This weekend, Friday, Sept 7 - 9, 2007, was the Tongue to Tongue Conference (http://www.tonguetotongue.org/) in Los Angeles, California. The conference was held at the Gay and Lesbian Center, called The Village, in West Hollywood.
I went to the trans history workshop, a useful backgrounder on the elite establishments vision of tranny hirstory, a medicalized view of "gender dystopia." We heard stories of tranny and queer folks, gender benders, and I wished we had shared stories of Mu Lan, of the Spanish daughter of an African mother who had a wife and children and was persecuted in the Spanish Inquisition for her gender bending, and of la tranny who was one of the instigators of Stonewall. That the trannies were the ones leading that charge.
The LGBTQI Immigration Workshop was moderated by Liliana Perez, who is queer liaison for the Fabian Nuñez, and the presenters were
- Fran Hutchings, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA)
- Xiomara Corpeño, also from CHIRLA,
- myself, Diana Pei Wu, from the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, and
- Jasmyne Cannick, a blogger, and now a community liaison for newly elected Congressional Representative Laura Richardson
We didnt' really talk about the situation of queer immigrants and refugees.
I mentioned our work on LGBTQI rights and Immigrant Rights, and our work trying to link movmeents.
Many of the people in the room worked on interesting stuff. service providers as well as organizers.
In retrospect we could have spent more time on the stories of LGBTQ migrants and refugees,
and not been derailed by one person trying to be the wedge, represent all African Americans, and at the same time tell the immigrant and refugee rights movement what we should be doing to include more black folk. and she didn't even do anything to find out what we do, and obviously who had no clue as to what else is going on in places where people take the time to create the space to know each other, and to knwo what we do, who we are.
- we are not all immigrants. but most of us do have stories of forced migration, displacement, and movement and migration in our stories.
- the immigrations system is not broken. it is racist. it works exactly the way it has been designed to work, since the chinese exclusion act of 1882 through the border security acts etc of the present day.
- human rights not economic or political pragmatism
- broad movements for racial, economic and social justice
- there is good legislation out there that adheres to our values and principles.
if it had been me, i would have highlted the case of Ms. Arellano who just passed in LA and the case of the trans sister who is suing CDC for neglecting her repeated requests for safety from being raped by the man who was her cellmate, and the cases of the people in our BRIDGE curriculum.
it felt like mostly LA-heads but a lot of folks from the Bay too. yay.