Random musings on whatever subject strikes my fancy, published every other day.

Category: LGBTQA* Page 3 of 11

A House of Cards, Indeed

House of Cards has been canceled after Season Six (that is already in the can).

It was already in decline. Even more than Veep, it had outrun its own story arc.  It also became… underwhelming compared to the real occupant of the White House.

But the coup de grace has certainly been made more abrupt by Kevin Spacey’s response to allegations of attempted sexual abuse of a 14-year-old boy some years ago.  Which was essentially to say, “Well, what do you expect?  After all, I’m gay.”  So his “coming out” ended up reading as an endorsement of the most vile slanders against LGBTQ people the right wing ever exploited.

I won’t miss House of Cards.  Or Kevin Spacey.

“Which Gender?”

Good luck answering that question, even for yourself.  You hear a lot of atavistic comments from people who think LGBTQ+ people somehow deserve the persecution society continues to heap upon them.  And the reason they deserve it, is that they dare to place themselves where they fit, which is not in the various boxes they were assigned to at birth: sex, orientation and gender.

Gender Identity and Expression are of course separate. How you feel and how you show yourself to the world are always at least a little different.

I do think that the social pressure to stick close to one end or the other of the gender spectra creates what I call click stops.  If you imagine a slider being used to choose your position, also imagine that there’s a relatively smooth motion through the travel… until you get to either end.  Then there’s a kind of soft landing that can create a comfort zone.  Even if you don’t truly fit there, it might just be easier to settle in and stay against the resistance of leaving.

And there is more than resistance to overcome for leaving.  The atavistic forces are ready to enact severe penalties, up to and including death, for moving away from your assigned click stop.

Pumpkin’s attempt to ban anyone who doesn’t sit quietly in one of the two ends is a tiny symptom of the overall hate and fear that most people have been told they should feel about anyone not fitting the pre-defined binary values.  We can only get this moving in the right direction by education and by modeling better attitudes.  I was glad to see this article today, just laying it out there calmly and rationally.

Let’s drop the gender stereotypes – we are all non-binary

Fear Makes Ugly

Okay, okay.  If you read this space regularly, you know that one of my guilty pleasures is, that I read some advice columns.   Well, here’s a Q&A from yesterday’s installment of Dear Prudence that really nailed an important issue:

Q. LGBTQ…BGHMNHGRESDFE?: Love your column and your advice; however, after this week’s column I had to Google the term cis-man (maybe I don’t get out enough), and when I read the definition, I thought, Seriously?! Isn’t there enough nomenclature out there that cis-people can be identified simply as a man or a woman? Am I wrong that it implies that there are more transgender people than those who are comfortable in the sex they were born into, so they need to identify specifically with cis?

Frankly, I don’t care how anyone identifies—your sexual preferences have nothing to do with whether I like you or not! In fact, I’d be just as happy not knowing, because I just don’t care. Am I wrong that it seems we are bending too far in the opposite direction to make up for persecution in the past, to the point where the majority of us will have to refer to ourselves as non-LGBTQ?

A: You clearly do care a great deal how people identify, which is why you took time out of your day to write to me about it. There is nothing inherently wrong with caring about something, but it’s never a good idea to begin an argument by being disingenuous about one’s commitment to a particular ideal or practice.

You begin by confusing two very different practices. The existence of the word cis does not, as you are perfectly aware, mean that you cannot identify someone as “simply a man or a woman.” It is not illegal to call someone a man or a woman; nor is it broadly considered to be impolite. No one is preventing you from referring to yourself as a woman or a man, if you like.

The existence of the word cisgender does not in any way imply that there are more transgender people than otherwise, no more than the word Bostonian implies that most people are from Boston. It’s simply a word one can use to describe people who are from Boston. It simply names a condition that has heretofore been thought of as a reflexive, natural state of being that did not require any sort of identification or examination. (Much in the same way that heterosexual people once resented being identified as being “heterosexual” or having an identifiable sexuality of any kind, rather than simply “normal.”)

You seem to envision a future in which the majority will “have to” refer to themselves as non-LGBTQ (namely, a future in which you seem to fear a majority may get treated as a minority). Who do you think will force you to do so? What upsets or unsettles you at the prospect of naming your own gender identity? Why does the fact that the word cisgender exists create so much fear and antipathy in you, and why have you confused this extreme resentment with a state of “not caring”? Be willing to spend some time with these questions that unsettle you, and be honest about the fact that you are unsettled—there is much to discover, and much to think about, on this subject. I wish you luck.

She was way nicer than I would have been, but then she’s a professional.  I don’t think I would want her job, so I am glad that she does it.  Her Exacto-Knife dissection of the letter-writer’s real issue was very pleasing to read.  And the real issue is indeed fear.

When I first encountered the terms “homophobia” and “transphobia”, I thought they misidentified how their subjects felt about gay and trans people.  I took those words to be referring to a dislike, to the point of prejudice.  It took more study on my part, and some focused conversations with -phobes, to realize the words are spot-on.  Homophobes and transphobes are deathly afraid.

Fearful. Ugly. I rest my case.

They have been raised in a world where MEN are MEN and WOMEN are WOMEN and any deviation from the absolute definitions of those two categories is to be brutally excised. Well, they do not wish to be brutally excised.  But early on, they made the unconscious realization that gender, sexual orientation, and many other aspects of being a messy ol’ human are not digital binaries, but analog spectra.  With that realization came the also-unconscious realization that they themselves are not 100% whatever their at-birth identification ordained they must be, without variation, forever and ever.  So they clamp down hard on what they have been ordered to be, at the expense of what they really are.

And they have seen the penalties for venturing outside the box they were ordered into at the ripe old age of 10 seconds.  And they are afraid.  Fear seldom inspires admirable behavior.  Its effects are writ large on the political face of the country today.

For extra credit: anyone have an idea what BGHMNHGRESDFE stands for?

Condragulations, Sasha Velour!

Winner of Season 9 on RuPaul’s Drag Race

During the final competitive episode (12), she said she was “more true than real.”  Given that our current power structure is all too real, yet has a decidedly adversarial relationship to truth, I think “more true than real” is something we can try now.  She also told an ew.com interview:

I believe drag is a form of activism. It centers queer people and queer ways of being beautiful, especially in a political context where beauty is narrowly defined or what’s considered important or valuable is narrowly defined, and drag always offers a different option.

Reality drools.  Truth rules.  Wear that crown well, Sasha!


Ride for Pride 8!

last year, before starting out

Congratulations to the GAGV’s Ride for Pride 8 on hitting the $50,000 fundraising goal this morning!

I can’t ride this year, but I managed to start a little fundraising before I realized that fact.  I thought it was a good theme for this year’s ride, seeing as how 8 is the first natural number cube.  There’s still time to donate $27 or $64 or… (hint, hint).


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