Reclaiming the Conversation: “Cowardice”

Whenever there’s a new terrorist attack such as the May 2017 attack on Ariana Grande concertgoers in Manchester, I hear myriad voices proclaiming it “cowardly” or an act of “cowardice.” I always thought this was strange. What in particular about a suicide bomber coincides with the meaning of “cowardice”?

From dictionary.com, cowardice is: “lack of courage to face danger, difficulty, opposition, pain, etc.”

Suicide bombers are perhaps the ultimate facers of danger, difficulty, opposition, pain, etc. Even non-suicide terrorists face substantial danger and difficulty.  If anything, terrorists virtually fearless; one wishes they were more fearful (fearful enough not to do such horrible things). Continue reading “Reclaiming the Conversation: “Cowardice””

Bad Androgyne

I am a bad androgyne. Or maybe I’m just tired. I live in a gender-fluid soap bubble. Externally, well, there aren’t 13 moon cycles (months) and there aren’t 3+ genders either. There are, but there aren’t.  So I just go-along to get-along and I don’t make much effort to correctly gender we who exude ambiguity.

I am drawn to androgyneaity, to ambiguousness, to ambivalence. Of course! I love it and I am it. But I don’t know how to articulate it within a linguistic-cultural structure which just has no concept of a gender-neutral person.

Even in Spanish, a language where all objects are routinely gendered, there is a workaround gender-neutral pronoun for persons built into the language (su/sus which can mean his, her, their and your). English has no such concept, only “it,” which denotes a thing. Continue reading “Bad Androgyne”

Bowie-esque Requiem

When I first heard of David Bowie’s death (Jan 10, 2016), I was mostly indifferent and even slightly annoyed. It seemed my entire (non-work) social sphere expected me to be devastated. Normally, I find it irksome that our celebrity culture encourages people to think they “know” celebrities and be emotionally invested in celebrity lives, so it was that my first knee-jerk response was a “So, what?” mild annoyance, as I’ve never touched or talked with this person.  And to be honest, I’ve loved only a small portion of DB’s music, most of it older stuff that I listened to as a teen in the 1990s. I’ve paid little attention to DB or his albums in the 21st century, so it seemed I had little cause to be “affected.”

Me, circa 2011
{LuQ Stardust ~2011}

That said, DB was important to me, so much so that I made a “self-portrait” collage all about him (as me or vice versa) when I was 20: “Rock Starr” (the prints hang in my bedroom). For a time, I even had an email address ending in davidbowie.com (when he had a social networking site in 1999 or so, long before facebook or patreon). David Bowie was a beloved cultural icon/pioneer and hugely important to counterculture as a non-conformist superstar, in the pre-internet days where finding out about independent musicians was quite difficult. DB was a Gender Outlaw inspiration (not only to male-borns, check out 1967’s “She’s Got Medals,” a tale of a drinking, fighting, cross-dressing woman soldier), as well as a White Ally, long before I had any concept of institutional racism (e.g., this 1983 video of him criticizing MTV for not including more black artists in their lineup). Continue reading “Bowie-esque Requiem”

Cruel Mother Russia: Pinko Pogrom

pinkoSome of you may recall the halcyon days (ha) of the 20th century Soviet Union, where we in the USA had a clear and substantial enemy, the McCarthy hearings had teeth and any hint of Communism could result in blacklisting.  “Pinko” was a very real and harsh anti-Communist slur.  What cruel irony that Communism has retired only to give birth to the worst kind of proto-Nazism in the Russian fight against the “pink menace” – outlawing any/all Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender people or ideals.

I usually don’t see the point in any sort of country-hating; all our governments are deeply flawed in my opinion, usually with some ridiculous or outrageously unfair laws and far too many greed-based policies & unnecessary military actions.  However, on very rare occasions, some individual country goes so far beyond the pale (e.g., Nazi-era Germany, Apartheid-era South Africa) that it merits a special kind of loathing.

I feel terrible for [most] of the Russian people, lacking free and fair elections, living under extreme government corruption and a new anti-LGBT pogromThey are literally beating & murdering gay people.  It is abhorrent.

There’s not too much we can do from afar, but we can boycott some of the most iconic Russian products, especially Stoli vodka.  For more about the Russian anti-LGBT pogrom and explanation of the boycott, see:

Boycotts 101: Why the gay boycott of Russian vodka is already working

Full-Frontal Marriage: Here & Queer

Last week, the Supreme Court of the USA struck down a key provision of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (the provision which prevented the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages legalized by certain states and districts) in United States vs. Windsor and denied the proponents of California’s anti-same-sex marriage amendment standing to defend their proposition (which a lower court had made an injunction against) Hollingsworth vs. Perry.

This is indeed good news for same-sex couples, who can now marry in California, the most populous state, and will have federal recognition of their legal state marriages (in those 10+ states/districts where it is currently legal), receiving all the previously witheld federal benefits.  Moreover, married same-sex couples previously endured second class marriages, in which they were recognized by states, but considered “unmarried” by the federal government. Now, having the “second class” stigma removed reframes those same-sex marriages as completely legitimate relationships, which is an important cultural signifier that will help us move towards full equality.

Also, although, unlike Lesbian and Gay folks, some Bisexual and Trans folks were previously able to take advantage of full marriage benefits (depending on their partner and current legal sex), this helps to removes any gender bias that might restrict their choices (at least, in those 10+ states/districts in which it is legal). I believe this will help us move towards more open same-sex relationships and [trans/queer]gender expression, which is definitely a good thing for me.  🙂

However, while I totally support same-sex marriage (because marriage benefits shouldn’t be exclusive to opposite-sex couples and for reasons stated above and elsewhere in this blog), I wonder that we’re missing a few significant points: Continue reading “Full-Frontal Marriage: Here & Queer”

Holey Matrimony

With May comes “wedding season,” but even though I’m fortunate enough to be in a successful long-term relationship with a highly compatible partner, I don’t plan to marry.  Why not?

Although I support and am happy for my family and friends who have chosen (or will chose) to get married, for me personally, the institution of marriage is holey [sic].  In brief, traditional marriage seems to:

  • Privilege “normal” romantic relationships over all  other kinds of relationships, including close friendships and kinships.
  • Be gender-essentialist and (generally) reinforce gender role stereotypes.
  • Represent a “unity” of two people which is incompatible with my fierce independence and my current (excellent) relationship.
  • Be an out-dated tradition that creeps out a rebel like me (as so many traditions do).

Continue reading “Holey Matrimony”

Missed Opportunity 4 Gay Rights

With the mainstream Gay Rights movement laser-focused on marriage equality, I feel it is missing an opportunity to advance more fundamental changes.  The heterosexuals at large (including those in label only) are growing more and more tolerant – so that very few of them (mostly older, rural folks) even dislike gay people, let alone hate them.  The vast majority seem to understand that gay/queer people are regular human beings and should be able to live their lives as full citizens.  But many people, even some well-meaning, gay-friendly straights, feel a bit squicky about gay marriage – probably because they’ve had the princess and prince charming straight-marriage-is-bliss fantasy drilled into their head since they first experienced language.  This is the vulnerability that the haters are exploiting.

The growing tolerance for difference is triggering backlash from the haters, a potent minority, who keep framing the discussion around “traditional marriage” where they can avoid offending the gay-tolerant majority while still preaching bigotry.   Were the Gay Rights movement to play this smart, they could pull a rabbit out of the hat by responding to the haters who proclaim not to hate the gay people, but only to be fighting for “marriage-as-straight”.  I say, let them have it for now.  Let’s call them out at their word.  Gay people are not hated, but they just want to “protect” traditional marriage?   Fine, we’ll let the gay marriage fight go (leaving state and federal laws as is), how about universal, federal protections for LGBT folks for employment, housing and medical coverage?  How about the basic legal protections that straight individuals have without question? Continue reading “Missed Opportunity 4 Gay Rights”

The Radical Case for Queer: Marriage & Military

First of all, it’s important to understand that the fight for legalized homosexual marriage and likewise the fight for allowing openly homosexual soldiers in the military are not radical in nature.  Sure, these fights are liberal, but fundamentally, they are assimilationist, which is basically attempting to join the current system of privileges, rather than changing the system in any significant way.

Gay marriage advocates do not seek to restructure the social or legal benefits of marriage, they only seek to expand those benefits to all monogamous adult couples.   However, even for those radical liberals who may oppose the institution of marriage, there is good reason to support gay marriage advocacy. The institution of marriage is so strongly enshrined and honored in world culture, that having homosexuals in recognized marriages will help to normalize homosexual relationships in a way that nothing else can.  Married same-sex couples will significantly expand the cultural awareness and acceptance of those relationships and the legality of their relationships will help drive more important legal protections (e.g., if same-sex health benefits became legally required due to marriage, then other anti-discrimination laws such as for housing and employment will quickly become universal, as has more-or-less been the case in Massachusetts). Continue reading “The Radical Case for Queer: Marriage & Military”

How Anti-Abortion Fervor Unexpectedly Protects Girls

While it might seem that Anti-Abortion extremists disrespect women, since they are trying to control what women do with their their bodies, prioritizing procreative function, their anti-abortion fervor actually protects and promotes girls, in a weird way.

Imagine a society with a strong preference for men, a preference for baby boys, for “sons” – then imagine that same society without the stigma against abortion, where abortion is considered a free choice that anyone (woman or family) can make, for any reason.

You would have a culture where many of these son-preferring folks would exercise their freedom to choose, by selectively aborting female fetuses in favor of bringing male fetuses to term.

You would have India

“…The shortfall in the number of girls under six compared to boys has risen sharply from 4.2 million in 1991 to six million in 2001 and 7.1 million this year.”

You would have China

“In 2005 , they found, births of boys in China exceeded births of girls by more than 1.1 million. There were 120 boys born for every 100 girls. Continue reading “How Anti-Abortion Fervor Unexpectedly Protects Girls”

you get what you don’t pay for

Ladies who expect male dates to pay for everything up front (1st date and beyond) should expect that those men will in turn be expecting things. Perhaps sex, perhaps housewifey things, but certainly some level of sublimation.  After all, who would pay for something (that is not charity) and not expect to gain something from their purchases?

If women are serious about gaining equality, it means everything. All the boons of being a “helpless” woman fall away, including the financial ones and all of life, including romantic life, must be balanced.  Those who expect to get things without paying, get what you’d expect – debt.  Have fun cooking, cleaning and primping for your gentle-man, entitled ladies.

Chivalry Seesaw

privilege prickles
benefits mask detriments
pay in other ways