May 27, 2009

I don’t know what to say. Not that I’m awash with words these days anyways. I was actually a little surprised. fuckers. Just when the eastern states starting to grow up California goes retro.

“The court said it was OK for a majority of voters to treat a minority unequally and that’s a pretty frightening proposition,” said Jon Davidson, legal director of Lamba Legal, a gay-advocacy group.



One less asshole in the Legislature

May 13, 2009

If you recall, which will be difficult since there are soooo many posts between this one and that one *ahem*, I had posted about a local homophobic politician being taken to task for being, well, homophobic. Well the provincial elections were tonight and I’m quite happy to say that there is at least one dumbass homophobe who WON’T be getting that kick-ass pension and voting against my rights! Yes, he lost, thankfully. However, his party won the overall election. But, like Obama, I’m sure Premier-elect Campbell’s lack of speaking out against his bigoted party member will in no way indicate that he doesn’t actually care about LGBT rights. Hmph.

One of the other things we British Columbians were voting for tonight was whether or not to drastically change our voting system. Instead of our standard, first-past-the-post system wherein even a slim majority in many ridings will result in a vast majority in the legislature, we were offered the chance to vote for a Single Transferrable Vote system.  This would mean that a Radical Feminist Party, if such a thing existed *swoon*, could get seats! No more domination by a slim majority! This was also the second time that the referendum was offered to BC citizens.

Well, it failed. Now, if it had followed the usual rules for referendums, then it would have passed the first time in 2005 (though maybe not this time). Instead, then as now, it needed to win 60% of the ridings, and win a majority of 60% in votes cast overall in order to pass. A double majority, in other words. A double majority of more than just 50 + 1, in fact. Would that Proposition 8 in California have had the same rules! Funnily enough, the same guy who set up the whole think tank to travel the province and hold meetings and research which system would be best to use is also the same guy who changed the law for this particular referendum only, and is also the same guy staying in power tonight. Huh. I wonder how he was wishing it would go? Hoping for accolades without actually doing anything maybe? Couldn’t be.

So we have a third straight majority win for the provincial Liberals. Which is pretty unusual for BC – I mean, our politics are kind of craaazy. Look at the riding of Mr Bigot: usually it’s a contest between a Conservative and a New Democrat. Not a Conservative and a Liberal, or a Liberal and an NDPer, but the right right wing against the left left wing (for those who don’t know, the New Democratic Party is so far left of Mr Sparklepants Obama that Obama would call them commies). We usually change Premiers the way others change their pants. Wackiness over here, kittens. The guy who essentially made sure that BC became a province? Had changed his name to Amor De Cosmos . Srsly.

Anyways. More Gordon Campbell. But at least, no Marc Dalton! FUCK YOU, Marc Dalton. We’ll remember you.

Fuck you, Katy Perry!

May 7, 2009

So, after seeing Shakesville’s post showcasing a fabulous video set to Lily Allen’s “Fuck You,” I decided I absolutely couldn’t live without owning the song, so I toodled over to iTunes. After I bought the song, the following popped up at the top of my iTunes Store:


Okay, a new feature, wev; it might actually be handy sometimes. I have a surprising fondness for Lady Gaga (on the right there, with the sunglasses), though she’s the polar opposite of Lily Allen in terms of subversiveness (I mean, compare Lily’s song about fame, The Fear, to Lady Gaga’s, Beautiful Dirty Rich. Those links lead to the videos but the titles set up a contrast on their own.) So, a weird choice, but I’m not averse to it… what are the others? I may genuinely like them.

Oh, what’s that?


Thanks, Katy Perry! Good to know!

The lyrics of the song, for your enragement, are as follows:

[Verse 1]
I hope you hang yourself with your H&M scarf
While jacking off listening to Mozart
You bitch and moan about LA
Wishing you were in the rain reading Hemingway 
You don’t eat meat
And drive electrical cars
You’re so indie rock it’s almost an art
You need SPF 45 just to stay alive

You’re so gay and you don’t even like boys
No you don’t even like
No you don’t even like 
No you don’t even like boys
You’re so gay and you don’t even like boys
No you don’t even like
No you don’t even like 
No you don’t even like…

[Verse 2]
You’re so sad maybe you should buy a happy meal
You’re so skinny you should really Super Size the deal
Secretly you’re so amused
That nobody understands you
I’m so mean cause I cannot get you outta your head
I’m so angry cause you’d rather MySpace instead
I can’t believe I fell in love with someone that wears more makeup than…

You’re so gay and you don’t even like boys
No you don’t even like
No you don’t even like 
No you don’t even like boys
You’re so gay and you don’t even like boys
No you don’t even like
No you don’t even like 
No you don’t even like…

You walk around like you’re oh so debonair
You pull ‘em down and there’s really nothing there
I wish you would just be real with me

You’re so gay and you don’t even like boys
No you don’t even like
No you don’t even like 
No you don’t even like boys
You’re so gay and you don’t even like boys
No you don’t even like
No you don’t even like 
Oh no no no no no no no
You’re so gay and you don’t even like boys
No you don’t even like
No you don’t even like 
No you don’t even like boys
You’re so gay and you don’t even like boys
No you don’t even like
No you don’t even like 
No you don’t even like… PENIS

Indeed. You, dear generic audience member who is therefore male, are gay. You, quote, “don’t even like boys” (or “PENIS”), but you are still gay, because… you enjoy “pretentious” music and/or literature? You are environmentally-friendly? You’re pale? She is seriously saying, in public, that men who “don’t eat meat” are gay?

Oh, but I forgot, she doesn’t mean “gay” like, you know, gay, she just means “gay” like, bad.

You know what, Katy Perry?

Look inside, look inside your tiny mind 
And look a bit harder 
‘Cause we’re so uninspired 
So sick and tired 
Of all the hatred you harbor

So you say it’s not okay to be gay 
Well I think you’re just evil 
You’re just some racist who can’t tie my laces 
Your point of view is medieval

Fuck you, fuck you very very much 
‘Cause we hate what you do 
And we hate your whole crew 
So please don’t stay in touch

Prospective Provincial MLA Being Taken To Task for Bigotry

April 30, 2009


You know, it’s hard seeing the shit in the world everyday, being faced with people’s bigotry at every turn. So often we come across some kind of dumbassery and are faced with trying to explain why it’s crap to those who will make excuses for it. It can be maddening. It can be depressing. Those of us who work for social justice, whether officially, unofficially, or just interpersonally, can get bogged down by seeing all this shite. Sometimes, fleetingly, I wish I didn’t see what I see, or know what I know. Surely I’d be happier going along with the patriarchy? Being a social justice advocate of any stripe hurts because we see what others and/or ourselves are subject to. We see hate being ignored, or seen as funny. It can be depressing, being this awake. Of course, we would never change it, because by being awake we are also getting free.

In the last year or so I’ve been distinctly aware of needing to see some kind of progress, somewhere, if only for my sanity. How else do we not give up on humans altogether? So I try to note the good, along with the bad. Remembering the good can be helpful in arguments as well, as it can function as a contrast to what you’re fighting against, thus highlighting the inequities further. The comments made by legislators in Iowa recently, for example. After California’s Proposition 8, to see states come around to recognizing the legitimacy of gay and lesbian relationships gives us hope. It can also give us a place to live in our own country that’s somewhat less bigoted!

For myself, being Canadian, I don’t need to move to somewhere else in Canada to be able to marry my girlfriend, thank god. It was only in 2005 that Canada became the fourth country in the world to legalize same sex marriage federally. Our MPs voted on it twice, actually, the first time as the federal Liberal Party, headed by Paul Martin, tabled the bill initially, and the second time as our current PM, Stephen Harper, held a re-vote as he had promised in his election campaign (the Conservative Party had argued that the first vote wasn’t a free one, that Liberal MPs had to vote along party lines). For the record, the second, free, vote resulted in more MPs voting for same sex marriage than the first time around, even with the Conservatives in power. Ha!

I don’t mean to imply that Canada, or even my little corner of it, is free from homophobia because it most certainly isn’t. Violence is still an issue for the LGBT community, as is public harassment. However, on the bright side of things – as an indication of how things are getting better – Marc Dalton, a local politician who is running in our upcoming provincial elections has been outed (ahem) as saying some crap about homosexuality being a “moral” issue, like… oh I dunno, abortion! or adultery! So them gays shouldn’t be allowed to have gay clubs in high school (what his old email was in reference to, apparently). He’s a religious man, you see. Well, he said this some time ago, and someone has brought it to light. And he’s been getting a lot of crap for it and calls to step down from running in the election! He’s running for the provincial Liberal Party, who, while they share a name with the federal Liberals, aren’t really all that Liberal – so apparently his bigotry isn’t a problem. Their leader, Gordon Campbell, asked another political candidate to resign after some inappropriate FaceBook pictures came to light. But he’s said nothing about this guy. Goofing off on FaceBook = fired!  saying gays and lesbians are inherently immoral = fine no problemo. Now if it had been Paul Martin’s federal Liberals, we might have seen a call for resignation.

I had started this post thinking that a lot of “regular” folk were pissed off about it, but now I’m not so sure how true that is. Someone from another political party (the NDP, thankyouverymuch) has publicly called for his resignation, and the Province has framed their article in a way that sounds pro-lgbt rights. Some of the comments to these articles are frustrating and dismaying, of course. But there’s good stuff there as well. But the over-all impression I’ve gotten is that it’s generally seen as problem for this politician. That what he said is bigotry in action and as such, he should resign.

I was wanting to write something really hopeful, that the social tide was changing, slowly, to match some of the legal realities. But the more I think about it the less impressed I feel. I had started out thinking the glass was half full; now I’m thinking the glass is half empty again, and draining out of that crack down at the bottom.

But that’s the way fighting for social justice works, doesn’t it? Keeping hope alive is hard. Perhaps the election results will shore up my initial hopeful feelings about this issue and the Maple Ridge/Mission riding will kick Dalton to the curb, because bigotry should never be awarded or shrugged off in our politicians. May the citizenry will remember that.

Blogaround: The Transphobia Brouhaha

April 17, 2009

I’ve been reading a lot about the problems with blogging feminists and transphobia/transmisogyny lately, and while there is a post percolating in my head, I thought I’d catch you all up with what I’d encountered on the subject:

The Feministing/Feministe Boycott
[1] Men in Women’s Bathrooms: Is Your State Next?: the Focus on the Family transphobia post with errant comment thread on Feministing*
[2] By Any Other Name: transmisogyny post with errant comment thread at Feministe
[3] Bathroom panic, it’s totally feminist: Queen Emily’s response to errant comments on Feministing.
[4] Very Necessary: Voz Latina’s call for a boycott of Feministe/Feministing.
[5] It’s Always About The Cis Women: Lucy’s post about both Feministing and Feministe.
[6] On Cis Supremacy, Feminism and Feministe: Cara’s response to all of this on Feministe.

The Dust-Up at Bitch, Ph.D.
[1] Teabag Me: the original post at Bitch, Ph.D.
[2] Ann Coulter Really Is A —-**, People: the response at Bitch, Ph.D.

Related to all the above
[1] Coordinating Body and Mind: Transphobia and Feminism: Miriam Heddy

Unrelated in theme, but good thoughts anyway
[1] The Art of the Apology

I have a few nebulous thoughts about all this, although I’m processing them (and checking my privilege several times over) before I get too long winded. I can, however, jot down a few things already:

  • Using misogynist language to insult anyone is never okay.
  • No one is perfectly feminist.
  • We live in a patriarchy, and it can poison all our interactions.

This post may be updated with new links, as I find them. I’ll note the last update of the post, thus:

Links last updated 7:03 EDT 4/17/2009.

*Which I apparently missed the first time. I have read the post but not slogged through the comments yet. Much work to be done before I can post on this.

** Yes, I censored this. It’s a triggering word for some folks. I’m still not 100% inured, myself.

Amazon FAIL: hating on LGBT books

April 12, 2009

Amazon is apparently stripping the sales ranks from GLBT books, thus preventing them from showing up in some bestseller lists and searches (and potentially directly damaging their sales), on the grounds that they are “adult” material.

I got that excellent summary from ryda_wrong here, who found the story from one of the authors affected, Mark Probst, who blogged it here. Mark’s story:

On Amazon.com two days ago, mysteriously, the sales rankings disappeared from two newly-released high profile gay romance books: “Transgressions” by Erastes and “False Colors” by Alex Beecroft. Everybody was perplexed. Was it a glitch of some sort? The very next day HUNDREDS of gay and lesbian books simultaneously lost their sales rankings, including my book “The Filly.” There was buzz, What’s going on? Does Amazon have some sort of campaign to suppress the visibility of gay books? Is it just a major glitch in the system? Many of us decided to write to Amazon questioning why our rankings had disappeared. Most received evasive replies from customer service reps not versed in what was happening. As I am a publisher and have an Amazon Advantage account through which I supply Amazon with my books, I had a special way to contact them. 24 hours later I had a response:

In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude “adult” material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature.

Hence, if you have further questions, kindly write back to us.

Best regards,

Ashlyn D

Member Services

Amazon.com Advantage

Yes, it is true. Amazon admits they are indeed stripping the sales ranking indicators for what they deem to be “adult” material. Of course they are being hypocritical because there is a multitude of “adult” literature out there that is still being ranked – Harold Robbins, Jackie Collins, come on! They are using categories THEY set up (gay and lesbian) to now target these books as somehow offensive.

Now in fairness I should point out that Amazon has also stopped ranking many books in the “erotica” categories as well which includes straight erotica. But that’s a whole other battle that I’ll leave to the erotica writers to take on.

There’s a full link compilation here as well, detailing the unfolding of the story, if you want more details. It’s also exploding on twitter, via the hashtag #AmazonFAIL, so you can see up-to-the-second discussion here.

Despite the fact that some straight erotica is being stripped of ranking information, I have trouble buying that it’s not mostly a gay thing– for example, Playboy: The Complete Centerfolds (Hardcover!) still has ranking information! (You can tell by scrolling down to the “Product Details” section and looking for the “Amazon.com Sales Rank. The Playboy book is currently ranked #48,390 in Books. Probst’s The Filly, a young adult book (and therefore, by definition, not really an “adult” book!) simply lacks that information.)

What does all this mean? Well, as ryda_wrong said at the beginning, stripping a book of its ranking information prevents it from showing up in bestseller lists and in certain searches, making people much less likely to find the book unless they’re specifically looking for it. It may directly hurt these books’ sales. More than that, though, it reinforces the idea that anything gay is inherently “adult,” and more adult than anything that is similar but straight.

What books are being affected? Meta Writer is compiling a list here. There’s some stuff with Ghey Sexxx. There are some young adult books that feature gay relationships, although it looks like the lesbian ones are less affected than the gay male one. Autobiographies by people who are trans are getting the axe, as well. And a lot of the classics are being cut off. E. M. Forster’s Maurice, for example, has been stripped of its ranking! It was revelatory to me when I read it a few years ago, the first time I had seen myself reflected in an “old” book, and while it features several occasions of gay male sex, it’s from a time period where it was unspeakably crude to refer to a lady’s stomach. They’re really not that raunchy. Even more absurdly, Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness has been stripped of its rankings as well, and the gay sex in that book consists entirely of the line “And that night, they were not divided.”

Truly, someone must protect the children from these horrors. Never mind that some of these books are, in fact, for young adults. Never mind that finding oneself reflected in the classics can be a wonder– as I found with Maurice, when I read it years ago. Never mind that LGBT people are people, too, who deserve to tell their stories and have their stories heard. Apparently, we just can’t handle The Gay, and we have to hide it away where people can’t find it by accident.

What can you do? There’s a petition going here, and you can complain to Amazon directly. Their exec customer service email is ecr@amazon.com  and their customer service phone number is 1-800-201-7575. Folks are trying to google bomb the term Amazon Rank (more info here). And, of course, you can boycott Amazon, which is what I am going to do. I’m going to be awfully friendly with my library in the next couple weeks, until Amazon proves to me that it wants my money again.

Because, right now, what they are saying is that GLBT folks are not important, and that we should be hidden from view. And I won’t hold with that at all.

Quick Hit: What’s Your Gender?

March 30, 2009

My name is

I am
aggressive, ally, beautiful, brother, butch-liking, butch-loving, celibate, chapstick lesbian, chubby, cunt, etc., fabulous, fangirl, fat, female, feminist, femme-ish, friend of Dorothy, gay, geek, gender abolitionist, gender liberationist, gender pirate, hairy, harpy, introvert, lady, lezbean, liberal, Ms., me, open, out, outspoken, passing woman, privileged, pro-choice, progressive, queer, redhead, sapphist, student, survivor, teh gay, tomboy femme, woman-loving
Who are you?

Thanks go to Genderkid (here) for introducing me to this.

I don’t have too much trouble marking the little box marked F on all the forms in my meatspace life (a privilege that spares me many headaches!), but I still appreciate the chance to express the bigger picture of who I am. I love the fact that with alphabetical sorting, all the concepts get mixed together, “queer” right next to “readhead,” without artificial weight added to certain terms. Sure, I’m queer, and that’s a big deal, I guess, but I invest a lot more energy into my readheaded identity– I pay good money quite often to dye my hair red, whereas I just am queer.

Plus, there’s the totally bizarre “hairy, harpy, introvert, lady” sequence. Yup, I’m a hairy harpy and an introverted lady! Sometimes I’m even a lady unironically. 

I found it interesting what words I couldn’t bring myself to check. For example, “homosexual” is not on that list, although I have “chapstick lesbian,”fabulous,” “friend of Dorothy,” “gay, “lezbean,”  “out,” “queer,” “sapphist,” “teh gay,” and “woman-loving.” It’s because I’ll use all those words to describe myself, but I never call myself homosexual. It’s weirdly clinical to me. It’s just not who I am. “Lesbian” is also, notably, missing. I feel like I’m reclaiming this word more than I’m claiming it, because for some reason saying it all seriously, lesbian, sounds like some man leering at me, lesbian, or the narrator of some nature documentary, lezzzbian. When I’m actually talking about myself, I’m much more light-hearted, there’s a smile to it, like lezbean, or “teh gay.”

I’ve also marked myself down as a “brother,” because I’m a Brother in a co-ed fraternity, and it’s an important, life-long commitment to me. I didn’t mark daughter or sister, despite being these things to my family, because they aren’t chosen relationships, and somehow that makes them feel more like part of my life than part of my identity.

I also marked “passing woman.” I’m not sure why, but claiming outright, woman!, or even more scarily, cisgendered woman!, felt disingenuous. I’m femme-ish (as noted above!) and I enjoy it, but I’m keenly aware of all the ways that my femininity is a performed thing. It’s a performance I enjoy, one that makes me happy, but I’m not sure it’s part of my identity.

This Hit is turning out to be not so Quick, so I am going to call it a day. The main point stands, though: this is a fun way to reject the gender binary. Please, in the comments, let us know– who are you?