“Trans-Lives Matter” By Benjamin Gallagher

L020A Sylvia Rivera, “Y’all Better Quiet Down” Original Authorized Video, 1973 Gay Pride Rally NYC

Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera identified themselves as transvestites. Not until the late 1960s would the Queer community begin to use the word “transsexual” to describe themselves. The word “transvestite” expressed a common truth that both women shared: being between sexes and otherwise known as third-gender.

Protesters took to the streets in the aftermath of the Stonewall riots in lower Manhattan in the summer of 1969. Stonewall marked a turning point in the gay rights movement.

The Stonewall riots started on June 28, 1969. Historians remembered this date as the start of gay activism. Suddenly, people like Johnson and Rivera became the “other” in an already marginalized community. Their identity threatened the wholesome image that gay people strived to attain in the public eye.

Craig Rodwell behind the counter at the Oscar Wilde Memorial BookshopKAY TOBIN / MANUSCRIPTS AND ARCHIVES DIVISION / THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY

In The Stonewall Reader, writers shared many stories both about third-gender people. Each one expressed the shame that revolved around transvestites and drag queens. In particular, the chapter “Craig Rodwell” documented Rodwell’s challenges as a gay man in New York City. 

Rodwell opened a gay and lesbian bookshop at 291 Mercer Street, New York called The Oscar Wilde Bookshop. The bookshop only sold people stories that depicted homosexuality as a “good” thing. Gays and lesbians depicted themselves without objectifying their sexuality. Rodwell gave people the opportunity to enlighten themselves about the gay community, but not the Queer community.

“I excluded books with certain key words: third sex, twilight world, perversion – nothing about that. I wanted to depict homosexuality as basically good.”

Craig Rodwell

However, third sex people like Johnson and Rivera who neither identified themselves as male nor female had their voices silenced because of the decisions made by those in the Queer community. Like Rodwell, many in the Queer community ignored the plight of third-gender people in an effort to bring homosexuality into mainstream society. Despite their treatment, Johnson and Rivera continued advocating for everyone within the Queer community.

Marsha P. Johnson (Left) and Sylvia Rivera (Right), Gay Pride Parade, New York City, 1973
Photo by Leonard Fink, Courtesy LGBT Community Center National History Archive

In 1970, Johnson and Rivera co-founded Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), a group dedicated to helping homeless young drag queens, gay youth, and trans women. Their activism helped many people find a temporary home, protecting them from violence and police brutality. However, STAR disbanded three years after its founding in part because of a lack of funds. STARS financial instability represented a deeper shame in the Queer community and a conscience disregard of third-gender persons. 

For example, Rivera noted every year since the Stonewall riots, members of the trans community were moved further and further to the end of the line. Rivera acknowledged this displacement in a speech at the Christopher Street Liberation Day Rally in 1973. 

I have been to jail. I have been raped. And beaten. Many times! By men, heterosexual men that do not belong in the homosexual shelter. But do you do anything for me? No. You tell me to go and hide my tail between my legs. I will not put up with this shit. I have been beaten. I have had my nose broken. I have been thrown in jail. I have lost my job. I have lost my apartment for gay liberation and you all treat me this way? What the fuck’s wrong with you all? Think about that!

Sylvia Rivera

It seemed that Johnson and Rivera sacrificed everything to gain respect from their brothers and sisters in the Queer community even while their very existence ran counter to the efforts to bring homosexuality into the mainstream.

Their self-acceptance as two trans-women of color ignited the flame of enlightenment for the Queer community today. In 2010, the term “genderqueer” became popularized by news media outlets. Those in the Queer community started to reimagine a world that included non-binary people like Johnson and Rivera. Trans-stories populated television shows like Pose and The L Word and books like the Nemesis Series by April Daniels. Still, trans-lives in the real world faced oppression, suicide, and murder.

Sadly in 1992, Johnson’s body was discovered floating in the Hudson River.  Several people saw Johnson being harassed by thugs prior to her death. Police ruled her death a suicide despite witness statements; however, Johnson’s official cause of death has been disputed. A recent documentary, about the death and life of Marsha P. Johnson, chronicles the curious circumstances surrounding her death and ongoing investigative efforts to find truth and justice for Johnson. But this narrative of injustice for trans-people should not be the only one that people know about today.

Trans-people deserve a more prominent place in history than the Queer community has historically refused to offer. With the current focus on inclusionary efforts within the Queer community, perhaps then Rivera and Johnson and others like them will finally get the notoriety and appreciation that they so richly deserve. 


Thank you for reading my blog! Don’t forget to subscribe to read more about Queer life.

Benjamin P. Gallagher

BoyKtisch

To learn how to become a trans-ally click here.

To learn about trans rights click here.

What I Learned in Quarantine

MiamiArt

I wanted to try something new while stuck in quarantine. Writing and drawing stories about fictional worlds liberated my mind.

I reimagined this photo with the help of GIMP. The original copy of the photo captured a moment in the Wynwood District of Miami, Fl.

93323706_10157157040157643_4415591418148421632_n

Four weeks ago, the Law picked me up from Orlando, Fl. Neither of us wanted to suffer through quarantine alone. We managed to set up two workplaces inside his condo.

Every day after work I chose to either write a story or draw a picture. These activities helped me cope with depression. I wanted to prove to myself that the human mind could overcome emotion by setting a goal to try something new.

How are you coping with the quarantine? If you need advice, click here to check out the CDC website for mental health resources

Until next time friends,

BoyKitsch™


Check me out on Instagram and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for more posts on mental health.

New Pressure

 

Covid-19 is misplacing a lot of human energy. From the bedroom to the living room to the front side patio, I’m trying to carve out a new routine. Yoga keeps me healthy and sane. The space between moments holds fresh air.

My lung reel love in from the Universe. I am learning how to cut time in half. The difference between last week and this stares me in the face. The white porch glimmers beneath the after sun.

I’m proud of myself for washing the walls. I’m proud of myself for sweeping the floor and wiping down the furniture. Because it means that I’m learning how to accept these beautiful circumstances.

Preparing space for the things you love can feel holy. How is your adventure going? How are you learning to embrace this challenging moment in human history? That’s a hard question to digest. But I know you can do it.

Love,

BoyKitsch™

Summer 2019

Who: BoyKitsch

When: March 2019

Where: Osceola Park

Photos were taken by Masetakesphotos

Last night I discovered MattDoesFitness on Youtube. His fitness journey reminded me of how this blog started. Although the“Counting Calories” post spiked viewership I decided to write about Queer life. img_0928

Since then, I’ve gained weight and wrestled with the idea of bulking. The anxiety of gaining fat stemmed from a superficial desire to remain “too skinny.” An unspoken yet visible part of the Gay community taught me the logistics of Body Image. “Too skinny” symbolized desire, especially for Bottoms who wanted a Muscle Top.

I say unspoken because these members were usually on television or porn videos. The culture of desire didn’t echo human nature. I didn’t know what to want or expect from sex as a young adult. Yet, I mirrored others with the hope of attracting mates.

So when my body started gaining fat, especially during the Holidays, it reflected something new. I continued counting calories but with less dedication. My body didn’t need to have six-pack abs. The circumstances of body comfort followed the criteria of what I call Talent.


MattDoesFitness spoke about his fitness journey in the video. He adjusted body image goals according to athletic ones. Long Jumping conditioned his mind to sculpt muscle according to need. Wider strides made him a track star.

I consider this need a Talent. My body conformed to a lifestyle of Yoga, Running, and Dancing. Therefore it burned calories faster than it did two years ago. So I didn’t need to worry about gaining weight because of my talents.

img_0931But life changed again. I earned the job title of a Barista, Server, Go-Go Dancer, and Development Assistant. One of those responsibilities relied on body image. So my thought process conformed to the idea of losing fat again. I could earn more tips with a six-pack than without one.

This logic, although not completely flawed, conflicted with the desire to keep eating a surplus of food. More food meant a happier Benji than in the Summer of 2019. Back then, I achieved 10% Body Fat and felt ridiculous for two reasons: lack of enjoyment of the present moment and of internal pleasure.

I only paid attention to my diet. Water quenched the yearning to consume alcohol and chocolate. I filled myself with a cool emptiness to fulfill another person’s fantasy. Yet, no man brought me pleasure during this period.


Last night I started to piece together the puzzle of the human condition. My body reflected the lack of direction because of an old desire. But I no longer desired the same things in life.

I wanted more adventure. And the Universe gave me that in the form of friendship. I wanted more pleasure and it gave me that in the form of food. I wanted a job making coffee and it gave me the title of Barista.

“Will you help me harness my talents,” I said to the Universe. And then I waited, not for an answer or bright neon sign. I waited for the opportunity to embrace my body on the dancefloor and in the gym practicing yoga. My body conditioned itself to a new life chosen by this version of self.

img_0933


Thank you, friends, for all of your support. Leave a heartfelt thoughtful comment below. We are discovering life in new and familiar ways. Cheers.

Love

BoyKitsch™

The Fantastical Man

Who: BoyKitsch™

When: December 2019

Where: Parliament House

I identified as a Gay man for the past 18 years. I was a male seeking romantic attention from another male. Fantastical men drew themselves in notebooks and stories kept in the bedroom closet. Their souls marinated in the darkness. img_0403

I forgot about trying to find a “special” someone. The years passed by me in the streets of Orlando, Florida. Like a caterpillar, time crawled and chewed the remaining stalks in the garden. 

“When will I finally be enough for myself?” I said. The question sparked an old idea. I pulled the souls out of the closet.

The pieces glimmered in the sunshine. In time the puzzle became a blueprint of self-confidence. All the men who sought my attention were versions of myself not yet realized.

So why did I become a Go-Go dancer? I wanted to be the object of attraction. People noticed my dancing skills despite the appearance of a depressed individual. It was my garden to escape to, a fantasy no longer impossible to achieve.

Yes, I believed in myself but also the Universe. That energy pushed me to get up on stage in underwear. That presence made a difference in my confidence, not as a sexually-active-man, but as the author of my own story and my own Fantastical Man.

So let’s see what happens in 2020.

Until Next Time,

BoyKitsch™

Fear of Humiliation

img_0039

Hello World!

Thank you, for entrusting me with the Breath of God. My mistakes still affect the future but fail to escape your recognition.⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I am trying, again, to consciously change into Benjamin P. Gallagher. Please, hold my hand. Squeeze it to let me know that the Darkness is still at bay. Because the path to your kingdom is still my only destination.

There, I hope to fall apart. To reveal the greatest love ever experienced is a privilege to the Human Soul. Understanding this though does not make me a beautiful person. Because I still feign ignorance and call myself, “Changed.”

I still cause pain to others. And I still experience shame. God, do not save me from the shame. Let me grow from the humiliation of Experience. Not all parts of life will blossom into color. Thank you, though, for letting me live with this heart. I hope to change into the Son you always wanted me to be. 👣👣👣👣

I’m here with you.

❤️ Amen

Benji Gallagher

.

Question of Self

Disclaimer: This post contains an element of BDSM. However, the story does not involve anything of sexual nature. Please practice potentially dangerous acts with safe people. Now, enjoy the story! 


When: September 2019

Where: Living Room

Who: BoyKitsch™

He lied beneath me. My body dropped to the Earth. I wanted the sensation of impact. But the Dominant pushed me back into the air with his feet. I settled into the space between the Here and Now. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A frozen libido melted over another man’s heels. The organ pulsated my imagination into full bloom. Pollinated thoughts floated through the air. A single potent thought burned a hole through my penis, alighting seeds of old instinct.

And I realized that Time never healed the wound. And out of that wound grew a hole in judgement. I couldn’t decipher reality anymore.

Therapy taught me to stare into the future with both eyes open. So I watched the bedroom ceiling for four hours, praying. Hoping to feel good again broke me, the shards of which tilted into a mountain of self doubt.

And Time left me this way. Lying face-up towards an impending doom, my thoughts thrusted life back into the present.

All this time, I’ve never been Me. I have OCD, FOR REAL. Wounded beliefs affect the whole body, My body. And now, I’m a disease who prays for Hope and Justice from Myself. The Law of Me is empowering. I can be that best version, another related best version, of Me forever.

Or being this person became the only one, after death.

That moment outlived it’s welcome. The thoughts chased me for the past seven months.

Away from the wall I ran through the doctor’s office dressed in heels dragging bottled pills into the wake of a new life.

I am another me made out of unrivaled experiences experienced in the same universe the other me still lying on the floor.

My desire to pull him up weighed against the man’s feet. The Subservient, aka myself, lowered to him. The settling realization of becoming someone new outgrew self doubt.


Thank You, everyone, for reading my blog! Don’t forget to subscribe and leave thoughtful comments.  ❤

Until Next Time, 

BoyKitsch™

200 Views!

BoyKitsch™️ earned 200+ views on his Go-go Audition video! Eye on the prize, everyone!  Is he a writer or just THOT Number 3? Maybe both? Did anyone see this coming? Well, maybe the parents did when they noticed the bills piling up.

Honestly, no one is more proud of me than Mom and Dad. They’re the first ones to cheer me on in life. From cradle to the dance floor, wherever I go they follow with free spirits. Growing up, their influence affected me in school, specifically the Elementary years.

“Stop trying to help me,” kids told me. The teachers placed me in a room with two classmates. I assisted mates with homework ranging from math to language arts. No one wanted my help.

“I’m not trying. I am,” the words rolled off my tongue. Now, I take a second to think about that moment when empathy and ego collided. My parents taught me to value other people’s perspectives. But other people couldn’t define empathy for me. Only I knew the difference between “trying” and “helping”.

“Thank you,” the girls said to me after every session. Similarly, I didn’t care if people defined my actions as “attention-seeking” as opposed to being vulnerable when deciding to become a Go-go dancer. So when the views reached 200 I felt not only happy but also fulfilled.


Thank you, everyone, who has been supporting me the past couple of months. Your love reassures my value in coming forth as a Queer individual with mental health challenges. With all my heart, thank you.

Love,

BoyKitsch™️

Go-go Boy

When: November 2019

Where: Parliament House

Who: Go-go Boy

Last Friday, I auditioned for a Go-go Boy position at Parliament House. Dancing on a box in a pair of Andrew Christian underwear brought a smile to my face. The experience taught me about Confidence. img_9046

Yes, I felt insecure during the audition. My body could represent only the Freedom that the moment possessed. Erratic beats unraveled limbs from the torso. I became a Go-go dancer.

“Let me see that booty hole,” a man shouted. His voice bounced off my ass. I turned around and leaned closer to him. He slipped a five-dollar bill into my underwear.

Men, like everyone else, wanted attention from a sexy Queer Latino. I fulfilled that fantasy because no one else could. No one else could be my kind of sex. Hip thrusts, leg splits, and pecs flexing measured the seconds ticking through the night. Who wanted to touch me?


I’ve been celibate for the past year and two months. The unintentional decision sparked an opportunity to rediscover Desire. I wanted men to see me. I wanted their hands on my body. On my bulge. Their lust made me happy. And I couldn’t ask for a better job.

Thank you, everyone, for reading my blog. Please share it with others. Leave thoughtful comments. I only ever wanted to be this person. Your love and support mean so much to me.

Until next time,

BoyKitsch™