How Inclusive is Queer Inclusive Healthcare?

This year Columbus pride not only had HIV testing, but also Syphilis and Hep A & B vaccines. Awesomeness, for sure. I checked out the tent, curious to see if I needed any vaccines. The volunteer was very helpful at first…

“Since you’re a woman…” he began, and went on to list high risk activities and why I would or wouldn’t need a vaccine. I ignored the statement, reasoning to myself that I am female bodied so it makes sense to be grouped with women… right?

I listened in to a friend getting the vaccine spiel. He was female bodied also but was read as male. As a result, he got different information and different medical treatment. I started to think… Am I missing out on information I need? I’m female bodied but I live as a man. My sex practices are both like a female bodied person and a male bodied person. Which group am I supposed to be in?

There was no information about trans populations offered, and no options for trans identity to be selected. As the volunteer continued to speak I mentioned injecting testosterone, hoping he would take the hint. He seemed to get it, and then totally didn’t seem to get it. By the end of it, I felt too awkward to disclose. I let it go and was left wondering whether I had all the protection I needed –just in case. Of all places with queer health care, pride should be prepared for trans folks to be included.

Ageism Fucks Over Activism

This week I went to lobby in Columbus, Ohio’s capital, for the LGBT Equal Housing and Employment Protections Act. Equality Ohio collected almost 500 people for the event, most of whom were age 35 and up. Going in, I expected a degree of trans identity ignorance from some fellow lobbyists. What I didn’t expect was what I got…

I was one of the only experienced lobbyists in our group, but before I even reached the capital building I had been called both a kid and a child. I received a seemingly well intentioned yet authoritative lecture from an older activist on my generation’s apathetic nature, which was followed directly by being asked what grade I was in. I was never spoken to directly by the group leader or informed on the day’s agenda, nor where the other two younger people in the group. I was ushered from office to office like a kid on a grade school field trip. I had no opportunity to represent my district or my community. I might as well have not even been there.

Response: First of all, I am not a child. I’m 25 years old and the director a non-profit that I founded (without the help of anyone over 35, thank you very much). Second, if I had been the team leader I would not dominate the group so that my voice was the only one heard. I would not have missed appointments with representatives for no good reason. I would not have ignored members of my team because they looked young. And I would not have let lobbyers hand representatives blank “Thank You” cards (Wtf?). Lastly, my generation’s “apathetic nature?” Yes, I’ll admit my generation needs work, but what about the generations before mine? Maybe youth wouldn’t be so apathetic if YOUR generation hadn’t f**ked everything up. Maybe youth would be more involved if you treated us like people, not prospects. I keep hearing how youth are the future, but no one lets us make the future happen.

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Gift-wrapped Activism

A couple of my fellow sex education teamsters and I went to an activist conference this weekend. It was for getting activists together from around the state and doing a skills share. Sounds pretty cool, right?

Getting there, us four radicals couldn’t help feeling a bit out of place. There was no gender neutral bathroom, which was a real pain in the ass for me. There was un-inclusive language and out of date, un-PC vocabulary all over the place. AND the place was crawling with paid government officials and wannabes promoting themselves. WTF?

My pal and I did a Queer Inclusive Organizing workshop to try to queer it up a bit and two people showed up. And they were fucking queer organizers! There was a score of talk about the November election, which is apparently still interesting to some people. The “discussion” consisted of people patting themselves on the back because they are “sustainable,” “progressive,” and work “on the ground.” Who the hell talks like that? And I love how everyone has attached themselves to the word “progressive” now days. Its less controversial than saying liberal, coating it with pink pepto so it’s easy to swallow. We wouldn’t want to upset anyone now would we?

The plenary speaker talked about getting more with less, and giving more to those who have less, but it didn’t seem to translate to the audience. I spent a collective 25 minutes trying to answer this dude’s questions about inclusive organizing. He avoided every answer that didn’t sound like a quick solution. When referring to people of color and the trans/genderqueer population he asked “But, how do we get those people to support us?” He continued on to say, “You think we can just get one of each?”

I’m still amazed I didn’t have an aneurism.

Now, I realize I’m being a little harsh. I’m not against all establishmentary activism. I’m down with collaboration to reach a goal. I’m not down with tooling around like a sell-out showman, claiming to make a change in the world when I won’t even make change in myself.

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