From the May-June 2016 issue of News & Letters
Queer women Rachel Williams, of Black Lives Matter Chicago, and Kristiana Colon, of #LetUsBreathe Collective, are among young African-American Lesbians, Bisexual and Transgender women who are leading and shaping Black Lives Matter, raising awareness of police brutality against Black women and marginalized peoples. They take inspiration from Transgender woman Marsha P. Johnson, who resisted police at the Stonewall Riots in 1969, and the Combahee River Collective—Black women who stated their sexual orientation without apology and who issued a statement in 1977 identifying the intersection of racism, sexism and heterosexism. Alicia Garza, Patrice Cullors and Opal Tometi founded Black Lives Matter in reaction to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the murder of Trayvon Martin.
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Indonesia’s Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu called LGBT rights more dangerous than the possibility of nuclear warfare, the Indonesian Psychiatric Association declared Queer people mentally ill, Vice President H. Muhammad Jusuf Kalla asked the UN to cut funding for LGBT rights education and the national broadcasting commission banned TV and radio programs that portray Queer lives as “normal.” President Joko Widodo ran on a platform of support for human rights, but has remained silent on these official actions.
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The Chicago GLBT Chapter of the national Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), a peer-led group, provides mental health safe space and support to the Chicago Queer community and its allies. Chicago GLBT people have been seeking alternative and affordable mental health support since Chicago Mayor Emanuel shut down half the city’s mental health clinics in 2012 and the State of Illinois has withheld funds. Go to www.dbsalliance.org to find a DBSA chapter near you or to form a new chapter. All DBSA chapters are volunteer-run.