Monday, December 20, 2010

Know Your Bigots: Virginia Delegate Robert G. Marshall

Now that the federal government no longer has the power to keep openly LGBQ citizens from serving in the military, America's bigots are looking for other ways to deny us the right to serve.

The face of a hater.


Under the claim of states' rights, Virginia state congressional delegate Robert G. Marshall wants to keep "active homosexuals" out of Virginia's National Guard:

[Marshall] said the Constitution reserves states with the authority to do so and that he'll introduce a bill in the state General Assembly next year that ensures the "the effect of the 1994 federal law banning active homosexuals from America's military forces will apply to the Virginia National Guard."

"With the repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell,' President Obama seeks to pay back his homosexual political supporters," the Prince William County Republican said, echoing a sentiment shared by many of the repeal's most ardent opponents. "This policy will weaken military recruitment and retention, and will increase pressure for a military draft."

"The Constitution never would have been ratified if states were not [guaranteed] unqualified control of the militia, now called the National Guard," he said.

Yes. President Obama is definitely "paying back" his queer supporters with this one. And in the alternate universe where the mere presence of queers nancies up a government's military enough to actually affect its performance, I'm sure the repeal of DADT will have a severe and fierce effect on our military's ability to do ANYTHING. Y'all, these queers in the military are going to mess everything up so badly that we are going to have to bring back the DRAFT. Let the hand-wringing commence! (No limp wrists, though).

It's certainly not the case that in other countries where queers serve openly, their militaries operate just fine:

"President Obama and a majority in Congress are conducting a social experiment with our troops and our national security while Americans in uniform are fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and, indeed, might be called into battle in Korea," [Marshall] said.

And it's certainly not the case that many in the U.S. military's leadership support letting queers serve openly, or that most people currently on active duty in the U.S. military also support letting queers serve openly. I mean, why take facts into account when bashing "active homosexuals" is just so much more fun?

So at this point, Marshall's brought up states' rights and the Constitution. Could we also get a little Founding Fathers name drop? Heck yes we can:

Though the "don't ask, don't tell" policy and the statutory ban date only from the 1990s, Mr. Marshall argues that it really tosses aside 232 years of American military tradition, saying "the practice of barring homosexual participation in the armed forces dates back to the American Revolution, when Gen. George Washington commanded the Continental Army."

"Gen. Washington did not tolerate personal behavior by his troops that was incompatible with the character traits he expected from his soldiers in exercising their military duty," he said. "In March of 1778, Washington discharged, via public rebuke, a soldier who had attempted a homosexual act with another soldier and then lied about it under oath."

Marshall is certainly correct in using Washington as a proper example on moral matters. In dealing with these sensitive topics, we should always look to men like Washington and certainly must never question their judgment as something that might also have been influenced by the culture of their time. If it was good enough for the late 18th century, it was good enough for the Founding Fathers; therefore, it's good enough for us today!

I'll tell you what the commonwealth of Virginia is NOT gonna do! They are not gonna let the Feds tell us we must tolerate f*gs serving in our military, boy howdy. States' rights!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Open Letter to Michael Moore Regarding Wikileaks

Dear Michael Moore,

I heard on the radio this morning that you posted bail for Julian Assange. I wanted to believe it wasn't true, because a lot of the time I like what you do. So I got online and read your letter explaining why you did it. Most of the letter would be great if it were relevant to anything having to do with why Assange is in jail. Unfortunately, it's NOT relevant. Assange is not actually being prosecuted for anything related to Wikileaks. He's being held on sexual assault charges.

Let's take a minute to examine the most problematic part of your letter.

For those of you who think it's wrong to support Julian Assange because of the sexual assault allegations he's being held for, all I ask is that you not be naive about how the government works when it decides to go after its prey. Please -- never, ever believe the "official story." And regardless of Assange's guilt or innocence (see the strange nature of the allegations here), this man has the right to have bail posted and to defend himself. I have joined with filmmakers Ken Loach and John Pilger and writer Jemima Khan in putting up the bail money -- and we hope the judge will accept this and grant his release today.

I love that your very first line of reasoning on this issue is, "all I ask is that you not be naive... Please -- never, ever believe the 'official story.'"

Unfortunately, as ridiculous as you think the charges against Assange are, some of these charges - if true - are clearly assault, no matter how you want to look at it. Sticking your penis into a sleeping woman is rape.

What's naive about wanting to investigate rape allegations?

Seriously. What's naive about wanting to investigate rape allegations? Or is Julian Assange exempt from rape laws just because he does Wikileaks?

It's awful to think that these charges might be false. But how much more awful would it be if these charges are true? How much more awful would you feel as a human being after posting a blog about how these women are clearly just making it all up, as pawns of the American government, working through the Swedish government, to recruit two women who have already previously had sex with Assange, to bring up false rape charges and have their names sullied across the globe as sluts who are just mad they let themselves get f*cked without using a condom?

Why are you so quick to assume these women might be lying? Could it be because they are accusing a powerful man of sexually assaulting them? The way you've handled this issue is no different from how the press handles pretty much any woman who alleges that a powerful man assaulted or harassed her. We know the incidence of false rape reports is similar to most other crimes. It's low. On top of that fact, we also know that SO MANY rapes are never reported. Why do you think that is? Could it be because of - dare I say it - the way that people like you view women who DO have the courage to speak out? These women could be lying. Statistically it's actually much more likely that they are not.

But we can't know for sure, and it's not up to any of us. At this point, it's up to the courts. The ultimate point of this letter is that this is between no one but the plaintiffs, the defendant, and the Swedish courts. Assange has the right to bail and such if it's within his rights in Swedish courts. Assange also ought to have the right to a just trial. But so do the women he allegedly assaulted.

Follow the power in this situation. The U.S. government is powerful, and so are the UK and Swedish ones also, I'm sure. But Assange has power as well. He's not helpless. He is a hero to millions. He did something internationally renowned. He'll make it after this just fine. And until someone else brings a case against him, Sweden can't hold him in jail for any other charges besides the assault ones on which he's been brought up.

Are you comfortable with the fact that you might just have bailed out a rapist just because he did something awesome? Or should you maybe think about the whole picture next time before you act? Nothing you've done here is atypical of any other victim-blamer. For that, you and every other person who mindlessly defends Assange should be ashamed.

There are many things that make liberals different from conservatives and progressives from neocons. One of those things is liberals' recognition of our duty to the victimized, to the poor, to those who are not in power. Today you have stepped away from those important moral values. Our right to government transparency must be defended, but we will never truly be free if that right comes at the potential expense of survivors.

Monday, December 13, 2010

"Gay and homeless: In plain sight, a largely hidden population"

Good article from the LA Times examines the situation of homeless LGBTQ youth in Los Angeles. I'm so grateful for the courage of these youth to share their stories with the world.

When are people like AJ and Alex, Jonathan, and Christopher and going to be a priority for us? We already know that poverty disproportionately affects queer and trans folk and that our youth are more likely to be homeless for a number of different reasons. While we're busy worrying about whether we can get our partner's benefits through marriage or whether we can join the military so we can go to college, we should not be forgetting those among us who are some of the most vulnerable.

And YouTube videos about how it gets better, as important as that message might be, are not enough, either.

It's (way past) time for our movement(s) to re-evaluate what we are really fighting for. Issues relating to youth, the poor, and elders must not be allowed to fall through the cracks. We say we are working for equality. What kind of equality is it, and who, exactly, gets access to it?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Studies illuminate challenges for LGBTQ youth

Two studies have been released that illustrate some of the challenges that LGBTQ youth face. This article from CNN describes some of the specific findings and talks about where more research needs to be done. When you consider how things were in the past, it's clear we've made some progress, but there's still so much that needs to be improved when it comes to how our younger siblings are treated.

If you're already familiar with what queer kids have to deal with, some of the findings from these studies won't be a surprise to you. What struck me most about this article, however, was the (multiple) stories about school administrators participating in bullying queer youth. Those people should be completely ashamed of themselves. If adults can't be trusted to respect the humanity of the people they serve, they don't deserve the privilege of working with youth.

It's nice to see coverage on the bullying issue that's specific to young LGBTQ people, and it's especially nice to see good coverage of social science studies. I hope to see more press like this article in the future.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ask the Celebrity 'Expert:' Janelle Monae

Janelle Monae made a video post for 365gay.com in response to a mother's question about a daughter who wants to "dress like a boy."

Have I ever talked on here about how awesome Janelle Monae is? Because she is.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Stonewall Days in Columbus

On October 7th and 8th, the Wexner Center will be screening the film Stonewall Uprising, which is about the Stonewall riots. In advance of this screening, Douglas Whaley, Professor of Law Emeritus at Ohio State, has written a blog entry for the Wex about the beginnings of the gay rights movement in Columbus. It's quite interesting to learn about how things played out on a local level. Read more about our history!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell," Race, Gender, and Invisibility

Did you know that the enforcement of the U.S. military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy disproportionately affects people of color?

Servicemembers United, the nation’s first organization devoted to gay and lesbian troops, had pored over years of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” discharge data and issued a press release indicating the startling facts: minority gay and lesbian service members were being discharged at a rate disproportionately higher than their white counterparts. According to the data, in 2008 45 percent of troops discharged under DADT were minorities, while they made up 30 percent of the service overall.

How, exactly, was this finding overlooked by our movement's leadership? How did we miss this opportunity to create a more inclusive queer movement and at the same time to form potential alliances across the social justice spectrum? In our discussions of the filibuster, how did we lose sight of its effect on the DREAM Act? How did we miss this opportunity to build partnerships between groups driven by varying identity politics around issues we should all care about?

To quote former Marine Corps officer Julianne Sohn, who is Korean-American and was discharged under DADT:
"The military still has issues with rage and gender among the ranks, and DADT highlights these problems,” says Sohn. “Often times people just try to frame DADT as a gay issue when in reality it is also about race and gender."

The article I've cited here has some great analysis on our movement, its problems dealing with race, and DADT generally: Black and Brown and Discharged All Over (Metro Weekly)

We need to say something to our leadership about this issue. We need to get refocused. No matter how we feel about the military, we cannot ignore the bigotry that DADT represents. We also cannot neglect the LGBT community's own faults and flaws.


On the topic of visibility within our movement: I'd also like to see some discussion of DADT somewhere in the media (or just somewhere) that mentions bisexuals or other queer people at least one time. Whenever the people who DADT affects are discussed, it's always "gays and lesbians" or just "gays." This linguistic flaw is symptomatic of the invisibility of bisexuals and queers in the larger LGBT movement. For that matter, who is even talking about the difficulties that trans people face in the military?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Thoughts for Celebrate Bisexuality Day

This post was written for Raspberry Mousse for International Celebrate Bisexuality Day/Bi Pride Day, which was Sept. 23. If you'd like to read what other RM contributors had to say, read the full post here.

What am I going to be doing this Celebrate Bisexuality Day? I'll be celebrating with members and allies of Columbus, Ohio's bi community. We'll be eating, drinking, dancing, and generally having a blast all weekend long. Few people know it, but this Midwestern "cowtown" is home to a huge and diverse population of queers. This day offers a time to reflect on all the brave and fierce people I love who love more than one gender. I'll be thinking about the pansexuals who love roller derby, the bisexuals who have provided me with advice on navigating non-monogamy, the monogamous queers who are deeply commited to each other and whose love is inspiring to those around them. I'll be thinking about the fledgling student organization that I, with the help of several other dreamers, started at our local university for all of us who are attracted to more than one gender and our allies. I'm so excited to see our dream, having taken root, really start to blossom. I hope to see it continue to flourish. Our community-based group is growing, too. We are supporting each other, networking, making friends, and educating our city.

But life's not all great over here in bi-land. Along with the great things mentioned above, I'll also be thinking about how I remarked at a recent community meeting that it's 2010 and sometimes it feels like we are fighting the same battles over and over again. We continue to remain frighteningly invisible when the topic turns to "LGBT" issues in the media or scientific research or, hell, in mainstream gay organizing. On this day, I'll be keeping in mind the people I've talked to so far in my queer organizing work who can't come out, still, for fear of their parents - or children. Unfortunately, we continue to face hatred not only from our straight friends but from our gay and lesbian ones as well. I'll be thinking about how people who love more than one gender are still being scapegoated as disease-spreaders, as fence-sitters, as barsexuals, and worse. I could go on. Furthermore, my perception of where we stand as a community is deeply colored by my location. In other countries, we are still being put to death. Amir Hossein's supposed heterosexual privilege didn't protect him from government-sanctioned murder.

In the spirit of celebration and recognition, it's important to remember that despite having our work cut out for us, we have still come a long way. This day is a great time to remind ourselves of the famous people who have come out in the past few years as bi/pan/queer, increasing visibility internationally. It's also a great time to check out media projects by fellow bisexuals - like FenceSitter Films - that are working to change the rhetoric. Finally, it's a great time to brush up on our history. I'll be thinking about all my heroes, the people who came out as bi back when GLBT wasn't even an acronym, and how that period wasn't as long ago as it may seem to the younger generation. I'll be thinking about all the ones we lost to HIV/AIDS before we could even get Reagan to utter its name. I'll be picking up my copies of Bi Any Other Name and Getting Bi so I can once again study where we've been, how far we've actually come. We might not have this holiday at all if you hadn't been there to start it in the first place, and for that we are so grateful. My feet might not be dancing if it weren't for you. Thank you.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Phenomenon of the Bisexual Male: Now on CNN! (And unrelated hockey news).

CNN decided to jump on the bandwagon for the latest "Where are all the bisexual men?" meme. Their article is called, "The last person out of the closet? The bisexual male." It talks about a lot of the difficulties bisexuals face while offering few answers or followups to common stereotypes. For instance:

Some say that coming out as bisexual has been easier for women than men. In recent years, several Hollywood female stars have proudly declared their bisexuality. Female celebrities like Lady Gaga, Lindsay Lohan and HBO "True Blood" actress Anna Paquin have said they are bisexual. "It's [female bisexuality] something that's tolerated because sometimes men see it as entertaining and exciting for them," said Denise Penn, director of the American Institute of Bisexuality.

Or:

When Winn was a teenager in the 1980s, public support toward gays and bisexuals plummeted as the HIV panic stigmatized the gay community. Bisexuals were blamed for spreading the virus to the straight population, experts said. Winn realized then there was an unexpected upshot of bisexuality."I always had this heterosexual relationship to fall back on," he said. "I could choose to ignore the rest and put it on the back shelf."


Yep, good job handlng common stereotypes about bisexuals, CNN.

I especially like this part (</sarcasm>):

The academic world has also questioned the idea of bisexuality. In 2005, a controversial study from professors in Toronto, Canada, and Illinois reported males identifying as bisexual were typically not aroused by both sexes. Most of the bisexual men surveyed were physically aroused by images of men instead of women, the study said. The bisexual -- and gay -- community lashed out against the study, but the study did spur more research on bisexuality.

ACTUALLY, the reason we "lashed out against this study" was not so much because we didn't like the results as the fact that it was TERRIBLE SCIENCE. But good job making us look hysterical and making it look like J. Michael Bailey has a lot of academic credibility. ALSO, there has been very little work done on male bisexuality, but the academic work that has been done on bi women does not "question the idea of bisexuality." On the contrary - it does a fairly good job of demonstrating proof of female sexual fluidity. Now, if we could just get some studies done like this for men. But I digress.

Here is, perhaps, the saddest part of the article:

The couple says they've grown closer over time, but like any marriage, two people can have differences -- including sexual orientation. Christine Winn is straight, and she has been supportive of her husband, who is openly bisexual. "I don't think about it [his bisexuality] as a part I have to accept," she said. "It's just a part of him like any other husband who loses their socks on the floor or doesn't take the trash out." [emphasis mine]


That's just so sad. This woman is married to this man and she has this viewpoint? Just... so sad.

In an effort to distract you from the fail of this article and the sadness of that last quote, how about some other news? Brent Sopel, a hockey player for the Chicago Blackhawks (who actually just got traded to Atlanta), marched in the Pride parade in Chicago last week. He said that he thinks Pride is "awesome, amazing," and he "brought the Stanley Cup and raised it over his head no less than 10 times along the route." Good job, Brent Sopel. Thanks for being an ally. Keep it awesome.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Gawker et al.: We are indeed here, and yes, we're also queer.

It is so not even worth my time to try to go through this post from Gawker and point out all the places it goes wrong. Its problematic assertions can easily be countered with facts from things like the Wikipedia article on bisexuality, or any "Bi 101"-type information. Gawker readers and commenters could also try reading the list of bisexual people, which includes famous bi men. Wow! Those things sure were hard to find! </sarcasm>

I'm just going to say, as a bisexual female who is also VERY queer (and very active in queer communities), I truly do not appreciate some dude saying that I and other bisexuals are "basically just straight people who like to get a little funky." I am not the exception to the rule, either. I am one of so many.

And, on behalf of all my male-identified friends who are attracted to more than one gender, I'm outraged that this post was even published in the first place.

It's gross and offensive to me that a post like this would be written during this time, during the month of our pride. This is the time to celebrate our diversity, not to put it down. It is especially disgusting considering the recent reports that have surfaced regarding the murder of a bisexually-identified man in Iran. Funny, I guess the Iranian authorities didn't feel he was "basically just [a] straight [person]."

The validity of male bisexuality was also discussed on The View this week. If you are paying any attention to the way those conversations often go when in the hands of the uneducated and unqualified, you probably won't be surprised to learn that the discussion was not a positive one. See more about that show, and GLAAD's response, here.

Posts like the one from Gawker, shows like The View, and unthinkable actions like those of the Iranian security forces are exactly why we need to keep marching. Why we need to keep writing our complaints. Why we need to do everything we can to stay vocal and visible.

Sometimes, all the work is simply exhausting. There were several of us who busted our butts working to get things ready for the bi/pan/queer contingent at the Columbus Pride Parade this past Saturday. I'm still catching up on sleep. The morning of the parade, it was raining and humid. As soon as we started marching, the sun came out, and it got really hot. All of the work, all of the weather, it was all worth it. I have marched in Columbus Pride for the past three years, and I have paid careful attention to the reaction of the crowd. Stony faces on the part of some gays, but others applaud and cheer when they see us. What makes it the most worth it for me is the people who see our colors, who see our message of visibility and love, and see themselves represented. Bisexuals watching the parade will see us and start jumping up and down and screaming and saying, "THAT'S ME! I'M BISEXUAL! THAT'S ME!"

There are so many reasons to march. I walk for all my pleasantly surprised bisexuals watching the parade. I walk for all the people who are not out and who can't be. I walk for the people who are out but not connected. I walk for the people who don't have the time. I walk in tribute to my heroes, the ones who have done so much for my generation already. I walk for the memory of the ones who are no longer with us. I wish that all my reasons for walking were positive. But I also walk because we need to be seen. I walk because it's 2010 and I still hear lesbians and gays putting us down. I walk because people are still trying to tell me that my orientation is a phase, oppressive, for show, not real... I walk to remind you that we are part of this community, too, whether you like it or not. We are not going away. On the contrary. Our community is only growing. Someday, people like this Gawker blogger are going to have to grow up and deal with their ignorance.

By the way, the author of that post can be reached at brian@gawker.com .

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bi/Pan/Queer Contingent at Columbus Pride Parade

Are you attracted to more than one gender? Do you live in the Central Ohio area, or will be there this weekend? The Bi/Pan/Queer Contingent for the Columbus Pride Parade wants YOU!

Join us this Tuesday, June 15th, 7 PM, at Travonna Coffee House in the meeting room for a sign and banner making craft party. There will be creativity and (of course) copious amounts of glitter.

E-mail columbusbinetwork at gmail dot com to RSVP for marching in the parade or to get more info. An RSVP is requested for a better head count, but not required. However, T-shirts may be made, and you may miss out on one if you don't RSVP! We will meet to march in the parade on Saturday, June 19 at 9:45 AM on the Statehouse lawn, at the corner of State and High downtown.

Need more convincing? Check out photos from previous years' groups here (2008) and here (2009).

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dear Dan Savage

I read your statement in response to accusations of transphobia related to one of your recent columns.

Sorry, but just because you have a friend who is trans doesn't mean you are not transphobic.

Seriously, it made me lol irl 4rlz that the second sentence of this statement is, "One of my best friends is trans." Seriously? You genuinely, honestly think that your behavior is excused because you have a trans friend? Is this whole statement supposed to be satire? I'm really not sure.

Also, is it rational and not disrespectful of me to wonder if every single gay person I meet is actually bi or even straight? Because I know a lot of people who came out as gay and then realized that they were bi. I even know a couple who came out as gay and now identify as straight.

Finally, if I end up in a relationship with someone who is perceived to be the "opposite sex," it doesn't make me any less in the queer "boat." It doesn't belittle my years of queer activism. It doesn't invalidate anything about my queer identity. It does, however, show me who's intolerant and biphobic within the gay community, and you, my friend, are still a shining example of such ignorance. You can't even make a statement saying that you're not biphobic without throwing in some biphobia for good measure.

There's so much more I could say about what's problematic here, but the fact that you even made this statement in the first place tells me that efforts to convince you that you're wrong are pretty futile.

In conclusion: I'm not sure why anyone still takes you seriously.

Oh, and I've got an F word for you, but I don't think it's the same one you were talking about.

Bi Avenger

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Problem with Bill O'Reilly (& GLAAD)

1. Surprise! Bill O'Reilly is still a jerk. Here is the video, in case you have not seen it. There's info in that first link on how to contact Fox about O'Reilly.

2. Surprise! GLAAD still thinks the phrases "gay," "gay and lesbian," and "LGBT" are interchangeable (see first link). Haven't we gone over this before? Oh, right, we have. This ad specifically showed a young man who was romantically interested in another man. Bill O'Reilly said nothing about lesbians. If gay is going to be an umbrella term for LGBT, why throw in the "gay and lesbian?" Either Bill was talking about the "gay"/LGBT community, or he was not...

Some people may consider this to be nitpicking. I wouldn't bring this issue up if I didn't see it happening all the time. Groups like HRC and GLAAD are constantly using "gay and lesbian" and LGBT interchangeably. Pro tip: They do not mean the same thing. One recent example is the discussion of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. That issue affects anyone who is not straight, but do you hear about it applying to anyone besides gay men and lesbians?

I would also argue that it is perfectly O.K. to be nitpicky about GLAAD's language because GLAAD is an organization that is basically devoted to being nitpicky about language.

It's with good reason that we "nitpick." Language is very powerful. If bacon and tomato are going to be part of the BLTG (heh heh) community, then we have to be included in the community, in both word and deed. Then again, maybe that's too much to ask from a group that still calls itself the "Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation."

Saturday, May 22, 2010

"Once again the 'T' in LGBT is silenced"

You may have heard about the Malawian couple that has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for the "unnatural act" of being in love. But did you know that one of the partners in this couple identifies as a woman? Read this article for more details.

It would be really nice if the stories of BTQIA people were told according to what is authentic and true to each person, instead of us being left out for whatever reason. Was this editorial sanitizing, or simply a lack of proper investigation? Coverage of lesbian and gay stories also leaves something to be desired, but the rest of us get the short end of the stick even more often, especially when our identities are erased. This problem would be easy to fix, so why is it still a problem?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Dear Democrats

Dear Democrats,

We need to talk.

This may be a hard letter to read, but I need to figure out if this relationship is still healthy for me.

For the longest time, I thought we had something special. Remember how much fun we used to have back when we were young, and control of the Congress and the presidency was just a crazy dream? You always used to ask me for help, and you knew I'd never turn you down.

You were so adorable when we were courting. Sure, you never really understood me, but I liked that you seemed to try. The White House cocktail parties were totally fun, and that Easter Egg Roll is something I'll always cherish. Or remember the time you let me march in the Inaugural parade! Other than that whole Rick Warren thing, I really thought we had a connection.

I know you kept telling me that you weren't ready for marriage, but I was willing to wait since you had promised so much else in the meantime.

But now, I've kind of had it. I'm just not getting what I need out of this relationship. You rarely call me anymore, and when you do it's to ask for money. We talked about joining the military together -- but now it seems like you are flaking on that commitment. You promised to protect me from the homophobes at work, but you don't seem to be in a hurry to actually do it. And that Department of Justice brief thing was just cruel. I'll never understand why you did that.

It almost seems like you're embarrassed by me in public. I know not everyone in your family approves of us, but before you got your new job, it seemed like you didn't care what they thought and were always ready to fight for me. Now, it's like you're a different person.

Please don't take this the wrong way. I still think we have a future. I want us to have a future. But I need this relationship to be healthy for both of us. And I just can't get excited anymore by your empty promises and half-gestures.

I need you to take a real step. You know what I'm talking about -- the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell.

I still worry every day that I can be fired in 29 states just because I'm gay. And my friend who is transgender can be fired in 38 states. I know you can do it. You've helped protect people from employment discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, disability and many other characteristics. Each time my friend and I have been left behind. It's our turn. ENDA's time has come.

It's our turn to be welcomed into the military as well. I want to serve my country openly and proudly. I was so excited when you promised you would repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell this year after 17 long years of putting up with it.

Now, I can't even get you to talk about DADT.

You promised to change. I know that you can. But why should I stand by your side when you can't keep your promises to me?

I get that you're scared. But I'm scared too -- scared of losing you. You need to prove to me that you really care. You need to finally give me the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell, like you promised.

I have enough disappointments in my life. I need you to not be one of them.

Love,
The Gays
(and all those who love and care about them)


Add your name to this letter if you agree.

From the Courage Campaign, Credo Mobile, AMERICABlog & Open Left.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Inquiring NFL minds wants to know...

In the recent NFL pre-draft process, Geno Atkins (who is now playing for the Bengals) was asked if he is gay or straight.

Though it was reported on other blogs that it was the Bengals that asked this question, Atkins doesn't specifically say that it was the Bengals that asked it. But it doesn't really matter which team it was that asked. What matters is that queerness has absolutely NOTHING to do with your ability to play football. Sometimes I can't believe it's 2010.

H/T Matthew Yglesias.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Lesbian set to become Ohio’s first out state lawmaker

Wow, I almost missed this!


Nickie Antonio tonight won the Democratic primary in the District 13 Ohio State House race that drew no Republican opponents for the fall. With only token opposition in the general election this November, Antonio is poised to become the state’s first openly LGBT state legislator. [via gaypolitics.com]


Totally awesome. I hope she wins. This is an important door to open, and I can't wait to see what happens from here.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Article: "Why are so many girls lesbian or bisexual?"

It's articles like this one that are the reason I want to go into social science / sexuality research... although it occurs to me that no matter how much good science there is, magazines like Psychology Today will still probably find a way to pervert it (pun only sort of intended).

If you can't find the flaws in this article, time to go back to school.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Heather Cassils: Lady Gaga's Prison Yard Girlfriend, on Gaga, Queerness, Gender, Media, Activism, & Art


Out magazine did an interview with the "prison yard girlfriend" from Lady Gaga's Telephone video. Heather Cassils had some interesting & great things to say.



Check it out!


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Short North covered in New York Times (again!)

This is my neighborhood. Check it out:
A D.J. spins old-school beats in one corner, bottles of white wine chill on ice in another, and abstract paintings hang on the lofty white walls at the Mahan Gallery. If not for the occasional red Buckeyes football jersey in the crowd, you might never guess that this is Ohio. But Ohio it is — Columbus, to be precise. And the Mahan is just one spot in this city’s Short North neighborhood that is challenging all preconceived notions of what passes for cool in the Midwest.

Read the rest!

And here is the writeup from a couple years ago :)

Desmond Tutu: "In Africa, a step backward on human rights"

This opinion article by Desmond Tutu came out a few days ago, and it's been posted in a lot of places, but just in case you haven't seen it, I wanted to share it here.
Hate has no place in the house of God. No one should be excluded from our love, our compassion or our concern because of race or gender, faith or ethnicity -- or because of their sexual orientation. Nor should anyone be excluded from health care on any of these grounds. In my country of South Africa, we struggled for years against the evil system of apartheid that divided human beings, children of the same God, by racial classification and then denied many of them fundamental human rights. We knew this was wrong. Thankfully, the world supported us in our struggle for freedom and dignity.

It is time to stand up against another wrong.

Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people are part of so many families. They are part of the human family. They are part of God's family. And of course they are part of the African family. But a wave of hate is spreading across my beloved continent. People are again being denied their fundamental rights and freedoms. Men have been falsely charged and imprisoned in Senegal, and health services for these men and their community have suffered. In Malawi, men have been jailed and humiliated for expressing their partnerships with other men. Just this month, mobs in Mtwapa Township, Kenya, attacked men they suspected of being gay. Kenyan religious leaders, I am ashamed to say, threatened an HIV clinic there for providing counseling services to all members of that community, because the clerics wanted gay men excluded.

Uganda's parliament is debating legislation that would make homosexuality punishable by life imprisonment, and more discriminatory legislation has been debated in Rwanda and Burundi.

These are terrible backward steps for human rights in Africa.

Our lesbian and gay brothers and sisters across Africa are living in fear.

And they are living in hiding -- away from care, away from the protection the state should offer to every citizen and away from health care in the AIDS era, when all of us, especially Africans, need access to essential HIV services. That this pandering to intolerance is being done by politicians looking for scapegoats for their failures is not surprising. But it is a great wrong. An even larger offense is that it is being done in the name of God. Show me where Christ said "Love thy fellow man, except for the gay ones." Gay people, too, are made in my God's image. I would never worship a homophobic God.

"But they are sinners," I can hear the preachers and politicians say. "They are choosing a life of sin for which they must be punished." My scientist and medical friends have shared with me a reality that so many gay people have confirmed, I now know it in my heart to be true. No one chooses to be gay. Sexual orientation, like skin color, is another feature of our diversity as a human family. Isn't it amazing that we are all made in God's image, and yet there is so much diversity among his people? Does God love his dark- or his light-skinned children less? The brave more than the timid? And does any of us know the mind of God so well that we can decide for him who is included, and who is excluded, from the circle of his love?

The wave of hate must stop. Politicians who profit from exploiting this hate, from fanning it, must not be tempted by this easy way to profit from fear and misunderstanding. And my fellow clerics, of all faiths, must stand up for the principles of universal dignity and fellowship. Exclusion is never the way forward on our shared paths to freedom and justice.

The writer is archbishop emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.

Source

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Australia is first to recognise 'non-specified' gender

Australia may have made gender history this week, as the New South Wales government lays claim to being the first in the world to recognise an individual’s sex as officially “not specified”.

This milestone in the evolution of gender queer came about with the issuing of a ‘Sex Not Specified’ Recognised Details Certificate in place of a birth certificate to Norrie (also known as norrie mAy-Welby) a resident of Sydney.

Read more!


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Jason Mraz Vows to Fight for Equality + Jim Tressel is Full of Win

If this happened in Columbus, who would be the celebrity? O.A.R.? RJD2? Bow Wow? ...Dwight Yoakam?
I guess Rascal Flatts could sort of count. We know they're already allies.
Not really sorry to say, I think Jim Tressel might be the closest person we've had to a Columbus celebrity ally. Read an interview with him in this month's Outlook Monthly. This interview was featured in ESPN's Big Ten blog. Tressel is apparently the first Division 1 coach to give an interview to a queer publication. F yeah, Ohio State. By the way, has anyone else noticed that outlook is getting better and better each month?


Singer-songwriter Jason Mraz is lending a hand to the fight for marriage equality and other LGBT rights. The Grammy winner stopped by San Diego’s LGBT Community Center to talk with staff members and volunteers to see how he can get involved locally."I came down here to learn more about how I can get involved in the fight for equality," Mraz said in a statement at the center. "Not just marriage equality, but equality for all. And why it's important to me is that it affects my life. Many of my friends, management, staff, even one of my close, personal friends, my transgender surfing buddy ... I have been so inspired by the life that they live and the committed relationships that they have. Most of them have had longer, more committed relationships than I have had, yet don't get the same rights as I do, don't get to plan and protect each other in the bond that marriage offers, and to feel protected in society. So I'm down here to learn and hopefully you are here to learn and are joining me in the fight."

Mraz, who lives in a suburb of San Diego, has lent his time to the fight for LGBT rights before. At this year’s Grammy Awards, Mraz wore a white knot on the red carpet, symbolizing his support for marriage equality. He told reporters he wanted more straight musicians and activists to support the fight for equal rights.

Specifically, Mraz called on John Mayer and Kanye West, two musicians who have publicly denounced homophobia in the past, to join him in the fight for marriage equality.

“We are delighted that a performer as talented as Jason has chosen to get involved with this fight," the San Diego LGBT Community Center's CEO Delores Jacobs told The Advocate. "His enthusiasm is infectious and his dedication to helping is inspiring to us all!”

Back in 2005, Mraz told Genre magazine, "I have a bisexually open mind, but I have never been in a sexual relationship with a man. If the right one came along, then sure."

P.S. Hey Mraz, good luck with getting John Mayer and Kanye West to join you with that. Good job calling them out, though.
P.P.S. Even though Jason Mraz is a womanizer and a sellout, I still love him.

In defense of "bisexual"

It's 2010, and we are still having this discussion. There have been good posts on this subject before - find one at Queer Subversion and another at the Bisexual Index. If you know any more I'll add them to the list. I want to add my $0.02 to the discussion just so's I've got something down here in my own words. I tried to write about this around a year ago, but I think this time around I've put it down clearer.

I've been told for years by some people that I basically shouldn't or can't use the chosen label of "bisexual" because I am reinforcing the gender binary. Other people I know have actually been told that by continuing to use "bisexual," they are directly oppressing trans people. Now, I'm fine with people who experience attraction to more than one gender who choose not to use the label bisexual for whatever reason. What I am NOT okay with is when you tell me I gotta change my own label. NOT OKAY. First of all, you have no right to tell someone to change their label, ever. Secondly, you need to recognize that I may have indeed thought about the meaning of this word, and I might actually have some good reasons for using it.

This post contains some generalizations about bi people. I'm making these generalizations based on my involvement with bi communities for several years. I think they are fair generalizations. If you have had a lot of involvement with bisexual communities, and you have had a different experience, I'd like to hear about it.

I call myself bisexual because I experience attraction to people. I don't use gender or sex as the first criterion for dating. I am not monosexual. What draws me to people is not (or not just) what's in their pants. I have loved people of multiple genders and I expect that trend to continue.

Here are some clarifications and points about bisexuality, the gender binary, and various labels:
  • Many, and possibly the majority of, bisexuals love who they love based on non-sex-related criteria.
    I am using "sex" in the biological sense here.
    I can count the number of people on one hand whom I've met who are bi and who would only date a cisgender/cissexual person. If you ask a bisexual what bisexuality means to them, they'll often give you an answer along the lines of, "It means I love without gender." Even if their answer to that question is, "I am attracted to men and women," ask them if they would date a trans person. They'll usually say, "Absolutely!" There are some bisexuals who are attracted to people and not so much their gender. There are some who love androgyny. There are some who love the extremes of femininity and/or masculinity. But that doesn't necessarily mean they only want to date "women" and "men."

  • Bisexuals are usually strong trans allies.
    We know what it's like to be left out of the movement. Seriously. We're sick of it too. Do you know how many times we've been "gaywashed" or "straightwashed" and made invisible? Do you know how much biphobia we've had to put up with from people who ought to be our allies? Because we're not straight or gay, we do actually know what it's like to fall outside a binary.
    There is a story in Bi Any Other Name (I think) about a group of bisexuals that refused to join a gay and lesbian march unless trans folk were also included. The gay and lesbian groups were willing to include the bi folks in their march, but not the trans people. The bi people didn't see that as an option, because they understood that we are all in this together.

  • Some trans and genderqueer people identify as bisexual.
    Surprise! (Are we oppressing ourselves?)

  • Using the word bisexual acknowledges the bisexuals that have come before us and puts us within that movement as well.
    What do you know about bisexual movements? Bi Any Other Name is a great book to start with. The people who have come before me and done so much work for us are my heroes. I am proud and honored to stand with them as a fellow bisexual.

  • "Bisexual" is a word that most people know.
    It's something that they have usually heard of. It gives us a starting point to explain ourselves and our attractions. It starts a conversation. That's hugely important.

  • Queer is not a synonym for bisexual, so it won't work as a replacement label.
    What queer means depends on who you ask. It could be a political label, a synonym for gay, an insult, a reclaiming of an insult, a word for non-heteronormative sexuality... But queer is not just a substitute for bisexual. It doesn't work that way, sorry. I personally started using bisexual after I had identified as queer, because queer simply wasn't specific enough for me. Today I call myself bisexual and queer.

  • Many individual pansexual people are wonderful. Pansexual communities sometimes have a holier-than-thou attitude.
    Okay, so maybe this is not very nice. But it's the truth. I know some damn fine pansexuals who accept me just the way I am. If you want to call yourself pansexual, that's great! I am all about people using whichever label they feel works best for them. However, I can't tell you how much of a turn-off it was to go to a popular pansexual forum and read stuff like, "Bisexuals are so unenlightened for still using the word bisexual." I'm just not eager to be a part of that community. Plus, were I to use some other label besides bisexual for semantic reasons, I'd rather use one like "sapiosexual," because I'm attracted to humans, not everything.
I want to know why the correctness of labels is an issue that people criticize bi people about, but the same people aren't going after self-identified lesbians and gay men. Most lesbians aren't actually from the isle of Lesbos. Gay men aren't literally always happy. Why is there so much pressure on bisexuals to change their label and be more accurate? Where is the criticism for lesbians and gay men?

The word "bisexual" has the prefix "bi-," meaning two. Well, the word "feminist" has the prefix "fem-" That prefix means means related to females or women, right? Is a feminist someone who places women's rights over everyone else's? No. The word may look like that, but that's not what most feminists feel that the word means. It's the same thing with bisexual. Just because it has the prefix "bi-" doesn't mean that the word ought to be taken literally. In fact, the dictionary's first definition of bisexual isn't even the definition that most people would give; it says, "hermaphroditic."

It's true that labels may not be perfect. That doesn't mean they are useless. Sometimes we need a label for visibility. Sometimes we need a label to clarify. Labels are not the end of the discussion. Labels are a starting point.

Monday, March 1, 2010

dapperQ: transgressing men's fashion

dapperQ is a really awesome, relatively new site that I found because they're the ones that put together the video that tells the story behind Young James Dean.

From the About section:

DapperQ is for anyone who wants to make any element of men’s fashion truly their own. It’s for all who have been discouraged — in a million and one subtle and not-so-subtle ways — from gleaning for self-expression from the rich and robust universe pioneered over centuries by dapper gents and today reflected in glossies such as GQ, Details and Vogue for Men.

I am launching this particular conversation now because we believe that is needed now more than ever.

cool! I can't wait to see how this site grows. Check it out.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Daniel Radcliffe is passionate about the Trevor Project


Hey, awesome.

...Some may ask why Daniel Radcliffe would film a public-service announcement in support of a nonprofit that seeks to help gay youths, to which the actor would respond: You don't have to be gay to be a supporter — you just have to be human... Now that Radcliffe is an international superstar with an enormous fanbase behind him, he's determined to get the word out that downtrodden LGBTQ youths can depend on the Trevor Project — and those ignorant enough to torment them need to be stopped. "I remember being quite shocked when I was young," Radcliffe remembered of his early encounters with homophobia. "And now I am in a position where I can help an amazing thing like the Trevor Project." Read more.


Visit The Trevor Project.

Girlyman & Margaret Cho: Young James Dean video

Are you familiar with Girlyman? They are one of my all-time favorite bands. I saw them live a couple weeks ago for the second time. No surprise, they are still amazing. Actually, probably even more so. True story, it has always been a dream of mine to start a band, and basically what I have always wanted to do is, uh, pretty much what Girlyman does.

But the reason for this post is not (or not just) to say all of that. The reason is that another one of my favorite people, Margaret Cho, teamed up with Girlyman and helped make their first music video. How freaking cool is that? I've been wanting to post this for a while but hadn't gotten around to it. I knew I had to share it here just in case you hadn't seen it already. The song is called "Young James Dean," and has been one of my faves for years. It's a song for all of us who don't quite fit in. Regarding the video, Margaret says:

Pretty much everyone involved in the video (both in front of and behind the camera) is trans/butch/queer/femme, which for me, in the greater LGBT world, is my family. The song is a meditation on butch identity, and so I wanted to show how beautiful we are as a community, no matter what gender we are or what we choose to be.

So here it is:



I also wanted to share the following video, in which members of the band talk about the origins of the song and the content of the music video:



I really need to read this book, The Last Time I Wore a Dress. Like really.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Walking Through Wonderland


"The animated short entitled Walking Through Wonderland captures a glimpse of youth homelessness in a surreal and edgy manner. Framed around two characters building a friendship on the street, this artistic work highlights the dualisitic nature of youth homeless culture - on one hand there is a sense of community and safety; on the other hand, many of these young people have experienced traumatic family pasts and exploitative street encounters... Bryan Hofbauer and Derek Jessome developed the film in collaboration with a group of youth who have experienced homelessness."

I like this film, and I hope a lot of people see it. It's a really important issue. Even though the piece is focused on Canadian youth, it's applicable to lots of other places.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Stuff and events you should know about

I debated for a few seconds about catchy titles for this type of post. Maybe I could come up with something. "Bi-gest" briefly crossed my mind, but then I realized that it was terrible. Y'all know I am not the best at coming up with that sort of thing.

A few things I'd like to point out that are happening this weekend:
**February Guerrilla Queer Bar Columbus event at Circus for Funkdefy (Fri. Feb 19 - that's today!, 10 pm):
Our events so far have been more focused on socializing and finding good dive-y bars. This will be our first try at infiltrating a dance floor. I am really excited!
**Columbus Bi Network Social Meetup (Sun. Feb 21, 2 pm, Travonna Coffee House)
This is our first social meetup since starting the group in January. Should be great! I heart Travonna.
**Girlspot Columbus Social Meetup (Sun. Feb 21, 5 pm, Travonna Coffee House)
I have not been to a Girlspot event yet, but I figured I should get out more, and also this is right after and in the same exact room as the Columbus Bi Network meetup. I think it's funny that we unintentionally made back-to-back reservations.

Now on to the stuff to share!

Kinksters work to stay out of public eye (The Other Paper)
It's cool that TOP wrote this article. The article makes me kind of sad, though. It's 2010, we should all be able to be out.

Columbus Could Soon Offer Domestic Partner Benefits (10TV)
H/T Columbus Underground. Don't read the comments, they'll just piss you off. My favorite part: someone actually said "cheese and rice."

Big bill for county domestic partners (The Other Paper)
Franklin County employees receive domestic partner benefits. But because the government does not recognize domestic partner benefits, those benefits - paid for by the county - are considered taxable income by the IRS. Also, couples who want these benefits have to sign an affidavit saying they are a couple. So if people want to withdraw from the benefit program because of its cost, they have to sign an affidavit saying they are no longer in a relationship. Read the article for more details on this messed-up situation.

Saperstein to McConnell: Denounce Pogrom Analogies (Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism)
Ken Blackwell, Ohio's least favorite conservative a-hole and losing candidate for governor, is at it again! “[Mr. Blackwell’s] likening of Ms. Johnsen and Ms. Feldblum’s confirmations to the persistent and violent killing of Jews in Cossack-controlled Russia desecrates the memory of those who died in the pogroms."

Jamaican man fears persecution for his bisexuality if deported from Canada (Bisexuality Examiner)
"Originally, immigration officials didn't accept Smith's claims of potential discrimination, saying he 'doesn’t fit the profile of a gay man.' The officer refused to believe that Smith would face danger or torture if sent back." I hate to use lolspeak, but... FAIL.

Bisexuals: putting the B back in LGBT (Guardian)
This article summarizes a lot of the crap that bisexuals have to deal with. Also, it's from the Guardian, which is cool. Furthermore, its initial points are especially important to bring up in light of articles like...

...Betraying the Cause? (Advocate)
"Author Chandler Burr accuses gay rights leaders of sabotaging marriage equality by refusing to use one potent political weapon: the fact that being gay is not a choice." There are a lot of things wrong with this article. Unfortunately, I couldn't fit them all in the 1000 character limit for comments. Ha, ha.

Are Any Olympic Athletes Going to Win a Gold Medal and a Fun Gender Test? (Queerty)
"With the 2010 Winter Olympics underway and gold medals being handed out, the question of whether 'suspicious' athletes will need to have their genitals and blood examined arises. And so too does one glaring fact: gender testing is completely biased against women."

"God Hates Gaga"
The WBC has gone after Gaga. This is a little old, but also hilarious, so in case you missed it, I'm posting it here. Check out the Megan Phelps parody of "Poker Face."

Up Glenn Beck's Nose
What do Glenn Beck and Barack Obama have in common? H/T Joe. My. God.

Testosterone and the Trans Male Singing Voice (TransGuys)
I was very interested in reading this post. As a singer, this is something I've wondered about.

Why DADT repeal gets more attention than ENDA (Bilerico Project)
Good post.

Mass. Says Federal Marriage Law Unconstitutional (Washington Post)
Massachusetts AG Coakley is taking this all the way to the feds: "[she] says a federal law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman interferes with her state's right to regulate the institution." H/T Empowering Spirits Foundation

Cupcakes for Men. No, Seriously, Cupcakes for Men. (Sociological Images)
I hope this business is meant to be kind of tongue-in-cheek.

Stupid Callous Homophobic Hateful Legislation

Haha!


H/T Anthony

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Lesbians are not bisexual, unless they are.

There is an amazing book by S. Bear Bergman called Butch is a Noun. In it, there is an essay talking about what a butch is and what a butch is not. And I wish I had it in front of me because I would love to quote it. But you should find the book and read the essay. It is along the lines of, "A butch is X... unless ze is not."
"A butch is not X... unless ze is."
I keep thinking of this chapter when I'm reading tweets from @thelesbianmafia talking about how lesbians are not bisexuals.

I am about to give some of y'all head-explodey. Here it is: Did you know that there are lesbian-identified bisexuals? They exist. You might be thinking, "How can someone be bisexual and lesbian at the same time? That doesn't really make sense." Well, I'm not a bisexual lesbian, but in the interest of defending other members of my community, I want to say a few things about this issue.

First of all: There are essays in Bi Any Other Name and Getting Bi from lesbian-identified bisexuals/bisexual-identified lesbians (Protip: GO READ A BOOK. EDUCATE YOURSELF). Labels like lesbian and bisexual are, of course, related to orientation, but they are also related to political and community identity. @bivisibility said it well: "You can't be homosexual and bisexual by orientation. You can be lesbian by identity and bisexual by orientation." Some people feel more comfortable in lesbian communities. Some people develop a lesbian identity and then come out as bisexual, but don't want to give up their lesbian identity. Et cetera. I also know a pansexual lesbian who works at one of my alma maters. She is from the Bay Area and feels that those words best describe who she is - someone with a lesbian identity, but who is open to being involved with all genders. At first I dismissed her as ridiculous. Then I thought about it, and read other stories of women like her, and decided that it can make sense, and furthermore, it's not my place to judge what anyone wants to call themselves.

Those of us who are speaking in defense of bisexual lesbians are not trying to say that all lesbians are bisexuals. Apparently this needs clarifying, so let me say it again: We are not trying to say that all lesbians are bisexuals. Neither are we trying to attack lesbians, or trying to flog you with the P.C. whip (man, I hate the term P.C.). We are trying to tell you to pay attention, and to educate you a little. Here is where the Bergman chapter reference comes in. What we ARE saying is, lesbians are not bisexuals... unless they are.

Someone made the argument that this would never be said about gay men, but not only do I have a uterus, I'm a big ole feminazi, and I am going to call you on your b.s. Oh, and by the way, there are gay-identified bisexual men.

Suddenly I find myself defending my own personal labels. Like I should have to justify my argument with, I myself am not a bi-lesbian-whatever, but they exist. And that's exactly the problem with this argument. Why do you care so much what someone else calls themselves? Why do you have such a chip on your shoulder about what a lesbian is or is not? Do you really not understand the difference between lesbian as an orientation and lesbian as an identity? And who put you in charge of handing out the queer membership cards? The women who I have heard of who are bisexual-identified lesbians, etc. - do you have any clue who they are? I am sure that there must be such women from all walks of life, but truthfully, all the ones that I personally know of are older women who were there when this whole thing started going down in the 60s and 70s. They have fought in the feminist, lesbian, gay, bi, queer and trans rights movements for decades and decades so that they, YOU, we ALL, can be out and proud. Who do you think you are to question them? Respect your elders. You should not be mocking them, you should be thanking them and showing them your respect. A little history lesson for you.

I would also like to point out that (fact) human sexuality can be fluid, and (fact) behavior doesn't always match identity. There's a lot of obsession in the lesbian community with gold star lesbians, and (sadly) there is still a lot of biphobia in the lesbian community, and I have to wonder how much of this whole thing is related to those issues.

A better point is, why do you care so much what people call themselves? Choose whatever label you feel works for you (or don't label yourself at all) and go with it. Change it if you feel it's necessary. At the same time, let other people live how they want to live. Why bother wasting your time trying to tell people what they are or are not?

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Reminder: Columbus Bi Network Meeting Feb. 2nd

Columbus Bi Network will be meeting Feb. 2nd at 7 pm. Our meetings are held at the Stonewall Columbus Center on High. You can read more about the group here. At this meeting, we'll spend a little time getting to know each other. We'll work on planning our first social event. We also need to do some publicity, so we will talk about some ways to publicize, and possibly split up the tasks. We'll soon be starting a reading group, where we'll be reading articles and books of interest to people who are attracted to more than one gender. Bring some ideas for articles/books to the meeting if you've got them.
Hope to see you there!
If you can't make it to this meeting, don't worry. We will probably be moving soon to a biweekly (ha, ha) schedule. Also, our social nights and potentially our support group will be held on different nights. I'll let you know about these events as soon as we decide the dates.
Lastly, we now have a Facebook page. Become a fan of this page to get updates about the group on Facebook.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Call(s) for Submission(s)

I should be studying, so of course this is a good time to blog. Here are three things to which you might be interested in submitting your writing and/or art:

Bi Women Spring 2010 Issue Call for Submissions (H/T BiNet USA)
ATTENTION Bisexual, Pansexual, Fluid + Queer-identified Youth: Robyn Ochs says "I am writing to invite you to write for the next issue of Bi Women", which is a quarterly newsletter produced in Boston for women everywhere.

The theme for the Spring 2010 issue of Bi Women will be "BI YOUTH". If you are a young bi-identified LGBT person, 25 or under, tell us your story.

What is it like to be you?

How did you come to identify as bisexual? Or, if you have a non-binary identity but use a different word than bisexual to describe yourself — tell us what, and why.

Where did you learn about bisexuality? Is/was there a Gay-Straight Alliance in your Junior High/High School?

Are your friends accepting of your bisexuality/pansexuality? What about your family?

Do you have any pansexual/bisexual role models? Where do you get support? What advice would you give to other young people who think they might be bisexual/pansexual?

o Deadline: February 5th 2010 -- Let me know right away if you're planning on writing
o Interested in being published in Bi Women? Here are the Submission guidelines
o Send your submissions to BiWomenEditor(at) gmail (dot) com

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TransOhio is always accepting contributions for our monthly newsletter.

To have work included in a specific issue, please keep the following
deadlines in mind:

* February 2010 - Need submissions by Wed., January 20, 2010
* March 2010 - Need submissions by Wed., February 24, 2010
* April 2010 - Need submissions by Wed., March 24, 2010
* May 2010 - Need submissions by Wed., April 22, 2010
* June 2010 - Need submissions by Wed., May 26, 2010
* July 2010 - Need submissions by Wed., June 23, 2010
* August 2010 - Need submissions by Wed., July 21, 2010

We're interested in the following:

* poetry & short stories (fiction & non-fiction)
* reviews and narratives about workshops & conferences
* opinion essays
* coming out letters to family & friends
* photos & artwork (drawings, paintings, etc.)
* local and national workshops and events
* book and movie reviews or recommendations
* online resources
* trans-friendly doctors, services, support groups, counselors, etc
* GLBTQI identities in the Trans-world
* Partner/SO/SOFFA/Family/Ally experiences and observations

Send your contributions by email to TransOhio at: TransOhio at gmail dot com .

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Something on the Inside is a creative project that seeks to inspire advocacy and raise awareness regarding the increasing impact of HIV/AIDS on the lives of women and girls.

Female artists are needed to submit original works of art that speak to the impact of HIV/AIDS on the lives of women and girls.

Artwork will be on display at the Center on High (Columbus, Ohio) for the month of March, in recognition of National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

An opening reception will be held on Saturday, March 6, 2010 along with a performance by Tracy Walker (www.tracywalker.com). The purpose of the event will be to increase awareness, and raise funds for the Ohio AIDS Coalition.

Please submit your work to Erin at somethingontheinside at gmail dot com

Deadline for submissions is February 20, 2010.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Language About Marriage (Again).

In response to http://issuu.com/outlookcolumbus/docs/web-reduced/20?mode=a_p:

Dear Dr. Weems,

I've often enjoyed your columns in outlook monthly, but there was something in your latest column that bothered me. While I agree with your overall sentiment that we should not have to "clean up" our movement to make it more palatable to the mainstream, I take issue with your perception of the term "marriage equality." Doubtless it is true that some feel the phrase is better to use when talking about marriage rights because it leaves out "the offensive word 'gay,'" as you said. There are, however, a growing number of people who say "marriage equality" instead of "gay marriage" or even "same-sex marriage" because marriage equality is simply the most inclusive term. The people who say "marriage equality" because it is a good, inclusive phrase are actually the people who are most likely to be those least palatable to mainstream straight America - bisexuals, trans people, queers, and their allies.

Our movement is not just about gays. It's not just about gays and lesbians. We are fighting (or, at least, I hope we are fighting) on behalf of a whole lovely queer rainbow of people. Many bisexuals and trans people don't feel that "gay marriage" best describes their unions/potential unions. There are a number of reasons we feel this way. We're not gay. We're not lesbians. Our relationships aren't gay or lesbian relationships. When we are in a relationship with a same-sex partner, we don't automatically become gay or lesbian. We want our identities to be acknowledged. We're tired of being "gaywashed" (see: http://biwriters.livejournal.com/52491.html ) We find "gay marriage" offensive because we don't want our unions described as "gay marriages," needing that qualifier "gay," implying something outside of, something not as real as, a bona-fide man-and-woman state-recognized hetero Marriage (TM). We want our marriages called marriages, because that is what they are. Just marriages. I personally know several gay men and lesbians who also feel this way and who say "marriage equality" alongside us. For them and for us, it has nothing to do with trying to "sugar-coat the issue."

If you pay more attention to the language surrounding the gay marriage/marriage equality discussion, you will find that "gay marriage" is everywhere. I personally became aware of the wording issue a few years back, and I can tell you, it is not disappearing from the fight. It's most often the term that the press uses, and it is frequently used by our major activists and organizations (including the notorious HRC). I can't tell you the number of times I've gotten an e-mail from HRC generally or Joe Solmonese specifically talking about the fight for "gay marriage" or the victories for "gay and lesbian couples." GLAAD's Media Guide even states that "'marriage' or "marriage for gay and lesbian couples" are preferred terms and that "print editors may need the term 'gay marriage' when space does not permit use of the more accurate 'marriage for gay and lesbian couples.'" I see nary a mention of "marriage equality" there. I know that members of BiNet USA, a national organization for bisexuals, have made it a point to contact people who use "gay marriage" and ask for use of more inclusive language. But how far are we going to get when even GLAAD's Media Guide is outdated?

Bisexuals, trans people, and other queer folk who don't fit the gay and lesbian mold continue to struggle to be heard both outside and within the mainstream LGBT rights movement. As a distinguished academic, I'm sure you are aware of the power of language. For all unions to be recognized, all unions need to be included. I hope you'll take some time to think more about this important issue.

Sincerely,
The Bi Avenger

Monday, January 4, 2010

Reminder: First Columbus Bi Network Meeting Tuesday

Just a friendly reminder that the Columbus Bi Network will have its first meeting on January 5th at 7 pm at Stonewall Columbus's Center on High (1160 North High Street).

for more info, see here and here


More content on other stuff later... Last month sucked majorly and was also really busy. Now I have a cold, and am also starting full-time classes.