I don’t really think that a welcome is enough, to be frank.
Feminism has a long long long history of cissexism and transphobia. Cissupremacy was at one point central to feminism. Second-wave feminists like Mary Daly, Andrea Dworkin, and yes, even Gloria Stienem (though she’s gotten better I believe) actively worked to exclude trans women from woman-only spaces - which meant life or death when you’re talking about rape crisis and domestic violence survivor shelters. Trans women, who face a MUCH higher rate of gendered violence than cis women.
This legacy has created a cis-centric feminism in which trans women are dehumanized and excluded to this very day and in which cis women like me participate. Trans women still face extremely high rates of violence, and like all marginalized women their safety is still not considered a priority the way, say, abortion is.
We should not expect trans women to just join us because we waved and asked nicely, to trust a group that has contributed to violence against them, because we finally acknowledged that they are women. We’ve got to do more than just welcome women in, than deign to finally do something we should have been doing all along (I don’t think this is totally SHIC’s point of view, btw - she may share these views, it just got me thinking).
Cis feminists need to do more than just welcome. We need to repair feminism: to centralize trans women on a consistent basis, to take their violence and degradation as seriously as we do our own.
You deserve so much more than to just be tolerated. You deserve to be loved for exactly who and what you are right now. This is, of course, a double-edged sword. This also means you must return the favour. Learn about racism and sexism and ableism, too. You unfortunately are probably already well aware of how much homophobia can hurt, inside and out. Learning more about how different kinds of oppression work and where they intersect will help you build better bridges with others and create a safe and respectful school culture for everyone. Bullies are almost always outnumbered by the bullied. We just need to organize.
One night, my husband and I were at my best friend’s apartment. After a few cosmopolitans and a game of truth or dare, we all ended up in bed together. The sex was so sensational that we started meeting for weekends trysts. One afternoon, i caught myself in a garden collecting wild butterflies for her. What the fuck? I realized i had fallen in love with my best friend. As it turned out: my husband had too. Suddenly it was a lot to juggle. He and I were still in love with each other. I loved them both, they loved each other, and they both loved me. The scenario was exhilarating and terrifying all at once. I tried to reconcile the picket-fence relationship I’d been living with this fucked up new three-sided mutation. When faced with the question of whether to follow this attraction into uncharted territory or to lock away the messy feelings for our next lives, I didn’t know which way to go.
But, I discovered that loving and being loved by more than one person can be spectacular. Some of us have enough love to give two people… and, why not? There are so many cool people in the world and if you’re lucky enough to meet more than one of them, is it really necessary to slam the door? One lover might spark your imagination, another might fire up your intellectual curiosity. There’s so much to gain by experiencing deep connections with more than one person.
People in successful long-term triad relationships say once they’ve conquered jealousy and possessiveness, they ooze with happiness at the sight of their partner receiving love from another person. This overwhelming feeling is hard to explain to someone who’s never experienced it. But it’s true. Personally, I’ve felt inexplicably happy seeing my husband treated affectionately and adoringly by another. The love spills over and I get some, too.
The American Psychological Association is calling on state and federal officials to stop anti-gay legal measures and to legalize same-sex marriage.
The scientific and professional organization’s guiding body voted unanimously at its annual meeting this week in Washington to declare its support for “full marriage equality for same-sex couples.”
The resolution “clarifies the Association’s support for same-sex marriage” in light of new research, the group said. A similar resolution in 2004 opposed discrimination against same-sex relationships, but refrained from a more formal policy recommendation.
Dr. Clinton Anderson, APA associate executive director, said that the timing of the resolution is an indirect result of several states’ legalization of marriage.
“We knew that marriage benefits heterosexual people in very significant ways, but we didn’t know if that would be true for same-sex couples,” said Anderson, who is also director of the APA’s Office on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns.
Now that six U.S. states permit same-sex marriage, researchers have been able to conduct studies with those couples.
The research, Anderson said, indicates that marriage “does confer the same sense of security, support, and validation” to same-sex couples as to heterosexual ones.
The resolution also points to evidence that ongoing political debate about marriage creates stress for gay men and lesbians and perpetuates stigmas and prejudice about their communities. This stress can make people physically and psychologically sick, the APA says, calling the link between stress and illness “well established.”
Maggie Gallagher, chairman of the board of the National Organization for Marriage, takes issue with the assertion that legalizing same-sex marriage would improve community acceptance of homosexuality.
“There is no evidence that gay teens are better off in Massachusetts, a state that has gay marriage, than they are in Wisconsin, a state which has passed a marriage amendment defining marriage as one man and one woman,” she said in an e-mail response to CNN.
Gallagher continued, “The release of this statement is unfortunately going to undermine confidence in APA statements generally, I would predict.”
Both the National Organization for Marriage and the APA are skeptical of one solution to the gay-marriage debate: civil unions. Rhode Island NOM executive director Chris Plante is quoted in a press release on the NOM website calling the move “nothing more than a Trojan Horse that will usher in same-sex marriage sooner rather than later.” Elsewhere on its website, NOM calls for dealing with legal and economic benefits separately from any discussion of marriage or unions.
The APA also feels that civil unions miss the mark.
“Anything other than marriage is, in essence, a stigmatization of same-sex couples. Stigma does have negative impacts on people,” Anderson said.
“That’s the analysis that we’ve come to and why we’ve decided to support full marriage equality — because domestic partnership or civil union will still convey the message that same-sex couples are not as good.”
See, I know you, Eve. You are the woman who wishes the leather daddies and the assless-chapped bull daggers and their nipple rings would stay home for the next Pride parade, so as not to embarrass you.
You are the person who won’t sleep with femmes because they aren’t really lesbian enough for you.
You are the lesbian who believes that trans women don’t belong in your spaces and that trans men have somehow betrayed your sisterhood simply by becoming themselves and regardless of what they have contributed or still contribute to “your community.”
You insist on drawing these lines around us all, Eve, and then policing them. And still somehow, according to your logic, I am the one who divides us? Interesting math, I have to say. Let us peel back the skin on your words and read the real flesh beneath them. When you say I am separating myself from “normal lesbians” by calling myself a butch, are you not the one excluding me from your club?
Treating LGBTQ people as equal isn’t - or shouldn’t be - praiseworthy. It should be normal and expected. It should be base behaviour. Treating us as equal should be as expected and normal as not slapping people in the face. It shouldn’t be praised when it happens, because it isn’t - shouldn’t - be special or above and beyond normal, decent behaviour. If Fred announces that he’s not going to slap you in the face today, we don’t thank him for it. We give him a look and tell him he’d better not! Someone saying a few nice things or refraining from treating me like shit - or refraining from treating other GBLTQ people like shit - really don’t deserve lashings of praise and happy snuggles from me, methinks. It’s why I also tend not to be especially impressed by “I used to have a real problem with GBLTQ people but then…” It just doesn’t really impress me a whole lot, it’s like someone saying “hey, I used to punt kittens, but have totally stopped now…” And I think it applies across marginalisations. You aren’t owed cookies because you manage not to be a misogynist. Why should there be praise and fuss because you’re not a racist? Should the disabled person say thank you because you’re not an ableist fool? Why should any of them be grateful for what should be a basic expectation of human decency? Why is basic decency seen to be such an IMPOSITION on a privileged person? Ultimately, I’m not grateful for being treated as a full human being. Because it shouldn’t be in doubt - it should be a basic expectation.
Oh it was very true. If you want a good history of what it was like in those days for HIV/AIDS read And The Band Played On by Randy Shilts. (There’s a movie too, if you want a faster overview, but I prefer the book.) The US didn’t talk about HIV/AIDS outside of the gay community until it started impacting people who weren’t gay — and even then they cared more about preventing infection in straight people than saving the gay people who were already infected. Hell, that happens today. Just look at all the rush for a vaccine rather than a cure or better treatment.
As for women, there has always been a rather large split between gay men and lesbians in the US community. Stonewall, for all it’s talked about as something that happened to the gay community, was in reality a flame queen bar that happened t have a handful of drag queens and lesbians there that night. (The men being arrested for ‘cross dressing’ in reality simply weren’t wearing the number of ‘male’ items required by law. Which could mean anything from wearing women’s jeans to full on drag.) At the time HIV hit lesbians (particularly butch lesbians) had only recently been accepted into the women’s rights movement and were enjoying the extra freedoms that afforded them. There were a number who ran support services and helped with medical care that no one else would give, but the experience of most people I’ve talked to from that time was that it was a situation where the gay men were forced to fend for themselves while they died off. Honestly, I wouldn’t be too surprised if the same thing were to happen today. Not many gay men have lesbian friends or vice versa. We largely keep to our own areas.
I’ll check that out.
God I hope the feminism movement catches up with itself. So much of the new stuff, mostly online, is so much better, but it hasn’t gone mainstream. Germaine Greer needs to die in the metaphorical fire and take her transphobia with her (among other things).
Part of the divide between gay men and women makes sense, because you would expect the social scenes to be different if people are trying to meet romantic/sexual partners at social events. However, even though the dominant culture treats them differently (gay women are titillating rather than threatening etc) you’d think there’d be more unity in terms of political activism.
But speaking just from my own very limited experience, I don’t see the same divide in my social group. But then university can be a fairly contained environment.
wholesomeobsessive replied to your post: wholesomeobsessive replied to your post:…There has been progress in the last century, but it’s not nearly fast enough. I’ll see what I can do to speed it up… So is the logic something like ‘we don’t care if you have sex with the same gender, as long as you stick to gender norms’?
In the US. It’s a bit different other places. For instance, I never get nearly the same level of crap in Paris or London as I do even in places like NYC in the US. Americans have this ridiculous hang up about gay men though. Part of it is our generally more macho culture that normalises and rewards men for things like lacking basic manners and being emotionless drones, but a very large part is the religiosity of the country. Most of the US is somewhat to extremely conservative Christian and that bleeds into everything else.
It doesn’t help that after HIV hit in the 80s the style of activism changed. After Stonewall the leaders of the mainstream gay rights (because at that point in time it really was only gay) movement were out, proud, very sexually liberated gay men. They were the guys who formed Pride and bathhouses and the Castro district and The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Drag queens, hippies, artists, all very bohemian. Problem is, they were all also having a lot of unprotected sex with a lot of different people and often experimenting with various drugs. (There’s a reason the CDC originally thought HIV was caused by a combination of poppers and Crisco.) When HIV hit a good 90% of them died and the leadership turned over to the heteronormative gay men and lesbians. It meant that my entire generation was raised with the idea that it’s fine if you’re gay, just don’t flaunt it.
I like to think we’re hitting a point where we can move past that, particularly when I look at the people just a little bit younger than me who want to go into activism. Kurt is far better than any character I’ve seen on TV in the last couple of decades and he’s already changing things. The trick is to balance the people like me who want and need specifically queer areas with people who are more comfortable with heteronormativity. More often than not we end up shouting at each other rather than working together. There’s quite a bit of hatred and resentment on both sides that needs to be remedied if we’re ever going to be able to move forward.
Wouldn’t it be great if we got to the point where you can conform to the old social norms or not regardless of your identity and it’s not a big deal anymore? Where your sexual orientation and gender identity have no effect on your politics.
From what little I’ve seen of the British queer culture this doesn’t seem to be quite as big a thing, but I’m not in a position to make an informed guess as to the extent of certain attitudes.
I didn’t know much about the history of HIV until recently, where even that Grey’s Anatomy flashback episode shocked me with the way that man reacted to the questioning of his orientation, the lack of knowledge about what it was and how to treat. Is what the Chief said true about it being ignored and not being investigated because it was seen as a gay problem?
Where were gay women in this? I can’t tell if they weren’t politically active or if it was just a case of women getting ignored.
I was saying to Allioette this evening that there seems to be a tendency about minority groups to fight amongst each other and attempting to join the dominant culture rather than recognising the dominant culture as prescriptive and problematic.
“no fats or femmes”? I don’t thing I’ve heard that before.
It’s actually pretty pervasive at least within the larger USian communities, or it used to be. In its entirety, it’s actually “no fats, femmes, or Asians.”
Racist and fucked up and awful and I fucking hate it. It’s usually coupled with ads (personals, etc.) advertising how “Str8 acting” you are, and what a butch guy you are, and gee, my cock is SOOOOO big, and look at how fucking fit I am. No fats, femmes, or Asians.
It’s really, really fucked up, and I hate it. It is also very accepted within the community (or it used to be, I have trouble keeping up on these things in my beautiful bubble of femme and femme-accepting people) - fat hate, racism, sissyphobia/femmephobia. Just ugh. UGH.
Just because people lack on type of privilege doesn’t mean that they won’t be bigoted in other ways. That expression is so yuck. I get that some people have ‘types’ or whatever, but for it to be such a widespread and common thing? Definitely something to work on.