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May. 1st, 2011


freelark

Two questions related to bisexual invisibility

Lately I've been thinking a lot about how language renders bisexual folks invisible, and I'm wondering how we can fix that. My first concern is about the phrase straight couple. This is all too often used, even when one or both parties are not straight. And really how can a couple be straight anyway? Straightness is a property of an individual—not a couple. But what is the alternative? All that I have come up with so far are designations like man–woman couple, if gender is what is salient, or bisexual–bisexual couple, if sexual orientation is what is salient.

My other concern has to do with the term ally, as it is used in a phrase like cisgender ally to a transgender person. Over the years I have observed two different conventions when people abbreviate this. The first is to make the attribute of the oppressed person explicit (e.g. transgender ally). The second is to make the attribute of the ally explicit (e.g. cisgender ally). For a long time I preferred second convention, because I did not like the idea of the beneficiaries of an oppression using the designation of the oppressed to identify themselves. So one day I came across the phrase bi ally, and I thought, "Why doesn't that say, 'Straight ally'?" The answer was obvious immediately: If it did say that, people would assume it meant straight allies to gay and lesbian people. So how should we express the idea of a straight ally to bi people? Should we say, "Bi allies"? Or should we just say the whole phrase—straight allies to bi people—even if it is not the most elegant solution?
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Feb. 14th, 2011


freelark

Community's Valentine's Day Episode

Did anyone catch the episode of Community that aired on the 10th? While I wouldn't say Community is especially revolutionary or progressive, I thought its take on women's same-gender romances was interesting.

The relevant plot begins when Britta, one of the main characters, proudly announces that her new friend Paige is a lesbian.

First Clip

(The fun begins 35 seconds in.)

Spoilers behind cut.Collapse )

Jan. 18th, 2011

Adler Shush

silent_bunny

I think one of my coworkers is catching onto me

She made a big point of telling me that someone she knew finally came out to her, and then paused to look at me.  It was a very pointed, very expectant pause, like she was expecting me to say, "You know what?  I'm queer too!" 
I didn't for a number of reasons.

1. My coworkers are already pushing potential partners on me in jest which I could laugh off, but if I came out I think they'd start pushing potential partners on me in earnest and I don't want that pressure. 

2. I've yet to kiss, date, or have sex with a person who's not a man so I'm relunctant to call myself queer.  (Though I realize that is unfair as straight people don't need to kiss, date, or have sex to identify as straight.) 

3.  I think people expect me to say I'm lesbian, and I'm not, and I think that fact will make them take my queerness less seriously because it seems the only queerness that should be taken seriously is the one where someone can't help but be only attracted to someone of their own gender.  I think if they found out that I'm not only attracted to women, I'm attracted to people in general, they'd take me less seriously. 

3. I'm not queer because I couldn't help it. I wrote about it in my last LJ entry, and I'll cut and paste the relevant sections here: 

I think I'm queer by choice, which was one of the reasons I couldn't identify as queer for the longest time.  It was one of the things that used to eat me up when I was in church, because it wasn't that I was queer, it was that I wanted to be queer.  I never went through the whole try to straighten myself out.   I never did the try to stop liking girls and then discovered that I couldn't help it, it was beyond my control, I can't help but be attracted to girls thing.  I never tried that because I LIKED liking girls, because I didn't want to stop liking them, and I was afraid if I tried, I would find out that I could stop liking them, and I didn't want that.

So yes, for me, it was probably a choice.  I choose to like girls. 

And you know what?  I still think my liking women is legitimate.  Just because liking girls was probably a choice for me and not something that I couldn't help doesn't mean I like them any less.  I mean, no one ever goes up to a straight person who choses to like someone of an appropriate gender and tell them that they don't really like that gender because chose to like it.  Why should my orientation be wrong because I chose it? 

Oh yeah, because being queer is wrong.  That's the real issue.  And if you could choose to stop liking girls, then you should. 

I totally stand by that, btw.  But it also makes me relunctant to reveal my queerness because the people who do know eventually bring up how it's okay for me to be this way because I can't help it and then I feel bad because I actually think I can help it but I like being queer so I don't see why I should try to be otherwise.  I'm totally okay with that, but I'm not the mood to have to try to explain and validate myself to people if they're not. 

ANYWAYS! aka BUT!

I hope I don't come across as saying people who can't help but be queer don't enjoy being queer, that it's something they don't like.  The problem with phrases like "have no control over" and "can't help it" is that it gives the idea of having no agency  (but somehow the lack of agency doesn't come up with people who can't help but only be attracted to what society defines as the opposite gender).  It often comes across to me (especially in the church that I was growing up in)  like they're victims, which is such the wrong way to describe whose who are queer not by choice.  They're not victims of some DNA trap, it's a part of who they are, and it should be celebrated as thus. 

I actually don't think there's much difference between being queer by choice or being queer because it can't be helped  - the need to express oneself is there in both scenario, and the need to be accepted for who one is. 

Aug. 2nd, 2010

Karen Kasumi

silent_bunny

Liking women the way men do

I should be careful and state that I don't think all men like women the  same way, and certainly not all queer women like women the same way. 

But I am wary of the fact that when guys find out I'm attracted to women, they think I'm into their way of liking women.  For example, they'll ask me to watch a movie about a blond woman who gets rescued by a blond man in the end which is supposed to appeal to my women-attraction side because she's blond and she's hot and she's scantily clad. 

Or think I'm into porn because there are boobs exposed (not that there's anything wrong with porn, I'm just not into it, even if I'm into breasts.) 

Or think I want to watch women get rough and possessive with each other. 

They get really excited that I like women, like it's some hot, rough, dirty little thing, when the truth of it is, my f/f preference is actually quite boring.  I want romance with my f/f, and I like the idea of cuddling and laughing and being with her as partners in everything in life. 

Not to say I don't see a woman and wish I could flip her skirt and bury my face between her legs --

trust me, I do.  Oh god, do I ever. 

But there's also that desire (probably even more so than the Hot!Lesbian!Sex!) for romance, to just hold and be held, to see her as a person and vice versa and for us to simply to be boring and kind and good to each other. 

Jun. 14th, 2010

Adler Shush

silent_bunny

Definition and arguments against priviledge

I've started reading up on cisgender priviledge, mostly to learn how to check my own at the door when reading/listening to what transexual people have to say.  Some of the arguments against cisgender priviledge surprised me.  "Cis women are raped too" or "I'm a cis women and I'm poor and can't afford a car."  It makes me want to shake them and tell them that priviledge doesn't mean cis people automatically have a wonderful and better life or that horrible things only happen to transgender people and not to cisgender people. x

I think it means that society is less likely to dismiss who you are and what you feel in the inside based on what they see on the outside.  Or something like that.  Partly. 

What does priviledge mean to you?  In both terms of being queer and/or trans?  Do you believe there is heterosexual priviledge?  (I'm reminded of this this thread  by danneeness about how straight people can call their significant other "boyfriend" and "girlfriend" and be understood what it means, but with lesbians, it's never that clear.)  How do you define it?  Has any heterosexual you know argued against having that priviledge? 

Apr. 23rd, 2010


freelark

Venting about heterosexism among (supposed) allies

I'm not a member of any queer rage communities, so I hope no one minds if I vent here.

RageCollapse )

Jul. 13th, 2008

I did this!

silent_bunny

What f/f-related youtubes do you enjoy?



I've actually never even seen Hex, but one of my friend who's a huge fan showed me this video and I've seen it, oh, maybe 20 times already? :D I think I'm going to have to watch the show.

There was another one featuring two Chinese women kissing which I'm sure was done more for the male population than anyone else, but was still hot. Sadly, I can't find it.

I know these clips aren't about lesbianism, but they feature two queer women who I love, so here's Ellen DeGeneres talking about her absent stint on Family Feud and KD Lang singing Hallejulah.

What f/f-related youtubes do you enjoy? Or if "enjoy" is the wrong word, mean a lot to you?

Apr. 16th, 2010

reading

danneeness

Lesbian sex guides

I just did a review of a lesbian sex guide at The Lesbrary (lesbian/women-loving-women book blog), and I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations for lesbian sex guides. I liked Susie Sexpert's Lesbian Sex World, even if it is a little old now. I'm especially curious if there are any that are really diverse, including trans women, various kinks, etc. Any recommendations?

Mar. 31st, 2010

Megara - heart

silent_bunny

Hey trans lesbians

you are indeed women

you deserve to march with other lesbians in dyke march

you are NOT loopholes

feminism applies to you so you're part of the struggle to be taken seriously and with respect and equality

Can I say "Happy International Transgender Day of Visibility"?

I think I will anyways :)

Mar. 20th, 2010

reading

danneeness

Lesbian invisibility

I outed myself in poetry class last week (a bit of a long story, but one of the guys said "I always get the sense from your poetry that you're sitting on the edge of a bed confessing this to some guy", and later I laughed about it with some other people from the class, "It's funny because I'm gay!", and he told the original guy, and so on and so far. Outing yourself is never finished). What was odd, though, was that one of the people I outed myself to I was sure already knew I'm a lesbian.

She's in two of my classes, and we sit beside each other and talk every class. I have mentioned "my girlfriend" numerous times, including saying that I had to "literally drag my girlfriend out of bed this morning". Just that morning I said "I live with my mom and my girlfriend" and was complaining about how my girlfriend let me sleep in. Girlfriend, girlfriend, girlfriend, and pretty strong indicators that we sleep in the same bed, yes? Well, after I outed myself to the poetry people, she said "Oh, I didn't know!" Wait... what? I was totally shocked. I had even thought I'd noticed some discomfort from her when I mentioned my girlfriend that slowly went away, which is pretty typical when outing yourself to a friend. I don't know how I could have been any more obvious except by saying "So, I'm a lesbian".

Has this happened to you? Do you find it hard to casually slip it in to conversations? I mean, gay men can say "my boyfriend" and you know exactly what they're talking about, but we have this weird convention of sometimes saying "girlfriend" when we just mean "friend". Not to mention that being really close with our "girlfriends" is expected. Even holding hands can be seen as just friendly.

I am really pretty out (as you can probably tell by now), but I am constantly surprising people when I come out. They seem to think that lesbians don't look like me (long hair, jeans and tee shirt). When I wear rainbow, I just like childish/hippie-ish (which I'm okay with, because I love rainbow and hippies). When I talk about my girlfriend, I just sound like I have a close friend. Is there any way to subtly let people know, or do I just have to keep bashing people over the head with this? (I know I don't have to come out to everyone, but I'm talking about in casual friendship situations.)

Anyway, long story short I wanted to ask if anyone else finds that lesbianism has an invisibility in North American culture, at least.

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