Saturday, November 1, 2008

Gay Thoughts, Race Thoughts

Something about living in Texas makes me get teary-eyed when I see beautiful, solid, media representation of gays (see example below). Austin is safe for gays as a whole and celebratory in some ways too, though there are always weird incidents that happen. Sometimes the incidents are far worse than just weird; there have been a few recent bus-beating incidents in Austin that definitely made me think about my safety as a lesbian.

I will say that Austin is a largely happy and progressive town, but there is a lot of general ignorance here about race, sexuality, and gender identity. The ignorance is remarkably high and un-checked compared to my experience in New York/ New England. I can only attribute it to the relative isolation of this enormous state holding down the center of our country far from the big cities of both coasts.

I was talking to my friend Amber about this last night: We all, from whatever racial background we are, need to be doing as much intentional anti-racism work, and pro-inclusion work around sexual and gender identities as we can. Let us allow each other the space to be honest and challenge each other for the parts of the collective, societal racism that we carry. It is all the unchecked bits and pieces of institutional racism we allow to survive in us that keep the collective racism alive. It is all the little unchecked pieces of racism, in even the most tolerant among us, that allow people to still be uncertain a bi-racial man could lead our country.

Now for what got me teary-eyed. I just watched the preview for a new film coming out November 21st, "I Can't Think Straight." The film is transnational writer Shamim Sarif's directorial debut and is a romantic comedy in which the lead protagonists are both women of color. More on it from the film's website:

[In] “I Can’t Think Straight”...the cultural backdrop forms an intelligent base for [the protagonists'] journey towards self-awareness and each other.

Tala, a London-based Jordanian of Palestinian origin, prepares for an elaborate wedding with her Jordanian fiancé, when she encounters a timid Leyla, a young British Indian woman who is dating her best friend Ali.

I Can't Think Straight opens in New York and Los Angeles Nov. 21. For more on the movie visit its official website.