highlyeccentric: Sign: Be aware of invisibility! (Be aware of invisibility)
I am an incrementalist by nature but not in this case )

I sent some $ to the yes campaign at the start of the month, but not as much as I could have - it seems like sinking money into a bog. It's unlikely that we'll win, and regardless of whether we do or not, between them the yes and no campaigns are fortifying a national discourse wherein the sexuality is legitimised by legal wedlock, and marital bonds elevated above other social bonds. And I just... maybe I'm too much of a coward to face calling my relatives, but I'd rather support the likes of Twenty10 and the GLCS - the networks that are going to be doing the hard caring work for the most vulnerable queers regardless of marriage outcomes.

I have been sending little personalised postcards to first my MP and then working my way through a list of NSW senators urging them to either oppose a 'one man one woman OR two men OR two women' bill (in the case of opposition/green senators) or to advocate for a more inclusively worded bill (liberal/national senators).

And I subscribed to Overland today, because they're the only publication whose marriage articles haven't been making me feel queasy. (Well, Archer have been okay but not as punchy as Overland, and I'm already subscribed to them.)

TL;DR it's hard being a non-marrying queer in the time of plebiscite-surveys.
highlyeccentric: French vintage postcard - a woman in feminised army uniform of the period (General de l'avenir)
Made as a post to Facebook, because... I suspect many of my friends and relations are unaware how prevalent it is, as a background hum, even in my relatively non-threatening-to-straight-people life.

Earlier today, a friend remarked: “I don’t understand. The way you are reacting, it’s almost like you knew someone in the club.”

Here’s the thing you need to understand about every LGBT person in your family, your work, and your circle of friends:

We’ve spent most of our lives being aware that we are at risk.

When you hear interviewers talking to LGBT folks and they say “It could have been here. It could have been me,” they aren’t exaggerating. I don’t care how long you’ve been out, how far down your road to self acceptance and love you’ve traveled, we are always aware that we are at some level of risk.

From this longer post by [tumblr.com profile] alexdarke.

Look, I don't talk much about homophobic harassment, because to be honest I get so little of it. (I get erasure and the unfun experience of having to explain that bisexuality is not "only half gay", instead.) Unlike this guy, I haven't spent most of my life at risk: I catapulted suddenly into those risks at twenty-one, and figured that's the price I pay for the safe refuge of the queer community and the infinitely promising, hopeful, joyful ways of building a self and a life that offered me. Queerness has been overwhelmingly positive, to me. I came out but more importantly came *in*.

And yet: it happens. I cut my hair and gained so much in terms of self-presentation, the way people read me - and I gained guys swearing "fuck off, dyke" at me on buses if they thought I was looking in the direction of their girlfriend.

When I was dating a woman, we'd be drunk and making out at bus stops - which was tacky, sure, but we didn't just get disgusted looks. We got groups of guys stopping to wolf-whistle, harass us, make jokes about "joining in". (We thought this was hilarious at the time: we were <25 and drunk and thought we were invincible)

Hell, when I was straight, I used to walk down King St hand-in-hand or arm-in-arm with my college friends without batting an eyelid. And as far as I recall, no one ever batted an eyelid at us. Pairs of young femme presumably-straight girls giggling arm in arm. Perfectly normal. I remember distinctly that in 2010, I was doing that again - walking with [personal profile] kayloulee in Surry Hills, not that far from Oxford St, and I was holding her hand for some reason (we weren't dating. We aren't dating. She likes to make sure I don't walk into traffic, though), and realised: we were getting Looks. We didn't look like a pair of straight undergrads, we looked like a baby butch and her girlfriend. I'd accepted Looks as just something *I* had to deal with, but the realisation that I, by being visibly queer, was putting my best friend in danger? That was pretty sobering.

I don't go to nightclubs that much. But every city I move to, I find the gay bar. I know where the gay bar is in Geneva, and the lesbian cafe-bar. I don't go to parties or dance nights, but when I'm lonely I end up there on my own, comforted somehow by the knowledge that these are *my people*, even if I know none of them by name or face.

Addenda from the FB comments:

All of these things are on a continuum with the cocktail of awfulness that apparently lead Omar Maseen to shoot 100-odd people in a nightclub in Florida last weekend. Even if he was, as seems increasingly likely, acting in part out of self-hatred and internal conflict over his sexuality. Perhaps especially if: a man who is chill about his heterosexuality and masculinity is not a man who needs to abuse dykes on buses, or shoot queers in bars.
highlyeccentric: I've been searching for a sexual identity, and now you've named it for me: I'm a what. (Sexual what)
For those who haven't heard, one, Australia is apparently going to have a (non-binding!) plebiscite on the topic of equal marriage, and two, the Australian Christian Lobby are requesting that anti-discrimination/hate speech laws be lifted during the campaign. Because they can't argue against our right to marry without arguing against our right to exist, apparently, which really does just make the pro-equality argument for them.

There is a very, very good article on this at the Conversation, by Patrick Stokes of Deakin University. It covers reasons why a plebiscite is a shitty idea, the underlying anxieties about heterosexual "specialness", and reasons why exemption from hate speech laws would be a terrible idea. (Stokes is not uncritical of the marriage equality lobby, either, which is good.)

The impact of homosexual marriages on heterosexual married couples is that their marriages stop being special just because they are heterosexual. It takes away the privilege of being in the ‘right’ sort of marriage, a default, ‘normal,’ and implicitly normative form of relationship.

I also have feelings on this topic. My feelings are different from my political opinions (political opinions, in short: marriage equality would not be as good a fix for the problems it purports to fix as would be a broad programme of legal changes to the way custody, inheritance, kinship and related laws work; but fucking hell if we're coming down to a yes or no vote then fine, I will gear up for this fight). I made this as a Facebook post, but putting it here so it's more easily findable. It's not going under a cut, because it's not meant to stay private.

The fact we do seem to be going to a plebiscite makes me feel ill. I don't want this, I don't want this, I don't want this.

Here's some things you probably know about me: once upon a time I was a very earnest Christian. And a very argumentative one. And, as religious people go, a relatively liberal one, albeit armed more with enthusiasm and a sense of justice than a good sense of political analysis, because I was a wee teenager. I was in the Uniting Church for the Resolution 84 kerfuffle of 2003, and just beginning to form a political awareness. The people I looked up to and admired, my peers and mentors from the UYF and our champion ministers Lyn and Nancy were broadly in favour of such notions as being nice to gay people, and permitting them to train in ministry. (Resolution 84 is a wiffle-waffle: it says you won't be explicitly banned, but does not promise that you will be explicitly included. There are reasons for this.) So I was too, and drew on those people and their resources for starting to inform myself.

No, wait, back up. Some time before that- maybe 2002?- I was in a circle of people at school. Mostly students, one teacher. "Nondenominational" for which read fundamentalist Christian school - the kind where Catholics were bullied for being insufficiently Christian. The teacher was asking us all where we went to church, and to discuss our church communities. I said, without expecting any reaction, that I went to the Uniting Church.

"The Uniting Church?" said the teacher. "They're not Christians. Don't they have gay ministers?"

I had some idea what 'gay' meant at that point. (It was a dodgy idea: I'd been reading Anne McCaffrey, where being gay got you either eaten by tigers or late-life reformed heterosexuality with a girl half your age, but I digress.) I had no idea why I was getting this reaction. I considered, for a second or two, saying I didn't know. I considered everything I knew of my church, and of my school.

"Yes, we do," I said. "And I'm proud of it." Then I went home and asked my mother to explain why people thought gay people couldn't be ministers????

From there on, throughout high school and university, I set about being an informed gay-friendly Christian. I armed myself with historical analyses of St Paul's context and the difference between pederasty and an equal relationship between partners of any sex. I read "Uniting Faith and Sexuality" about six times. I argued with more conservative Christians wherever I found them. I actually met some gay people, and they were cool. (They were soooo cooool I envied them a lot. We'll come back to that.) I was also a prat, and made what I now realise were classic intro-level Ally Fails. Once I was talking to a baptist at a UCA student convention, and this baptist said he had never met a gay person before. I said "I can fix that" and hauled Curtis over to be Token Gay. (I'm *so sorry*, Curtis).

And in my fourth year of university, many things changed. One of these was that suddenly there was a giiiiirl and she was pretty and, well, you get the idea. And this time (unlike previous times in high school or early uni days) I had the self-awareness and the vocab (I had never met the word bisexual until my first year of uni!) to realise that duh, I had crush on this GIRL. And that made many things make sense, including the fact that I had sat with the UCA queers feeling both happy (included!) and sad (different??) and envious (???).

And I stopped going to church. Part of that was because I also had an anti-revelation and stopped believing in God. But I'd stopped going to church *before* that. Not because I thought my particular congregation would give me trouble over my sexuality - I'd seen other friends come out, it had been fine. And I knew the UCA was, overall, a pretty welcoming denomination. But not entirely. And there would always be others. And I knew how exhausting those conversations were, because I had been having them since I was fifteen. I had been told I was not a Christian and my church was invalid not because *I* was gay but because I was hypothetically theoretically gay-positive.

I had absolutely no qualms, when I thought it wasn't about me, in throwing myself into that fight (in the particular context I was in).

I could not do it, not when it *was* about me. And I have never, not since I started coming out to people, had to justify the existence of same-sex attraction in general, to anyone. (I have had to justify myself as a bisexual, to both gay and straight people; and to pitch in in defense of other gender or sexual identities.)

I do not want to do this. I am a long way away from Australia right now, but I do not want to do this. I do not want to have to find out that many of my friends or family will not only vote against equal marriage (... I don't want to find that out, either) but will turn out to hold degrading, dehumanising opinions of me and my peers. I don't want my friends and peers to turn on the TV to find ads denouncing our evil influence on society. I don't want to have to have conversations with friends and family about how I do not wish to marry but I will be really, really fucking upset if I think any of them could deliberately vote against my *right* to do so.

I don't want to do this. Stop the ride, I want to get off.
highlyeccentric: A photo of myself, around 3, "reading" a Miffy book (Read Miffy!)
Currently Reading: Alexis Wright, Carpentaria, and I just started Jonas Jonasson The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. Carpentaria is very, very good but sort of heavy going - it's perhaps not good holiday reading.

Recently Finished:
Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage: Valuing All Families under the LawBeyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage: Valuing All Families under the Law by Nancy D. Polikoff

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was very, very good. American-centric (and boy did it show - her section on Australian law showed a marked lack of understanding as to how much less significant state law is here), but still good.

Polikoff's key arguments were as follows )

The Wife DroughtThe Wife Drought by Annabel Crabb

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is not the second coming of feminism.

It's FUN - full of anecdotes and Crabb's trademark snark, but it is not the second coming of feminism. It said nothing we did not already know (... quite frankly, aside from the stats, its key premises were well known in the EIGHTIES. Women add work to household responsibilities. Men do not typically pick up the latter. Men who do are regarded as weirdos. It would be good if we could do something about the latter two points). Crabb offers no constructive solutions or even pointers on how her examples of stay-at-home Dads do make it work. Her conclusion rather wishy-washily suggests the digital age might help, without apparently having noted that telecommuting has been on the *decline* since the financial crisis.

I have other thoughts )

Love in the Time of Global Warming (Love in the Time of Global Warming, #1)Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was pretty well written - the prose is lyrical and the story juuust skirts the edge of realism. The romance arc was pretty damn cute. The protag's devotion to her little brother was also nicely done, I love a good family-oriented YA. The structure of the Odyssey was well deployed, and by avoiding strict realism the story got away with it.

But it just didn't grab me. I can't see myself bothering to seek out the sequels.

Written on the BodyWritten on the Body by Jeanette Winterson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was *beautifully* written. The protagonist, gender unspecified, is a serial philanderer with a penchant for married women, who falls head over heels and into a total mess with a woman named Louise. The writing is gorgeous, the plot thin but emotionally resonant. The actual events are banal, the story focuses entirely on the protag's emotional landscape. There's a lot of sex in it, but almost no physical descriptors - the focus is all on the protag's reactions and motivations and feelings and so on.

Gorgeous book. I wasn't happy with the ending, though - I thought it felt like a cop-out. You can't tell if the appearance of Louise is real or imagined, and that's... just cheating.

Also finished: Carrie Tiffany, Mateship with Birds; Kerry Greenwood, Earthly Pleasures, Heavenly Delights and Cocaine Blues; Penne Hackforth-Jones, bio of Barbara Baynton; and Dawn French, Oh Dear Sylvia. Some of these I loved, two I was very disappointed with. Will review in further detail another week. I'm reading a at a rate of knots, but that will come to an abrupt halt at the end of the holiday.

To Read Next: I've got a Jan Clausen novel still to read, from my Gould's Books extravaganza.
highlyeccentric: A woman in an A-line dress, balancing a book on her head, in front of bookshelves (Make reading sexy)
What Are You Reading Wednesday:

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

This list is a bit shorter, finally. Still going on Sunny Chernobyl; have listened to a few more audio recordings from Charles Perrault's fairy tales - did I mention that Litteratureaudio.com is my new friend? Sadly there's very little on there that I've already read in English, and I'm not quite up to unseen novel-length French texts. But the Perrault tales are short and easily digestible.

I just started The autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, which is not an autobiography, since it happily proclaims to have been written by Gertrude Stein. It's enjoyable reading, but I'm not sure how to feel about the false-autobiography setup. If this was a man writing the "autobiography" of his wife we would all agree that was creepy and silencing of women, no?

What did you recently finish reading?

I Don't: A Christmas WishI Don't: A Christmas Wish by Kari Gregg

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Well, this was *fun*, but... eh. )

Muriel at MetropolitanMuriel at Metropolitan by Miriam Tlali

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Odd but enjoyable book )

The Vicar Of BullhamptonThe Vicar Of Bullhampton by Anthony Trollope

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Now, this was an interesting read. difficult to pin down or sum up )

Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage: StoriesHateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage: Stories by Alice Munro

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really liked Munro's style here. Also the paper it was printed on was lovely )

Bisexuality: A Critical ReaderBisexuality: A Critical Reader by Merl Storr

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Interesting, useful, difficult )

What Will You Read Next?
Oh gosh, I don't know at this point. I have some more queer books on order, including a book on bisexual feminism, so it might be those. Or it might be something totally else.
highlyeccentric: A woman in an A-line dress, balancing a book on her head, in front of bookshelves (Make reading sexy)
What Are You Reading Wednesday:

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

New additions to this list since last fortnight:
- Pat O'Connor, Friendships Between Women, which is technically a work book (and proving unexpectedly useful re: work, given it's modern sociology) but is also giving me personal thinkythoughts.
- Merl Storr (ed), Bisexuality: A Critical Reader, which is technically personal reading but is giving me a crisis of theory. I'm up to bisexual epistemolgy, you see. WHAT IS A BISEXUAL ANYWAY? Ahem. I'm discovering a strong dislike of the way men write about bisexuality, and it's making me think difficult thoughts about heterosexual dating while queer.
- Trollope, The Vicar of Bullhampton was going along just fine except I really don't like Mary's new fiancé. I also don't like how everyone bullied her into almost accepting her other suitor, but the new guy is a whiny wet lettuce.

I also started listening to the fairy tales of Charles Perrault in French. Litteratureaudio.com is my new friend.

What did you recently finish reading?

Swiss Watching: Inside Europe's Landlocked IslandSwiss Watching: Inside Europe's Landlocked Island by Diccon Bewes

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, I loved this book. So full of obscure facts! I liked Slow Train better, for having a more coherent thread, but this was fascinating and also quite useful for understanding what's going on around me.

MullumbimbyMullumbimby by Melissa Lucashenko

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was an engaging, well-realised novel with a fantastic sense of place (no shit, a novel about indigenous australian culture has a strong sense of place). I also found it very demanding because of its very light narrative voice and reluctance to give narrative judgements )

Witchery, Etc by Rel: this is a zine-format 28-page minicomic, also being published page by page as a webcoming here. [personal profile] kayloulee sent it to me with a bundle of other swag from a con in Toronto. It's adorable! The webcomic is only 19 pages in, so if you like cute comics about witches who are neither good nor bad, and also about men with pumpkin heads, start following now!

And I finished Karras' Unmarriages. The book has the same easy-to-read style as Sexualites in Medieval Europe (although it's pitched slightly higher), but lacks the really punchy critical insights of her article-length work. I loved the historiographical introduction (*that* was punchy), and found the book as a whole interesting, but it was very... descriptive. I think that's what it aimed to be. To describe a whole bunch of options that weren't marriage. I would set it as a textbook / required reading in a heartbeat, but was a bit disappointed in it as cutting-edge scholarship. [personal profile] kayloulee should consider reading it, especially the chapter which is mostly reports from the Parisian church courts. Prime example of history as the craft of very slow gossip.

What will you read next? Hopefully I will FINISH some stuff. Sunny Chernobyl needs to go. The chances of me ordering 900 million books on contemporary bisexuality are also quite high, constrained only by my finances (the interlibrary system here doesn't have a great selection of anglophone queer theory, I wonder why?).
highlyeccentric: I happen to like it here in my shell (My shell)
What Are You Reading Wednesday:

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

Most excitingly, 'Slow Train to Switzerland' by Diccon Bewes, a British expat living in Bern. He got hold of an old printed copy of an 1863 journal by 'Miss Jemima', a member of Thomas Cook's first guided expedition to Switzerland. Bewes and his mother set off to replicate the route using modern rail transport, and at each stop he tells you random tidbits about rail history, the history of tourism, and about 19th century Europe. It's GREAT. I'm suffering a bit from living somewhere where I don't know the recent or distant past (aside from 'Hey Calvinism!' I know little about medieval or early modern Geneva).

I've started Phyllis Ann Kerr's 'The Idylls of the Queen' and it's boring me. Academically, I'm ploughing through out-of-order selections from Schulenberg's 'Forgetful of Their Sex'. So many more things about prohibitions to prevent monastic lesbianism than I knew about!

What did you recently finish reading?

I finished with Millet & Wogan-Brown, 'Middle English Prose for Women', and am mostly irritated that it had so few texts in it, so now I have to go back to the Worst Edition Ever for the rest of the Katherine Group. I also trundled through Cicero's 'On Friendship' (conculsion: Laelius is a pompous ass and I wouldn't be friends with him if Cicero paid me).

Cookery: I've pored over 'A Girl Called Jack', not just because Jack Monroe is really cute, but I haven't made anything from it yet.

Now, proper reviews:

Katherine Mansfield, New Zealand Stories ed. Vincent O'Sullivan - Earlier work more my thing than later work )

Dear John, I love Jane: Women Write About Leaving Men for Women ed. Candace Walsh and Laura André - It's been a while since I read a really good book about or for queer ladies )

What do you think you'll read next? For funsies, I have laid hands on 'The queer art of failure', but what I'm really hankering for is Eisner's 'Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution'. I can't get hold of it here, so have ordered a copy online. For work... Anselm or Augustine or, um, the other A-name chappy.
highlyeccentric: I've been searching for a sexual identity, and now you've named it for me: I'm a what. (Sexual what)
Not times I wish I didn't have this particular boyfriend (well, there are those too, particularly over such contentious issues as whether or not I can be trusted to order food in French), but any boyfriend.

Today, for instance, it took me quite some time to convince a barber that I really did want a buzz cut. This was negotiated in English, in which the barber was fluent, so language wasn't the problem. No, he just didn't believe a white woman* was really serious about wanting all her hair chopped off (note: I had less than an inch of growth on my scalp when I walked in there). He started with #3 clippers and insisted on working down from there rather than going straight to #1.

Eventually he cottoned on that I was serious, and I liked my hair almost non-existent. At that point, he said to me:

"Does your boyfriend like it, what you've done to your hair?"

It's times like that, I wish I didn't have a boyfriend. 'Don't have one, don't care' would be a pretty good response (but it might get me a lecture on what The Men Like, too).

The best snappy answer would be one involving the words "my girlfriend likes it just fine".

Questions like that would annoy me were I straight, of course. But I'm not, and every time I get asked them I feel stuck, because given a few different turns of chance, the snappy lesbian comeback could've been mine. "My boyfriend has long enough hair for two of us", while a good answer in itself, isn't fixing the fact that some guy with a hairdressing qualification has utterly failed to consider that unusual hairstyles might also go with statistically unusual sexual orientations.

It's a feminist problem, naturally: the assumption that all or most women's lives and choices hang on a male partner's life and opinion. But there's also assumed heterosexuality. Denying the existence of the boyfriend would be a lie, but I feel like I'm somehow lying by admitting to having a boyfriend, as well.

The same thing happens when one is single, too. All possible answers to 'do you have a boyfriend' become lies on some level. "No, I don't (but even if I were dating it might not be a man, except also it might be, aaargh, let's not even start)". About the ONLY time when, as a bi lady, I've felt like I was honestly answering that question, was when the answer was "No, but my girlfriend..." (And then only if the conversation participants had met prior boyfriends.**)

In other news, I hear today is Bi Visibility Day.

And my boyfriend's punishment for his part in the heteropatriarchy shall be that he must clipper my head, or at least find me a cheap barber near his abode.


*He acknowledged, slightly sadly, that he has given close crops to many African women. He was nappy-haired himself, with a rather cute crop of coils 1-2 inches long.
** Of the two lies, I'd rather be taken for a lesbian. It feels to me as if the assumptions people make based on 'interested in women' are more accurate w/r/to me than those based on presumed heterosexuality. Or it's homophobic stereotypes, which I don't wish to disown or evade just because I happen to date men too.
highlyeccentric: Joie du livre - young girl with book (Joie du livre)
Non-academic books, that is. There's been a few academic ones of late, too.

Witi Ihimaera, Nights in the Gardens of Spain Good but sort of disappointing )

Victorian Women Poets: A New Annotated Anthology, ed. by Virginia Blain - I posted selections in my poetry updates here. I liked it! By and large I skimmed the biographies, going back to read more about the poets whose works I liked most. One thing which did irritate me was that at times Blain's commentary on the poets' sex lives got a bit... snide.

Baroness Orczy, The Scarlet Pimpernel - This was fun! Classist as all get-out and radiating English smugness. But Marguerite was pretty damn fabulous, which makes up for many things.

... huh, I'm actually reading faster than my sporadic three-book updates would suggest. I'm too sleepy to write a cogent review of the next book, though, so it can all stay backdated for a while.
highlyeccentric: Joie du livre - young girl with book (Joie du livre)
Because I so rarely finish a book these days (as opposed to data-mining it, in the case of academic stuff, or getting distracted, if it's non-academic):

Holding the Man, Timothy Conigrave

Some emotion-based commentary )

The Myth of Prehistoric Matriarchy, Cynthia Eller

Finally, a book for taking apart bogus ideas about the matriarchal-feminist-utopian past! It has actually existed for a while, but I only just found a citation which sent me thither.

Eller's book does three main things, for me:

Points! )

In other news, even according to the logic of prehistoric matriarchy, the Celts are not fuckin' magical. The logic of prehistoric matriarchy says that matriarchal, matrifocal goddess-worshipping societies gave way to patriarchal warrior cultures around 3000 BC. Pretty sure we know that the Celts were a warrior culture well before they arrived in Britain. Suck that, Marion Zimmer Bradley.


Dec. 17th, 2010 09:49 pm
highlyeccentric: I've been searching for a sexual identity, and now you've named it for me: I'm a what. (Sexual what)
When we look at what the factors are that make life so miserable for young gays and lesbians, it’s tempting for progressives to point the finger at religious traditions that are hostile to sexual pluralism. But the young men in American high schools who are beating up other boys whom they suspect of being gay are rarely doing so in order to comply with a misunderstood dictate from the Torah or the Pauline epistles. It’s not faith that drives the hate as much as it is an overwhelming desire to establish masculine bona fides. “I torment faggots, therefore I can’t be one; I beat up queers, therefore I’m a man.” That toxic equation may be aided and abetted by conservative religion, but it isn’t rooted in it. Rather, the hateful behavior is rooted in the rigid rules of American masculinity, a masculinity predicated on a contempt for and a paranoia about even the slightest whiff of femininity among the be-penised.

Hugo Schwyzer, Homosociality and Homophobia
highlyeccentric: I've been searching for a sexual identity, and now you've named it for me: I'm a what. (Sexual what)
The Family Court has resolved a custody dispute for a same-sex family: specifically, ruled that in this case, the child must spend time with all four of his parents (two gay men in a committed relationship, and two gay women in a committed relationship).

Stressing that the case was not about the socio-politics of single-sex parents or the definition of a nuclear family, she ruled that the boy should spend time with all four adults.

''E is the product of a number of fine people,'' she said in a recent judgment. ''He is entitled to know about them, to know them, and to know their love of him.''

I don't know if we had any precedents for this sort of thing before, but, well, we do now. And the decision appears - from the newspaper report - to have been made not on the assumption that a child needs two parents, or that a child needs male and female parents, but, y'know, that it's in the child's *interest* (which is actually different from 'needs') to have all of his parents. How remarkably even-handed.
highlyeccentric: I've been searching for a sexual identity, and now you've named it for me: I'm a what. (Sexual what)
Un politicien homophobe photographié à la Gay Pride de Toronto. [Via K and people on her flist]

EXACTLY WHAT IT SAYS ON THE BOX. This site here as more info; and this blog here has somewhat less info and fewer pictures, but in English. This site, which goes by the entertaining name of hu-la, has even more info, but I haven't had time to wade through the French yet.

As a public service, a rough translation of the article at 360.ch:

It seems I'm half-decent at French these days )
highlyeccentric: I've been searching for a sexual identity, and now you've named it for me: I'm a what. (Sexual what)
This might sound like Stating The Bleeding Obvious, but the advice most commonly given to straight girls about sex and relationships is not the same as the advice given to queer girls. Even discounting "it's just a phase" and variants on that theme, the advice given to queer girls by fellow queers and supportive persons of all stripes is not the same as the advice given to straight girls by fellow heterosexuals and supportive persons of all stripes.

And, ok, what I mean by that is "the advice given to me about sex and relationships as a straight girl was not the same as the advice given to me as a newly minted queer girl". And the context in which I received these genres of advice were pretty far removed - most of the first was in religious context, or in the knowledge that I was religious; most of the latter has been given to me by secular persons to me as a secular person. But nevertheless I am aware that many other straight girls receive the same advice I did, and many other queer girls receive the same advice I did, so I'm going to proceed on with my generalisations. And some of my straight-person advice I took from secular books like Everygirl, and some of my queer person advice was given by my church friends.
Advice! )
highlyeccentric: Firefley - Kaylee - text: "shiny" (Shiny)
You can tell this, because I get *stuff* in return for Written Things. In this case, film festival tickets in return for an article on Sherlock Holmes, to be published in the next issue of Fuse Magazine.

This is cool. I could get used to this. Editor, Alex, is very nice and says I can continue to pitch articles to him even if I leave Canberra.

Things worth noting:

- I pitched the article because Alex ran an informal social media/publicity campaign asking for more female contributors to Fuse

- I've been reading Fuse for six months, knew about their website and the fact that they take public submissions. But I never even *thought* about submitting until this specific invitation came out. Since Fuse manages to fill up with articles, I assume that either the editor knows more men personally(he IS a gay man after all) or that more men are willing to send in pitches out of nowhere, or both.

- When I put the pitch to Alex, it took me ages to actually get up the courage to do it, because I felt like my topics of interest weren't *lesbian* enough (Sherlock Holmes: Least Lesbian Movie Ever). And obviously female contributors to a GBLTetc magazine should write on *lesbian* issues. Alex's call-out said he was particularly after lesbian-focused articles (which would be grand, Fuse has few of those), but it did have the side effect of making me dubious about whether or not I would be valuable as an author of general queer interest articles. Alex was very welcoming, over email, and assured me that he's happy to have more articles by women on ANY topic.

- putting call-outs for female contributors is a good idea, especially if your personal network is more likely to attract men.
- it's probably worth making it clear that you welcome women to write on *any* topic, as well as women's-interest topics.
highlyeccentric: I've been searching for a sexual identity, and now you've named it for me: I'm a what. (Sexual what)
So, the SMH yesterday published an article from the Guardian (UK). It's a first-person piece by Simon Callow on the oddities and intricacies of staged / filmed love scenes: The art of faking love scenes.

The print version ran a photo of Callow himself. However, the web editorial team often change the pictures so that they have something iconic, eye- catching to put in the sidebar box on the front page. In this case, they obviously wanted a well-known romantic scene from a modern movie, which they've captioned "it takes a special bond to express physical affection", picking up on Callow's comment that intense romantic scenes are harder to film than lusty sex.

Guess what well-known image the SMH ran?

Brokeback Mountain. The iconic two-men-hugging-and-looking-depressed image. Nothing Callow said had any relation to Brokeback Mountain or the lead actors thereof. In the article, Callow identified himself as gay, and talked about one gay sex scene he'd performed, as well as various het scenes and the actresses he'd worked with. It was by no means a homo-centric article, and the caption makes nothing of the fact that it's two men expressing physical affection. It's simply a Well Known Romantic Scene. Could've been Gone With the Wind or Titanic or ANYTHING, and they've just plucked Brokeback out and popped it up there.

And felt comfortable putting on a caption suggesting that two male actors have a special bond. With absolutely no comment on the fact that it's two male actors.

Well, I'm going to comment. And my comment is: THIS IS HOW YOU WIN AT BEING A NEWSPAPER. This sort of thing never happens. That image? That's the image that was all over the fecking place when Brokeback Mountain was released, and then, it was an image that said "Gay Sex Scenes In Mainstream Movie!". Somewhere in the last five years, it's apparently become a stock photo of a Well Known Romantic Scene.

This makes me happy.
highlyeccentric: I've been searching for a sexual identity, and now you've named it for me: I'm a what. (Sexual what)

Highlights including: yes, the parts do fit; if AIDS risk were the barometer of morality, lesbians would be the most moral people around; and "your father and I do not flaunt our sexuality".
highlyeccentric: I've been searching for a sexual identity, and now you've named it for me: I'm a what. (Sexual what)
Apparently someone decided today is (inter)national Coming Out Day.

I wasn't going to say anything, because what is there to say? I am, technically, Out. I told my parents, and I got a hug for it. Much awkwardness, but a hug. And a reassurance that they still love me - which was slightly alarming, because for all the awkwardness, I had never considered that they might not.

I told my brother, who said "you're not bi!", having somehow not equated previous "oh, there's this girl" conversations with queerness. And then I told him I'd told the parents, and he said "YOU WHAT??? WHY WOULD YOU DO A THING LIKE THAT???" and flailed so hard I nearly swerved onto the road shoulder.

I told my friends. Most of them knew anyway (even my parents knew). I told the friends who could be relied on not to make a fuss of it. I told the three or four whose opinions counted but who I'd expected to flip, and they didn't (responses where, in this order: "No worries, mate"; "Yeah, I knew - what do you mean you're not sleeping with [personal profile] kayloulee???"; "I think it's a phase all girls go through at uni"; and nothing much).

Allow me to quote someone more eloquent ([personal profile] thingswithwings):

Because coming out is not only never finished in the sense that you have to do it over and over and over again - it's also never finished in that saying "I'm queer" or "I'm a lesbian" or "I don't date men" is not and cannot be the end of it - it is always followed by an excruciating session of having to explain (or having to refuse to explain) your sexual habits to friends, family members, and complete fucking strangers. So have you ever had sex with a man? Did you like it? Didn't you date that guy? Didn't you have a crush on David Duchovny when you were fifteen? (I did, yall). What kinds of women do you like? But you still want to have babies, right? And if it's someone I know, it becomes a project of Justify The Gayness - like every decision I've ever made, every person I've ever dated, every action I've ever taken, has to make sense in some sort of Unifying Theory of Gay. So Oh That's Why You Had Close Male Friends or Oh That's Why You Had Close Female Friends or So You Really Didn't Like That Guy You Were Dating And Were Repressed Back Then. And if it's someone I don't know, they'll often try to ask enough questions to get to the point where they can come up with that Unified Theory of Gayness.

I hate coming out. I hate that we have to do it. I hate that I have to do it even though I'd rather not. I hate that it never ends. I hate that other people use the coming-outs that I hate in order to reinforce their heterosexist and cissexist assumptions about gender and sexuality.

I moved towns. I thought I could just... be Out. New people, new place, I'm Out. Except I don't look particularly queer (according to whatever bats definition of "looking queer" people seem to have).

And I've discovered it's not that easy. That I'll still have to face up to new friends, to colleagues, to strangers, to people whose homophobic drivel I can't just sit through, and I'll still have to do it with the same sick feeling. That doesn't go away. It gets worse. If your own mother looks at you blankly because she knew anyway and wishes you never spoke up, and your father has to reassure you that he still loves you, what chance have you with complete strangers?

I'm afraid of coming out. I'm afraid of having to do the Bisexual Backpeddle. I know that my newness, my bi-ness, my never having so much as kissed a girl, invalidates me in the eyes of your average straight punter. I'm hesitant with other queers, because the Bisexual Backpeddle still has to be done there, and the Inexperience Backpeddle, and the Why Yes I Did Come Out While Living In A Women's College Backpeddle.

I used to be really good at answering back. I used to be able to out-exegesis any fundamentalist I encountered, and I used to be happy just to have put the idea in their heads that, just maybe, Jesus doesn't hate gay people. Well, I have no right to exegesis any more (and much of it was twisty bullshit. St Paul was a sexist homophobic git, albeit a very smart and well-written one. DEAL). And it's a whole damn lot easier to argue hypothetical theology than to defend yourself, your friends, your lovers if you have them, to people who think they don't understand because "it'd just be gross to kiss a girl". (What am I supposed to say to that? I don't know, I've never tried it, BUT I'D SURE LIKE TO.)

Oh Hai. I'm queer. And you, you straight person who doesn't actually think teh queers are immoral; you straight person who doesn't actually think it'd be gross to kiss another girl (or guy) even though it's not your thing; you straight person who *could* argue that point without putting yourself, your identity, your dreams on the line: for glod's sake, do it. Forget about whether or not you have the right to speak for teh queers. Do it anyway. If you get it wrong, if someone has to pipe up and correct your defence of us, then ten points to you: by being wrong you've made it safe for someone to up and speak for themselves.


Coming another day, when it's not bedtime: I Used To Be Homophobic (but thought I was all cool and liberal-minded), or, How My Default Straight Assumption Really Bit Me In The Arse


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