MOCK

By Michelle E. Brown (For Transgender Day of Visibility 3/26/14)

Daddy wanted a son

A man child, legacy bearer

A son to toss a ball, cast a rod

Share manly things around the campfire

While cleaning guns

Daddy wanted a son

Momma wanted a daughter

A woman child, baby girl

Pretty curls, frills and dolls

She’d teach her to cook, to sew

To preen and be coy

Share womanly things

While getting mani-pedis

Momma wanted a daughter

I sat amongst the stars

Hearing their longings

Seeing their dream

Looking  down, pondering

I want to be me

Unfettered by sexual identity

Not playing roles in their boxes

Safe from lines drawn by intellect and reason

Decidedly,  undecided

Free

If I must choose

I choose to stay here

Free

Just me

But daddy wants a son

Momma wants a daughter

Earth wants my presence

So I must leave my heavenly sanctuary

Pushing me, pulling me

Traveling towards the light

Where daddy wants a boy

Momma wants a girl

Doctor opens his mouth to pass judgment

Pronounce life’s sentence upon me

What is it

Is it boy

Is it girl

I open my mouth and shout

Shout for those who came before

For those who will come after

Before the verdict is given

STOP!

Do not bind me with your biases

Your preconceived notions of

Who I am

How I should be

I am not it

Not boy, nor girl

I am a baby

Let me, be me

“I was born a baby, not a boy” Janet Mock 02/06/2014

Posted in Black women, Creative Writing, lgbt, literature, Love, Queer, Self imaage, Transgender, Women | Leave a comment

EVolution Open Mic

@ the AFF Cafe, Store & More
290 W. Nine Mile
Ferndale, MI 48220

Hosted by Michelle Brown & China Palazzo

Leave a comment

EVolution Open Mic

@ the AFF Cafe, Store & More
290 W. Nine Mile
Ferndale, MI 48220

Hosted by Michelle Brown & China Palazzo

Leave a comment

Creating Change Houston: Changing How We Look, Live and Define Our Lives

I just got back from Houston, Texas and NGLTF’s Creating Change 14.

I love Creating Change!!! It’s like getting beamed up to a “Gay World” where you are surrounded by OUR community – all sizes, shapes, hair styles, demographics. OUR community where no one raises an eyebrow if you hold your partner’s hand or plant a wet kiss on their lips.

It’s a space where around every corner, in every session or just lounging about you can sit down and talk about your life and the other person will get it because it’s their life too.

I always come back geeked, full of ideas and ready for action – then reality sets in. The reality that I’m not somewhere over the rainbow and, unfortunately, under the rainbow when the creating change glow has cooled down, my big gay community returns to our own separate silos.

But this year was different. We have seen so many changes in recent years, there has been such momentum, that this year we came to Houston ready not only to create change but to be that change.

The charge was led by amazing Trans-activist like Laverne Cox, Monica Roberts, Kylar Broadus, Bamby Salcedo, Cecilia Chung and Carter Brown who gave a masters class on living authentically and the intersections of LGBTQ equality and humanity.

Wow, that’s saying a lot, but seriously, there were some big lessons being taught in Houston!

I could probably write a book – probably two or three -about the workshop sessions, the plenary sessions, the caucuses, the film screenings, the speakers and the amazing Laverne Cox but for me the big story was the new energy changing how we have come to talk about, advocate for and engage our community.

Lesbian feminist, leather activists, queer, young, old were all there adding their voice to the conversation but the most transformative conversations for me came from our Transgender activists.

Theirs is a Trans story, but it is also our story and a human story – the ultimate quest to be our authentic selves.

Our Transgender sisters and brothers remind us that gender is not just male or female but a spectrum of expression and cannot/should not be defined by anatomy.

By forcing a child , and later the adult, to live by standards conforming to anatomy but denying their spirit/soul true gender expression is not only harmful but keeps us from developing our full potential as human beings.

A baby is born someone looks between his/her legs and labels them with an identity and the accompanying baggage society has given that gender –toxic whether gay, straight and especially if transgender.

Healthcare doled out based on flawed societal norms whether for transgender services, individuals living with HIV/AIDS or women’s reproductive rights is discriminatory.

Homelessness, violence, sexual exploitation, poverty are the evils that man makes and doles out to the poor, immigrants, not just to but most harshly to the LGBT community.

Ironically the very part of our LGB community – the “T” – which has been too often thrown under the bus in “our” fight for equality is profoundly and eloquently telling the story of the evils of bias, discrimination and all the hate based phobias in a patriarchal society – pushing the envelope that could ultimately shift the paradigm on how we value the human spirit.

Will it happen tomorrow as a result of Creating Change? No – but the seeds are planted, the conversations begun, the movement strengthened and the winds of change – well they’re blowing.

Creating Change – not only educating about healthcare but leading the charge to end AIDS now; Creating Change – supporting, engaging, protecting LGBTQ youth; Creating Change – recognizing, celebrating and supporting the diversity within our community; Creating Change – developing strategies for intentional intersectionality not just for survival but as a tool for real social change.

Creating Change Houston  2014 – it was a very good year. Next stop Denver!

 You can also follow me at www.mychangeiam.com or www.twitter.com/mychangeiam

Posted in bullying, Creating Change, DADT, DOMA, lgbt, marriage equality, NGLTF, Queer, Transgender, World events, youth | Leave a comment

Remarks from 2013 Transgender Day of Remembrance at Central Methodist Church Detroit, MI By Michelle E.Brown

This year we have celebrated so many anniversaries – the 50th anniversary of the March in Washington, the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination but one anniversary that caught my attention was the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysberg Address.

As I listened to the stories and words surrounding this landmark address I thought in some ways we are still fighting this same battle.

On this Transgender Day of Remembrance I am reminded that we still are struggling to have that nation Lincoln spoke of some 150 years ago, a “nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all” individuals, all persons, each of us are created equal.

Although there has been some progress for women and African Americans, the LGBTQ community is still engaged in a great civil war for equality.

This is our war, but sadly, too many of the victims covering the landscape of our battlefield are our Transgender brother and sisters.

From the princess boys and prince girls being excluded from schools, forced to wear clothes to conform and being bullied; To the young people still being thrown out of their homes, living on the streets, targets for violence; To the sisters and brothers whose hearts pound every time they enter a public bathroom, are forced to show ID at traffic stops, for employment, even to vote.

To our elders in nursing homes who are often put in situations where their true gender identity is ignored and at a time when they are most vulnerable are again forced to conform.

To those we remember today who have been victimized, brutalized, murdered by assailants who often get a “get out of jail card” simply because their victim was transgendered.

And to those, whose stories we will never know, whose passing will not make the papers, who – no longer able to withstand the irrational hatred, the transphobia not only in the community at large but often in our gay community as well – take their own lives.

Yes, we have come a long way as a community a gay community. –Don’t Ask Don’t Tell has been repealed, The Supreme Court found the defense of Marriage Act Unconstitutional, Same Sex- couples can get married in 15 states, a fully inclusive ENDA is the Senate, human rights ordinances are passing in municipalities across the country and state but as we remember our sisters and brothers lost, since the Transgender Day Of Remembrance started in 1997with over 250 names on this year’s list alone, we must never forget that our struggle for equality is far from over.

Martin Luther King, Jr. famously said “no one is free until we are all free.” To that I would add no one is equal until we all are equal.

I have a dream of the day when there are no new lists of names on Transgender Day Of  Remembrance, when we recognize that who a person is not limited by this physical shell but by the unlimited spirit within.

I have a dream of the day when we come together on this Transgender Day Of Remembrance to remember and celebrate these lives, these martyrs – for we must never forget their deaths and sacrifices – because of hatred and intolerance.

Today the world gives little note, to the lives we remember here tonight. Their stories are buried deep within the pages of the media.

Our tears are unnoticed, our losses misunderstood but we can and never will forget who they were, how they lived, how they died and how much they mattered to us – their community.

It is for us the living to be dedicated to the unfinished work of full equality for the T as well as the LGB.

As Lincoln said some 150 years ago   “It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.”

Tonight I stand here not as an ally not as a member of the gay community but as a member of the transgender community for we are all one.

 

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