October 31, 2006

abstinence-only education for 20-29 year olds!

Don't want this to fly under the radar. Did anyone else see that the federal government is providing funds for abstinence-only education for adults up to 29 years old who are unmarried.

Paternalism, perhaps?

What do you think? How do you feel about your tax dollars being used on sex "education" that ignores the reality of safer sex. (Or perhaps, I should say contraception - they only talk about pregnancy rates in unmarried women here. Maybe they should just turn everyone gay? Or at least teach them about a wider variety of sex.)

October 29, 2006

Is this news?

Transgender MP in toilet fracas

An Italian opposition MP and former showgirl has expressed outrage after meeting a transgender colleague in the parliament's ladies' toilets.

A transwoman was harrassed in the bathroom! Holy shit, that never happens!

Seriously, though. I'm really glad that the BBC covered this story. It's good to see basic trans issues being brought to light by the international press. It's good to see that the article shows much more sympathy for Ms Luxuria than for Ms. Gardini. And it's good to see how stupid Gardini looks using male pronouns for Luxuria while the article uses female ones.

"It never entered my mind that I'd find him in there", she said. "It felt like sexual violence - I really felt ill."
...Ruling coalition deputies accused Ms Gardini of discrimination tantamount to racism.

Well, yes.

October 27, 2006

Judge's Federal Appointment Stalled Because of Commitment Ceremony Attendance

-A Michigan judge whose nomination to the federal bench is stalled over her appearance at a lesbian commitment ceremony in Massachusetts says she attended as a friend, not to give legal sanction. The nomination of Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Janet T. Neff to be a U.S. District Court judge is on hold because Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., is not satisfied with her response to questions about her views on same-sex marriage, a spokesman for the senator said Thursday.


WTF?! So just HAVING GAY FRIENDS who live 1000 fucking miles away in MASSACHUSETTS is enough to get you barred from public office by Republican hacks?

October 22, 2006

Rekindling my love affair with the interwebs

Grad school, I'm discovering, does one of two things: either it isolates you from the internet in an effort to do work and be productive and not flunk out, or it drives you toward the internet in a frantic search for ways to procrastinate. (If, like some friends of mine, your research focuses on the internet, you are driven toward the internet for productivity and you fuck up yet another binary. I knew there was a reason I liked my friends.)

Anyway, I've been operating largely in mode number one for most of this quarter, since I'm not really in the mood for the flunking out. But it's midterm season, and oh looky! I'm back.

That said, in an effort to maximize my non-studying time, I've gone back to reading my favorite sassypants-female-academic blog, Bitch Ph.D. And Dr. B delivers once again, with an analysis of voter intimidation in California, a scathing post about the CA Democratic Party's (screwy) priorities, and - the least serious, but my favorite - an attempt to determine the sexual orientation of her new neighbors:

Me: middle-aged southern californian men in pressed slacks and golf shirts: how can you tell the difference between "wealthy southern cali suburbanite" and "old queen"?
PC: politic answer: you can't! everyone poops...
Me: right, right.
PC: my answer: normally shoes, if socks match the shirt
PC: often car. often through jewelry.
Me: jewelry, check.
Me: i'll have to start checking out my neighbors' cars more closely
PC: old queens have a certain type of jewelry that tries to look young, but middle aged men often have a gold chain or an old high school ring or something
PC: I think though that this population you have stumbled across is very hard to tell: old queens have caught the peterpan syndrome as much as any gay man (unless they are in a committed relationship, and then the tend to "act their age") while middle-aged straight men are often going through a midlife thing.
Me: see? exactly. it's confusing.
Me: alas for the days of the earring code.
PC: as a result, they both act sort of desperate, immature, and solipsistic
Me: well, see, this is why i need to know. because if they're old queens, great: we'll get along like peas in a pod. but if they're middle-aged suburbanite straight guys, i don't want them to hit on me.
PC: you just can't tell by the bling and penis cars, you have to look for certain types of bling and penis cars. And, I'm not up on stuff enough to tell if a Land Rover is straight and Range Rover is gay gay gay.
It just keeps getting funnier. (PC, by the way, is blogger Phutatorius' Chestnut.) Anyway, it reminds me of the old game: "European or gay?" (Gay Europeans, as we all know, don't exist. Neither do gay middle-aged California suburbanites.)

My other fantastic interweb crush is the Queer Zine Archive Project, spiffily known as QZAP. We're not in there yet (we'll work on it, ok?), but in the meantime, you can download back issues of (among other damn cool zines):

  • Short and Queer (any guesses why yours truly - at just under 5' tall - loves this one?)
  • Mutate Zine (which I'm enjoying so much online that I've sent away for a paper issue)
  • Souhaq (a brand-new zine from Helem Girls, "Lebanese women with unconventional sexualities")
So, yeah. I could be studying for midterms, but ... why? (aside from the flunking-out-is-bad thing)

(ETA: the whole Blogspot-server-being-down thing is also a good incentive to get offline and start studying ... before I take out my frustration on my innocent computer)

October 16, 2006

"What about same-sex conception?"

This morning I passed a man in Harvard Square carrying a sign that said "What about same-sex conception?" and handing out flyers. Of course I stopped to get one, and because we love to be fully informed I've included the link, but I just wanted to post a couple of excerpts:

[Same-sex conception] is much riskier than IVF, which is still natural egg and sperm conception, and even cloning, because same-sex conception requires changing the DNA of at least one of the partners and seeing if it works. Trying this in humans would be completely unethical and unnecessary and waste our resources at a time when people still cannot get basic health care. Research should be stopped.

Incredibly, however, it is currently legal, and there are people who feel same-sex couples not only have the right to attempt to conceive children together, but that we have an obligation to continue to fund research to make it "safe and affordable" for them. One researcher quoted in GayCity News said he expects to see children come from stem cell derived gametes in "three to five years" if the research continues at the present pace! They are proceeding recklessly, spending freely, putting children at risk, and opening the door to a Brave New World [emphasis mine] of genetic engineering and manufactured children.

To protect children, as well as protect everyone's natural conception rights and preserve human dignity, we need a law that says children can only be conceived by the union of a woman's egg and a man's sperm. Conceiving children together should not be a right of same-sex couples.


Now the flyer goes on to explain that this is not anti-gay propaganda, and that it fully supports gay couples having children by adoption, IVF, surrogacy, and all other means currently employed. It does, however, say:

If we prohibit labs from attempting to create children that are not the union of a woman's egg and a man's sperm, then same-sex marriages will not have a right to conceive children together, which would fundamentally change marriage and put all of our conception rights in jeopardy. To protect our right to have children, we need to preserve marriage's right to conceive children together. Civil unions could be created to have all of the other [emphasis theirs] rights of marriage, but not the right to conceive children together.


Ok, politics of marriage aside, I'm really interested in hearing what you guys think about this issue. To foster discussion, some topics I think you should consider include:
-Imagining what it would be like to be able to have a biological baby with your partner
-The ethics of genetic engineering in humans
-Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, hopefully you've read it and can respond to the comparison as it was used
-Do you think that people have an inherent right to be conceived rather than 'manufactured'?
-The data they present (that I haven't included) also makes a big deal about the low survival rate of most offspring produced by this method--eg. of 450 mouse embryos made, only 10 were born alive and only 1 survived into adulthood. I don't know you all well enough to know how you stand on the pro-life/pro-choice debate, but I think it would be interesting to hear opinions from both sides about the costs/benefits of same-sex conception in humans. Important philosophical question: When does it become a person/life?
-Anything else you'd like to input or discuss

www.eggandsperm.org

Thinking of You

I missed the news over the weekend - I was spending some time getting trained by the GLAD legal InfoLine (more on that later). What I missed while I was gone was that the student protestors at Gallaudet were arrested.

I hope that no one was hurt and that those of you at Gallaudet are able to make changes that allow for long-term peace and dignity.

October 11, 2006

Come out, come out, wherever you are!

In case anybody in queerland has been allowed to forget, Quench reminds you that it's National Coming Out Day. In the interest of celebrating with you, allow us to come out:

Some Quench contributors are lesbians.
Some Quench contributors are gay men.
Some Quench contributors are bisexuals.
Some Quench contributors are other types of sexuality-queer.
Some Quench contributors are MTF.
Some Quench contributors are FTM.
Some Quench contributors are other types of genderqueer.
Some Quench contributors are fabulous allies to LGBTQQI people.*
Many Quench contributors are combinations of the above.


I think that covers it, not that any of these comings-out are at all surprising if you've read Quench for more than 30 seconds.

*Yes, by the way, allies do often have to come out as allies, and in many cases it can be risky and traumatic to do so. Being an out ally is gutsy and brave, especially when you have nothing personal to lose by staying silent. Today is a day for allies, too.

Today we celebrate our own comings-out, whether they were painful, liberating, ambiguous, or completely uneventful. Today we thank those that helped us come out to ourselves and to those in our lives whose opinions matter to us. Today we celebrate the strength that comes from being openly who we are, and the strength it took (and takes) to get there.

Today we consider that, for many of us, coming out is an ongoing process. Unless we're visibly, unambiguously, in-your-face queer-looking (and you'd be surprised how high the standard of "unambiguous" actually is for most people), people we meet will generally assume that we aren't queer at all, and the time may come in any given interaction where we have to correct that assumption. Even if we think we've come out to everyone possible and thus have nothing left to do today, some stranger on the bus may make pleasant small talk about our presumed non-queer lives, and we will once again face the choice whether or not to come out.

Today we think about those who have yet to make that choice, or who have chosen not to come out. We remember that although staying in the closet may seem like "the easy way out" to those of us who have fought hard for our identities to be recognized and accepted, the choice not to come out (or not to come out yet) is difficult, too, and is usually the result of careful deliberation. We stand behind those who haven't come out, and hope that one day they will feel safe enough to join us. Today we remember that, even if we are comfortable being open in our identities, our work is not done until others have the freedom to feel equally comfortable.

Today we stand behind those who are using National Coming-Out Day for its original purpose: to admit to themselves or to reveal to someone else that they're some form of queer, or some type of ally. We lend them some of our strength to help them approach the task, we celebrate with them if it goes well, we commiserate with them if it goes poorly, and we support them in their choice to be counted among our ranks. Each of us who is currently out was once in exactly the same place.

Today is National Coming Out Day, and today we stop and acknowledge all the complexities of outness. We give thanks that the state of the world for outlaws like us is as good as it is, we mourn or protest its failings, and we turn our faces forward and work to make it better.

Happy Coming Out Day, everyone.
----------------------------------------

Resources:

October 03, 2006

I'm pretty sure they're kidding.

This site is a big fuck you (er, so to speak) to abstinence-only education. Props to aurora.


Dear AbstinenceOnly,

My boss and I have been carrying on a kind of abstinent non-affair for several years now (He's married.) To sublimate the sexual tension between us we like to launch billions of dollars worth of high explosives from aircraft and submarines into heavily populated urban areas in the Middle East. Afterwards we watch films of the attacks with Donnie and Dick, our officemates, who like to wear leather masks and
ball-gags while masturbating and making soft gurgling noises.

I know it doesn't sound ladylike, but looking at those explosions and imagining all those people dying in a horrific spray of blood, fire, bone, gristle, tissue and sinew... it just gets me slicker than scum off a Louisiana swamp. Then my boss, bless his soul, reaches over and gently holds my hand.

-Condoleezza R. (address withheld by request)


AbstinenceOnly.com

October 01, 2006

Hybrid Lexus SUV Civil Unions Without Possibility of Adoption

B (12:27:14 AM): women are hotter than economics

A (12:27:16 AM): ARGH

B (12:27:18 AM): because economics are boring

B (12:27:21 AM): and women are not boring

B (12:27:24 AM): unless theyre republican

B (12:27:29 AM): then theyre repressed AND boring

B (12:27:34 AM): ta daaa

A (12:30:18 AM): you are going to marry a gay republican

A (12:30:39 AM): that will make me smile

A (12:30:45 AM): we will all come to your wedding

A (12:30:49 AM): it will be white and lacy

A (12:30:52 AM): with many lilies of the valley

B (12:30:53 AM): hahaha

A (12:31:03 AM): the pickup trucks in the lot will all have "W. The President." stickers on them

B (12:31:09 AM): HAHA

B (12:31:10 AM): NO

A (12:31:11 AM): because George's daughter Barbara W. Bush will be president

B (12:31:15 AM): i will marry a homo

A (12:31:17 AM): we'll call her barbie

B (12:31:19 AM): who is NOT republican

A (12:31:22 AM): i told you gay republican

A (12:31:25 AM): that's what's up

B (12:31:28 AM): that way my life wont be a big contradiction

A (12:31:32 AM): it will be

A (12:31:39 AM): and you will be unable to adopt children

A (12:31:42 AM): because she'll think gays shouldn't be able to

A (12:31:50 AM): and youll only have a civil union

B (12:31:51 AM): hahahaha

B (12:31:55 AM): this is so depressing

A (12:31:56 AM): because she'll think gays sholdnt be able to wed

A (12:31:58 AM): and it'll be in a city hall

A (12:32:08 AM): because gays shouldn't go into churches (they'd burst into flames or something)

A (12:32:16 AM): gay republican union for you

A (12:32:23 AM): then you'll become conservative, and you'll drive an SUV

B (12:32:26 AM): THIS IS SO DEPRESSING

B (12:32:27 AM): GO AWAY

A (12:32:30 AM): your last act of rebellion will be to make it a hybrid SUV

B (12:32:32 AM): IM GOING TO JUMP OFF A ROOF NOW

B (12:32:34 AM): ahahahahaha

A (12:32:35 AM): but it will be a lexus

B (12:32:37 AM): omg

B (12:32:41 AM): can you please put this on quench?