This event, hosted by Vigilant Love, NQAPIA and TEADA, was a living pledge to defend and protect trans and queer communities in the torrential wake of toxic executive orders. In the organizer's words: This gathering is a response to a "leaked Executive Order from the Trump administration threatening to further take away the rights of LGBTQ people through the façade of “religious freedom.” Under this order, by citing religious beliefs, restaurants and small businesses will be able to refuse to serve LGBTQ people. Social service agencies will be able to close their doors to LGBTQ clients. Employers will be able to refuse to hire LGBTQ people. Shelters will be able to refuse services to LGBTQ youth. Doctors will be able to refuse to perform an abortion.
Ironically, this executive order was issued on the heels of an order criminalizing a different religion - Islam. As an Asian Pacific Islander community, we know that this executive order does not protect us, respect us or benefit us and we will not respect it. This order dictates a morality based on people proving that they are worthy of life, safety or services, and that those that fail to meet their qualifiers, deserve nothing. This is done so under the guise of religious freedom and autonomy, when actually, this enables capitalistic self-preservation. This is not about community, religion or anything else."
Our Mic invited me to be a featured artist for the launch of "Brown Girls" web series. They asked for a piece honoring women of color. I shared a poem about sisterhood, nourishment and loss. And when I walked off stage I was greeted, in poetic fashion, with a bouquet of pungent, sturdy and fresh-picked lemongrass...held outstretched by the sister whose heart and generosity this poem was a dedication to.