To act on lesbian desire is a way of reorientating one’s relation not just toward sexual others, but also to a world that has already ‘decided’ how bodies should be orientated in the first place. […] To be orientated sexually toward women as women affects other things that we do.
—  Sara Ahmed, Queer Phenomenology (102-3)
For yall who can't seem to understand

Trans men are men. Trans men experience transphobia and misogyny. When trans men are seen or read as women, they experience misogyny. When trans men are read as cis men, (in-community referred to as ‘passing’), they experience male privilege. Trans men are not always passing, and therefore do not always experience male privilege. Trans men do not have the same privilege as cis men because of transphobia, and though trans men are men, they have unique and painful experiences due to being trans that creates a different outlook and mindset from cis men. Cis men are privileged over trans men. Trans men who are persecuted for being trans men are not experiencing transmisandry, they are experiencing transphobia. Transmisandry does not exist.

Trans women are women. Trans women experience transphobia, misogyny, and transmisogyny. Trans women do not experience male privilege. When trans women are read as male, they are being misgendered, which is painful and dangerous to a person. This is not privilege. This is transphobia. Though trans women are women, they have unique and painful experiences due to being trans. Cis women are privileged over trans women. When read as cis women, trans women experience misogyny, and when known as trans women, they experience transmisogyny and misogyny.

These are the experiences of trans men and trans women excluding other defining intersecting identities such as race, ability, and socioeconomic status. Stop with the shitty discourse and excluding trans folk from your feminism. If your feminism excludes and dehumanizes trans women, it sucks. If your feminism ignores and demonizes trans men, it sucks.

[The] association between homosexuality and sameness is crucial to the pathologizing of homosexuality as a perversion that leads the body astray. This idea–that lesbians desire ‘the same (sex)’ by desiring women–needs to be contested. […] The very idea of women desiring women because of 'sameness’ relies on a fantasy that women are 'the same.’ […] Other women, whatever our differences, are other than oneself; in directing one’s desire toward another woman, one is directing one’s desire toward a body that is other than one’s body.
—  Sara Ahmed, Queer Phenomenology (96, 100)
Lesbian desires enact the ‘coming out’ story as a story of 'coming to,’ of arriving near other bodies, as a contact that makes a story and opens up other ways of facing the world. Lesbian desires move us sideways: one object might put another in reach, as we come into contact with different bodies and worlds.
—  Sara Ahmed, Queer Phenomenology (105)
When is a gay joke not a joke? When it’s metafictional commentary.

This is one of the most layered and hardest to parse moments in The Abominable Bride - which is really saying something, given that the episode’s a drug-fueled metafictional masterpiece.  To understand this scene, I think it’s important to place this particular line in context.  I’d like to draw your attention to three observations:

First: this is the first time that any Moriarty - living or mind palace - clearly sexualizes or romanticizes John and Sherlock’s relationship.  Sure, Moriarty recognizes their bond and shapes many of his attacks around it, but he tends to desexualize and denigrate it, for instance calling John Sherlock’s “pet”. Given how frequently other characters directly or indirectly call them queer, it’s noteworthy that Moriarty waits until now.

Second: there’s another first here - this is the first time that Sherlock has replied directly to an insinuation that he is queer, or that he and John are or ought to be together. Again, given how frequently other characters make these remarks, it’s noteworthy that Sherlock doesn’t respond until now.

Third observation: the number of these remarks decreases drastically in Series 3/TAB.  We get several of them an episode in Series 1 and 2. The beginning of Series 3 continues this pattern, with comments from Mrs. Hudson before Sherlock’s return and from Mary before Sherlock and John’s reconciliation, but after about halfway through TEH, it’s hard to come up with any more examples - especially ones as clear as “If you’ll be needing two” or “You jealous?” or “You and John Watson, just platonic?”

What does it mean, that the writers are tapering down?  In-universe, one can say that John’s marriage makes people less likely to assume he and Sherlock are queer.  But I think there’s a metafictional reason.

I’ve heard TJLCers use the phrase ‘gay or trash’ to summarize the view that the queer content in BBC Sherlock’s first ten episodes is queerbaiting if the show never becomes explicitly gay.  Nowhere is this sentiment more applicable than when it comes to the gay jokes.  I call them ‘jokes’ because Gatiss does: “The idea of them possibly being a couple is inspired by the joke in the Billy Wilder film The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, our favorite version. And we thought that was a good idea to run with that.“

Yet it’s not really a joke in TPLoSH - it’s a plot point, sure, but it’s a “fantastically melancholy” one.  There’s nothing funny about TPLoSH’s Sherlock’s secret, unrequited heartbreak.  Nor are they really jokes in BBC Sherlock - they are reflections of Sherlock and John’s actual queerness and feelings for each other. They just appear as jokes to heteronormative viewers. 

But Moriarty’s comment is clearly meant to be read a joke.  It’s cliched in its phrasing, and delivered in Moriarty’s typical over-the-top manner.  And after three-ish episodes without an obvious gay joke, it stands out as one.

And what does Sherlock respond with?  He calls it ‘offensive’.

The writers have taken us on a long journey over the course of six years and ten episodes.  The queer content has become more obvious, the heteronormative reading less tenable, with each season.  These ‘gay jokes’ no longer have a place on the show, not as jokes.  To make those kinds of references again, to have someone make an assumption of queerness and to have Sherlock ignore them, or to have John say “I’m not gay”? 

That would be offensive.
How Queerness Erased Bisexuality
To me as a queer activist and young scholar in the early 1990s, the term queer seemed to capture it all — the political urgency of…
By Dawne Moon

This is an amazing essay on the erasure of bisexuality from queer academia, the ways bisexuals still closet ourselves in queer spaces, and the power of bisexual people speaking out.  

To quote:

Something didn’t quite make me feel at home in the queer theory crowd. Even brilliant queer theorists — who I knew didn’t see gender as the most important determinant of whether someone was attractive, hook-up-worthy, or relationship material—seemed to downplay their bisexuality. Queer theorists spoke of disrupting binaries such as male/female and hetero/homo, but the fact that bisexuals’ lived experience of gender disrupts both of those binaries never seemed to even enter the conversation.

The bad reading [of Gender Trouble] goes something like this: I can get up in the morning, look in my closet, and decide which gender I want to be today. I can take out a piece of clothing and change my gender: stylize it, and then that evening I can change it again and be something radically other, so that what you get is something like the commodification of gender, and the understanding of taking on a gender as a kind of consumerism … When my whole point was that the very formation of subjects, the very formation of persons, presupposes gender in a certain way—that gender is not to be chosen and that “performativity” is not radical choice and it’s not voluntarism … Performativity has to do with repetition, very often with the repetition of oppressive and painful gender norms to force them to resignify. This is not freedom, but a question of how to work the trap that one is inevitably in.
—  Judith Butler
I have never been able to understand people with consistent lives – people who, for example, grow up in a liberal Catholic household and stay that way; or who in junior high school are already laying down a record on which to run for president one day. Imagine having no discarded personalities, no vestigial selves, no visible ruptures with yourself, no gulf of self-forgetfulness, nothing that requires explanation, no alien version of yourself that requires humor and accommodation. What kind of life is that?
—  Michael Warner, “Tongues Untied” in Curiouser: On the Queerness of Children (216)
Mod Em Posts

Hey guys, Mod Em posting here again. I’ve been thinking about this for awhile but since I work in a resource center I have access to a lot of LGBT related // queer theory essays and books, I was wondering if people would be interested in maybe a weekly or bi-weekly (or monthly) posting of various essays or book excerpts regarding important or popular theories and topics. 

I understand these essays and books can be somewhat dense to read like Sedgwick for example, but I thought it might be an interesting and fun opportunity for those who may not have access to these sort of resources. If a certain topic, essay or book excerpt is difficult to digest or interpret, perhaps we could have small discussions or Q&A sessions regarding the material. 

Maybe like or comment on this if this is something you guys would be interested in?? (: 

-Mod Em

Performing one’s gender wrong initiates a set of punishments both obvious and indirect, and performing it well provides the reassurance that there is an essentialism of gender identity after all. That this reassurance is so easily displaced by anxiety, that culture so readily punishes or marginalizes those who fail to perform the illusion of gender essentialism should be sign enough that on some level there is social knowledge that the truth or falsity of gender is only socially compelled and in no sense ontologically necessitated.
—  Judith Butler, “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution” (528)
Judith Butler and Gender Performativity (a guide for beginners)
Part 1: Gender Performance and the Development of a Sense of Self A central concept of Judith Butler’s theory of gender performativity is that gender does not exist naturally. Rather, a person's gender is constructed through their own repetitive performance of that gender. In other words, "gende...

I really like Judith Butler’s ideas, and I think a lot of other people might find them interesting as well. Unfortunately, Judith Butler’s writing is not always easy to understand, especially if you don’t have much experience reading theory. 

So I made an outline of the major ideas she outlined in Gender Trouble, except paraphrased in a way that I hope is easier to understand. All of the info is in this Google doc, which should be open to the public. Let me know if I should change anything to make this outline more helpful! 


{Friday 25/11/2016} 

Reading up on Gender Studies for Communication and Culture. Started Feminism, Gender Studies and Queer Theory not last week but the week before. 

No college today. 

It is the presumption that the child must inherit the life of the parent that requires the child to follow the heterosexual line. […] [H]eterosexuality can function as the most intimate and deadly of parental gifts. […] Heterosexuality becomes a social as well as familial inheritance through the endless requirement that the child repay the debt of life with its life. The child who refuses the gift thus becomes seen as a bad debt, as being ungrateful, as the origin of bad feeling.
—  Sara Ahmed, Queer Phenomenology (85-6)
If the concept of vulnerability always operates within a tactical  field, how do theoretical affirmations of vulnerability enter into that  field? Can such affirmations ever avert the risk of being appropriated by paternalism? At stake is whether this dialectical inversion—which can, at one time, assert the hypervulnerability of those in dominant positions of power and, at another, rely on the presumptive invulnerability of those with power—can be refuted. Further, can that refutation give way to a notion of bodily vulnerability linked with practices of resistance in the service of social and political justice?
—  Judith Butler, “Rethinking Vulnerability and Resistance.”