The LGBT South is a weekly email newsletter, compiling national, regional, and local news important to LGBT Southerners. Subscribe to get the latest edition to your inbox every Friday morning and keep up with what the Campaign for Southern Equality is up to!
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Spaces to exist, tangible spaces where we could simply be, were just as vital as state-granted equality rights. Exemplars of gay marriage mattered less. A marriage certificate wouldn’t keep us alive and didn’t spark laughter; the communities we encountered on the streets we hung out on did.”
– Darnell L. Moore, “No More Ghosts: Reviving Black and Latinx LGBT Spaces”
Here’s your breakdown of what’s happening this week in the #LGBTsouth:
PEOPLE OVER POLITICS
LGBTQ Southerners, and especially Alabamans, are probably familiar with the name Roy Moore, but for the last few weeks, he has been gaining more national attention as he competed with Luther Strange for the Republican nomination to become the next Alabama Senator. On Tuesday, he officially beat out Strange and now seems poised to take the general election in December, filling the seat left open by now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
The former state Chief Justice (twice removed from his post) has been extremely controversial and outspoken about his beliefs on LGBTQ people and other marginalized communities, and is sure to appeal to the conservative evangelical crowd while alienating and targeting other groups. While some say Moore’s win is a symbol of the same trends that got Trump elected, both he and VP Mike Pence had supported Strange, leading others to view it as evidence of a widening split in the Republican Party.
In good news, the Graham-Cassidy Bill, the GOP’s last-ditch effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, failed this week as Republican senators chose not to put the bill up for a vote. This is the fourth failed repeal effort since the beginning of summer and a last chance attempt before certain exceptions to the standard voting process expire. This means the possibility of a repeal bill being passed this year is over, but GOP lawmakers have already made it clear that they have no plans to stop trying in the next year.
PROTECTING TRANS YOUTH
This past week, Missouri teen Ally Lee Steinfeld became the 21st trans person reported murdered this year, when her body was found after her family reported her missing on September 14. Ally was brutally attacked and her three suspected killers have been charged and taken into custody.
Trans teens and youth face some of the most challenges, whether acceptance from friends and family, navigating gendered spaces at school, or accessing necessary resources. An estimated 70,000 trans youth lack secure housing in the U.S., and this piece from Rolling Stone documents life on the streets for six young trans people getting by by staying in shelters and doing sex work.
This is part of the reason why we are happy to present We Are Family, a Charleston-based LGBTQ organization, with a $3,000 grant to examine the issues of youth homelessness as well as food insecurity in the city. The Charleston YOUth Count will be the first ever assessment of youth housing instability and food insecurity in Charleston. Read more about this new initiative on our blog.
The CDC has officially announced that people living with HIV who are undetectable can’t transmit the virus.
Several counties in rural Georgia are facing a severe hospital crisis.
Darnell L. Moore writes about the history and loss of Black and Latinx LGBTQ spacesafter their height in the ’90s.
Several LGBTQ employment discrimination cases could be headed to the Supreme Court in the next year.
A three-part story from the Dallas News follows Trenton Johnson, a Black transgender man as he becomes politically active for the first time in his community.
The former director of the Southern Equality Fund Chloe Stuber interviewed Suzy Geronimo, a member of the Trans Leadership Initiative (TLI).
Suzy Geronimo is from Cherán, Michoacán in México and has been a resident of Henderson, NC for more than 20 years. She is the Founder and ED of FUM (Fuerza Unión Múltiple), located in Henderson, NC, which works across race, nationality and gender to cultivate a united community where everyone has equal rights and a better quality of life through education, activism and resources. She is also a member of the Trans Leadership Initiative, a project by the Campaign for Southern Equality, which provides funding, training and support to trans leaders across the South to support them in their leadership development and to strengthen their work in their communities.
How did you first become involved in activism within the LGBTQ community and to participate in the Trans Leadership Initiative?
I have been an activist since 2009. I started to become involved in activism because I felt that all people should show up for something and why not me do my part as well. To do my part, I began to show up at protests and meetings, and became interested in doing workshops to raise awareness to make change for a better future.
As time went on, being at this and that workshop, people began to recognize me as an activist, but aside from being just an activist they saw that I was a transgender woman. So from that time on, invitations… started to come because of that part of me. That was how it started, without realizing it, I ended up being involved in the LGBTQ movement and later with the focus of transgender women, advocating for better lives and better futures for those who will come in future generations.
Can you share more about the issues you want to address in your community?
As a Latina woman, we come to this country, and pretty much we’re seen as different…for being Latina, for being foreigners…and they see us as less. It’s not bad that they see us as less, but that they make us less, so pretty much those are two things about which someone has to speak up! So as an activist, I felt like that was my work: to put myself in front of the person who has a direct opinion about me, about my people, and make them understand that yes we’re immigrants, yes we’re Latinos, but that we aren’t less valuable than others.
For the people that aren’t familiar with FUM, what would you like them to know about FUM?
We are an organization that works with all that we have to do everything that we can, as much as we can, and as a transgender woman, specifically focusing on the LGBTQ community. And from there you can ask me what you want and what your needs are and we’re here, that FUM is here for that.
Is there anything else you want to share?
Only that to be transgender you’ve got to really value yourself, because if transgender women can’t value themselves, nobody is going to value them in the way that we want, that we deserve.
WHAT THE CAMPAIGN FOR SOUTHERN EQUALITY IS UP TO
We will be tabling at Blue Ridge Pride in Asheville, NCnext Saturday, September 30! Look for the CSE banner and come grab a button, some resources, and say hi!
This clinic is led by trans and gender nonconforming folks and is hosted by Western North Carolina Community Health Services and the Campaign for Southern Equality. We’ll cover safety issues that come up for trans folks, including trainings in self defense (including how to use pepper spray), safety planning, and how to use safety apps on your phone. Every participant will receive a can of pepper spray and a flashlight. Free snacks and drinks will be provided.
We are so excited to be hosting a city council forum on LGBTQ issues in Asheville, cosponsored by Tranzmission, Blue Ridge Pride Center, Western North Carolina AIDS Project (WNCAP) and the Campaign for Southern Equality. The forum will be held on Wednesday, October 25 at 6:30pm at the First Congregational UCC in Asheville, NC.
Learn more about the final 6 candidates running for city council and their policy positions specific to LGBTQ legal and lived equality in Asheville. The groups hosting are not endorising any candidates per our 501c3 status. We are non-partisan and focused on issue-based advocacy.
*Childcare will be provided, please RSVP with your number of kiddos.*