Thank you all for attending HinQ’s 1st meeting / official launch event in Kuki city on April 21, 2013.
The meeting lasted for over three hours and was attended by approximately 20 individuals. As a diverse group of people coming from various sociocultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, we discussed not only HinQ’s values and future activities but also many other, related topics, as well as shared our experiences, observations, etc. regarding the intersection of queerness and poverty. The discussion covered the following topics.
Issues peculiar to queerness and poverty:
- Medicine (cisgenderism and heterosexism in medicine, medical costs and insurances, access to HIV treatment, mental health, etc.),
- Employment (the way corporations handle gender in hiring, mental health, sexism in the manufacturing industry, etc.),
- Gender-segregated spaces in support facilities, and
- A lack of support systems within the queer communities (e.g. DJ Patrick died in poverty after his call for donation only generated little money).
What we should problematize:
- The existence and (in)visibility of such queers as poor queers, queers of foreign origin, queers with disabilities, etc. who are not included in the “LGBT” framework that’s rapidly going mainstream (e.g. the “LGBT” market),
- Accessibility (use of online and offline tactics for different purposes, variety of media outlets, languages to use, accessible writing, etc.),
- Social structures that create poverty, and the accountability of those who benefit from them, and
- Every-day, micro-level “queer” struggles and lives, and the validity and (in)justifiability of calling them “queer.”
Things we need to do:
- Speak up, so that queers excluded from the mainstream “LGBT” framework won’t be overlooked or left behind,
- Create spaces for queers to talk about poverty and share experiences with others,
- As a local, North-Kanto group, talk to local corporations and medical professionals,
- Be careful not to contribute to the idea of ending poverty by driving poor people out of town, which many ‘anti-poverty’ rhetorics seem to embrace, and
- In our activities, always keep in mind that queers are everywhere, and thus they are ‘here’ where we are. Trying to identify queers in a group setting can do more harm than good.
- Publish a booklet, or a zine, that talks about poverty and queerness as an intersection. Put it online, in a format that’s accessible from older-generation cell phones. The content may include texts about particular topics, information we find worth-sharing, calls for action, case studies, etc. (How, when, and to whom it should be distributed will be discussed further in future meetings.)
- Participate in existing support efforts for the homeless.
- Continue to hold meetings on a regular basis, so that people can gather and share their experiences and thoughts.
- Hold educational events for ourselves, the general public, and professionals such as lectures (by external professionals, experts, and HinQ members) and workshops.
- Start talking to local groups and other entities, as preparation for connecting with medical professionals, employers, lawyers, etc..
- Continue discussiing the possibility of monetary support, while at the moment it is not included in our activity plans.
As for the name of the group, HinQ, we exchanged a lot of opinions and shared alternative ideas, but decided that the official name be “Hinkon o nakusu tame no Kuia no kai” (English translation: Queers’ group for ending poverty), or HinQ in short. This can be amended in future.
In deciding on the name, we also discussed the following points:
- Is “ending poverty” really our goal? What do we mean by “ending poverty”?
- If “ending poverty” means that “poverty” exists as a given and we will eradicate it, then do we not consider the responsibility of those who create and maintain poverty?
- Do we really want to use the word “poverty” when it has a history of being used mostly by the governments for the purpose of population management?
- Isn’t it the value of those who benefit from the existence of poverty, to think that being poor is a horrible thing that needs to be eradicated?
We will address these issues in our Mission Statement (to be published on this blog soon) to explain our stance despite the use of the terms “poverty” and “ending” in our officlal group name.
We also decided that:
- For a while, Masaki C. will handle SNSs, the official blog, e-newsletter, and email exchanges, until we can divide up tasks among members.
- For transportation fee reimbursement, we used Masaki’s calculation formula this time. Masaki will explain the formula to the rest of the organizing members by email and the group will make the final decision. The difference in amount, if positive, will be paid to the participants who received reimbursement. If negative, Masaki will compensate.
- Financial report will be emailed to the organizing members each time a change occurs. When the balance reaches 100,000 JPY, we will open a group bank account.