Tomorrow is the Trans Day of Remembrance. This event is held all over the world to help us remember the Trans folks who have died due to violence and our societies instance that the lives of these people do not matter. As we read the names and light candles tomorrow let us not forget that this day serves as a reminder that this is not the only day that we need to have this conversation. Let us not let TDOR become the only time we think about these lives, because these lives matter. Go and find out how you can support Trans folks in your own community. Go to your local TDOR events and show your support. Let us remember these losses everyday and let them galvanize us all to make the changes our communities need.
Tomorrow on WFAE's "Charlotte Talks" a group of community members will be speaking on issues related to Queer Youth homelessness. This is a much needed discussion and one that is so important for us to discuss. I am hopeful that we are looking at a trend of dealing with issues related to Queer youth and the community beyond gay marriage equality. The show airs tomorrow at 9am and you can listen online.
I would also like to say a big THANK YOU to friends, colleagues, and community members who participated in the first "Community Conversation: Present & Future of the Charlotte Queer Community." I am thrilled that we are having these open space conversations about things that are so important to our moving forward in the community. If we cannot have our voices heard and we cannot give people something to hope for, then our community will face serious problems moving forward. I applaud all the people who are showing up and challenge all those who haven't to come to our next event. Part II of our series will take place on November 11th at UNCC!
The exhibits at the Levine Museum of the New South are going very well. We have had people and groups from all over the US come see the projects and start their own dialogues about Queer histories and concepts. A group of community members has felt so inspired by the project that they have put together 3 community conversations called “The Present & Future of the Charlotte Queer Community.” The first dialogue will take place this Sunday the 26th from 2-3:30 at the Levine Museum in Uptown. We need everyone to come out and meet the speakers and lend your voice to the state of our community and how we can move forward. Q-Notes was kind enough to do a story about the event that you can read HERE!
If we are to have a better and more engaged community then we need You! Come out this Sunday and let’s get this dialogue started!
Levine Museum of the New South, Sunday October 26th, 2-3:30pm.
It’s odd to invest in something with such focus and drive for 8 months and then see it unfold without any problems. I have been so worked up pulling together the local Queer history timeline for Charlotte that I don’t think I ever really thought about what would happen when it actually went up on the wall.
Last Thursday I faced my fear of exposure and went to an opening reception at the Levine Museum of the New South to unveil not just the Timeline, but also the other three exhibits that will be part of LGBTQ Perspectives on Equality. I gathered together my closest friends (including my darling mother) had a drink and then went to the museum to see all the work put together in one place. When we left the house there was literally a giant rainbow from horizon to horizon, I think it was Google’s way of telling us that things were going to be amazing.
I knew deep down that people would like it, what I was not prepared for was the level of emotion that I received from the museumgoers. I walked into a throng of people who could not believe that it was really happening. I was nervous because I knew I didn’t have a complete picture of the community and I hoped that our local Queers would cut us some slack. As I walked around the museum, I noticed that people were asking a lot of questions with smiles on their faces, and people seemed thrilled with all that had been pulled together. I was asked to give a few remarks and since I am not the kind of person who believes in writing things down, I wanted to be as real as I could in that moment.
I am not certain that my remarks were the most pulled together in the world but as I began talking about what the timeline could do for the community I gazed around the room to see tears in people’s eyes and smiles on all the faces. I wanted people to know that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender history existed in Charlotte from the very beginning. I wanted people to know that we have lead the way in the South and that while we didn’t always get it right, we had learned from our mistakes. I hope this project inspires people to learn more about Queer history. I hope it can fire up Southerners to see themselves as part of the moment and to claim their rightful place in the history. Most of all I hope people leave feeling motivated to do more and to help us complicate this picture even further.
Please check out the coverage of the exhibit at:
The Washington Post
The Charlotte Observer
How Will Gay Marriage Save Us?
It’s a question that I ask on a daily basis. The responses I get range from cries for acceptance, to pleas for benefits, to Hallmark Card nonsense about love and ever after. It’s a question that we do not ask enough and I am starting to understand why we are not asking this question more often. This is a scary question to ask because the answer might mean that we have wasted the monetary, intellectual, and physical resources of the last 20 years in a fruitless effort to gain something that looks like “equality” when what we wanted was liberation. How can such a simple question garner such fear? The answer to how will marriage save us is so vital to how we progress as a community that is must be asked. The answer (sadly) is very simple: Gay Marriage cannot and will not get us what we want.
Its really not Gay Marriage’s fault, it tries to be the tie that binds us together but it falls noticeably short in this regard. The thing about Gay Marriage is that is cannot give us the theoretical freedoms that we want because nothing about our participation in it elicits these freedoms. I mean sure, it will give one couple, one at a time, access to death or hospital or workplace benefits. But does even the supposed freedom this offers to one single couple seem like a marker for progress? For something to be liberatory it must by definition act for the extension of the common good. If our goal is one couple at a time then we must change the rhetoric of our community. Marriage is not the great equalizer; it is merely the doorway for freedoms for a limited few, while leaving a majority of others out in the cold with no freedoms at all.
So now comes the impossible situation many of us face. Every day it seems there is some celebration as yet another local municipality strikes at the theoretical discrimination of marriage. As I was typing this an announcement about Florida scrolled across my screen. We are suppose to cheer with raised hands about a “victory” for our collective freedom and yet I sit here without access to any of these future freedoms because I have the audacity to be single, or Poly, or not interested in state sanctioning of my relationships. And if I have the audacity to complain I am suddenly a hater of love, a person who wants children to be without protections, or worse yet, bad at being Gay. I was in fact TERRIBLE at being Gay, which is why I went to Queer in the first place.
You cannot simply call something “progress” and expect it to be true. You cannot blindly follow the plans of others, no mater how much visibility they have, and expect a clean result. You cannot proclaim connections to earlier movements, declare yourself the next recipient of a legacy, or speak with sweeping generalizations and expect everyone to simply move aside. And yet that is what's happening in the Queer community. Real liberation lies within critical thinking, compassionate outreach, and reconnecting to grassroots networks. It is here that perhaps our fear of marriage’s limitations will dissipate and when we hear “it can’t” we will ask, “Well then what’s next?”
by Tasnim Shamma | 02/26/2014
UNC Charlotte assistant director for sexual and gender diversity, Joshua Burford, has collected 50 boxes worth of materials from the local LGBT community since April 2013. Items from the collection will be on display at the Levine Museum this summer.
Officially, Joshua Burford is the assistant director for sexual and gender diversity at UNC Charlotte’s Multicultural Resource Center.
Unofficially, you can call him a collector – at least since April. He’s amassed 50 boxes worth of local LGBT history, mostly through donations.
The boxes are full of photos, mementos and letters.
During a meeting with special collections librarians, Burford pulls out a thick manila folder from one of the boxes. It's full of hate mail that belonged to an openly gay counseling professor and gay rights activist Bob Barret.
"It is breathtaking and terrible," Burford says. "So like pre-e-mail, people writing him hate mail and putting their name on this stuff."
In one letter from 1994, a man writes: "When the Devil takes you of AIDS, the general public will rejoice." And that’s one of the milder letters. FULL STORY
The free afternoon program featuring panel discussions, new exhibits and entertainment, along with a special talk by Civil Rights activist Diane Nash. First up: Joshua Burford, Assistant Director for Sexual & Gender Diversity at UNC, Charlotte.
This Sunday is our official Destination Freedom Kick Off, a free afternoon program featuring panel discussions, new exhibits and entertainment, along with a special talk by Civil Rights activist Diane Nash. In preparing for Sunday, we had the opportunity to ask several of the panelists questions surrounding the pivotal moments of the Civil Rights Movement, their own activism, and what they are looking forward to during the Destination Freedom Kick Off.
by Matthew Brown | 09/03/2013
Joshua Burford, the Assistant Director for Sexual/Gender Diversity the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, said in an interview, “Bullying has taken on a different dynamic in the 21st century...
When you imagine someone being bullied, if you’re like me your mind travels to a scene where a small middle schooler is being pushed up against the hallway wall by a gruff kid who’s digging for lunch money. But the reality is that bullying extends far beyond the scope of this cliché sitcom drama and affects the lives of countless individuals—both in middle school and beyond. As the nation has collectively gathered its voice in recent years to address bullying in our schools, we have overlooked the existence of bullying in adult life—particularly the bullying that is far too widespread in our nation’s colleges. It’s time to have a greater dialogue about bullying in college.
What is bullying? At its core, bullying exists where an individual or group of individuals with more power exert that power to humiliate, abuse or injure a weaker party for their own pleasure or satisfaction. It extends beyond simple teasing, which can be a playful way to interact with friends and happens without an imbalance of power. “Bullying is prevalent across the lifespan. Although there is little research on bullying in college specifically, what does exist points to the same trends we see in other groups: bullying is a communicative act designed humiliate or embarrass another, as well as reinforce power differences,” said Carol B. Mills, bullying researcher and professor at the University of Alabama. “In college, this occurs in teacher-student relationships, organizations' hazing rituals, and among social peer groups. Victims often feel powerless to combat bullying, yet research suggests that stopping it at the outset is the best way to ensure it does not continue. - See more at: http://www.studentadvisor.com/articles/bullying-its-a-college-problem-too#sthash.Dc8Ipm9t.dpuf
By Lawrence Toppman
Posted: Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013
The lineup includes Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte, One Voice Chorus, Charlotte Pride Band, Queen City Theater Company, Triptych Collective, StillOut, Gay Charlotte Film Festival, Stephanie Dykes and Joshua Burford.
The Queer Arts Consortium, a confederation of gay and lesbian artists, will sponsor “Flourish,” two days of music, film and theater at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, 420 S. Tryon St. At least nine groups or individuals will give free performances Aug. 23-24 in the event, which was organized to coincide with the Charlotte Pride festival.
The lineup includes Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte, One Voice Chorus, Charlotte Pride Band, Queen City Theater Company, Triptych Collective, StillOut, Gay Charlotte Film Festival, Stephanie Dykes and Joshua Burford. “Flourish” has been designed so audiences can drop into the museum’s lobby for as little as 15 minutes between noon and 6 p.m. Aug. 23 and 3 and 6 p.m. Aug. 24.
Something different will happen every 30 minutes in the performance spaces, and the museum will waive entry fees for “Flourish” audiences. Details: queerartsconsortium.org.
Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/08/13/4234301/flourish-celebrates-gay-and-lesbian.html#storylink=cpy
Josh Burford is an archivist, an activist, a Queer historian, and a radical educator with over 17 years’ experience working with LGBTQ communities and diversity education.