CC14: Changing How We Look, Live And Define Our Lives



By Michelle E. Brown
Originally printed 2/6/2014 (Issue 2206 - Between The Lines News)

I love Creating Change! It's like getting beamed up to a "Gay World" where you are surrounded by OUR community - all sizes, shapes, hair styles, demographics. OUR community where no one raises an eyebrow if you hold your partner's hand or plant a wet kiss on their lips.

It's a space where around every corner, in every session or just lounging about you can sit down and talk about your life and the other person will get it because it's their life too.

I always come back geeked, full of ideas and ready for action - then reality sets in. The reality that I'm not somewhere over the rainbow and, unfortunately, under the rainbow when the creating change glow has cooled down, my big gay community returns to our own separate silos.

But this year was different. We have seen so many changes in recent years, there has been such momentum, that this year we came to Houston ready not only to create change but to be that change.

The charge was led by amazing Trans-activists like Laverne Cox, Monica Roberts, Kylar Broadus, Bamby Salcedo, Cecilia Chung and Carter Brown who gave a masters class on living authentically and the intersections of LGBTQ equality and humanity.

Wow, that's saying a lot, but seriously, there were some big lessons being taught in Houston!

I could probably write a book - probably two or three - about the workshop sessions, the plenary sessions, the caucuses, the film screenings, the speakers and the amazing Laverne Cox but for me the big story was the new energy changing how we have come to talk about, advocate for and engage our community.

Lesbian feminist, leather activists, queer, young, old were all there adding their voice to the conversation but the most transformative conversations for me came from our transgender activists.

Theirs is a Trans story, but it is also our story and a human story - the ultimate quest to be our authentic selves.

Our transgender sisters and brothers remind us that gender is not just male or female but a spectrum of expression and cannot - should not be defined by anatomy.

By forcing a child, and later the adult, to live by standards conforming to anatomy but denying their spirit/soul true gender expression is not only harmful, but keeps us from developing our full potential as human beings.

When a baby is born someone looks between his/her legs and labels them with an identity and the accompanying baggage society has given that gender -toxic whether gay, straight and especially if transgender.

Healthcare doled out based on flawed societal norms whether for transgender services, individuals living with HIV/AIDS or women's reproductive rights is discriminatory.

Homelessness, violence, sexual exploitation, poverty are the evils that man makes and doles out to the poor, immigrants, not just to but most harshly to the LGBT community.

Ironically the very part of our LGB community - the "T" - which has been too often thrown under the bus in "our" fight for equality is profoundly and eloquently telling the story of the evils of bias, discrimination and all the hate based phobias in a patriarchal society - pushing the envelope that could ultimately shift the paradigm on how we value the human spirit.

Will it happen tomorrow as a result of Creating Change? No - but the seeds are planted, the conversations begun, the movement strengthened and the winds of change - well they're blowing.

Creating Change - not only educating about healthcare but leading the charge to end AIDS now; Creating Change - supporting, engaging, protecting LGBTQ youth; Creating Change - recognizing, celebrating and supporting the diversity within our community; Creating Change - developing strategies for intentional intersectionality not just for survival but as a tool for real social change.

Creating Change Houston 2014 - it was a very good year. Next stop Denver!

Michelle E. Brown is a Public Speaker, Activist and Author. You can follow her at http://www.mychangeiam.com or http://www.twitter.com/mychangeiam

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