A thing that bothers me.

You ever have a stranger meet your pet? With many animals, their sex isn’t obvious, so unless you give them a hint, or the stranger goes out of their way to look up your pet’s behind, they have about a 50% shot of getting it right when making casual conversation.

Which means that, when hanging out and strangers meet an animal I’m chillin’ with, the animal is frequently misgendered.

Now, this is no biggie! I kinda doubt the animal cares, and it doesn’t hurt me any. Pets’ genders are really more just a human construct that we project onto them.

But see, the people get so embarrassed if I bother to correct them. They may blush or get flustered, and they apologize sincerely. They then use the animal’s correct pronouns without fail, and immediately fix the way they construct that animal’s gender.

However, when I’m chillin’ with a friend of mine who is genderqueer or trans and non-passing, if people interacting with said friend get corrected about their pronouns, they don’t have the same reaction at ALL. They often continue to misgender the person, no matter how many times they’re corrected, and if confronted about this will whine that it’s just too hard to remember.

What it comes down to is that people have more respect for the gender and dignity of a goddamn golden retriever than for a human being.

How do we talk about queer characters in richer, less dismissive ways? I’m not sure. It’s hard. Which is why the conversation that Talley started is so important.

One approach might be to include identity cues while also talking about what characters do in the story. This manages to not erase or minimize or dismiss queerness while also making for a better description. Not “an astronaut who happens to be gay” but “a gay astronaut who goes to Mars.” Not “a teenager who happens to be a lesbian” but “a lesbian teenager who runs for student council president.” Not “a woman who happens to be trans” but “a transwoman who falls in love with a cowboy.” Aren’t those fuller, richer, more interesting alternatives?
The trouble with explaining what queerness is (to your parents, to straight cis people, to your friends, to yourself) is that as soon as you define queerness as this or that, you have lost it. Once you pin queerness down and establish boundaries of what queer is and what it means, whatever that is isn’t queer anymore. It’s a solidified identity, which is precisely what queer isn’t. And so you have to go in search of the queer again. Every time you try to pin it down, it escapes you: that is queerness’ power. I won’t go so far as to say queerness is the search for the queer, but it is perpetually in motion. This makes people uncomfortable. Being queer can feel a bit like sea-sickness sometimes. Some people may even doubt the existence of the queer, given this notion of queer as horizon (as outlined by Jose Munoz). However, I would argue that unlike saying “Queer is…” saying “I am queer” does not limit queerness in a way that eliminates it. Instead, it enacts the notion of queer as horizon: it opens queer up to the infinite possibilities of your future. It understands your present as one of the possibilities of your past future. To say “I am queer” is not to say that queer is only what you are, but that you are an iteration which can and will expand queerness. You are a queerness which has never heretofore occurred, and all your potential is the realm of queer horizon of being. So the academic understanding of queerness does not destroy queer in lived experience. Queer continues to exist in the potentiality of queer-identified bodies. That is what, or where, queer is.
—  Haley Weaver, Enacting a Queer Ethic of Writing: Sometimes Y

anonymous asked:

Are there any comics where Nightcrawler struggles with his religion not lining up with his personal beliefs? I'm asking because I know someone who insists Kurt must be a homophobe because a devout Catholic wouldn't disagree with the church's teachings. I'm not Catholic, but I went to a Catholic school for 8 years, and I know she's wrong. Also, Kurt is one of my favorite characters, I'm queer, and she keeps telling me that it's unethical to like him. Are there any comics that will shut her up?

Dear Anonymous,

Miles and I addressed the textual evidence—which lands firmly on your side, by the way—in Episode 34, but I’d also like to take a moment to talk to your friend directly:

Dear Anonymous’s Friend,

You seem like someone who works hard to consider the cultural context and ethical implications of the media you consume. That’s really cool, and it’s something I try very hard to both practice—as a podcaster, as a critic, and as a consumer—and to encourage in our audience.

Here’s the thing, though, AF—this is not black-and-white, it never has been, and it never will be. It’s not a rigid objective rubric. It’s a deeply personal judgment call. And when you attack your friend because they like a fictional character you find personally problematic, you are being an asshole.

AF, it is absolutely okay for your friend to find enjoyment, value, and points of personal identification in things that don’t perfectly mesh with their identity or personal beliefs. To tell anyone that they’re not allowed to have those things because fictional entities in which they find meaning don’t measure up on a rigid real-world rubric is—as far as I’m concerned—incredibly uncool.

I also want to address another point that your concerns about Nightcrawler bring up—about members of marginalized groups searching for points of identification in mass media. I don’t know anything about you, but your friend mentioned that they’re queer, and I know from experience that when you’re reading from a position anywhere on the margins—say, as a sexual minority—one of the first skills you learn is to identify with fictional characters who aren’t like you and sometimes even profoundly conflict with your personal identity and values. You learn to do this because when you are coming from that position, if you strike from the list every character who doesn’t precisely reflect your values and identity, you are denying yourself the overwhelming majority of the options available.

And having those footholds, those points of affection and identification and fandom—that matters. It matters so much. Cyclops and I don’t have a ton in common superficially—in canon, he’s portrayed as a straight male-presenting person who grew up in an orphanage and shoots force beams out of his eyes; and I’m a queer female-presenting person who grew up with two (very cool) parents and no superpowers whatsoever. Cyclops is also often a total jerk a lot of the time; and especially in the Silver Age, he says and does some completely fucked up shit, including some things that are unambiguously sexist or racist.

But you know what? He’s still my favorite character, because there are things really fundamental to who I am and how I experience the world that I find reflected in Cyclops and almost nowhere else in fiction. Because having him available to me as a metaphor helps me parse shit that I otherwise do not have the tools to handle. Because I am never, ever going to find a paper mirror that reflects all of the complicated, faceted aspects of my identity and experiences—and guess what? no human being is—so I find and cobble together points of identification where I can.

Ultimately, though, that’s secondary to my main point. You do not get to decide what other people are allowed to like. Independent of action, liking things—or disliking them—is not itself an ethically charged act. What you are doing here does not serve a greater good. It does not speak to ethical consumption of fiction, or ethical anything. It’s just petty and cruel.

Look, AF, it’s okay if Nightcrawler’s Catholicism is a deal-breaker for you, personally. That is just fine. You are absolutely not obliged to like everything your friend likes, and you shouldn’t have to answer to their preferences or personal rubrics for the fiction they consume any more than they should have to answer to yours. But part of being a friend is recognizing that you are not the same person. Of the fictional characters and real people in this scenario, there’s only one trying to impose rigid dogma aggressively enough to do harm—and it’s not Nightcrawler.

(Also, your understanding of both Nightcrawler’s historical portrayal in X-Men and the relationship between Catholic dogma and the politics and personal views of individual Catholics is just spectacularly off-base.)

Sincerely,
Rachel

Dean Pelton goes through something we’ve all gone through - the sudden, panicked, defeated realization that we’re a joke, that all our life is spent in futility, that we’re wrong about everything, that we’re alone and nobody cares. And I find it noteworthy that it really registers as “ironic television” to have him bound in at the end with a big smile on his face having discovered that life isn’t so bad and that his weirdness was a gift to other people. It’s evidence of how messed up we’ve become as a society, the fact that in this day and age, the “unexpected joke” can be happiness. The good news is, being messed up doesn’t mean the story’s over. It means the story’s just starting, and in the end, we all find out we’re NOT ALONE, or maybe that we’re ALL ALONE and therefore united in our loneliness. I really appreciate you posting this, as you can imagine, Dean Pelton is understandably perceived by some to be a queer stereotype, like, ha ha, laugh at the gay guy, and I’m always finding myself clarifying, he’s not gay, he’s not straight, he’s an ocean-deep, planetwide labyrinth of kinks and turns. He represents the part of all of us that doesn’t get turned on by Budweiser ads, and sometimes feels a little lost because of it, but that heroically, CHARGES ON in the discovery of himself.
—  Dan Harmon, on Dean Pelton, in reponse to a fantastic viewer message on Reddit.
We may never touch queerness, but we can feel it as the warm illumination of a horizon imbued with potentiality…an ideality that can be distilled from the past and used to imagine a future. The future is queerness’ domain. Queerness is a structuring and educated mode of desiring that allows us to see the future beyond the quagmire of the present. The here and now is a prison house. We must strive, in the face of the here and now’s totalizing rendering of reality, to think and feel a then and there. Some will say that all we have are the pleasures of the moment, but we must never settle for that minimal transport; we must dream and enact new and better pleasures, other ways of being in the world, and ultimately new worlds … Queerness is essentially about the rejection of a here and now and an insistence on potentiality or concrete possibility for another world.
—  In memory of José Esteban Muñoz, from his book, Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity
The whole moment was just a great embodiment of the gay experience: a straight dude shouting about how two dudes together is gross and propositioning a lesbian at the same time.
— 

The Advocate: What not to yell at a lesbian comic

This whole thing is great commentary, not just for what it inadvertently says about the state of white male privilege in comedy, but for what it says about the general attitude towards female sexuality that’s expressed through the co-opting of porn and explicit sexual fantasy involving two men.

It seems like so many straight men cannot cope, to any degree, with the idea of a) het porn existing that’s not somehow about them, b) lesbian porn existing that’s not being made *for* them, c) gay porn existing and women finding it hot, because that’s on the total opposite side of the spectrum from “porn that’s about straight men;” and most importantly, d) sexual fantasies that they can’t somehow control or be agents of.

No wonder so many male writers and pop culture critics go out of their way to denigrate and deride slash fiction and romance written by women. Because even when it’s about them, it’s not really ABOUT them, and that seems to drive them up the wall–when they can comprehend it at all.

(H/T acafanmom)

‘Advances’ such as gay marriage and the increasing media visibility of well-heeled gays and lesbians threaten to obscure the continuing denigration and dismissal of queer existence. One may enter the mainstream on the condition that one breaks ties with all those who cannot make it—the nonwhite and the nonmonogamous, the poor and the genderdeviant, the fat, the disabled, the unemployed, the infected, and a host of unmentionable others. Social negativity clings not only to these figures but also to those who lived before the common era of gay liberation—the abject multitude against whose experience we define our own liberation. Given the new opportunities available to some gays and lesbians, the temptation to forget—to forget the outrages and humiliations of gay and lesbian history and to ignore the ongoing suffering of those not borne up by the rising tide of gay normalization—is stronger than ever.
—  Heather Love, Feeling Backward: Loss and the Politics of Queer History
So I went into Barnes and Noble today

I have a 10 dollar gift card, and a burning desire to pick up some queer theory or queer lit books. Normally bookstores will have a little section set aside for “gay and lesbian” books (thanks for the monosexism, but hey, I’m pretty used to it.)

So I set out trying to find it. I check through fiction (Come on LGBT+ fiction section!) only to find nothing. Surely, some of these books HAVE LGBT character in them, but without any labels, it’s impossible to tell. I check through the romance selection. About 3 whole ROWS of tall shelves of romance, but none marked LGBT.

Then non-fiction. Past cooking, science, sociology, psychology, history, sexuality (And entire book case, top to bottom) and relationships (another case, top to bottom.) Nothing. 

I was getting frustrated. Like, really frustrated. I checked the electronic catalogue. It claims there is a “Gay and Lesbian” section near the Women’s Studies. So I go hunting again.

I find the Women’s Studies section (Little less than a whole book case. About half the size of the “relationship” section.) But where is the Gay and Lesbian area? I look around.

Look down. 

The bottom two little shelves. All of the Gay and Lesbian fiction AND non-fiction on two tiny little shelves, right at the bottom on the floor. LGBT History, LGBT relationship, LGBT legal issues, LGBT romance stories all crammed onto two little shelves. 

And I sat there, looking though the maybe two or three dozen books and remembered the HUNDREDS of books in the “sexuality” section, the HUNDREDS of books in the “romance” section, the HUNDREDS of books in the “romance” section.

I got a great sounding book for my troubles, but it’s hard not to feel somewhat bitter when I think about how little we get compared to how much everyone else does. 

The reason why polyamorous folk aren’t inherently queer is because being queer isn’t about what relationship structure you enact. Its not about what sex you have or how many people you have it with. It’s about attraction and desire to people of genders and with bodies that aren’t normative.

Polyamorous folk aren’t sent to camps to pray the poly away. Straight poly folk are judged for hanging what society considers multiple relationships, while queer folk are judged even when they aren’t in a single one.

To engage in polyamory is a lifestyle choice, but to be queer is much more of an existential identity marker. To be straight and polyamorous and call yourself queer is to devalue and misconstrue the weight of what people mean when they say they’re queer.

spiesecadet asked:

Theory: Elsa's relationship with her powers = metaphor for the queer experience. Your thoughts?

The cool thing about Elsa’s powers is that they can be seen as a metaphor for almost any painful secret one can be is shunned by society for, whether it’s being queer or having mental illness. She canonically suffers from depression, anxiety, and panic attacks.  That’s a big reason she’s so popular, especially with people who can relate to that kind of stress.

It reminds me a lot of Vanellope in Wreck-It-Ralph (made by the same creators) and how she referred to her “glitchyness” as “pixelexia” as if it was a mental disability. She was never vilified for it being a “glitch”, but was an underdog in a struggle against her ableist society.  Her every aspiration was stomped on and undermined by bullies who insisted they outcasting and excluding her “for her own safety.” (Or just because they enjoyed picking on her and hated having someone “different” in their group.)

I can definitely see parallels to Elsa, with her being locked away by her parents for being different in a way she can’t control.  I’m sure the directors knew some people would interpret Elsa as being queer, or at least her powers as metaphor for queerness.  

I love characters like her (and Vanellope) because they represent real struggles, but they are well-rounded enough that the traits that make them “different” aren’t their sole defining trait.  Elsa is loving, kind person who wants nothing more than to have normal human contact, but always acts to protect others, even if that means sacrificing her ties to them.  Vanellope is daring, optimistic, and ambitious, even in the face of overwhelming hate directed at her.  

And the best part is that they’re not villains, they’re relatable protagonists who have to face challenges and overcome them, even if that means changing the ignorant/bigoted minds of everyone in their world to accept them and love them as they are. (Or in Elsa’s case, learning to love herself when her sister shows her the love she’s never had.)

Sorry, I just have a lot of feels about this.

kind of starting to wonder if maybe my sexuality isn’t really bi/pansexual and is in fact more like ‘highs in the upper Kinseys with scattered robert downey and a chance of tom hardy’