hotpot! helps bring Mia Mingus and Stacey Milbern to QTC

March 25-27 was Swarthmore’s annual Queer and Trans Conference.  I was a part of the planning committee and also did some work with the artists’ collective I started (Zero Hour Artists’ Collective) to make advertisements and decorations for some of the events.  This year our goal was to really integrate the Philadelphia community (more proactively) into our discussion of the theme, “Envisioning Queer Futures.”  We had a really great skillshare dinner to which we invited queer and non-queer groups from Philly to come and present as well as to network and talk about the theme of our conference. Back in the summer hotpot! members expressed excitement about bringing Mia Mingus and Stacey Milbern to speak with us and it happened at this conference.

I think the conference was an overwhelming success and I was so excited to be a part of it.  I learned so much from the talks and was inspired to do more in the groups that I’m already a part of.One of the biggest ways I helped was by coordinating a skype-in talk with Mia Mingus and Stacey Milbern, called “To the Other Side of Dreaming: Building Home as Disabled Queer Women of Color.” Check out their website here: http://dreaminghome.tumblr.com/  Not only is the work that they do incredible, but the two of them were such great speakers and amazingly inspiring! Here are some quotes from their talk:

“Interdependency is key to our liberation”
“I make sure I don’t take things out through (emotionally) ableism.”
“We need to acknowledge that we all have needs and that we can help each other.”
“We’re reclaiming what home could be.”
“Society says that valuable work means you work 80 hours a week…we need to redefine what it means to do healthy organizing.”
“NPOs today don’t cultivate care!”
“People are either respectfully distant or extremely intimate. We need to find a happy medium.”
“Holding a loving horizontal line so that you can bring people with you.”
“Where is the line between struggle and harm?”
“We can’t even remember what trauma is!”
“Infrastructure that’s community-based.”

by Miyuki

Laurent’s Coming Out Story Featured on Asian Gay and Proud

Coming Out Stories:  Laurent

The internet had been available to the public for years but I wasn’t really aware of it until my brother installed the 56K modem on our old desktop for the first time in 1998. I immediately went to AltaVista.com and searched for the words “constant craving“, “lesbian” along with “playboy” because that’s where I first read the word “lesbian” during my daily search of my brother’s closet. Oh, the irony.

Constant Craving” came about after a few weeks of hearing it playing on the radio. The lyrics spoke to me and I wanted to know what the singer looked like. A few key strokes and AltaVista gave me pictures of K.D Lang wearing a tuxedo and other masculine attires as the “most popular answers.” So there was someone out there, well into their adulthood who dressed masculine and was in the public eye. It felt like I had won the lottery.

From there, I researched everything about her life, and soon after that I came across an article of Ellen DeGeneres giving her some sort of an award and it ended with a picture of Ellen kissing K.D…Well, I’d have to say I was very intrigue by the reaction it caused my body to have. Prior to this, I have had some idea of how I was different from other kids but I didn’t quite know what to call myself. So now I had the word but I was still uncomfortable about applying it to myself.

A year later, I turned 15. I told myself I need to settle this and soon, so I stood in front of a mirror and mouthed just one word while staring at my own face: Lesbian…over and over, thinking to myself, is this the face of a lesbian? Finally, I no longer mouth the word, I whispered it to myself, then louder and louder, trying to have it penetrate my skull through my ears and having my tongue roll and taste the word.

In hindsight, I should have known that if it had taken me that long to convince myself to use the word lesbian, it just wasn’t for me–many years later, I came out as gender nonconforming.

Laurent

reposted from Asian Gay and Proud.