Rally for Homeless LGBT Youth on Oct 24 @ Union Square (NYC)

Posted by the Ali Forney Center:

Dear Friends,
Please join us at the Rally for Homeless LGBT Youth on Monday October 24th at 6pm in Union Square.
After several years of fighting terrible budget cuts from the City and State to the grossly inadequate services available to the thousands of homeless youths on our streets, we have determined a new strategy. We have joined with other service providers and LGBT advocates to launch the Campaign for Youth Shelter, calling on our elected officials to commit to a plan to provide safe shelter for every homeless youth. With LGBT youth suffering such a disproportionate experience of being homeless, we want the broader LGBT community to speak with a loud voice, telling our elected officials that it is wrong and unacceptable to leave kids in the streets without shelter.
Please see RSVP HERE if you will be able to join us.
Thanks so much for all your caring and support for our kids!

A Timeline of Queer Immigration // event Sat, Oct 22nd @ 5pm

A Timeline of Queer Immigration is an attempt to compile key events regarding queer immigration, although international in scope, it is mostly centered around U.S. legal and cultural issues.

See video.

Download timeline flier.

Saturday, October 22, 4pm
Museum of Arts and Design, Columbus Circle, NYC

A Public Conversation about Queer Immigration in the United States. 
Organized by QUEEROCRACY and Carlos Motta

To highlight the issues faced by queer immigrants in the United States, the grassroots organization QUEEROCRACY in collaboration with artist Carlos Motta present “A New Discovery: Queer Immigration in Perspective.” The event will feature presentations by leading queer immigration activists, a public conversation, and a video screening of a social intervention-based performance held by QUEEROCRACY and its allies on Columbus Day at Columbus Circle. “A New Discovery: Queer Immigration in Perspective” attempts to bring attention to the way immigrant and queer politics intersect in the public sphere in ways that both confront, challenge and transform the state mechanisms that police borders and bodies in the United States. This dialogue strives to generate new ideas on how to better make a difference in the lives of queer people around the world.

Presentations and a public conversation by Felipe Baeza, New York State Youth Leadership Council; Hector Canonge, CINEMAROSA; Camilo Godoy, QUEEROCRACY; Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, Staff Attorney, Lambda Legal; Jackie Vimo, activist and PhD Candidate in Politics, The New School for Social Research; and a video address by Tania Bruguera, Immigrant Movement International. Moderated by Carlos Motta, artist.

What can I do for Uganda?

I just wrote a post on RFK awardee Frank Mugisha’s note on Uganda.  And I ask myself, what more can I do.  After I learned of the assassination of school teacher and LGBT activist David Kato, I reached out to Apollo, a Ugandan politician who was my flatmate during the 2007 Summer School in Forced Migration.  His parliamentary campaign was unsuccessful, which is too bad:  Apollo told me before the election that he does not agree with the (shameful, deadly, egregious, US religious right-inspired) treatment of LGBT folks in Uganda!  AllOut is doing some powerful online campaigns to reclaim the human rights of gay folks in Uganda, and my friend Jesse Hawkes is at the forefront of youth engagement on tolerance and other issues just one country over (8 hours by land) in Kigali, Rwanda.  See Global Youth Connect, the organization he directs.

Note from Frank Mugisha on Ugandan Government’s Anti-LGBTI Stance

Here’s a reprint of Frank Mugisha searing indictment of the Ugandan Government from the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights‘ newsletter:


The birth of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process in 2007 within the newly (re)formed Human Rights Council at the United Nations brought enormous opportunity and hope to human rights defenders around the world seeking to engage their countries with serious human rights concerns at an international level.

Today, at the close of the first four year cycle of the UPR, I leave Genevadisheartened and disappointed that my country of Uganda failed once again to take the rights of its LGBTI citizens seriously.

In my country, it is a sad fact that LGBTI people cannot access even basic health services due to homophobic social stigmas, laws criminalizing homosexuality, and discrimination by health service providers. Despite Uganda’s obligations to ensure its citizens’ rights to the highest attainable standard of health, the government does nothing.

In Uganda, LGBTI civil society organizations are consistently denied the ability to register as official nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). But, in Geneva my government publicly denied this fact, and informed the Human Rights Council that organizations need only to meet the NGO registration criteria. For me, this is a laughing matter. LGBTI groups, like the one I lead, will never meet Uganda’s NGO criteria, as long as my government regards our work as criminal.

In its official report to the UN, my government invoked its constitution and penal code, which still criminalizes consensual same sex acts, and made the unsubstantiated and absurd claim that it could not allow the “promotion” of homosexuality, because in its view, LGBTI groups are recruiting young children into homosexuality.

During the UPR process my government maintained that “the sexual minorities issue” should not be openly discussed; it should be left private. Yet my government claimed it could not interfere with the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill that has yet to officially die in Ugandan parliament — a bill that would institute the death penalty for some homosexuals.

In contrast, it was very exciting and encouraging to see member states fromEurope and North and South America put my government on the spot and urge Ugandan to decriminalize homosexuality, create laws that protect LGBTI people, and stop the false allegations that LGBTI groups solicit young people into homosexuality.

I sincerely hope the government of Uganda takes the recommendations from member states seriously and meets its international obligations to protect and ensure the safety of all citizens, by changing laws that criminalize homosexuality, putting in place policies that protect LGBTI people and ensuring that all government policies support every individual in Uganda including LGBTI persons.

By Frank Mugisha

Frank Mugisha is a leading advocate fighting for equality for the LGBTI community in Uganda, and against the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which would make homosexual activities punishable by life in prison on the first offense, and death sentence for aggravated offenses. Furthermore, the proposed legislation would criminalize failure to report homosexuality. Due to the hostile climate in Uganda surrounding the LGBTI community, Mr. Mugisha is one of the few openly gay and visible activists for sexual minorities in the country. His role as a spokesperson for the LGBTI movement amplifies the voice of one of the most vulnerable groups in Uganda. As a result of his advocacy, Mr. Mugisha has lost jobs, friends, and become estranged from family.


Occupy World // Oct 15

On Saturday, Oct 15, 2011 I went to Times Square with my boyfriend Greg and Leslie Stem (who brought some great noisemakers).  I felt as strongly about going to the protest rally as I do about voting.  The proliferation of occupy manifestations around the world is necessarily a mercurial process … therefore it doesn’t have to cleanly articulate its purpose.  It is an example of deliberative democracy that very clearly begs systemic change, while showing the many faces and amplifying the diverse voices of those underserved by the current system.

So, from Occupy Wall Street and its reverberations around the world on October 15th to the site-specific  #OccupyCB2 (Manhattan’s Community Board 2) with an outcry to save St. Vincent’s Hospital, a template is emerging for public deliberation.  As a New Yorker, it is easy to embody the duality of the urban space that can host both a Wall Street of two dimensions (fortified thruway-cum-tourist photo-op and carnival tent of smoke-and-mirrors by which colossal disparity masquerades as Pareto Efficiency) and the plugged-in global dissenters who have successfully occupied that street, both physically and emblematically.

Perhaps I can best explain what I mean by cobbling together a few passages from America, a book by Jean Baudrillard:

“In years to come cities will stretch out horizontally and will be non-urban (Los Angeles). After that, they will bury themselves in the ground and will no longer have names. Everything will become infrastructure bathed in artificial light and energy. The brilliant superstructure, the crazy verticality will have disappeared. New York is the final fling of this baroque verticality, this centrifugal excentricity, before the horizontal dismantling arrives, and the subterranean implosion that will follow.”  (Jean Baudrillard, America)

“It is a world completely rotten with wealth, power, senility, indifference, puritanism and mental hygiene, poverty and waste, technological futility and aimless violence, and yet I cannot help but feel it has about it something of the dawning of the universe. Perhaps because the entire world continues to dream of New York, even as New York dominates and exploits it.”  (Jean Baudrillard, America)

“Why do people live in New York? There is no relationship between them. Except for an inner electricity which results fom the simple fact of their being crowded together. A magical sensation of contiguity and attraction for an artificial centrality. This is what makes it a self-attracting universe, which there is no reason to leave. There is no human reason to be here, except for the sheer ecstacy of being crowded together.”  (Jean Baudrillard, America)

Occupy Wall Street // Protest March, Oct 5th

I went down to  Zuccotti Park on Monday to visit the occupiers.  I was chilly and festive; good-spirited and hopeful… and it was the only place I’ve ever gotten any comments on my ‘abolish alienation’ sweatshirt.  Today there is a march / rally at 3pm.  On Saturday approximately 700 people were detained when the movement attempted to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.  Being somewhat insulated a few miles away in Brooklyn, I didn’t hear about the mass arrest until the following morning from my friend Adham Bakry (in Cairo) saying that it reminded him of January 25th.  Gan Golan just sent me this cool site to adopt an occupation called Occupy Together.  And, here’s an article that Karen Malpede wrote with a look back at history and how the mass action is infused with theatre.

Personally, I support the occupation.  I’ve been looking for a job in New York for over a year with no luck (or just enough luck to scrape by).  Over the weekend, I applied for a job in Brazil.  The perspective and concern expressed in this article, Unemployed seek protection against job bias is a valid one that many of us can relate to.

Todd (us)

P.S. Here’s a reprint of the Not An Alternative newsletter about selective border control and today’s activities:

Hi friends,
We regret to inform you that this Wednesday’s Yes Lab event, organized by Not An Alternative, with UK climate campaign campaigners John Stewart and Dan Glass has been postponed.
A few days ago, Stewart landed in JFK Airport for a month-long US speaking tour, only to be escorted off the plane by 6 police officers, interrogated for six hrs by the FBI, Secret Service, NY police, and Immigration, and put on a plane back to the UK. The other tour member, environmental activist Dan Glass, was also supposed to come but was stopped by the CIA on the UK side.
These guys are celebrated environmentalists, recognized by The Independent and the Guardian as the “most effective and innovative green activists in the UK”. They won support from direct action activists and even the Conservatives in Parliament, waging a successful campaign to reduce carbon emissions and stop the expansion of Heathrow airport. For some reason, however, our own government isn’t keen on them coming here.
We’re going to bring them to you anyway. Please save the date: on Thursday, November 3rd we’ll host a special Skype session with these revered (and reviled?) climate revolutionaries. The best part…no transcontinental air emissions involved!
Thursday, November 3, 7pm
Department of Performance Studies
721 Broadway, 6th Floor
NY, NY 10003
(photo ID required)

And now that your Wednesday is freed up, consider joining us at #OccupyWallStreet! Wednesday is the biggest action yet, with labor unions and dozens of economic justice and community organizations taking part in a massive march to the Liberty Plaza encampment. Starts at 4:30pm at City Hall, 250 Broadway Ave.
Not An Alternative is coordinating a creative intervention there, an installation and action at the intersection of architecture and activism. That’s all we can say about it, so come join us to get the full skinny!
Not An Alternative