Genders & Sexualities

The liberation of our genders, our sexualities and our visions for justice are often severely constricted by the massive projects of male supremacy and heterosexism. Intellectual and activist resistance toward a gender just world in which all genders and sexualities emerge in vibrant, affirming community fuel critical movements for justice around the globe.

Black on Black Pride: In Celebration of Olivia, Annalise, and Cookie

By Stephanie Shonekan, Art, Music and Pop Culture Contributing Editor

I never watch the Emmy Awards. Never! But last night I settled down in front of the television because several incredible black actresses were nominated. To be perfectly honest, I subjected myself to what felt like ten hours of bad jokes and annoying ads because of these gifted black actresses, and it was completely worth it.  As a black woman, I was excited and proud to see them all gain recognition from the mainstream media machine, and when Regina King, Uzo Aduba, and Viola Davis were announced as winners, I was ecstatic.  That moment when presenter Taraji P. Henson gave Regina King an extra-long sistah-hug on stage, in front of millions of viewers, captured the essence of black pride I felt last night.

Viola Davis - image by Hollywood Take

There has never been a time when there have been this many primetime mainstream lead roles for black women, among them, Viola Davis as Annalise Keating on How to Get Away with Murder (HTGAWM), Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyon on Empire, and Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope on Scandal. It is significant that these shows are not on BET or TVOne (or the defunct UPN network) where major black audiences have easy access to them. Instead, these shows have inserted themselves and their stories into the consciousness of mainstream America. As I tell my students every year, you cannot underestimate the power of pop culture.  When friends and acquaintances of varying ethnicities talk excitedly about these characters, I feel myself nodding as if these women are my sisters. And, I will freely admit, there is something that happens deep in my spirit when I watch my daughters and son watch these shows. I feel a sense of pride that they are able to see these beautiful complex characters played by strong black women who lead their respective shows with such talent and brilliance. (more…)

Girl, Interrupted

By Denise Miller There are some days I don’t feel like a woman. Actually, most days I don’t even feel like a girl. I know these breasts and hips are mine, but there are times I completely miss them. Miss … Continue reading

Bodies for Bullets

By Denise Miller Author’s note: I wrote this poem to highlight the continued and deadly disregard for female bodies and brown bodies. The italicized sections however have been taken directly from the Declaration of Independence. Please feel free to add … Continue reading

Sex Work, Leadership and Trans Self-Determination

By Jaime Grant, Contributing Editor, Genders and Sexuality Editor’s note: Desiree Alliance’s decision to boycott the 2014 International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia prompted the writing of this piece. Desiree Alliance is a coalition of sex workers, health professionals, social … Continue reading

An Incomplete Rainbow

Repost from The Chronicle of Higher Education. When I came out, at 16, in those fashion-challenged late 70s when tweedy jackets and pinky rings had to do hard labor in signifying lesbian identity, my (liberal) mother sent me to a … Continue reading

What’s a Family?

By Jaime Grant, Contributing Editor, Genders and Sexualities As recently as a generation ago, conventional wisdom held that LGBTQ people had no family. The story told was this: cast out of our families of origin, social pariahs “incapable” of creating … Continue reading

Gay Rights and the Justice Department

Repost from The New York Times. The Justice Department adjusts its own policies and programs, bringing advances for gay couples and American justice. Read more at The New York Times.