Category: LGBTQ

Tom Daley’s Not Gay

Posted by – December 3, 2013

I don’t know (or care, really) who Tom Daley is, but here’s the thing: all day they’ve been saying he’s gay, when he says he “still fancies girls” but is happy to be in a relationship currently with a man. To me that means he’s bisexual, or pansexual, or has another word for himself, but “gay” isn’t it.

He never uses the word gay in his video (or homosexual, or any synonym for either).

So, yeah. This is why people don’t think bi people exist – because when they do come out, even if they clearly do not call themselves gay, everyone assumes they’re gay.

It tires me, the way gayness eclipses any other possible sexuality. Cranky queer het that I am.

World AIDS Day

Posted by – December 1, 2013

This is the kind of thing I find myself teaching, or referring to, because I teach things that touch on the history of sexuality and on LGBTQ issues. It’s very hard to get across what it was like to younger people who grew up in an era when people lived long, full, otherwise healthy lives despite AIDS. But now it’s gotten to the point where unprotected anal sex is on the rise, again, which means the rates of infection are going up (again).

I have covered wars, before the epidemic began and since. They are all ugly and painful and unjust, but for me, nothing has matched the dread I felt while walking through the Castro, the Village, or Dupont Circle at the height of the AIDS epidemic. It could seem as if a neutron bomb had exploded: the buildings stood; cars were parked along the roadside; there were newsstands and shops and planes flying overhead. But the people on the street were dying. The Castro was lined with thirty-year-old men who walked, when they could, with canes or by leaning on the arms of their slightly healthier lovers and friends. Wheelchairs filled the sidewalks. San Francisco had become a city of cadavers.

& Honestly, we can do better than that.

It’s World AIDS Day. Get tested, play safe.

Fair Wisconsin LGBT Leadership Conference: Feb 7-9, 2014

Posted by – November 18, 2013

Online registration for the 2014 Wisconsin LGBT Leadership Conference is now open — register now and enjoy early bird rates!  Held February 7-9, 2014, we have another weekend full of inspiring speakers, educational workshops and fun social networking planned, and you won’t want to miss it.  Click here to learn more about the conference and register today!

SAVE THE DATE: February 8, 2014 — for the 2014 Annual Leadership Awards and Gala Dinner in Milwaukee, featuring a Keynote by Kate Bornstein!  This annual gala dinner is our largest event and is held the same weekend as the Leadership Conference (tickets sold separately).  Online registration is coming soon!  Please contact breianna.hr@fairwisconsin.com for more information about sponsorship opportunities, or to reserve a table today.

ENDA Keeps On

Posted by – November 4, 2013

ENDA Again?

Posted by – October 30, 2013

So it looks like ENDA may come to a vote early next week – according to Harry Reid.

The bill is unlikely to gain much traction in the Republican controlled House, but could provide Democrats with another opportunity to paint the GOP as out of step with most Americans by obstructing a bill aimed at ending workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Sign NCTE’s online petition.

Domestic Partner Benefits Considered By WI State Supreme Court

Posted by – October 24, 2013

So this happened in Wisconsin today: arguments were made to & for Wisconsin’s domestic partner benefits & registry.

At issue is whether domestic partnerships create a legal status that is “substantially similar” to marriage and therefore violate the state’s 2006 constitutional ban on gay marriage.

Gov. Jim Doyle signed the state’s domestic partnership registry into law as part of the 2009-2011 biennial budget. Domestic partnerships grant same-sex couples limited benefits, including visitation rights in hospitals and the right to inherit each other’s assets.

Julaine Appling, the executive director of Wisconsin Family Action, a socially conservative organization that opposes homosexuality, unsuccessfully petitioned the Supreme Court to take jurisdiction in an original action in 2009. The domestic partner registry has since been ruled constitutional by Dane County Judge Daniel Moeser, with that decision upheld by a state appeals court.

The appeals court ruled that, when considering eligibility requirements, formation requirements, rights, obligations, and termination requirements, “the ‘legal status’ of a domestic partnership is not ‘substantially similar’ to the ‘legal status’ of marriage.”

The idea is this: domestic partner benefits offer a few basic rights to same sex couples which come nowhere near what marriage bestows, but these wingnuts have taken the case to court in order to prove that even something as simple as hospital visitation “mimics” marriage which is expressly forbidden by the state’s super-DOMA.

Of course the problem is that Wisconsin has a super DOMA in the first place, and it can’t be challenged, even, until 2015.

Honestly, the whole fracas is embarrassing, especially now that it’s obvious which way the wind is blowing, but these conservative wingnuts are digging their heels in deeper now that it’s apparent they are losing the war (even if/when they win the battles).

*sigh*

Honestly, it’s like living in the Dark Ages, but cheers to my friends Kathy & Ann who are willing to stand up for their rights.

GLB not T?

Posted by – October 16, 2013

So here’s a bunch of interesting reading on that old horse of whether gay and trans politics are bedfellows, allied, or not – a series of pieces in the NYT (the NYT!) from people like Susan Stryker and Laverne Cox and Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore (who is, by the by, currently on tour).

From Susan Stryker:

Remember that in 1969, rebellion and resistance by the queens and hair fairies of Christopher Street transformed a police raid at the Stonewall Inn into a defiant act of “gay liberation.” Twenty years later, “queer” politics included transgender as another version of what it called “antiheteronormativity.” The ’90s version of “queer” morphed into the L.G.B.T. community of recent years — an abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender — and for transfolk, it was politically invaluable to be part of that coalition. It still is.

From John Corvino:

But sometimes the answer is no: It does not always make sense to try to align sexual orientation and gender identity in one coalition. Each group has distinctive needs and challenges. By jumbling them all together into one alphabet soup — L.G.B.T.Q.I.T.S.L.F.A.A.*, anyone? — we run the risk of covering or erasing people’s experiences, especially those who are already most marginalized.

*In case you were wondering, it stands for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, two-spirit, leather-fetish, asexual and allies.” Even I had to ask about some of the letters.

& From Mattilda:

The gay movement would like us to think that gay marriage will give everyone housing and health care; that openly gay soldiers pressing buttons in Nevada to obliterate Somali villages means homophobia is on the wane; that strengthening the criminal legal system through hate crime legislation will bring murdered queers back to life. This is what we lose when we think of identity as an endpoint – just add “gay” (or even less acceptable terms like “queer” or “trans”) to any oppressive institution, and suddenly you have the new civil rights struggle. Gay marriage, gays in the military, gay members of Congress, gay priests, gay cops — what’s next?

So while a lot of my readers may be very familiar with all of these arguments, it’s a good introduction to the idea - and to the ideas of category & alliance – for newbies.

Alison Bechdel!

Posted by – October 14, 2013

Tomorrow, Alison Bechdel is speaking at Lawrence as part of our convocation series. We’re currently teaching Fun Home in Freshmen Studies, so it’s a very, very cool thing that she’s coming to speak, and I am very much looking forward to it.

I spent my young 20s reading Dykes to Watch Out For in The Voice – and that was at a time when I was regularly clocked as a dyke and friends were coming out around me, so she is very much part of my own personal queer history.

Coming Out Straight?

Posted by – October 11, 2013

Really, has it come to this? Lifelong lesbian moves to SF & starts dating & having sex with men.

Except the title’s all wrong since it’s part of a series about bisexuality, in fact.

Still, I loved this:

As if the hot boi in the bow tie and suspenders would suddenly leap up and pronounce me a fraud between Le Tigre mashups.

Because of course that hot boi in the bow tie could very well be a fraud in ‘not queer enough’ sense she’s making reference to, and really, who cares anymore? Does anyone care? & Yes, I know they do. I know lesbians who married men who got endless shit about it, got called sellouts & worse. I know that to some people I am not queer enough & never will be.

But it’s so, so tiresome, all of us always explaining and defending our authenticity. So how’s this: what if we all just leave labels out of it & have sex with who we want?

I know, that’s just nuts, isn’t it?

Coming Out Ace

Posted by – October 11, 2013

Okay, so they’ve made asexuality sound cool by shortening it to Ace – as Eddie Izzard would say, “well done there.” Because the culture at large tends to think of asexuality as kind of boring otherwise, right? So many preconceptions for those of us who are sexual, so many new ways of seeing.

As I’ve often admitted, it’s a hard one for me to understand. I understand celibacy – and even choosing celibacy. I wrote a column about not having sex as a feminist a few years back for Jezebel, even. And I especially love the kinds of distinctions that asexual people are bringing to the table – distinctions between sexual and romantic attraction, for instance. As with the kink community, some things that are central or vitally important to one community can be useful to a lot of others, so that we can all think about things in more complex ways that actually describe – as opposed to prescribe – out experiences and identities.

With that, here’s one “coming out as ace” advice page, and here’s another, and here’s a coming out story by someone else who identifies as asexual.

(Also,  I want especially to thank the students here at Lawrence, many of them involved with GLOW, who have been willing to explain, describe, and answer dumb questions from their sex positive prof. You know who you are.)

 

This New Pope

Posted by – September 19, 2013

I’m liking him more & more every time he speaks or does an interview.

Pope Francis, in the first extensive interview of his six-month-old papacy, said that the Roman Catholic Church had grown “obsessed” with preaching about abortion, gay marriage and contraception, and that he has chosen not to speak of those issues despite recriminations from some critics.
An Interview with Pope Francis

In remarkably blunt language, Francis sought to set a new tone for the church, saying it should be a “home for all” and not a “small chapel” focused on doctrine, orthodoxy and a limited agenda of moral teachings.

And that’s after he was asked about gay priests and said “Who am I to judge?” Kind of mind-blowing, and a welcome change.

Bereft of Butches?

Posted by – September 16, 2013

This is a really great piece by a woman who has dated butches and trans men for most of her life, telling the brief story of how she came to understand why the lesbian community isn’t “missing” the butches who choose to transition.

She says:

Most trans men I know came out as lesbians, then claimed a butch identity, and then transitioned. Some of them have realized they never were attracted to women at all and are now gay men — this isn’t as odd as it might sound, if you accept that the lesbian community is the only safe space to explore gender, so it’s where many trans men start their journey.  

Maybe that’s why lesbians feel we’ve lost them: because we believed they were ours.

It is, overall, a great piece of writing, plainly laid out, touching on major objections and criticisms of trans inclusion, but it’s also got a light touch. It’s not an angry piece – if it’s anything, it’s got a tiny note of sad in it – not because of the perceived “loss” of butches, but because so many in the lesbian community don’t yet seem to get it.

Serophobia

Posted by – September 5, 2013

Healthline recently partnered with the Timothy Ray Brown Foundation (TRBF) to launch “You’ve Got This” – a video campaign that encourages HIV patients to give hope and advice to the recently diagnosed.

So I thought it was long overdue to introduce you to the term serophobia, which is, most simply, fear of & prejudice against people who are HIV+. Here’s a good post about what it is and why it is over at Daily Kos, and here’s another article about the ways that a blanket discrimination against having sex with people who are HIV+ just doesn’t make sense.

Those of us who are old enough remember serophobia in its most blatant form. Our next door neighbor never met a grandchild because of it – one of her sons became HIV+ and another of her sons refused to visit him or anyone else in the household – a policy he kept up for the next 20 years.

But here are some of the basic mythologies & superstitions about HIV, & even those of us who “know better” need to learn what people who are HIV+ are up against, from the Daily Kos article. More

Outagamie County Considers Benefits for Domestic Partners

Posted by – August 27, 2013

On Tuesday afternoon, the Outagamie County Legislative Committee will consider adding Domestic Partner Health Coverage for gay and lesbian county employees in a domestic partnership.

You can contact the Committee by emailing them and telling them it’s the right thing to do.

If you’re in Appleton, you can come to the meeting at 2PM, which will be held in the Administration Building, Second Floor, County Board Room
410 S. Walnut St., Appleton.

Thanks to Fair Wisconsin for all this information and for educating government officials as to why this is so necessary.

Gold.

Posted by – August 18, 2013

8/20 UPDATE: “The storm of emotions going through us was incredible. And if we, accidentally, while congratulating each other, touched lips, excuse me. We think the whole fuss is more of a sick fantasy not grounded in anything.”

– Russian sprinter Kseniya Ryzhova, adamantly denying that the headline-grabbing kiss she shared with another female runner on the medal stand at the world championships in Moscow was a protest against Russia’s draconian anti-gay law.

(via Bilerico)

(Kseniya Ryzhova and Tatyana Firova were two of the Russian team who won the 4x400m relay in Moscow. When on the podium receiving

their medals they kissed, on the lips. It is assumed this is a protest against the recently passed anti gay laws.)

No More Gay/Trans Panic Defense?

Posted by – August 17, 2013

I hope so. It’s a ridiculous idea. The American Bar Association has voted on it, with these stipulations:

The resolution passed by the ABA House of Delegates says that legislation should:

(a)    [Require] courts in any criminal trial or proceeding, upon the request of a party, to instruct the jury not to let bias, sympathy, prejudice, or public opinion influence its decision about the victims, witnesses, or defendants based upon sexual orientation or gender identity; and

(b)   [Specify] that neither a non-violent sexual advance, nor the discovery of a person’s sex or gender identity, constitutes legally adequate provocation to mitigate the crime of murder to manslaughter, or to mitigate the severity of any non-capital crime.

RIP Dwayne Jones

Posted by – August 11, 2013

(I don’t know what his femme name was, or if he even had one, or even if he used female pronouns. His friend Khloe, in this article, refers to Jones as “him” so I’m going with that.)

This is another heartbreaking account of homophobia and transphobia, and another reminder to boycott Jamaica until they get their act together.

Dwayne was the center of attraction shortly after arriving in a taxi at 2 a.m. with his two 23-year-old housemates, Khloe and Keke. Dwayne’s expert dance moves, long legs and high cheekbones quickly made him the one that the guys were trying to get next to.

. . . Minutes later, according to Khloe and Keke, the girl’s male friends gathered around Dwayne in the dimly-lit street asking: “Are you a woman or a man?” One man waved a lighter’s flame near Dwayne’s sneakers, asking whether a girl could have such big feet.

Then, his friends said, another man grabbed a lantern from an outdoor bar and walked over to Dwayne, shining the bright light over him from head to toe. “It’s a man,” he concluded, while the others hissed “batty boy” and other anti-gay epithets.

Khloe says she tried to steer him away from the crowd, whispering in Dwayne’s ear: “Walk with me, walk with me.” But Dwayne pulled away, loudly insisting to partygoers that he was a girl. When someone behind him snapped his bra strap, the teen panicked and raced down the street.

But he couldn’t run fast enough to escape the mob.

Here’s the original report of the murder.

& To hell with anyone who isn’t speaking up about what they saw and who they saw. The same to Jones’ family who wouldn’t even claim the child’s body.

 

NYC Drag Photos

Posted by – July 18, 2013

With many recent exhibitions, screenings and publications, the queer community, particularly in New York, seems to be on an archival bent, mapping a genealogy of various aspects of LGBTQ history. Not only is queer culture experiencing archive fever, but the era of the 1980s and 1990s has been given an inordinate amount of attention by curators, critics and writers. Adding to that dialogue, Simpson’s Drag Explosion presents an archive of the drag scene, which seems to often appear on the periphery of many exhibitions and publications on the 1980s art scene or LGBTQ history despite its influential humor, camp and fashion that still pervades culture today.

The photos themselves are a blast. I hope there are a lot more screenings, but if you can’t catch one, you can watch a slideshow of the photos online with Linda’s narration.

Green Bay Pride

Posted by – July 13, 2013

I’m speaking, briefly, at Pride Alive today, around 11am, up in Green Bay. The event goes from 11am until 10PM, so do come. I’ve tabled for Fair Wisconsin at this event in the past, and it’s a cool thing.

#ENDA Committee Votes 15-7 in Favor

Posted by – July 10, 2013

This is good news: a 15-7 vote, says the Maddow blog, means there may actually be bipartisan support for ENDA, at long last.