Champions of LGBTQ life and culture in Rochester, NY since 1973.
Monday October 23rd 2017



//Ambiguous Statements//

By Spencer Perez


The only consistency I have had in my life is inconsistency.

I have been called an enigma wrapped in a paradox. Or a paradox wrapped in an enigma. Either way, it is true.

I never fit in, or out. I was always somewhere in between.

I have been told that every day I look like a different person. No one style. No one label. No one meaning.

This ambiguity made me into the local bête noire. A jack of all trades, just not any “good” ones.

You see, imaginary reader, people often tend to dislike things they cannot understand. People often pick fights with people they deem as different.

I have spent years, trying to fit myself into a perfect puzzle piece. However, no matter what I did, I always came out jagged around the edges. My inner layers didn’t match my outside folds. My core didn’t represent my exterior. I was never “right”.

I don’t really understand who makes up the rules of what is “right” and what is “wrong”, because no matter what I did I never belonged.

I could chose to make a statement about how harsh society’s jaded perception of reality really is. I could chose to fight every waking moment I live, defending my right to be who I am, and not what they want me to be. I could denounce who I was, rather, who they thought I was, and shock them with who I will become. I can start riots and fits all while raising my palms and making a fist. I can do all of this. I can be as fearless as my dad was when he was my age, be brave like my mother always said I was. I can become who I want to become.

However, that still doesn’t make the silence any less easier to succumb. The truth is imaginary reader, over the years all this fighting has made me turn numb. Honestly I feel dumb half the time, as if my voice can never reach the amount of decibels it will take to cause an earthquake on society’s wrongful take on what makes a person a human.

For a while I was filled with nothing but despair, it was like for a moment I had it all and watched my doubt sink in and my hopes slip into air. I was drowning myself in sorrow and fear from all the years that I couldn’t save anyone, let alone myself.

I thought about ending things for a long time. I thought that maybe in death my words will resonate with all the people once filled with hate. Then I realized I don’t want to be another tortured artist who doesn’t get recognized until their death. While it may be okay to idolize all the strides they took in their lives, their endings don’t have to become mine. I want to stick around to see my actions make people proud. I want to be around to witness not having fear of being here, and queer; I want everyone to hear me cheer on true progress that will never digress into something less.

You see, everyone feels pressured to conform the norms of the world. However, few realize, that the world that is portrayed  is far more filled with hate than the world that we are truly living in. They call us minorities, filled with sins, but they are the true demons, and we cannot let their fear in. No, we must be the ones to win.

We have to unite, because this is all of our fight. What gave them the right to smite what they don’t take the time to understand?

That is right, they were wrong about me, and us, not being able to be understood. If they really took the time to get to know us, under our hoods, and out of our masks, they would see that it isn’t our faith that lacks.

I may be ambiguous, I may not be anyone’s perfect definition of anything. I am not even sure I have a definition at all, but I will not let that ambiguity let me do anything but stand tall.

Pride is in our souls, you can see it in our eyes, the way we laugh, the way we cry, Above all, you must remember, that every action we make leads us to the path we will take. No matter how insignificant you think your life may be, there is always something waiting for us. Even the smallest of rocks colliding with the water make an impact. Those ripples will soon turn into waves, because of this, we must all be brave.

I won’t lie, storms and rough tides will come, but as longs as we stand with each other we can make sure that the only destruction that will occur, is the irrational fear and ignorance in those who have nothing better to do than fight what they do not understand.

We are not the problem, in fact we are the solution to an age old plague of irrational ignorance. Every war begins because of someone’s fear of something different turning into hate.

Use your passion, whatever it may be, to bring light to our cries, and guide us back to calmer seas. Use your life, as a statement, however ambiguous it may be, in the end we all mean something, and it is up to you on what that something will be.

Be ambiguous. Be brave. You can be you, and I can be me; no matter how ambiguous our statements and lives may be.


Big changes lie ahead for Alliance Youth Program

Big changes are occurring all over the Alliance, and the Youth Program is no different. An energetic group of 10 volunteers have come together to help organize and provide options for young LGBTQ+ people in the community.

The youth program has run for many years; however when the drop-in center was lost and the agency needed to become leaner, attendance at youth events dropped significantly. We are happy to say that with the new facility and new team, there has been a resurgence in our youth program.

Volunteers range from teachers, to a social worker, a therapist, a former youth housing counselor, and even past Youth Program participants. “It’s the right mix of experience and excitement to push forth an ambitious agenda for our Youth Program,” said BJ Scanlon, Lead Program Volunteer.  “We are constantly surveying young people to see what they want to do and we are expanding our services into three programing categories that focus on community building, social and educational engagement, and self-care and personal development.”

Scanlon has been volunteering with the youth program almost since he moved to Rochester in 2008. His first interaction was establishing a connection to the drop-in center through his position in street outreach at the Center for Youth Services, and he has stayed with program for almost ten years. “Young people are really a terrific population, they are discovering new things constantly and forming their world views. I learn from them, and they learn from the great team of volunteers we have as well. I’m excited to see where this program will go,” said Scanlon.

The youth program continues to offer a monthly U-DJ Dance and semi-annual lock-in, Big Queer Prom, and Gay Days at the Fair, all part of the Q-Munity initiative. This fall the team is excited to bring back a weekly drop-in for youth that has been on hiatus for several years.

Other offerings include the B-Out initiative that looks to connect youth with six-to-eight-week clubs that focus on a wide variety of subject matters. This fall the Youth Program will have its second movie club focusing on drag in cinema, and will partner with Rochester Broadway Theatre League and Writers and Books for Out on Stage. Youth will be provided a copy of Fun Home lead them through workshops about the theater, LGBTQ+ history, and culminate with youth attending a live performance of the Tony Award winning musical.

Finally, the U-Matter initiative will focus on providing supportive groups for young people. Already a group for transgender and gender expansive youth meets monthly. The TANGENT group meets at 5:30 the first Tuesday of each month at the Alliance office, 100 College Ave. Plans are underway for additional groups that focus on coming out and leadership. Stay tuned for all the great things happening with the youth program.


Ga. GOP lawmaker wants HIV quarantine; then denies she said that

Betty Price

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:

Georgia Rep. Betty Price said her comments on people with HIV that ignited a national firestorm this week were “taken completely out of context.” Price, the wife of former U.S. health secretary Tom Price, was in a study committee Tuesday when she asked a state health official whether people with HIV could legally be quarantined.

Price said she was just being “provocative.” She said she is not in favor of a quarantine but made the “rhetorical” statement because she was sad and troubled that “too many of our fellow citizens who have HIV are not compliant.”

Here’s that “out of context” quote:

“I don’t want to say the quarantine word, but I guess I just said it. Is there an ability, since I would guess that public dollars are expended heavily in prophylaxis and treatment of this condition? So we have a public interest in curtailing the spread. What would you advise or are there any methods legally that we could do that would curtail the spread?”

“It seems to me it’s almost frightening, the number of people who are living that are potentially carriers. Well they are carriers, with the potential to spread, whereas in the past they died more readily and then at that point they are not posing a risk. So we’ve got a huge population posing a risk if they are not in treatment.”

Price is a medical doctor and is married to former HHS Secretary Tom Price, who resigned last month after a private jet scandal.

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