#Justice4Gemmel -- How Systems of Societal Privilege Deny Justice to QTPoC

No charges have been filed against Democratic political donor, Ed Buck, in the July 2017 death of Gemmel Moore, a gay, black escort found dead in his home. The cause of death was ruled fatal overdose of methamphetamines, with suspicion surrounding Buck as the one responsible for administering the drugs to Moore.

In personal diary entries published by journalist Jasmyne Cannick, Gemmel Moore wrote: “If it didn’t hurt so bad, I’d kill myself, but I’ll let Ed Buck do it for now.” The LAPD waited nineteen days after Gemmel Moore’s death before launching a homicide investigation, despite the fact that drug paraphernalia was found at the scene, and Moore’s journal entries explicitly implicated Ed Buck.

Then in July 2018, Gemmel Moore’s death was ruled an accident.

The lackadaisical attitude towards black, queer lives should matter to all, and should be taken seriously by all structures of authority. There is no doubt that had the roles been reversed, Gemmel Moore would have been crucified by mainstream media. Instead, Buck’s role in Gemmel Moore’s death has gone  unpunished as the public weaponises respectability politics.

Even in death, Gemmel Moore is forced to answer for his perceived crimes of being queer and black and a sex worker, whilst Buck wields his wealth and whiteness as protection from scrutiny.

Further reading:

Justice4Gemmel website

#Justice4Gemmel hastag (Twitter)

 

The Workshop @ The EFNIKS Daily is our writing program for young QTPoC writers. Each of the 5 writers identify as QTPoC, and are between the ages of 17 and 22. Program participants receive a $200 stipend for the 60-day program. You can help us build this and other EFNIKS programs by visiting our support page. 

 

#BackersOfHate Pay Lip Service to QTPoC Community Support

#BackersOfHate is a hashtag used by Immigrant Advocates to describe corporations such as JPMorgan Chase, BlackRock, and Wells Fargo, companies whose CEOs invest their cash in private prisons. Since money is considered an extension of free speech, it is not a stretch to conclude that these corporate powerhouses support that into which they invest.

JPMorgan Chase, BlackRock, and Wells Fargo all boast about their outreach efforts to the QTPoC community, citing initiatives such as internships, grants, and promises to diversify staff. However, the CEOs of JPMorgan Chase and BlackRock, in particular, have invested millions into CoreCivic (formerly known as Corrections Corporations of America) and GEO Group, Inc., corporations that organise and govern private prisons.

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After the 2016 Presidential Election, the reported holdings of JPMorgan and BlackRock “increased 237.8 times [as much].” JPMorgan is also the single largest private prison lender, and it holds 62 percent more debt than the second biggest lender to these two corporations.

Since unequal policing and police brutality are core issues facing the QTPoC community,  when JP Morgan boasts of a “perfect score” on the measure of LGBT equality, it ought to be taken with a boatload of salt. This is especially significant since the catalyst for the modern equal rights movement for the LGBT community began at Stonewall as a riot against police abuses.

QTPoC people and organizations should be weary of corporate backers who commandeer social justice buzzwords in order to appear inclusive. When everything is considered, corporations support nothing but the bottom line.

Further reading:

Immigrant advocates attack banks for financing private prisons (CNN)

 

The Workshop @ The EFNIKS Daily is our writing program for young QTPoC writers. Each of the 5 writers identify as QTPoC, and are between the ages of 17 and 22. Program participants receive a $200 stipend for the 60-day program. You can help us build this and other EFNIKS programs by visiting our support page. 

 

Gay Publication Falls Victim to Online Trolling Campaign

This week, Attitude, a UK-based gay magazine fueled the propaganda machine with a tweet claiming that pedophiles “wanted acceptance to the LGBT community.” The headline stemmed from an online trolling campaign in which sinister online forces are attempting to forge a link between pedophilia and the LGBTQ+ community. To report the patently false assertion was an irresponsible and harmful journalistic blunder, particularly when coming from a magazine that claims to represent the gay community. Media aimed at the LGBTQ+ community should never give a platform to such dangerous and bigoted rhetoric.

The elaborate troll experiment was a calculated effort to turn public opinion - particularly those uninformed of the fight for equal rights - against the LGBTQ+ Community. Of course, the ensuing outrage (and panic) of do-gooders and well-meaning allies played right into the hands of the Alt-Right’s supporters of The Daily Caller, a hyper-conservative online publication that promoted the story based on the tweet from Attitude.

To think that the “Alt-Right” Movement, along with the anti-LGBTQ+ trolls it supports, is an informal group of uneducated bigots would be to do them, and the people fighting against them, a disservice. If you cannot recognize the strengths of those you are opposing, you will fail to be a very strong opponent.

What needs to be understood though, is the importance of fact-checking, inquiry, and evaluation before inciting panic or promoting a false claim—something both publications did not do.

After all, the trolls only win if you feed them.

 

The Workshop @ The EFNIKS Daily is our writing program for young QTPoC writers. Each of the 5 writers identify as QTPoC, and are between the ages of 17 and 22. Program participants receive a $200 stipend for the 60-day program. You can help us build this and other EFNIKS programs by visiting our support page. 

 

Advocacy Groups Aim to Combat Alcoholism, Addiction in Caribbean, QTPoC Communities

Alcoholism is not taken as seriously as it should be in Caribbean, QTPoC communities. Legislation concerning the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages is woefully inadequate, while cultural pressures (regarding success, as well as gender and sexual expression), along with reticent institutions, often leave Caribbean, QTPoC people feeling isolated and unequipped for the harsh realities of the world. Grenada, an island in the Caribbean, for example, is rated 13th in the world for alcohol consumption (the highest in the Americas).

An individual’s environment puts him/her/them at risk for addiction. According to medical experts: “Young people who experience abuse or neglect from parents may also use drugs or alcohol to cope with their emotions,” with homophobia and transphobia counting as major sources of neglect and abuse. When such attitudes are enshrined in law and the almost ubiquitous religious culture, young QTPoC communities in the Caribbean are at risk of both mistreatment and addiction.

Thankfully, there are human rights organisations with the resources to combat the loneliness, isolation, and ostracization that comes with queerness in an inhospitable or unaccepting environment. The Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality (ECADE) and GrenCHAP both seek to “empower marginalized populations, through rights based advocacy, and increased access to information and health care services.” The work of such organizations is vital to removing the stigma of addiction and alcoholism plaguing the QTPoC community in the Caribbean.

 

The Workshop @ The EFNIKS Daily is our writing program for young QTPoC writers. Each of the 5 writers identify as QTPoC, and are between the ages of 17 and 22. Program participants receive a $200 stipend for the 60-day program. You can help us build this and other EFNIKS programs by visiting our support page. 

 

Ocasio-Cortez’s Victory Draws Ideological Line in the Sand for Democratic Party

The Democratic Party, the so-called “left-wing,” liberal party of the U.S. two-party system, is a centrist cog, too blind to see its own flaws. The party experienced a devastating loss in the 2016 presidential election, and instead of changing tactics and policies, and begin to actually engage with and appeal to the demographics that it often takes for granted (i.e., the LGBTQ+, the African-American, and the Latinx communities, etc.), old Establishment Democrats continued to recycle old talking points and platforms, even when responding to the overt threats posed by the Trump administration to some of the country’s most vulnerable communities.

Then Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez changed the party’s dynamics.

The Democratic primary winner for New York’s 14th congressional district ran a campaign that spoke to the unheard cries of the Bronx, winning on a platform that included providing Medicare for all, framing housing as a human rights issue, demonstrating unwavering support for women’s rights, and voicing support for LGBTQIA+ and senior citizens. Tammy Duckworth, an Establishment Democrats decried Ocasio-Cortez’s progressive platform as “too far to the left,”  saying that such politics “would not win in the Midwest.”

Those comments highlight how the Democratic party is becoming indistinguishable from the GOP. Its acts of resistance aim to be as respectful and non-disruptive as possible, in a futile effort to prevent concession of ground/votes. But, at what point does non-disruption become complicity under Trump’s administration? At what point, does not wanting to “rock the boat” eclipse the need to be morally and ethically upstanding?

If Ocasio-Cortez’s politics are “too far to the left” for Democrats, then the Democrats are too far centre. If the rights of all citizens are going to be protected in the Trump administration, especially those of the LGBTQ+ community, Democrats must move further to the left and fight from there.

Further reading: 

Dem senator: Ocasio-Cortez's platform is future of party in the 'Bronx,' not country (The Hill)

 

The Workshop @ The EFNIKS Daily is our writing program for young QTPoC writers. Each of the 5 writers identify as QTPoC, and are between the ages of 17 and 22. Program participants receive a $200 stipend for the 60-day program. You can help us build this and other EFNIKS programs by visiting our support page. 

 

#WindrushScandal Highlights Global Anti-Immigration Sentiment

Immigration issues and controversies are not exclusive and singular to the United States and President Donald Trump. And it goes without saying that immigration issues are also QTPoC issues--indeed, immigrants can be QTPoC too.

   via the @UKinBarbados Facebook Page (Official page for the British High Commission in Bridgetown, Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean)

via the @UKinBarbados Facebook Page (Official page for the British High Commission in Bridgetown, Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean)

From November 2017 until April 2018, the British government deported citizens who are a part of the Windrush generation. This generation of Commonwealth immigrants had been called upon to help rebuild Great Britain after World War II, and also helped to establish the National Health Service (NHS). These citizens were deported-– whether they were born in the UK or immigrated (before 1973) with relatives -– if they could not prove their “leave to remain” in the UK. This wave of mass deportation occurred despite the revelation that the Home Office had destroyed the relevant documentation pertaining to many of the individuals being deported. Even the ex-mayor of Ipswich was denied citizenship. This was all based on Prime Minister Theresa May’s -- then Home Secretary -- aggressive immigration policy, which aimed “to create, in Britain, a really hostile environment for illegal immigrants."

When it became apparent that the British public did not hold the same feverish, irrational hatred for Caribbean immigrants as it did for other ethnic groups, May and the Conservative Party had to admit their missteps. Now, in a strange form of appeasement, Westminster Abbey is celebrating the 70th Anniversary of HMT Empire Windrush’s voyage.

The Windrush controversy highlights how anti-immigration sentiment is a global phenomenon and without real action, harsh border control and inhumane immigration policies toward the Global South will continue unabated.

 

The Workshop @ The EFNIKS Daily is our writing program for young QTPoC writers. Each of the 5 writers identify as QTPoC, and are between the ages of 17 and 22. Program participants receive a $200 stipend for the 60-day program. You can help us build this and other EFNIKS programs by visiting our support page. 

 

 

Caribbean Nations Make Strides Towards LGBTQ+ Healing, Empowerment

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Caribbean nations are often viewed as socially unprogressive, due to the overwhelmingly conservative religious views held by the majority of the islands’ populations. British Prime Minister Theresa May recently expressed her regret for the UK’s role in the imposition of these laws in their former colonies. In many islands of the Eastern Caribbean, same-sex relations (oddly, some islands solely criminalized acts between males, but not females) are still a criminal offence on the books, a relic from the colonial era.

However, LGBTQ people have always found a way to resist their oppression, and thrive in their own ways. For Pride Month, a number of nations have either held or will hold pride parades. Guyana, held their first Pride Parade, even as protest from religious groups aimed to halt the project. Jamaica, well-known for its violent homophobia, has held pride events for the past four years under the auspices of J-FLAG. So-called “Little Britain” Barbados, holds events in June and November. Trinidad & Tobago recently decriminalized homosexuality in a monumental and historic ruling.

So, whilst religious groups shroud their bigotry in biblical rhetoric, activists in the Caribbean are slowly turning the tide against the antiquated, unconstitutional laws.

Some would call that Victory.

 

The Workshop @ The EFNIKS Daily is our writing program for young QTPoC writers. Each of the 5 writers identify as QTPoC, and are between the ages of 17 and 22. Program participants receive a $200 stipend for the 60-day program. You can help us build this and other EFNIKS programs by visiting our support page.

 

Corporations Continue to Struggle Celebrating LGBTQ+ Pride

Widely considered to be the very first Pride event, the Stonewall riots of 1969 were a far cry from the rainbow marches and corporate sponsorships that have come to be associated with today’s Pride events. It is an evolution that would be unrecognizable to the subversive figures that opposed the police’s flagrant abuses of power on that fateful night. Those figures were Marsha P Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Raymond Castro, Storme DeLarverie, and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy.

Understanding the background and history of this event and the individuals associated with it highlights the  reason why certain groups are opposed to having a police presence at Pride events, the corporate trend known as rainbow capitalism, and the magnification of structural inequalities in places that purport inclusion.

Just last month, Starbucks had to carry out nationwide “racial sensitivity” training, after the arrest and forced removal of two black men from a Philadelphia location. Starbucks claims to value diversity, but it still follows through with anti-black actions. And yet, the coffee conglomerate is a Bronze Sponsor of the Pride In London Parade, with  many other companies following that hypocritical model. Racist, sexist, and homophobic policies are too often hidden under a facade of political correctness and good PR.

Being informed of the origins and motives of today’s Pride traditions and rituals can help ensure that young QTPoC do not become complicit in their own oppression.

 

The Workshop @ The EFNIKS Daily is our writing program for young QTPoC writers. Each of the 5 writers identify as QTPoC, and are between the ages of 17 and 22. Program participants receive a $200 stipend for the 60-day program. You can help us build this and other EFNIKS programs by visiting our support page.