Monday, September 29, 2008

GSA Monday Topic: Queer Heroes

Hi, and welcome back to our Gay Straight Alliance feature: GSA Mondays!

This week's topic is Queer Heroes: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Straight Allies who inspire YOU.


What to do: Challenge everyone to come to the GSA meeting with one Queer Hero - and of course, you're welcome to discuss the ones I highlight below!


Remember, a Queer Hero doesn't have to be a PERFECT person or role model, just someone that it's really cool to know that they're part of our GLBTQ&A community!

Here are some of my heroes and heroines, as a starting point for your discussions (I've blogged about most of them, and provided links for more information as well):

GAY HERO

Matthew Mitcham, Gold Medal-winning Olympic Diver, and OUT gay man. The only OUT gay man at this summer's Bejing Olympics, Matthew won Gold, and was there with his mother and his partner!



Also, I love how he helps debunk the whole "if you're a gay man you can't be athletic" stereotype!

LESBIAN HEROINES

Okay, I'm a little Olympics-happy, but Gro Hammerseng and Katja Nyberg are a couple who are so sweet - and the fact that they play Handball together on Norway's team, and won GOLD together at the Bejing Olympics, just makes me so happy!



And I love that they challenge the stereotypes about lesbians as well - Gro and Katja are great athletes, AND also very feminine and beautiful women!

BISEXUAL HERO




Who knew? Did you know? I only found this out recently. But check this out! The incredibly famous "Bard" was Bisexual, and loved woman AND men!

TRANSGENDER HERO

Georgina Beyer was born a Maori boy in rural New Zealand. How she came to be the first transgender woman elected mayor and then elected MP in the New Zealand Parlament is an incredible story.



QUESTIONING HERO & HEROINE

You.

Anyone who is brave enough to explore their true nature, and wants to live their truth, is a hero. Figuring it out is sometimes a journey. Always remember, your sexuality is not a choice. Being honest (with yourself and others) about your sexuality is.


STRAIGHT ALLY HEROINE


Ellen Wittlinger
, author of Sandpiper and Parrotfish.



Ellen's a straight woman who is not afraid to write novels about lesbian and transgender Teens. In fact, she sees including Queer characters in all her books as an important matching up of the fictional world of her novels with the REAL world Teens are in today - a world that includes Queer people! Her books are banned and challenged so much, but she keeps writing them! She does her research, is full of respect for members of our community, and opens hearts and minds.



some ideas to continue the discussion:

How about Clay Aiken, coming out last week as a gay man?

Or Lindsay Lohan, coming out earlier last week as a lesbian?

Does being a celebrity who is part of our Queer community automatically make them Heroes and Heroines?




For more Queer Heroes, check out GLBT HISTORY MONTH over at Equality Forum, where they're celebrating October 2008 as Gay History Month. They're going to feature 31 GLBT Role Models - one for each day of the month!

5 comments:

SMD said...

Another great post, Lee!

I'll be speaking to my campus GSA during gay history month about career issues for the LGBT community - things like being out in the workplace and how to promote their activity in obviously queer-related groups on their resume. I'm doing some research, but if you had any resources to recommend, I'd love to hear about them.

Lee Wind said...

Hi SMD,
there's the new biopic film on Harvey Milk coming out in December ("MILK" with Sean Penn and directed by Gus Van Sant) that I'm really excited to see

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1013753/

- I know the documentary that was done on him ("The Times of Harvey Milk" from 1984)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088275/

was really inspiring, and in it Harvey spoke directly on being out in the workplace. (The idea being that if everyone who was part of the GLBTQ community was OUT, discrimination would wither and die right then and there, because EVERYONE would know and care about someone Queer, and they couldn't maintain their blind hatred of the "other."

Can GSAs do a movie field trip? Or maybe get the documentary on DVD and watch it over the course of a few meetings? Hmmm.

Also, I'd discuss the effect the Human Rights Campaign has had,

http://www.hrc.org/issues/workplace.asp

with their "corporate equality index" on highlighting which companies have Gay-friendly policies and which do not. Since that information has been out, I believe there's been an enormous shift for the better - and now Exxon/Mobile is the only one of the fortune 50 companies who do not have domestic partner benefits (which is sort of a litmus test for a company's Gay-friendliness.)

Actually, discussing what are the things to look at in a company, to determine their gay-friendliness, is another great thing to discuss!
Hey, thanks for bringing up so much good stuff to thing about -

Namaste,
Lee

Lee Wind said...

Make that "think" about!

SMD said...

That's fantastic information! I can certainly recommend the movie field trip, and check out the documentary in preparation for the meeting. I will certainly talk about the impact of HRC's work - I knew about the index, but not about it's impact on the way businesses operate.

Ellen Wittlinger said...

Wow, Lee! I am thrilled and humbled. Thank you so much. I don't think I've ever gotten an award that's meant more than this. Thank you, thank you...

Ellen