Hope

This past Sunday (Nov. 20th) marked the 13th annual International Transgender Day of Remembrance.  My partner and I were on the planning committee for our area’s Trans* Week of Awareness and TDoR this year.  It has been a remarkable experience: I have learned a great deal; I’ve had the chance to meet and get to know so many amazing people; and I am excited to continue participating in the LGBTQ activist community here in the area.

For the vigil itself, we used balloons rather than candles – which turned out to be a good way to go as we were forced to hold the vigil inside due to inclement weather.  We place LED lights inside purple balloons.  As people walked in for the ceremony, they were given a program with a name across the top and given a balloon.  When it was time to read the names of those murdered for being Trans*, the lights were turned off and those in attendance were asked to hold the balloons down in their laps until the name they were assigned was called… at which point they (still holding on to the string attached to the balloon, of course) would release their balloon and let it float.  The visual was jarring: beautiful and heartbreaking.

I was asked by the president of SIENNA – the largest Trans* group in our area – to speak during the vigil we held for TDoR.  I knew that I wanted there to be something hopeful about TDoR, and that was the focus of my speech… Hope should walk alongside sorrow, else we risk becoming mired in sorrow.  Hope leads us forward.  I don’t do public speaking very well… so I was a shaky, uncoordinated, voice-cracking nervous wreck.  But this is the gist of what I said:

This evening we are gathered here to honor the lives lost this year – and all years past – because of bigotry, fear and hatred.  We are here to memorialize those whose lives were stolen from them because someone did not approve of their gender identity and expression.  Each of the people we honor here tonight touched the world by being in it; and their absence leaves its mark as well.  With each balloon lit here – and candles lit across the nation, and around the world – we are shining a light on their lives and illuminating the hatred and darkness that violently took these people from this world.

While today is a day to mourn and a day to memorialize the lives of these human beings who were murdered because they were trying to live lives true to who they knew they were, let us also use this day to foster and grow hope.  Hope can be found, even on days like today: though we are mourning the loss of 23 lives of Trans* individuals around the world – not including those whose deaths have not been reported, or whose murders were not confirms to be due to their gender identity and expression, or those who have suffered so much harassment and hate that they took their own lives.  There are simply too many… But, over time, we have seen the numbers dropping – this is cause for hope.  We stand here, united as a community today: students, educators, community members, community leaders, activists, allies, Trans*, cis, queer and straight – this is cause for hope.  We are having discussions, asking questions and learning from one another – this is cause for hope.

So, as we read these names and hold their lives in our thoughts and in our hearts, take the time to mourn.  Take the time to acknowledge the darkness that took these people from their families, friends and communities.  Take the time to acknowledge the darkness their absence has left.  But please, also take the time to be hopeful.  Take the time to look forward to a future that is full of love, affirmation, respect and light.  Take the time to renew your commitment to that future.  Take the time to hope.

For more information about TDoR, please visit http://www.transgenderdor.org/ – for more information on Trans* Week of Awareness, see your local LGBTQ organizations and universities in your area.

The Best

I am 28 years old.  I’m not old, but I’m no child either… which is part of the reason I feel justified in my frustration when suddenly I have an “ah-ha!” moment regarding a seemingly simple life lesson.

And I had just such an “ah-ha!” moment…

about 20 minutes ago…

regarding something my mother told me when I was 5.

I remember, when I was trucking along into elementary school, my mother told me to “do my best.”  Seems pretty standard, right? I took that to heart.  I went to school with the intent of dazzling everyone with my shoe-tying, number-counting and alphabet-reciting prowess: I was going to do my very best.  And I did.  I roamed the halls of Magnolia Elementary School feeling like the most awesome kid around… for a while.  Not long after entering school did I learn that what was expected of me was not my best… but the “best” as determined by a variety of standardized measures: standardized tests (back in my day, Kentucky used the CTBS test… and on that test I scored amazingly well… turns out I’m just a really good test-taker), standardized curriculum, standardized measures for proper mental/physical/emotional development.

Alongside all of the standardized measures of my development were all the not-so-standardized measures of behavior favored by my teachers and peers.  Those arbitrary judgments were levied to make sure I knew my place.  Yeah, according to all of those standardized tests and curricula, I was doing very well… but I needed to know that I was a poor kid, that I was my father’s daughter, that I was the dying girl’s sister.  I was never told outright that these were the judgments people had made of me… and, at the time, I don’t know that I was fully conscious of those judgments or the burdens those judgments place on me.  But there those judgments were.  They impacted the way people interacted with me, and those interactions impacted how I viewed myself.

All those tests, judgments, assumptions, measures produced a subject that was smart, developing at a fairly average rate, but disadvantaged because of my genealogy, my being poor, my being the dying girl’s sister.  I became those things.  I was constructed to be those things.  I was trained.  I was produced.

All the while I tried to do my best.  But it wasn’t my best anymore.  I spent my time trying to be the best student, the best athlete (boy, did I ever try… and boy, did I ever fail… I think I should dedicate a series of blog posts to the stories of my scars), the best test-taker, the best singer… the best cancer patient’s sister, the best at knowing my place (in public, at least).  My best fell along the wayside as I tried the best I could to be their best… tried to be the best at meeting and exceeding their expectations of what is “best.”

Lately I’ve been castigating myself for being a failure, because I haven’t been able to live up to EVERYONE’S expectation of what my best should be in any and all of the roles and identities I inhabit.  I’m 28, I work a minimum wage job, I’m still in school and have at least another 6 months ahead of me, I struggle to perform my warped, internalized notion of “best” consistently as wife, roommate, student, employee, friend, daughter, sister, activist, constituent, dissident.  And it is because I feel like I am constantly failing everyone by not performing my idea of other’s expectations of “best” every time, in every role… that I end up like this:

Those categories in which I was trying so hard to be the best don’t encompass the things at which I think it is really important that I do my best – things that make me a good person: compassion, love, self-love, humility, fairness, curiosity, empathy, willingness to change, willingness to work at life and relationships, willingness to stand against injustice.  Yeah, living in the society that we do it is important to be a good employee, to be a good student… yada, yada, yada.  But to anyone who tells me that those things are more important than being a good-fucking-person (sorry, for the f-bomb, Mom) I say, “Hogwash! I challenge you to fisticuffs!” (Okay, I won’t really challenge you to fisticuffs, but you can’t say or hear that word without cracking a smile, right?! Yeah, that’s what I thought.)

So, here I am making a St. Patrick’s Day resolution (I missed New Year’s, so sue me): I will do my best to be the best person I can be.  I promise to love, to sympathize, to empathize, to love myself (I know several of you will hold me to this one), to be humble, to be fair, to be curious, to be flexible, to work, to fight injustice… I promise to do these things better.  I promise that when I go to bed at night, my question will not be “did I do the best so-and-so wanted me to?”  Instead, it will be “did I do the best I wanted to today?”  And if the answer is no, I promise to try to do better the next time.  I am not promising these things to you.  I’m promising them to me.

I know that I am not the only one with similar baggage.  I encourage you to also find what qualities are in your eyes – your eyes and no one else’s – important to being a good person.  Find those qualities and promise yourself that you will do your best – not someone else’s idea of “best” – to do those things better.  Perhaps if we all focused on being good people, on being happy with ourselves at the end of each day, we would find ourselves not without strife, but with better ways of coping than to self-destruct individually or societally.

Yeah… my mom told me to “do my best” when I was 5.  It’s taken me 23 years to finally figure out that the key word in that phrase is “my.”

RAGE!

This post is not relevant to anything going on in current events.  This is a wholly selfish post about my body and its rage.  This is a post about menstruation.  If you don’t want to read about this perfectly normal bodily function that approximately 52% of the world’s population  experiences, then don’t read it.

Okay, those of you who have not turned away, screaming your head off because I’ve violated some Victorian sensibility about what is appropriate to talk about in public, thanks for hanging around.

My body is currently experiencing rage.  My initial inclination was to stay in bed, writhing in pain, and bargain with my body.  Briefly considered proposals include:

the bribe – “I will feed you chocolate if you stop being so angry with me.”

the sympathy play – “Body, I understand that you are upset, but can’t you see what your rage is doing to me? Food is unappealing – and you know how I love food – and my ability to sit still and look professional is compromised and… well, I just don’t understand why we can’t get along.”

the tough love routine – “Look dude.  You’re impeding progress.  You better get some act right, because if I can’t make it through the day, thanks to you, you’re gonna suffer just as much as I do.  You know that Midol that helps you out so much on days like these… yep, those are gone if I can’t go to work and get a paycheck.  Think about that before you start throwing these stupid rage-y temper tantrums.”

……

Still I can understand why my uterus is so very angry.  I would be angry too if the A-Team of Uterine Pain were attacking me.  And no, I’m not talking about the soldiers-of-fortune-but-with-a-supposed-heart-of-gold A-Team.

This is what I’m talking about:

Mr. Stabby

The Bride

B’Elanna Torres

Yeah, it's a friggin' bat'leth.  What of it?!

Yeah, it’s a friggin’ bat’leth. What of it?!

Abigail Whistler

Sonja

And The Black Knight

Because the rest of the motley crew Uterine Pain A-Team needs a good laugh now and again.

Swords and knives and arrows and bat’leths all wreaking havoc on my uterus.  They’re all, “Oh, you had things you wanted to do today? *stab* Too friggin’ bad!”  “Did you really want to look like you weren’t hit by a semi this morning? *poke*, *jab*, *rip* Good luck with that sweetie!”  “You were planning on working out today? *punch*, *kick*, *stab* Have fun on that treadmill!”

Yeah, so my uterus is pretty friggin’ angry.  Totally understandable.

Unfortunately, trying to be reasonable with my uterus and explain that I’m not the one it’s really angry at, means that a great deal of my resources are being used.  In order to maintain some semblance of functionality, I have to start rerouting power from secondary systems.  One such secondary system is my filter.  When aiding my uterus in staving off, or recovering from, the ruthless attacks of the A-Team, I do not have the energy required to make sure that the words that come from my mouth are always appropriate.   I am not necessarily extra sensitive or overly emotional when I am menstruating, I simply lack the energy required for my filter/inhibition to function correctly.  In all likelihood, what is being expressed to you when I have had to resort to diverting energy from my filter is what I feel even when my filter is operating within normal parameters, you just don’t get to hear it.

Dear Mr. Shirley – Kudos on Perpetuating Classism and Racism

Dear Haitians –

First of all, kudos on developing the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Your commitment to human rights, infrastructure, and birth control should be applauded.

As we prepare to assist you in this difficult time, a polite request: If it’s possible, could you not re-build your island home in the image of its predecessor? Could you not resort to the creation of flimsy shanty- and shack-towns? And could some of you maybe use a condom once in a while?

Sincerely,

The Rest of the World

(from: http://www.flipcollective.com/2010/01/26/if-you-rebuild-it-they-will-come-by-paul-shirley/)

Well, I don’t know about you… but I have been aching for someone to blame for the tragedy in Haiti.  Still, I just couldn’t decide at whom I should point the proverbial finger.  Then, like a 1950s superhero, professional basketball player Paul Shirley swoops down and offers clarity… an answer: blame the Haitians!  Good Lord, why didn’t I think of that sooner?  It seems so obvious now… Thank you, Mr. Shirley… because I totally need political and humanitarian advice from a professional basketball player!!  A white, middle-class, middle-American, professional basketball player, with a degree in mechanical engineering totally sounds like the dude to listen to when it comes to rebuilding a desperately impoverished nation after a major catastrophe.

Not to say that he doesn’t deserve an opinion or a voice, he has 1st amendment rights just like the rest of us, but I also have the right to call him out on his crap.  Mr. Shirley, you are feeding into the racist, classist rhetoric that damages the lives of so many, in all areas of the globe.  You have clearly not researched the political, racist and classist underpinnings of Haiti’s poverty.  You apparently do not believe in the ethic of reciprocity (you know, that really nifty thing Jesus was talking about when he said, “Do unto others…”).  You, sir, are doing nothing but perpetuating white-exceptionalism and blaming the victims of a horrific tragedy for falling victim to said tragedy.  Kudos on not just being an insensitive prick, but being a racist and classist insensitive prick… and spreading that special brand of prick-i-ness to the masses.

You, Mr. Shirley, want Haitians to not rebuild their “flimsy shanty- and shack-towns.”  Okay.  Well, I have a challenge for you: you try to find a way to build yourself an adequate house on an annual income of $660 (http://siteresources.worldbank.org/DATASTATISTICS/Resources/GNIPC.pdf).  Okay, now that you’ve built yourself a house (an exquisite mansion, I’m sure), I want you to feed, clothe, obtain clean drinking water for, educate and take care of the medical needs of yourself, another adult and, let’s say, two children.  Keep in mind you’re still working on that $660 for the whole year – and you don’t get a dime more… no one is going to help you because nobody can be sure if you will “do anything constructive” with the extra money.  Oh, crap!  I almost forgot: don’t forget to make sure you have plenty of condoms on hand!  Now try living under those circumstances your entire life.

You, Mr. Shirley, want Haitians to stop and think before they rebuild Port-au-Prince in the same place, with the same materials and leaving themselves wide open for disaster.  Answer me this: if you’re living on a grand total of $660 a year, where are you going to get the means to move? to rebuild in a way that might mitigate future disasters?

Instead of blaming the poor citizens of Haiti, of New Orleans, of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, The Maldives, Myanmar, Malaysia, Seychelles and Somalia for failing to heed warnings, perhaps we need to look at the fact that those who are poor are often relegated to geographic spaces that are more prone to disaster.  Do you really think that it is by accident that poor farmers live in flood plains?  Do you think that tornadoes knowingly seek out trailer parks?  Do you really think that poor people live in the shadow of dangerous chemical and/or nuclear plants because they really enjoy the scenery (not to mention that radiant glow!)?!

Part of the way the global society is structured in a globalized, capitalist (supposed) meritocracy involves a lot of influences pushing people considered redundant to the edges, into danger.  Through forces like real estate market values, varying access to resources, “aid” programs through the IMF and World Bank that put struggling nations in more debt, corporations’ inexplicable inability to pay people living wages, the drive of markets targeting specific consumers, and disaster “relief” profiteering – in addition to the forces of race, class, gender, sex, sexual orientation, ability, age, etc. – society actively pushes poor people in the path of oncoming disaster.  It is never a question of if the disaster will come, but when… and we don’t do a damned thing about it.  We twiddle our thumbs and wait for the opportunity to blame the victim.

So, Paul Shirley, while I applaud your commitment to turning your back on your neighbors, blaming people who are not at fault for the shit-storm in which they find themselves, and spreading your ignorance, I kindly ask you to shut up: you can dress up you ill-informed opinion and nasty hate-mongering with all the pretty words you want, you’re still a bigot and an ass.

I’m an animal: who knew? Bauer did, apparently.

So, I haven’t written anything for a while… my apologies.  But not to worry, I’m back and I’m still peeved.

South Carolina’s Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer is an asshole.  And he thinks that poor people are the human equivalent of stray animals.  Take a looksie: http://www.thestate.com/local/story/1125111.html and http://tinyurl.com/poor-equals-animal.

Oh, but he didn’t mean to “[compare] people who take public assistance to stray animals.”  Well, that’s good to know… because when I read the following, that’s what I think he’s trying to do:

“‘My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that. And so what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to curtail that type of behavior. They don’t know any better,’ Bauer said.”

He goes on to talk about poor kids’ crappy test scores, the lack of involvement of poor parents, and poor people’s fecundity as being directly related to government assistance… the “logic” – and I use the term very loosely – being that if we, as a nation, stopped giving these lazy people handouts, they’d get off their collective asses and be of use.  Nevermind that the nation’s poor are not poor of their own choosing.  Nevermind that we routinely deny opportunities to poor people by denying proper education, nutrition, childcare, birth control, access to reliable transportation, access to internet (I can’t believe how much of a necessity the web has become for job hunting), access to affordable and effective medical treatment (and, God forbid, medical prevention) etc.  Nevermind the intersectionality of issues at play: race, gender, age, ability, etc.  Nope… it is totally poor people’s fault that they are poor.

Mr. Bauer, in what decade are you living?  ‘Cause this sure as hell sounds like Reagan and his “welfare queen/young, black thug” bullshit.  Did you suffer some major head trauma, maybe?  Do you have amnesia?  No, of course you don’t… because we still see so much of that bullshit paradigm at work today.  We may call it different names… we may not call it anything at all, instead we just accept it as fact.

We see this idea at work in our discussions of Haiti.  I mean, if a nation of people is trying to dig itself out from underneath rubble, find clean drinking water, find food, who gives a flying rats ass what the nation’s literacy rate is?  The implication of this kind of discussion in conjunction with highlighting the structural instability of Port-au-Prince’s buildings and Haiti’s extreme poverty is that if they were smarter, they could have avoided this kind of catastrophe… oh, yeah, and they wouldn’t be poor anymore.  Nevermind that any assistance offered to the western hemisphere’s poorest nation is entirely conditional.  Nevermind that we (yes, we, the United States) have kept the nation in political turmoil.  Their poverty and this horrific disaster could have been totally avoided if Haitians were more educated; oh, and let’s not leave Herrnstein and Murray out of the discussion… they’d be more intelligent and better prepared if they were white people (http://tinyurl.com/amazon-bell-curve).

We also saw this idea at work in discussions of Hurricane Katrina (http://www.blogiversity.org/blogs/tftanalysis_katrina/default.aspx).  “People who are members the poor and/or Black communities are viewed by the public eye to be lazy, defective in some way, or criminal – they are seen a liminal and, thus, dangerous threats to mainstream, middle class mores”.

Bauer may have said it with a bit more gusto than we are accustomed to, but he is by no means the only espousing these kind of ideas.  The recent earthquake in Haiti and its coverage in the mainstream media and Hurricane Katrina and its coverage are examples of victim blaming in an acute situation (or what it largely perceived as acute); they highlight and bring to the fore, where they did and will temporarily stay, the “injustice” of poor, lazy people siphoning resources from the government and not using them to prepare for a disaster that was completely out of their control.

Bauer brings his “analysis” to the everyday in the most blatant terms: to maintain free and reduced-cost school lunches for poor kids is to feed stray animals.  I received free and reduced-cost lunches at school during different periods of my childhood, as did many people I know.  My family has received assistance from government programs from WIC to SSI, as have many other families I know.  I didn’t realize that these facts negated our humanity.  Then again, we are not the ones suggesting that the poor, the young, the old, the disabled, the mentally ill, the homeless, etc. go without food, shelter, clean water, warmth, medication, and access.  Bauer is… as are those coming from similar ideological stances – wow, guys… way to demonstrate compassion.  Without compassion, what is humanity worth?

Yeah, I’m pretty f***ing bitter.

Corporate Urban Farming: A New Chapter in Sustainability or A New Way to F***-over Poor People?

There has been a long-standing push for urban gardening among those who worry about urban carbon footprints and/or the emissions related to the transportation and packaging of food, those concerned with a lack of community in bustling metropolitan areas, and those who simply want locally grown food. I count myself among proponents of urban/community gardening for these reasons and myriad others. One of my favorite parts about urban/community gardening is that it is community-based and not corporate… or maybe, it’s not… (http://tinyurl.com/urban-farming-detroit).

This particular concept for rejuvenating Detroit, a city that has suffered for a good, long while, looks phenomenal. Take vacant properties (which is one thing Detroit seems to have in abundance these days) and convert them to green spaces that will enhance the quality of life for the residents of Detroit.

Okay, so… take vacant property, plant gardens/small farms and you get cleaner air, local produce and, not coincidentally, higher property values for the area… sounds like a check mark in the W column. But wait, not so fast… you want to do this on a large-scale with the involvement of corporations?! *screech*

“Fortune Magazine’s illustrator shows abandoned land in Detroit being converted into ‘cutting edge, city style farms. Solar panels and windmills power vertical growing systems that are efficient, attractive, and tourist-friendly.'” Windmills and fuel from compost – AWESOME! Efficiency – Great! Attractive – Also good! Tourist-friendly?! Ummmm…. k? This is the first tip-off that perhaps this venture isn’t necessarily all about improving the quality of life for Detroit’s residents, but more about finding a way for the corporate world to exploit a new niche market. And by “first” I mean, the next most obvious problem after the whole race/class issue…

I know, I know… All of you who have listened to my rants on why the world sucks are sitting there quoting Monty Python in your head… “Jeez, Jess! ‘There you go, bringing [race/]class into it again!'”

But my repetition makes it no less valid. A well-off (he’d have to be in order to buy up vacant property all over the place… even if it is only $3,000 an acre), white dude making decisions for a very poor city whose population is overwhelmingly black. This is a problem.

The corporate take-over of urban farming, or COMMUNITY GARDENING (nope, I’m not bitter), takes away the potential for community building and decision-making; it takes the power to make a positive change away from the individual and community. Not to mention that the driving force behind all corporate endeavors in the United States is to turn a profit. In order to generate that profit, do you think that this locally grown produce will be sold at a reasonable price to the residents of Detroit who are already suffering under the weight of poverty and lack of access? Or do you think that it will be marked up and sold to the trendy restaurants and markets that tailor to those who want to eat only locally produced food?

This is where the author of this article and I disagree:

Perhaps I spent too much time with developers and real estate people in my architectural career, but Hantz has said it all in Fortune, from his first comment about sopping up excess land and creating scarcity to his last quote about a penthouse in New York. This sure sounds like a classic real estate play to me. But if it takes unused land in a temperate part of the country with lots of water and people who need jobs, and grows local and healthy food, go for it. That’s the American way and it works.

Is it generally a good move for the environment? Yes. Does it have the potential to create jobs? Yup. Is it the American way? You betcha. Does it work? Ummm… look at the state in which Detroit is now. Does it look like the corporate, er, American way is working to you?

Info-tainment, or There’s Rarely Such a Thing as News on News Networks

Let me recount for you some of the headlines for today:

On cnn.com: “Speculation swirls around Jay Leno,” “Ford cars to read your Twitter feed,” “Kate’s ultimate revenge,” “8 Celebrity comebacks to watch for in 2010

On msnbc.msn.com: “Priscilla Presley: Elvis would be preaching now,” “Americans love dogs more than cats,” “The Secret Life of Tiger Woods

On foxnews.com (yeah, I know…): see the entire “Features and Faces” section… that’s assuming that you would even venture to their website

On abcnews.go.com: “Carrie Underwood’s Award-Winning Slip,” “Jon Loves Girlfriend ‘More Than I Do Kate’

And because I don’t watch television, I get my news from The Huffington Post, where these headlines appear:

TMZ: Angry Conan Gets Choice of 12:05 or Walking,” “James Cameron’s Next Project May Be About Hiroshima

Or how about the fact that all the above have whole sections dedicated to entertainment news

I just can’t make myself care about these things.  I don’t care about the new frenemies in Hollywood.  I don’t care if some rich jackass is cheating on his/her spouse.  I don’t care about the First Lady’s wardrobe.  I just don’t give a flying rats ass about this stuff and I find it rather insulting that these things are billed as “news”.

I will grant that these networks do run actual news stories… but they are often run with such a sensationalist tack that it is a serious cut against any sense of journalistic integrity they may have.  Yes, often the news is depressing.  Yes, sometimes people need a little levity (which last time I checked, we had sitcoms for that).  Does this mean that the news has to be boiled down to “America good, terrorism bad”?  Or “Tiger Woods has screwed X number of women (and/or – *gasp* – men!)”?  Or “Michelle Obama is wearing the same outfit today as she did 4 months ago”?

I want to know what is going on in the world.  How can I, or anyone else, help make the world a better place if we don’t know what is going on in it?  I want to know about war, about famine, about activism, about abuse, about governmental upheavals… I want to know when someone is doing something good that works.  And I want to know these things without being force-fed the patriotism I’m supposed to feel for a nation that cares so little for its constituent population.  Is that too much to ask?!

* Please note that I started this post on Fri., Jan 8… and the “news” items referenced above are from that date.  Thanks, Management.

Phffftt… Marriage *eye roll*

The same-sex marriage bill in New Jersey failed to pass today and a lot of people are really pissed (http://tinyurl.com/marriage-equality-NJ).  Am I moderately irritated? Yes, yes I am.  Am I super pissed? Nope, can’t say that I am.  Why, you ask?  Well, let me tell you…

Marriage is not the end all and be all of legitimacy.  To declare that the political legitimacy of a group of people rests in their ability to obtain a sheet of paper from an office of the state that, in all reality, couldn’t give two shits about the profound nature of your love is pretty crap-tacular… not mention that it is and/or has been sexist, heterosexist, racist, and feeding into the white, middle/upper-class, patriarchal hegemony… among other things.  Not that I’m bitter or anything.  Besides, it’s not like “traditional marriage” has been treated with a consistent degree of respect through the eons [see: Gov. Mark Sanford, Sen. John Ensign or, hell, for those less politically inclined (which, apparently, includes every friggin’ mainstream media outlet), Tiger Woods!].  Where do these jokers who can’t keep it in their pants long enough to utter the phrase “marriage is a sacred union between one man and one woman” get off telling anyone else that their commitments are more or less valid than their own?  Just asking…

Still, the sanctity of marriage isn’t the point.  Or, at least, it’s not my point.  I find it insulting that LGBTQITSQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Intersex, Two-Spirit, and Questioning… I’m probably leaving someone out… my apologies, if that is the case) rights have been boiled to legally sanctioned relationships.  How does this assist those who are not in relationships?  Or those who simply do not desire the lifetime commitment of a “traditional marriage”?  How does this keep discrimination against anyone who doesn’t wear a sign that says, “hey, everybody… I’m here, I’m queer, and I’m legally married,” from happening?  How does this keep violence against “sexual Others” from happening?  What does this fight do, other than to argue all of the ways in which the “gay community” wants to conform to the heterosexist matrix?

Additionally, do you see who, largely, constitutes the proponent community for same-sex marriage?  White, middle- or upper-class, able-bodied, gays and lesbians and their white, middle- or upper-class, able-bodied allies.  That’s not to say that everyone who supports same-sex marriage falls into this category, or that all people within that category support same-sex marriage, but it would be idiotic to not acknowledge the correlation.  This is the face of the LGBTQITSQ communities.  This ignores class, race, ability, etc.  This is problematic.  This deepens and widens the chasms within and between queer communities; it creates a privileged class of queers… the class that most closely resembles the rest of “middle America.”

It took until 2009 to get the Matthew Shepard Act passed (http://www.mercurynews.com/columns/ci_13628360).  I would prefer efforts be focus on the enforcement of that Act, on discouraging discrimination, on working with queer communities to make sure all voices are heard, all bellies are full, all heads have roofs over them, etc. than for all of the visible, mainstream efforts go toward marriage.

I’m not sayin’.  I’m just sayin’…

Introduction and Disclaimer

Welcome to my blog!

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2. Disclaimer:

This blog, based on current events, will contain scathing political commentary, my twisted sense of humor, occasional swearing, and lots of snarkiness.  On rare occasion, when I find something good going on in the world, there might even be praise.  Understand that I am a “Debbie Downer,” if there is an opportunity to expose the ways in which we (you, my potentially reluctant readers, and me) are contributing to the oppression of others, I will do it… and – being raised Baptist (don’t worry, I’m recovering) – I can dish out one hell of a guilt trip.

Okay…

1. Introduction CHECK!

2. Disclaimer CHECK!

Thanks and stay tuned… if you dare