BLOG COntriBUTIONS

Shereá Denise began working as a Blog Contributor for SOULE in 2015. SOULE is an acronym for Seekers of Unity, Love & Equality. SOULE prides itself on being "a digital destination for news, opinions, life and culture for the LGBTQIA people of color. SOULE uplifts, empowers and inspires pride via the SOULE Website and SOULE Special Events." To learn more about SOULE, please visit www.soule.lgbt. To learn more about Shereá's work with SOULE, please visit https://www.soule.lgbt/author/sburnett/.

 
Image courtesy of http://kbbi.org/post/homer-man-delivers-teepees-standing-rock.

Image courtesy of http://kbbi.org/post/homer-man-delivers-teepees-standing-rock.

WHY WE SHOULD BE STANDING  WITH STANDING ROCK

““Two-spirited” refers to a person who has both a masculine and a feminine spirit, and is used by some First Nations people to describe their sexual, gender and/or spiritual identity. As an umbrella term it may encompass same-sex attraction and a wide variety of gender variance, including people who might be described in Western culture as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, gender queer, cross-dressers or who have multiple gender identities. Two-spirited can also include relationships that would be considered poly." 

 
 
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How To Make Our Military Strong Again

“It is time to recognize that sacrifice, valor and integrity are no more defined by sexual orientation than they are by race or gender, religion or creed…”

–Former President Barack Obama, December 2010

As those all throughout the nation are well aware of, the United States is under new leadership. There is a new Commander-in-Chief serving in the White House (or maybe in New York, I can never keep up) and his leadership style is not one that the American people are all that familiar with.

 
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How To Get On The Path Toward Inclusivity & Understanding

Recently I had the opportunity to watch Tiq Milan’s and Kim Katrin Milan’s TED Talk, A Queer Vision of Love and Marriage. The description of the TED Talk states: “Love is a tool for revolutionary change and a path toward inclusivity and understanding for the LGBTQ+ community. Married activists Tiq and Kim Katrin Milan have imagined their marriage — as a transgender man and cis woman — a model of possibility for people of every kind. With infectious joy, Tiq and Kim question our misconceptions about who they might be and offer a vision of an inclusive, challenging love that grows day by day.”

 
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An Interview With A Secular Humanist

One of the most fascinating things about social media is its ability to introduce people to things, ideas, and other people that they would never encounter otherwise. In keeping with the idea of introductions, I would like to introduce the SOULE readership to one of my favorite followers: Milad. Milad describes herself as a: “Secular Humanist, Atheist, Lesbian, Ex Muslim, Feminist, lover of bagels & the schmears that go with them.” With a Twitter bio like that, who could possibly resist asking a thousand follow-up questions, right?

 

top 6 moments that made 2016 a dope year for women of color

2016 is gone.

Though this year has been one of tragic losses and perceived setbacks, it has also been one of the most mind-blowing years of my life. Though there continue to be loud reminders that some people do not find LGBTQ Women of Color worth fighting for, there have been several individuals and individual moments that continue to encourage me to keep LGBTQ Women of Color at the forefront of my mind. LGBTQ Women of Color have found ourselves in a unique position.

 

Who Do You Love? Racial Preferences In Dating

On November 4, 2016, the film Loving was released. The movie details the story of interracial couple Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving, which was brought to the attention of the nation in the Loving v. Virginia case. Prior to 1967, many states had anti-miscegenation laws, which prevented the marriage of and/or sexual involvement between people of different races.

 

What You Need To Know About Mental Health Issues and Black/LGBTQ Folks

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (“NAMI”), “LGBTQ individuals are almost three times more likely than others to experience a mental health condition such as major depression or generalized anxiety disorder. This fear of coming out and being discriminated against for sexual orientation and gender identities, can lead to depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, thoughts of suicide and substance abuse.”

 

Let’s Talk About Straight Privilege In The Workplace

This afternoon’s conversation at work went something like this:

“I CAN UNDERSTAND BEING A LESBIAN, BUT WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO BE A DYKE?”

Now, let me preface this by saying that my co-worker is very open-minded about most things, but today was the day that I quickly learned that sexuality was not on her list of things to be open-minded about. I am sure that the confused thoughts that ran through my brain also ran across my face as I pondered whether or not this was the time to announce my sexuality to the two co-workers I was speaking with and the two others in listening range.

 

Demand Answers Instead Of Sound Bites In This Election

Here we are, less than a month from the 2016 Election and it appears that there is brand new mud to sling by each candidate each day. Though I have to admit that some of the petty remarks and controversial jabs are amusing, I am genuinely concerned about the future of our country. While people continue to make use of Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump’s inappropriate remarks about women and his “law and order” antics, I continue to wait to hear more about the candidates’ stances on LGBTQIA rights and concerns.

 

The Blessing And The Curse of Femme Passing

“Femme passing” is a phrase that was first introduced to me by an acquaintance on Twitter. Though the expression was new to me, the sentiment definitely was not. The thought process behind “femme passing” is that feminine presenting Lesbian or Queer women are often able to “pass” as straight. In theory, this is quite similar to those People of Color who have “passed” for or continue to “pass” as White for safety or opportunistic reasons. Many feminine presenting Lesbian and Queer Women of Color may argue that “passing” helps them to ensure that they are not easily identified as lesbian or Queer by homophobic or non-LGBTQIA people

 

The Audacity To Be Passionate

The last several years have proven to be some of the most emotional years of many of our lives, especially with regards to most things race-related and social justice based. I feel like, for many of us, these past few years have led to difficult conversations and the necessary determination of what we represent and who we stand with. Many in the LGBTQIA Community have had an even more difficult experience than our brothers and sisters of color. Oftentimes our support is dismissed as being part of the “Gay Agenda” or treated as an unnecessary distraction from The Movement itself. I had convinced myself that we were past the Bayard Rustin Era of refusing to acknowledge someone’s contributions to the progress of all people solely based on their sexuality. I was wrong. I would cite the astronomical number of unnecessary blog and social media posts discussing DeRay Mckesson’s sexuality, but I think my point is one that has been proven time and time again.

 

We Are More Than Labels

It never fails. No matter the topic of conversation, the day, or the hour, when a conversation amongst LGBTQ Women of Color begins, it seems almost necessary that we lead with our label of choice. We treat labels like they are a substitute for our names, or – better yet – a prefix that must be used to lend credibility to whatever proverbial side we are taking in whatever conversation we are participating in. In some people’s minds, our labels give us clout, authority, and practically qualify us as an expert (or at least someone “worth” listening to). But do they really? Do our labels really tell anyone else anything about us except that we might know the meaning of some random descriptor that may not even fully describe who we are, our sexuality, or the very essence of our being? Does our mere existence and past experience not qualify us to speak with authority on topics that affect and/or frequently appear in our lives based on the gender(s) we are attracted to and the people we find ourselves loving – by choice or otherwise?

 

The Conversations That We’re Not Having

Every now and then I find myself wondering about the many conversations that are not being had amongst LGBTQIA People of Color, specifically between the women who love women. I am curious about the affects of our silence on our self-esteem and our relationships. There are so many issues and topics that so many of us seem to avoid and I have to wonder if we recognize the disservice that we are doing ourselves and others by simply avoiding necessary conversations and dealing with necessary feelings.

 

Body Positivity & Dating Preferences in the LGBT+ Community

Have you ever noticed how interconnected most topics are? The correlations and connections between various topics have not been lost on me, especially regarding body positivity and the manner by which most people’s thoughts about themselves directly relate to how they will allow others to treat them or how it impacts whose attention they chase, whose type they want to be.

 

What Reality TV Gets Wrong About Queer Women

Have you ever wondered why some of the most unrealistic shows are considered “reality television”? One of my greatest disappointments regarding Black women – in general – and Black women within the LGBTQIA Community – in particular – is how willing we have been to allow the reality television version of us to become the stereotype or vice versa. We have allowed executive producers to have space where they present so many Black women who are not representative of the majority of us, despite representing who many in the non-Black community have decided that we are. While I understand that the purpose of many of these shows is to provide entertainment and our weekly dose of drama, I feel obligated to wonder what affect “reality shows” have on our reality? What messages are sent about who we are and how we love? And by supporting such shows, are we somehow cosigning the way in which they generalize and stereotype us?

 

Back to Africa Ain’t My Movement in 2016

In light of all of the election talk sweeping the nation and when considering that we have recently entered Women’s History Month, I have been pondering on so many people’s discussions of what they would do should Donald Trump become President. It’s odd to me that so many people – especially those Women of Color identifying as LGBTQI – are speaking so frankly about moving to another country or continent if Trump is elected. I feel like these assertions that we should leave our country because of who the political officials are is somewhat ludicrous. At what point do we recognize the level of power we are giving someone like Trump if our answer to his potential leadership is to flee? What is to be said about the LGBTQI Women of Color from American History who fought and died in this country against political figures who did not even recognize them as human? Are their legacies lost? Was their work done in vain?

 

To Be Young, Black, Gifted, Gay, and Celebrated

For the last two years, right at the beginning of Black History Month, I find myself asking the same questions. Questions like: Have you noticed “mainstream Black America’s” willingness to erase queerness in the discussion of Black activists and leaders? It’s actually almost desperation at this point, isn’t it? Why is it so horrible to acknowledge that great people, leaders, and contributors to society can be young, Black, and gay? How have we continued to allow the celebration of an individual to be conditioned upon their sexual orientation?

 

The Underlying Issue of Misogyny Amongst Queer & Lesbian Women of Color

Recently a 2013 post on the Everyday Feminism Magazine website was brought to my attention. While reading “Butch Please: Butch with a Side of Misogyny”, I had to take a minute to consider my own experiences with Masculine of Center Women of Color who are part of the LGBTQI Community. Oddly enough, I was also reminded of a recent opportunity to hear Melissa Harris-Perry speak at a local university.