Trumps New Military Ban

featured image courtesy of Elite Daily 

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On July 26, 2017, President Donald Trump sent out a series of three messages on the social media platform Twitter. The three messages included new information about a certain group of people from the LGBTQ Community. They said, in order, “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow……” “….Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming…..” “….victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you”

In writing these messages Trump stated that transgender individuals are burdens, which created an uprising on every social media platform. Hashtags were created and reused from old, forgotten about protests. Celebrities took to Instagram and Twitter to reblog pictures and captions that littered every corner of the internet. Celebrities/Politicians spoke their mind over Twitter.

Tom Perez tweeted “To the members of the transgender community: You are not a “burden.” Do not let this president shake you. We support you, we stand with you.” The tweet was liked more than 70,000 times and retweeted more than 35,000 times.

An old tweet from Ivanka Trump said, “I am proud to support my LGBTQ friends and the LGBTQ Americans who have made immense contributions to our society and economy.” That tweet was quoted by another twitter user James Cordon who, on July 26, said, “Hey Ivanka, James here. Hope all is good, quick question, can you… Erm… Call your dad and have a talk. X” That was in response to what her father had tweeted just earlier that day.

Former Vice President, Joe Biden, tweeted “Every patriotic American who is qualified to serve in our military should be able to serve. Full stop.”

Since Trump’s tweets people have stopped to wonder, ‘Is this constitutional?’ ‘what about those who are already in the military? will he really take 15,000 individuals out of the army?’ ‘isn’t he basically un-arming our military?’

However, none of these things can shake our community. Why? Because President Trump’s many actions carried out during his term have shown us, multiple times over, that when you silence and discriminate against one community, all others stand up to shout louder and stronger for those who can’t.

Racism In The Queer Community

LGBTQ+ representation has grown massively in the last ten years. There is no denying that in today’s’ western society we have come far in terms of agenting love that isn’t traditionally heteronormative. As wonderful as this is, the representation tends to focus on able bodied, cisgender white males. There is a stereotype for gay men that is yet to be challenged in mainstream media. Just like in any group of people, there is more than one type of person living within it which isn’t realised, in many cases, by 21st Century inhabitants.

Queer love shown on TV to bring ‘diversity’ to the shows is so likely to be between two impossibly good looking white men with ripped bodies, one of them playing a more  campy, overdone effeminate ‘gay best friend’ character. The other tends to be a hyper masculine guy with intense muscles, showcasing the two extremes of gay stereotypes. If there is a show or film with a gay character in, they are rarely the main character or play a powerful role, like a CEO or any type of leader. If anything they are a b*tchy personal assistant with pursed lips and high cheekbones, drinking lattes in high fashion outfits. If there is a black gay character, he is once again the sassy gay best friend personality, playing to the stereotypes where, like before, he is in a position where he has no significant power or authority.

As a young queer teen myself, I was constantly looking for shows and films that could validate my feelings. At the time, the Netflix ‘LGBT section’ was somewhat limited and I found myself re watching the same films about white boys falling in love. To contradict myself however, films like Moonlight and the channel 4 series of Cucumber, Tofu and Banana have been big steps in achieving suitable representation that shows off real diversity within the LGBTQ+ body. There IS some representation out there for communities of minorities but work should be done to be more inclusive to the many types of people living within the queer world. It isn’t just ethnicity representation that should be recognised either. Disabled, transgender, bisexual, Muslim, intersexual and many more groups are failing to be represented as their respective communities and the queer folk within them.

The terms ‘no femmes, no Asians, no blacks’ is a phrase that comes up a lot. It is most likely to be found on a Grindr account, or any page looking for gay relationships/hook-ups. There is a line between preference and racism, in my opinion ‘no blacks, no Asians’ no favours the latter. Even as a young female, who is not yet able to join such popular sites, I have seen the term been tossed around far too casually. When you actually dissect the phrase what are they saying? They are eliminating entire races and types of people as if they are too good for them. As if they are not worthy of the likely average sex the likely average guy has to offer. To group whole races and assume they are all the same is outdated and seems reserved for conservative thinkers. Queer people can be mistook for liberals, a believable theory however not always so true. In the last US election, presidential elect Donald Trump boasted that he had LGBT supporters, who turned out to unsurprisingly be made up of a majority of white men. Rich, white men. Men that create racist, sexist, islamophobic statements…whilst claiming to be liberals. Milo Yiannopoulos is the perfect candidate for this title. A far-right, British media personality who, whilst being openly gay, furiously supports the republican party, is a strong opponent for the Black Lives Matter movement but claims that he can’t be racist because of  “the intimate relationships he is easily able to strike with African American individuals”  He also sells hoodies reading ‘feminism is cancer’ titling himself a second wave feminist and calling women ‘common prostitutes’.  The way he peddles hatred and offensive material yet is still a supposed ‘representative’ for the gay community is sad. He represents nothing the community stands for, which is, in my eyes, generally and simply equality and love between all people.

The whole truth is that the LGBTQ+ Community is more than just able bodied white folk. It is a beautifully diverse community full of people from all ethnicities, body abilities, backgrounds, heritage, body types and genders. There are There should be more media focusing on other parts of the community, like Muslim, Latino, Trans and disabled people living within the body. In the first world we have come far in showing women in positions on power in adverts and TV. I can only hope we are not far off doing the same for queer people.

Rolling Back The Frontiers Of Representation

featured image via The New York Times

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With Film and TV viewings being at an all time high, the disconnect between people in the ‘real’ world and the people in our TV and Films is more noticeable than ever, with all of this, one question emerges being, ‘Where does that leave minorities?’, you only have to watch a film or TV programme to see limiting stereotypes reinforced, the question I ask is ‘If times are changing and we’re in a good place in terms of social change, then why are there hardly any film or TV shows where harsh stigmas and stereotypes come into play’. Personally, I don’t think this is okay.

 

Black and Minority Ethnics (BAME) have had enough, disabled people have had enough and LGBTQ+ communities have had enough, these people are special, one of a kind, we shouldn’t be limiting and patronising them the way that we are currently, we should be celebrating them.

 

Admittedly, there are a small few programmes which challenge these social norms and they are praised, but this shouldn’t be considered amazing to make a film that doesn’t paint minorities in a negative light because we should be doing this all the time, being fair and impartial to those minorities. This, accompanied by the fact that gender norms and roles are being foisted on viewers show how not only are we not fully inclusive as a generation, but we still adopt outdated ideologies that are not only sexist, racist, homophobic and hurtful to those with disabilities but, we are making these minority groups doubt themselves in their own personal ability and this is unacceptable.

 

So, let’s look past these barriers, let’s drive social change, and challenge these outdated status quos for ourselves, let’s be understanding, respectful and inclusive of each other. The power as consumers of film and television lay in your hands.

 

Here’s to better days.

Tear Gas, Rubber Bullets, Istanbul Pride March 2017

featured image via getty images

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The largest gay pride march in a predominantly Muslim world since 2003.  Tens of thousands of individuals showing up to embrace and celebrate.  Happiness, and acceptance, a place to be free.  Istanbul’s gay and transgender pride parade has been banned twice before in past years.  This year, however, the ban could not stop activists of the LGBTQ community from taking part

Activists of the LGBTQ community gathered in Istanbul Sunday morning as an act of defiance, resistance but more importantly unification.  Large numbers of individuals showed up to defy this ban and walk together waving their flags, and banners, spreading their positive energy and passion with their colleagues and those watching.

 

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Riot officers moving to detain activists defying the ban on the Pride march.  Photo By: Emrah Gurel

 

Amongst those watching, were a great number of Turkish riot officers who would later deploy tear gas, fire rubber bullets, and arrest dozens of activists.

The riot officers used rubber bullets alongside tear gas to break up the crowd of marchers as they chanted and danced throughout the streets.  Entrances to the parade route were closed off, and police proceeded to arrest dozens of individuals taking part in the march and some individuals reporting for media.

 

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Riot officers blocking a parade entry. Specifically Istiklal Avenue a gathering spot for the activists.  Photo By: Bulent Kilic – Getty Images

These acts against the community were not and should not be tolerated and have sparked movements within many different communities around the world.  Certain organizers of the pride march in Istanbul released this statement in response to the ban, ” We are the ones who declared the revolution of love and gender identity. We are the ones who are excluded, ignored and yet resilient. […] Governors, governments, states change, we stay. These threats, bans, pressures will not stop us! ”

 

( You can find the article in which this statement was released here )

together we are stronger

For The Second Year Running, Gay Pride Parade Banned In Istanbul

featured image via hurriyet daily news

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Turkey one of the few parts of the Middle East decriminalizing homosexuality has hosted the largest gay pride march since 2003 in a predominantly Muslim world.

With crowds of over 10,000 individuals, the annual gay and transgender pride parade has caught the eyes of many nations around the world.   Thousands of individuals who had prepared for this march scheduled to take place during the last hours of Ramadan were met by Governor Vasip Şahin’s executive ban on the parade.

Concerns of security of the people of Istanbul and those attended were the main points made when defending the ban put forth for the second time in a row on this parade.   These concerns stemmed from the march coordinator’s apparent failure to submit proper paperwork to the cities government beforehand.

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This being said, there were also many threats put forth attacking the march.  One of which coming from ultra-nationalist organization Alperen Ocakları in which they stated they would block the march themselves if no authorities would take action in banning it.

Over social media, thousands of individuals including German politician of Turkish origin Hakan Taş who is also gay mentioned, that this ban now in place for two years, ” [amounts] to a human rights violation”.

These bans have enraged many throughout the world, and have created a stronger sense of unification within the LGBTQ+ communities of not only Istanbul but many nations around the world.