Call to Action 20/30 Online Book Group Series on Family

Hello, everyone!  From time to time this blog is used to alert you all to upcoming events sponsored by the CTA 20/30 Community.10922725_10206401728304832_5422178793120968808_n

The Call to Action 20/30 Community is launching a monthly series of Online Book Groups on Family.  20/30 members Sarah Holst and Katie Jones (the current and former editors of this blog!) will be hosting conversations on chapters that explore the diversity of family life and community for young progressive Catholics.  These conversations are hosted online and all are welcome to join.

The 20/30 Online Book Groups are exciting and supportive conversations. This series will creatively explore expanding boundaries and blurring borders of what “family” means in the lived contexts of members of the 20/30 group. The Book Groups will use chapters from books that examine traditional ideas and assumptions, view Catholic thought through anti-oppression lenses, and expand on ways to build communities and practices of inclusion. Monthly conversations about these chapters will be held on Google Chat.  These are safe spaces to bring your experience, identities and faith wherever you are on your journey. Continue reading

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In memoriam: Robert McClory (1932-2015)

On Good Friday, I boarded the Metra Electric train to the Chicago Loop. There, I represented Call To Action at the annual Good Friday Walk For Justice, which is sponsored by the 8th Day Center For Justice.

The walk is a modern-day Stations of the Cross that examines contemporary social issues at each station. Each station has a different organization presenting it. With CTA program director Ellen Euclide, I read for the Fourth Station, “Helped In The Struggle.” It focused on the struggle for justice within the church.

Other Call To Action folks were there. They included our colleague, retired chapter liaison and development director Bob Heineman. As Ellen and I completed our station, near the Chicago Board of Trade, Bob looked grim. He told us he had a new message on his voice mail. He needed to check it now.  Continue reading

Collateral damage: Of boycotting and leaving in an age of insanity

So, a few days ago, this happened:

Such a picture, I believe, is odious and repulsive at face value. Others who share that belief are urging dramatic action.

Actor George Takei is one of them. As he put it in an MSNBC blog post: “I have called for a boycott of Indiana by companies, conventions and tourists, not only to send a clear message to Indiana, but also to help stop the further erosion of our core civil values in other parts of this country.”

Takei compared the situation to a previous boycott, which had rolled back a similar “Religious Freedom Bill” in Arizona in 2014: “But thanks to pressures upon the governor’s office in days before she was set to sign the law, and in the face of a boycott of the state by tourists and the NFL, which threatened to move the Super Bowl to Pasadena, Gov. Jan Brewer ultimately decided to veto the law. Tolerance and equality won out that day.”  Continue reading

Fix Society, Please

Earlier this semester we organized a Rally for Trans and Queer Justice in response to the violence that many in the trans and queer communities are experiencing.  It was inspired by rallies calling for justice following the aftermath of ongoing events at Ferguson and the tragic death of Eric Gardner.   As I read articles about the rallies and participated in some of the rallies here in Athens, I became aware that the lives of trans and queer people were not receiving attention despite the many alarming (but overlooked) reports involving trans women of color being murdered in the United States.  I do not want to undermine the #blacklivesmatter movement or the conversations connected to how the black community is treated and mistreated by systems of oppression that permeate all levels of society; however, I do not want these conversations to overshadow the lives lost due to violence in all its forms targeted towards trans and queer communities.  In our chanting and call for justice we must also include #translivesmatter … it is not about replacing or undermining or getting caught up in who is more oppressed, but coming together to ensure that #ALLlivesmatter in our rallying and ranting and writing.

Below is the reflection I shared at the rally.

Saludos a todas y todos…My name is delfin and I am trans and queer person of color.  On behalf of the center and all involved in making today happen, thank your for your presence!

Today, we rally, rant, rave, and chant NOT ONE MORE!  Today, we rally, rant, rave, and chant to break the silence.

As trans people our lives, voices, bodies, and experiences have been forgotten, neglected, and silenced. Today we roar…NOT ONE MORE!

Queer and Trans people are victims and survivors of all forms of violence. We have experienced and we are surviving…

  • Violence such as living in Ohio, one of 29 states where we can be fired for being and/or being perceived as LGBT
  • Violence such as having to navigate a campus segregated by gender, where our pronouns and names are misused and abused … a campus and community where finding a safe restroom to use is an everyday challenge
  • Violence such as suicide…40-50% of suicides are attempted and/or completed by LGB youth with rates being higher for trans youth
  • The violence of conversion therapy and reparative therapy
  • The violence that erases the lives and experiences of Asexuals due to misunderstandings of romantic and emotional attraction
  • Violence reflected in that trans women are at higher risk of sexual assault than cisgender women…the rates being much higher for trans women of color
  • The violence of having to be diagnosed with a disorder in order to live into and be who we are
  • The violence of our lives, bodies, experiences, and voices being silenced, erased, and pushed to the side

In December, 17 year old Leelah Alcorn completed suicide.  In her note she challenged us to fix society…It is in her honor and in the honor of many many many more that we gather today to fix society and to fix society now!

Just this month, 3 black trans women were murdered:  Ms Edwards, Lamia Beard, and Ty Underwood.  In Colorado a queer identified youth, Jessie, was the victim of homicide perpetrated by the police force.  In our own state of Ohio, 4 trans women of color have been murdered…these are story the stories that we’ve heard through the media…there are many more that go unreported and untold.

Research shows that 67% of victims of anti-LGBT violence are trans women of color…research shows that 30 to possible 70% of homeless youth identify as LGBT.  Many of the names read at Trans Day of Remembrance last November were of Latina women.

Where is our national outcry?  Where are the occupies and the national organizing?  Where are the programs ensuring that those silenced are not forgotten?  We here today, we are breaking this silence…We roar NOT ONE MORE!

Yes we want equality, yes we want legal protections, yes we want healthcare…more importantly, we want the simple yet radical act of being recognized and affirmed as people.  We want to know at our core that our lives, bodies, voices, and experiences are affirmed…we want to know that we matter.

Today, people will share their stories of struggle and resilience.  We have folks who have volunteered to share and we also welcome for folks gathered here to share.

Today, tomorrow, and every day, we will break the silence…we will rally, rant, rave, and chant until the violence stops!

Not one more murder…Not one more suicide…Not one more silencing…Not one more, period!

¡Muchas gracias!  ¡Viva la revolucion!

Some chants shared at the rally shared here for your use at other rallies…

The People United Will Never Be Defeated

Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Transphobia’s Got To Go

This is What Democracy looks Like

Trans lives taken – shut it down!  Not one more life – shut it down!  The whole damn system – shut it down!

We’re here, we’re trans, we’re fabulous, don’t fuck with us

When trans people are under attack, what do we do, stand up, fight back

Whose streets? Our streets! Trans rights now

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delfin bautista is a member of the CTA National Board of Directors; delfin is also a member of Dignity’s Young Adult Caucus and is co-chair for Dignity’s Trans Caucus.  delfin currently serves as the Director of the LGBT Center at Ohio University.  delfin “preaches” on their own blog “Mi Lucha, Mi Pulpito” and  is a contributor to the Young Adult Catholic Blog and to Believe Out Loud.

Cookie Monster and the limits of the theological enterprise

Via BoingBoing.net.

Via BoingBoing.net.

In my Facebook feed this week, I found something that warms my brought-up-on-Sesame-Street heart: “Cookie Monster ponders the mysteries of the universe.”

“Are you ready for some mind-altering, existential truth?” writes Boing Boing’s Maggie Tokuda-Hall. “Then by all means, behold: Cookie Monster. Not afraid to ask the difficult questions, his inquiring mind is like a tour guide for the hungry.”

Cookie Monster, lost in deep thought, wanders the corridors of the Guggenheim in New York. He gazes through the windows. He contemplates Van Gogh’s Starry Night. He meditates on a painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware. At each station, he turns to the camera and utters an insight:

“Onion rings are vegetable donuts.”

“Your stomach thinks all potatoes are mashed.”

“Lobsters are mermaids to scorpions.”

“Lasagna is just spaghetti-flavored cake!”  Continue reading

Called by name

Via RogerEbert.com.

Via RogerEbert.com.

I keep up with pop culture in the same way that my parents keep up with communications technology. (That is to say, they own two rotary phones.) So last week was the first time I watched Gran Torino, a 2008 film starring and directed by Clint Eastwood.

Eastwood plays Walt Kowalski, a grumpy, foul-mouthed, bigoted widower in his seventies. He is a Korean War veteran. He loves his guns, his ability to fix anything, and his 1972 Gran Torino. He built it himself at the Detroit Ford factory where he worked for decades. Kowalski is one of the last holdouts in an old Polish-American neighborhood now settled by Asian immigrants, particularly Hmong.

Thao, a young man from the Hmong family next door, is shy, bookish, and passive. He is easy prey for relatives trying to conscript him into a local gang. Thao’s initiation is to steal Kowalski’s Gran Torino. He fails miserably and is almost shot dead by Kowalski.  Continue reading

All Families Are Holy … Except Yours

south-dakota-marriage-equalityMy husband and I were with family on Holy Family Sunday, so we went to a Catholic service. The priest gave his homily about how the face of the family was changing, so that there were fewer and fewer families that looked like Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. He claimed that families in which grandparents raised the children, families with adopted or foster children, and even (gasp) single-parent families could all be “holy families” because it’s not about “what families look like,” but “how they treat each other.” [My husband thinks the single-parent thing was a concession because there are so many of them and the priest didn’t want to diss a sizable contingent of parishioners, and I did note that he seemed to think single-parent families were only okay if the parents didn’t “plan” for it to happen that way.]

He then went on to assure us that families led by same-sex couples could not fit into the Biblical definition of a Holy Family by their very nature–as the “readings showed.”

This comment perplexed me, and the priest did not offer any clarification. So I re-examined the readings for the day and still found nothing. Yes, there is reference in the readings to marital relationships between “husbands” and “wives,” but if this does not exclude single-parent families, why does it exclude same-sex headed households?

He couldn’t offer clarification, of course, because as more GLBTQ people come out and more straight people can put faces on the “issue,” all of the old excuses stop holding up so well. All the ready defenses crumble, so that the best you can do is make vague statements about your disapproval and hope that no one calls you on it.

On Monday, a federal judge overturned South Dakota’s same-sex marriage ban. In so doing, she addressed every one of the state’s “defenses,” showing them for the flimsy covers for prejudice that they were. The whole opinion came across as a slap on the hand for Governor Daugaard and Attorney General Jackley, and it’s about time. On page 23, she wonders why South Dakota’s state leaders are so hung up on “preserving the status quo.”

A very good question.

One I would like to ask the priest from Holy Family Sunday.

Sometimes, someone with more power finally swoops in and chastises those who refuse to stand on the side of love and equality. The top-down approach in the Catholic church means there are many options for someone with “more power” to swoop in and chastise priests that continue to make discriminatory comments and behave in exclusionary ways.

Progressives love to grab hold of Pope Francis’ now iconic “who am I to judge?” comment as a signal of real change in the church. But the truth is, until the church holds its officials accountable for their hurtful choices, until the church rethinks its teachings on homosexuality and reexamines the meaning of love in all its complexity, diversity and simplicity, the church that our “non-judgmental” pontiff leads is passing judgment every single day.

“Who am I to judge?”

You’re the leader of the world’s largest denomination, that’s who. I’d like to tell Pope Francis to please, go ahead and judge, because we’ve been waiting too long for watered down statements about love and acceptance to bring about real change. Go ahead and judge, and when you do, perhaps you can take a page from the 26 federal judges who finally said, “Enough is enough,” and struck down discriminatory state marriage laws, one after the other.

That’s the kind of judgment that makes me proud to be American, and finally proud to be South Dakotan.

I would love that kind of judgment to make me feel proud to be Catholic again as well.