Saturday, October 15, 2011

Drop It Like It's Hot

Hi everyone, I am still trying to catch up for taking a week off sick, and that is why this week's Drop It Like it's Hot is being published so late in the day.  Posting may still be a little light, as I get my sea legs again, but hopefully we will be running full speed ahead shortly.

I'd like to point out that Womanist Musings has an open guest posting policy. If you have something that you would like to share with the group, please send me an email with a link to your blog or your original work to womanistmusings (at) gmail (dot) com. I am also actively looking for new contributors to write about Class, Ageism and body image with a focus on fat and the politics of living in a fat body.  If that sounds like you, please send me an email.

Below you will find links to a few posts that I found interesting this week.  Please show these bloggers some love and check them out. When you're done, don't forget to drop it like it's hot, and leave your link behind in the comment section.

schism is vast and sad
C.J. Miller (trigger warning lynching)
Challenging Poverty Tourism
On size acceptance 
Taboos of fat bodies in comics
Celebrating Bisexuality Day 2011
Blinders
World Contraception Day and the implications of "family planning" for women of color
Red Flags 
The Pain of Herman Cain: How a Chance Encounter at an African American Barbershop, Helped to Create a Black Conservative
Concerned Parents Look to Pass Self Esteem Act
Can You Get 1,000 Dollars in an Emergency? 
Decolonization and Occupy Wall Street
They're Going to Laugh at you: White Women Betrayal and the N Word
Notes From The Urban/Rural Divide: Pardon Me, Your Contempt is Showing
If All the Occupy movement accomplishes is.....
The Business of Saving Africa
Some MLK Speeches They Didn't Tell You About
When Columbus Got Off The Boat
Hate Speech on Trial in Canada
She, too is the 99%
Hmmm....
Meals as Love

The Vampire Diaries Season Three, Episode Five: 'The Reckoning'

The writers really should have titled this episode, "It's All About Elena Again."  It galls me that this irritating character is the center of this show.  At any rate, for the first time this season, the kids all show up at school. Nope, they didn't actually attend a class -- school after all is only about having a center for some sort of event.  The kids are there to prank the school as part of a high school senior tradition. This involved gluing toilet seat lids and leaving mouse traps all over the school gym.  Matt is the only one not into this, and all he think about is his dear departed sister.  I think that this just smacks of attempting to make Matt's character relevant.

After much ridiculous high school pranks, Klaus shows up and sure enough silly Elena tries to run away.  Hello, if you cannot outrun a vampire, you cannot possibly outrun a hybrid. Klaus is absolutely determined to find out why he does not have the ability to make more hybrids.

Katherine and Damon continue with their little road trip and after flirting, Damon kisses Catherine and then pushes her away.  He wants it to be clear that he no longer has feelings for her.  Okay, he pined for this woman for 150 years, and I don't understand how this love dried up and died so quickly -- though Katherine is conniving. Just last season, Damon's heart was broken when Katherine told him that she  only loved Stefan and that it was always Stefan.  Yes, his kiss was supposedly about dealing with the sexual tension in the car.

When they pull into a truck stop, Damon throws the keys into the woods and refuses to leave until Katherine tells him what she is up to.

Rebecca and Stefan have a tussle when he tries again to convince her that his allegiance is to Klaus.  Rebecca tells him petulantly that he might as well stop lying, because she knows how he feels about Elena and they know that Elena is still alive.  When she threatens Elena's life, Stefan launches himself at her only to be stabbed in the stomach.  Okay, am I the only one that said what the hell is he doing?  Vampires gain their strength over time, and since Rebecca is an original vampire, how the hell did Stefan think that he could defeat her?  Oh I know, he was overcome with rage at the thought of anything happening to his self involved love Elena.

Back in the high school, Klaus kills Tyler and feeds him his blood, in an attempt to turn him however, this is a death sentence, because every single were that Klaus has turned has died.  Klaus tells Bonnie that she had better find a way to break the original witches curse, if she wants Tyler to live. Bonnie and Matt rush off to find Jeremy, because Bonnie's grimoires don't go back a thousand years and she needs Jeremy to be able to contact the ghosts of the dead witches.

Read More

Last Chance To Enter To Win Volume 1 and 2 of The Walking Dead Graphic Novels

Are you counting down the days until the second season of The Walking Dead starts? Last year when AMC first aired The Walking Dead, I wasn't sure that I was going to like this zombie show, but each episode drew me in as I realized that this show is about so much more than supernatural beings.  It's about how you survive when everything that you know is gone.  In fact in volume one: Days Gone Bye, the author writes:
To me, the best zombie movies aren't the splatter fests of gore and violence with goofy characters and tongue and cheek antics. Good zombie movies show us just how messed up we are, they make us question our station in society ... and out society's station in the world. They show us gore and violence and all that cool stuff too ... but there's always an element of social commentary and thoughtfulness.

With The Walking Dead, I want to explore how people deal with extreme situations and how these events change them.  I'm in this for the long haul. You guys are going to see Rick change to the point that, when you look back on this book, you won't even recognize him. I hope you guys are looking forward to a sprawling epic because that's the idea with this one.
This is why The Walking Dead sums up some of the best that urban fantasy has to offer.  It's not just about woo woo; it's about the human experience.  If like me, you have become a fan of the series, I am sure that the chance to own:

And

Is hard to pass up.  This month we are giving away volume 1: Days Gone Bye, by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moorem as well as Volume 2: Miles Behind Us, by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn of the Walking dead graphic novels. The lucky winner will receive both volumes.
Click through to the post to enter the contest.  Please remember to leave your contact details. If you don't want to make your details public, feel free to email us at fangsforthefantasy@gmail.com

Friday, October 14, 2011

365 Days

Itoro Udofia is an artist and writer living in Amherst, MA. Currently, she is attending graduate school to study social justice and education. Her work focuses primarily on the African Diaspora, black womanhood, identity, solidarity, and love. She hopes to continue using art as a tool for social justice. 


All I see with you is time
A reminder of 365 days wasted ridiculous
Developing your capacities
On the tears of my sorrow

All to have you tamper with my spirit
Return it shattered snapping, “Fix it!”

You are truly an unfortunate labor of love
That kept happening for 365 days
24/7
minute by passing minute
second to flitting second
not one break from the tyranny of you

No sugar type of crocodile tears are gonna take away
The fact of wasted time between you and i
And your need for my shoulder to be your stepping stone
For you to feel secure

365 days
Your face
 is a sore reminder of the selflessness I could have given
To someone else a bit more astute

To the pain and suffering of the everyday grind
Us ordinary folk must live through
A little more empathetic
Less removed
More willing to not look away
Talk circles around their circumstance
To justify yours

That time could have been poured into a lasting relationship
That would have endured
The trials of time

365 days
that I want to will back
Revisit
hug those months, weeks, days, hours
to my heart
wrap its passing around me like a tight knit sweater
needed for the winter time
Use it for my warmth
To light fire to my spirit
To aid my coldest nights

365 days
of undeserved time
Wreaks tension in the air around us

365 days
have passed
Now I’m fixing on knitting that love for myself
for the chill will come again
And this time I will ignite a match on my own heart
and use it to forge love with those who choose to risk the same
Setting fires to the chill of any indecision
To love beyond power and condition

365 days
you will now miss in my company
and sit in the open wound of a love deterred
No salve will soothe the sensation
Of burning guilt
and you got another thing coming
if you think there’ll ever be another chance
for you to waste my time again

Vampires and Impossible, Timeless Beauty standards

'IMG_0321' photo (c) 2006, Joy - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
When vampires first entered folklore they were physically described to look like bloated leeches. When you think about this, it makes perfect sense because their entire diet is based on drinking the blood of others and the creature most associated with that in nature is of course a leech.  Overtime, vampire folklore began to change.  The modern vampire looks nothing like its predecessor. Today, vampires all have hard lean bodies, twinkling eyes (that is when they are not glowering and trying to look dangerous) ridiculous hair (think R. Pratz in Twilight) and are disarmingly gorgeous. This is true of both male and female vampires.  With few exceptions, like vampire Eddie in True Blood and Tony, in Karen Chance’s Cassandra Palmer series, no matter how long they have been alive they are gorgeous. And those vampires that aren’t thin are clearly not intended to be beautiful.

In Twilight, Meyer went to the point of saying that vampirism brought out the most attractive physical aspects of the individual in question.  Even Edward’s smell was designed to attract Bella, though his superior speed and strength made such enhancements unnecessary. In the movie Interview with the Vampire, Claudia’s change occurred on screen, and she went from a dirty waif, to a gorgeous girl with beautiful curly hair. It has been suggested in several vampire novels that for the purposes of creating new vampires, only the most physically appealing are chosen. The problem with this assumption is that beauty standards change over time - so whether vampires are chosen from beautiful people or simply transform to become beautiful, that beauty ideal should become out dated with the passing years.

Even the richest human alive 500 years ago would look nothing like the poorest human today.  Slim vampires make absolutely no sense because the height of beauty is what we would today describe as plus sized.  Women were celebrated for being round and having curves.  This symbolised the wealth to be able to eat full meals. In Venus and Adonis, Shakespeare wrote, “My beauty as the spring doth yearly grow; My flesh is soft and plump, my marrow burning.”  I have read and watched a lot of urban fantasy and I cannot think of a single fat female vampire.  

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Southwest Kick a Muslim Woman Off the Plane After Misunderstanding Her Comments

'Southwest Planes' photo (c) 2008, Douglas Muth - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Southwest has a reputation for booting people off their planes at the slightest excuse, that is when they are not fat shaming people and forcing them to purchase seats they don't need.  In the latest controversy a Pakistani-American Muslim woman wearing a hijab was shown the door after the thought ze heard her say, "it's a go."  What she actually said was "I've got to go," on her phone.

For the sake of argument, let's just say that the flight attendant heard correctly and Irum Abbasi, did indeed say, "it's a go," how do these words constitute a threat to the safety of the passengers?  Umm they don't because it's a go could refer to a plethora of things.  The only reason why it was deemed a threat is because Abbasi happened to be wearing a hijab.  Everyone knows that Muslim women are just a huge threat to law order.  The very fact that they desire to present a modest appearance is evidence of  their subversive ways.

 The following is an excerpt from Courthouse News Services.
She says she was selected for secondary screening after passing through a metal detector, patted down, and allowed to board the flight.

     The flight was scheduled to depart at 8:15 a.m. At 8:17 a.m., the pilot announced there would be an "administrative delay."

     A Transportation Security Authority agent then came aboard and pulled her off the plane.

     Abbasi says that a 3-minute conversation with the TSA agent persuaded him that she was "no security risk," and that the door to Flight 1950 was still open, but she was not allowed to reboard "because the crew was 'uncomfortable' with her on the plane, and that the captain had discretion to make that final call."

     She says she told the TSA agent "that failure to make that flight would cause her to miss a critical research experiment that she was conducting," and for which she had come to San Diego. But she was not allowed to reboard, and was given a voucher for the 10:55 a.m. flight.

     She says she arrived at San Jose State at 1:25 p.m., almost 4 hours late, 25 minutes after her experiment was to begin, by which time most of her subjects had left.

     She says Southwest's discrimination was "intentional, malicious, willful, wanton [and] callous."

     She seeks punitive damages for discrimination based on race, religion, color, ethnicity, alienage, ancestry, and/or national origin, breach of contract, negligence, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

     She is represented by James McElroy of Del Mar, and Ameena Mirza Qazi, of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, of Anaheim

Kink and Marginalization

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. You can catch her more of her here

As a sex worker, I have a rare opportunity to view and to an extent participate in a large variety of sexuality and sexual behavior in a short amount of time. I am able to use my position to view kinks and fetishes from a very intimate vantage point without actually mentally engaging in them if I choose not to*. A good portion of my income is supplied by offering services that involve or completely surround kinks/fetishes. I've encountered more kinds of fetishes than I ever possibly imagined and am even grateful to have been able to experience some of them, as they have helped to inform my own boundaries. But too often I finish work and find that if I were ever to want to fulfill my own hypothetical kinks, I wouldn't have many places to turn.

Sexual liberation seems to be a goal only accessible for a few. While kinksters are still being heavily policed, there seems to be an even stronger force ensuring that sexual fantasy and inhibition are the mental and physical property of middle to upper class white men. It doesn't take that long to figure this one out. Stroll through the house of your neighborhood sex party and it quickly becomes apparent that (with few exceptions) POC are not only largely absent from the scenes, but if present, become objects of sexual fantasy that we may not have consented to representing.

Chris Rock on Tyler Perry's Madea

'I cannot wait for' photo (c) 2009, Dolapo Falola - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Black men have a history of putting on a dress and mocking Black women.  This is supposedly all in good fun.  Chris Rock recently had an interview with Vibe magazine, and decided to share his thoughts on this trend.
 “I mean, hey, lots of comedians dress up like women, not just Black. It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book. Men in drag…There was Mrs. Doubtfire. [Adam] Sandler’s next movies is Jack and Jill. He plays his brother and sister. [The Black community] doesn’t have that many movies, so if there’s only four Black movies in a year and two of them star Black men in dresses, I could see how that would upset some people. But that’s a job for some people. Tyler Perry is great in a dress, but I don’t want to see Denzel or Will Smith in a dress. And I don’t think we’re in any danger of seeing that.”
So he can see how this could upset some people, but because he finds Tyler Perry funny, all is forgiven. There are many in the Black community who love to hate on Tyler Perry, and I certainly am no different. Perry has said on many occasions that Madea is his version of a tribute to Black women, and I for one would much prefer he erase us.

Madea is loud, decidedly unfeminine, quick to be violent, uneducated, and in constant trouble with the law.  Every negative stereotype attached to Black women, is encompassed in Madea's character, and yet this is somehow funny and a tribute to Black women.



In the above clip, Madea appeared on The Maury Pauvich show.  Maury routinely has women on his show to have DNA tests to discover who the father of their child is.  What is this but a continuous suggestion that Black women are licentious.  There have been several women who have dragged men on the show only to have it announced publicly that they are not the father of their children.  The time that a woman is fertile each month is exceedingly small, and to not be able to tell between sometimes 5-20 men who the father is, suggests that Black women routinely sleep with anyone with a penis.  Of course, Madea ran off the stage and collapsed when it was revealed that Brown was not the father.  

The Doctor Who Muslim Fail

WoodTurtle is a Canadian Muslim feminist currently using her extended maternity leave to explore developments of Islamic feminism in the Western and Muslim world.  As a woman who wears the hijab (owns several abayas and a niqab monogrammed with her initials in pink, sparkly sequins), she writes frequently on genderized Islamophobia. She also works toward dispelling myths and stereotypes about women in Islam for both Muslims and non.




A Muslim in the TARDIS? No way!
Alternate universes. Causal time loops. Perception filters. Sonic screwdrivers. Roundels. Creatures and stories beyond imagination. Time travel in a blue 1960s-style London police box. Sexy British men in a variety of amusing outfits. The Doctor, a brilliant man of two hearts, traversing time and space with his equally sexy and (usually) brilliant companions – saving humanity, alien species or time itself from a vast host of evil threats. Put it all together and you get my favourite television programming of all time: Doctor Who.

So imagine my absolute fan girl surprise when they introduced a Muslim character into a recent episode, "The God Complex." For a few brief moments my heart soared with excitement at the very thought that there would be a Muslim in the TARDIS.

And then they promptly killed her off.

Because she was such an enjoyable and positive character, some podcasters and fans within the Whoniverse have expressed surprise that Rita, the “almost companion” had to die. But the more I thought about how her story played out the more I realised that the focus on Rita’s religion was just convenient tool to drive the plot. Which makes her death even more unfortunate, as her faith and strength as a character is pivotal to the story itself – a story about exposing your very soul through terror.

I loved this episode. Loved the classic Doctor Who elements, loved the characters and loved the acting. It opens with cheesy elevator music playing in an eerie 1980s hotel and a group of trapped and terrified people. Creepy, long corridors reminiscent of "The Shining" lead to endless hotel rooms, behind which house your greatest fear – a depressed clown, that horrible gorilla, defeat, having your picture taken, or daleks.
You don't know what's going to be in your room until you see it, and then you realise it could never be anything else.
Once properly terrified, a ferocious Minotaur awakens to kill the victims – emptying them of "the simple spark of life" and robbing them of their "loves and hates, faiths and fears." Before death, each victim experiences a kind of rapture – consumed with a desire to worship the Minotaur.

We first meet the amazing Rita when the Doctor and his companions stumble across a group of frightened people in the hotel lobby. After threatening the Doctor with a chair leg, Rita takes control of the chaotic situation and promptly impresses the Doctor with her admirable leadership and observational skills. He practically eats her up with his eyes and she's intrigued by his attention.

The Doctor then jokingly fires his current female companion Amy, and mouths to Rita, "call me... we'll talk."

The ultimate pick up line from a Time Lord.

Rita is quick, brilliant, sarcastic and makes easy jokes: "No, in two days it never occurred to us to open the front door. Thank God you're here." A perfect companion. And as a perfect companion, she starts feeding the Doctor all the information he needs to know about the hotel and the Minotaur.
That's when we find out she's Muslim.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Loving A Transwoman Doesn't Make You Gay

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

One of the memes that I hear that needs to die a quick and painful death is that if a cis man is dating or in love with a transwoman it makes him gay.  
 

Really?   News flash for the scientifically illiterate and the human rights challenged.  Just because a man likes transwomen doesn't make him gay. 

I've heard that BS line kicked around outside trans circles for decades and it needs to stop being pushed inside the trans community.

If you're a transwoman, you believe that line and  repeat it, then by extension you are saying in your colonized minds that you believe our oppressors hype.

You have swallowed their bull feces that you are a 'man' despite the expense, time, counseling, hormone replacement therapy, document changes, SRS and everything else you have done or the drama you have endured to live your life on the feminine side of the gender fence and transition. 

A transwoman is a woman.  She is not a 'man' even if she has a neoclit between her legs. Y
ou cannot tell just by looking at a transwoman's outer shell whether she is pre-op, post-op or non-op

Gender is between your ears, not your legs.  A cis man who rolls up on a transwoman is attracted to her because of her beauty, personality and other factors. 


And oh yeah, don't
automatically assume a transwoman has XY chromosomes.  There are a lot of chromosomal combinations besides XX or XY, and it is the height of scientific ignorance to suggest, nor do you have any clue about what combinations of chromosomes will pop up with a transwoman if you run a chromosome test on her. 

B
ut back to the man in this romantic equation.  He isn't going to know what genitalia she has in her panties until they get to the point where they are intimate.  After that disclosure, what they do in the bedroom and what sexual gymnastics go on in that bedroom are nobody's business but theirs. 

Disaster in the Kitchen

'eritrean 
food on an injeera' photo (c) 2008, secretlondon123 - license: 
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Yesterday, Sparky messaged me with the claim that his Beloved had finally sunk beneath my unhusband in the category of kitchen disasters.  My feeling is that since I have been poisoned numerous times and subjected to inedible meals that laughing and shaming is my only recourse. Pizza that is too salty to eat because of feta, pancheta, anchovies, and then more salt for that extra blood pressure raising, eye watering taste does not  beat the unhusband.  Sparky only had to consume one bite, and then had the pleasure of consuming ice cream for dinner, while I on the other hand have been force to close my eyes and grin and bear it, in order not to hurt my honeys feelings.

There are occasions when in good conscience I must admit that not all kitchen disasters are his fault. There was the infamous stuffing side dish that appeared looking like cud and was about as tasty as a heaping of sawdust.  It was so heavy that the family got a work out pushing it around the plate in an effort to avoid eating it.  I am currently teaching Destruction how to cook small meals, in the hope that he can avoid his father's legacy of kitchen disasters.

There are plenty of times when I look at a recipe and think that the concept is a good one but the seasonings are all wrong.  The thing about cooking is that you cannot be afraid to change things on the fly.  Figure out what flavors go together and go with it.  Salt and pepper is a necessity but if they are the only two ingredients in seasoning cupboard then your food is going to leave a lot to be desired.  Furthermore, a recognition that certain food does not go together is a necessity.  A lesson I wish the unhusband had learned when he attempted to make me scrambled eggs with curry, shrimp and thousand island dressing.

I came across a link at The Pursuit of Harpyness that had be cracking up.
Yesterday was a day for dodgy recipes. First came the crisp tortilla, a bizarre creation from Ferran AdriĆ 's otherwise relatively sane new cookbook, which involves bunging a bag of potato chips into an omelette as an alternative to bothering to actually cook potatoes. A tweak of a traditional Spanish technique it may be, but as our own Felicity Cloake found out, the perfect omelette it is not.
More baffling, no, more sickening, was the appearance of Jean-Christophe Novelli's latest Orangina-based (cough, funded) attempt to encourage us Brits to stop being so boring – an Orangina and smoked salmon timbale. Food writer Xanthe Clay, whose children were left traumatised after eating it, described it on Twitter as the "love child of a 70s buffet and a 70s airline dessert ... Odd" and in a subsequent blogpost as "mesmerizingly nasty".

Setting aside the pragmatic, if not egregious reasons for such a recipe's inception, these aberrations are an important reminder of the fallibility of cookery writers. There aren't many of us who don't have a recipe or five they'd rather were forgotten – that attempt to be wacky that misfired, the ill-conceived combination that seemed so clever at the time, that bold endeavour to fly by the seat of our pants that ended in naught but a wedgie.

A recent favourite of mine is Delia's seafood risotto. The Fray Bentos lover and passionate football enthusiast suggested replacing fish stock with fish soup, a tweak that created a risotto that was, as far as most people were concerned, "absolutely revolting". (source)
Okay people, you know what I am going to ask right?  It's confession time.  It's time to dish about the worst meal that you have eaten or prepared.  We have all had disasters in the kitchen that either made us earth shatteringly sick or had us run for the phone to order take out.  My attempt at a coconut thai chicken was so bad, that even the dog refused to it.  Let it fly in the comment section. 

Dear Slutwalk, Woman is NOT Nigger of the World

Below you will find the image of a woman holding a sign at a New York Slutwalk that has led to a great deal of controversy online.  I am late to this issue but feel the need to discuss it, though it has been covered remarkably well by Latoya of Racialicious.

As I understand it, there has been quite a bit of controversy over this image on Facebook, as well as tumblr.  The organizers of slutwalk have released an apology that left a lot to be desired.

You may recognize that Woman is the Nigger of the World, as a reference to the John Lennon/Yoko Ono song.  It was problematic when they first performed it, and it is problematic today.  Though Ono is indeed a woman of color, she is not Black, and therefore has no basis from which to attempt to reclaim this word.  A White woman attempting to do so, is layered with a history of so much active oppression, that the racism in this sign amounts to a slap in face to all Black women who were in attendance, and have had the misfortune to come across the image online.

Unsurprisingly, it was a Black woman that asked her to take down her offensive sign. Note that she is surrounded by White women, and yet no one bothered to take offense to this.  When she was asked to remove her sign, she did immediately comply however, that does not in anyway mitigate the racism of her action. 

Recently, I have attempted to have several conversations about slurs, because I believe the degree to which they are actively still in use is damaging to marginalized people.  Unless you belong to the group which the slur has historically been aimed at, you cannot reclaim the slur.  This means no matter her intent, woman as nigger is racist.  There can be justification or explanation of her behaviour that removes the offense and in fact, the purposeful nature of her actions adds a further layer of contempt.

Woman is not now, or ever will be nigger of the world.  Nigger is a slur that applies specifically to Black people.  This saying also implies that there is a similarity of experience between White women and Black women and nothing could be further from the truth. We have not forgotten that White women wielded the whip alongside their White husbands.  Many of the gains White women have made, are specifically because the heterosexual ones have been paired with straight White men or being related to White men has given them economic advantages that have not been offered to women of colour.  When White women weren't benefiting from their interactions with White men, they were using women of color as support staff to achieve their goals.  Woman can never be a monolithic identity.

Some have claimed that the woman in question did not have the benefit of learning about intersectionality and I call bullshit.  It does not take a sheep skin to know that the word nigger is unacceptable. This is beneath 101 level.  This is about the fact that equality for many White women is not about true sisterhood with women of color, but having the power to oppress in the same manner as their White male counterparts.  I think it is further important to note that there are plenty of resources from which to get a firm basis in intersectionality today.  If one is not able to attend university as I did, then there are blogs and libraries that are chock full of resources.  Ignorance today is a purposeful act.  It is privilege to decide that one does not need to educate oneself on the plight of historically marginalized people.

Gay African Man Beaten and Burned Alive

Extreme Trigger Warning for Violence and Homophobia.

What follows is a video of a gay man being brutally beaten and then set on fire.  It was filmed in Africa, though I don't know specifically where on the continent. Apparently, the reporting on the video itself is necessary  I debated for hours about posting this video because of its violent nature. It is easily one of the most inhumane things that I have ever seen.  No one even tried to help this poor man, and cars that passed by seemed more concerned that he might block their path than the fact that he was trying to escape with his life.  In the video it is clear that several other people are also filming his death.  This attack happened in broad daylight, which means that his torturers and murderers did not fear any sort of reprisal for their actions.

Once again, please, please, be aware that this video is horrific. I almost did not make it to the end of the clip and was crying at the end.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ann Coulter Says Being Gay Is Not Like Being Black

Ann Coulter is one those people that I wish would simply go away.  In the clip that follows, she decides to expound on how Blacks and gays are opposite to each other.


National Coming Out Day

Originally published at Spark in Darkness

It is National Coming Out day (today in the US and tomorrow here). A day to commemorate and encourage that arduous and liberating process of kicking down the door of that damn closet.

I've spoken about how damaging the closet is. And I've spoken about how tiring filtering everything we say and do is, the effort of constantly being on guard lest you reveal the big dark secret. Being in the closet is hard work, it's painful and it's soul destroying. Being in the closet is often a terrible way to exist.

Coming Out is to be released form that and I don't think you can understand the power of that until you've been closeted or the relief and freedom until you've come out. This is why I get extremely irritated when straight folk appropriate the idea. Coming Out was and is the best thing I ever did and very little has felt as good. When I came out, after various dramas ended, there was and is a sense of freedom. There was a weight lifted and just being able to talk, just being able to be is so immensely beyond relief that I can't describe it. Just not having to lie, just not having to act

But being out is not simple. It's not, as we often think, a one time deal. Not only do you have to come out separately to everyone around you, but staying out can be fraught. Being out is, in many ways, a process. There are a lot of forces which will push you back in, a lot of times when you feel the urge to just let something pass, let the assumption go unchallenged. I've always had mixed success in being closeted anyway, but even then there are always chances to duck back into the closet. There's a sense that that door is always open if I want to run in and pull it closed behind me. There's always the pressure to go back into the closet by straight society that doesn't tolerate us. There's always the idea that you better police your behaviour in case you're too gay, always the accusation of flaunting and, of course, the belief that we're too obscene for some circumstances or in front of children.

Moni's Thoughts About National Coming Out Day 2011

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

Today is the 2011 edition of National Coming Out Day, in which it is hoped that people get the courage to face their fears, own their power and embrace being their true and empowered selves. 

If you're mentally ready to take this huge step and do it today, I encourage you to and congratulate you for doing so on this momentous occasion.   But come out only if you feel that you are ready to make that move. 

Yeah, it's scary and can be rough out here.  But you know what?   I have less stress going on now in my life than I did when I was hiding in that closet back in the day allowing that fear of the unknown to dominate my life and my thinking   I freed my mind from the fear, shame and guilt and my azz followed as Parliament-Funkadelic said and I started living my empowered life.

And the main point I want to impress on people is that one:  I have a life.

Of Course Bill Maher Defended Hank Williams Jr. and in The Process Doubled Down on the Ignorance and Hatred

Recently, Hank Williams Jr. was permanently suspended because he chose to compare Barack Obama to Hitler.  In my opinion, the moment someone decides to references Hitler in a debate, they have lost the argument. Once again proving that a douchebag will always remain a douchebag, Bill Maher decided to weigh in on the debate, and in the process compound the ignorance and hatred of Hank's original statement.



GLBT People as Servants

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.

There is an ongoing trope of GBLTQ people as servants, adjutants and otherwise assistants in the life of straight people. I say trope because we see this a lot on TV and in books, but really trope is inaccurate because this is one of those that has bled out a lot into real life as well – and it's deeply problematic.

In fiction we see a lot of side-kicks, a lot of side-characters, mentors, advisers – always there to lend a hand and support to a straight protagonist. And this leaks – ye gods does it leak – into the real world. Not just with so many GBLTQ people being unable to find a depiction of themselves centre stage – but also in how we're often treated.

Just look at the GBF trope. I don't really have to say more about it since I've already ranted about it a lot – but again, we are treated as accessories, servants adjutants to other people's lives.

But this extends further into our own families – especially the Gay Uncle/Lesbian Aunt meme. In fact, this has become so prevalent that evolutionary psychologists (yes, they do like to bring the fuckery, they do) have even latched onto it.

This whole trope/ideal eternally presents GBLTQ relatives as part of a larger family – extended family who come in and support the core. The uncle/aunt who is always there to help out, to babysit to support the straight relatives.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Thanksgiving Has Many Meanings

'Thanksgiving turkey' photo (c) 2005, Antonello - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/


This is the time of the year when many Canucks sit down and stuff themselves to the point of having to wear elastic waist pants, or doing away altogether with belts.  Of course, one must remember to save room for the gorgeous pumpkin or apple pie and vanilla ice cream.  Some will employ the approach of taking a little everything which means plates are a cornucopia of sweet potato pie, macaroni and cheese, mashed and roasted potatoes, turkey and enough stuffing to stop a bullet.  Now that's what I am talking about. 

This year, for the first time I had a conversation with my children about what this day really symbolizes.  Yes, it is a wonderful day to give thanks for all the good we have in our lives, but it is also a celebration of colonialism, rape, murder and slavery.  Columbus after all is the father of the modern day slave trade.  There was a part of me that wanted them to remain innocent of the historical meaning of our feast, but the part of me that believes in speaking truth power, realized that arming my children with historical facts, rather than embracing a holiday because it has become normalized, would once again remind them of the inhumane inequality that this world is based on.  This year we acknowledge all of our privileges, while recognizing that they exist to exploit and damage others. This year thanksgiving was about being thankful for what we have, while recommitting to continue to fight for change.  As Canadians from coast to coast sit to eat today, I hope that they will take a moment to realize that this day is about so much more than coming together as a family and that it will become a beacon or catalyst for change because even as we consume massive amounts of food simply because we can, there are people in our communities that are going hungry.

Happy thanksgiving everyone.

Womanist Musings will return to regular posting tomorrow.