Back in the heady days of activism BC (Before Computers), one of the important tenets of successful communication was that your message should fit on a t-shirt. It was a very wise idea, really, when you think about it. I remember the time when our newly formed Latina lesbian consciousness raising group in Boston marched in the 1980 Take Back the Night March. We were a group of hard working women, some academics, some artists, some community activists but all deeply committed to issues of social justice. We bought t-shirts for our group and silk-screened them with a very 70s design and the words: La mujer da vida y merece vivir con orgullo y respeto. This was to be our chant at the march to raise awareness of violence perpetrated against women– remember, this was right before restraining orders and before police sensitivity training. At any rate, the translation of our motto is: Women Give Life and Deserve to Live with Dignity and Respect. I don’t know how we managed to fit it on a t-shirt, but we did. The hard part was chanting this important message, all together in unison and in rhythm at the march. Don’t ask. Our hearts were in the right place.
Which brings me to the reason why, as I’d like to wish everyone a Happy LGBT Pride, I have written an extra T in the title of this post. That’s right, it’s not a mistake, I really mean PRIDE. That’s because a few years after the story I just wrote about, I had moved to New York City and been involved in activism for civil rights and social justice as part of other groups. One of them was a wonderful magazine called COLORLife! This magazine was founded by a diverse group of LGBT people, and at the time- circa 1991- not everyone was as knowledgeable about Transgender issues as we are today (we actually have a ways to go, don’t we. It’s all a process, we never stop learning).
In our founding group of writers and activists, Native American gay men told the rest of the group about the tradition among many First Peoples of the Americas to recognize the existence of gay people in the community as Two-Spirits. Soon we began to learn more, and while a great deal of controversy was going on in the Lesbian & Gay community about whether bisexual and transgender people were actually part of the Queer continuum, in many communities of color the question wasn’t even a question.
We just had to take responsibility for learning about each other.
And so, that brings us to the start of the Modern LGBT movement which we locate in our collective consciousness as June, 1969, at the site of the Stonewall Riots in New York City. (For the rest, you do the research!) 🙂
But let it not be said that we are not talking about jewelry here, because we most definitely are! The best kind! Rainbow jewelry! Amethyst jewelry! (Which is great for February natives or anyone who loves the wonderful amethyst, February’s birthstone.) And so I’m posting a couple of Rainbow Pride Suncatchers here. The first one I made with two fabulous faceted Amethyst Cubes and a lavender glitter star. The second one I made with a variety of crystals, Czech glass beads, and CZ crystals, all dangling from a handformed (yes, I made it by hand) brass wire musical G Clef.
BTW, Livingatnight will soon have a shop in the Grand Opening of the CraftCafe website, a place for handmade crafts that will go live on June 22!
My dear friends, excuse me while I run off to finish some Apatite earrings that are simply to die for, and will be listed at http://craftcafe.co/shop/livingatnight/ on June 22.
But before I go, in honor of Pride Month, I wanted to offer information about suicide prevention resources for young people in the LGBTQ communities. Here is a start: See the YouTube video spot with Daniel Radclyffe I’ve placed below left. It’s a great Public Service Announcement, and it connects you with the Trevor Project. See the link below. I’d love to find something similar for Spanish-speaking youth. (In fact, the more languages the better!). In the U.S. there is also the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the hotline is 800-273-8255.
organization providing crisis intervention and
suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay,
bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth.
- Film fest kicks off gay pride month (thehindu.com)
- Pentagon to host first Gay Pride event (cnn.com)
- Panetta Salutes Gay, Lesbian Service Members’ Dedicated Duty (defense.gov)
- Pride Parade Celebrates Growing Acceptance Of LGBT Community In Philadelphia (philadelphia.cbslocal.com)