greenie_breizh: (quote)
I have a new apartment! Very excited about that, will update with more soon. But first I've let too much time go by again and I want to share a bunch of links. Today on the list: DADT ends! Dan Savage's readers are idiots! Shocking news: people with disabilities are the ones who know what's the best for them! La France se rend compte que la question du genre existe!

Onwards:

- "Sexuality doesn't matter on the battlefield"; this opinion piece by a U.S. soldier is a textbook example of the rhetoric around lifting Don't Ask Don't Tell, aka it states the obvious (sorry McCain). It's great for what it wants to do, and it gives me an excuse to say, DADT IS OVER. Yay, confettis, hugs, all that, I forgot to do it at the time because I was writing papers, I think. This IS a great step forward, and about time, and I'm REALLY glad Obama finally has something to show for himself in terms of LGB civil rights. But the truth is that it's a bit of a bittersweet victory to me because this whole DADT thing has (understandly and expectedly) gotten wrapped up in celebrating America's Greatness and the Greatness of its Military and that makes me cringe. I don't really want to spend hours going on about it, but essentially I hate displays of patriotism a-la-U.S and I'd rather the U.S. would stop sending soldiers abroad on "liberty missions" or whatever they're calling them these days. That said, just like I support same-sex marriage but still question its normalizing assumptions, I feel that I can have little to no sympathy for the institution of the military and still respect that some LGB people may disagree and want to be part of the army. So, in short: good for them.

- Not that people are really talking about it anymore, but I did want to link one more great post, this time by Kate Harding, about Assange's sexual assault charges.

- Two great posts by [livejournal.com profile] chaoticidealism:
the first one on the importance of getting people involved in projects that are meant to benefit them. And don't assume that because you have people who walk with canes in the office that they can speak up for wheelchair users, this kind of thing. This reminds me of a piece published in the National Post recently about the crosswalk sound for visually-impaired people sounding too much like a bird, and it seemed like this was just "well-meaning" people with no visual impairments making noise about this; while actual visually-impaired people were like, "we don't care! just pick a uniform system so we don't get harmed!". So, FAIL. It comes down to the most basic advice, but one that always bears repeating: don't assume you know better and ask people to whom it actually matters. You're way more likely to fail by assuming you can anticipate someone else's needs than by asking the question, and having to ask doesn't make you an idiot, most of the time it actually makes you more respectful (and, in the case of creating infrastructure for people with disabilities, more successful).
The other post is just a really interesting reflection on what autism is about, and why thinking of it as a social disorder might not be entirely accurate. It was really informative and I recommend it to, well, anyone, because everyone could do with a little more knowledge on autism.

- I want to rant a lot about Dan Savage's latest post about asexuality and the profoundly dumb things that his readers are saying in the comments; both display a staggering lack of understanding of asexuality and knowledge about the asexual community. But I'll keep it short because I actually have work to do. First of all, OBVIOUSLY people should discuss their sexual expectations with future partners. I hate that this is made into an argument about asexuals v. sexuals; there are sexual people with low sex drives and that's cool, and there are asexual people who are willing to have sex, and that's cool too. "Asexual" is a useful and important identity that people can take up, and which might help them find a community and navigate a very sexualized world (I use the term broadly, meaning that most of us go around taking (hetero) sexual desire for granted). But it doesn't allow you to make generalizations about what asexual people are like or what they should do; it certainly doesn't allow you to pass judgment because CLEARLY being sexual is the best/most natural/whatever the fuck. I'm continually impressed (and discouraged) by queer people's capacity to be bigots when it comes to anything but their brand of sexual orientation. Ugh. Asexual people struggle enough with the idea of dating sexual people, and how to disclose their identity, when is the right time, etc; they don't need sexual people to make them feel extra guilty and stressed out. Instead we should think about how we can create (within our personal sphere of dating, but also within our community) supportive environments where people can communicate and negotiate their (sexual or non-sexual) needs without being blamed for their own desires.

- What the Fuck Has Obama Done So Far?, which is both a cool idea and interesting website (I only wish each item would link to a more comprehensive note on the particular achievement).

- En français! Un article assez intéressant de Télérama sur la question du genre en France. Il est grand temps que ça fasse question.
greenie_breizh: (melancholy)
I still ache when I read tales of teachers bringing up homosexuality/homophobia/heterosexism in their classrooms and face kids who are so reluctant to change their assumptions about heterosexuality being, essentially, better. Partly these stories touch me so much because I've been the one at the front of the class, and because I realize how much needs to be done. I ache because I know, when I read yet another story of a kid who chose to end their life rather than keep going to school, that it's because we still think it's OK to think heterosexuality (and the codes of femininity/masculinity) is just a little more natural, just a little better.

I rant about this constantly but it's because it doesn't go away. It won't go away, for me. I don't really want it to, though. I've been working on a funding application for my PhD project (which is on anti-homophobia education) and I've realized just how much I care about this project and this issue. I want it to be my life's work as much as possible. I want to keep feeling I have to do something about it every time I read about homophobia in schools, and I want to feel like I'm doing something about it. I want to be unapologetic about it, and I don't care about feelings being hurt, not when something so important is at stake.

As Dan Savage said in a fantastic blog post today,
The dehumanizing bigotries that fall from lips of "faithful Christians," and the lies that spew forth from the pulpit of the churches "faithful Christians" drag their kids to on Sundays, give your straight children a license to verbally abuse, humiliate and condemn the gay children they encounter at school. And many of your straight children—having listened to mom and dad talk about how gay marriage is a threat to the family and how gay sex makes their magic sky friend Jesus cry himself to sleep—feel justified in physically attacking the gay and lesbian children they encounter in their schools. You don't have to explicitly "encourage [your] children to mock, hurt, or intimidate" gay kids. Your encouragement—along with your hatred and fear—is implicit. It's here, it's clear, and we can see the fruits of it.

It's not about painting all Christians with the same brush. There are wonderful, activist Christian people out there, who fight against the status quo and the prevalence of hateful, conservative voices in their religion. Some of them are LGBTQ. But it IS about telling people who think they're "nice", who think it's "just" their opinion, people who refuse to face the fact that teaching your children that same-sex couples shouldn't be able to get married or adopt children because they're less good than opposite-sex couples (against all actual evidence, scientific and otherwise) does teach your children that it's OK to tease and mock and undermine people who challenge heterosexual expectations.

Sometimes being faced with well-meaning people is a good start, and it's not about telling everyone to fuck off just because they don't get it. But there's a place for that, too, for expressing unapologetic frustrations and anger and for stepping on toes, because while you're upset that we're saying you're teaching your kids to hate, our kids are being bullied, and schools are doing little about that.


On another 'fuck off' note, France continues to suck (link in French). The Constitutional Council just refused today to strike down a law which stops same-sex couples from being recognized together as legal parents of a child.

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greenie_breizh

November 2011

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