greenie_breizh: (gay)
Originally posted by [ profile] darkspirited1 at SIGNAL BOOST: SAY YES TO GAY YA
This comes from an article by [ profile] rachelmanija entitled, Say Yes to Gay YA.
(click the link for the full article)

Our novel Stranger has five viewpoint characters; one, Yuki Nakamura, is
gay and has a boyfriend. Yuki's romance, like the heterosexual ones in
the novel, involves nothing more explicit than kissing.

An agent from a major agency, one which represents a bestselling YA novel in the same genre as ours, called us.

The agent offered to sign us on the condition that we make the gay
character straight, or else remove his viewpoint and all references to
his sexual orientation.

This isn't about that specific agent; we'd gotten other rewrite requests before this one. Previous agents had also offered to take a second look if we did rewrites… including cutting the viewpoint of Yuki, the gay character.

It's time to stand up and demand change. Spread the word everywhere if you are just as angry and outraged by this.

greenie_breizh: (gay)
I forgot yesterday that I had a bunch of French links I wanted to share!

First the website Vie de meuf; reading it is a great, unwelcome reminder of the kind of sexist crap that women still have to hear every day. A recent post about porn made me think that I would disagree on some things with the feminists who maintain the website, but it's a pretty cool resource regardless.

Second, I wanted to share a bunch of links on the recent changes made to the biology curriculum in France; it now vaguely integrates questions of sexual diversity. And it's been causing outrage amongst our conversative morally-righteous Christian right.
- L'homosexualité enseignée à l'école : une pilule qui passe mal
- Identité sexuelle: Copé soutient les 80 députés UMP
- Manuels scolaires : le mauvais procès des bon chic bon genre
There's repetitions over the three articles, but I wanted to link them all for my own reference. As a sidenote, one of the things that annoy me the most about these articles and this whole fake controversy is that people keep saying that the new textbooks were influenced by gender theory; even if it was true, it's been watered down to the point where it's not only almost impossible to recognize the influence of gender theory, but where gender theory would actually have TONS of issues with the way things are being formulated in the textbooks. But whatever.

Also I forgot yesterday this really interesting article on the sexualization of Casey Anthony, written by one of the bloggers from Tiger Beatdown. "Casey Anthony may have killed her daughter, Casey Anthony made out with a girl at a party–there is no connection between the two ideas. Unless, that is, you buy the idea that being sexual — impermissibly, 'shocking'-ly sexual! In public! With a girl, even! — makes you a monster. Or the idea that, for a woman, enjoying sex is a moral offense that can be fitted onto the same scale of human evil as murdering a toddler. If you buy that, the connection is perfectly clear."
greenie_breizh: (gay)
As I expected, this month before we leave for Europe is not going to be the most relaxing of times, but I wanted to take a couple of minutes to post some links and acknowledge that yesterday was IDAHO, International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. I went to the breakfast organized every year by the queer community centre here in Vancouver, and it was pretty good overall - mostly one of the speakers was fabulous. She's a prof at SFU and spoke about her genderqueer son and the fact that we need to stop gender-policing our kids and crush their fluid potential; it was such a touching and compelling speech, I'm glad I went just for it.

Also, I like this comic strip and it's in French, which is a nice change! It comes from this post, even the comments are overall pretty good.

The NYTimes also published this opinion column the other day about why it's problematic to be in favour of same-sex marriages based on economic reasons. Nothing ground-breaking, but a solid and well-written piece, so, worth sharing!

I've finally picked up a book that Allie and I picked up pretty randomly while we were in Seattle, and that Allie just read and highly recommended, Annabel by Kathleen Winter. It's amazing. It's the story of a kid who is born intersex in Labrador, and the writing is fantastic. Allie and I both have issues with how some of the stuff is handled, but it's so worth reading no matter what. It also has this line that I love so much, when the kid is just a baby:

"[The baby] looked back at her the way [the baby] looked at all strangers, with a direct gaze that said, I have not been badly treated yet, and so even you are to be trusted."
greenie_breizh: (quote)
I've been accumulating links in my tabs again, so it's time to share. :) But first, since I'm going to re-post a bunch of links that [ profile] zombie_process posted, I'd like to direct you to the original post first.

First up - public employees!
- A Letter to Scott Walker from a Wisconsin Teacher, which touches upon tons of really good points and issues that have been raised since Wisconsion public employees started protesting. On this topic, I have been watching this whole thing unfold mostly through the eyes of my facebook friends (someone reposted this excellent note, for example), Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert, and the anti-teacher rhetoric is pissing me off. I just do not understand people who can't see the massive amount of work, dedication and energy that teaching (at ANY level) requires. More broadly, anti-public-employee rhetoric in general baffles me, but the anti-teacher stuff is particularly angering.

Always good - gender and race stuff!
- My son, the pink boy. It's both a reflection on raising a gender nonnormative boy and a rant against recent advice that Dr. Phil gave to a mom regarding her own gender nonnormative boy.
"Who's confused? My son knows exactly what he likes. When Sam was 4 and his male peers trick-or-treated as Batman and Spiderman and gorillas, Sam was a princess. At 5, he was a queen, regal and proud and full of the royal prowess that Disney offers all little girls. He liked feather boas and lip gloss and dancing. Did he think he was a girl? Nope. Was he confused about being a boy? Nope. Did he need to be taught what boys are supposed to like? Nope -- how boys are supposed to behave was abundantly clear from the trains and trucks we bought him before we realized he was a pink boy, the behavior of all the boys he knew, the messages on TV, and the judgments of all the Random Moms. He just liked what he liked, the way other kids did -- only his likes were different."

- Tomboy [article in French, video in French with English subtitle]An article and trailer/interview for what looks like is going to be a really fascinating movie about a girl taking on a boy identity for a summer. I can't wait to see it. I was a little uncomfortable about the director bringing in the notion of lying into it, but I like the way that the movie seems to approach the whole thing, from the perspective of the child's lived experience rather than trying to make a statement.

- A Bitch magazine article on race and this year's Oscars, in particular the (bland) tribute to Lena Horne. The author ends with a note that really strikes a chord:
"Lately, I’ve been reading how history has sanitized Rosa Parks by characterizing her as a sweet, apolitical lady who just happened to be too tired to give up her bus seat one day. In reality, Parks was a dedicated social activist prior to her arrest. She joined the civil rights movement, in part, to end sexual violence against black women. I’d hate to see history sanitize Lena Horne in the same way. Unfortunately, that prospect seemed likely during last night's ceremonies."

- A Salon article expressing disappointment about Natalie Portman would say on Sunday night that motherhood is 'the greatest role of her life'. Motherhood is one of those difficult topics, where it's hard to walk the line between embracing motherhood, respecting women who make the choice to be moms full-time, and still acknowledging that the concept of motherhood comes with very heavy string attached in our society. The problem (to me) is not that motherhood is necessarily problematic and oppressive, it's the way that people essentialize the experience and conflate it with 'real' womanhood. In short, when we continue to see and interpret motherhood as being the ultimate fulfillment in a woman's life that (1) tends to dismiss fatherhood, and reinforce the idea that it is less central to a man's life and (2) lessens the choices and lives of women who don't want to be mothers, or even just don't want to prioritize family above all else.

- Anyway, so I wanted to link to this other article which fronws upon the tendency in feminist-oriented circles to frown upon motherhood, and it's funny because I just don't see these two articles as fundamentally contradictory, in the end. (As a sidenote, I believe the author for this article is in a same-sex relationship, which very much can change how the dyanmics of motherhood play out.) I don't know. I want to believe there has to be a place for recognizing gendered dynamics and lamenting them, without necessarily throwing under the bus everything that's been traditionally considered feminine and womanly. In short, I want to be able to say motherhood as we understand it is problematic, without necessarily judging women who want to be mothers and want to prioritize this aspect of their life. Maybe I'm hoping for too much.

- Sort of in the same vein, but wildly more depressing, this article which responds to suggestions that Laura Logan (an American reporter who got assaulted while reporting from Egypt) should not have been sent to the field in the first place. Great great piece, both about the gendered and racialized aspects of this story.

And a miscellaneous link to finish.
- Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names. It's, obviously, not just about names and programmers, but actually highlights assumptions that people make constantly, and not just about names, when you think about it. Anyway, this whole post resonates with me because my first name (of French origin) contains two accents but my Canadian university (reminder: Canada is officially a English-French bilingual country) still can't handle it and replaces the characters with ? whenever I log in, and in my university email. Super professional, let me tell you.
greenie_breizh: (political)
A few links before the weekend!

- A Guide: How Not To Say Stupid Stuff About Egypt: I haven't really commented about the situation in Egypt because, well, I haven't really had time to comment on much, but also because I'm feeling super careful with this whole thing. I feel wildly unqualified to make any kind of statement or claim because I know so little about the situation, and I refuse to believe it's as simple as some (especially American) pundits and journalists make it seem. But anyway, at least that guide was helpful, I thought.

- "#DearJohn: On Rape Culture and a Culture of Reproductive Violence": A fantastic post over at Tiger Beatdown in response to Republican efforts to limit access to abortion and redefine rape.
But we’ve been talking about “forcible rape,” right? And how fucked-up that construction is, how all rape is based on a lack of consent and “force,” in the sense that you get beaten up, is just an additional crime? Probably everybody reading this blog knows that a lot of people don’t understand that principle. And they don’t understand it because we live in rape culture; so much sexual violence is normalized, and accepted, that it’s invisible. We can’t understand that it’s rape unless we also see physical injury, or a knife, or a gun.

- Maybe more important, head over to Daily Kos and read this post, which deals with the less visible aspects of the bill that the 'forcible rape' bullshit was part of. The core of it is here: "You're meant to recoil in horror at that redefinition. And if the bill's proponents are lucky, you'll spend all your time doing that. Because then you'll miss out on the fact that H.R. 3 is also the killing blow capping 30 years of consistent losses on abortion restrictions."

- Nothing new to most of you/us, but always interesting: Physiological impacts of homophobia. I wonder if they only ask LGB youth who have been bullied, or if they spoke to straight-identified youth who have been targets of homophobia, too.

To finish with three more light-hearted links:
- Pick-up lines for feminists, a wonderful poem. My favorite stanza is, "where have you been / all my life? / hopefully fighting / against oppressive / patriarchal systems."
- Why you should always pay your webdesigner.
- Comic creator gets back at Christian organization which used an image of his to lobby against sexual minorities.
greenie_breizh: (full of words)
I'm going to try this new thing where I post more regularly, which hopefully could mean fewer massive posts. (I'm sure it's not going to happen, but one can hope!) So, let's give this a go with only two links today. :)

- That's Not Twain, a NYTimes opinion piece on the new version of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn that's coming out next month, in which the word "nigger" has been changed to the word "slave". I won't go on forever, partly because the piece says it well enough on its own: "Substituting the word 'slave' makes it sound as though all the offense lies in the “n-word” and has nothing to do with the institution of slavery." I'm worried that this, to some extent, sanitizes the U.S.'s racist past (especially that of the South) and it will only encourage a re-envisioning of that past as not only incongruent with the present (racism was then, now we don't put that word in our books!) but also as really not that bad.

- Immigration Rules Tightened For Gay Couples in Canada. Again, the piece really says it all; this decision is problematic on so many levels, and clearly singles out a group with no actual rationale. If you're worried about marriages of convenience, believe me, most of them are probably straight marriages. Ugh. I feel like this partly comes from this stupid place that make people believe that if same-sex marriage is authorized, same-sex friends will start marrying everywhere. Re: ugh.

EDIT: Reading the actual policy, it sounds like all that CIC clarified is that if you were married OUTSIDE Canada, the marriage needs to be legal in the country you were married for it to be recognized in Canada and thus be the basis for your spouse to sponsor you. If you're married in Canada, you're good to go, even if one of you is from the UK, say. What is confusing about this "clarification" is that the only way you could have gotten married outside Canada is if you live somewhere where marriage is legal... I realize there are a few, localized instances where people were married even though the marriage wasn't legal (SF in the U.S. in 2004, Noël Mamère in France the same year) but that seems to be such a tiny number that it doesn't really qualify as a loophole, nor would it be a way to address a supposed spike in spousal applications, or marriages of convenience... so, I'm confused. If someone has a better idea what's going on, I'd love to hear it.
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!


- "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 [ 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: (annoyed)
I am really fucking tired of people who express "concerns" over whether or not kids raised by same-sex parents will have their "psychic development" affected. Have we had enough time to figure it out, they say, blah blah BLAH.

1) Look it up, for fuck's sake. We've been studying this for DECADES, so if you're going to have an opinion about this and get offended when someone points out the very question comes from a heterosexist place: look it up. It's not that hard.

2) I hate, hate the normalization that comes with pseudo-psychoanalyst discourses. What the fuck is a normal psychic development, and why would kids with two moms or two dads be less likely to enjoy that? I really wish we would stop cajoling people who ask BS questions by telling them their questions is "legitimate" yet never challenging where the question even comes from. The way we cling to gender differentiation (and the fact that the "two sexes" are complementary) like it's more important than any other aspect of life makes me want to bang my head against the wall.

3) These kids would probably do a LOT BETTER without well-meaning douches to ask them (directly or indirectly, by making it an issue) if they're OK with their parents, if they don't think their family is weird, etc.

That was your mini rant for the day, there might be more (I'm listening to a radio show on homosexuality in France). Ugh, heterosexist attitudes. I'm really losing my patience over here, especially with "well-meaning people" (we all are - who the fuck claims they're proud homophobes anymore). Sorry for the anger, but sometimes, I really feel like I'm done being nice about this kind of shit.
greenie_breizh: (political)
As promised, a bunch of links I've been meaning to share! The personal update might come soon-ish - I'm in the middle of writing my last paper of the term and hopefully I will be done before I head to France at the end of next week. Anyway, on today's menu: queer kids' lives still suck, queer kids are awesome, Canada could make great changes re: gender expression/identity in its legislation, and the Assange sexual assault thing is not so awesome.

- Parents Who Reject Gay Teens Hurt Teens’ Health: Seems pretty 'duh' to me and I'm sure pretty much anyone who knows anything about gay teens, but since we loooove the scientific evidence these days, I guess here it is?

- Study: Gay Teens More Likely to Be Punished: On a similar note, more evidence that it sucks to be a queer kid sometimes in our current society. I definitely do think this story has a lot to do with gender expression, btw, even though they didn't get into that much.

- On a more positive note, check out this video "Rethinking Gender and Sexuality" because it's awesome and pretty much everything I try to tell people, ever. Plus it's a nice reminder that queer youth are (obviously) not just helpless victims but often awesome, resilient, smart youth. :)

- Bill C-389 passed in House of Commons: Bill C-389 (Canada always comes up with the sexiest names for its legislation) is an Act that would amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to include gender identity and gender expression. Or: awesome. So let's hope it actually goes through, but this is already a great first step.

- On Assange and "sex by surprise": I don't know how many of you are following the Assange thing (I have to confess I'm not really) but I thought this was a particularly good and thoughtful article on the different perspectives that are at work here when looking at sexual assault: "Making the Assange story juicier blog-bait in the U.S. is the fact that we’re deeply wedded to the notion of rape as forcible; despite many of our best efforts, a consent-based framework for evaluating sexual assault is not yet widely accepted."

- On the same topic, this commentary over at Bitch Magazine is great as well. I particularly like the conclusion, "We can believe that Julian Assange is doing crucial work with Wikileaks while also allowing that he may be capable of violating a sexual partner’s trust and consent. We can believe that political opportunism is at play in Interpol’s pursuit of Assange without assuming that it’s a total frame-up."
greenie_breizh: (Default)
One of these days I will have the time to write something about what's going on in my life, but for now I'll stick to more food for thought:

- Glee's Gay Suicide PSA: It got worse: This article perfectly summarizes why the episode left me with a very bitter taste. Ironically, Allie and I came home to watch that episode right after I'd given a lecture about sexuality and schooling and seriously, I could have used the episode as a perfect example of everything that we're doing wrong about homophobia in schools. Bah. (On a much nicer note, the lecture went awesome and I heard from a number of students that they really enjoyed it. I feel like it was the best one I've given so far.)

- On this topic, I have to link this wonderful blog post by a mom whose 5-year-old boy wanted to dress up as Daphne from Scooby Doo for Halloween. It's both heartening and maddening to read about the kind of stress a child has to go through when he disrupts gender expectations, but if I can be that great a mom one day, I'll be happy.

- Also, a bunch of people have started a Write Your Principal letter campaign, where basically you commit to sending letters to principals of schools that you've attended growing up, and letting them know that you expect them to do something about homophobia in their schools and to question the heteronormative school culture they might be perpetuating (OK, that last one may be mostly me, but it would be awesome if that was included). This is meant for the U.S. but I would encourage anyone who can to do this. People in schools need to realize that people care even after they graduate, and even when they don't have kids in the school system.

On a totally different note...

- As a follow-up to my last posts, I wanted to post a few links on why the Rally to Restore Sanity was, in some ways, extremely problematic. It's partly the ablism of the title, which is not even where I went first because I sometimes suck at noticing ablism (my own and society's)(thanks to [ profile] lounalune for calling me out on it). More generally, I loved this post because it touched on almost everything I had in mind, as someone who very much loves Jon Stewart and his show and yet sometimes feels very ambivalent about it. I particularly love this section, in response to part of the speech that Jon gave at the end of the rally:
“So, why would we work together? Why would you reach across the aisle to a pumpkin assed forehead eyeball monster? If the picture of us were true, our inability to solve problems would actually be quite sane and reasonable. Why would you work with Marxists actively subverting our Constitution or racists and homophobes who see no one’s humanity but their own?”
Why indeed, Jon? Why indeed would you say such things about people on the right, making it impossible to work with them? Except, of course, that it’s not your rights being denied. It’s not you who can’t marry your girlfriend, who when you look down the road at your potential futures see the horror of not being able to protect your assets together, or even be by each other’s side at a hospital bed. It’s not you who have had to fight all your life to get your gender accepted, even grudgingly, as a legal reality, not you who will have whispers following you the rest of your life or who fears to publish things under your own name because it outs your entire life history. It’s not you who worry that you’re getting older and a woman in an industry that is not known for accepting women, not you who are worrying that if you get fired from your job you may never find another one like it.
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.
greenie_breizh: (together)
Last week, a 15-year-old kid killed himself because he was bullied constantly at school. Much of the bullying was homophobic in nature.

I'm not going to rant about the event or why it's tragic that it happens, over and over, to kids on this continent. Why it's tragic that the reason that our kids do this to each other is because we tell them it's OK, even when we don't say it in so many words.

Dan Savage launched a Youtube video project in response: It Gets Better. The idea is that queer people from all over the United States (and presumably, beyond) can talk about how life gets better once you get out of high school, away from bullies (young and old), away from communities that shame you instead of loving you.

It's a beautiful idea. I love the idea of intergenerational solidarity in the queer community (and it can go both ways), and I like that this moment is for queer adults, young and old, because as complex and slippery as boundaries get between gay and straight, all along the continuum - it's not the same to grow up straight than it is to grow up anything else, and I value the moments where we support each other like family. So I would encourage people to share their stories if they can. (Especially if they're women, especially if you're not white, Christian, able-bodied, middle-class, because it's very easy for certain groups to believe they have the authority to speak across difference.)

But most of all, whatever you can do, help make it so that it doesn't have to get better. So that schools stop becoming such hostile places for kids who are queer, or maybe even just soft-spoken. You have to demand it of people around you, including your legislators and your school administrators, and you have to do it constantly.

Believe me - we notice. And then, it gets better.
greenie_breizh: (gay)

This just makes me uncomfortable. Which sucks because I love Alan.

This guy says the shirt's not supposed to be homophobic because it's "entirely a concise observation of objective, indisputable evidence. Evidence like overly-coiffed hair, pretty men, and body glitter."

But I'm not sure how resorting to stereotypes to make fun and devalue a cultural product is not an exercise in homophobia. Body glitter? Hilarious. "Real" men don't wear body glitter! Overly-coiffed hair? "Overly" says it all - men are not supposed to care about their hair! This wouldn't be funny if not for the heterosexist assumption that (straight) men don't do these things (gay men do) because it's not masculine.

This is full of value judgment crap, and not in a positive way at all. Not to mention ultimately, it's extremely problematic to call anyone gay unless you've asked them (or they've made it clear) how they identify, and you certainly can't base your opinion on whether or not the man takes care of his hair. Ugh.

(Don't get me wrong, I think vampires sparkling in Twilight is ridiculous, especially the part where they've got so much shame around sparkling in public, but fuck.)
greenie_breizh: (gay)
I'm attempting to upgrade to the next version of Ubuntu, Karmic Koala, without [ profile] yodah holding my hand! Let's hope I don't make my computer implode (lol) and also that does not take the 6 hours that it's currently saying it'll need, because I'm going to be way sooner than that.

And you should all watch this music video by The Twang. I love the song but I find the music video itself really cool, there's something about it that makes me happy. :)

I haven't been doing a lot (aka any) anti-homophobia workshops this term because it's been so busy with trying to get interviews done and school and applications and work and everything, but since things have eased up a little bit in the past couple of weeks so I signed myself up for a few. It's funny because I still remember when I was running the program at the MAG, I would get grumpy about having to go to schools far away and all, and then I would get there and do the workshop and LOVE it and feel stupid for having been grumpy about it. I sort of do the same here - when I have to wake up super early to get to a school, I'm all >.> but I have yet to do a workshop that doesn't leave me all :D and energetic. Even when the kids say a lot of bullshit (and sometimes they really do), there's just something about getting to talk about it with them, about opening up that conversation and be the first one (or one of the first) to explain to them without getting angry or uncomfortable, that you don't choose to be gay/what bisexual is/why 'that's so gay' is hurtful/what transgender means. I just get so much happy energy from doing that.

- My first workshop "back", I did in an all-boy grade 10 class, where one boy very bluntly asked, "why would anyone want to have something up their ass?" I was like, score! Because him bringing up very explicit sexual stuff gives me license to talk about it, so we had a whole conversation about sexual practices and how different people like different things and it's about what you and your partner like, regardless of your identity. A+. I loved these boys because some of them were not super allies, but they asked questions and (mostly) listened and talked and I much, much prefer that to the classes that go all quiet.

- The next week I did a very small grade 9 class, but they were wonderful. I never got past the original brainstorm exercise because they had so many questions, I just rolled with them and what they were curious about (that's how I used to do it with the MAG and it's still my favorite style). The one slightly awkward moment was when the teacher asked me to address pedophilia (and the myth that gay guys are pedophiles), which... I don't know that kids are very aware of that stereotype, it tends to be more adults, and I think the students were more confused than anything. But that aside, it was a wonderful conversation with kids who were amazingly curious and thoughtful and open, especially considering one of the girls in the class had recently passed away. :(

- Then this morning I headed back to an elementary school where I've done a few interviews for a workshop with Taylor in a grade 5 class. Very different atmosphere, partly because they were younger, and partly because there were like, 3 adults in the room including their teacher and the principal, lol. Because they were SUCH an amazing bunch. Seriously, so many insightful comments, from so many different students. We were defining "gay", and not only did the kids differentiate between love and attraction, but this one boy, he raises his hand and goes "it's when you like someone of the same gender as you". THESE KIDS WERE LIKE 9, GUYS. ♥ ♥ They had wonderful comments about how gay is only a bad word if you say it in a mean way, and how it would make people feel left out if you use it in a bad way, and how there are no boy colors and girl colors and and and. They were so receptive to the transgender stuff, too. It was so unlike most of the workshops I've done because it was so much more bullying-oriented, but it was wonderful in so many ways, I heart these grade 5s so so much. The interesting thing is 1) the reason why we were called in for this workshop is that the boys have been calling the girls lesbians (and yet so many boys said amazing things) and 2) a parent apparently got pretty angry at the principal for having us come in (condoning a lifestyle, talking about sex, blah blah blah). The principal is super supportive but not 100% comfortable yet so he was pretty flustered (in a calm way, whatever, it makes sense in my head) and pretty excited that he'd stood up to this parent and pretty much showed her the door because he wasn't going to tolerate homophobic language in his school and too bad for her if she had a problem with that. So we ended up talking with him a bit before and after the workshop, he took notes during the workshop so that he had more ammo for when the mom comes back to him about this. He was pretty happy because he'd noticed the mom's boy started out by refusing to look at us, and then after 15 minutes, he changed positions and started looking towards the front of the class, so he was hoping that the body language meant the boy had opened up to our message. But that kid is probably hearing a lot of shit at home. :( It makes me even happier than his classmates were so insightful, so he heard a lot of great things not just from us, but from other kids in the class.

Anyway, wow that was long! I just like to write a few things about these workshops go, and leave a trace of how much I loved talking with these kids. It's moments like these that I know whatever I end up doing, it will probably have to be related to some kind of classroom, because this makes me too happy to dismiss. Which is a nice reminder since I'm less than 24h away from getting like 40 exams to mark and soon I will be bitching about how much I hate being a TA.
greenie_breizh: (gay)
U.S. federal hate crimes bill has passed the Senate and now goes to Obama to be signed into law. (There is no reason to believe he won't sign it.) (It passed the House earlier this month, FYI.)

It seems to be the version that includes both sexual orientation and gender identity as protected categories? Which would be awesome. It was passed as attached to a larger defense bill that I don't really want to look into because I'm afraid the content will me make me angry, so. For now I'll just say:

Good job, America, it was about time.

Now let's turn our attention to the real problem, which is that hate crimes are still happening and boys can be shot at school by classmates for transgressing heteronormative boundaries.
greenie_breizh: (badass women ftw)
Leçon du MAG numéro 1: On ne dit pas à quelqu'un qu'il est homophobe, on lui fait remarquer que ses propos sont homophobes. Ça permet d'être moins sur la défensive, et d'avoir une conversation plus fructueuse qu'une série de justification de le part de la personne sur le thème "pourquoi je ne suis pas homophobe" (j'ai des amis homos/je vote à gauche/je trouve les homos mignons/ma super garagiste est gouine/j'étais pour le pacs/insert your own).

Dans le même genre, donc, je voudrais suggérer qu'on ne cherche pas à argumenter que Brice Hortefeux est ou n'est pas raciste. A la place je voudrais qu'on réfléchisse à pourquoi ses propos étaient racistes. Peut-être que comme ça on pourrait peut-être se mettre à penser à pourquoi quelqu'un qui n'est pas "raciste" et qui est apprécié par des gens tels que le recteur de la Grande mosquée de Paris peut se retrouver à avoir des propos racistes.

Parce qu'il est bien là, le noeud du problème. De plus en plus dans nos sociétés occidentales les gens ne sont pas racistes, ils ne sont pas homophobes. Ce que je veux dire par là c'est qu'ils ne se concoivent pas racistes ou homophobes et qu'effectivement la plupart du temps ils n'ont pas de problème à l'idée de côtoyer des homos et de beurs, ils en ont sans doute parmi les amis et collègues, et ils ne leur viendraient pas à l'idée d'aller casser du PD pour s'amuser. Et pourtant ces mêmes gens ont toujours (inconsciemment) des modèles homophobes et racistes dans la tête qui leur font dire des choses homophobes ou racistes beaucoup plus régulièrement qu'on ne voudrait l'avouer. Et ce n'est pas sans conséquence.

Ce n'est pas une question de racisme ou d'homophobie individuelle. Pas foncièrement. (Ce qu'il ne veut pas dire que les gens ouvertement racistes ou homophobes n'existent plus.) C'est une question d'images, de symboles et de schémas culturels. Et si on arrêtait de s'accuser les uns les autres et de chercher à prouver qu'on est toujours le moins raciste/homophobe des deux, on pourrait être un peu plus productif et s'interroger sur les schémas racistes qui nous restent, à tous. Alors allons-y, avouons-le une fois pour toutes qu'on est tous un peu racistes. C'est plus facile d'essayer d'arrêter de l'être quand on a réussi à faire face à nos propres préjudices.

C'est un peu comme quand je traîne avec des francophones qui laissent échapper un "on est pas des tapettes" ou "c'est pas une pluie de tapette" et qui s'empressent de s'excuser ou de me dire 'sans vouloir te vexer' (ou autre). Clairement, je m'en fous qu'on s'excuse quand je suis dans le coin. Je ne crois pas non plus que les gens qui disent ça sont horribles ou homophobes ou quoique ce soit. Mais je voudrais - puisqu'ils ont déjà fait le premier pas de se rendre compte que c'était un peu la honte de dire ça quand je suis là - qu'ils réfléchissent à pourquoi est ce que c'est toujours une expression acceptable dans la langue française. Pourquoi est ce que des gens très bien éduqués à ne pas dire que les homos c'est quand même un peu moins bien que les hétéros laissent toujours échapper ce (sale) tapette?


Jun. 15th, 2009 08:12 am
greenie_breizh: (annoyed)
Hm, great, I really wanted the U.S. to piss me off tonight.

The government filed a motion late Thursday to dismiss the case of Arthur Smelt and Christopher Hammer, who are challenging the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act. (Which establishes that marriage means a union between a man and a woman and prohibits same-sex couples who are legally married in some U.S. states to receive federal benefits.)
I don't have time to go in detail into the brief written by the Department of Justice, but it's simply abhorrent in the wealth of arguments it employs to defend DOMA. It goes from comparing same-sex marriage to marriage between family members to arguing that DOMA doesn't discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation because gay people are not prohibited from marrying in general to making the point that DOMA saves the government money and surely that's a legitimate goal. It's, basically, 50 pages of bullshit arguments to legitimize a discriminatory piece of legislation that Obama had promised to repeal. You can find a breakdown of the arguments provided by the DOJ, along with quotes from the brief (and the brief itself if you can stomach it) here at AMERICAblog. I'm not a fan of the fact they speak as if Obama had written the brief, because that's a shortcut, but this does say something about how little this administration seems willing to actually stand up for LGBT rights. It's nice to make speeches and invite gay families for Easter and shit, but there's a point where that needs to be backed up by actual legislative or judicial actions that will provide protections for these families and not just pretty front pages for the gay press.
(This is about way more than marriage, btw, this brief assents to a number of very problematic claims for LGBT rights in general.)

In other marriage news, a "male" couple gets married in NY, except it's not a male couple because, while both partners are biologically male, one of them is transgender and the other one identifies as straight. So that's not "same-sex marriage" because they're not of the same sex. Argh. You think this would be simple enough of a concept for the gay press to get. >.> What this case does show is that the line between "traditional" marriage and "non-traditional" marriage is less straight-forward than we want to believe, and restricting marriage along orientation lines is ridiculous.

And in the meanwhile, since France is still doing fuck all for same-sex marriage, it makes me annoyed for anything related to marriage. Which is delightful since I'm going to a ceremony tonight.

One thing is for sure, I'm going to be glad to be in San Francisco for Pride next week (if everything works out, which it looks like it should). And I'm still seriously considering flying to Washington for the March that's in the works. All this BS to avoid having to take a stance and making change is pissing me off.
greenie_breizh: (soci grad: painfully aware)
Some links:

- First, Obama and Bo running in the White House. The picture just makes me happy. :)

- A very interesting explanation by [ profile] phaballa of what the Prop 8 decision says. It's an indispensable reading if you're interested in the issue, to make sure you understand the logic behind the decision.

-Following the decision on Prop 8 by the California Supreme Court, two attorneys have decided to take the case to the federal Supreme Court. I have ambiguous feelings about that, just because I'm also not sure that this is the best time to play that card. But we'll see. It needs to get to the Supreme Court first, anyway. I liked reading Corvino's opinion on the topic, in any case.

- Still following Prop 8, two pastors have decided to stop performing all weddings.

- Cheney has come out in favor of marriage equality. Yeah, that Dick Cheney. He also manages to say something important in a fairly offensive way, because, y'know, still Dick. But I think it's still a pretty significant declaration, and I'm curious to know what the reaction have been from Rush Limbaugh, etc. It's gotta be a hard blow for the ultra conservatives who adore him.

Moving away from Prop 8 for a second, two rather appalling links:

- On a 6th grader who was stopped from making a presentation about Harvey Milk because it was suspected of promoting gayness.

- On a high school in Georgia that still has a "white-only" prom. Plain scary and headdesk-worthy. (Thanks to [ profile] shiraz_wine for the link.)

- And finally, "I am not Pro-Death", a story about abortion and working at an abortion clinic after having gone through it. (Thanks to [ profile] queenspanky for the link.)
greenie_breizh: (Default)
Obviously very disappointed by the news that Prop 8 was upheld. Not even so much because I believe in marriage equality, but because I think there is something utterly problematic in having the majority vote on minority rights. Talk about dominance - ballot measures like this take away minority rights unless the majority is kind enough to let the minority keep their rights.

This is not about the people deciding on what direction they want their states to go in. It would only be about that if the measure affected everyone similarly, or based on a criteria that can affect everyone. But it's not the case here, so it's about something else. It's about whether or not we're going to treat everyone equally. And I have no qualms about saying fuck you to people who use tradition or religion or whatever the hell they want as an excuse not to treat people equally. This is not about your feelings. It's about people's rights to live the life they want without harming others without your ridiculous moral standards dictating what they can do.

This is not democracy. Democracy is not about the majority being able to stigmatize and bully minority groups.

One thing that made the news a little less disappointing was to see some of the messages that were tweeted in response. Eliza Dushku reacted immediately with "Shame on the California Supreme Court", but even more significant to me, she actually went down to one of the protests to show her support. And sure, ultimately she's no one all that special, but I do like the work she does and the effort she puts into getting out of her comfort zone by traveling, and I always feel a little encouraged by people actually following through on their opinions. It's one thing to say you think the decision sucks, another one to get yourself to a protest.

Also, at least the couples that were married between May and November will stay married. Not unexpected, it makes sense, but I do take comfort in thinking that regardless of what social conservatives wanted, same-sex couples went to bed last night still married to each other.
greenie_breizh: (gay)
Spanish Judge: Gay men not protected by domestic violence law. This is ridiculous and quite terrifying. Now, domestic value is a topic plagued with sexism and I do think there is a need to be particularly attentive to women in situation of heterosexual domestic abuse (I am particularly distrustful of claims that men and women can be equally violent not because I believe men are inherently more violent than women but because these claims typically ignore structural gendered inequalities). But to say that men are not protected by domestic violence laws is unbelievable and proof that the law has serious flaws. It seems like a pretty obvious thing to say that men that find themselves in abusive situations should be able to be protected by the law, so I'm glad at least the judge who said this also admitted that the law needs to be revised.

On the Don't Ask, Don't Tell ongoing story:
- Defense Secretary Gates still not ready to sign on to DADT repeal. I completely agree with Soltz when he says that it's a lie that this can't be done quickly. I'm not saying this can be done overnight but I really don't think it's all that complex - like he says, these people are already serving. It's just about not getting them kicked out. This is mostly a problem we're creating for ourselves, and when you get to the bottom of it, it's kind of scary what's behind it. And ridiculous. I mean, you're already showering with a gay guy and it's not killing you, there's no reason it'll kill you once you know he's gay and he's still not checking you out.
- White House: “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” under review. This is a slightly more encouraging article that suggests the White House is working on it. I'm very curious to see where it will go, and whether the Obama adminstration will keep its promise. I don't think it's the hardest to keep so I will be disappointed if they don't make an effort. Especially since they don't officially support same-sex marriage (for reasons of political viability or not, but the end result is the same) and they don't seem to be doing much about DOMA.

And that's it for tonight's information bulletin. :)

(Oh wait - the California Supreme Court might rule on Prop 8 today, but if it happens it'll probably get a post of its own. I just love to spam your f-lists!)


greenie_breizh: (Default)

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