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The First Amendment protects freedom of speech. Anyone can say whatever they wish, without government interference. A basic truth, not stated in the Amendment, is you are free to say what you wish, but you are responsible for what you say. The popular example is shouting fire in a crowded theater when there is no fire. You can be prosecuted for the damage it causes. Another proof of the responsibility for what you say involves saying something that damages a person or a person’s reputation. In short, freedom of speech…

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For many LGBTQs across the nation-especially those of us of African descentwe have been breathlessly waiting for Robert O’Hara’s “BootyCandy” to come to our cities. “BootyCandy” has finallycome to Boston, and each show has been a sold-out performance. “BootyCandy” is O’Hara’s thinly veiled coming-out story of growing up African American and gay. And the narrative is told in the voice of the character named Sutter. O’Hara takes the audience on a journey through his childhood home, church and gay bars that ’s depicted with excessive flamboyance, ribaldry, and unsettling poignancy. “BootyCandy is a non-linear narrative comprising of…

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Que(e)rying Harper Lee POV 

Que(e)rying Harper Lee

The literary world is not the only ones mourning the passing of the reclusive author Nelle Harper Lee on February 19 at the age of 89. So, too, are many gender nonconforming Americans. Lee leaves us with two novels: Go Set A Watchman, published last July after 55 years since the 1960 publication of To Kill A Mockingbird which catapulted her onto a world stage. Several good biographies have been written about Lee- Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee by Charles J. Sheild, The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper…

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A Feminist Takeover Remembered POV 

A Feminist Takeover Remembered

by Rev. Irene Monroe Most days when the weather permits my morning constitutional is a two mile walking loop around the Charles River. From my house I walk south toward Memorial Drive via Western Avenue. At the intersection of Western Avenue and Memorial Drive I turn right in the direction toward Harvard Square. Exactly one block from the intersection is Hingham Street and approximately fifteen feet from its curb stands one of the many blue and white Cambridge Historical Commission plagues you see throughout the city. This one reads the…

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The Love That Now Speaks Its Name POV 

The Love That Now Speaks Its Name

by Rev. Irene Monroe Valentine’s Day is for lovers – including LGBTQ Americans. Until last June’s historic Supreme Court ruling — Obergefell v. Hodge — that legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states “the love that dare not speak its name,” which publicly outed Oscar Wilde at his “gross indecency trial” (Regina v. Wilde) in 1895, is finally and forever out of the closet. We were told by religious conservatives if the U.S. legalized such an ungodly act as same- sex marriage not only would it bring out the death…

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Where would MLK have stood on marriage equality? POV 

Where would MLK have stood on marriage equality?

by Rev. Irene Monroe This MLK holiday reminds me how Alabama has always been a troubling state when it comes to upholding the civil rights of its denizens. Martin Luther King’s civil rights activism began in the unwelcoming “Heart of Dixie” in 1955 when on a cold December evening Rosa Parks refused to relinquish her seat to a white passenger, birthing the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The boycott was the first of what would be many historic marches and protests that would catapult King onto a national stage. His acts of…

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by Rev. Irene Monroe Gentrification of neighborhoods always disrupts existing communities within them. In the past several years, Harlem’s empty lots and burned-out buildings have sprung up luxury condos, upscale restaurants, boutique shops, hotels, B&Bs, and unimaginable improved services in an area the city had long forgotten. And the resentment of this shift has targeted both Harlem’s recent and life-long LGBTQ communities. “Look out black woman. A white homo may take your man” a towering sign hung for months outside of ATLAH World Missionary Church on West 123rd and Lenox….

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The Tip POV 

The Tip

Last year, Time Magazine said we had reached the “Transgender tipping point.” Since then, Olympic hero Caitlyn Jenner has joined other high-profile transgender celebrities such as Janet Mock, Laverne Cox, Laura Jane Grace, and others. The visibility of transgender people in the mainstream media has never been higher. In spite of all the visibility, however, one topic dominates transgender issues more than any celebrity: bathrooms. I’ve talked about bathrooms a lot, so much so that I’m really not sure I have much new to say. In Houston, Texas the referendum…

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Remember Our LGBTQ Youth This Holiday Season Featured POV 

Remember Our LGBTQ Youth This Holiday Season

The Christmas season is a difficult time of year for many. Too often we see the glitz and glamour that this holiday brings, totally missing its spiritual message. The underlying message in celebrating the birth of Jesus is the full embrace of human difference and diversity. I truly believe if Americans – Christians and non-Christians, alike – stayed more focused on the message and teachings of Jesus, many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth and young adults would not have the annual angst of searching for home for…

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My Disappointment with the Pontiff’s Visit POV 

My Disappointment with the Pontiff’s Visit

Pope Francis continues to send seismic shock waves across the globe, and the rapturous reception he received from his historic six-day US visit gave us a glimpse as to why. The pontiff, like Jesus, walked among the masses, kissing babies, visiting prisoners and the homeless, speaking out on climate change, poverty, immigrations, church sex abuse, religious liberty, the family and re-tweeting “Black Lives Matter,” to name just a few of his pastoral highlights. The Pope Effect brought throngs of Catholics and admirers out to see him wave to them from…

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A Costume Controversy POV 

A Costume Controversy

Over the course of my lifetime, I’ve seen Halloween change dramatically. Sure, the shift was slow, but like water carving the Grand Canyon, it was seemingly inevitable. In my youth, it was a holiday where kids ruled the night. The streets were ours. We’d trot out into the darkness wearing anything from store bought plastic masks and smocks to hastily assembled “hobo” costumes of tattered old clothing and ratted hair. It was a magical time, when we would be allowed more leeway than any other night, and explore our wild…

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The Stonewall I Remember Wasn’t Just White POV 

The Stonewall I Remember Wasn’t Just White

This lesbian minister remembers the famous uprising and says it had as much to do with race as with sexual orientation. *The names in the story has been changed to protect identities. “By institutionalizing memory, resisting the onset of oblivion, recalling the memory of tragedy that for long years remained hidden or unrecognized and by assigning its proper place in the human conscience, we respond to our duty to remember.” – UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura1 I am disturbed by Roland Emmerich’s historical drama “Stonewall,” because of its whitewashing of a…

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Book ‘Em POV 

Book ‘Em

In 2012, a transgender woman by the name of Victoria Ramirez was in the early stages of her transition. She also had a job as a bookseller at a Barnes & Noble bookstore in Irvine, California. While she had not started to live full time in her preferred gender role, she had started to take hormones, had begun to grow out her hair, and sometimes wore her nails polished while at work. Her manager spoke up, telling Ramirez that customers were complaining about Ramirez’s appearance. Further, the manager told Ramirez…

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Historic Black LGBTQ Intergenerational Discussion on “Selma” POV 

Historic Black LGBTQ Intergenerational Discussion on “Selma”

If Bayard Rustin were alive today he certainly would have been proud as Boston’s LGBTQ communities held discussions on the film “Selma”. Flashback Sunday, a social group for LGBTQ Elders of Color and their friends, and the Hispanic Black Gay Coalition (HBGC) convened “an honest and open dialogue” between generations of LGBTQ activists. Folks who were active during 1960’s civil rights era and today’s LGBTQ  “Black Lives Matter” activists met at the historic Emmanuel Church in Boston as a way of honoring the twenty-ninth anniversary of Martin Luther King Day….

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Seeing in the Dark: Gay Bars in Dire Need of Disability Training POV 

Seeing in the Dark: Gay Bars in Dire Need of Disability Training

Nothing arouses my senses quite like a lively party. In gay bars, there are a multitude of things that scream out, “It’s time! It’s time to relax and have fun!” The sound of laughter coming from across the room suggests there’s a group of friends sharing stories. The shaking of ice in cups tells me the bartender is about to serve a frosty cocktail, and the smell of smoke tells me the place has a patio where patrons can enjoy a ciggy. And when I enter a bathroom, the scent…

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