Culture

What PDA Is Like When You’re LGBTQIA+

Public displays of affection are the common little perks that come with being in a relationship. If you aren’t in a relationship, it can seem kind of mushy but anyone who’s coupled will tell you it’s awesome. Being able to casually hold their hand or lean in for a kiss helps to strengthen the bond you have with your partner. It’s small manifestations of the love they make you feel.

However, not everyone gets to experience this freedom in a relationship. If you’re a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, you know that PDA often works differently for you. It can be more rare — and more precious — because of our social climate. It can also be a validation of your love.

Safety is also something that often sets it apart from straight PDA. Around the globe, even here in the U.S. LGBTQ+ PDA can often be an act of bravery. Whatever the difference, it’s proof that you’re part of the LGBTQIA+ community and that’s important.

We’ve gathered responses from LGBTQIA+ social media users and they gave us some incredible insights on acts of affection.

The need to cautiously avoid danger is one that straight people don’t often feel with PDA.

iStock

“I think that it’s been really hard for me to show any PDA to my girlfriend because there is a factor of ‘what if?’ And recently with so many hate crimes against POC in the LGBTQ+ I have been very cautious. It wasn’t until recently that I have been trying to go outside my comfort zone and hold my girlfriend hand or even put my head on her shoulder. I’m happy about my accomplishments in regards to being more open in public.” — @Angelina.vicenio

There is a trend of queer, femme-presenting PDA being devoured and monetized by outsiders. This writer shared the complexity she feels about this as a bisexual woman.

Swipe Life

“Now that I openly date women and femme-presenting folks, PDA is multi-layered. I still love it, but I can feel our kisses being consumed by cishet men in the vicinity. Sometimes, I can hear them whistling or calling their friends over to watch. I wish they knew that these moments aren’t for them. But queer women are so hypersexualized and fetishized that even seeing two of us on a date is perceived as an invitation.” — Gabrielle Noel, writer

PDA is a struggle if you or your partner aren’t publically out yet.

The Culture Trip

“I’m the mother of a gay son. His BF hasn’t come out yet and they can not show any type of PDA and that frustrates my son so much. They are always in the house and I feel so bad because they are missing out. I live in DC and my neighborhood has many gay couples. Love is love and wherever I go, if I hear someone speak negative about a gay couple showing affection, I shut it down immediately. I try and take my son and his BF to places where they can be themselves, but I also encourage them to be brave and to always stand up for who they are and what they deserve.” — @acro__iris__

When harrassed about PDA, abuse can run the gambit from passive mistreatment to aggressive actions.

NY Times

“Many people in my life don’t clock me as gay so I guess that counts? Once I was holding hands with a guy in downtown Riverside and got yelled “f-ggot” by some dude in a car. One time I was kissing my high school bf and my “friends” threw a hacky sack at our faces.” — @bruhjeria

This Twitter user reminds us that straight people don’t need safe places to be themselves — but LGBTQIA+ people do.

Queerty.com

“Unfortunately, it is hard to engage in minor public displays of affection (hand holding, hugging, small kisses) as a gay person due to mean stares and fears of being attacked. Pride is a safe space for me. Straight people don’t need that type of space to engage in PDA.” — @willygr8tweets

LGBTQIA+ couples are sometimes even forced to hold back during PRIDE — which should be a safe place.

The Culture Trip

“It’s a shame we still have to deal w people telling us we shouldn’t kiss or engage in pda at pride, at OUR safe space, bc it makes them ‘uncomfortable'” — @emmalejenkins_

However, allies and queer people alike still feel warm and fuzzy seeing LGBTQIA+ PDA.

Elite Daily

“Am I the only one who absolutely hates PDA but if it’s a gay/lesbian/queer couple i’m like ((((((-: <333” — @jaydee_cakess

This person reminded us that PDA is a universal right.

iStock

“‘U can be gay all u want but i don’t want to see two guys making out in public, ew’ PDA!!! IS!!! THE!!! SAME!!! DESPITE!!! WHO!!! IS!!! KISSING!!! WHO!!! WHY are two men different than a man and woman showing affection in public?” — @c_alexandraxo

Though there is still so much work to do, this Twitter user pointed out the progress the LGBTQIA+ community has seen.

OnABicycleBuiltForTwo.com

“#LancasterPride shows how far we’ve come. When I first moved here in ‘98, any same-sex PDA had to be checking all directions before gently brushing knuckles. Unless you were at the gay night at The Warehouse. Then you had to practically hump on the dance floor just to say hello.” — @RG_Bhaji

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A Small Victory For Trans Ohioans As Transphobic Violence And Legislation Persists

Things That Matter

A Small Victory For Trans Ohioans As Transphobic Violence And Legislation Persists

Prior to 2016, trans people were able to change the sex marker on their birth certificates. That was until the Ohio Department of Health under former Republican gov. John Kasich “re-reviewed” its policy denying this right.

Upheld for four years, state government officials claimed the regulations were necessary to maintain “accurate birth records” and prevent “fraud.”

Though for trans folk, not having an accurate ID can be dangerous.

Ohio’s former four-year-old policy explicitly targeted transgender people.

Stacie Ray, a transgender woman, attended a job orientation back in 2016 that required new employees to present their birth certificates. When a human resources staffer called Ray up, she was outed in front of the other new employees.

According to the ACLU, she was called a “freak” and received harassment from co-workers threatening to “beat her ass” if she used the women’s bathroom. Ray quit after two weeks, though her troubles didn’t end there.

Although her driver’s license correctly identified her as female, her mismatched birth certificate prevented her from receiving higher paying jobs. Humiliated she went to change her birth certificate, but was rejected.

Fed up Ray, alongside three other transgender people sued the state against the policy refusing to change their birth certificates.

Ohio, until recently, was one of two states that banned trans people from updating their birth certificates to match their lived gender.

Last December, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio ruled in their favor condemning the state’s unconstitutional policy.

After examining the Plaintiffs’ evidence, Judge Michael Watson wrote in a 28-page-order that, “It is not just the Plaintiffs’ own experiences that have caused them to fear disclosing their status but also a broader reality that, unfortunately, many transgender individuals do face a heightened risk of ‘discrimination, harassment, and violence because of their gender identity.'”

In a 2015 state report by the National Center for Transgender Equality, 36 percent of trans people who presented an ID that didn’t match their lived gender were “verbally harassed, denied benefits or service, asked to leave, or assaulted.”

The Ohio Department of Health was expected to challenge the court ruling, but have since recanted their appeal. A process for trans people to rectify their birth certificates is set to be unveiled by June 1st.

This small victory comes as anti-trans laws are piling up nationwide.

2021 is on the cusp of surpassing 2015’s record for the most anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in recent history. More than 250 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced with states like Texas, Montana, Tennessee, and Arkansas leading the country’s bills.

Eight of them have already been enacted into law. But a vast majority of the anti-trans legislation will affect trans youth.

LGBTQ+ people and their allies are fighting back against a slew of anti-LGBTQ+ bills.

Currently, at least 66 proposed bills are anti-trans sports bills. At least 35 bills would prohibit youth from receiving access to gender-affirming medical care.

Last month, Arkansas became the first state to pass the most extreme anti-trans law yet. Despite a veto by Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, lawmakers passed the bill which will ban transgender youth from receiving proper medical gender-affirming care.

House Bill 1570, also known as the SAFE Act, would ban doctors from providing care to trans and non-binary youth under the age of 18 or risk losing their medical license.

LGBTQ+ activists have continuously advocated that these bills are increasingly harmful to trans and nonbinary youth.

In 2020, 52 percent of trans and nonbinary youth considered suicide, according to a survey by The Trevor Project. Twenty-six percent of youth without access to gender-affirming care attempted suicide.

Unfortunately, the horrors of transphobic rhetoric has not ceased.

Anti-trans violence is also rising as another trans woman of color is killed.

At least 17 transgender people have been killed in 2021 with the majority of victims disproportionately being Black and Latinx trans women.

In April alone, five trans women were killed as the recent news of Natalia “Smut” Lopez emerged last week. A 24-year-old Afro-Puerto Rican trans woman, Lopez was a beloved drag artist in her local San Jose LGBTQ+ community.

Senselessly killed by her partner, her assailant admitted to having stabbed Lopez in a 911 call, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, and is now facing murder charges.

Intimate partner violence disproportionately affects trans women of color compared to the general population. Since 2013, the Human Rights Campaign has tracked over 202 cases of fatal violence against trans and nonbinary people.

Last year was marked as the worst year for transphobic violence as 44 trans people were killed. So far, 2021 is on track to surpass that.

Local organizers and friends of Lopez have held a vigil for her which was attended by over 100 people. In addition, Lopez’s longtime friend Kiara Ohlde organized a GoFundMe to support Lopez’s family and funeral expenses.

To help donate, you can access the GoFundMe here.

As 2021, shows little promise in protecting and uplifting trans life, it is adamant that we continue to fight for trans and LGBTQ rights.

As the fight for justice prevails the Human Rights Campaign has compiled a list mourning the trans lives lost in 2021 so far.

Say their names! Share their stories! Continue to fight for your fellow trans brothers and sisters.

  • Tyianna Alexander, who was also known as Davarea Alexander, was a 28-year-old Black trans woman. Tyianna was shot to death in Chicago on January 6.
  • Samuel Edmund Damián Valentín, a transgender man, was killed on January 9 in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico. Samuel was looking forward to starting a new year.
  • Bianca “Muffin” Bankz, a Black transgender woman, was shot to death in Atlanta, Ga. on January 17.
  • Dominique Jackson, a Black transgender woman, was shot to death in Jackson, Miss. on January 25.
  • Fifty Bandza 21-year-old Black transgender woman, was shot to death in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on January 28.
  • Alexus Braxton, also known as Kimmy Icon Braxton, a 45-year-old Black trans woman, was killed on Feb. 4 in Miami.  
  • Chyna Carrillo, who also went by Chyna Cardenas, was killed in the morning hours of February 18, 2021, in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania.
  • Siblings Jeffrey “JJ” Bright, a 16-year-old trans boy, and Jasmine Cannady, a 22-year-old non-binary person, both from Ambridge, Pennsylvania, were killed on February 22.
  • Jenna Franks, a 34-year-old white transgender woman, was killed in Jacksonville, North Carolina in February.
  • Diamond Kyree Sanders, a 23-year-old Black transgender woman, was shot to death in Cincinnati, Ohio on March 3.
  • Rayanna Pardo, a 26-year-old Latina trans woman, was killed on March 17 in Los Angeles.
  • Jaida Peterson, a 29-year-old Black trans woman, was killed on April 4 in Charlotte, N.C.
  • Dominique Lucious, a 26-year-old Black transgender woman, was shot and killed on April 8 in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Remy Fennell, a Black transgender woman in her 20s, was shot to death on April 15 in Charlotte, N.C.
  • Tiara Banks, a 24-year-old Black transgender woman, was killed in Chicago, Illinois on April 21, 2021. According to a news report, Tiara was sitting alone in her Ford Fusion when the shooter approached the vehicle and shot Tiara multiple times. Tiara was pronounced dead at the scene.
  • Natalia Smut, a 24-year-old Black and Puerto Rican transgender woman, was killed on April 23 in Milpitas, California.

Read: More Anti-Trans Bills Have Been Introduced in 2021 Than Any Year in History

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Singer-Songwriter Kany García Speaks Out Against Conversion Therapy in Puerto Rico

Entertainment

Singer-Songwriter Kany García Speaks Out Against Conversion Therapy in Puerto Rico

As the Puerto Rican government is debating a bill on conversion therapy, Kany García is speaking out against the controversial practice. The Boricua singer-songwriter wrote an open letter to the senators in favor of Senate Bill 184, which would help end conversion therapy on the island.

Kany is one of Puerto Rico’s most-decorated artists.

García is one of the Puerto Rico’s top artists. She’s won six Latin Grammy out of a career 20 nominations. In March, she was also nominated for her third Grammy Award for her latest album Mesa Para Dos.

This year Kany celebrated five years since coming out.

On Valentine’s Day 2016, García revealed that she was in a relationship with her partner, Jocelyn Troche. The couple is still going strong with Troche appearing in last year’s “Lo Que En Ti Veo.” She and García share beautiful moments in the video. At November’s Latin Grammy Awards, there was a big wave of artists in the LGBTQ+ community in the major categories, including García, Ricky Martin, Pablo Alborán, and Jesse y Joy’s Joy Huerta.

She’s telling Puerto Rican senators to pass Senate Bill 184 in her letter.

Since coming out, García has remained at the forefront of queer issues in Puerto Rico. The passage of Senate Bill 184 seeks to prohibit conversion therapy. The controversial practice has long harmed LGBTQ+ communities. It’s thought of as a way to rid them of their queer gender or sexual identities.

“Puerto Rico deserves that every girl and boy, every young woman and young man can be who they want to be and love who they want to love,” García wrote in her letter. “This measure has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with the protection of Puerto Rican children and youth.”

García speaks from her own experience. “I am an example of how to be faithful to who you are. I am a woman who deeply loves her partner and who is loved by her family and by our people. There is nothing to change. There is nothing to repair. There’s nothing to heal. We have to give the same opportunity that I have had, to be who I am, to all our children and youth.”

García further writes that the bill should be passed as-is without any amendments. According to Al Día news, Popular Democratic Party Senators Gretchen Hau, Elizabeth Rosa Velez, and Migdalia Gonzalez have filed several amendments to Senate Bill 184 as of Wednesday. Puerto Rico’s governor Pedro Pierluisi has indicated that he’s ready to override the senators if necessary.

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Read: Thalía, Alejandra Gúzman, Anitta And More Lined-Up for ‘Ellas y Su Música’ Mother’s Day Special

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