As a queer, trans person of color, when I think of someone aiming abusive language at me, I immediately think of deeply hateful racist, homophobic, transphobic language. Words of sexual violence, people telling me that the world would be better off if I were dead, being told that I am less than human. I have not personally experienced that, but I know that others like me have, and so the potential for that is always in the back of my mind.
As irrational as it is, when I was told that I’ll just have to deal with abusive language at work, that’s what I thought of. Being called an idiot, or being yelled at because the person is frustrated with the company is one thing — something that will probably upset me, but something that I can deal with. But emotionally, it felt as though I were being told that I must deal with the rest, and that was unacceptable. Continue reading
A while back, I came across an article online from Vanity Fair regarding a then-recent episode of Glee. Brett Berk, the writer — an openly gay man who uses the term “faggy” to refer to himself — uses the term “fags” in a relatively innocuous way, referring to the Dalton Warblers of Glee, and it created an immediate uproar. Frankly, though, all of the ‘no one should ever use that horrible word, and he should be fired!’ people upset me more than his use of the word did. Continue reading
I just read the ever-fabulous Kate Sosin‘s piece “Myth of Virtue: The Unfriendly Queer” on his blog The New Gender, and it was a revelation. Go check it out, and then come back and finish this (or this isn’t going to make much sense).
It’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to be “queer enough” and “radical enough.” As Kate puts it, “Over the past few years, I’ve come to find that the word ‘queer’ increasingly carries with it a set of rules, especially if it is teemed with the word ‘radical.'” There is so much pressure to be a certain kind of queer. I’m not even entirely positive where that pressure comes from, just that I know I feel it. And quite frankly, it gets exhausting. Continue reading
President Obama recently said, “we don’t make determinations about who we love. That’s why I think discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is wrong.” I realize that’s a common view (among people who don’t think being gay is wrong). I appreciate that Obama is against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. However, I don’t necessarily agree with him. Continue reading
Are you serious? I just came back from a vigil in memory of the 9 teens who killed themselves last month because of anti-gay bullying. And then I discovered this link about the book Chased by an Elephant, the Gospel Truth about Today’s Stampeding Sexuality, by Janice Barrett Graham, which is apparently intended to “help shed the clear light of truth on today’s dark and tangled ideas about male and female, proper gender roles, the law of chastity, and the God-given sexual appetite.” The book “champions ex-gay therapy and curing people of their homosexuality.” Continue reading
Apparently, there’s something about a pack of queers and transfolk that makes the evangelicals absolutely desperate to save us. In the month that I’ve been living in Chicago, I hadn’t been approached by a single evangelical (prior to this weekend, anyway). I go out with friends, and in seventeen hours, we get approached three separate times. Continue reading
I don’t know what it is, but some parents are freaking unbelievable. In a bad, bad way. Actually, perhaps it’s just that some homophobes and transphobes are parents. And they’re just unreasonable. And, as far as I’m concerned, they don’t deserve to be parents. Now, I know that’s a harsh thing to say: I know I probably have no right to judge whether anyone should be a parent (other than, perhaps, myself).
But who kicks their kid out of the house over a haircut? Continue reading
This was posted in its original form at 1:03 AM, December 15, 2009.
I’ve heard/read a lot of gay people argue about being “normal” — about being “just like everyone else” (read: just like straight people). A person called Vince wrote on the Queers United forum, “I dont know what the freaking problem is. Thanks God more people see us as normal. If you only consider youself to be gay not to be mainstream… poor you.” This statement seems like a pretty good representation of that sort of sentiment.
To me, this sort of thinking — “Thank God more people see us as normal” — is exactly the sort of thinking that excludes those queers who are most marginalized. That’s the sort of thinking that wants drag queens, leather dykes, and other less-than-mainstream people to not “embarrass” them at Pride (apparently, the thinking of Will & Grace creator Max Mutchnick, among many others). That’s the sort of thinking of those who would disown queers simply for being themselves because who they are isn’t mainstream enough, safe enough, bland enough to blend in. “Those sorts of people” scare the straight people. It’s the idea that being queer is fine, as long as you look and act “straight.” And while we’re at it, let’s remember that often, the idea of what seems “straight” and what seems “gay” is deeply intertwined with gender norms. People who abide by typical gender norms — people who appear to be “gender-normal” — usually are assumed to be straight. People who somehow transgress gender norms are typically assumed to be gay. Homophobia often masks transphobia. Continue reading