Sign Petition/Share for Tet Parade to Include LGBTQ Vietnamese Americans.

LGBTQ Vietnamese Americans Rally

Take a stance against discrimination, read, sign and share widely:

http://www.change.org/petitions/let-vietnamese-american-lgbtq-people-participate-in-the-2014-t%E1%BA%BFt-parade

 

The Vietnamese American LGBTQ community needs your support to sign their petition: Let Vietnamese-American LGBTQ people participate in the 2014 Tết Parade.  LGBTQ Vietnamese American have been part of the Tet Parade in the past years until recently when new leadership voted to ban Vietnamese LGBTQ people from participating.

When you start excluding people because they fundamentally are not like you or because you’re homophobic that’s when you start dividing up community and enforcing discrimination.

 

Take a stance against discrimination, read, sign and share widely:

http://www.change.org/petitions/let-vietnamese-american-lgbtq-people-participate-in-the-2014-t%E1%BA%BFt-parade

Don’t Buy Miss Saigon: Our Truth Project

Linda Hawj – Miss Saigon Lies, Don’t Buy it! Boycott The Ordway Theater!

 

My name is Linda Hawj. I’m an artist, activist & organizer from Minnesota. As a 2nd generation, Hmong American, queer womyn of color, this is my truth.

What kind of Minnesota & country are we living in when Vietnamese people, Southeast Asians & Asian Americans, their history & experiences are compromised & violently eliminated repeatedly? All because White people & White Supremacy cries censorship about their White privilege no longer having the “freedom to express” their racist art. What’s truly sad & horrible is how White Supremacy have & continues to police & control what is Racial Justice & Equity, & the Non-Profit Organizations, leaders, politicians, funders & foundations who do “Racial Justice & Equity work” & serve the Southeast Asian, Asian American & Communities of Color. Your White Supremacy is all the Executives, Presidents, CEOs, Boards, Committees, funders & donors, majority all head by rich, White Privileged people that call the shots in their capitalist, political strategies.

3 Actions You Can Take to Support & Share to Mobilize:

1) SUBMIT YOUR TRUTHS HERE: http://dontbuymiss-saigon.tumblr.com/

2) SIGN OUR PETITION HERE: http://act.engagementlab.org/sign/DontBuyMissSaigon?source=field

3) The Don’t Buy Miss Saigon Coalition is taking both individual and organizational endorsements of its statement to stand in solidarity to end Institutional racism, sexism & colonialism. Contact us for more information: dontbuymisssaigon@gmail.com

What Does Marriage Equality Mean for the Hmong American Community?

Make sure to grab your Hmong Today newspaper and check out one of our collective member, activist & scholar Kong Pha’s piece on ‘What Does Marriage Equality Mean For the Hmong American Community?’ Drop us a few comments, let us know what you think Marriage Equality means for the Hmong American community and to you.

Hmong Today Newspaper: Hmong Americans & Marriage Equality

Raising UP MYY’s Family Is the Biggest Inspiration & Support to Coming OUT Narrative

http://www.salon.com/2005/06/17/saving_face/

Saving Face film. Photo Credit Salon.com

Story #10

MYY is a shamanist, 21 year-old woman who identifies as bisexual from Wisconsin.

The first time I notice that I was attracted to the same-sex was when I was 12 years old. I could not understand why I was feeling that way about this new girl I just met. All I knew was that I was very attracted to her and I wanted to know if she had felt the same about me. When I confronted her with my feelings, she nicely rejected and explained to me that she did not feel the same way as me. After that happened, I tucked away how I felt about girls and started dating boys. At the time, I was confused as to why I had felt that way, but I didn’t look too much into it.

Hmong Trans* & Queers Rally at St. Paul Capitol for LGBTQ Justice & Equity

Hmong Trans* & Queers Rally at St. Paul Capitol for LGBTQ Justice & Equity – Photo Credit MWSMovement.com

I’m very close to my family, so I turned to them hoping they could help me. I did not know what to expect from them because this whole thing happened so quick. Surprisingly, they were very understanding and supportive. They told me that they will always accept me for who I am, so I should accept me for who I am as well. From there, I started dating my first ex-girlfriend. My family was such a big inspiration because they were there every step of the way while I was trying to figure myself out and come out to my other love ones. It’s been four years now that I’m out and none of my relationships has changed at all. Everything is going well for me right now.

I don’t feel as if the Hmong Community is supportive of me but I don’t blame them. This is a very touchy and new subject in our Hmong community. I think with a little courage and a lot of education, we can fix that problem. I didn’t even know that we have Hmong LGBTQ organizations out there. I recently found out about an organization from Minnesota called Shades of Yellow. The Asian organization from my university invited SOY to our speak out during Asian Heritage Month back in April, and I was so moved and inspired during their presentation. I think LGBTQ does fit in our Hmong Culture but it’s going to take a lot of time before it fully fits in. I feel that we should speak out more about it and educated those who know little about the LGBTQ community. I believe that in 10-15 years from now, LGBTQ will be accepted and become a part of our Hmong Culture.

Photo Credit MWSM

Hmong queers Vote NO on Marriage Amendment 2012 – Photo Credit MWSM

One of the issues I’m facing today is deciding on which path I want to take on for the future. I’m the next one in line to get married in my family, and I’m also the only one who is not heterosexual. My family accepts me for who I am but what I always question myself if I want to marry a man or a woman, if I want a Hmong wedding, and how do I want to start my family. Yes, I understand that you can get all those regardless of your sexuality but I see the kind of a family my siblings have and that’s what I want as well. I think the Hmong LGBTQQI community is being impacted by our old traditions.

The reason I’m only out to certain people is because people are so quick to judge. All the amazing people who truly love and care for know about my sexuality, and they’re very supportive. It’s the new people that I meet that makes me iffy about if I want to share that kind of personal information with them. They don’t know me enough to understand where I’m coming from, which I don’t blame them. Plus, I don’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable around me.

If you’re compel by MYY’s story, we invite you (if you identify as Hmong LGBTQQI) to contribute your narrative to our collection and documenation by taking this 5 minute survey: http://tinyurl.com/HmongLGBTQQIStories

©Linda Her and MidWest Solidarity Movement, 2011 – 2013. All rights reserved. Unauthorized distribution with the intent to sell, use and/or duplication of these images, audio, video, stories, blog posts, and materials on this blog without express and written permission from this blog’s authors and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links as stated by MidWest Solidarity Movement members may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Linda Her and MidWest Solidarity Movement with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Raising UP Xiong’s Out of the Box Narrative!

Story #8

Xiong Yang is a 27 year-old shamanist, transman from Minnesota.

I was in kindergarten when I had my first crush. I think I started school a few days after it had already begun. I really liked a girl who had befriended me on the first day of class. I remember thinking to myself that it wasn’t normal. I knew I had to hide my feelings. In grade school, I used to write on the bathroom mirror that “I loved” so-and-so. One time, my brother saw it, because I forgot to erase it, and I freaked out and denied it. Another time in 4th grade, my best friend at the time, confronted me (in a friendly but frank way), are you a lesbian? Of course, I denied it. I had no connections to that term. And when I came out to one of my male friends in 6th grade, that I had a crush on the same girl he had a crush on (I was a tomboy at the time), I could tell he was uncomfortable with it. He kind of laughed it off. I transitioned when I was 13, at the end of 8th grade. In the summer before 8th grade, my mom finally allowed me to chop off my long, wavy hair. It was during the year of 8th grade that I became friends with my current partner. We started dating at the end of 8th grade. We just celebrated our 13th anniversary this summer.

Gender 101

Photo credit by Trans Student Equality Resources – http://transstudent.org/gender101

I think the relationships that had the highest impact on my identity the most were my family members. It was difficult for my mom to adjust to my new and different identity, and for her to recognize my partner. It was even more challenging for my brothers and their wives to get used to my new preferred gender pronouns. I was persistent with communicating with them how I felt, which my communication skills got better as time went on. And the more they saw how I was leading a productive life, the more they realized I was becoming who I wanted to be. I think the times have changed a lot since I was a teenager. A lot of people are exposed to non-traditional ways of gender performance and sexual orientations. I think people aren’t as shocked as they used to be. I don’t think there’s complete acceptance yet. Acceptance is really on an individual basis, depending if people have friends or know someone who is a non-heterosexual, and/or non-cisgender person. There’s still a lot of stereotypes out there about Hmong folks who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, or queer. The Hmong American society and the American society at large are not ready to move past those stereotypes. (The racial stereotypes are still a work-in-progress.)

Mainstream culture and the traditional Hmong culture still see things in black and white or binary. With that thinking, there’s no room for people who don’t fit neatly into those binary systems. I think the only way to really make this be a change is to be the doer. I live my life not as a man or a Hmong or a son or a husband. I live my life as me, and people find labels that they think best fits who I am. I feel people do that in order to find a commonality or something that they can relate to, which is quite innocent and unintentional.

My mom once told me a story of a distant aunt. She never married. When her parents died, she stayed living on her own. I believe she’s still alive today and is living somewhere in Laos or Thailand. I can’t say if this distant aunt is a closeted same-sex lover or asexual or anything else. But this story always stuck with me. And this story came out when I asked my mom if she knew of any queer folks back in Laos.

Marriage equality for couples who want to get married traditionally is still a big issue, even with the passing of the same-sex marriage bill in Minnesota. There’s a lot of politics involved in Hmong heterosexual marriages already. I don’t know how things like the bride price could be dealt with for a same-sex marriage. What about the spirits? Also, when one partner dies, who’s responsible for the last rites? I hope a more knowledgeable person of Shamanism and Hmong culture can figure this out.

Hmong Freedom to Marry

Because I can “pass” as a man, I don’t find myself having to “come out” or “reveal” myself to people about my gender identity or sexual orientation. I like to get to know people on a nonsexual orientation and non-gender basis. In fact, I’ve made that my personal mission: talk one-on-one with elder Hmong people. Sooner or later, they find out that I’m different. I think I’ve been able to sway a few Hmong elders my way or at least get them thinking outside of the box. I want people to know me for me. I don’t want them to have false misconceptions about me just based on what they associate with a certain word. If people could get to know a person and not judge them based on the label that can be associated with that person, I believe that would be a good start to the world becoming a better place.

If you’re compel by Xiong’s story, we invite you (if you identify as Hmong LGBTQQI) to contribute your narrative to our collection and documenation by taking this 5 minute survey: http://tinyurl.com/HmongLGBTQQIStories

©Linda Her and MidWest Solidarity Movement, 2011 – 2013. All rights reserved. Unauthorized distribution with the intent to sell, use and/or duplication of these images, audio, video, stories, blog posts, and materials on this blog without express and written permission from this blog’s authors and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links as stated by MidWest Solidarity Movement members may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Linda Her and MidWest Solidarity Movement with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Being Gay and Queer in the Laotian Community

Danny K.

Check out our MWSM collective member Danny and his published piece on Little Laos on the Prairie: Being Gay and Queer in the Laotian Community

“One of the biggest thing that sets me apart from most Laotians is that I’m gay. I’m one of the few out gay Laotians in Minnesota and I don’t want it to be that way. There have been questions and curiosity if there are LGBTQ Laotians out there, and I am here to say, “Yes there are LGBTQ Laotians in the community, and yes we do exist.” We are more prevalent than the community thinks about, or are informed about internally and externally of the Laotian community.”

If Danny’s story compels you, please support his leadership and activism through donating $20, $30 or $50 to our Trans* and Queer Southeast Asian Organizer retreat Aug 17 and 18, 2013. Your donation will enable Danny, and Trans* and Queer Southeast Asian activists, organizers, and scholars in understanding the importance of social justice work, activism, and service learning in their community.

Click here to donate: Trans* and Queer Southeast Asian Organizers Retreat Fundraiser

Pride Canvassing & Trans*/Dyke March at Twin Cities Pride, 2013

What an exciting summer this has been! This 2013, MWSM decided to take a different route at Twin Cities Pride (TC Pride). We recruited a team of 10 volunteers to go out and canvass the various non-profits and churches that were present and outreaching about their mission and services. For some of our volunteers, this was their first time at Pride, and canvassing so we made sure to pair them up with someone with canvassing experience. We wanted to find out from the many organizations and churches to identify what services and programs they provided, so we know where to connect our community members to , and possibly collaborate in the near future. The whole team had long and great conversations about the services, leadership dynamics, goal measurements, how does intersectional justice look like in their work, and how do they address institutional racism, white privilege and supremacy. We talked to about 15 organizations and churches, and will be talking to more in the next month to then produce a data report Fall 2014. We will keep you updated!

Meet the team that canvassed!

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After a morning’s hard work of canvassing at TC Pride, MWSM joined and marched in solidarity with the Trans*/Dyke March.

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HAPPY PRIDE!