Saturday, July 31, 2010

Drop It Like It's Hot

Hello everyone, I absolutely forgot to put this up today.  A few quick reminders before the list.  If you are interested in taking advantage of the open guest policy please send in either a link to your blog or your original work via e-mail to womanistmusings [at], along with a short bio and an image that you would like to associate with your work.

If you are a regular commenter at Womanist Musings please consider setting up an intense debate account or singing in with twitter or facebook.   It would absolutely lessen my moderation duties.  Please be aware that if you do not have an account, it may, in some cases, be quite some time before your comment appears on the blog, if I am otherwise engaged.  Also, please pay close attention to the comment policy before commenting. Finally,  some of you have come to really like the regular contributors and have sent me e-mail stating so.  If you look on the contributors page, you will find the e-mail of everyone that regularly contributes to the blog.  Please approach them directly if you wish any form of communication.

Below you will find the list of posts that I found interesting this week.  Please check them out and when you are done, don't forget to drop it like it's hot and leave your link behind in the comment section.

Mad Men:  Remind me again how Pete Campbell is supposed to be a sympathetic character?
Framing Children’s Deviance
Should we be aspiring to look like anyone?
Living as an Immigrant
Trans Etiquette: When is a Compliment Not a Compliment?
Going where Glenn Beck wouldn’t: Defining White Culture
Children are Awesome
Prostitution and Memory (trigger warning for rape imagery)
Civil Rights Review: Do You Know These Courageous Women?
Yeah, but… no
Why Pop Culture Matters to Race Bloggers
The Tone Argument
ADA week: A look back at the passage of the ADA
Just Thinking
Teenage girls and internalized sexism
Parents: No, you do not have to Try Your Very Best

Friday, July 30, 2010

It's Friday and the Question Is......

I am a Canadian attempting to do work in a sphere that is dominated by American ideas.  Even when I explicitly say that I am not American, many will still approach me as if I am.  This has become very frustrating.  I have boldly proclaimed my love of the every good Canadian should.

I have reveled in our numerous hockey victories, though Monica Roberts some malt liquor drinking Americans had other ideas.   I have even posted pictures of Dudley Do-Right, along with copious references to Tim Hortons.   This denial of my presence as a Canadian working online really bothered me.  I wondered if it were perhaps because I have not declared a love of moose and lumberjacks.  Maybe it was because I insisted on typing about instead of aboot.  Finally, alone in bed last night I discovered the solution.  It's.......

An Open Letter to Jezebel

So I occasionally glance over Jezebel, but I admit that I rarely read the comments because they have been known to be vile.  When I saw this: New Mommy Argument, You Do Not Have A Right To Child Free Spaces, I simply had to comment. Really Jezebel.  Is this how you people get off? Yeah, I said you people.  "celebrity, sex and fashion for women" my ass.  What you seem to do is take the e-power that you have gained by having an enormous budget and platform to attack smaller bloggers/blogs.  As large as feministe is, it is no Jezebel and Maia has an even smaller blog than that.  It seems to me that when we bloggers dare to step out of line, Jezebel is there to yank our panties down and spank us. How is that for sexual imagery? Is that snarky enough for you?

When I wrote a post declaring why I was not a feminist, Jezebel was quick to put me in my place.  And now I can see they are repeating the same pattern with yet another woman of colour.   They bring smaller blogs/bloggers to the mat for punishment and ridicule by throwing these women at their large readership, like Daniel to the lions, in full knowledge that there is no mechanism for holding them accountable for their actions.  Oh their editors are trying to make the place less hostile and they genuinely believe that they do justice to the various issues faced by women (note: you can always talk yourself into bullshit), so everything is snarky and good on planet Jezebel. Since they don't identify specifically as feminist, they don't have to even try to play by any decorum now do they.  I am an ant standing next to a giant, but with what little power I have, I want to say sincerely from the bottom of my heart, fuck you Jezebel. 

The Gift Economy and Reconceptualizing Women's Labour

The more I read feminist blogs, the more I realize that I can never see myself in them.  The things that I hold most dear in my personal everyday experience are ignored as unimportant to privilege a performance of femininity that I do not recognize.  Yesterday I spoke about the child hate that once again over took Feniniste, but today I would like to talk about connecting to children and radicalizing a vision of domestic labour. Other than obsessively telling the boys I love them and covering them in kisses and hugs, food is one of the ways I show my love. When I cook for them, I am nurturing them and providing them with an essential service to sustain their bodies.  When we sit at the dinner table to share a meal, it is the most important time of our day.  It is at the dinner table that we share our joys, and sorrows.  It is at this time of the day that our only focus is family.  No one answers the phone and no one answer the door.  All of the electronics are turned off and we have eyes only for each other.  This is a private time and a place of love without judgment.

I am a very simple woman and I take pleasure in very simple things and this fact often makes me completely incompatible with many of the things that modern feminists advocate today.  I do not see my home as drudgery, nor do I look upon my children as some burden that I am carrying.  On the contrary, this is the center of my life and a place of pleasure.  If I could once more feel the life of a child moving within my body, it would bring me great joy and yet this desire to procreate, is not something that I can see modern feminists embracing.  My life is not about breaking through glass ceilings; it is about the simplicity of taking care of my family.

Anne Rice Ends her Christianity

Readers of this blog are well aware by now that I am a fan of anything vampire.  One of my first exposures to the genre was "Interview with the Vampire."  Since then, I have gone on to read almost everything Rice has written and I currently own most of her books.  I pretty much avoided her whole Christian phase because when I turn to this genre, I want relief from the concerns of the day.  I want to lose myself in a world of imagination and I simply did not believe it was possible if were I to conflate her with the politics of Christianity.  That said, I cannot say I did not feel some measure of sorrow when she denounced Christianity.

It  bothers me to know that fundamentalism has made such a mess of Christianity that progressive people are leaving it in droves.  Without the voice of the progressives, it leaves religion, an important cultural space, for those that would advocate intolerance towards others.  I came across this story on a gay blog where the author was celebrating and I could not help but think of the cruelty of this action.  A loss of faith is deeply a sad thing and is not something to be celebrated no matter how hateful various Christian churches have been.  It is a sign of resignation, of giving up what is most dear because of the criminal actions of others and not because of the actions of God. Anne Rice losing her belief is not a victory, in fact it is a loss.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Men That I Would Fight Sparky Over

Since our beloved Sparky has still not learned to share we are going to continue with our little battle.  Before you, you will find men that I have declared mine and we shall see how long it takes for Sparky to come running and dispute my rightful claim.

Naveen Andrews


David Boreanaz

So feel free to stake your claim as well as add anyone else you may be currently crushing on.  If you are attracted to women please don't feel left out, feel free to share your lady love.  If ze gets your groove going stake your claim.  Oh and Sparky, once again it's on like donkey kong.

This Week's Top Troll

Trigger warning for all sorts of evil

As usual, the trolls were very busy this week. Heaven forbid a week go by without them stopping by to share their ignorance, bigotry and general small mindedness with me.  Most of them are extremely jarring to read, but I think that they teach a lesson in how not to be civilized people.  Everyday I get some fool sending me angry e-mail about silencing their hateful vitriol and so I think this is the perfect solution.  Now they get to be heard, and we all have the opportunity to let them know exactly why what they said was unacceptable.  As per usual, I will give you this week's comments and you can vote on who you think deserves the title of this week's top troll.  When you are done and if your spoon has not become to heavy, please share why you made the selection you did.

Philip: I love it ! Mexicans think they can do anything they want. Their motto is "If I can get away with it, whatever "it" is, regardless of the laws, then it's OK. If you don't, can't, won't catch me, I'll bring in all the drugs I want, drive as drunk as I want, and have as many babies as I want (at the American's expense of course). Hold me accountable for NOTHING.  Posted on "Shoot the Illegal Immigrants"

Anonymous: Fucking niggers. Always thinking that the Noose always stands for something against you. The noose also stands for many other things. Many non-racist bands use it for a symbol of death, or suicidal visions. You niggers make me sick. Always blaming White people for everything. Maybe if most of you would actually speak english instead of fucking ebonics, and pull your fucking pants up to your waist, stop trying to be "gangsta" and all of that other bullshit, we might actually have some respect for you. Also, when White people say WHITE PRIDE, it has nothing fucking against you fuckers. We are proud. We are strong. Oh, but when you niggers say black pride, as if you have any, its not racist right? Fuck niggers. They should be exterminated.
14/88! Heil Hitler! Long Live the Aryan Race!!!!! Posted on Jeremiah Munsen Gets 4 Months For Hanging A Noose.

Sean: Renee Martin is ignorant of the real teaching of Jesus, taking out of context "Judge not lest ye be judged." In John 7:24 Jesus says, "Do not judge by appearances but judge with righteousness." Beyond that, Jennifer Keeton has a constitutional right to her own beliefs. a right Ms Martin wd like to deny.

Ms Martin is just a cultural lemming, wanting readers to think that Jesus taught "anything goes, nothing's wrong so long as it's between consenting adults." This is "tolerance" run amuck..Ms Martin spews a poisonous bias, not the timeless truth of Christ. But thenm she can't be sure of Gospel truth either. Her professoer told her that.

To be against homosexual marrioage is NOT homophobia. Jesus Himself refused to accept "gay" marriage as anyone who has ever read the first half of Matthew 19 knows.
The practice of homosexuality is as sinful as the practice of adultery.

Ms Martin conceals very poorly her hate for the REAL Jesus of the Gospels, preferring the castrated Christ of her radical feminist madrassa. Posted on    "Christian Beliefs" of Homophobia and Gender Determinism

Fuck Fags: You want me to accept your faggityness. Fuck you.  I know your type.  I see fags in the gym all the time working out and getting sweaty hoping to get the attention of other men.  You people don't care about love, you only care about sucking each other off and fucking  each other up the ass. Do you even clean you're dick after you ass fuck? Silly faggot love is for men and women. The only good faggit is a dead faggot.  I don't even shower at the gym anymore because I don't want you disased filled faggot to think about me fucking you.  Why don't you stick to your own kind and stop telling normal people that we have to accept you.  I would spend a lifetime jerking my junk before fucking you up the ass.  fuck faggots. Posted on Being gay is who I am. Not what I do. Not what I think

Real Mother: This is what is wrong with the world today. No one cares about protecting children  How can you expose your children to these freaks and pretend to be a good mother?  If your son grows up and becomes a tranny you have no one to blame but yourself.  A real mother protects her kids from freaks and faggots.  Women like you don't deserve to be mothers.  Someone should take your child away from you before they turn into a freak and a pervert. Don't you realize that trannys and faggots depend on weak minded liberals like you to recruit kids cause they can't have any of their own?  God help your children.  I will pray for them tonight.  Post on: Vagina Power and What is a Trans Man

U.S.A. forever:  Shut up you fucking brown cunt.  America is for white people.  You people have done shit and then come here and try and ruin everything we built.  If your country is so much better why don't you go home instead of coming here and telling us everything we do is wrong.  Okay. America is a white country for white people. Fucking niggers and spics ruin everything.  Man things were better when niggers knew their place and fucking pakis like you stayed home.  We don't care what you think cunt. get it . White country for white people.  God bless the USA Maybe if I shoved my cock down you're throat until you choked you would shut the fuck up Posted on What If I Don't Want a National Anthem At All

Children in Public Places

I love my boys and I think this fact pretty much comes through in every post I write about them.  I pretty much take them with me everywhere I go and in many cases, there are places I would not be able to go without their aid.  Today for instance, we are going grocery shopping.  I will ride in the scooter and my oldest will push the baby in a cart stopping to pick up food that we need for the week.  By myself, I would not be able to purchase enough food for our family for a week, because the scooter cart is not large enough to contain everything we need, and I cannot walk through the grocery store. There are buildings I cannot even enter because the doors do not open automatically and so it is usually one of my children that holds the door open for me.  We have even worked out a system for the laundry.  They bring it down to the basement where I seperate it and put it in the wash.  They then put it in the dryer and bring it upstairs when it is done.  I sit and fold the clothes on the couch and they then put the clothes away.

If I need help, all I have to do is ask, and most times, they anticipate what I need before I can say a word.  They may only be 9 and 4 1/2, but my kids are definitely my caregivers.  We consider ourselves a team and work together to keep our little home running smoothly.  So when someone looks at them and says they don't belong, they are also saying I don't belong.  Even if I were an able bodied woman, denying them access would also mean denying me access, because I am their mother.  Who exactly do these anti-child feminists think is responsible for their care?  Yes, I am once referring to another disgusting anti-child thread on feministe.

Is it really any wonder that you see feminists constantly talking about abortion rights and never motherhood, when they are constantly attacking children and their right to share our space?  Write a post about children in a restaurant, store or any other public place and someone is quick to talk about how their evening was ruined by screaming children knocking things over or having something spilled on them.   What more, the shaming of their mother is often part and parcel to their commentary.  Mothers don't control their children, or remove them quickly enough to ensure that these people have the peace and serenity they desire.  Yet, and this is the part I find most ironic, they are supposedly for women's rights.   What they are advocating is a removal of women from public spaces by virtue of their motherhood. Here is a catchy concept, if you want serenity and peace, take a hot bath.

It Seems Ke$ha is Threatened By Trans Women

Since the first time I heard Blah Blah Blah, I fervently wished that this woman would just go away.  When you add to the fact that she has no problem appropriating First Nations culture for a fashion statement, I hardly see anything redeemable about her. She clearly does not care who she offends as long as people keep downloading her music.  Ordinarily speaking, she is the type of person I would purposefully ignore; however, she seems determined to use her privilege to harm others and so I am forced to pay attention to her ignorance and bigotry for the purposes of calling her out.

It seems that Ke$ha has struck again and this time she has chosen to attack trans women.
On 'trannies:'
Freaks are what make everything mildly more interesting in life but with trannies, they make me want to be a better woman. I see these men who have way better bodies than I do, more beautiful faces, better complexions, beautiful makeup, and they're more fun than any person I've met in my life. They make me feel like I'm not a very good woman. 
Ke$ha is right, she is not a very good woman, and it has everything to do with her failure to practice the most basic form of respect for people.  Seriously, where does this woman get off calling anyone a freak?  I suppose she thought she was being complimentary saying that trans women are beautiful, but referring to them as men is a complete denial of their identity.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

"Christian Beliefs" of Homophobia and Gender Determinism

The problem with taking on the label of Christian is that so many other bigots use it as a shield to enforce their ignorance and hatred upon others.  Most rational thinking people can see that the bible contradicts itself in many places.  In fact, just comparing the God of the Old Testament to God of the the New Testament it would seem like we are dealing with a split personality. The problem with modern Christianity as it is practiced is that many people cherry pick passages to oppress others while ignoring the various ways in which they fail to adhere to nonsensical doctrine that applies to them.  The most ignored passage in the bible is judge not lest ye be judged -- and that certainly applies to everyone.

According to the Christian Post: 

An Augusta State University student filed suit Wednesday after she was told to change her Christian beliefs or otherwise be expelled from the school's graduate counseling program.
"A public university student shouldn’t be threatened with expulsion for being a Christian and refusing to publicly renounce her faith, but that’s exactly what’s happening here," said David French, senior counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund. "Simply put, the university is imposing thought reform."

Jennifer Keeton, 24, has been enrolled in the College of Education's School Counselor masters degree program since fall 2009. She has expressed her Christian beliefs in class discussions and written assignments, but it was her views regarding gender and sexuality that irked faculty.

According to the filed complaint, "She has stated that she believes sexual behavior is the result of accountable personal choice rather than an inevitability deriving from deterministic forces. She also has affirmed binary male-female gender, with one or the other being fixed in each person at their creation, and not a social construct or individual choice subject to alteration by the person so created. Further, she has expressed her view that homosexuality is a 'lifestyle,' not a 'state of being.'"

In May, Keeton was notified that she would be asked to participate in a remediation plan. Mary Jane Anderson-Wiley, an associate professor who also oversees student education and discipline, explained that the faculty wanted to see Keeton's writing skills improve and that they are concerned with some of her beliefs and views pertaining to GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender) issues.

Several faculty members later met with the student and told her that they considered her to be failing to conform to certain professional standards. In a written Remediation Plan, the faculty said her speech on GLBT matters violated the codes of ethics that counselors and those in training are required to adhere to.

Keeton's views "depart from what 'the psychological research about GLBTQ (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning) populations asserts' that that 'sexual orientation is not a lifestyle or choice, but a state of being,'" faculty members said.
Here we go again with false oppression being cited by a woman that claims to be Christian to support her bigotry.   How can she be effective as a counselor when she fails to accept the most basic premises?  If she were in a position to counsel a GLBT person coming to terms with their gender and or sexuality, her particular views would end up causing harm to them. A person does not seek out aid to end up being  hurt.  The decision of Augusta State University is an attempt to insert accountability into their programs.  If you think that someone is choosing to engage in an abomination, how can you possibly advise them in a neutral way? By giving this woman accreditation the university would be supporting the idea that such beliefs have a valid space in the profession of psychology. 

What if I don’t want a National Anthem at all?

This is a post by our newest contributor Tassja

I'm a 23 year old Sinhalese woman in Minnesota by way of Dubai by way of Sri Lanka. I am a Womanist, and part of my womanism is figuring out how to be in solidarity with my transnational sisters worldwide. I'm a daughter, a sister, a partner and a writer. I'm a brown girl who knows Shakespeare by heart and devours anything Toni Morrison. I believe in radical, revolutionary living and loving.  I blog at Irresistible Revolution.
‘The old lie, ‘Dulce et decorum est, pro patria mori’ – Wilfred Owen
Yesterday, I came across this article. The article describes how Professor Timothy Askew, a professor at Clark Atlanta University, a black college, is uncomfortable with the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing”  being recognized as the ‘Black national anthem’. His worry? That the song might be  “construed as racially separatist and divisive”.  I was quite furious by the time I finished the article, so much so that I didn’t trust myself to blog about the issue. But after some though, I decided this needs to be said:

WHY do we not label white folks as ‘separatist’ and ‘divisive’ for adopting ‘The Star Spangled Banner’, a poem written by a white man, as the national anthem? Why, despite the fact that lines like “the land of the free and the home of the brave?” ignore and erase the realities of people of color in the US, sidestep the inconvenient truth that the star-spangled banner waves over the genocide and dispossession of First Nations people, is the song wordlessly embraced as capturing the ‘true’ spirit of America? Why is a song written by and for white people entrenched in American consciousness as the national anthem, when a song written by and for black people is accused of peddling divisive racial politics?

Dare I suggest, dear post-racial America, that the United States is first and primarily understood as a country of white folks, into which the rest of us are grudgingly permitted entry based on our ‘merit’?

I’m not discrediting Prof. Askew’s scholarship or his cognizance of his people’s history. In fact, I think this was also an instance of a media outlet trying to push the ridiculous ‘color-blind-we’re-all-the-same-let’s-do-away-with-race’ BULLSHIT that America is enamored of. It’s funny, isn’t it, how the call to ‘do away with race’ seems to crop up when POC want to talk about the realities of race in ‘the land of the free’, while the overrepresentation of whites in positions of wealth and power goes unnoticed? But hey, that’s not racism, that’s just the way things are.

Antisemitism and Oliver Stone

Is anyone giving out an award for the most bigoted Hollywood personality?  Something must be going on because it seems that Oliver Stone is attempting to challenge Mel Gibson for bigotry.

In an interview with the "Sunday Times of London", Stone decided to let his inner bigot out for a stroll:
In an interview with The Times to promote his documentary “South of the Border,” which is about South American politics, Mr. Stone defended Hitler. “Hitler was a Frankenstein, but there was also a Dr. Frankenstein,” he said. “German industrialists, the Americans and the British. He had a lot of support. Hitler did far more damage to the Russians than the Jewish people.” Mr. Stone then proceeded to discuss what he called “the Jewish domination of the media,” adding with an expletive that Israel had messed up “United States foreign policy for years.”
He is absolutely right, with the policy of appeasement, Hitler was supported by western industrialists.  Many nations were willing to give him anything to avoid war and it was only when it became impossible to ignore the legitimate threat that he posed, that war was declared.  Even after Europe declared war on Germany, the U.S. remained neutral.  When Hitler turned and decided to open the war on two fronts, breaking his treaty with Stalin, there can be no doubt that the Russians paid a terrible price.  I do however think that Stone's approach specifically ignores the pogroms that happened in Russia.  Who does that man think died?  Russia was no place of warmth and tolerance towards Jewish people either,  and Stalin was certainly no saint. Stalin's time in power was a reign of terror.

Vagina Power and What Is A Trans Man?

So I was sitting at the dinner table with the family and we  were chatting about our day, when  Destruction asked me what I had written about and I mentioned that Matt had written an excellent post.  I went on to list how I thought my space was special not because of the work I do, but because of the amazing collaboration that it has become. I said that Jaded is from India, Sparky (who cannot share) is gay and from the U.K and then I said that Matt is a trans man from the U.S.  This made them interrupt me with the question, "Mommy what is a trans man"?  When we have talked about the trans community, it usually has been about trans women.  My boys are quite familiar with Monica from TransGriot who they call Auntie Monica.  They know that she is a trans woman but it matters not when they get on the phone with her and start filling her ear with the details of their day. I have to be honest,  they have expressed a lot of sympathy for Monica's situation.  Nope, not what you think -- there are no Tim Hortons in Texas and they are not sure how she survives.

So when I said that Matt is a trans man, they wanted to know right away what I meant.  So I explained that when Matt was born people thought he was female, but he knew that he was a male -- and so when he was old enough to tell people who he is, he did and now when we talk about him or to him, we know that we are talking to a man.  I didn't expect that this was going to be a difficult conversation and I was right.  We started talking to the kids about gender and sexuality from a very early age and so much of what people are stuck on, my kids have no problem accepting and understanding.

We went to the computer and I showed them a picture of Matt and Mayhem's response was, of course he is a guy, followed by a scream of penis power.  I should probably explain the penis power line.  The boys have been saying this for quite sometime as a part of asserting their masculinity, even though it gets on my last nerve -- so I looked at them and said not all men have penises.   I don't know the  details of Matt's transition, and I am not going to ask, but I really felt that I could use this discussion to make them rethink their understanding of bodies.  Does that mean that trans men have vaginas Mommy? Destruction asked.  When I answered, "some do," it was followed by a very loud "vagina power".  As a woman surrounded by testosterone and that is down to the damn undog, I cannot tell you how happy it made me to hear "vagina power".

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Gates: Repercussions

I have to say thank goodness for time shifting or "The Gates" certainly would have lost out to AMC's "Mad Men".  I really don't know what ABC is thinking running this show while "True Blood" is on, and then putting it up against "Mad Men".  Are they trying to make sure it does not make it out of the first season?

As you recall, last episode Dylan revealed himself to Nick when he murdered, Teressa.  Nick is plagued by the thought of the danger that he put his family in and is terrified of Dylan.  It seems to me, what this incident really points out is that Nick is a control freak --  big surprise considering that he is a cop.  Nick demands to know what happened to Teressa's body, as Dylan tries desperately to make him realize that they need to relax and cover for each other because a lot is at stake.  When Nick continues to press, Dylan answers him with, "I am going to make this easy for you: holy water, it doesn't effect me it never has; that was the Vatican pure machine working overtime furthermore, I don't sleep in a coffin, and I can see my reflection in the mirror, garlic on the other hand, well that does effect me but then heartburn would do that to someone."  That has to go down as line of the night.

What I find very interesting is the way that Andie's succubus nature is being used to have a discussion regarding safe sex.  When she asks her father about her parents sexual relationship, he admits that they had to be very careful and that many times her mother did indeed hurt him.  He listed the excuses that he used to cover their sexual interactions, which often left him bed ridden.  He tries to encourage Andie to take the medication her doctor is recommending, rather than attempting to control this on her own, but Andie does not listen and still meets Charlie behind her fathers back, giving him a small kiss.  Unfortunately for Andie, what her father did not tell her, is that he was forced to kill her mother when she lost control of her succubus side.  This to me speaks about the ways in which we try to encourage our youth to have safe sex because it leads to disease and unwanted pregnancy.  Andie's reaction is very typical of a teenager-- a ridiculous belief that they are somehow the exception to the rule.

If you are curious to know what I thought of the rest of the episode you are going to have to read it over at my new blog Women's Eye on Media.

Being gay is what I am. Not what I do. Not what I think.

This is a guest post from Sparky, of Spark in Darkness.  Many of you are  familiar with him from Livejournal, as well as from his insightful and often hilarious commentary here. Each Tuesday, Womanist Musings will be featuring a post from Sparky.

I am gay.

No, this isn't a hugely belated coming out post. I am pretty sure it's already abundantly clear that I am a gay man. I am uncloseted in as much of my life as I can manage (more or less) and slowly trying to push back the last vestiges of the closet that still shadow me (though that largely requires society to improve rather than me) 

No, here I am talking about the express wording. I am gay. And what that means to me, personally. 
And the important word here is "am". 

I did not say "I do gay". I did not say "I have gay sex". I did not say "I have a same-sex attraction". Or "I have a sexual preference for men". 

That is because being gay is what I am. Not what I do. Not what I think. 

I knew I was gay before I ever touched another man sexually. Oh I hated it and fought it and tried to deny it at first - but I knew I was gay years before sex came into the picture. When I was a virgin, I was gay. 

This is my identity. To me, this is part of who I am, a major, fundamental part of who I am. This is my life, my love and above all - this is ME. 

Segregated Schools Are Not A Thing of the Past

Brown vs Board struck down segregation in education and today, though segregation is no longer the law of the land, most people live highly segregated lives. White flight has ensured that Whiteness is nestled in safe little communities, leaving urban areas to POC. Since education funding is based in property taxes, students that are receiving public education in poor areas are attending schools that are often ill equipped to give them the skills to succeed on a global stage.  Even if they beat the odds and manage to graduate and get accepted into a  college or university, many of them find that they were not taught the skills necessary to succeed in higher education, let alone the business sector upon graduation.  Clearly, the only solution to this, is the integration of schools; however, a North Carolina School district has decided to end their busing program.  The NAACP and several parents protested and were arrested; however, this has made no change to this decision.  The very fact that the person who crafted the change in policy  is White, means that this cannot possibly be race neutral, because as a White man, he has been conditioned to support White supremacy from birth. John Tedesco would like us to believe that this is about improving education for children, but housing Black children in schools that are under performing is clearly about supporting White supremacy.  The only children that gain in this are White and judging from the fact that those supporting this change in policy are also White, clearly this is an unacknowledged fact.

The Perpetually Invisible Indian Lesbian -- Where Is Miss Rich When You Need Her?

Jaded16 is a Radical Feminist from India. She writes a humour blog Oi With The Poodles Already’, attempting to make her world a little woman-friendly using healthy doses of irony and sarcasm to de-condition the Indian masses. It is at times like these when she loses all her sense of humour and starts looking for a rock big enough to live under.

This might not surprise you so much if I announced that I'm going through a pre-quarter-life-life-crisis right now; caused essentially by my mum and her troupé of LadyFriends who have become a caricature of women fueled by patriarchy in my head. It's really not my fault that I seem to be staring at the space above her head, imagining smoke coming out of her eyes when she's yelling at me (again) for whatever mistake I've made in the past two minutes. She was ranting about the days gone by, the days to come, the unstable government, her 'flabby' thighs (in her opinion) and then ultimately how God should descend and intervene otherwise she would just lose it. I've heard this speech so many times, in perfect chronological order, that I know the track it's going to go next : The State Of Our Daughters Today And What Should We Be Doing About Those Tights Wearing, Cigarette Smoking, Consensual Sex Having and Ignoring The Holy Duty Of Cooking Girls with infinite series of question marks. I fit in a few of these categories, as do most Ladies I know my age, the only varying factor is if they spray their lungs with DeathJuice or not. So predictably when she's reached the point where she's imploring Zee Gods to come down, I snuck out to write. This way I can momentarily preserve my LadyBrain as well as remember to talk about something über important as this.

Turns out, I've got quite a past. Last week my friend was teasing me of being "in love" with one of my girlfriends when I was about eight or nine. I remembered suddenly the kisses we'd shared, the secret we had to keep and how deliciously mischievous we felt when we used to go in that room, "role-play", knowing full well that the grown-ups knew nothing on the other side of the wall. It ended quickly, I think I fell for a boy right after and I forgot all about my first love, kept it away in some unhinged part of my memory. No one noticed anything, I wasn't ever questioned or even asked to explain just what did I do all those hours locked up in my room with her. I was shocked to see I'd forgotten completely about her and I never thought it was anything abnormal that my first love was a girl. When I teased mum days later that I had a lesbian encounter right under her nose, instead of the moral outrage and cultural shock I'd expected, she just laughed it out saying, "You both were just girls! What harm will come off of that". These words may seem silly to you but I've heard them so many times, everywhere, it seems like a system for erasing lesbian existence.

Monday, July 26, 2010

20 Years Later Business are Still Whining Over the ADA

If you are not disabled, you have no idea what it is like to negotiate a world that was built to suit the needs of the TAB.  Before the ADA, a simple thing like a curb that had no cut, made life extremely difficult.  Though I currently live in Ontario, Canada I can report first hand that a lack of accommodations amount to more than an inconvenience, they are a sever barrier to living life.  In an article by CNN discussing some of the issues with the ADA, the ableism is positively palpable. Here are a few of the complaints they chose to publish:

As the anniversary approached, an internet chat board sampling turned up countless positive comments but also many critical ones.

''ADA laws have been interpreted, reinterpreted and misinterpreted so many times that unfortunately nobody has a final answer until you end up in court,'' one posting complained.

On, a forum for plumbers, a comment poked fun at requirements for urinal heights in public restrooms, saying, ''Listen, a handicapped person ain't gonna use a urinal to begin with.''
On another site, a post by a self-described business owner says, "I spent thousands of dollars complying with the ADA laws. I then get a letter in the mail from someone that is disabled that came into my establishment notifying me of all my violations.''

''One was that the toilet paper dispenser in the restroom was three inches off the required ADA position,'' the posting said.

"What disabled person goes around with a tape measure? I could smell a lawsuit and immediately fixed all the minor items.''

''While I understand the idea behind the law, it is definitely not being used as it was intended.''
This entire article makes it seem like disabled people are just greedy whiners looking for an excuse to sue.  And this is the image that CNN thought was appropriate to display on the twentieth anniversary of the ADA.  One person above went on and on about the changes ze had made to be compliant, but when it turned out that ze had missed several things, apparently it was only commented on because the disabled person wanted to sue. These so-called changes may have been minor to hir, but for someone who is differently abled, they very well could have amounted to the difference between accessibility and exclusion.

True Blood: I Got a Right to Sing the Blues

Last night the audience was treated to a scene that I have waited for from the moment it was revealed that Lafayette was to have a love interest this year.

Can I get a WOOT, WOOT?  I know that this did not end well, but I have to say that I was so excited to see it, that this where I had to start this week's discussion.  The flirting between  Jesus and Lafayette has been very sweet, and I am glad that the writers didn't make it awkward like Bill's "I hear the water is hard in Arkansas" routine. Unfortunately, it all came crashing to an end when some of the men that Lafayette was trying to encourage to sell V showed up and started bashing his car.  Lafayette was forced to admit that he sold V and this sent Jesus running the other direction.  I gotta say that I don't blame him, because getting involved with a drug dealer is the last thing that I would want.  I do think that the line of the night once again went to Lafayette when he said, "Get your ass out of here and tell you mama two faggots whipped your ass."

Back to the beginning.  Russel walks into his mansion with Sookie and Bill in tow.  Suddenly Bill finds his courage and attempts to kill Russel to no avail.  He orders Lorena to kill Bill and for Eric to take Sookie to his study while he goes off to soothe Talbot's hurt feelings. Talbot's histrionics are getting irritating.  I am really starting to see his high maintenance behaviour as verging on homophobic.  Ball seems determined to divide Talbot and Russel into stereotypical male and female roles, with Talbot being feminized to the point of a ridiculous caricature. The age difference between Talbot and Russell is no longer working as a cover, for the dominant submissive binary that plays out  each week. It makes me wonder if he really sees gay relationships this way?

Throughout the scene, Russell and Eric refer to Sookie as it.  "I have not had the pleasure of tasting it, but all of my instincts say that it would be quite extraordinary," said Eric.   "Oh it thinks we're equals".  I think for the first time in the series, Sookie is learning that it is not all about her. Alone in the office with Eric, she honestly expected him to be actively hatching a plan to save her and Bill.  Instead, she was greeted with, "you mean nothing to me, nothing do you hear?  I am very close to getting something I wanted since I was still human.  Do not get in my way."  I should also point out that Sookie did a great Eric impression, that would have had me giggling if the situation were not so dire. For the record, can Skaarsgard where a pair of jeans or what? You have no idea how hard it was not to include a gratuitous ass shot.

Apparently No Still Means Yes, For “Girls Gone Wild”

I have a new post up at Global Comment

“Girls Gone Wild” goes to various campuses and bars where women are partying and encourages them to reveal their bodies and perform for the cameras. In most of the filmed scenes, these women are clearly inebriated; however, “Girls Gone Wild” does not take that into consideration when they are attempting to secure consent. The goal for the company is to capitalize on “raunch culture,” thereby securing a profit through what is clearly the exploitation of young women.

Saint Louis Today has a report about a young woman who sued claiming that she did not give consent to appear in the videos. Apparently, Jane Doe (as she was known in her lawsuit), claimed that she was at a bar dancing, when a woman came behind her and pulled her top down. This was recorded by the camera and placed on a video, which was subsequently marketed for sale.

Both sides built their case around the issue of consent. The plaintiff explicitly stated that she did not give consent and her lawyer claimed that she could be heard on the tape saying no. Unfortunately for Jane Doe, Patrick O’Brien, the jury foreman felt that: “Through her actions, she gave implied consent. She was really playing to the camera. She knew what she was doing.” After ninety minutes of deliberation the jury delivered a 9-3 decision for the defense.

The plaintiff will now have to live with the knowledge that there is footage of her semi-nude body available to the public that she did not approve of and that a company is now making a profit from. This decision is much larger than the repugnant “Girls Gone Wild” franchise; it brings into question what constitutes consent.

Certainly, it should be clear by now that the absence of a clearly articulated yes does not constitute consent. Even if the plaintiff was enjoying herself, she absolutely had the right to determine when the activity had moved beyond her comfort level. Taking this ability away from her is tantamount to suggesting that she does not have the right to complete autonomy over her person. This is very much like a rapist continuing with sexual behaviour after the woman has said no, because his raging erection demands satisfaction.

Finish reading here

White like me, but not trans like me

Matt Kailey is a transman living in Denver, Colorado, and an author, public speaker, and trainer on transgender issues. He blogs at Tranifesto. In his ideal world, no one would be equal to anyone else – everyone would just be equal.

As I was reading Renee’s follow-up post on white people versus whiteness, I saw that she referred to an author whose work I like very much – Tim Wise. And she gave me something to think about that had not occurred to me before – that some people of color resent the fact that Wise, a white man, has made a living in anti-racism work when people of color have been writing about and speaking about the same things for centuries, from firsthand experience, and their work has not been read or deemed important by white people, let alone provided a living for these writers.

Oh. Wow. Light bulb.

I can’t say that I understand the kick in the gut that these authors must experience when they see the success of Wise’s work. I can only relate it to the kick-in-the-gut feeling that I, as an author, have felt under very different, but relatable, circumstances. I am aware that what I am about to describe is not the same thing – it is simply the closest that I can come in my own experience.

There is an author who has taken it upon herself in the past to publish some very harsh criticism of trans men, questioning our authenticity, our manhood, and so on. A few years later, she dresses up like a man for a few months, goes out into the world and experiences how the genders are treated differently, then writes a mainstream bestselling book about it, while there are quite a few excellent books about the actual experience of female-to-male transition available, written by those who have actually experienced it.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday Shame: Worst Feminist Crush Evah

Some of you may be familiar with ohfilthygrandeur from her often spot on comments here, or her blog.  Today however, I am afraid that I am going to have to call attention to her for an alarming shame that she admitted of her own accord and then practically begged me to shame her.  I was tempted to give her a pass, thus resulting in not seeing her name in hot pink 18pt font, a dubious honour that Gus aka Allison McCarthy has become the queen of and Sparky the king of.  But then I thought about the absolute heinousness of whom she has publicly declared love for and I am afraid I really had to call it out for fear that she might be contagious and spread it to my feminist friends.   Feminism has more than enough problem without adding ohfilthygrandeur's sin to it.  Now that I have built up enough excitement.. Mmmmm maybe not... drumroll please ...... On my "Men that I would fight Sparky Over" post this week, Ohfilthygrandeur admitted to loving: