this scenario goes, this is a warning to the community at large that we need to be ready for challenges to our rights. Yes, we now have HERO and even the right to marry, but Wilson and his friends will try to chip away at us and we need to be ready.

**********************UPDATE************************UPDATE*****************************UPDATE**********************

Not long after making the original post above, THIS HAPPENED:



Then today (7/10/15): "After the city rejecting his petitions, Dave Wilson has filed a lawsuit against the City of Houston.
So yes, another lawsuit with an end goal that would damage our city's reputation.
It should be noted that Dave Wilson is a current Houston Community College Trustee, but rather than gaining notoriety doing his elected job, his quest to deny LGBT people equality is what he has become famous for." - HOUequality

HERE IS THE LAW SUIT:



ENTER HOUSTON 2015 MAYORAL CANDIDATE BEN HALL



While I was in Phoenix, AZ it was reported by a couple of organizations HOUequality & Houston Stonewall Young Dems that none other than Ben Hall Signed the petitions that my last post talked about:


Now at this point I have always made it known that a vote for Ben Hall is a vote against yourself! He released a statement on his website stating that he signed the petition:

 
Ben Hall you are a BIGOT and you need to come to terms with that and soon, these are not "false accusations" that we are aiming at you. You said, "I proudly signed the petition" which means that you are continuing the disproved and idiotic assertion that the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance allows a "male sexual predator to simply dress up as a woman to gain access to a woman’s restroom." You know that what you are saying is baseless and is a straight up lie used evoke an irrational fear of transgender Houstonians.

Houston Penal Code: Sec. 28-20. Entering restrooms of opposite sex.permanent link to this piece of contentIt shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly and intentionally enter any public restroom designated for the exclusive use of the sex opposite to such person's sex without the permission of the owner, tenant, manager, lessee or other person in charge of the premises, in a manner calculated to cause a disturbance. (Code 1968, § 28-42.6; Ord. No. 72-904, § 2, 6-2-72)

The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance provides protections in employment (both public and private), housing and public accommodations for the following classes:

- sex                          - age                                         - disability
- race                         - familial status                        - sexual orientation
- color                        - marital status                         - genetic information
- ethnicity                  - military status                        - gender identity
- national origin         - religion                                  - pregnancy

I ask you to reconsider if you plan on voting for Ben Hall, He is not the right person to lead Houston and for more  thoughts please check out what Monica Roberts had to say on Transgriot...


What Happened to Sandra Bland??? We Need Answers (video)


#SayHerName




Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Dear Presidential Candidates: Do Black Lives Really Matter?

Update: As we approach 2016, much has changed over the last few months since this open letter was originally posted. My support for any presidential candidate has been suspended since October, due to the following reasons:

1. I vote my issues and a candidate can say they value and will address my issues, issues that plague the Black community, but I don't trust the acknowledgement of the issue as a means of pacification. Too often candidates say what they think people want to hear and the truth is that I just have a healthy level of distrust.

2. Houston just completed it's 2015 cycle of municipal, county, and state elections that just so happened to be more important than 2016. We were at risk of becoming a city run by conservative interests wanting to drag Houston back 50 years and home needed to be taken care of.

3. Now that I/we can focus on 2016, home must be the focus once again. Why? There are local judicial seats, district atty and other races outside of our Presidential election. We have work to do on all levels and each level just so happens to have an effect on how our Black bodies are treated. Keep your eyes open!

***WE WON THE BATTLE IN 2015, BUT WE MUST PREPARE FOR WAR IN 2016***


As a Black man who currently is throwing his support behind Hillary Clinton, I am not going to allow that to deter me from the cause for Black Lives to Matter. On this past Saturday, I was part of a group that planned and carried out a civil disruption at the #NN15 Presidential Forum, which was led by women.  The reason it was led by Women is because it is now the moment to not only center Blackness, but to center Black Women in the context that they experience the same brutality and structural racism that Black Men do. The event gave birth to the question "will you say her name?" for the candidates and  "do Black lives really matter?' Now as the days have progressed and we wait for the truth to come out about Sandra Bland, people have come to the overriding conclusion that we activist just wanted the candidates to say something. What we really want is to know WHAT THE CANDIDATES WILL DO to combat racism in its institutional, systemic, and its structural forms with in the confines of the Executive powers. Yes that is great that a speech with a populist tone can warm the hearts of thousands of men and women around this nation, but the truth is that many of us are NOT SOLD on what is being said. We want to know what you candidates are doing RIGHT NOW from your current position and how that looks with you as the President of these United States. The thing is that Many of the people who organized this recent disruption are not only Black, but are Queer and other shades of Brown. This means that we are stuck at a cross roads of experiences that includes, Homophobia, BIphobia, Transphobia and a host of other issues in communities of orientation as well as from those out side of aforementioned communities.


We are hurting in communities of color, it is nice that the Justice Dept. is doing work to change a lot of the institutionally racist structure on the on the federal level at the directive of President Obama. We more than that, many of you candidates hold federal office and frankly you hold more power at the moment to pass legislation that will reverse many of the ills that we experience as mentioned earlier. I call bullshit until further notice, put your money where your policy mouth is and take concrete actions right now! Not just with body cameras and reducing military equipment rations to police forces. How about you stop the privatization of the education system, review penal codes, and other mandates within your reach of control that other departments cannot change with an act of Congress. So tell us what is your plan, solution, or idea to combat these issues?

Monday, July 20, 2015

#ITLQBM - Netroots Presidential Forum Interrupted #SayHerName #BlackLivesMatter

Intersectionality Through the Lens of a Queer Black Man

On Saturday, July 18 at 11:07 a.m., I and many Black and Brown #NN15 attendees disrupted the Presidential forum as Mike O'Malley and Bernie Sanders were in a Q & A session about why they should be the next President. I dedicate my part in organizing this action to Sandra Bland and many of our Queens lost do to forms of police violence against Blackness. The following video is from my point of view, so sit back and watch democracy in action #BlackLivesMatter #SayHerName #IfIDieInPoliceCustody:

*This is one the FIRST (maybe the first) disruptions where Sandra Bland was honored nationally along with so many of the other powerful Black women (Cis/Trans) lost to police brutality.



Thursday, July 16, 2015

Ashton Goes to Phoenix #NN15/#ITLQBM: EQUALITY ACTION CAUCUS (UPDATE)


After the Black Caucus, I went to the Equality Action Caucus where activists and leaders of the broad based equality to discuss key priorities and connect with allies. We attempted talk about the progress and future directions of the equality. The central question of the event was "where do we go from here?" When I got a chance to speak from a place of Blackness, support of the Transgender community and other marginalized groups within the SGL/LGBT community. I gave a disclaimer because of a gut feeling that I had, that my comments would come off  as angry and abrasive. I stated that I had three points that would point out problematic language, Trans erasure and Black erasure. I was interrupted several times by a White guy who happened to one one the moderators. I kept to my principles and made my points all while telling him to check his privileges and to stop interrupting me. This caused a very strong reaction from other people in attendance in my favor, OF ALL RACES. They even called him out on it and how he was making the space hostile and unwelcoming to folks of color and allies. Many people including myself left afterwards and it was very interesting and crazy how it all happened! Next year look for me to submit a proposal to these conferences to create Trans inclusive, safe for Blackness, SGL_LGBT spaces!

Ashton Goes to Phoenix #NN15


For a week or so I will be in Phoenix, AZ for Netroots Nation 2015 to interact with other activists, politicians, and like minded individuals. This post will contain daily updates and photos from my time in Phoenix at the conference. For this first entry I would like to thank the Blue Nation Review and Netroots Connect for their extending scholarships to me in order for me to attend this week's events. I would like to thank all of my friends and supporters who made donations to help cover expenses that the scholarship did not cover. If you would like to make a donation please send it via PayPal to email address ashtonpwoods@gmail.com. 

Netroots LGBT Connect (7/15)


During the Connect event I had the pleasure to meet so many like minded people, to learn, relearn, unlearn, and affirm a lot of things about how I practice my activism. We had an all day discussion on intersectionality, which was rather refreshing in so many ways. It was refreshing because the discussion is rarely held in my home town of Houston and it makes me a little annoyed (I will get over it). It is always the case that I leave home and find my place within a group of like minded people and I can truly be myself with out the subtext of respectability politics and the my way is better than your way attitudes. The were some moments of internal contention for me when I realized that I made sure to illustrate that it is bad to question a person's Blackness and therefore diminishing that person's experiences as a Black person. On the flip side of that coin, it was very much so annoying that there were some folks of color who just could not wash off the obvious Whitewash that they were wearing in a space with not very many Black people. It is what it is, and all that means is that I shall continue to stay in my lane and do the work that I am called to do, over all it was a great day of pre- Netroots activities....



Netroots Day One (7/16)

Today is the first day of Netroots and so far I have seen a hand full of Black people in a sea of White, there are many factors that contribute to this. I will not discuss these factors, YET, but I will say that this event has been very good for me to observe as far as my presence in this space. I went and registered for the weekend events.....


The first session that I attended was State Battlegrounds: The Real Fight for Voting rights where we discussed the passage of voting restrictions in nearly two dozen states since 2010. There were many nuances that came to light that ranged from actual voter IDs to Native American and mainstream voter suppression as a whole. I enjoyed the time that I had to listen to and even speak on the issue of voter suppression. Right now I am currently at We One: Overcoming Shared Opposition of the LGBT & Reproductive Rights Movements. At this event we are discussing the intersections of reproductive rights, religion, the LGBT community, and how they all affect/effect each other . 


I went to the the Queer People of  Color Caucus which provided a safe space for people who identified with being within the Queer spectrum and as People of Color. One of the many orders of housekeeping that I came to enjoy greatly is that the moderators of the event asked that those who did not identify as Queer or as a Person of Color to leave the room. Too many times when a space is created for people it is not respected and this time it wasn't allowed, but it did lead to a blow up in the common area know as the "Town Square" that houses booths for some of the organizations in attendance. One of the White people who were asked to leave the space went off at the LGBT connect booth and it was said that several people witnessed it. Here are some photos including Jennicet Eva GutiĆ©rrez's appearance:





After the Queer POC caucus, I went to the Black caucus and we discussed at length whether or not the black community is, should be or part of the Progressive movement. The event was live broadcast via internet show "This Week in Blackness" and of course the hosts like Elon James White and other new friends in the selfies and event photos below....








More updates in a coming post : )



Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Sign-on Statement in Response to Michael Johnson Sentencing - CNP

Organizational Sign-on Statement in Response to Michael Johnson Sentencing
July 15, 2015 counternarrativeprojectnational

Joint Statement on theSentencing of Michael L. Johnson

Counter Narrative Project/Positive Women’s Network (PWN-USA)/HIV Prevention Justice Alliance/ National Center for Lesbian Rights

On Monday July 13, 2015, Michael L. Johnson was sentenced to 30½ years in prison (a concurrent sentence) after being convicted of “recklessly infecting a partner with HIV” and “recklessly exposing partners to the virus.” We are outraged by this sentencing and Johnson’s incarceration. This represents a failure of the justice system and a blatant manifestation of structural violence in the lives of Black gay men.

The State of Missouri was able to convict Michael Johnson without having to prove that he had any intent to infect his sexual partners nor demonstrate that he was in fact the person who transmitted HIV to his sexual partners. We are outraged by the criminalization, arrests and imprisonment of those prosecuted under HIV criminalization laws. We will continue to fight for Michael, to repeal HIV criminalization laws, to dismantle the Prison Industrial Complex, and to end the stigma and violence perpetrated upon people living with HIV by these laws. With this mission in mind, we are calling for the following:

The Right for People Living with HIV to choose if, when, and how they disclose

HIV disclosure is not safe under every circumstance. People with HIV may face risks ranging from loss of employment to personal humiliation, custody battles, and violence resulting from disclosure. In addition, the burden of proving disclosure rests on the person living with HIV, not her/his partner. While we are committed to helping create a world where disclosure of HIV status is safe, we reject the notion that disclosure of HIV status should be coerced by the State. Laws criminalizing alleged non-disclosure do not make it easier to disclose, and do not protect people from acquiring HIV.

An HIV prevention policy that relies on disclosure of HIV status fails to account for the fact that data shows a person is more likely to contract HIV from a sexual partner who is unaware of their HIV positive status and that effective care and treatment for people living with HIV reduces the likelihood of transmission to almost zero. The best approach for those who are HIV-negative or of unknown HIV status is to practice self-efficacy and care – an approach which could include prevention strategies such as: (1) Learning how HIV and other STDs are transmitted and effective ways to prevent contracting the virus (2) Taking PrEP (3) Using condoms (4) Getting tested with partners for HIV and other STDs (5) Engaging in lower risk sexual activities (6) Identifying support and resources to leave unhealthy relationships that don’t support protecting oneself (7) Confronting insecurities that lead oneself to seek validation by engaging in higher risk sexual behavior.

Today, HIV is no longer a near certain death sentence. With timely diagnosis and proper treatment HIV has become a manageable chronic disease similar to diabetes. People living with HIV can and are living long, healthy, and wonderful lives. And yet, the stigma remains. The truth is that criminalization of HIV is not really about our fear of HIV itself but the stigma that is attached to it. Those of us who are not living with HIV fear that if we contract HIV that we will suffer a lifetime of discrimination and rejection. Given this fear, those of us who are HIV negative should understand why someone who is living with HIV would not disclose her or his HIV status. Therefore, the real target is HIV stigma, including institutionalized stigma which manifests in laws and policies such as HIV criminalization.

Advocacy Against HIV Criminalization is Advocacy Against Mass Incarceration

HIV is a human rights issue, and criminalization of people living with HIV is a social justice issue. Resisting the Prison Industrial Complex means understanding how inequities in the HIV epidemic and sentencing disparities within the criminal justice system interface with laws that criminalize people with HIV. HIV criminalization laws serve as a means of expanding the categories of people subject to imprisonment, by virtue of an immutable characteristic-positive HIV status. In effect, this creates a biological underclass. HIV criminalization does not provide solutions nor will throwing people into prison lower HIV acquisition rates.

HIV criminalization is another manifestation of a broader agenda which has attempted to control the bodies, the sexuality, and the desires of queer and trans people and cisgender women, especially those who are low income and/or from communities of color. This is the same agenda that plays out in attempts to control women’s access to abortion and contraception and reproductive decisions. This not only includes denying low income women abortion services through Medicaid but the criminalizing of pregnant women who are drug users. The sexual and reproductive rights of communities of color, LGBTQ folks, and women has been policed and criminalized throughout the history of this country. Policies based on restricting our body autonomy, stirring up homo- and transphobia, and spreading HIV-related fears have never been and will never be just or sound public policy.

Alternatives to Criminalization: Towards Restorative Justice and Healing

We acknowledge the HIV epidemic has caused immense pain to many in our communities. As a society, we must be intentional about supporting and providing healing for those who have been affected by HIV. We firmly believe that HIV criminalization does not serve to meet these ends. Prisons will not save us. Criminalization is never a solution. Instead, we call for awholistic approach based on restorative justice principles. Rather than resorting to criminalizing sexuality of people living with HIV, we should treat HIV as an issue of public health, individual health, and human rights and dignity. We must ensure that everyone who is living with HIV (and those who are not) have access to quality and affordable healthcare. As stated above, data shows that suppressing the viral load of a person living with HIV through effective care and treatment reduces the chances of HIV transmission to zero, even if condoms are not used. If states like Missouri are seriously concerned about reducing HIV transmission, they would do better to focus their resources on ensuring their residents living with HIV have access to high-quality, nonstigmatizing, trauma-informed, affordable healthcare. Instead they perpetuate a political agenda that cuts lives short and violates human rights, especially for people of color and those living in poverty, by refusing to expand Medicaid.

Even more importantly than individual actions, we must push for societal changes to the norms and stereotypes that inhibit sexual autonomy and encourage higher risk behaviors. We must advocate for sex education that challenges dominant paradigms around gender norms and heteronormativity. Thus, comprehensive sex educationrooted in modern medical science, sex positivity, and harm reduction, and inclusive of all sexualities and genders is crucial. We must address systemic discrimination that places people at risk for housing, food and employment insecurity. We must advocate for sex education that challenges dominant paradigms around gender norms and heteronormativity. We must address systemic discrimination that places people at risk for housing, food and employment insecurity. We should demand media accountability on pathologized portrayals of Black, brown, and queer bodies and sexuality.

We should demand media accountability on pathologized portrayals of Black, brown, and queer bodies and sexuality.

Demanding accountability

HIV criminalization laws are intricately tied to histories of racism, sexism, and homophobia. These forces in the present continue to enact injustice and perpetuate these laws. For this reason, we call for greater engagement of LGBT and racial justice organizations and leaders in HIV decriminalization advocacy. We know various local, state, and national organizationsand individuals have already stepped up to the plate, but more boots on the ground are needed to fight back against these laws. LGBT and racial justice organizations must take more leadership around this issue by resourcing advocacy, defense litigation, attempts to repeal these laws at the state level, and drawing attention to HIV criminalization as a practice grounded in homophobia, racism, and sexual and reproductive oppression.

We are heartbroken at what has happened to Michael Johnson, but we are no less determined to fight for him, fight for his freedom, and the freedom of all our brothers and sisters incarcerated under HIV criminalization laws. We are also equally committed to standing in solidarity with all movements committed to ending oppression from the dominant culture of policing and criminalizing vulnerable communities. Together we become more powerful. We must resist. We will resist. We resist.

Black is not a crime.

LGBTQ is not a crime.

HIV is not a crime

To sign your organization on to this statement, click this link

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Dave Wilson - Your Campaign of HATE Will Not Win - UPDATE

Once again the haters in Houston have nothing better to do but to attack the LGBT community, more specifically the Transgender community.  I for one am tired of all of Anti - LGBT rhetoric that you and your elected and clergy friends are trying to use against me and community. At this point in the game YOU LOST, you lost against HERO (so far), and you damn sure lost your fight against LGBT community gaining the right to get married. 

For some time you have made attempts to disrupt the live of millions of people, not just LGBT folks. Your last attempt at office was a sham, yes, you won at the expense of a predominantly Black community who lacks the resources to research and properly vet who they are voting for. You are a predator of the worst kind, with full awareness of the cost associated with your attempts to get were you want in order to do nothing with the power you desire. In Wilson's own words, when challenged by KHOU during their story on his PRETENDING TO BE BLACK to get elected to the HCC Board of Trustees: "Every time a politician talks, he's out there deceiving voters."

"Wilson, a gleeful political troublemaker, printed direct mail pieces strongly implying that he's black. His fliers were decorated with photographs of smiling African-American faces -- which he readily admits he just lifted off websites -- and captioned with the words Please vote for our friend and neighbor Dave Wilson.

One of his mailers said he was Endorsed by Ron Wilson, which longtime Houston voters might easily interpret as a statement of support from a former state representative of the same name who's also African-American. Fine print beneath the headline says Ron Wilson and Dave Wilson are cousins, a reference to one of Wilson's relatives living in Iowa
." - KHOU


Don't you mean that every time you "talk" that you are "out there deceiving voters?' It is no secret that you are strongly anti LGBT, you thought that you were hiding in plain sight. We know who you are sir and how you have tried to spread hate for years. Parading around as a Democrat and a Republican with the same consistent platform of half assed, disproven, hate-filled anti LGBT rhetoric. It may have been successful with that 2001 proposition to ban city employee benefits for same-sex or unmarried partners, but mark my words, you WILL GO DOWN AND HARD.

From the Houston Chronicle in Wilson's own words: (11/7/2001)

"Gay rights, a theme in several city elections of the last 25 years, was the burning issue. Calling homosexuality a sin, sign company owner and conservative activist Dave Wilson forced the city charter change proposal onto the ballot by gathering signatures from more than 20,000 voters.

He started the movement in February after Mayor Lee Brown, a gay-rights supporter, proposed that the same-sex partners of city workers be eligible for the benefits. Brown put the idea on hold later with the agreement of gay leaders. But Wilson, a former candidate for mayor and councilman, pressed on with the referendum.


"We are very pleased at the outcome," Wilson said Tuesday night. "There are some things that need to happen to continue with the effort for family values and marriage in this community."
Wilson, outspent by his campaign opposition, said he would have piled up a more impressive victory if
"the Christian community" had joined his cause publicly.

"Questions need to be asked" about the reluctance of conservatives to campaign for his proposition, he said.

Wilson said he spent about $100,000 of his own money on the campaign through his organization called Houstonians for Family Values, and raised about $30,000 more. His opposition, People for a Fair Houston, spent roughly three times more and was steered by Grant Martin, re-election campaign manager for Annise Parker, City Council's only openly gay member.

Martin said Tuesday night that a victory for Wilson meant that advocates of equal rights for gays need to do a better job of educating voters about such issues."

What many of you may not know, is that for the past few months Wilson has been making attempts at gathering signatures to attack the TRANSGENDER community:


"PETITION FOR A CHARTER AMENDMENT TO PROHIBIT MEN (WHO PERCEIVE OR EXPRESS THEMSELVES AS WOMEN) FROM USING WOMEN'S SEX - SEGREGATED FACILITIES OR WOMEN (WHO PERCEIVE OR EXPRESS THEMSELVES AS MEN) FROM USING THE MEN'S SEX - SEGREGATED FACILITIES."

Now look closer at the petition, which he mailed out to Houstonians:

- He already has their voter registration info on the form with a bar code.
- All they have to do is sign an date

This petitions for a charter amendment that would require the city to change all policy so that gender is interpreted as the gender a person was assigned at birth. It would also require "all entities doing business with the city to abide by the same definition."

******THIS IS AN ALL CALL TO THE LGBT COMMUNITY TO TAKE A STAND AGAINST DAVE WILSON, SHOULD THE CITY OF HOUSTON ACCEPT THIS PETITION *******

I want you to know that, regardless of how this scenario goes, this is a warning to the community at large that we need to be ready for challenges to our rights. Yes, we now have HERO and even the right to marry, but Wilson and his friends will try to chip away at us and we need to be ready.

**********************UPDATE************************UPDATE*****************************UPDATE**********************

Not long after making the original post above, THIS HAPPENED:



Then today (7/10/15): "After the city rejecting his petitions, Dave Wilson has filed a lawsuit against the City of Houston.
So yes, another lawsuit with an end goal that would damage our city's reputation.
It should be noted that Dave Wilson is a current Houston Community College Trustee, but rather than gaining notoriety doing his elected job, his quest to deny LGBT people equality is what he has become famous for." - HOUequality

HERE IS THE LAW SUIT:



I have confidence that the case will be rejected, but you cant put anything past a hater.