Like many others, I celebrated the news of Joe Biden winning the election. It was the first time since the 2016 election that I felt like I could breathe. As a gay man, I am in one of the groups that was in danger from the administration. Biden’s election was the first glimmer of light after a very long night. It no longer felt like we had to constantly be on guard for the next assault from an administration that had, in so many ways, proven to be an enemy.
This post I put up on Monday has gotten a lot of traction. As of Tuesday afternoon, it has been read almost 400 times and has reached more 2,300 people on Facebook. It maybe the most popular post ever on the Eagle. The reason is both good and bad. First, it’s about a first for an event that is one of the largest primarily LGBTQ events held in Chicago.
We’ve all seen signs outside religious spaces that read “all are welcome”, but how do you know if a congregation is really trans-affirming? It can be hard to trust that we’ll be safe just walking in the front doors. Many trans people have experienced religious trauma from clergy or family members who use religion to punish us. But as a trans person who freely chooses to participate in a religious community, I believe that all of us deserve an affirming space to express our spirituality. Having support in your spiritual journey can be life-saving.
This article was originally published on Peacock Panache, an LGBTQ news and opinion blog. In a 7-2 decision announced today, the U.S. Supreme Court narrowly ruled in favor of Masterpiece Cakeshop in a case about public accommodation and whether individual religious views should and can supersede a protected group’s right to free market equal access. The actual decision offered no opinion on LGBTQ civil rights, however. In the majority opinion, authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the high court noted the case presents “difficult questions as to the proper reconciliation of at least two principles. The first is the authority of a State and its governmental entities to protect the rights and dignity of gay persons who are, or wish to be, married but who face discrimination when they seek goods or services.”
He added, “The second is the right of all persons to exercise fundamental freedoms under the First Amendment, as applied to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment.”
While the decision is a narrow victory for the cake shop, it may also be a roadmap forward for progressive activists.
You may have seen the post from our publisher, but this is the official announcement. The Illinois Eagle is suspending publication. For the past few years, the readership and following of the Eagle has lagged far behind it’s big brother Great Lakes Den. It has a tenth of the readership and a fifth of the followers on social media. And I simply didn’t have the bandwidth to grow that following and really establish a distinct identity from the bigger publication.
This year, I’ve been thinking a lot about where I came from, and how our community feels so very different now to me than it did then. I’ve spent some time watching and participating in hard conversations with people, both new and established. And what I realize is that my perspective is framed by the people that were my elders when I was fortunate enough to find this community. No, I wasn’t excitedly learning from them at the time; at that point in my life, I tended to think that I had already learned a lot about myself and the world around me. In fact, I was probably bitching quietly about why I had to do something in a certain way, or why I had to go talk to people and show up for bar nights (and as a woman in an almost-exclusively mens club, there wasn’t the lure of rough sex tucked down into the crotch of a pair of Levi’s 501’s to get my engine revved up about going up to the Eagle).
Sometimes there are occasions where you meet someone who is so overwhelmingly rare and stimulates your mind and touches you in ways that are undefinable. I am almost 100% sure many of you out there have experienced these ‘wow’ moments, yet felt confused about how to define your feelings for that certain someone who doesn’t seem to fit so neatly in your world view. I recently saw a special friend who hasn’t been around much and although I thought I had gotten a handle on my feelings for her and where she fits in my life, I was reminded how complicated relationships can be, whether lover or friend. In any relationship, there is give and take. People are complimentary and usually provide something to the other that meets a need, want or desire in them. Traits, characteristics, intelligence, and experiences are mutually shared and even in vanilla relationships, there is power exchange.