Saturday, July 2, 2011

Drop It Like It's Hot

Thanks again for a marvelous week of conversations everyone.  It has long been a goal of mine to make Womanist Musings a truly inclusive and intersectional site and I believe we are finally well on the road to that.  It is my hope that at least once a week all readers will see an issue that directly effects them discussed on the blog. I really want this to be a space for marginalized people to gather and discuss issues safely. We may not always get things right, but please trust that a good faith effort exists.

I am currently seeking someone to join the team to talk about issues related to fat activism.  I would like someone who feels comfortable talking about their own experiences, as well as taking an FA perspective to conversations around body image.  If you are interested in becoming part of the team, please send an email to womanistmusings (at) gmail (dot) com with two samples of writing and an explanation as why it is important for you to explore this issue. Please note, this is a non paid writing assignment.

As always, Womanist Musings retains its open guest posting policy.  If you are interested in sharing an original piece or work that you have previously published on your blog, please use the above email.  Please include a small three line bio, and an image that you feel best represents you.

As usual, below you will find links to stories that I found interesting this week.  A link does not necessarily mean endorsement, it simply means that something about the piece caught my attention.  Please show these bloggers some love and check them out.  When you are done, don't forget to drop it like it's hot and leave you link behind in the comment section. 

Anti-immigrant legislation ain't just hurting the immigrants
Do They Really Believe That ABortion is Murder?
Everything Must Go 
Hip-Hop, Politics & the New Muslim Cool 
LGBT PRIDE Op-Ed 2011: Pride and Protest by Will Kohl
Beyond the Binary: What to Wear, What to Wear
Disclosure and Dating
Rape Is Hilarious, Part Wev in a Neverending Series
It's different for girly girls
Why Do I Get So "Sensateeve"?: Homphobia and Tyler Perry's Black Marriage Franchise
We Just Can't Avoid The Help
On Policing Femininity, and the Right to be Wrong
I give up, sometime I can't understand my husband
Reversa: The Best Anti-Aging Commercial I have Ever Seen.

Friday, July 1, 2011

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

Question Mark Squirclephoto © 2007 Gareth Simpson | more info (via: Wylio)

Since this weekend marks a holiday on both sides of the border, I thought I would ask everyone, what is your favourite part about long weekend?

Marriage Eh?

Dan Waters is a snarky 22 year old queer biracial wonderment who is part White, Portuguese, and Native American (Wampanoag-Kiowa). He currently lives in Massachusetts, and plans to become a Lawyer. That is, if he can survive Algonquin language classes and polyamorous dating right now! He also identifies as Two Spirit, and prefers male pronouns, but cherishes his female body that he was given graciously by the Creator. He blogs at Identity Exposure.

So while talking with one of my friends over some famous (and real) New England Clam Chowder, they brought up New York passing gay marriage. They then asked my opinion about it.
Honestly, I sort of choked on my spoonful of chowder. After settling, I sort of raised my hands up in a very meek raise the roof.

"Yay?" I said.

My friend was less than convinced and with good reason. I have a hard time mustering up fake feelings, unless I am getting paid or something. The jig was up, and I had to explain myself.

I'm not a downer on marriage. I am however a downer on the constant campaign for gay marriage (thus ignoring more pressing issues like suicide rates, transgender healthcare, etc). Instead, I think people should be going for a marriage reform, or to end marriage as a legal status in anything. Wait, wait, I can explain! So before you jump down my throat, hear me out. Marriage has, and always will be, used as a tool of othering and status symboling. Let me break it down in bullets.

1) Marriage was a right given to those who could afford it. Meaning, folks who could pay for the license fee, the venue, the priest or judge, etc.

2) Marriage was a right given to white able-bodied people (in America). Marriages amongst Native Americans and Black/African-American slaves were not legally recognized, so separation of families and kin were deemed acceptable. Those deemed mentally incompetent were not allowed to marry (and in many cases, still can't today).

When You Just Have To Get Busy

The unhusband emailed me the following video of an Asian Man getting down with his bad self and since it was just so awesome I had to share.

It's Canada Day Don't Hate us Cause you Want to be Us

Last year I did a post on why Canada is great, for Canada Day, and it went over so well, I thought I would give you a few more examples.

1) Canadians are blessed with super patience.  When I am not putting up with comments about attack beavers and sexy mounties, some people (I am looking at you Sparky) threaten international incidents by daring to suggest Tim Hortons is not the best coffee shop franchise ever. Then you have comments from the peanut gallery fly over state dwelling Tami, who is steadfastly refusing to be assimilated. She continues to take sides with a red coat (yeah, cause it's smart to wear bright colour during war) over me, even though Canada is America's largest trading partner.  I have a good mind to write a letter to the PM, demanding that we refuse to let them have a drop of our Canadian ambrosia - maple syrup.  I have also been asked if we have racoons in Canada, as well corrected Allison McCarthy's  false idea that our anthem is Oh Canada my Canada. Allison at one time also believed that the capitol of Canada is Toronto, and so I was forced to give her a geography lesson.  I also had to deal with the shenanigans of Holly Ord, who promptly  had a fit when I explained that milk sometimes comes in plastic bags. I deal with the challenges of Americans and the English with much grace. Why?  Because I am Canadian damn it.

2) Many of the popular shows and movies aired in North America have been filmed in Toronto, or Vancouver. It seems that directors have figured out that showing an icon like the CN Tower is a bad idea, but oddly believe that no one is going to miss restaurants like Sai Woo, one of the most recognizable Chinese restaurants in Toronto.
3) Canada is a bilingual country, which is a bonus to those of us who enjoy multiple cultures and cussing in two languages. I can say Tabernak, Crisse, Ta Gueule, Ca me fait chier and Casse-toi with the best of them.

4) Americans are forced to deal with Ryan Seacrest, and Canadians have Ben Mulroney.  I hate to root for a Mulroney in anything, but when it comes down to it, he is less annoying and has a bigger chin.

5) Canadians are one of the few Western countries that can convincingly sell the lie that we are peaceful, that is until a hockey game is involved.  When Vancouver rioted recently, many didn't know that Canadians had it in us. Now you know why the Atlanta Thrashers are moving to Winnipeg. When it comes to hockey, we will not be denied, unless of course you are a Leafs fan.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Negro: A Documentary About Afro Latinos

Earlier in the year I wrote about a documentary entitled Black in Latin America by Henry Louis Gates Jr., which aired on PBS.  Since then I have been absolutely fascinated with my fellow cousins of the African-Diaspora.  I came across the following documentary at The Beautiful Struggler and I just had to share it with you.

Negro: Rio de Janeiro "It's Bad to Be Black in the World" from Dash Harris on Vimeo.

Coming Out: Round 2 ...Working Sex While Queer

Eva Rivera is a proud lesbian Chicana, daughter, sister and sex worker who can walk in 6 inch heels and twirl naked on a pole in front of total strangers but is still viciously afraid of moths. She hails from Fresno, CA and is a poet and aspiring film maker. You can find her more personal writing on her blog

I remember coming out to my family like it was yesterday. I was in the worst possible place (a crowded restaurant) because I thought it would minimize the damage. Wrong. Anyway, I find myself in a similar position today. I am fully out to my family as queer, but no one but my sisters knows that I am a sex worker. And while they certainly have differences (I wasn't born a sex worker), the similarities deliver a heavy sense of nostalgia. All the reasons I gave for coming out to my family as lesbian have vanished when faced with the task of coming out as a sex worker. I remember saying that I came out because I didn't want to hide such a huge part of my identity. That I wanted to show my family that there was nothing shameful about being queer and I was proud, so they should be proud of me too. Where is my courage now? I think those reasons would still apply to coming out as a sex worker. It could even be to my benefit: safety precautions and such. I struggle daily knowing that a huge part of my life is kept in the closet, so to speak. Most of my close friends don't know. Not even people who ask directly about my job: landlords, potential employers, health clinics, etc.

While I think it would be problematic to compare queer oppression to sex worker oppression overall, it's simply a reality of my life. My body happens to be inconvenient that way and aspects of my identity smear and blur over and through lines that say I have to be one or the other. When I started working, I never imagined how much of my old closeted life would be recycled. I figured I wouldn't really mention it, but didn't realize to what extent. I find myself in an old and boring pattern of having to lie about my work, what I was doing last saturday, quickly kicking my stripper heels under the couch for company. It's 17 all over again.

Thoughts on My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

Alright, after watching My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, I truly believe that TLC needs to stop calling itself the learning channel.  I knew next to nothing about Gypsies, Travelers or Roma, before watching the marathon that TLC aired on Sunday afternoon; however, a firm understanding of how the media and how shows like this work, allowed me to understand that we were far from seeing the true picture of this insular community.

With the exception a few young women who had jobs, the show largely fixated on the idea that Gypsy/Traveler women exist as drudges to serve the men in their lives.  They made a point of repeatedly letting the viewer know that they were expected to leave school around the age of 11 to do nurturing work.  Shot after shot was aired of traveler women scrubbing floors and cooked meals.  This was juxtaposed to them in loud highly revealing clothing thus suggesting a sort of contradiction of moral values.  Supposedly if one dresses in revealing clothing and have chosen to abstinent until marriage, it is a weird twist on values.

Throughout the show, the moderator constantly asked the young women if they felt their lives were unfair.  For instance, leaving school, doing housework, etc., while the boys had the freedom to do whatever they desired, as long as they financially supported their families when they got married.  It felt as though the documentary was trying to present Traveler women as uniquely oppressed, i.e. people who were caught in a time warp.  This dissonance is best described by Thelma Madine who says:

Finish reading here

Part of having self-respect is demanding good gay characters and good stories

Our awesome Sparky has a lot to say this week and of course I think this is awesome. Here is a cross post from his blog Spark in Darkness. 

I am an avid reader. I devour 2-3 books a week. Specifically Urban Fantasy more than anything (as can be seen by the Fangs for the Fantasy Podcast and Blog). Urban Fantasy, in television and books, is my  preferred genre. I've always enjoyed the fantastical when I read. Fantasy and, to a lesser extent, sci-fi and super heroes. I don't apologise for my cheesey cheesey fiction preferences – I work long hours as a lawyer which is depressing and harsh reality. I work for GBLT charities which is depressing and harsh reality. I have to read lots of law books and journals which is extremely boring and occasionally connected to reality. In other words, when I sit down to kick back and relax I want me some wonderful tasty cheese, spells and sorcery, vampires and werewolves, elves and faeries

But that doesn't mean I turn off my awareness when I am reading or watching – I don't think I could anyway. Which is why my reviews tend to have a nod to social justice, as does the podcast. And increasingly there has been one issue that I – in fact all of us – have been wrestling with is it better to be erased?

And, while once I would have tried to argue the merits of a token, increasingly I'm really beginning to say “yes, fuck it. No more gay characters please.” How sad is that?

But my favourite Urban Fantasy series? Is Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid Chronicles (and we fanpoodle in his name!). Zero GBLT characters (and part of that is because Kevin Hearne is more aware than most authors and doesn't want to write a marginalised person he doesn't know as discussed in our podcast interview).

My second favourite series? Kim Harrison's Hollows series. I love that series – DESPITE Ivy. And it's a despite. Rachel, the straight girl, living in constant fear of bisexual Ivy's aggressive sexuality (compare that with Kristen's male sexy vampireness) the way it's a constant threat for her, the way she constantly has to tip-toe round it and the way Ivy is never ever happy and her ex-lover is just a source of more pain? Ugh. I really could do without it. I'd rather Ivy be a man or Ivy be straight.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Summer Vacation is not ALL about Vacation

 School Dazephoto © 2010 QUOI Media Group | more info (via: Wylio)
Today is the last day of school.  I know that my little men are looking forward to lots of picnicking, swimming, staying up late, carnivals and hanging out with their friends.  For the first week of summer vacation, I intend to allow them to enjoy themselves no questions asked, but the following week, we will begin what I like to call summer homework, much to the consternation of the boys. For 1-2 hours  a day I will actively teach my children.  Some will be review for them and some of it will be new to encourage them to explore.

Two months is a very long time to go without actively learning.  One of the things I have tried to instill into my children, is a love of learning and the importance of an education.  I use the summer vacation to teach my children that which the school system will not, their history as children of the African Diaspora.  We will also use this time to talk about social justice.  As they have aged, my approach has changed to asking what they think, rather than just filling their heads with facts and history.  Summer is when dedicate myself to encouraging them to think critically, because it is a skill that they will not be actively taught in school.

Summer can be about fun, but it should also be about learning and bettering oneself. Minority children cannot depend on the education system to teach them the skills that they will need to be successful because education, like any other institution, privileges dominant bodies.  This means little things like story time not including books with children of colour, or ignoring the history of racism beyond teaching the underground railroad.  To this day, there are adults who do not know that slavery existed in Canada.  It took me years of research to fill in the blanks, and I do not want my children to grow with the same ignorance, because White supremacy is still the unofficial law of the land.

Dan Savage's Bi-phobic Rant

Dan Savage speaking at IWUphoto © 2007 Erik Abderhalden | more info (via: Wylio)

I am sure if the dictionary were to define douchebaggery, an image of Dan Savage, would be all that is needed to adequately explain the term. I don't believe that there is an ism that he has not whole heartedly embraced, while having the nerve to label himself a liberal.  In his latest bit of fuckery, he wrote:
Not only would it be great if more bisexuals were out to their partners, it would be great if more bisexuals in opposite-sex relationships were out to their friends, families, and coworkers. More out bisexuals would mean less of that bisexual invisibility that bisexuals are always complaining about. If more bisexuals were out, more straight people would know they actually know and love sexual minorities, which would lead to less anti-LGBT bigotry generally, which would be better for everyone.
But people get to make their own choices, and lots of bisexuals choose not to be out. While I'm willing to recognize that the reluctance of many bisexuals to be out may be a reaction to the hostility they face from non-bisexuals, gay and straight, bisexuals need to recognize that their being closeted is a huge contributing factor to the hostility they face. 

Bisexual activists like to complain that they're the most oppressed because (1) it's a contest, and (2) it's a good excuse. If they can argue—and unfortunately, they can—that lots of gay people are mean to them (some gay people don't want to date them, some gay people doubt they exist) and straight people are mean to them (some straight people don't want to date them, some straight people doubt they exist), then bisexual people aren't to blame for the bisexual closet. Everyone else is.

And they have a point—but it's a self-serving, self-defeating point. Yes, lots of people judge and condemn and fear bisexuals. If those were good reasons to stay closeted, no gay or lesbian person would ever come out. And if bisexuals did come out in greater numbers, they could rule... well, not the world, but they could rule the parallel LGBT universe.
What I find stunning about this is that he actively chose to blame bisexuals for their oppression.  Really?  Suggesting that if they would just come out, ignores heterosexism and the sometimes outright hatred and ignorance that they face from other members of the GLBT community. They have been fetishized and told that either they don't exist are that they are in denial about being gay. Avoiding Blaming the victim or rather the marginalized person, is basic anti-oppression 101 and Dan Savage cannot even seem to get this right.  I could go on about the reasons I reject his argument, but I think that Neo-Prodigy hit it out of the ball park. I am going to get you started and you can read the rest of his response over at his space.
Dan Savage,

In regards to your comments on bisexuals, I only have this to say: THANK YOU!

Yes, thank you for personifiying everything that is fucked up about the LGBTQ community with your nonstop racism, transphobia, biphobia and pure unadulterated bitchassness and making it easier for me to have a reference to point to. Thank you for being the guy who villifies rape survivors and still manages to get a pass for it. That way I can stop pretending like I would piss on you if you were burning in hell, kinda like how you can stop pretending that you care about black people.

More than Phelps, more than the Westboro Baptist Church, assholes like you are the reason why it doesn't get better for queer people. Because as you have continuously proven, you're more of a threat to us than they are. At least they don't prop themselves up to be allies.

And biphobia will only end when everyone comes out of the closet? REALLY SAVAGE?!!!! REALLY?!!!!!! Because being a visible minority ALWAYS goes over so well in this society. I've been out and proud as a visible Negro. We see how well that's worked for me and mine for the past 400+ years in this country alone. We've also seen how well that's worked for those who are visibly out. Ask Emille Griffith, Lawrence King, Duanna Johnson and Matthew Shepard and all the other heroes and heroines what being visible gets you.
Finish reading here 

Don't forget to share your thoughts on what Neo Prodigy had to say in the comment section.  I am very curious to know if it effected others in the same way that it effected me.

Should Black Men Become Feminists?

 Feminism, VDay 2007 and Mephoto © 2010 Julie Jordan Scott | more info (via: Wylio)

I came across a piece in The Voice Online entitled, Why Black men should become feminists.  It began with story of Benjamin Zephaniah, who went from tying to defend his mother from his violent father, to perpetrating violence against women himself.  When he realized that he was mimicking his father, he changed his behaviour and went on to say,"No nation is free of chauvinistic, violent men, and no one should need to run from them. The ‘system’ should deal with them, and if the system can't, change it." I found this to be a powerful statement, but when the author went on to suggest that Black men become feminists I had to pause.
The F-word is a scary one to many black men and some black women too. Feminism, fairly or unfairly, is seen as white, middle-class and a set of beliefs that pits men and women against each other. However, feminism is a broad church of ideologies and views. 

But the basis of both radical and moderate views is a recognition that relationships between men and women need to change. Relationships between today’s young men and young women certainly need to.
There are certainly many Black female feminists who are actively advocating feminism, in an effort to achieve gender parity between men and women.  This is absolutely their choice; however, I think it is ridiculous to suggest for even a moment that those who see feminism as White and middle-class are being unfair. From the very beginning of women's activism, White women have made it clear that race is only an issue when it can be used to oppress POC.  WOC are expected to advocate at the demands of White women, under the guise that we are all women, without any acknowledgement that our experience of womanhood is greatly impacted by race.

Thoughts on Season Four of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

As I have previously mentioned, for a project that I am working on, I have to watch all seven seasons of Buffy.  I have written a review for each season that I have watched thus far:  one, two and three respectively. In previous seasons, the teen angst has certainly been an issue for me.  I know that it is to be expected with a teenage protagonist; however, that does not mean that I have any real tolerance for it.  With Buffy and the Scooby gang in college, and Angel across the country, the angst level finally began to tone down, and I began enjoying it somewhat.

From a social justice perspective, by far the most troubling episode that I have viewed to date was episode 8 of season four entitled Pangs.  It begins with Willow quite matter of factly stating why she and her mother have a problem with celebrating Thanksgiving.  All of the guilt however, is quickly overshadowed when the Chumash warrior Hus runs amok in Sunnydale -- after their grave site is disturbed, because of an attempt to build a Cultural Center at UC Sunnydale.  The Chumash warrior Hus rightfully want revenge for what was done to their people, but all Buffy can do is respond with White guilt and angst.  When she finally gets her slayer on, they sit down at a table to have Thanksgiving dinner, thus proving that they didn't learn a damn thing.  Whedon made a point of having Willow explain why Thanksgiving is a problematic holiday at the beginning, but dismissing that, after once again letting the White people defeat the supposedly bad Native people, and then eat a meal in celebration, was disgusting to say the least.

After being unable to control himself around a female werewolf, Oz leaves Sunnydale.  During his absence, we begin to see a budding romance between Willow and Tara.  Of course, it is all rather chaste and other than some hand holding, the audience is left to assume there is more going on.  If Whedon can film Buffy making out and having sex with both Angel and Riley, why is a kiss between Tara and Willow forbidden?  It hardly feels progressive when straight characters are highly visible and LGBT characters are not.  I know this was made in the 90's, but I am not going to give it a pass on that basis.  Whedon had a chance to be progressive and he blew it big time.
Finish reading here

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What Are Y'all Gonna Do New York Trans Community?

This is a guest post from the ever fabulous Monica of TransGriot

In the wake of the failure of GENDA to pass and become the law of New York state for the fourth time, there has been some justified anger and venting about the lack of support from the GL community on this issue.

But the bottom line is that we trans people also have the ultimate responsibility of looking out for our damned selves just like the New York GL peeps did on the same sex marriage bill and pass the civil rights laws we need.  

 We also need to look in the mirror and do a post mortem about why this crap keeps happening and fix the fracking problem.

The heavy lifting on this post mortem is going to be a job for the New York trans community to sort out, but I will happily point out some things that did and didn't happen that will hopefully be a starting point for your internal conversations.

And I would hope that after four consecutive times of GENDA being passed out of the Assembly only to see it die in the New York Senate, you'd be motivated enough to get your shyt together so it doesn't happen again.

First questions:

So, to straight, cis people who support GBLT rights - what do I owe you?

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.
So it's time for me to settle some accounts here I think. So, to straight, cis people who support GBLT rights - what do I owe you?

A) Gratitude

B) Patronage of your business

C) My vote for your party

D) My buying your products

E) My reading and linking to your site

F) My contributing to your endeavors

G) The benefit of the doubt in all future privileged fails

H) Not a bloody thing

Of course the correct answer is H, not a bloody thing, because I don't owe people for recognising my humanity or for recognising that society's refusal to treat me as a full person. A concept I've covered before, especially in relation to A (yet my inbox is still full of messages from a straight man who is outraged that I won't play the Good Grateful Gay to the Nice Straight Saviour). 

But I'm not going to ramble about that today (I may another time, or any of the other options here for that matter). No, I'm going to ramble about G.

The benefit of the doubt. A wonderful and complicated thing and not something I'm against. But there's a difference between giving the benefit of the doubt and owing the benefit of the doubt. 

July 7: What Tami Said and Shakesville host My Planned Parenthood blog carnival

We are at war.

American women are fighting to retain the right to govern our bodies, to own our sexuality and to have access to good and affordable reproductive health care. It is no surprise that Planned Parenthood is under attack, too. Conservative legislatures in several states, including my home state of Indiana, have voted to defund the organization:
A tough state anti-abortion law cutting off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood of Indiana went into effect May 10, and since then the health provider has relied on donations to keep its doors open and continue serving its 9,300 Medicaid patients.
Planned Parenthood of Indiana typically receives about $1.3 million a year in Medicaid funds, which is about 10 percent of its total budget. The law would also strip the health provider of roughly $150,000 in sexually transmitted disease prevention funding. Read more...
...because the intervention of “big government” is abhorrent when used to guarantee health care to all Americans, but more than acceptable when used to advance ideological opposition to legal medical services. Right.

What is at stake?
  • According to the Planned Parenthood of Indiana website, “all Medicaid patients will need to pay for their own care or access other funding to be seen at Planned Parenthood of Indiana health centers.”
  • According to the Indianapolis Star, Planned Parenthood of Indiana has been forced to lay off two sexually transmitted disease prevention specialists, and had to close each of its health centers for one day on June 22.
  • Also from the Star, “A total of 85,000 Hoosiers receive services at Planned Parenthood of Indiana's 28 health centers. If the law is allowed to stand, Planned Parenthood will have to close eight centers that serve low-income patients at two Indianapolis locations, as well as in Bedford, Hammond, Michigan City, New Albany, Terre Haute and Muncie.”

“Rappers and Colorism: The Wale & Lil Wayne Article”

Egyptian-Sudanese-American novelist and poet Kola Boof has been an agent for Sudan’s SPLA and was the National Chairwoman of the U.S. Branch of the Sudanese Sensitization Peace Project.  She has written for television and her many books include, “Flesh and the Devil,” “Long Train to the Redeeming Sin,” “Nile River Woman” and “Virgins In the Beehive.”  She blogs at Kola Boof. com

From Lil Wayne to Nigeria’s Wale to Nicki Minaj telling us that we need to keep natural Africa hair permed and Europeanized in her song “Nappy headed hoes”—the poison being fed to millions of black children and teens by Anti-Black messages and imagery from hip hop culture is getting worse by the minute.  Think about how the Michael Jackson Skin-Lightening Pill is sweeping across West Africa (they have BET now) and then imagine your pre-teen daughter listening to the supposedly Black Princess of Rap as she ignorantly announces that the entire continent of Africa and all your ancestors before you are inferior simply for flaunting their natural DNA-given nappy African hair and not wearing it straight and Europeanized like the White Women Nicki Minaj wishes she looked like.

With Pink Cotton Candy hair, a fake ass, fake tits and a ski sloped nose—Nicki Minaj is imitation crab meat her damn self.  But after being raised in Hip Hop culture, she’s too stupid to know that. She is he penultimate “nappy headed Ho” in White girl drag. Her job, via Corporate Sponsoring, is to help continue teaching us that Blackness is inferior and that we can’t possibly be attractive unless we look like the people who used to own us on plantations and colonize us in Africa. That, in fact, is the message of mainstream hip hop overall.  Watching BET with the sound turned down gives the distinct message that Black Men must “breed out” and that Black women must strive to become Biracial or else.  Of course after we become damn near White—we’re to be dumped for real authentic White Women, because of course, the White womb produces whiteness better than the womb of the imitation crab meat, right?  These same idiots pushing this agenda on a daily basis love hollering “Hotep” and telling us about the greatness of the Moors—yet they forget that the Moors were eventually “bred out” and that extinction is not honorable.  Spain, which by all rights should be a Black Colony today, is just a racist Lily White nation where conquering Black men had victory and then lost it all over their white-brained dicks.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sex Education and My Son

I came across an article in Madame Noire that neatly dovetailed around a conversation I recently had with a friend.  The article concerns parents who have decided to allow their teenagers to have sex in their home.  The response was mixed, with some in complete agreement, and others saying that they planned to teach their children abstinence.

I have had a lot of time to think about this over the years and each time I publicly discuss my approach to sex education, the naysayer hail fire and brimstone crowd inevitably attack my supposedly over liberal ways. Since he first started asking questions at the age of three, I have been very open with my oldest child about sex.  I have always answered his  questions in simple basic language, so that he could understand what I was saying, but I was always honest and forthright.   My goal from the very beginning was to establish trust and an open dialog. I never want there to be a time when he feels that there is a question that he cannot ask me. 

The unhusband and I decided that on his 12th birthday, we will start to leave condoms in the bathroom for him to use or not use at his pleasure.  We have both made it clear that we would prefer him to wait until he is emotionally ready to engage in sex, but we are well aware that our wishes and his decisions may not coincide.  I was driven to this decision when an article appeared in our local paper about twelve years olds having lipstick parties, at one of our local schools. I realized that the pressure to have sex has greatly increased since I was kid.

Happily Divorced - What did I just WATCH?!

An early treat from Sparky of Spark in Darkness

So, I was pointed towards this... this... this... I have no words. Hot Mess hardly even covers it.

I was literally 10 seconds in and loathed it. Yes, within the first 10 seconds I hated it - that's almost a new record. The opening credits hadn't even started and the stereotyping was already in!

Actually, before I start on the negative, I'm going to try and focus on the positive as I try with any of my quasi-reviews. So here it is, the single positive - this show gave me a moment of pure glee. Because I thought that I'd somehow been teleported back to the early 90s. Y'know, back to a time when having a grossly stereotyped gay character was still a sufficient "novelty" that you could base an entire painful sitcom on the fact. It brought me glee, not because I liked the 90s or suffered some painful form of nostagia (I hate nostalgia), but because it would clearly mean I'm actually in a room in the Tardis, and David Tennant is waiting for me in the next room.

Alas, it wasn't so. And I looked, believe me (I live in hope). Sadly, it was still 2011 and this throwback has actually been produced this year. No, really. I checked. I couldn't believe it either.

I cringed from start to finish. It seems the whole point of this show and it's "humour" is just to trot out horrendous stereotype after horrendous stereotype and then have someone declare it "so gay" to the background of more the most annoyingly fake canned laughter I have ever heard (which I suppose is essential because how else would you know that each gross trope was supposed to be funny).

Ten Things Not to Say to a Trans Person

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.

I’m in the process of moving this weekend, and anyone who has ever moved (all of us) can relate to the disarray that is my life right now. So today I present an old favorite from my website, “Ten Things Not to Say to a Trans Person,” a combination of humor, snark, and reality. Thanks for reading! And here it goes:

Many trans people (including myself) speak and train in a variety of venues, and we do so because it is important to us to educate non-trans people about who we are. We get a lot of comments and a lot of questions in those settings, and unless we have specified that a particular topic is off-limits (I never do), we expect and are happy to answer any and all questions that come our way. In that situation, as the old cliché goes, there are no stupid questions.

But there is a big difference between a training or educational setting and a social or workplace environment. When we speak or train, we make the choice to answer questions, respond to comments, and so on. When we're eating fast food, shopping at the mall, or just meeting someone for the first time in a social setting, we're sometimes caught off guard. 

So I present "Ten Things Not to Say to a Trans Person" (all of which have been said to me at one time or another) as a cautionary reminder to those non-trans folks outside of a formal educational or training setting.

True Blood Season Premier: She's Not There

 Bon Temps!photo © 2011 KT Kayo | more info (via: Wylio)

Spoilers Ahead.

Last night was the long awaited season four premier of True Blood.  From the moment I woke up, it was all that I could think about.   Perhaps it was all of the expectation of what was to come that left me so completely disappointed in the first episode.

When Sookie is with the fae, she quickly learns that their goal is to gather up all the humans with fairy blood. She escapes with her grandfather, who promptly dies because he ate the magic fruit.  Upon returning to her home, she learns that Jason sold her home because she had disappeared for over a year. I have to say that this new look that Jason has taken on really works for me. Maybe it's the man in a uniform thing, but he could give me a pat down anytime.   The responsibility of taking care of the people of Hot Shot, seems to have had a really good effect on Jason's character.  He seems to have given up chasing tail, and has become authoritative to the point of reeling Andy in.  I must admit that I was quite shocked to see that Alan Ball has made Andy a V addict. I suppose it is a matter of escalating his drug usage, because in the previous seasons, Andy clearly had a problem with alcohol.

When Andy assaults Lafayette looking for drugs, it is Jason who stops the confrontation.  Andy dismisses it as saying he got his "drag queens mixed up".  Given Layette's previous responses to homophobia, it kind of disturbed me that he was silent.  The fact that his silence was followed by Jason saying that he didn't see anything and that nothing happened, very neatly coincides with the treatment of marginalized bodies by the police. Even in the fictional town of Bon Temps, the blue wall must descend. 

Jesus has continued trying to encourage Lafayette to explore his powers.  Question, was I the only one who thought Lafayette needs to grow his hair back? When he Jesus introduces Lafayette to a coven of witches, though Katie is excited, it is Jesus who uses the word partner.  The equivocation or rather the pause really bothered me.  Had Jesus showed up with a woman, would the word girlfriend been so awkward to say? When this is matched with the fact that the witch then went onto to channel Eddie, it reminds us that gay people are troubled and doomed to end tragically in the True Blood universe.

Then we have Arlene, whose new son Mikey decapitates dolls.  Terry of course passes this off as boys being boys.  Personally, I hate this line, because we often see it used to excuse unacceptable male behaviour.  I will however say that the idea of a child less than a year ripping the heads off of dolls to be ridiculous, no matter who his father is.

 Hoyt decided that Jessica should have a hot meal ready and waiting for him, when he came home from a hard day of work.  Jessica made it clear that actual food is really disgusting to her.  It seems to me if what he wanted was a domestic, he should have married Ms. biscuits.  The idea that a woman should be expected to cater in this way really bothered me, and so I was pleased when she served him raw eggs.  This joy was however short lived, when I learned that Eric had bought Sookies home.  This gives him control over her by taking away her one safe space.  When Sookie asks Eric why he bought her house, he responds with, "because I always knew that you were alive and if I owned this house, well then, I would own you. Sookie, you are mine." This is yet another example of men controlling women, and yet much of the commentary on Twitter applauded this as though it were sexy for a man dominate a woman in this way. 

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