Looking for some good causes to support on LGBT #GiveOUTDay? Here are a few of our favorites:
The elasticity that officers in New York and elsewhere have been given to police quality-of-life violations has had the unfortunate effect of leaving transgender women, especially, susceptible to the charge that they must be engaged in sex work. What we have now, in some sense, is an actual fashion police — an attitude among some law enforcers that attaches criminality to sartorial choice. If you are a 35-year-old biological woman wearing the $715 metallic platform peep-toe pumps you just bought at Barneys to lunch at Café Boulud, you are well-dressed; if you were born Joaquin, have changed your name to Marisol and put yourself together with a similar verve, you are a prostitute.
Another component of this is the much-denounced use of condoms as evidence. “It can depend on which side of Sixth Avenue you’re standing on in the Village,” Andrea Ritchie, a lawyer with Streetwise and Safe, told me. “If you’re a student carrying condoms, you’re practicing good public health; if you’re a transgendered person of color, you’re a prostitute.”” —Arrests by the Fashion Police (NYT 4/5/13)
“A stream of recent documentaries related to the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) has introduced new audiences to the history of AIDS activism in the United States.3 “I’ve seen a lot of different things about ACT UP Los Angeles,” says performance artist, curator, and ACT UP and CNN activist, Marcus Kuiland-Nazario. “There’s always certain personalities that get all the coverage. Depending on who’s writing the history, those are the people who get remembered.” Marcus invokes names of activists ignored by the historical record. “I think of people like Curtis York, a performance artist who is no longer with us. He was a force of nature. The street theater and the street performances that we did were impromptu and so mad. There are these really important people who get left out of the telling.”4
“The story told about ACT UP often effaces the diverse geography and practices that made ACT UP such a dynamic political movement. The history of Clean Needles Now is one such local and specific narrative. In 1991, in the midst of ACT UP Los Angeles’s ongoing campaigns for AIDS healthcare and the fight against AIDS stigma, a small group of ACT UP activists began to discuss the need for a local needle exchange program. Initially the needle exchange committee attracted people from different committees, including novelist Steven Corbin and Marcus, both from ACT UP’s People of Color Caucus. Steven recruited photographer Ken Marchionno, at the time a recent East Coast transplant. The committee continued to grow in the autumn of 1991 as founding member, visual artist Renée Edgington, recruited more volunteers to launch the exchange….”
Excerpt from Below the Skin: AIDS Activism and the Art of Clean Needles Now by Dont Rhine
This is not new news, but it is an important reminder that United States’ policies have a global impact. The federal ban on funding for syringe exchange has had a huge impact by limiting the ability to expand syringe access here in the United States as well as around the world. It is vital that we mobilize to lift the ban!