(Updated: June 2, 2022)
June is PRIDE month for the GLBTQIA+ (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, and more) community. And we are proud to be part of such a wonderfully diverse and strong community. Rimakej is a proud Asexual, Panromantic, Pansensual, Polyamorous, and Two-Spirit person. I am a proud Pansexual, Greyromantic, Pansensual, and Polyamorous Transman. These labels do not restrict nor define all that is us. They are simply tools to more easily convey aspects of ourselves to others.
Leading the Fight for Rights
The movement for our rights in the United States was born out of the struggle against police brutality and raids on gay bars. The incident most people credit to be the “Beginning of the fight for gay rights” is the Stonewall Inn Uprising in 1969. The continuing struggle for basic human rights has had several prominent activists who were transwomen of color or gender non-conforming persons. People like Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and Stormé DeLarverie. I mention this because it is important to acknowledge double minorities (BIPOC & GLBTQIA+) have shouldered the majority of the burden of discrimination coupled with rampant systematic racism.
A Note on GLBTQIA+ Allyship
***If you consider yourself an ally, please do the legwork on educating yourselves. Like BIPOC folx, we are not your walking encyclopedia or your ambassador. Requiring this of any oppressed group is not only emotionally taxing to those oppressed, but it also shows a lack of compassion for their humanity. You demand they take time to “educate you” (aka prove their oppression) about something they live with every day. Be aware that what may be an “innocent question” or “out of curiosity” for you may be something they have answered 1,000 times already. It is also likely that a quick online search will give you an adequate answer. ***
Why it matters
Both of us and all current members of our homesteading community are also part of the GLBTQIA+ community. Normally it’s not a big deal, we’re just people like everyone else. It doesn’t affect our homesteading skills or sustainable living practices. However, due to systematic prejudices within the USA government, it does affect nearly everything else. This includes our day-to-day decisions, finances, living space, employment, marriage, safety, and even our health.
Just like being BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Person of Color), being part of the GLBTQIA+ community can be dangerous. We are especially vulnerable to hate crimes, police brutality, and medical neglect. As a trans man, I am acutely aware of how I interact with medical practitioners and how they interact with me. A visit with a doctor or a counselor for many of us isn’t just a checkup. We have to actively fight to get our needs met. Here’s a horrifying story of what can happen when you are unable to advocate for yourself that is still a reality for many of us.
Why is this GLBTQIA+ identity important?
Hate crimes like being targeted or murdered is always a real threat for us. But the lack of legal protections also allows EMTs, nurses, and doctors to refuse us life-saving care. Let me reiterate. The lack of protections allows people to refuse LIFE SAVING CARE to anyone that doesn’t fit the practitioner’s belief systems. It means legally allowed continuance of medical neglect and abuse. This leads even more people to avoid doctors or therapists they so desperately need as their health continues to suffer.
It wasn’t until 2020 when we finally won job protections on a federal level through the Supreme Court. Until June 15th, 2020 it was still legal to be fired just for being part of the GLBTQIA+ community. That means at any time, companies could fire us and we could do nothing about it. In an instant, our income could have evaporated. Our community also regularly faces discrimination for housing. When we bought our previous house a few years ago we faced discrimination in house hunting and in closing. It was so bad that even after we were handed the keys I was anxious for weeks. No one should have to worry that they can be denied such a basic human right as shelter because of who they are.
Still not sure what any of this has to do with homesteading?
It has everything to do with our homesteading. Being part of the community was a major factor in deciding to begin our journey. Being trans affects a million tiny decisions. I analyze everyday mundane activities for safety and risk. Tasks like dropping by the bank, grabbing groceries, or even getting gas for our vehicle need consideration. How we speak, who we are seen in public with, how we dress, and even our behaviors affect how safe we are. Hypervigilance becomes second nature to many of us. With this comes a higher stress level, more chronic illnesses, and a shortened lifespan. Add in that much of the community also faces housing and job discrimination. Then you get a perfect recipe for “hidden” factors that affect your health.
Homesteading gives us back our humanity by allowing us to take action to ensure our quality of life. Taking action for me personally means learning about herbal medicine, nutrition, mental health protocols, basic first aid, gardening, raising animals, and growing food. These are things I need to know to take care of myself in a system that casts us aside. If I am educated on nutrition and raising my own food, I can provide for my dietary needs. If I am educated on mental health protocols and first aid, I can cope with trauma from accidents and act quickly to prevent an injury from getting worse. It also allows me to advocate for the treatment I need but may not be getting.
Homesteading has been our journey to re-establish personal power in a society that actively works to disempower us. We also work to share that reclaimed power with others through our blogs, social media pages, healthy community support, and the growth of our inclusive homesteading community.