GUEST POST: I Refuse to Apologize

Luther again: this is the second post that my student asked me to put up; as I said earlier, I thought the first one deserved to stand on its own for a bit before getting Bigfooted by this one.  Go read that first, if you haven’t already, then come back.


When the news about Jussie Smollett came out about a month or so ago, my organization, the Queer Students of Color, decided to post a fundraiser to raise money for queer youth of color that experience violence everyday. We wanted to so something while people were paying attention. 

We were fooled. And we’re not sorry for it. 

We’re not sorry for believing a victim. We’re not sorry that there was an example of hate crimes that finally gained mass media attention. The only thing we’re sorry for is that we were lied to by someone we thought we could trust. 

The fact of the matter is this: whether or not we were lied to doesn’t take away from the truth that is violence against LGBTQ+ POC. For that reason, the fundraiser is still on, and we’ll be advocating for it until we meet our $10,000 goal, and everyday after that. We are representatives of a community that is the one of the most vulnerable demographics in the world.

Jussie Smollett took advantage of the vulnerability of millions of people. He spit in the faces of trans women of color that have been murdered. He spit in the faces of Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean – stole attention from their story in favor of his own selfish goals. That enrages us, saddens us, and makes us even more passionate and dedicated to our cause. 

The Queer Students of Color is a collection of youth with the voice and power to bring attention to the very real fears of people that feel like they don’t have a platform. We are loving, caring people who want to use our intelligence and resources to better the world, so that we don’t have to live in fear any longer. Jussie Smollett spit in our faces. We are not ashamed, we are emboldened, and we will not stop our advocacy just because one person decided to do a bad thing. 

For those of you that feel like LGBTQ+ people of color owe you an apology: fuck you. The fact that you’re attacking us because we believed someone is just that – an attack. Why should we apologize to people that have always thought that we were predators, criminals, liars? Why should we concede to your twisted idea that we’re just attention seeking hypocrites? I’m most definitely not. I’m un-apologetically black, genderqueer and bisexual. If anything you should be apologizing to us for using the instance with Jussie to spew your homophobic vitriol. I have never had so many attacks on my character until I was accused of starting a fundraiser for the Trevor Project – a third party organization whose mission is to provide care to young LGBTQ+ people. The money never went into my hands, it will never go into my hands. The money goes to programs that want rights for LGBTQ+ medical insurance, for LGBTQ+ safe spaces, etc. Google is free, y’all. Use it. 

I’m angry, that much should be obvious. But I’m not angry at my own people, I’m angry that there are some saying “Ha! This is proof that those faggots are liars!” I’m angry that we’re receiving hate instead of support, when Jussie’s lie affected us more than anyone else in this country. That there are some thinking that this debunks all of the very real testimonies of violence that LGBTQ+ POC have finally had the chance to bring to light. I’m angry that straight cisgender black people are the main perpetrators of this awful, awful rhetoric. I’m so fucking angry that after this, people will feel emboldened to hurt us because they’ll feel like they’ll get away with it. 

I’m. Mad.

GUEST POST: On the Intersections of Homophobia/Transphobia and Race

Luther here– this piece, along with a follow-up to come in a couple of hours, is a guest post by a former student who emailed me and asked if she could get a spot on the site. The answer was yes, obviously, but life intervened and I had to delay putting it up a bit, and, well, if you’ve been following the Jussie Smollett story at all you know that it’s been … we’ll say fast-evolving and leave it at that. So she sent me a second post, after the first one. I’m running both today; this one will live on its own for a few hours and the second will run tonight. There will no doubt be more to come, as recent news indicates that just because Smollett doesn’t seem to have been perfectly honest doesn’t mean that the Chicago cops weren’t lying too.

Regardless, I encourage you to donate to the fundraiser.


Just recently my organization, the Purdue Queer Students of Color (QSOC) decided to do a fundraiser for the Trevor Project to raise money for the homeless LGBTQ+ youth in America. There were a few tragic events that happened around the same time: the attack in Chicago on actor and activist Jussie Smollett, the discovery of dead Timothy Dean  in Democratic donor Ed Buck’s home. He’s the second of two gay black men found in Buck’s home, next to Gemmel Moore. There was also news of the death of Dana Martin – a black trans woman – who was found shot to death in a roadside ditch. When the executive board of QSOC heard of Jussie Smollett’s attack, we came to the conclusion that it was a good time to raise awareness for dangers that every LGBTQ+ person of color fears on a daily basis. Those who are homeless are especially in danger of this sort of violence, so we’re doing the fundraiser for them specifically. 

When I posted the link to the Trevor Project on Twitter, an accusation against me claiming that I was gold digging was quick to the draw. Tariq Nasheed tried to impeach my character, making the assertion that I was trying to profit off of the news regarding Jussie, which did indeed cause a large uproar on social medias. His followers swarmed me with challenges: you’re just capitalizing on something bad that happened; you don’t really care about anyone but yourself; what about other LGBTQ+ people of color that have suffered violence; black people are the only people of color, really; this was more racism than anything else, you know that right, etc. 

All of these were “concerns” by people who couldn’t care less about queer people of color. None of these people care about trans women of color who have died due to hate crimes. None of these people truly care about Jussie, either. There is only one marginalized identity that matters to them: blackness. 

The Tariq Nasheed is a champion of the ever-harmful “black first” mentality. Why is it harmful? I’ll illustrate. 

As a black, genderqueer, bisexual person, the only identity that matters to them is the first. The fact that I could face discrimination based on my gender identity and/or sexual orientation goes completely over their heads. Or, if not totally oblivious, they just don’t care about anything else. They’re cutting my multi-faceted person-hood down to a singular attribute. In a way, they’re doing to me what the white hegemonic societal and governmental systems are doing to all people of color. I’m being looked at as a black person/nigger first. While one is hyper-focusing on liberating on only one of my identities, the other is placing me under the heel of their boot. 

I get it, black people are subject to hatred by a power that we’re trying to deconstruct and destroy. However, in the heavy fog of single race liberation their eyes are too clouded to see other forms of oppression faced by people of different racial backgrounds. 

“You keep saying people of color. Just say black, we’re the only real people of color.” A young lady tweeted this to me on the very same evening that I posted the fundraiser link. I may get some blow back from this statement, but fuck it. 

Black people can be racist. 

Before you get a social wedgie, let me explain. 

Racism is the act of perpetuating negativity towards people of races variant to that of the race that currently has complete socioeconomic control over a given state or states. Meaning, black people can’t be racist against white people because no matter what, what I or any other black person says against a white person it won’t affect said white person by lowering their station in the grand scheme of societal hierarchies. In fact, it may even help the white person to the detriment of the black person; the former now has ammunition as to why black people are “racist”, and can use that by perpetuating the idea that there is equity among the races. 

Think: are black people the only ones at a detriment at the hands of white hegemony? Is black power the only real social movement that matters? Are black men the only ones who suffer from police brutality?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re what some would call a “hotep”

For the Whites or those who aren’t familiar with black vernacular, I can supplement the attached link with my own outline of hotepistry. 

A hotep is:

  1. A black person who stresses “black liberation” but only has black men in mind. (Black women included). 
  2. Thinking constantly that any punishment that a black man faces is the act of racism, when the black man is probably just a murderer, rapist, etc.
  3. Someone with a “black first” attitude because if someone attacks you they saw your skin color before they saw your gender presentation or sexual orientation. (Also known as homophobia/transphobia). 
  4. A person that excuses rape because “did you see what she/he was wearing? She/he was asking for it!”
  5. #BlackLivesMatter only if you’re straight and cis-gender
  6. “wHy ArE bLaCk MeN bLaMeD wHeN iT’s WhItE pEoPlE aRe ThE oNeS wHo DiD tHe CrImE???????” Promptly said after posting on twitter/facebook “If my son is gay I’m disowning him by throwing him off a balcony because that shit is for the birds.”
  7. Anyone telling Terry Crews “you’re bigger than him why didn’t you just smack the shit out of him?”
  8. Abusers. 
  9. Anyone who thinks the #MeToo movement is ruining dating culture. News flash! You’re just a rapist.
  10. Rapists (synonymous to abusers). 
  11. Tariq Nasheed and his Clan. 
  12. “He’s a he! He has a penis, don’t he?” Ew. 
  13. Sexists. 
  14. People who think that black people are the only real people of color. 
  15. Wack. 
  16. Someone who has an IQ of 4. 

Black people who think this way seem to forget the trepidation of immigrants at the border. They seem to forget that there are children that are being separated from their parents and placed in concentration camps. They eagerly bear the cross of slavery while ignoring others who are still being systematically victimized by white nationalists. And they seem to think that they’re beyond nationalism when toxic Afrocentrism is nationalism. You’re hurting people. You’re perpetuating willful ignorance. You’re racist. 

The intersection of racism and homophobia/transphobia is rampant in the black community, and I, for one, am sick of it. My brother once told me – after I came out to him, mind you – that if anyone said that “faggot” was just as bad as “nigger” that he would punch them in the face. Despite the fact that gay people and people in the LGBTQ+ community are killed every day from hate crimes. 

Despite the fact that thousands of gay men were killed in the holocaust. Despite the fact that children are killed by their own parents if they’re even suspected to be gay. 

What makes it worse, is that I’m both. I’m both black and gay. My family thinks that I experience the same amount of discrimination from just being black, but I endure even more hatred from racist homophobes. My experience is so distinct from straight cisgender black people that they don’t see that they’ve become the oppressors, too. I’m being oppressed by the people who claim to have my best interest at heart, when they really want me to tear myself apart in ways that would make me a shell of a person. 

As for the people who are homeless, a person of color and LGBTQ+, we need to prioritize them. They’re the most vulnerable population in this country. The idea that there are people losing their lives by violence, or even adverse weather like the polar vortex, because of who they are … it makes me sick just thinking about it. My organization is looking into helping homeless people locally, but we can only do so much. The Trevor Project is dedicated to bettering the lives of LGBTQ+ youth of all races and backgrounds in America. I’m stubborn, so I refuse to take down the fundraiser. If you would like to donate, please feel free. If you can’t, that’s okay too. QSOC would appreciate you spreading the word. The link to the donation page is below. 

https://give.thetrevorproject.org/fundraiser/1863720

Tl;dr: Dear LGBTQ+ kids, you are valid. You are loved. There are people fighting for you. Stay strong, and even if you can’t, that’s okay too. Take it a day at a time. No matter your race or ethnic background, you are YOU. You got this!

Adventures in customer service

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The kid’s doing well, in case you were wondering.  Also, the iPhone’s Portrait Mode is ridiculous.

So last weekend sometime I sold a sectional.  I am absolutely religious about checking ETA dates whenever I order furniture, as you are probably aware if you’ve ever read any of my posts about my job before.  I absolutely despise dealing with pissed-off people, which makes me the most honest salesperson on the planet, because I’ll lose a sale in a second before I’ll misrepresent when something is gonna come into the store.  Because you’re gonna notice, and I’m not gonna want to deal with you when you do.

So.  A bit of background: our company has two main warehouses.  Our upholstered product is all supposed to come to us from one of them, but if that warehouse is out of a particular piece and the other warehouse has it, we can send an email and switch which warehouse it comes from and it still shows up on the same timeline.  I do this a lot, as you can probably imagine.  However, the person who responds to those emails works banker’s hours.  So I was rather dismayed on Monday to discover that a particular piece had sold out from the secondary warehouse over the weekend and that I now couldn’t get it until– wait for it– June, when I told my customers to expect it in the store in 7 to 10 days.

June is farther away than 7 to 10 days.

No problem!  I found one at our Lafayette store, and decided that rather than wait for a truck to come through from their store to ours and hope that they remembered to put the piece on that truck, I’d just go get it myself today.  It’s like a two hour drive.  I have a former student who I’m still in touch with and quite fond of who is a sophomore at Purdue, so I’ve got somebody to grab lunch with, too!  I’ll go get the piece and have lunch and come back and drop it off at the store and nobody’s the wiser and I’ll lose a chunk of my commission on gas money but whatever.  I like the occasional car trip.

Go ahead, check the weather report for today for northern Indiana.  Because holy Christ, why did I do that stupid thing I did.  I have never seen fog in my life like the Lovecraftean, Ravenloft-esque insanity that I had to drive through today.  We’re talking maybe three seconds of visibility in front of the car, less on the heavy spots, for the first two thirds of the trip.  I thought about turning back repeatedly, consistently falling prey to the sunk cost fallacy and reasoning that surely I was damn near out of the fog by now and that it would be, would have to be, gone by the time I was on my way home.

Also, once I got to campus, my GPS utterly shit the bed, trying at one point to send me the wrong way down a one-way street, then redirecting me to another street that it could have just left me on the entire time rather than taking me out of its way to nearly die, and then directing me into an alley between two buildings that abruptly turned into a bike path that just-as-abruptly turned into nothing, at which point I called my former student and described where I was as best I could, informing her that I wasn’t moving my car again and she needed to come find me.

(Also: I’m not a complete idiot.  The other problem with Purdue’s campus is that there are damn near no signs anywhere.  Signs that say things like “No Exit,” which one might put before a point-of-no-return road of some sort.)

Also, Logansport, Indiana is the worst place in the world and I don’t want to hear any different from any of you.  I got directed through “town” for some reason and half of the place was utterly deserted and everyone in the rest of it had the Innsmouth look.  I deliberately took a different route back to avoid the town.

We lingered over lunch, at any rate.  I was the oldest person in the restaurant by at least 18 years and we were both vastly entertained by the literal hush that fell over the room when we walked in, as everyone tried to figure out if I was a sugar daddy or not.  When the hell did college students get so Goddamned young?

I was planning on being home by 2:00 and didn’t bother leaving West Lafayette until after 1:00, figuring that the fog would have to have burned off by then.

Nope.  Just as bad on the way home as on the way down there, except without the opportunity to turn back.  Also, west central Indiana smells terrible.  That sounds like I’m just being mean because of IU vs. Purdue regionalisms and I swear I’m not.  It smells awful.

Point is, I think I deserve a tip for this one.