queerness

anonymous asked:

Random question ask: gay, straight or in between. What's your sexuality?

Oooh, good question anon. 

I’m usually pretty hesitant to talk about my sexuality in any kind of public venue because it is such an individual thing, and for me it is deeply private. But for whatever reason, I feel like answering this tonight. 

The term I feel most comfortable using to describe my sexuality is queer, because for me, what it comes down to is that I am attracted to people. Full stop. Gender expression and sexuality to me are so endlessly complex, and people experience them in such different ways, and express themselves in such different ways, that for me, there is no real term I feel comfortable using that would ever cover all the different permutations of gender and sexuality that exist, and that I have been attracted to.  In my experience I have been attracted to all different types of people with all different types of biological sex, gender expression, etc. There is no sexual/gendered “type” that could ever possibly describe all the people I have been attracted to/will be attracted to in the future. 

(There’s also of course the issue of the complexity of what it means to be “attracted” to someone. This can mean so many different things in so many different ways. What do we really mean when we say we are attracted to someone? Do we mean only romantically? Sexually? As a friend with intense intimacy? How do we demarcate the line between those categories? Is there a difference between romantic and sexual love? Between romantic love and love between friends? To me, this is also an endlessly complex question.)

Like I said, I’m hesitant to talk about this in a public space because I know everyone has their own intensely personal experience when it comes to attraction, sexuality and gender and I would never want to speak for anyone but myself, but for me, even a term like “bisexuality” isn’t enough because I don’t think there are only two genders. I think it’s far, far more complex than that. And to be perfectly honest (and this perhaps is somewhat controversial so I’m hesitant to even voice it here…), the idea of being attracted to a specific set of genitals is completely foreign to me. Bodies are extensions of people- and they’re all so unique and different anyway, the idea of only being attracted to one type of sexual organ, or one part of a person’s body for me is… completely bizarre. I’m not saying this to cast aspersions on people who do have that experience, I’m just saying for me, it’s difficult to even understand what that would be like. 

I really hope I did not unintentionally offend or hurt someone in anyway by voicing this opinion. To me, the internet is not the ideal place to have these types of conversations because they are so sensitive and intense and personal and misunderstandings happen so easily in this space (which is why I am hesitant to post about anything potentially controversial ever), so… let’s just say I really hope I don’t regret posting this! If I delete it, you’ll know why.  

I told my mom I was “born this way” to assure her that she hadn’t made mistakes in the way she mothered me, and to assure myself that I wasn’t a mistake, too. But three years later, I had to question why I needed to be a born a certain way. What if my mother did have a hand in crafting my queerness? Why did she believe that contributing to my magical queer self was an evil rather than a good? Why do I need to claim that my queerness is unchanging and natural to be safe from people who will do anything to control me, to ensure that I can’t dream up new selves and determine who I will be? Because I did change. At 17, I told myself and others that I was a gay man. At 20, I don’t identify as gay, and I don’t identify as a man.
Kingsman vs Heteronormativity

Warning: all the spoilers for Kingsman.

For a week or so now, I’ve been wanting to talk about Kingsman: The Secret Service, which I was finally able to watch, and which I genuinely loved. Not only is it an engaging, well-acted, well-scripted action movie that is funny, touching and littered with pop cultural hat-tips, but it manages the difficult trick of being both an homage to and a biting debunk of the James Bond franchise. Specifically: Kingsman takes all of Bond’s hallowed trappings – the spy gadgets, the sharp suits, the suave badassery – and explicitly removes both the misogyny and the classism that traditionally underpins them. Being a Kingsman, or gentleman spy, as explained by veteran Harry Hart to protégé  Eggsy Unwin, isn’t about having the right accent or upbringing, but “being comfortable in your own skin” – the exact opposite of Bond’s womanising, macho façade and aristocratic heritage.

Keep reading

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?
autostraddle.com
To Be Queer, Black, and "Sick"
My family used to joke that only white people need therapy. Meanwhile, white academics told me that African-Americans merely fabricated ungrounded stigma around psychiatric help. No one ever tells ...

She said, “I’m not a fucking statistic,” but I could only see her through percentage signs and medical dictionary definitions. The first woman I ever loved told me that when you’re queer and Black, illness is a shadow that always follows you, but that no one ever acknowledges. I walked away because I didn’t know how to see it.

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

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
Then I came out as bisexual. I was aware of homophobia and transphobia but biphobia was never something I’d noticed. But how I’ve noticed it now! You forget that queer people can be as just as dismissive and phobic as straight cis people can be to queer people. Perhaps that’s something I can get used to, but being asked by a straight, white, cis boy if I’d be up for a threesome purely because of my sexuality, will always be annoying.
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)

To live is to fail, to bungle, to disappoint, and ultimately to die; rather than searching for ways around death and disappointment, the queer art of failure involves the acceptance of the finite, the embrace of the absurd, the silly, and the hopelessly goofy. Rather than resisting endings and limits, let us instead revel in and cleave to all of our own inevitable fantastic failures.
—  J. Jack Halberstam, The Queer Art of Failure
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This is everything. 

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. 

On being fat and femme and ugly and unloveable

Falling in love is dangerous for brown boys, because under white supremacy we are not people to love. Falling in love is dangerous for brown boys because people don’t fall in love with brown boys. Falling in love is dangerous for brown boys until we can learn to love ourselves. How do I decolonize my desire so I can desire myself? How do I love myself in a world that tells me I am not someone to love, over and over again? How can I decolonize my desire so I will never again look at a skinny boy who will never see me as the goddess I am?

Being fat and brown and queer and femme means being ugly. Means feeling unloveable, being unloveable and no one disagreeing. Being fat and brown and colonized means to value, desire, prioritize a love that doesn’t want you, that will never have you, and not know how to cut yourself from the belly of the beast other than to destroy yourself from the inside out. The only way out is through, so the only reason you’re still here is because of cowardice and maybe resilience rather than commitment. And I say you because if I say me the pain and terror of these truths might break me.

The other week I was talking with my friend Ivette about fatness. “Fat according to whom?” she asked. She said her body is just like everyone else in her family’s; their indigineity forms a body foreign to white standards of height/weight/body fat distribution. Fatness is set against white bodies with no consideration for bodies of color and thus an identity irrelevant to her brown body. When fatness is posed as oppositional to beauty it becomes then, again, whiteness reified as a standard against bodies of color. At a historical moment when most fat people in the U.S. are poor and people of color, valuing and desiring thin, white bodies, loving these bodies takes on entirely new meaning. When the personal is political, these bodies are about white supremacy and class privilege.

And for queer men, the only acceptable (desirable) way to be fat is if you’re a bear. To be hairy and/or bearded (and thus masculine). But I can trace my hairless body back to my indigenous roots, so when you call out these qualifiers of acceptable fatness– beard, belly, body hair– and my brownness hovers over a single category, what you are saying is, “it’s ok to be a fat man if you are white.” Bear culture is centered around the celebration of a different form of whiteness through the valorization of white body hair patterns. It manifests its racism through an afterthought of inclusive subcategories– panda bear for east Asian bears, for example– and ignores the white supremacist structure of cataloging whiteness as the default. A white bear needs no qualifiers. He is just a bear. And bear cultures obsession with the pinnacle of masculinity in the form of body hair forms a misogynist community that leaves no room for desire of the feminine. And especially leaves no room for desire for the fat but hairless femmes. This is not a community I want to be part of, but it’s seemingly all a fat queer man has. And so what is left when you’re too brown, too femme, too queer for the bears? Where does that leave one?

I say I am anti-love because I cannot be invested in romantic love. Because this investment is dangerous for me. To maintain hope for something that will never happen to/for me is actively damaging to my mental health. For people of color, fat folks, trans and gender non-conforming people, disabled folks– our bodies are not valued, wherein value translates to desire and possibility with romance. Under these systems,  brown bodies can’t be neutral, brown bodies can’t be erotic, brown bodies can’t be desired without being feitshized beyond context and recognition. Our bodies are not loved or loveable under white supremacy and its interlocking systems of fat hatred, cissexism, ableism and more. I am too much of these things all at once to be loved under these systems. To ask someone to do the work it would take to love a body like mine feels like asking too much. So I am not visible in alternate visions being created by those who wish to dismantle these systems, who are perhaps more invested in them than they/we/I want to admit or recognize. Is love obsolete? Why do I desire it so? If I am loved I prove everything wrong. Or if I am loved does anything change? If I am loved everything maintains, but in a different form.

I do not mean to say that absolutely no fat folks or people of color or trans folks or disabled folks et al. are loved or desired. I see many inspiring examples of this in my own community. But I am talking about larger cultural systems, that inform everyone’s decisions, and these individual exceptions do not and can not undo centuries of marginalization alone. And sadly I see just as many examples of marginalized bodies undesired.

I also wish to utilize an anti-love politic in the service of a decolonial project. What I mean is this: love as we understand it is colonial bullshit. Love as it is imagined for us, as an all-consuming, possessive, lifelong, monogamous endeavor is to be used in the service of capitalism. It is to be used in the service of white supremacist heteropatriarchy via the nuclear family. We are told that this is romantic love and we are told it is most important, forming it as a self-fulfilling prophecy. Were we to sustain ourselves on self-love, platonic love, and love of community, the world as we know it would end. We would see the beauty of our interdependence, no longer see ourselves as individuals or competitors for higher wages and standards of living at the expense of each other. Constructions of family as we know it would fall away as we fall into community with eachother and the divisions between stranger and community and family dissolve. As more and more people choose their families and biology dies. Some radical queers work towards this goal through polyamory, open relationships, relationship anarchy, celibacy, and more. But what happens when these relationships ultimately replicate systems of oppression? Is it revolutionary for thin, able-bodied, white and light-skinned cis queers to love eachother, just because it’s more than one person at a time? Is it revolutionary for fat folks, disabled folks, trans folks and dark-skinned people of color to be loved and to love eachother? I believe this is what Marlon Riggs is talking about when he says Black men loving Black men is the revolutionary act, and I don’t disagree. But I’m also curious about the revolutionary act of loving a body the world would have us believe is unloveable. Would a romantic love be revolutionary just because I was present? And what am I upholding by valuing ideologies of romantic love over the love I feel from friends and for myself?

When I name myself as unloveable and cite my body as this source, I do not wish to excuse myself from non-physical reasons that might distance others from me. I’m aware of my personality and its faults. But my personality is a product of my experiences, and I have seen on more than one occasion the faults of those much prettier than I (read: thinner/whiter/more masculine) forgiven much more graciously than mine. I do not believe this to be a coincidence.

I am fat and I am brown and I am queer and I am femme so I am ugly, and nothing has ever tried to convince me otherwise. So when I refuse to accept it, when I name my beauty, it is a reclamation. I am not giving you room to disagree. There is no room for dissent here.

But at the end of the day I know. Regardless of if I see myself as ugly (I don’t), ugly is how I move through the world. Ugly is how I am viewed by strangers, coworkers, potential employers, potential lovers, community members, family members, my peers, doctors, professors, service industry workers, et cetera, and this perception in turn effects my experience in the world, to varying degrees depending on my relationship to the person. I am still working through what it means to be ugly and be beautiful. I am still working through my investment in beauty. What does it mean? Mia Mingus pushes us her in piece Moving Toward the Ugly: A Politic Beyond Desirability, something that has impacted me for years and something I think about now. Reclamation can be powerful, but is this a reclamation that is worthy, necessary? If beauty means “loveworthy”, if “loveworthy” means humanity, what does it mean for those of us who are not beautiful? What does loveworthy mean under a colonial construction of love and beauty founded on white supremacy and capitalism? When we reclaim beauty, is it radical or assimilationist? Does it mean something different for my fat, brown, queer, femme, body than it does for others? And who decides? Is there anything redeemable about beauty? And who are the ugly we are leaving behind? I am still working through these questions.

I am fat and I am brown and I am queer and I femme so I am ugly, and I am still trying to figure out how to move through this world in this body.

in which queerness is discussed between friends
  • friend:how did it ever take me so long to realise I am attracted to women and want more tv shows with women kissing and having like complicated relationships with assassins and stuff?
  • me:because we see so few of them that it's hard to recognise a preference
  • friend:yep.
  • friend:I mean. Okay, this is probably oversharing? But. I was so... I dunno, repressed? Uncertain? SOMETHING... that I think I felt actually lust - I mean looking at someone and having a frisson of pantsfeelings - maybe twice between the age of fifteen and twenty-five. it's sort of no wonder I thought I was mostly asexual.
  • me:*hugs*
  • me:dude, I totally get it. even now, I still constantly wonder if I'm *really* bisexual, because internalised bullshit
  • friend:*hugs*
  • me:it's like... we're taught that Being Queer is this thing you are *constantly*, like queerness is a constant obvious unmistakable performance, like we're constantly gonna be walking around thinking LOOK AT HOW FUCKING QUEER I AM, right? and okay, yeah, there are days and moments where that's true, but sometimes you're just existing, you aren't thinking about your sexuality at all, and precisely *because* you're not thinking about it, this bullshit voice pipes up with "well maybe you're not REALLY queer if it's not consciously dominating your EVERY WAKING MOMENT", because that's what straight homophobes and relentlessly heteronormative stereotyping has taught us that queerness IS
  • friend:yeah
  • me:as though straight people ever look up from the middle of a fucking soy latte and think, 'gosh, it's been HOURS since I had a sexual thought about a member of the opposite sex - does that mean I'm really gay?' BAH
  • friend:yes. it's a thing.