Recent Posts by Preston Mitchum

#OscarsSoWhite: ‘Aunt Viv’ Wrote A Check That Jada’s Advocacy Can Cash

If Black people know how to do anything in the United States of America, it’s fight multiple battles at once. We can care about the Flint, Michigan water crisis and the upcoming Roe v. Wade anniversary, all while screaming #BlackLivesMatter and boycotting the 2016 Academy Awards.

We’re Black like that.

This is why Janet “there are more important things happening” Hubert’s reply to Jada Pinkett-Smith’s call to boycott the Oscars is so baffling.

Read the full article at Hello Beautiful.

Caitlyn Jenner is not a perfect LGBT rights advocate

In a recent interview with talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, Caitlyn Jenner revealed a surprising fact: The former Olympian and transgender icon did not always approve of same-sex marriage. In fact, she didn’t come around on the issue until this June’s Supreme Court decision, Obergefell v. Hodges, which gave same-sex couples the legal right to marry in the United States. Even then, as she claimed in the Ellen segment, Jenner wasn’t particularly excited.

Read the full article at The Daily Dot.

Sorry Rebel Wilson, the Black Lives Matter movement is not a joke

Rebel Wilson has an interesting idea of what constitutes “police injustice.”

Sunday night, before announcing Nicki Minaj as the winner for Best Hip Hop Video at the MTV VMAs, the comedian decided to discuss her issues with police.

Police strippers.

Yes, the Pitch Perfect 2 star had an opportunity with millions watching to discuss the ways in which white bodies have committed violent acts on black bodies by way of police brutality.

But I guess that’s expecting too much.

Read the full article at The Grio.

Black Lives Matter’s Trans Liberation Tuesday stops traffic

Dozens of demonstrators attending a Black Lives Matter “Trans Liberation Tuesday” protest in D.C.’s Franklin Square blocked traffic in the middle of a busy downtown intersection Tuesday night as they sought to shine a light on the recent rash of homicides of transgender women of color in 2015.

Chanting “Black Trans Lives Matter” and “Say Her Name,” the demonstrators stood in the middle of the intersection of 14th and K Streets NW and literally got in front of cars trying to pass through the intersection. Some were carrying placards or signs while others simply obstructed traffic. One driver tried to escape the intersection, driving through a group of protesters and using his car to push them back before speeding off. Police eventually were able to herd the demonstrators back onto the sidewalk without making any arrests.

Read the full article at Metro Weekly.

All Men Must Remember Their Sisters on #TransLiberationTuesday

“If you are silent about your pain, they will kill you and say you enjoyed it.” — Zora Neale Hurston

This is a letter from one cis-brother to another.

The history of black oppression is defined not only by the stories we share, but by the stories we silence. At the core of the movement for black lives are the stories of the victims of state-sanctioned violence. We must repeatedly show the body of evidence of our oppression by highlighting the literal black “bodies” the state has destroyed. Yet time and time again, the stories of black cis men have been highlighted, their narratives uplifted while the narratives of black women were added as an afterthought. This violent act of erasure for black women generally is compounded for black trans women, who are surviving on the intersection of too many systems of interlaced oppression.

Read the full article at the Advocate.

Black Lives Matter organizers hold rally in D.C. for black trans women

Venus Selenite, 25, moved to D.C. from Louisiana seven months ago to begin her transition to a woman. Selenite, a black queer trans woman, says that since that time, she has been harassed on the streets and the Metro. One time, a man on a bike chased her for two blocks in Columbia Heights, trying to make sexual advances on her.

“I’ve been harassed on the street and the Metro. I’ve started to carry a knife in my purse,” said Selenite. “Every time a trans woman has been killed, I have fallen on my bedroom floor in tears.”

Read the full article in The Washington Post.

#LeaveItIn2014: The Stories and People Who Should Stay Behind

In 2014, Black people made every effort to reclaim our humanity by exclaiming the importance of #BlackLivesMatter.  Sadly, however this also was a troubling reminder that Black lives didn’t matter to many individuals, particularly those who were hired to protect and serve everyone and not just the privileged few.  Despite this insistence of humanity, many discovered new and improved ways of appropriating, self-aggrandizing of non-Black people, usurping, and derailing conversations on race, gender, and sexual orientation, among others.

Read the full article at EBONY.

Why You Should Stop Posting The ‘Real Men, Real Women’ Memes

Trans people have complex identities that go beyond gender, sex, and sexualities, and the “real men, real women” myth doesn’t allow for that discussion.

I recently stumbled across a few interesting pictures that illustrated the characteristics of “real men” and “real women.” Included in these characteristics was a particular “look.” Initially, I didn’t understand what troubled me about these images.

Although I recognized the “real men, real women” mantra was often used by people to discuss what they want in a partner, hearing it iterated aloud was unsettling and felt intentionally polarizing.

Read the full article at Role Reboot.

What You’re Really Saying When You Ridicule Blue Ivy’s Hair

Black women are constantly scrutinized for their parenting. And attacking Blue Ivy’s hair is a way of attacking Beyonce.

A topic of conversation I never found engaging was “natural hair vs. permed hair.” Seriously, who has the audacity to tell someone their hair is wrong?

But the main reason I intentionally don’t engage in this discourse is because I’m a man with a low-cut fade. As such, telling a woman she should have permed rather than natural hair, or vice-versa, reeks of condescension and privilege.

Read the full article at Role Reboot.

Suicide Is Not Selfish, Wanting Someone To Live In Pain Is

Preston Mitchum responds to all those who took to Twitter yesterday saying Robin Williams took the easy way out.

Trigger warning: This piece contains discussions of depression, mental illness, suicide, and suicide attempts.

Oscar-winning actor, Robin Williams, was found dead in his California home yesterday, from anapparent suicide, according to investigators. He was 63 years old.

“This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings. I am utterly heartbroken,” said Susan Schneider, Williams’ widow.

Read the full article at Role Reboot.

An Open Letter To Steve Friess About Your Plea To Black Women From White Gay Men

Steve Friess wrote an article in TIME asking black women not to push white gay men away, because they, too, know what it’s like to be ostracized and pushed down. Preston Mitchum says black women don’t need Friess’ kind of solidarity.

Dear Steve:

It’s me, Preston. A queer, black man writing to explain something critical to anyone who wants to stand in solidarity with others: Faux solidarity is never appreciated, respected, or refreshing.

Read the full letter at Role Reboot.

What Makes A Name ‘Ghetto’?

If you don’t like a name, don’t give it to your child. But don’t disparage another parent for choosing a name simply because you don’t understand it.

What makes a name “ghetto”? Is it the name itself, the person receiving the name, or is the threshold based on the person giving the name? Take, for example, Shaniqua, Tyrone, LaKeisha, Darius, LaShawn, and Jamal. What, if anything, makes those names different from Rebecca, Peter, Katie, Bobby, Hannah, and Connor?

One thing: blackness.

Read the full article at Role Reboot.

Stepping Over ‘Them’: Why Do We Ignore the Homeless?

Survival is necessary. Sometimes it is all we have. Last week I stumbled upon a short documentary highlighting the invisibility of people experiencing homelessness in New York City. In “Have the Homeless Become Invisible?” family members agreed to pose as homeless, while their relatives unsuspectedly walked past them on street corners. Despite each relative discussing how much they appreciated their family members, be it mothers, sisters, brothers, or spouses, not a single one recognized they were overlooking a person they see nearly every day.

Read the full article at EBONY.

Tyler Perry And The Faux Empowerment of Black Women

Tyler Perry’s films propagate capitalism, greed, colorism, abuse, patriarchy, and the perpetuation of stereotypes. So why exactly was the director chosen to headline a women’s empowerment luncheon this weekend?

Many words reverberate when I find the strength to watch a Tyler Perry film: violence, misogyny, HIV/AIDS, stigma, stereotypes, dependency, greed, classism, and others. The one word that never leaves my lips, however, is “empowerment.”

So imagine my surprise when I realized that Mr. Perry was headlining Women’s Empowerment 2014, and before the same women his films often denigrate. Like Mr. Perry, I too have male privilege but unlike him, my career is not based on the vilification of black women by using archaic and grossly problematic caricatures under an “empowerment” guise.

Read the full article at Role Reboot.

Infographic: Schools Are Failing LGBT Youth and Funneling Them into Prison

Hostile school climates pave the way for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, youth to spend less time in school and more time on the streets, thus increasing the likelihood of entering into the school-to-prison pipeline. By promoting safe, welcoming, and affirming school climates, policymakers and school administrators can ensure that LGBT youth—who all too often face harassment and discrimination in school—will excel.

Make no mistake, hostile school environments encompass much more than peer-on-peer bullying: dress codes, unenumerated policies, lack of access to LGBT resources, and zero tolerance policies, for example, all feed the school-to-prison pipeline.

View the infographic at the Center for American Progress.

How Hostile School Climate Perpetuates the School-to-Prison Pipeline for LGBT Youth

School discipline policies have been under heightened scrutiny by the U.S. Department of Education because of the disparate impact they have on students of color. Data released last spring by the Office for Civil Rights, or OCR, revealed that rigid school discipline policies—which lead to suspensions and expulsions of students for even the most minor offenses—perpetuate a school-to-prison pipeline that disproportionately criminalizes students of color and students with disabilities.

Download the full report the Center for American Progress.

LGBT couple launches new ‘Politini’ series with theGrio

It’s difficult to flip the television channel to MSNBC or click on your favorite political site and not see political powerhouses Aisha and Danielle Moodie-Mills.

And for good reason. The dynamic duo, married in 2010, continue to take the world by storm, changing the face of what it means to be black and LGBT one conversation at a time.

While our nation’s capital—or Poliwood as the couple affectionately calls the “new” Washington—has been known for its fifty-shades-of-grey suits and clutched pearls, the Moodie-Mills’ are catalyzing culture and shifting policy debates out loud and in color. And the world has taken notice.

Read the full article at The Grio.

Cis-to-Sis: An Open Letter to Janet Mock

"I was scared” continues to reverberate in my mind. All too often the LGBT community is not allowed to feel safe in spaces that society claims are available to us. But this article is not about sexual orientation. Quite frankly, it isn’t even necessarily about Piers Morgan. What it is, though, is an apology to you, Janet Mock, and the entire transgender community for cis people who simply refuse to acknowledge our undeserved privilege.

As I sit and write this article, Redefining Realness is positioned on the left-side of my dining room table while my last scoop of chocolate ice cream is on the right. Blankly staring at the words on this laptop, I am constantly reminded that transgender women, particularly transgender women of color, will have their identity challenged, criticized, and policed, even from alleged supporters. And for that Janet, I am sorry. I am sorry that you and your transgender sisters (of color) live in a world that simply will not allow you to navigate in a secure, affirming, and loving space free from cissexism, misogyny, transphobia, and racism.

Read the full article at EBONY.

Without ENDA, Black LGBT People Will Continue to Experience Workplace Inequality

Every day, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people experience discrimination in the workplace. Typically, it is rooted in homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia, or mere cultural incompetency of what reality is like for LGBT people---and the consequences are real. Workplace discrimination makes it difficult for Black LGBT workers to secure a job, and financially provide for themselves and their families. The negative treatment that LGBT people encounter, oftentimes solely based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, is  further exacerbated for Black LGBT people.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) would change this by allowing every worker to be judged on their merits, talents, and qualifications, not on who they are or whom they love. This change could be the first step to ensuring that LGBT workers, and especially Black LGBT workers, are economically secure.

Read the full article at EBONY.

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