Social media exploded this week when Vanity Fair’s cover introduced Caitlin Jenner to the world and continued a dialogue about the gender identity of the former Olympic track star who went by Bruce Jenner. But as Laverne Cox, another trans celebrity, said, “Most trans folks don’t have the privileges Caitlyn and I have now have,” and raised the issues of access to healthcare, jobs, housing, safe streets, safe schools and homes for our young people.
In February this year, a group of queer and trans people of color brought the Black Lives Matter movement into the Castro. They chanted and held up images of black queer and trans people killed by police or vigilantes. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence programs reported that in 2013, 72 percent of anti-LGBT homicides were against trans women, 89 percent of whom were transgender women of color.
The Transgender Law Center has been vigilantly working to make gender expression a basic right by changing law, policy, and attitudes so that all people can live safely, authentically, and free from discrimination regardless of their gender identity or expression. Int his timely moment, here’s an interview with TLC’s new executive director, Kris Hayashi, conducted by Monna Wong who runs API Equality Northern California.
This week on Apex Express, we feature some “supergays” in our community. Host Robynn Takayama talks with Jenni Chang and her partner Lisa Dazols who will be traveling around the world meeting LGBT community leaders. We’ll also hear from Yvette Choy, producer of the Ms. TangTang Show, a live variety show talk show featuring queer Asian American artists. HIV activist Tita Aida talks about her interest in the project and then Tita Aida transforms into Ms. Tangtang who then takes over Apex Express to interview multimedia artist Shawn Tamaribuchi. Learn more below.
Jenni Chang and Lisa Dazols have packed up their lives for a year where they will travel to 17 countries on three continents meeting the “supergays,” a word they’ve coined for leaders in the queer community. This adventure will take them to countries like South Africa and Argentina where gay marriage is legal and countries like Kenya where homosexuality is criminalized. They will be documenting their interviews and their experiences traveling as lesbians on their blog, Out and Around: Stories of a Not-So-Straight Journey.
Out and Around has created opportunities for the couple to talk with youth, people of faith, and individuals about the impact of homophobia and bullying. They plan to continue this education process by creating a documentary of their travels and the conversations they have with the supergays and are fundraising for this project on Indie-Gogo.
Our second segment features The Ms. Tangtang Show, hosted by HIV/AIDS health worker Tita Aida as the lovely Ms. Tangtang. Featured artists include performance artist D’Lo, photographer Mia Nakano, and the Rice Rockettes, among others. You can catch the live taping on Thursday, June 23 at 7 p.m. at the African American Art and Culture Complex (762 Fulton Street). Tickets are $15-20. To support their Kickstarter fundraising campaign, click here.
Tonight, Frameline kicks off the 35th anniversary of the world’s oldest and largest LGBT film festival. Frameline35 is a legendary event that draws together the LGBT, independent film, and media arts communities for 11 days of diverse, innovative, and socially relevant cinema. Offering a unique collage of groundbreaking documentaries, entertaining features, touching short films, and queer cinematic classics, Frameline35 pays tribute to the diverse legacy of queer images and champions new visions for the future of LGBT film-making. The festival continues through June 26th. To check out their program, visit frameline.org
Tonight also kicks off Sustaining Community: Queer Pacific Islanders Shaping California. In the 2008 Prop 8 campaign to ban same sex marriage in California, Samoan, Tongan and other Pacific Islander communities were demonized by the media and U.S. based churches as homophobic fanatics who hate gay people. In this two-night run, Queer Pacific Islanders from Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia take front and center stage to dispel these myths and present narratives of Queer Pacific Islanders’ struggles to proliferate and protect queer communities, fight for the betterment of Pacific Islanders, and tell of their battles for social justice. The narratives are told through traditional and modern dance, dialogues and monologues, poetry, original music and video. Tomorrow’s performance starts at 7:30 at The Garage in San Francisco. For more information, visit 975Howard.com
June 17 from 6:30-10:30, Manilatown Heritage Foundation invites you to the opening reception of their new exhibition, Laced with Tradition. This free exhibition features tattoo artist Melissa Manuel who has studied the art of tatau and neo-tribal tattoo.
This Saturday, working people standing up for their unions, their rights, and their fair share of society’s benefits will gather at Laney College in Oakland for the 3rd Bay Area Troublemakers School.This School, sponsored by Labor Notes, brings together a collection of vibrant, engaged, curious and activist members of unions, worker centers, and community-based pro-labor organizations to share struggles, learn together about economic forces shaping our world, and kindle inspiration and solidarity. Workers from the Chinese Progressive Association and Filipino Community Center will be presenting workshops on the Campaign to End Wage Theft. For more information visit labornotes.org/bayarea.
June 19th, is the 150th birthday of Philippine National Hero, Jose Rizal. The American Center of Philippine Arts and a collective of Bay Area Filipino American artists have joined together for an exhibit to celebrate the life and legacy of this early independence leader. The exhibit is at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center, 388 9t Street in Oakland and kicks off with a dinner celebration on Saturday, June 18. Tickets to the dinner are $40, entry to the exhibit is FREE. For more information visit philippinearts.org/rizal150.htm
Here’s a reminder that the launch party for Out and Around is on Saturday, June 18 at Rebel Bar in San Francisco. Help send off Jenni and Lisa to find the Supergays around the world and launch Out and Around. San Francisco’s female folk, rock and indie musicians will be rocking out and former San Francisco Supervisor Bevan Dufty will a be guest speaker.
One more event on Saturday: catch Life is the Treasure: Okinawan Memories of WWII, a collection of riveting historical stories of astounding integrity, courage and selflessness. Brought to vivid life by award-winning storyteller Alton Chung, these stories share the experiences of Nisei, Okinawans, and Hawaii Okinawans during WWII. The show is at the Buddhist Church of San Francisco. It starts at 7 p.m. and tickets are $5-12. For more information, visit altongchung.com
On Thursday, June 23 you can catch the Ms. TangTang show, an evening featuring queer API artists. The show is at 7:30 in San Francisco at the African American Art and Culture Complex. Tickets are $15-20. For more information, visit mstangtang.com.
Finally, on Tuesday, June 28, catch a staged reading of “Boys That Pray,” by queer, Sri Lankan-American performer D’lo. “Boys that Pray” tackles issues of masculine voices within the feminist/womanist movement and the lives of those who live under the margin of where the LGBTQ community conducts all their policy change and equal rights agendas. The reading is at San Francisco’s Brava Theater and tickets are $12. You can learn more at http://dlocokid.com/