Thursday, August 23, 2012

In the News: The Advocate

WATCH: March Honors 46th Anniversary of Compton's Cafeteria Riots

Nearly five decades later, San Franciscans look back at a major turning point in trans liberation.

BY Diane Anderson-Minshall

August 23 2012 5:31 PM ET

In the 1960s, Compton's Cafeteria in San Francisco's gritty Tenderloin neighborhood was virtually the only place in the city where transgender folks could congregate publicly, as they weren't allowed in gay bars at the time. Cross-dressing was still illegal in the city, and the local police often used the presence of trans women as a pretext for raiding and closing gay bars.
The patrons at Compton's were used to being rousted by the police, but one night, after a cop attempted to arrest one trans woman, that "street queen" (as the women were often called) fought back and tossed her drink into the officer's face. A huge riot broke out and spilled into the neighborhood, becomimg one of the first transgender uprisings in the U.S., three years before New York's Stonewall. (There was a much smaller riot in L.A. in 1959.)

Trans people weren't the only ones rioting as the hours went on; they were joined by many from the country's first youth group, Vanguard Youth, as well as numerous street dykes, queer hustlers, and neighborhood locals. Later LGBT folks from other parts of the city joined in.
The Compton's riot was a turning point in trans liberation, and by 1969 the first transgender advocacy group in the nation -- and the world -- had been founded, according to

Thursday, August 16, 2012

New Living Lutheran Post: St Clare of Assisi

Each Monday, I gather with a group of homeless youth in San Francisco who call themselves Otro Vanguard. I join them as a mentor, a pastor and an adult who won’t judge or take advantage of them.

Unfortunately, their stories are not too different from the stories of homeless and abandoned youth (estimated to be between 1.6 and 2.8 million) across the country. It’s hard to find the light in the deep darkness of their all too often broken and battered homes, scarred, addicted bodies or tales of dangerous sexual encounters.

Recently, I found myself sitting in a rocking chair as we shared stories, thinking about what faith stories could inspire the youth to take care of their bodies, live as soberly as possible and to seek the safest options for shelter that are available.

Read the rest at Living Lutheran.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Living Lutheran: A Lutheran Response to Shootings

Since I was 6 years old, I have been afraid of the kind of gun slaying that happened at the Batman screening recently. When I was younger, I tried to sleep in ways that made it look like my room was empty, so if an attacker came into my room at night they would not be able to find me. During nightmares, I strategized escape plans from attackers with guns in public places.

Unfortunately shootings, no matter how shocking, are not unique. And while I’m sure many survivors and pastors will be speaking out in the days following this event, I think the Lutheran tradition has a perspective that is helpful for this national conversation.

If you’re looking for lobbied opinions for more mental health care, more or less gun regulations or an attempt to figure out how or why this tragedy happened, you won’t find it here. Other traditions have louder, more polarized things to say. Lutherans are adept at issues that fall in the messy middle.

Read the rest at