Happy Pride!

28 06 2008

Despite the (so far) crappy weather, I will be enjoying Toronto’s pride festivities all weekend. I’ll share my thoughts and such after it’s wrapped up on Sunday. Until then, I leave you with this creation, which I arranged for a party I had last night:

I have too much time on my hands.


Sing if You’re Glad to be Gay (or Trans)

29 05 2008

“It’s not a choice!”

How many times have we heard this?

And it bothers me. A mandatory disclaimer: no, I do not think sexual orientation is a choice. But really, does it matter?

The thing that bothers me about the choice versus biology thing is that it assumes if it was, indeed a choice, we’d have a moral imperative to choose straight. Unlike members of the religious right, I see absolutely nothing wrong with same-gender love, desire, and sex. Absolutely nothing at all. So why must I constantly defend myself? I don’t like turning myself into a victim of my natural and healthy desires. Nor do I like kissing ass to the religious right. Because, I feel, that a lot of times when people so adamantly say, “It’s not a choice!”, it’s almost like they’re saying that being queer or trans is a terrible way to be.

Let’s be honest. It’s not easy a lot of the time. The world, unfortunately, contains a lot of homophobes and transphobes, who have a stick up their ass so big that they feel the need to hate people for the kind of sex they have, or the fact that their genitals don’t match their gender presentation. When you think about it, it’s kind of pathetic. Pathetic enough for me not to want to lend any credence to it by pandering to that kind of fucked up ideology. And queer/trans people do face a lot of obstacles, almost all of them caused by prejudice rather that being queer or trans in of itself.

If I had a choice, honestly, I’d choose queer. There are a lot of really great things about being part of the queer/trans community.

The big part of it is the community. The culture. We have our own books and magazines and TV shows, our own hang-outs and our own way of living. I have a lot of queer/trans friends (and lovely straight allies!) who are like family to me. The queer community is so vibrant and amazing that I can’t imagine ever wanting to give it up.

Then there are other things. A queer activist friend of mine once joked with me that the reason the religious right is so obsessed with the way queers have sex is because they’re jealous. I’m pretty sure queers have, on average, better sex lives than straight people. I think we have fewer hang-ups about sex, since traditional straight-up straight sex isn’t usually an option (unless you’re bi/pansexual/whatever – in which case, you probably still have same-gender sexual relations from time to time). Plus, we know how to get creative, if you know what I mean.

There are a million other awesome things about being queer. I can’t list them all at the moment, but I think being queer can be a great experience. That’s why I refuse to make myself a victim. That’s why I refuse to yell, “It’s not a choice!”. Because I like being this way. And yes, I’m glad to be gay.

(S. Bear Bergman had a great speech on this topic. I know the title is similar – it comes from a song, and it wasn’t an effort to rip off Bear’s speech. Go read it. It’s awesome)

Day of Silence Countdown: t-minus 2 days

23 04 2008

First of all, I have no idea why the wordpress date function is iffy. Well, actually, I do, I just don’t know whether it’s fixed or not. Anyway, in case you were wondering, it’s the evening of Wednesday, April 23rd as I write this.

Only two more (okay more like, one and a half) days until the moment I’ve been waiting for. I am so excited it is unbelievable. Well, for those of you who don’t know, here’s how my day’s going to work on Friday:

8:00 to 9:00 A.M.: Day of Silence Prep. Hand out speaking cards, ribbons, and optional tape (you know, over the mouth) to Day of Silence participants.

9:00 A.M to 11:45 A.M.: Me, not talking. Weird, huh?

11:45 A.M. to 12:45 P.M.: Silent Lunch. Me, still not talking.

12:45 P.M. to 3:20 P.M.: More of me not talking. And likely being mercilessly mocked by my right-wing law teacher.

3:30 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. (approx): Breaking the Silence. Collective scream, debriefing, music, poetry, and munchies. What could be better?

5:15 P.M. to 6:30 P.M. (wild guess): A loosely organized after-party. Getting either sushi or Vietnamese food at a nearby restaurant. Yummy.

Jealous yet?

All kidding aside, the upcoming Day of Silence has made me think a lot. About a lot of things. Specifically, identity and community.

I tend to prefer the term “queer/trans” to the acronym, “LGBT”, because it’s a lot more inclusive. Although I have seen attempts to expand the acronym (sometimes, into something quite long), I always feel like we’re missing someone or something. For me, personally, LGBT isn’t that good a fit, because I define myself as “queer” rather than as lesbian. I have no problems with anyone defining themselves as the latter, but for me, personally, if you must pigeonhole me, I’m mostly “L” with some “B” tendencies. A 90-10 ratio I suppose. Still, I can’t help feeling like the acronym marginalizes me, as well as other people with more fluid sexualities and gender identities. And a lot of people who might have previously identified themselves as bisexual, identify as pansexual or omnisexual to recognize the fact that there are more than two genders. And a lot of people who are gender-variant don’t necessarily identify as trans, but in terms of gender, they still fall under the umbrella of “queer”. Where would a crossdresser fit? A partner of a trans person, who once considered themself straight, but stayed with their partner after transition? Someone who is mostly attracted to people of the other biological sex, but has “atypical” sexual preferences?

One of the things that’s been really disheartening lately is the tendency of some people in the “LGBT” community to shun others for not being part of their definitions of L, G, B, or T. As if to say, “Get the hell out of my community! Start your own damn movement!” And I find that quite sad. To me, the queer/trans community represents anyone who has an identity or preferences outside the norm when it comes to sexuality or gender. And anyone else who wants to come along, for that matter. Allies too! Really, when it comes to fighting for our rights – all of our rights – we need all the help we can get, so throwing others under the bus for not being part of our narrow definition of “community” is really not helpful.

One thing that struck me about the Day of Silence group, all 40 or so of them, is how diverse a group it is. Queer, straight, male, female, possibly other. All different races, ethnic groups and religions. Some students with disabilities. It wasn’t a homogenous group, by any stretch of the imagination. Well, except for the fact that they’re all high school students, which is self-evident.

I consider all of them part of my “community”. Because, on April 25th, we’ll all be fighting for the same thing.

(edited to fix confusing typo)

Dear narrow-minded “feminists”,

21 04 2008

First of all, bite me.

Second of all, bite me.

Galling Galla explains it better than I ever could.

I’m not going to even give you the luxury of calling you “feminist” – feminism, to me, is about equality for all women, not just the ones who do things you like. And who made you the great arbiter of what is female and feminist?

Much love,

Miss Nomered, queer (not in the “political” sense, in the “women are damn sexy” sense), sex-positive (yes you can be sex-negative), transgender-friendly, pro-sex worker FEMINIST.

Dear High School Homophobes,

19 04 2008

I’m aware of the fact that you’re probably not reading this blog. And I’m aware that those who are reading are probably not homophobes. Still, maybe this open letter will catch up with you one day. Of course, if it does, you’ll probably be as dismissive and knee-jerk as you normally are, because you are the great warrior against “political correctness”. Or maybe, by some small chance, I’ll enlighten you. One can only hope.

You’re wondering why you’re, in fact, a homophobe? Or why I percieve you as one? Are you wondering how to not make people think you’re a homophobe? Or how to get rid of your homophobia (although that will probably never be an option for you)?

You can start here.

  • Quit using the word “gay” as an insult. Really. If you’re accustomed to using it, you might slip up once or twice. But if you continue to use it multiple times after someone (usually me) has corrected you, and especially if you proceed to taunt that person by saying the word “gay” in an insulting sense over and over again, they’ll probably think you’re homophobic. Because you probably are.
  • Similarly, quit accusing everyone who does something you don’t like of being a “faggot” or “homo”, or the perennial sixth-grade favourite, “gaylord”. This is for the boys, especially. It won’t make you less of a man to say “You know, I have some gay friends”, or “Cut it out, that’s offensive”. And contrary to popular belief, gay men were not put on this planet to threaten your masculinity. And you won’t catch The Gay from them, I promise.
  • Don’t drag out your token fake teenage bisexual friends as proof that you’re not homophobic. Because even if they are indeeed bisexual, and they are, in fact, your friends, you clearly haven’t learned anything from them,
  • Stop making fun of the trannies. In fact, I would very much appreciate it if you stopped using the word “tranny” altogether. Same goes for “he-she”, “she-male”, “chick with a dick”, and “man in a dress”. And, for the love of god, please learn the difference between sex and gender. And the difference between drag king/queen, cross-dresser, transgender, and transsexual.
  • Don’t think it’s acceptable to insult butch women or femme men in front of me, just because I’m femme. Yes, on the surface, I appear to fit in with society’s expectations of what someone of my biological sex should look and act like. If you actually got to know me, you’d realize that I don’t. Similarly, I have many gender-bending friends and a lot on the transgender spectrum, and I have a great deal of admiration and respect for their courage to live their lives in a world that doesn’t respect who they are. My gender expression is no better or worse than theirs – it’s just something that just is.
  • Similarly, please never praise me for being “straight-acting”, “gender-conforming”, “stereotype-defying”, or “not one of those mannish lesbians”. As per the last point, that’s not the type of “compliment” really want to hear. My gender expression is not an attempt to fit in, to break stereotypes, to “pass” as straight, or appeal to the straight majority. I’m just as queer wearing a dress and heels (although I actually can’t walk in heels) as a woman wearing baggy jeans and motorcycle boots. And if conforming to gendered expectations is what it takes for you to accept someone, I really don’t need your “acceptance”.
  • Quit telling us to shut up. If you believe that if we weren’t “rubbing our sexuality in everyone’s faces”, we’d have all our rights by now, you are sadly mistaken. And, as much as you might praise me for not being like “them”, (AKA the bad gays), I really won’t like you much if you say stuff like that.
  • Don’t snicker every time I do a project on a queer-related subject. Yeah, I get it. You probably think queer and trans people are really fucking funny. But mocking me for mentioning trans people in my essay for  my anthropology/psychology/sociology class, or doing a book report on Drag King Dreams by Leslie Feinberg for my English class just shows how immature you truly are.
  • Quit (barely) hiding behind the internet. As in, stop posting overly public facebook notes, viewable to most of the school and most of the city, about why you think homosexuality is a choice, and a bad one at that, or why you hate political correctness, so we should all go out and call people “dyke” and “faggot”. Quite frankly, I’ve come to a point in my life where I don’t give two shits about what bigots like you think of me or how I live my life. Many others have not. I know two grade nines who have just come out in the last few months. When I was running a safer sex/LGBT Youth Line booth for this year’s LGBTQ Health Matters Week, a girl came up to me, eager to know about the LGBT youth line. She clearly seemed to have some questions. I don’t know if she was a lesbian, bisexual, questioning, or just requesting information for a friend, but she needed that support in place. People like the ones I just described need support, not a gang of high schoolers publicly trashing people like them. I know caring about people (especially queer or trans people) usually doesn’t enter your mind, but your words can be really damaging.

You know, several times as I was writing this, I was thinking “Why bother? It’s not like any of the phobes are going to read this anyway.” But maybe some of them will. If you are one of the people that I’m referring to, and for some reason you’re reading this, please take it seriously. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll realize that you were wrong.

Yours truly,

Miss Nomered, proud purveyor of the homosexual agenda.