Identifying As Queer

Ricky Tucker / Him, He, His / Goldsmiths, University of London: M.A Creative Writing/Education candidate

Ricky Tucker / Him, He, His


It evokes a lot: things old, things new- all things different- and not just sexually. I’m not sure of my first encounter with the word Queer, but I certainly remember my first impressionable moment with the word, it lingers in crevices I’m still trying to clear out today.

Wave Your Flag

A young Black person in an AVP tee shirt with a high top fade waves the Pride flag. Image courtesy Robin J. Hayes

A young Black person in an AVP t-shirt with a high top fade waves the Pride flag. Image courtesy Robin J. Hayes

At the New York City Pride Parade this year, Progressive Pupil was thrilled to support the Anti-Violence Project. AVP is a non-profit that helps to prevent different forms of violence experienced by LGBTQH (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and HIV-Affected) communities. AVP organizes press conferences and demonstrations and coordinates direct services in partnership with other organizations based in diverse communities. AVP believes everyone is entitled to safety and advocates reasonable self-defense against aggression. The organization’s work also illuminates how the high rates of violence which affect LGBTQH community members are produced by the intersections of homophobia, racism, sexism and prejudice against lower-income people. In light of the recent murder of Mark Carson, steps away from the iconic Stonewall Inn, and the fact that in 2012 73% of victims of anti-LGBTQ homicides were people of color, AVP offers the following public safety tips:

  • Let someone know your plans for the night: who you’ll be with and if plans change.
  • Be aware of surroundings: locate public spaces and 24-hr businesses and seek help if you feel unsafe.
  • Trust your instincts: if you feel threatened, remove yourself from the situation or environment ASAP.
  • Use words to alert bystanders. Use your body to defend yourself or get away.
  • Leave a trail: add AVP’s hotline to your cell phone contacts (see below); let people around you know when you leave a location; text yourself or friends where you’ll be; save e-mails and online messages from bullies, predators or abusive partners.

FIERCE, AVP and Cop Watch have all drawn attention to how police misconduct is a critical issue for LGBTQH youth, particularly those of color. Increased visibility and vulnerability in gentrifying, historically gay neighborhoods like Greenwich Village, the Castro and Boystown make these youth subject to undue harassment, as well as, verbal, physical and sexual assault. AVP offers following guidance for preventing and coping with police violence:

  • If you’ve called the police, introduce yourself when they arrive.
  • If you are harassed/attacked by the police, obtain names and badge/car numbers.
  • You do not have to consent to a search (of your person, your car or your residence). Do not try to stop police from searching you.  Instead, repeat out loud, “I do not consent to this search.”
  • You have the right to watch and document police activities. Take video and pictures from a safe distance.

Histories of trauma, harmful stereotypes and internalized aggression can negatively impact our ability to find safety within our homes, schools, healthcare spaces and intimate relationships. If you have witnessed or experienced any kind of cruising, intimate partner or HIV-related violence, call AVP’s 24-hour English/Spanish hotline at (212) 714-1141. Also, their Manhattan office  has walk-in hours Mondays-Fridays 10am-3pm.

We salute the Anti-Violence Project for being part of the solution. Their dedicated staff, which includes New School Non-profit Management alumni Sydney Kopp-Richardson and Shelby Chestnut, remind us that we can end violence and stop hate. Wave your flag in support of their efforts by speaking out, volunteering or attending one of their events.

Robin SignatureRobin J. Hayes, PhD

Principal Organizer

Uganda’s Gay Pride

Image courtesy of David Robinson.

Image courtesy of David Robinson.

In recent years, Uganda has been in the news a lot due to their highly controversial “Kill the Gays” Bill. Uganda is unfortunately not an outlier in the criminalization of homosexuality, but the recent attempt to make this lifestyle a capital offense has outraged people all over the world and sparked a highly publicized Gay liberation struggle. While these struggles currently exist throughout the continent, Uganda’s anti-Gay sentiments offer a unique insight into the lasting effects of British colonialism. Laws that forbade homosexuality were built into the Ugandan penal code dating back to around 19th and 20th century British occupation. Since independence, not much has changed regarding Gay rights and protections against homophobia. Similarly, attitudes towards homosexuality are almost exclusively negative and the Gay community is often ostracized for their efforts.