Interview with Hijra film makers.

By Darren Marples.

Edited by Tom Wiese.

I managed to catch up with a film maker who is in the process of setting up a documentary about the Hijra folk in India.

Hijra-Trans sex workers getting ready for work

Could you please introduce yourself:

I’m Ila Mehrotra Jenkins, I’m the director of the documentary HIJRA. I grew up in Delhi and I’ve been based in Britain for the last decade. During this time I’ve been working in British television, specifically in documentaries and current affairs with the BBC, Channel 4 and ITV. HIJRA is my first feature documentary.

Most people will not know who hijra people are who read our article, due to culture differences. How do the hijra differ from Western Transgender? Could you please explain?

Hijras are the oldest ethnic transgender community in the world. Hijras are known as the ‘holy hermaphrodites’ from ancient Hindu scriptures. The scriptures say the hijras have the power to bless and curse, and even today that belief is very prevalent.
Tradition holds that a hijra must leave their biological family and society to live within a hijra family and earn a living through their blessings. Through the centuries, the hijra community has grown to absorb very large numbers of trans and non-binary people, particularly from the lower sections of Indian society. Paradoxically, while hijras are considered ‘holy’ in society, it is a matter of grave shame to manhood to have a hijra within one’s family. Unfortunately, young trans-hijras are often excluded from their biological families to live amongst hijras. They continue to bless in exchange for money in India today, but a very large number of hijras are forced to beg and do sex work to survive, excluded from education and mainstream society. As in many parts of the world, hijra people in India face extreme violence, marginalisation and abuse; but unlike in many countries, while facing extreme ostracisation, transgender people can find a precarious acceptance in society as “sacred” figures.

What are the rights both legally and socially of the hijra community in India?

In 2014, the Supreme Court of India recognised transgender people as a Third Gender and a socially and economically backward class entitled to reservations in education and jobs, and also directed union and state governments to frame welfare schemes for them.
This tabled bill was then passed in 2018 in a much watered down and heavily amended version that provides the equal recognition and protection only in theory.
Although homosexuality was finally decriminalised in 2018, in reality, hijras continue to face massive discrimination, marginalisation, violence and abuse, as societal prejudice is very widespread.

Hijra- Trans activist – warrior, Rudrani

How important is the making of this film for yourselves and society understanding and what do you wish to achieve in the making?

We hope to share the stories of hijras. One such astonishing activist for the hijra community is Rudrani Chettri. Part of this film includes her and the hijras she helps, and through this film we hope the world will hear the voices of the trans-hijra community. Further, we hope for the film to raise support of Rudrani’s work and help with increasing acceptance for trans-hijra identities, in the way they wish to be defined.

What can other cultures learn from the hijra?

The hijra trans community inspires others to have the courage to live beyond restrictive gender norms. While they have faced severe discrimination hijras have also thrived as a welcoming community to those who choose to live a transgender identity.

Hijra blessing at a temple.

How can others support you?

We are currently asking for financial support through our crowdfunding campaign:

These funds would allow us to continue making the documentary, and will help get us into production for two crucial shoots. We’d ask you to please support us and share the project widely and support Rudrani’s work for acceptance, love and respect for the trans hijras in all their human complexity.
This film will spread the word about the struggle these incredible people face, encouraging international solidarity by documenting the hope and force of will they display, and reaching out to the wider community on their behalf.

Stonewall: 06.28.67

​By @dtpjustin

Remembering the Fight. 

As hundreds of thousands of members of the LGBTQ+ community take to the streets in June, celebrating Pride Month across the country, and around the world, it’s important to reflect on the history behind these celebrations. Widely regarded as the turning point and inspiration for the modern-day equality battle, no single event was more pivotal for the community, than the events that unfolded in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969 in Greenwich Village, New York, at the Stonewall Inn.

Above: The exterior of the Stonewall Inn, the centerpiece of the riots on June 28, 1969. 

The Stonewall Inn, owned by the Genovese crime family, was the only bar for gay men in New York City, where dancing was allowed. The bar had no fire exits, no running water behind the bar, and no liquor license, but due to its mix of ages, races, sexualities, and gender identities, it was known by many as “the gay bar in the city”. Attending the Stonewall Inn required meeting a bouncer at the door, who inspected patrons through a peephole, to avoid letting in undercover police. To be granted admission, patrons had to be known by the doorman, or “look gay”. Customers paid a $3 entry fee, which entitled them to two tickets that could be exchanged for drinks. The employees at Stonewall used a light system to alert patrons that police were spotted outside. Immediately the regular, overhead lights would be turned on to signal that everyone should stop dancing or touching.

Above: For five days after the initial riot occurred, protests spilled into the streets, with crowds of hundreds and sometimes thousands of members of the community. 

Police raids were quite common of these underground LGBTQ establishments. The bar owners typically paid off the cops to limit the raids to occurring early in the evening, so that business could start up again once it was completed. The owners usually knew about the raids from people that would tip them off that something was going to happen. What transpired around 1:20am on Saturday, June 28, 1969 was something that nobody could have predicted.

Earlier in the evening, 4 undercover police officers entered Stonewall to observe the activities, while the Public Morals Squad waited outside. Once inside, the officers used the bar’s payphone to call for backup. Music was stopped and the overhead lights were turned on. Typically, during a raid, the police would line up all the patrons, check identification, and anybody dressed as a woman was taken to the bathroom to verify their sex. However, this night wasn’t like the rest. People refused to go to the bathrooms to be inspected, and men in line began to refuse to show their identification. The police decided that everyone still inside the bar was going to be brought down to the police station. The patrons that had managed to escape at the beginning of the raid, instead of going immediately home, began to congregate outside. In just a few short minutes, the crowd grew to 100-150 people.

Above: One year after the Stonewall Riots, the community organized the Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day, recognized as the first Gay Pride march in the United States (Photo courtesy of the Associated Press)

 The crowd grew restless outside, as rumors of police beating patrons still inside the bar began to swirl. According to bystanders, a woman was being escorted from the bar in handcuffs. She escaped multiple times, fought with the officers, and had been hit on the head with a baton for complaining that her handcuffs were too tight. Her identity remains unconfirmed, however witnesses recall her looking at the crowd of people, and shouting “Why don’t you guys do something?” It was at this moment that the group, which now numbered upwards of 500 people, turned into an enraged mob.

Ten police officers, and several handcuffed patrons, attempted to barricade themselves inside Stonewall for their safety. The crowd began throwing anything they could find at the building, lighting garbage on fire and putting it through the broken windows. The crowd also uprooted a parking meter to use as a battering ram on the doors of Stonewall. After 45 minutes, the fire department and riot squad arrived to rescue those inside Stonewall and to disperse the crowd. The protests continued on Christopher Street and in nearby Christopher Street Park for five more days. All 3 major New York newspapers covered the protests, which sometimes numbered in the thousands, after accounts of the riots were published.
After the riots, many members of the community who previously felt that they had no voice, now felt empowered. The creation of many LGBTQ organizations sprouted as a result of this new era of feeling. Among them, the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) and the Gay Activists Alliance (GAA). In addition, within months, 3 newspapers specifically targeted to the community were created in the city, after The Village Voice, refused to print the word “gay” in GLF advertisements. The first anniversary of the Stonewall Riots was recognized as Christopher Street Liberation Day on June 28, 1970 with an assembly outside, as well as other marches in Los Angeles and Chicago, showcasing the first Gay Pride marches in the United States.

Above: After the horrific Pulse massacre shooting in Orlando, Florida, many people visited the Stonewall Inn to honor the victims, just weeks before President Obama made his National Monument designation. (Photo courtesy of NPR)

On June 24, 2016, President Barack Obama officially designated the Stonewall National Monument, the United States’ first National Monument specifically created as an LGBTQ historic site. The National Monument status is 7.7 acres, including the Stonewall Inn, Christopher Street Park, and the block of Christopher Street that borders the park. In his announcement of the designation, President Obama stated, “…Stonewall will be our first national monument to tell the story of the struggle for LGBT rights. I believe our national parks should reflect the full story of our country, the richness and diversity and uniquely American spirit that has always defined us…”

While June is a month of celebration of for members of our community, it’s imperative to remember the brothers and sisters that were fed up with the current state of affairs and took to the streets, acting as the catalyst that launched LGBTQ discrimination into the mainstream. Let us never forget the courage and bravery that they demonstrated, to help us fight for the equality that we deserve.

This is the view of the author and may or may not be the view of Pride matters or any other authors. 


My Kind Of Pride 

By @ChrisQ_1 

I live in a Scottish town, not a small one, but small enough that I wouldn’t feel comfortable holding hands walking down the street. That can be a strange thing to explain to someone, that in certain places, I don’t feel comfortable holding hands with my other half, and that one of those places is my hometown. Don’t get me wrong, I love where I’m from and it’s part of who I am, it’s just not about to hold it’s first Pride parade anytime soon. That being said, the rest of the world is. 

As I write this, Edinburgh is holding its pride celebrations (It’s also the Queen’s birthday, but I don’t think the two are related) and in a few months time London, Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle will have theirs. Social media feeds and timelines fill up with colour, rainbow icons are published, big brands adopt the flag on their products, and everything is #LoveIsLove . All of this is amazing and we’re lucky to live in a time where it’s accepted and treasured. 

I have a different relationship with the word Pride. It took me a bit of time to get comfortable in my own skin growing up. Once I felt like I had a handle on things (not that I think we ever really do) I began to feel proud of who I was and my sexuality. (For reference my orientation is fried food and Sci-Fi). While my own self-regard was assured, my relationship with Pride and the wider LGBTQ+ Community was not. 

My first experience of a pride march was going to Glasgow with my mum while I was still in my teens, around 15/16 years old. We were going through it for the ritual Saturday shopping trip when we happened upon the march. We watched and clapped along for a bit then continued with the days’ shopping. During a standard tea and cake break at the John Lewis cafe (to make us look posher than we were), I asked if I could go back and see more of the celebrations and then meet up with her later on. She was fine with it and I went. The march was done by this point so I just walked around the stalls and saw some on-point performances from Queens and Drag Queens alike. My overriding memory was being really nervous, so nervous I don’t think I talked to anyone. I met back up with mum afterwards and she asked; “Did you like it?” “I think so?” I replied. 

However, I didn’t let that nervous experience put me off, I went back the following year and ventured to other pride celebrations around the UK after that. But I still didn’t get it. Why? I understood the history, the origins of Pride, the flag and the politics of equal rights. I just didn’t know why I was there. 

Compared to some, I was lucky. I had a supportive family and a school with a “we’re not taking any crap” policy on bullying so coming out was easier than most, but I never realised that until I started meeting people who hadn’t had it as easy. I was one of the founding members of the Falkirk LGBT youth group, or as my family lovingly called it ‘Glee Club’ and it was the first time I stepped out of my own little bubble. I began to realise who the modern day Pride was for. The boy who was made homeless. The girl who ran away. The boy who was put in the hospital.

I’m happily proud of who I am. But I reserve Pride with a capital P for them and for anyone else like them. The LGBTQ+ Community can be fractured, and I believe healthy discussion is great, but I also think we can unite behind the Idea that everyone’s story is different and the one’s whose stories are tougher than others should be able to look at Pride and see hope. It’s a celebration and a protest, the two are not mutually exclusive. That’s my kind of Pride. 

Follow Chris at 

@ChrisQ_1 

https://thegingerguy.com/

This is the view of the author and may or may not be the view of Pride matters or any other authors. 

Why there is no Straight Pride Month. 

By @dtpjustin

Forty seven years ago, the LGBTQ+ Community joined together to form what has now evolved into Pride Month. One year after the 1969 Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village – which is widely regarded as the start of the modern equality movement – our community took to the streets in New York City to march for equal rights and protections. While the Pride march has gone through many changes over the years, one thing has stayed constant: the ignorance that some people often display. One question that comes up frequently (and that I’ve heard often) is, “If you have LGBTQ+ Pride month, why is there no straight pride month?”

The answer to that question is easy, and I’m going to lay it out as clear as I can. 

YOU DON’T NEED ONE! 

Now, don’t take this as ignorance or “straight-hate” because I know many amazing straight people who deserve to be recognized as outstanding friends and allies, but that’s because of who they are, not based on their sexuality. If you encounter this ridiculous question (as I’m sure you will at some point in your life), here are the top reasons that I always use to combat the ignorance:

 

Generation after generation, the narrative of our society has always been predominantly defined as straight. Whether in movies, television shows, commercials, or print ads, the idea of the ‘nuclear family’ has always been portrayed as being between a man and woman with the white picket fence and 2.5 children. The nuclear family was something that was always celebrated and shown as something to strive to acquire. The idea of a same-sex couple fitting into that image took decades to even enter the realm of possibility, let alone to be normalized.

 

Above: A typical print advertisement from the 1950’s for Post, depicting the typical nuclear family of the time.

Straight people don’t get fired from their jobs simply for being straight. For many LGBTQ+ people around the world, this is a frightening reality. The fact still remains that people have to hide who they are, how they identify, or the relationship they’re in from their employer to alleviate the risk of losing their job, career, or livelihood. In most countries, the LGBTQ+ Community is not protected under existing employment civil rights laws, taking away our legal right to recourse for being fired for discriminatory reasons.

 

Above: An anti-marriage equality protester perpetuates the debunked myth that same-sex parents endanger the well-being of their children.

As a straight person, it has never been against the law to be straight. The government has never forced themselves into your life to prevent you from being straight or enabling discrimination against you. The stark reality is that many LGBTQ+ people have felt what it’s like to have rights stripped away from them, or limited, based solely on their sexuality. From anti-sodomy laws, religious freedom laws, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, and the Defense of Marriage Act, we know exactly what it’s like for the government to step in and define how our lives need to be lived. Straight people never had to deal with the violation of being told who they could love, or what was legal in the confines of their own bedroom.

 

Above: President Barack Obama signs the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act on December 22, 2010, no longer requiring armed service members to hide their sexuality.

Lastly, and most importantly, straight people aren’t targeted for harassment, physical assault, or murder simply for loving whoever they love. No matter how many equality laws or hate crime acts are passed by the government, the staunch reality is that these horrific crimes still happen on a daily basis to members of the LGBTQ+ Community.

In 2011, the Southern Poverty Law Center, experts in tracking hate crimes and extremism, did an analysis of 14 years of hate crime data and concluded that LGBTQ+ people are far more likely than other minority groups to be victimized by violent hate crimes. We still live in a world where people are targeted simply for holding hands with their same-sex partner. The brutal, senseless murder of Matthew Shepard in October of 1998, was a wake-up call around the world, but, while progress has been made in the legal realm, the reality is that many members of the LGBTQ+ Community are still faced with these targeted attacks in 2017. Being targeted for hate, solely based on sexuality, is an existence that straight people will luckily, never have to deal with.

 

Above: Instead of a traditional Pride march, LA Pride hosted a #Resist March on June 11, 2017 to build upon the grassroots marches that have been organized this year. (courtesy of Genaro Molina/ Los Angeles Times)


While Pride Month has evolved into a celebration of our sexuality and the strides that have been made around the world, it’s important to remember that it began as the declaration for the right to exist without being oppressed or victimized, the demand for equal rights and protections, and for the natural rights that straight people have always enjoyed simply for being who they are – themselves.

This is the view of the author and may or may not be the view of Pride matters or any other authors. 

What do Pride events mean to me!

By @pridematters1

Have you ever sat down and thought what Pride events mean to yourself and others? Why do they exist? Where they born out of the want to ‘party’ or the need to live, rather than exist.
Most of us will go to Gay Pride events this summer. If you do, take a look around and see the expressions on everyone’s faces, the carnival atmosphere, the joy and laughter. Even the police on duty are often enjoying the day.
Fifty years ago in the UK Gay Pride events would have seemed alien. Back then homosexuality was illegal, and ninety-three percent of the country believed it was a mental illness. Gay and bisexual men were considered criminals, if not prosecuted in court, many were blackmailed.

In 1967 homosexuality was decriminalised in England and Wales, but far from on equal terms. By 1969 The Stonewall Riots in New York changed the attitudes in the ‘gay community’ of the day into doing something about the fight for equality in both America and Britain, along with other countries globally.

Above: The light filters at London Pride in 2016

The first significant march here was in London, July 1st 1972, the closest Saturday to the anerversary of The Stonewall Riots. Two thousand people turned up. The police were in heavy numbers, some protesters had Banners that showed the mood of the day within the gay community. ‘The Gays are revolting’, messages in regards to public displays of affection, among others. 
Each year the marches increased in size and by the 1980s they became even more focused politically, fighting against Section 28, policies on HIV and AIDS. Even today London Pride, prides itself on sending a political message.
Gay Pride events of today weren’t born, they emerged out of the fight for equality and freedoms we now take for granted. To kiss in the streets or sleep with another man in a hotel room was technically illegal until the early part of the twenty-first century, without the marches we may not have had such progression. Without the marches we wouldn’t have been so visible. In America many groups began through rendezvous at early marches. 

I feel an overwhelming sense of emotion when marching next to someone, feeling like you are a part of something making a difference in a very small way, to be counted and visible in making the difference gives me great joy. For me it’s not about dressing up in high heels and a dress, and expressing myself in this regard, although I don’t condemn anyone who wishes to do so (it adds to the diversity and colour). It is about making change and standing with those equal to you, and changing the world one step at a time, freeing your gender and sexuality from the restraints of society. Being noticed, not as an individual but a collective. 
In the late 1980s I saw the Gay Pride march in London on a news program. As a questioning teen it made me feel less isolated. People like me existed. Imagine the impact these events have on the questioning teens of today. The sense of belonging, even for the ones among us who aren’t ready to venture to such events.
Over the years the community has welcomed other sexualities and genders to join them, making them stronger, not only for Pride but for the fight for better understanding.
Last year America raised a rainbow coloured flag on equal marriage at the start of Pride weekend in many cities around the world, including London. Sending that message of unity to the lgbt family around the world, shouting loudly to the homophobes that we are fighting for equality and helping the homo-unaware to be more aware. Changing attitudes and accepting more diverse views too. 
At one point in America, in the seventies some marches were called freedom parades. Personally that title is still relevant. 
Take a look around and see the freedom, acceptance, and the achievement of our rainbow family, and ask yourself what Pride means to you. Be proud of whatever the next political campaign is, and be proud we all can be a part of that. Note the diversity around us; lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, pansexuals and the transgender community (both male and female). Be aware of everyone, including the intersex and asexual part of the family, as well as the sub-groups too; twinks, bears, muscle Marys, all of them. If you look around, even closer you will noticed the allies and the families too. Accept them for who they are, like those LGBT pioneers that marched for equality and acceptance. We can all continue the fight too as that is exactly what Gay Pride means above all for me…. 

Acceptance! 

First published in prowler magazine 2016

UK Attitude Adjustment: A Simple message to employers.

By @pridematters1

For many years the UK has been one of the leading countries for equal rights. Although there were laws before 2010, one of the biggest game changes was the Equality act 2010 http://www.acas.org.uk/equalityact .
As a nation we are lucky to have such acts. You only have to look at America, where a same sex couple can marry on the Saturday but by Monday be sacked for their sexuality. The Trump administration doesn’t seem to be doing anything to promote equality for anyone different to themselves.

Even if there was a miracle and laws in less diversed accepting countries changed tomorrow then it wouldn’t solve one of the biggest issues regarding to equality, globally… Attitude.

Attitude is still an issue here too!

It is still possible that in the UK lgbtqia people have applied for jobs and secretly not got the position, not because of their qualifications but because of their sexuality or gender.

There is no way you can prove this ethier way.

You only have to look at cases such as the Soho landlord that discriminated against a gay couple who kissed in his pub.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1377152/John-Snow-pub-kiss-protest-gay-couple-thrown-snogging.html

Ask yourself would employers who show discrimination in general towards the LGBTQIA community employ a lgbt person?

By law they should not discriminate in regards of employing, so technically the owners of Ashers bakery in Northern Ireland (the gay cake row) could be in even more hot dough if they don’t employ a lgbtqia person if they applied for a position and are qualified.

Sorry I mean hot water, not dough!

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/oct/24/born-again-christian-ashers-bakery-lose-court-appeal-in-gay-cake-row

This case continues because a same sex couple has now been refused since the original case. It is thought that the bakery are being backed by homophobic Christian organisations.

Of cause there is the argument that it is an infringement on their beliefs, but what about others beliefs too? The law was designed to protect everyone’s rights. What if people discriminate on the grounds of the owners being Christian. Wouldn’t they take action too?

You only have to look at online remarks to understand that there is still anti lgbt sentiment out there. You have to think how much damage this negative attitude secretly has on people who fall in minority groups and not only secretly at times, look at the hate crimes since brexit towards the LGBTQIA community and you can understand.

I’m not one for public displays of affection, however if anything it’s acceptable for heterosexual couples, should it be acceptable for couples who are in a same sex relationship?

It’s easy to understand why some people are not open with the gender or sexuality at times when prejudices still exist.

It is easy to understand why groups that by definition have no choice but to be open, such as the transgender community can feel isolated.

If you feel you don’t agree in kissing in public at all, next time you go out for a night out count how many times you see straight couples kiss

We seem to turn ourselves off to the common kiss because that’s exactly what it is, showing affection to the one you love.
In a similar situation to the Soho incident, there was another in a supermarket where a manager decided to ask a couple to leave because they kissed in an aisle. The supermarket then experienced protests, which must have not look good on a national chain. This incident is down to the ignorance of a staff member and I am sure that the supermarket wouldn’t be so effected financially as the pub in Soho, which goes to show if you only have five employees and a small turnover its even more important to protect your business from a decision of a staff member. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-29628854
If an employer is found guilty of discrimination in any way, it could cost them dearly.

Going back to the Soho incident when the landlord heard that there would be a protest outside his establishment, he decided to close for the night, claiming victory although his bigotry cost him lost of sales, and a bad reputation in an area where the LGBT community are a high proportion of the population.
Certain quarters would see what the LGBT community do by protesting is self-centered and are not looking at the bigger picture of what is beneficial for all society. That’s only if you look at it from a gay rightsprospective. If you view it as an infringement on equality then you need to ask yourself….

Would you get away with it if another couple from a different minority group walked into the pub and were asked to leave?

Or

How would he have felt if the brewer told him he was too old to run a public house anymore?

Discrimination is discrimination.

Equal rights effects us all, be it if you are the gay man who was asked to leave the pub, or the young married lady who suspects she didn’t get a job because she may want time off shortly for maternity.
An infringement on ‘lgbtqia’ rights can also affect someone who you wouldn’t expect it to.

Unfortunately none of us can see in the others head and know what’s going on in another persons life at that moment in time. On surface you could have a completely straight male workforce and yet it still can affect others if one of the staff is being homophobic/transphobic/biphobic.
Maybe a member of staff is struggling with their own sexuality or even a family member such as a grandson or daughter so badly that anti lgbt sentiment from someone else could actually be upsetting and effect performance in one way or another. There are also many examples in the public eye that demonstrate the diversity of the LGBT+ family, and many more that we may not be aware of. There are many people out there who struggle with not even having sexuality and not interested in ether sex.

As an employer you need to ask yourself how you can help yourself to understand the affects of someone’s sexuality and what you can do to in order to help your employees in the most subtle ways as you can. Can you mention positive things about LGBT when someone mentions a negative? Can you warn someone for using words that are deemed hateful or even the phrase ‘that’s so gay’ can actually be upsetting to someone young, Gay, and vulnerable. Is there anyway you can make your staff more aware of issues and subtly change their attitudes?

It could be as simple as being clued up on misconceptions such as Transgender and bisexual issues as well as homosexual issues too.

It may be as simple as having a simple equality and diversity training session and featuring all parts of the workforce.

Help people understand because changing attitudes could actually change the lives of your employees, sparking a happier workforce.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-13096519

Interview with the creator of Gay Bow ties. 

Interviewer @pridematters1 

I recently had the chance to interview Jorge Santana, an ally and the creator of Gay Bow ties. 

Hello Jorge, please tell us about yourself; 

My name is Jorge Santana. I had a lot people that helped me and mentor me when I was growing up. I want to give back, I am a very passionate person that likes to empower children, people, and I love volunteering.How did you come up with the idea of gay bow ties? 

Thinking back, it all started three years ago on my wedding day when I tied my first bow tie. I have enjoyed wearing them ever since, and have since refused to wear regular ties. In fact, I gave all my old ties away, and let the bow tie become my personal brand!

Why was this company created?

Mark Cuban from Shark Tank once said, “If you are going to make a company, make sure you find a need that people have.”
That statement motivated me to pray for ideas and led me to research if anyone was providing quality bow ties to the LGBT community. What I found were companies that were purchasing bow ties at a low cost and reselling them at a much higher price. On those ties, the LGBT colors were not correct, nor did they represent the flag. I then began my journey to find the Gay Pride Bow Ties domain, and purchased the ‘Gay Pride Bow Ties’ domain. I created an LLC, and applied for a registered trademark. One year later, with a half granted trademark, it was time to create the product.
We have a lot people to thank for helping start this company. We discovered all these other factors involved, such as; creating labels, custom boxes for the product, ribbons for the box product, consulting with lawyers to complete the registered trademark, table covers for trade shows, bags to deliver the product, e-commerce, website design and music, as well as the shipping carrier. Wow!
We are not afraid to be different. As you know, when someone visits our website, the first thing that appears is our mission statement. We want to unify people. We want everyone to see it does not matter if you are Lesbian, Gay,Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Allies, or whatever religious affiliation; it is important to know we need to coexist and respect each other.
This is why we will donate $5.00 for every bow tie sold. We want to unify people, and make a difference in the world.

I understand the silk is from the UK? 

All bow ties are authentic hand-woven silk from the United Kingdom and made in the United States, in the state of Vermont.

How did you come up with the designs?

We wanted to provide brighter colors and new designs that were not in the market. Before the fabric was ordered I picked each color and with weight of each fabric. I wanted to reflect the colors of the LGBT flag. I also wanted to bring some new designs. No one in the market has bow ties with the LGBT flag, or the black bow ties with the LGBT sign. I wear the bow ties all the time.

How long and hard has the process been?

In May it will be two years from when the process was started. As mentioned, we discovered all these other factors involved, but it has being a great learning experience, and the most rewarding thing I have ever done in business. I never expected the process to take this long to launch.


I understand that every tie you sell, you are going to donate to LGBT Community Organisations?
(all the bow ties have LGBT design)
There are 3 non-profit organizations that we donate to, which we feel impact the world;
‘LIKEME Lighthouse-KC’
Their mission is to provide a safe, welcoming space where LGBT+ individuals, their families, friends, and straight allies can come for education and resources; and to build a cohesive LGBT+ community in the Midwest.
‘Vision’
To be recognized as the community center that helps individuals, regardless of sexual 
orientation or identity, to fully realize their potential. To provide a safe, welcoming space where LGBT+ individuals, their families, friends, and straight allies can come for education and resources; and to build a cohesive LGBT+ community in the Midwest.

LIKEME Lighthouse: https://www.likemelighthouse.org/ 
Kansas City Aids Walk:

The AIDS Service Foundation works to raise money and awareness for organizations that provide shelter, medical care and emergency services for the more than 5,700 men, women and children in Kansas City affected by HIV/AIDS. Contributions to the AIDS Service Foundation benefit equally the Kansas City Care Clinic, SAVE Inc., Good Samaritan Project and Hope Care Center as well as the ASF Community Fund. The ASF Community Fund awards grants to not-for-profit organizations that service the specialized needs of the diverse communities dealing with HIV/AIDS, provide support to their families and friends, and/or promote education and prevention.

http://asfkc.org/ 
Ko-Falen Cultural Center

Their mission is to promote cultural, artistic and educational exchanges between the people of the United States and Mali through art workshops, dance, music and ceremony school programs.
When we sell 12 bow ties, we will sponsor a child in Mali, Africa to go school for 1 year. We will blog the total number of children we sponsor in one year.
Mission & Philosophy 
Ko-Falen Cultural Center seeks to promote cultural, artistic and educational exchanges between the people of the United States and Mali through art workshops, dance, music and ceremony school programs. We believe Ko-Falen’s vision is that a greater understanding and respect between people can be reached through these profound personal exchanges. Ko-Falen’s vision is that a greater understanding and respect between people can be reached through these profound personal exchanges.
“The Ko-Falen Cultural Center gives us a reason to learn about other cultures and places that we otherwise wouldn’t know exist. This is definitely the beginning of creating relationships and getting acquainted with each other.
Once you get to know each other, it’s easy to work together and appreciate each other. This is a great dream!”

https://kofalen.org/

So what have you got planned next, in regards of designs? 

We have three designs currently, but we would like to add more designs. Because clothing can’t be patented,
I can’t share the next designs. I would gladly like to come back to show you the new designs.

It’s a little bit queer! 

By @pridematters1 

Almost every week we hear people complain about the lgbt acronym.
Recently student bodies have suggested that bi should be bi+ to include persons who are not attracted to ethier male or female. On first glance we need to ask if it appears like asexual eraser!  

That’s just one of many arguments in regards to our collective name. 

 A while back there was a hate campaign to have the T removed, naturally it failed with deep criticism from the entire lgbtqia+ community. 

In the late eighties,  early nineties our communities was seen as separate enterties.

The Gay community:

Clearly The Gay community became progressively inadequate to describe all of the groups making their rightful mark on the world. 

The Transexual community:
Recently transgender has been used as an umbrella term to reflect the devisity of the trans community.

Lgbt is not entirely inclusive too.

How many times are we asked…. 
What does Q,A,I mean? 

Queer, questioning, intersex, asexual and of course allies are missing from the most used lgbt acronym but often and rightfully only included when the subject matter is inclusive to them too. 

The sub groups are often buried too. 

Asexual boasts over seventy sub groups. Naturally at first glance it’s impossible to represent each sub group of each part of the acronym. 

However the fact that we have the opportunity to answer what most of these terms  of the LGBTQIA+ acronym are allows ourselves and others to explore the groups that are often brushed to one side, or would be buried under a universal umbrella term for all. 

A good example is the use of the term Queer as a universal term. At first I had reservations, still do. 

I understand and respect the need to reclaim queer and I personally  advocate it being a part of the acronym for individuals to identify with, to empower themselves against the old school homophobes, biphobes and even transphobes throwing queer back into their face, given half the chance. 

However there are still many that do find it offensive, because of the amount of times it was used against our community before another generation reclaimed it.
A generation that opposes it now is a generation that didn’t and may still not have a privileged life, due to convictions that can not be overturned. 

Back when I was younger  I knew a twenty three year old with a nineteen year old boy friend who was convicted because of the Age of consent was twenty one for homosexual acts, yet 16 for heterosexual. He is still an ex convict and hardly feels privileged.

Calling another group within the LGBTQIA+ community privileged is like calling a six foot two man short because you are six foot nine.

Recently Huffpost decided to change their own lgbt vioces of their site to Queer voices, which demonstrates  that the term is slowly drifting into mainstream media usage.
Queer is alot easier to say than lgbt as Jon Snow, the UK based newsreader (not the GOT charater) found out talking to Owen Jones, Mirhia Black and a few others when Soho had a vigil to Orlando. Even Owen struggled with continously saying lgbt. After a few repeats it becomes a tounge twister.

Above: Jon Snow demonstrated how difficult saying LGBT is, he also pointed out “we are all a little queer!” 

So is it time Queer is used to describe the entire family?

Are we ALL ready for it?

Is Queer the best description to describe us all, representing  the diversity of our family? 

Is it fair to use Queer as a group description when so many still find it offensive or its not accurate to describe so many?
When setting up the cards we use a discussion began, I recall it went on for about a week. Our conclusion was to use the LGBTQIA+ representing all of our community.

The plus represents the duplicates and a nod to the sub groups, Pansexual, Demisexual and so on.

However we spotted flaws in this too. Slowly we came to the conclusion that nothing was perfect, we wanted everyone to be included. Queer is hardly a fair term for some,  yet lgbtqia was too complexed. The conclusion was to use our rainbow family when it wasn’t so clinically required.Softening the blow a little.

Just like individuals, groups should have the right to use the words they feel best represents themselves or their work. As Pride matters aims to represent all of the lgbt community, including allies, including asexuals we use the full acronym lgbtqia+. It suits Pride matters because all our members represent each part of the acronym. Obviously there are times when some groups are not represented in the acronym because they are not relevant to the group that haven’t been included. A good example is not including allies or asexuals when talking about sex, another is removing certain letters when stats are being used and dealing with those stats separately. However the more inclusion the better. 

Do we need to drop anything?
Most definitely!
Drop the inward bitch fighting and inward blaming of other parts of the community. 

We need to replace it with… 
A little more respect to individual groups.
A little more understanding of age groups and their reactions to using certain alternatives.

A little thought of geographical differences, what you may find acceptable in your part of the world someone else may find offensive. 

Probably Queer will eventually filter into media even more, used as a universal description, people will embrace it better than my generation ever could. It will probably have a more diverse meaning in time goes. What it leads to is probably less usage of terms and labels too. Perhaps one day our community will become more amalgamated, perhaps one day the use of labels will decline due to better awareness and perhaps one day the fight for equality will be over and we all will just be seen as human.
Interesting articles in regards to this subject.

 https://t.co/UN0SQ5lYUz

http://wp.me/p78BZ8-1dp

This is the view of the author and may or may not be the view of Pride matters or any other authors. 


Don’t isolate yourselves!

By @pridematters1 

My thoughts on the American presidency and the lgbt family.

Above: Trump on the campaign trail, being given a folded flag from a member of the crowd, with the message upside down.

Every single eye and ear was turned towards America, watching every move, listening to every word,  as the new American President made his inauguration speech.

Many in the crowd were supporting America’s new president, some happy with his choice of words on his Christian values and words about ‘Let’s make America Great again’.

Others viewed it has a memorial service to American democracy, looking at the faces of past presidents, both Democrat and Republican you could see why.

Above: One of the most popular presidents for years.  Yet it feels like his hard work for equality is about to be knocked down by lies on unity. 

One thing that struck me was an interview by a British correspondent, with two members of the spectators that clearly supported Trump.

The Brit asked “Do you think that putting America first in the way Trump wishes isolates your country?”

The lady’s face said it all, she hadn’t seen it that way before! 

The lesson here is simple. We have to think how other people view things, especially when you are in a minority, like Trump supporters clearly are.

It’s easy not to see other peoples point of view at times, despite the world screaming at their TV screens and ready to stay clear of American goods, holidays, finance, deals on trade and so on.

Its not a threat, but a fact, would you favour a country that is thinking about itself and not balancing it’s needs with the needs of others? 

Sending a message to the world that ‘we wont buy or hire anything or anyone that isn’t American’, the sentiment is soon returned.

You have to ask yourself is failing to see that niave?

We have to think of other peoples  values and needs, finding ways in order to live in harmony and benefit from each other. It’s so simple to do so.

It seems hard to get the message across at times to those who ‘think’ they are right to reclaim something that belongs to them, yet it belongs to everyone.

It’s harder to understand how you can use words such as unity in your maiden speech, hours later to launch the White House’s website and the first and only items placed on it are about defence and the military, despite two months to prepare this.

This would have played a big part of getting people on board, if it focused on uniting all of Americans, as promised in the inauguration and campaigns over the last few years.

As it stands it’s not unity and in the words of Ms Church, its seems more like tyrancy.

Trump should be trying to gain the support of the majority of Americans that didn’t put the x next to his name. Let’s face it there was more support for Clinton, the Trump supporters were simply distributed better.

Between November and January was the time to sit down and look at how to get others on his side, in order to make this work for everyone.

I can hear people arguing why he should, one simple word……

Unity! 

Our Rainbow family can also learn from the new administration in the Whitehouse and the errors they’ve made already.

We can see that we need to be sure we don’t isolate ourselves too.

Show the world that all we want is Equality for all but also being seen to be true about it.

You can already see this because Lgbtqia organisations have an history that believe this and are visible to show that everyone should have the same rights as themselves, but we need to keep pushing this incredible message, unlike Trumps cabinet whose historic actions speak load against unity.

Perhaps Trump feels such words as unity are overrated and he’s simply taking the p***.

We can also see how we need to unify in the true sense with EVERYONE who believes in equality and not isolate ourselves too. It’s more apparent now than ever, both within America itself and with their LGBTQIA brothers and sisters globally as they will support you, 

after all….

When there is a war on hate, love always wins.

This is the view of the author and may or may not be the view of Pride matters or any other authors. 


Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑