June 28, 2015

Beyond Marriage Equality

After a weekend of celebrating and a Facebook feed filled with rainbows over all your pictures, here are some things we still really need to work on to achieve "equality" for LGBT people. If you think marriage is the end-all and be-all in the fight for equality, sadly, you are very wrong. This is a huge and important step, yes, and I'm SO happy that couples who want to get married now have the freedom to do so, but we have a LONG WAY TO GO.

If you are a straight person who wants to be an ally, please read this. These are some of the issues that matter to us - way more than marriage equality.

1. There are still 29 states where a person can be fired from their job based on sexual orientation, and 32 states where there are no laws to protect transpeople from being fired for their gender identity (including New York!)

2. ...and that's if you can get a job in the first place. Employment opportunities are often limited or denied to transpeople, people who are gender non-conforming, or who live life as LGBT. Tennessee and Arkansas even have a BAN on employment non-discrimination laws.

3. There's a huge economic disparity between LGBT people and their straight, cisgender counterparts. LGBT people of color have the HIGHEST rates of poverty in the country. Lesbian and bisexual women experience poverty at higher rates than straight women. Transpeople are 4-times more likely to make under $10,000 a year than the general population.

4. 40% of homeless youth are LGBT. 1/5th of transpeople report experiencing homelessness at some point in their lives. We need more shelters, affordable, and SAFE housing!
2012, Williams Institute and 2012, National Transgender Discrimination Survey.

5. Healthcare!!! LGBT people are more likely to delay or avoid seeking medical care. Stigma, discrimination, under-employment and being under-insured all contribute to a lack of adequate healthcare for LGBT folks - especially the T.

6. LGBT youth are 4 times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers. More than HALF of young transpeople people have at some point seriously considered suicide, and one quarter have attempted suicide. These attempts are also two times higher for black and latinx individuals than their white counterparts. And damn does this part still hurt the most to write about. I don't want to lose another friend to suicide.
Statistics from the Trevor Project.

7. Last week Jennicet Gutierrez made headlines for "heckling" (their word, not mine) the president during his pride event - but what she was saying IS IMPORTANT. Roughly 1 in 500 ICE detainees are LGBT, and account for one out of every 5 sexual abuse cases in ICE custody. There are approximately 267,000 undocumented LGBT immigrants, MANY of whom are seeking asylum, who will not get to enjoy these new liberties. We need to protect LGBT individuals from violence and physical abuse in detention (and let's not pretend solitary confinement is the answer) and make the process of immigration, especially for asylum seekers, more accessible. On an anecdotal note, a friend from my former place of employment was a transwoman from Bangladesh who began presenting as female full-time while we worked there together. She was in the process of seeking asylum when she was laid off from our place of work... Remember above the note about employment discrimination laws? This happens. Even to accountants in New York.

8. LGBT people experience violence, sexual assault and abuse at staggering rates. And if individual state legalization and the aftermath is anything to go by, we can probably expect to see a spike in violence against LGBT people over the coming months. 1/8 of lesbian women and approximately half of bisexual women have been raped, and half of bisexual men and 40% of gay men have experienced some type of sexual violence. 64% of transgender individuals have experienced some type of sexual violence. 64%!!!
The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 2010.

9 ...and that is just the tip of the iceberg. In 2015 so far there has been a record number of reported homicides of LGBT people, half of which targeted transgender women of color. A lot of people have referred to this moment in history as the "transgender tipping point," but my friends are out there fearing for their lives, and a couple of magazine covers alone is not going to diminish that fear or the real threat of physical violence. This is happening in Los Angeles (Yazmin Vash Payne, 33), in San Francisco (Tara DeJesus, 36), in New Orleans (Penny Proud, 21) - all cities with queer hubs, and they're still not safe.
Statistics via The Anti-Violence Project

10. Things you can do today: donate clothes, money, and toiletries to local shelters and LGBT centers. You can inform yourself. You can write a letter to your local legislatures. You can talk about these issues with your friends and families - and PLEASE do; it might seem easier for you to "unfriend" the bigots in your life, but please consider the privilege you have as a straight, cis ally to educate the people around you. You can support and promote the voices of LGBT individuals - especially transwomen of color - instead of waiting for Jon Stewart to repeat what is already being said. You can advocate for LGBT people in your workplace. You can march with us at our pride events, rallies, and protests... It is endless. The work is endless. So please don't give up on fighting with us just because there might be more wedding cake in your future.

And in general, just because federal marriage is now recognized (but do NOT assume that all LGBT people WANT to get married), it's going to take a long time for culture to catch up. I hope you can help us get there faster.

PS: If any of the statistics seem old, it's because LGBT research is also EXTREMELY UNDERFUNDED. But thank you to Ali for helping me share the best and most accurate numbers available to us.

June 23, 2015

{STYLE} Post Wedding Blues

Skirt by ASOS, Top by Eloquii (bargain alert! Currently just $16), Shoes by Kate Spade (Get an extra 25% off sale with code "SETSALE"), Clutch by Edie Parker, Sunglasses by Illesteva

Post wedding depression is a real thing... and I know this because I googled "post-wedding" and it autofilled with "post-wedding blues" and "post-wedding depression," and news articles with titles like Post-Wedding Depression is a Real Thing populated my page. I'm feeling a little validated that this sudden low-energy slump after an incredible month of our dream wedding, immediate bliss, and a 12-day honeymoon adventure through Japan is par for the course. After such a high-high, it seems pretty logical that normal, everyday life would feel a little meh, but I'm trying my hardest to keep spirits high, stay ridiculously busy (truly, I have never had a taller mountain of work in my lifetime), and start thinking of new plans to have on our calendars to look forward towards. 

On a small scale, I'm trying to have fun with my outfits - playing with slightly dressier silhouettes that make me feel amazing. Dressing up is adding a little extra pep into what have been super-busy work days, (stripe skirt day, above? I had six different meetings and conference calls across different parts of LA... and it was wonderful, because my skirt twirled when I spun around).

And now, I'm looking forward: I'm finding that it is imperative to have something big and exciting on the horizon, so we're looking forward to spending more time decorating and furnishing our new home in LA, and starting to wrap our minds around a smaller trip in the next few months (Portland, OR? Napa Valley? Nashville?) In the meantime, twirly skirts and dresses and a lingering honeymoon-period (because looking back on our photos and reveling in our Japan trip gives a major boost of endorphins) will do. 


June 1, 2015

{STYLE} Seeing Spots

Like pink, I think that leopard is a classic neutral that works year round to offer some pattern and texture to an otherwise simple look. With the right color palette, a little bit of leopard can be a subtle nod to a more daring side - and I think these Ava & Viv trousers fit the bill for something fun and fashionable, while being appropriate from work to weekend. Yes, I do spend some of my time in an office, and even in the world of fashion and design, a little bit of corporate drag can be necessary sometimes; even in a more traditional work environment, I think it's important to showcase your personal style! 


This post is part of my ongoing partnership with Target's Ava & Viv. 
All content and opinions are my own.

May 29, 2015

{LIFESTYLE} Palm Springs Before the Rings

This isn't about Kaitlyn or about Britt... it's about... me.

Well, you already know that Ali and I went and got married last weekend! It was the most beautiful, loving, and fun-filled affair. But before we walked down the aisle and exchanged vows, it was important for us to take some time alone with our friends. I had iffy-feelings about bachelor/bachelorette parties, but it ended up being really wonderful to spend time with my besties without all of our significant others. In New York, I went out with my friends for a night of karaoke and dancing at one of the city's last remaining lesbian bars, and back in California, a few girlfriends and I drove down to Palm Springs for a weekend to relax, get some much-needed sun, and have deep conversations into the wee hours of the morning that ultimately turned into conversations about sex (I guess it was a bachelorette party, after all.) I'm always so appreciative when my friends are able to share their time with me; as we get older, deeper into our careers and deeper into our own relationships and family, it can be harder to get real quality time with friends, but now I'm resolving to have more weekend retreats and trips with my besties - next time with our other-halves.

I found an amazing, mid-century style house with an enormous pool and hot-tub close to downtown Palm Springs, and then invited my girls to join me. We set out for a some serious R&R, first and foremost, luxuriated in silky robes from Gabi, and indulged in face masks from Chrissy, some really amazing meals (Cheeky's, Tinto, and Norma's at The Parker), 'lette macarons courtesy of Dannielle, and many borderline-offensive games of Cards Against Humanity. It was kind of the perfect weekend (second only to our wedding weekend), and I'm dying for another weekend retreat with my girls. 

My sister and I decked out the house with palm tree, flamingo, and cactus decorations - and we made welcome bags for each of the girls. The totes & emergency kits were made by Ilu Lily on etsy, and we filled the little kits with advil, gum, altoids, sunscreen, and bandaids. The totes were stuffed! We got these cute tanks (which, yes, we all wore to brunch at Cheeky's), makeup bags, sunglassescompacts, lip balm"girl gang" headbands, palm printed socks, pineapple cups, floating flamingo coasters, and of course, a few bits of candy.

All wearing robes made for us as a gift from Gabi
Outside The Saguaro, I'm wearing ASOS Curve dress, Loeffler Randall Bag (now 30% off), Loeffler Randall Shoes (now 30% off), Ban.do "Future Mrs" Headband, McKean Studio Scarf

Outside The Parker, where we had brunch at Norma's. Wearing a Mara Hoffman dress, Loeffler Randall Shoes, Loeffler Randal Bag


May 26, 2015

{LIFESTYLE} I Now Pronounce You...

This weekend, Ali and I had the most spectacular, whirlwind, pink-and-glitter filled celebration of our love for each other. We were so fortunate to be able to share our love with our closest family and friends, with an intimate ceremony and reception in the neighborhood we've called home since the day we met. We tied the knot at The Wythe Hotel, and exchanged our vows under a gorgeous, floral-covered Chuppah (a traditional Jewish wedding canopy) designed by our favorite local florists, Sprout Brooklyn. I wore a custom gown created by my friend and brilliant talent Christian Siriano, and truly had my Princess-for-a-Day moment, while Ali looked incredibly handsome in her bespoke suit from Bindle & Keep.

I can't begin to explain how special and happy the entire room felt - everyone was beaming, excited, and sharing in our joy. Especially as a same-sex couple, it felt incredible to have our entire family come together and celebrate with nothing but sheer love and support. It was just... perfect. After our tear-filled ceremony, we celebration with a reception of dinner, dancing, cocktailing, and lots of photoboothing, a picture-perfect sparkler sendoff (though, actually, I don't know if any photos were taken of it!), and to top off the night, we continued with an afterparty at Brooklyn Bowl - where we knocked some pins down (all of 42, total, for me), in our formalwear. 

For the weekend, we stayed in the gorgeous South 8th Loft at the Wythe Hotel, and it felt incredible to wake up and fall asleep each day with Manhattan's glittering skyline in our view. I wouldn't change a single thing about our weekend! 

All photos copyright of Clean Plate Pictures

A special thank you to all our amazing vendors who helped make our day so special. I will share more photos of their creations as we get them back from our brilliant photographer, but for now, thank you to The Wythe Hotel, Clean Plate Pictures, LadyFingers Letterpress, Sprout Brooklyn, Jove Meyer Events, Post Modern Jukebox, DJ Amber Valentine, Tammy Ann Tan Calligraphy, Laura Hooper Calligraphy, MVS Studios, Christian Siriano, Bindle & Keep, NST Pictures, Clarissa Luna Makeup, Adam MacClay Hair, Brooklyn Bowl, and all the individuals who helped make our day so special!