The following speech was read earlier today by Aaron McAuliffe & Al Riccio at the Queer Liberation Front’s die-in and banner-drop at Westfarms Mall. The die-in was a great success with about 25 people participating, as well as a couple random by-standers!
Attention, shoppers! We are the Queer Liberation Front. We are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Straight activists, but more importantly, we are your fellow human beings. We are your sisters, your brothers, your children, teachers, neighbors, classmates, and friends.
We’ve come here today to spread awareness of the violence and inhumanity experienced by all of our communities—specifically, the epidemic of queer youth suicide caused by transphobia and homophobia. Harassment, bullying, degrading language, and violence go unchallenged in our schools—teachers, administrators and fellow classmates sit by silently, refusing to stand up to bigotry.
In this country, “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” are proclaimed as rights—but we and many other minorities are denied these basic human dignities. This is the hypocrisy of the United States and of the hometowns that we live in. We are denied the right to exist. We are denied the right to express our love for each other and to express our true gender identities. We are denied the right to be happy and healthy first-class citizens.
– LGBT youth are 4 to 8 times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual peers
– In the past year, 90% of queer youth report being harassed in school
– 1 out of every 3 LGBT youth drop out of high school
– Queer youth are three times as likely to abuse drugs and alcohol
What American dream is this?? We are living an American nightmare! That is why we are here today at Westfarms to protest this injustice. We have chosen the place most symbolic of this hypocrisy in our community—the mall, a week before Christmas, the largest consumer holiday of the year. This is the place where we are literally told that we can buy love, happiness, and freedom.
Well, we’re not buying into that mentality! We demand from all of you here today to join us in actively bringing an end to transphobia and homophobia. We demand:
– Safe schools for all children
– The right to protect ourselves from abuse without repercussions
– Passage of the CT Gender Identity Non-Discrimination Bill
We gather here to peacefully assert our love and our freedom, but also to remember our dead. People who have been killed by homophobic and transphobic people or who have been driven to kill themselves to escape the hate.
Please join us in a reading of the names of queer people who have died violently in the past year… [list of names read by Al Riccio was confiscated by mall security]
Banner on left side of video read: “Dear Santa, Our Holiday Wishes: End Trans/Homophobia, Safe Schools, Self-Defense Without Penalty, CT Gender Identity Non-Discrimination Bill. Love, Queer Liberation Front”
Banner on right side of video read: “LGBT Youth 4-8x More Likely to Commit Suicide”
More info on the Die-In is available at The Underground Rainbow.