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Stacy Bailey to Receive Award at About 10th Anniversary Party

Stacy Bailey Teacher LGBTQ About Magazine Award

Stacy Bailey, the LGBTQ Dallas Area teacher who was placed on leave from her Mansfield ISD school last school year for showing a picture of her wife to students, will receive an award at About Magazine’s 10th Anniversary Party this November.

(HOUSTON/DALLAS) — On November 22nd, Houston’s LGBTQ publication About Magazine will be turning ten-years-old. And as an LGBTQ magazine, we find that it is only fitting to celebrate with an over-the-top, stereotypical, spectacle of a party. While plans are still underway for the celebration — including a headliner, local entertainers, sponsors, and more — what is confirmed is that the party will be taking place on November 17th at Rich’s Houston, where guests will be invited to the club before its normal operating hours and into those to see local talent such as Morena Roas, Wade in the Sonic Joy, the Space Kiddettes, Wendy Taylor, a host of drag performers, and more perform, as well as to see two surprise celebrity performances. VIP seating and bottle service will be available to those patrons who so wish to join in for a little extra fun.

The magazine will also be honoring its writers, its founder (Cade Michals), its CCO (Wendy Taylor), and its editor-in-chief (Anthony Ramirez), as well as the community that has kept it alive for the last ten years. A brand new special will go to and be named after Stacy Bailey, the Mansfield ISD teacher from Dallas who was put on leave last year after showing her young art students a photo of her wife when showing pictures of her family. After a parent complained, Bailey was removed from the classroom and took the school district to court. Bailey has since been reinstated in a Mansfield ISD classroom, only this time teaching high school art at a neighboring institution. It is because of Bailey’s resilience and activism for her rights — and in turn, those of all LGBTQ people — during her time out of the class room that About Magazine will give away its first ever Stacy Bailey Queer Advocacy Award. The award will be given annually to LGBTQIA Texans who stand up against the injustices of systemic homophobia and transphobia.

Bailey was alerted of the news ahead of this announcement and was excited by the honor. While she will be out of the country at the time, Bailey will appear in an acceptance speech via prerecorded video.

More information about the party is to be released as plans unfold.

Our Truth Isn’t Your Trend

Non-binary Genderfluid Non-conforming Agender Trend

Highlighting non-binary people in the media is important and is slowly happening more-and more; but what’s also important is realizing that being non-binary isn’t a fun fashion trend.

Recently, there has been a huge rise in non-binary representation in the media. Models, musicians, and actors who identify as non-binary/agender/genderfluid/non-conforming are getting the buzz they deserve after not having been represented in mainstream media for such a long time. It’s refreshing to see non-binary folks presented to the public on a larger scale; but something that needs to be said is this: non-binary existence is not a temporary statement, and our truth isn’t your trend. Thinking positively, this rise of representation should continue to skyrocket in months and years to come.

Gigi-Hadid-Zayn-Malik-Vogue-Cover-August-2017 Our Truth Isn't Your Trend
Cover of Vogue August 2017.

What prompted this piece was the backlash aimed at the August 2017 issue of Vogue which featured Zayn Malik and Gigi Hadid on the cover with the tagline, “Shop Each Other’s Closets”. Styling cis people in a gynandrous way is nothing new — this is fashion, sweetie —  but the choice of the models that was made by Vogue made being gender-fluid or non-binary seem as though it were the newest, late-summer/early-fall trend. The August cover would have been more refreshing to see celebrities or models who actually identify as non-conforming grace the cover of Vogue (*cough*,Anna Wintour … girl. You approved this?). A simple Google search of genderfluid/non-binary celebrities could have steered the Vogue editorial staff in the direction of hiring actual non-binary people to grace the cover.  Nevertheless, it is exciting to see non-binary individuals gain tons of positive attention in different areas of the art world; and in the images below, I’d like to showcase a few.



ruby Our Truth Isn't Your TrendRuby Rose — an Australian, genderfluid actor, model, and DJ that presently prefers to use feminine pronouns — has most recently been cast as the leading role of Batwoman in the the CW Network’s forthcoming series of the same name. (Fingers crossed that the show does not flop and is actually a success!) Rose landed some of her largest fame when she appeared in seasons 3 and 4 of Netflix’s original series, Orange Is The New Black. Mind you, Rose appeared in only 9 episodes:

chloe Our Truth Isn't Your Trend



wade1 Our Truth Isn't Your TrendAlok Vaid-Menon from College Station, Texas rose to fame as one half of the poetry duo, DarkMatter with Janani Balasubramanian. Alok has been a vocal social and political activist for feminists and the LGBTQ+ community for many years. Alok now has a book of poems entitled, “Femme In Public”, which was released in 2017 and has been featured on LogoTV, in Out Magazine, as well as in Vogue. (Hello, Anna? It’s me again … Put Alok on the cover. *wink*).



39962871_2119332281662532_4648317890428523516_n Our Truth Isn't Your TrendRose McGowan recently came out as non-binary identifying. Rose has been a vocal proponent for the #MeToo movement (founded by Tarana Burke in 2006) and shattering what was left of the glass ceiling in Hollywood by speaking out against sexual assault and harassment towards women, men, and the trans community. Rose’s book Brave was published in January 2018 from Harper Collins imprint HarperOne., The memoir focuses on the experiences McGowan had in Hollywood both professionally and with sexual assault. Rose recently won GQ’s Man Of The Year Award for her activism — a kind affirmation of non-binary identity from a publication that largely panders to cis, straight audiences.

 



18444042_1433865880010488_4562078454668853248_n Our Truth Isn't Your TrendAngel Haze is a rapper from Detroit who identifies as agender. Angel has become a huge name in hip-hop and has been nominated for a GLAAD Media Award as well as an MTV Video Music Award. Angel is currently working on their sophomore album. Angel Haze recently changed their name to ROES, but still remains on social media under their original stage name.



These are just few names of many non-binary/non-conforming/agender/genderfluid people that are making big waves presenting themselves to the public loudly so that they are being seen. No one will soon  be forgetting a single one of them anytime soon, because, again, our truth isn’t your trend. These non-binary/agender people are beacons of light, giving people within our community hope that they can achieve the same level of exposure, fame, and greatness that these folk have. Their presence just affirms that we can change the way we are displayed in the media. We are here to be seen, to grace magazine covers, lend our voices and our images to the masses.

Many non-conforming individuals have been subject to bullying and prejudice throughout their childhoods; and most still experience it in adulthood. It all comes from people with a lack of exposure to, as well as a lack of education on the subject of, people who neither label themselves to meet a certain gender-specific criteria that is the summation of eons of destructive societal constructs. Because in spite of what the LGBTQ+ community’s flag may boast, the lives of non-binary people are not all rainbows and glitter for most of us. That being said, however, increasing the visibility of our community by seeing people from it become big-name stars is an important thing as it not only inspires us to make sure ourselves are being represented, but also exposes cis people/straight people who do not identify the same way as non-conforming folks to the lush diversity of this community. They can see that we are all human and that we are all going through life just as they are with very similar difficulties, trials, and tribulations. It also aids in educating them by increasing visibility of the way we present ourselves to the world by showing them that this is not a scary thing. It’s not terrifying at all. It’s our truth and it isn’t their trend. The point begins and ends here: we nonbinary, agender, non-conforming, and genderfluid people are here,  we exist, we are making change, and we aren’t afraid to take charge. We are carving out our space in pop culture and the media, and we aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Transgender 101: Names & Pronouns

Trans 101 Transgender Pronouns Names LGBTQ

About Trans editor, Ian Townsley, schools us on the importance of pronouns and names for transgender and non-binary folks.

I know; you’ve heard this one a hundred times. “Use the pronoun and name a person uses for themselves!” At some point, we all get tired of hearing it. Trust me, as a trans person, I get tired of saying it, if I’m being honest.However, most people don’t understand why we need to refer to people using the gender identification that they use. So, why is this so important?

When a person is misgendered — whether trans, nonbinary, genderfluid, or cis (though less so with cis people) — they are being told that their identity does not matter. By choosing to use the wrong words to identify another person, an invalidation of their identity is created in a fundamental way. Trust me, as a trans man, I can attest to how much it hurts when someone calls you by a pronoun that does not align with your gender.  To put it into perspective for yourself, think about any bully from high school that made a joke out of your name or teased something about you that you identified closely with — whether it have been the clothes you wore, your culture, or where you lived. And while it can be hard to keep up with the way things are changing, by making an effort to correct this behavior just a little bit each day, it can ultimately help unlearn bad, predisposed habits and create better, more open-minded ones.

laverne2 Transgender 101: Names & Pronouns

Let’s break it down.

Let’s start with the basics of pronouns and their rules. If you aren’t entirely familiar with all the words we learned in English class back in school to identify parts of speech, you may be asking, “What on earth does Ian mean by ‘pronouns’?” That one is easy to explain. By definition, pronouns are “any of a small set of words in a language that are used as substitutes for nouns or noun phrases and whose referents are named or understood in the context.” These pronouns for people who identify as female are she, hers, and her. For people who identify as male, these pronouns are he, his, and him. Lastly, and maybe the more difficult to relearn and understand, are the pronouns who identify as gender nonbinary/nonconforming, or as neither male or female. These pronouns often also can apply to any person who identifies as gender fluid (sometimes male, sometimes female), and are they, them, their, or something different entirely. The reason I say that this may be “more difficult” to wrap your head around is because, at least for most of us, K-12 schooling always categorized they/them/their as pronouns used to describe a group of two or more person or things. And even if it isn’t that way for us, we all know that one person who’s like:

dummy Transgender 101: Names & Pronouns

That’s right. Some people argue this point that they/them/their are strictly plural versions, but the definition of these pronouns is not limited to a plural sense, and dictionaries do not state that they must be strictly plural.  And if you stop to think about it, you actually use it in its non-plural form all the time. Think about when you spoke to a friend who was getting into a new relationship, but weren’t sure of the sex of the person your friend had begun dating. You may have asked, “What’s their name?”. Or when you meet a new person who tells you they have one younger sibling. You might ask, “What are they like?” See? This is because the dictionary actually also defines they/them/their as pronouns for a person whose gender is unknown or not expressly male or female. So if a person tells you that they use they/them pronouns, just go with the flow. It may take some practice, but I believe in you!

Let us say that your neighbor recently got a puppy. When you first meet the dog, you refer to it as ‘he’. The neighbor then corrects you, saying that the dog is actually a girl. So, you make a point of switching the pronouns you’re using when referring to the puppy. See what I’m getting at here? When a person tells you that they are, in fact, not the gender you assumed, trust that they know themselves better than you do. I promise, the world will not end because you call someone by a new pronoun. Besides, it’s probably only new to you.

giphy-3 Transgender 101: Names & Pronouns

What to do when you misgender.

Now let’s say that you accidentally do misgender someone. It can be embarrassing, and you may feel the need to apologize so that they know it was unintentional. Repeatedly, even. It is important that I stress here that when this happens, don’t call overzealous attention to the mistake, as you risk making the slip-up so much worse. If you use the wrong pronouns for someone (or even accidentally deadname them) the best course of action is to quickly correct yourself, then keep the conversation flowing as if nothing has happened. It isn’t necessary to draw superfluous attention to the mistake at all, and I promise that the person you misgendered or deadnamed will thank you for it — internally, of course.

download Transgender 101: Names & PronounsIn the English language — although less so than in Latin based languages — there are many words that are gender-specific that are not pronouns, such as titles. Brother or sister, aunt or uncle, feminine or masculine, actor or actress, hero or heroine — the list goes on! Keep in mind that when a person comes out to you, it is important to not only change the pronouns you are using, but to also change the ways you refer to them in these many other aspects. Not all words are gender-neutral like ‘doctor’ or ‘writer’. And while it may take some time to get used to doing this and to make a habit of it, most of us that are trans or nonbinary are willing to overlook mistakes as long as we’re treated with respect. We see that you’re trying; and it means more to us than you know. You’re unlearning a lifetime of ingrained habits and sometimes a relationship’s-length of what you believed to be true before a person has come out to you.

What is a rose by any other name?

Let’s take a moment to talk about names. Tell me, how many of you use the full name you were given at birth? First, middle, and last exactly as they are spelled out on your birth certificate at the time of your grand entrance into the world? How about famous artists or actors? How many of us call them by their full names — Adele, Madonna, Cher — or even the names they were assigned at birth — Lil Wayne was born Dwayne Michael Carter Jr. and Mindy Kaling was born Vera Mindy Chokalingam. We don’t insist on having the name Adele Laurie Blue Adkins printed on the cover of every copy of 25 at Walmart. The point I’m trying to make here is that you should anyone else that same respect and just use the name someone tells you belongs to them, even if they change it later or have had it changed. You might mess up, and that’s ok; but making the switch to a new name isn’t too hard if you really try.

lavern Transgender 101: Names & Pronouns

In the event of uncertainty …

The last, and maybe the most important, thing to know is about handling confusion. When you meet someone, you may make assumptions about their gender based on centuries-old societal constructions that attribute certain physical attributes and behaviors to be inherently feminine or masculine, and in turn assign femininity and masculinity to a particular gender. Most of the time, you’d probably be correct in these assumptions as trans and nonbinary people are not the majority. After all, we are only approximately 1.4 percent of the world population.

Every now and then, you may not be sure which pronouns to use. There may be a lot of questions you can’t ask that person as they may be too personal or seem intrusive, but there is one you always can. If you aren’t sure about a person’s gender,  just ask them! Please don’t ask what pronouns we “prefer”, but what pronouns we use. They aren’t preferred; they’re ours. Our pronouns, just like yours, are a fundamental part of our identity and we know ourselves better than anyone else. Most transgender people have gone through a lot to get to where we are, and verifying our identity is a way to show you are an ally and someone we can trust to show us respect and kindness.

But these very few, very simple points are the basics; and hopefully this has helped you to understand why you should always do your best to afford transgender people the same dignity you would show anyone else. In the end, we’re all people and we all deserve the same courtesies, regardless of who or what gender we are.

For questions about names, pronouns, or any transgender topics, please send an email to ian@about-online.com.

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Firsts’ by People with Disabilities

Firsts Disabilities LGBTQ+ Book Stories

Firsts: Coming of Age Stories by People With Disabilities, edited by Belo Miguel Cipriani

About Rating: 5/5 Stars

Each and every story in this anthology is worth reading, for they each tell individual stories of different people living with different disabilities. I have reviewed two of my favorites from the book. But trust me, they’re all worth reading. A few of the pieces (including the two below) are written by LGBTQ+ authors, and the editor of the book is also an LGBTQ+ person. 

“Landmines” — Caitlin Hernandez

“I needed to know what page he was on so I could turn my own pages accordingly.”

“Landmines” by Caitlin Hernandez is the beautiful story of a blind, bisexual woman traversing through the romantic world around her that she cannot physically see. Her prose is elegant, beautiful, and easy to read all at the same time. I found myself wanting more from her even after the story had ended. The way she describes the world around her is wonderful. I wanted more stories like this, books like this, characters like this. Readers have so much to learn about the struggles of the blind — especially those who re queer — and can foray such a journey from reading non-fiction stories such as this one. As writers, we need to better learn how to incorporate characters that with disabilities into our writing. And I say this, not only as someone who reviews books for a LGBTQ magazine, but for an avid reader and writer, but “Landmines” is probably one of my new favorite short stories. That being said, I’m also not someone who normally spends a great deal of time reading non-fiction or memoirs all that much. But Hernandez has a way of taking her real-life experiences and spinning them into prose that is absolutely amazing to read.

“I needed him to appreciate how much it had cost me to let him in at all: to open up to and trust him, even though others — boys who were not so unlike him — had given me every reason to deadbolt my doors indefinitely.”

Everything Hernandez says is so real and bleeds with truth. While she is blind, she does a remarkable job of making the story relatable in a way that is able to temporarily erase our vision and replace it with a landscape we’re forced to feel. We all go through situations like these and we’ve all had people that we love with all-consuming pain that can’t love us back in the exact same way. Hernandez does an excellent job of writing in a way that evokes feeling and emotion while telling her own story at the same time.


“StarWords” — David-Elijah Nahmod

“If he could overcome his disability, then I could overcome mine.”

“StarWords” by David-Elijah Nahmod is a story of a gay man with PTSD rooted back into his childhood that sprung from the way he was treated then. The way that Nahmod describes his childhood trauma is truly amazing. The details he includes made me feel like I was right there beside him the entire time. I felt the pain and trauma that he surely went through, as his words were inescapably gripping and raw. Most of all, I felt for Nahmod a sense of empathy. Reading this story made me want to reach out to small Nahmod and offer him help; but the realization that is equal part heartbreaking and inspiring is that you can’t do that. Heartbreaking to know that this isn’t an option, inspiring to know that Nahmod overcame these struggles and is capable of sharing his story today. This, like the tale before, is an incredibly important story in the realm of what people will learn from it. Before this story, I didn’t know what LGBTQ+ children were going through back during the period in which Nahmod was growing up, and likely still go through today in some places.

“I wonder what they would have thought if I told them the truth — that I was in the midst of a severe anxiety attack and was too frightened to talk to them.”

Nahmod also goes on to discuss his disability. Post-traumatic stress disorder, like Nahmod, is never something that I viewed as a disability. Before reading this piece, I wasn’t informed as to what exactly PTSD meant and what people who had it could be feeling. Nahmod does a great job of informing the reader while also telling his story. I enjoyed watching Nahmod grow throughout the story. When he came to terms with his disability, it came with a sense of pride. I think that people reading this will also realize that not all disabilities are on the surface, and that’s great.  

All-About-It BOOK REVIEW: 'Firsts' by People with Disabilities