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Portland Gay Pride

16 Jun

Happy gay pride weekend, Portlanders!

Portland weather shows a little gay pride.

I’m back on the left coast and will be venturing out to take lots of pictures of the festivities to post here for your viewing pleasure, so stay tuned.

While you wait, what are your plans for pride this year? Portland or otherwise!

The Five Bigots You Meet in Queerland

13 Jun

We queer ladies (and gents) have to deal with a lot of crap. It comes from strangers who shout “dyke!” out their car windows, from friends who introduce you as their “lesbian friend,” (as if that were the only notable thing about you), and not-so-well-meaning friends who make drunken assessments of your “true” sexuality.

There are so many of these slights that they warrant categorization. So, without further ado, I give you the Five Basic Types of Bigot, as experienced by your friendly blogger:

1. The Hater

This person is the one who leans out of the car window and shouts, “Ugly dyke!” or “Fucking faggot!” at you whilst you are strolling along admiring the daffodils, holding your girlfriend/boyfriend’s hand. Examples in my life have included:

Haters are easy to ignore when you're a badass.

Haters are easy to ignore when you’re a badass.

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Jerks on the internet, jerks in real life

5 Mar

As you might guess, I spend a fair amount of time on the internet. It’s a pretty great medium for curating Important World News, tasty new recipes, and ridiculous makeup tutorials (little known fact: I’m secretly a drag queen). It also works pretty well for meeting new friends who share my interests, as opposed to the IRL version of meeting new people, which mostly involves proximity. Why leave things to chance when you can find new friends who are pre-approved by the internet as awesome, amirite?

As such, I like to host meetups – which are real-life get-togethers for internet people. I do dance ones, and queer people ones, and feminist people ones, and anything else that sounds interesting. Because, despite my misanthropy, I have this irrepressible urge to meet and become friends with people. I can’t explain it, it’s just the way it is. I organize monthly bar crawls, am doing Portland’s first-ever queer bar takeover this Saturday, and throw an obscene number of parties despite the smallness of my house.

This last Saturday I organized a lesbian bar crawl – it was fun as always, and I got to see some familiar faces as well as meet a bunch of really cool new people (WHY didn’t I get everyone’s phone number?! Oh, right – I was busy taking shots.) The night got off to a rocky start, though, and ended on a sour note.

The beginning: A handful of women (who had been confused by the invitation and shown up an hour early [admittedly my fault]) were quite cold to me and others when we arrived. I thought at first they may have been upset at the timing of our arrival – but they seemed to be having a good time talking to one another. After a bit of awkwardness, as we were gathering up to head off to the next bar, this pack of … ladies… announced loud enough for at least one person to hear that they were leaving because there weren’t enough femmes in attendance.

Leaving. Because. Of. Lack. Of. Femmes. Honestly, I think I probably brought enough femme for everyone (red lipstick, 3-inch heels, crinoline dress, checked stockings, flower headband, hairspray’d updo). But that’s beside the point. Here was a group of people who’d knowingly showed up to make new friends, and then decided to leave because some of the people in the group didn’t look as they prefer. They didn’t even TRY to talk to anyone outside their group, despite my frequent attempts at engaging them. Good riddance, I suppose. But I still just can’t fathom why of all the things there are to do on a Saturday night, you’d choose to go to an event designed for mingling with such a narrow mind. What a pack of bitches. And what a shitty switch from the usual “you can’t be in the lesbian club because you’re too femme” crowd. Frying pan, meet fire.

The evening progressed well after that, and everyone else was nothing but charming and lovely. There was much cider-drinking and cheese-eating and general loudness. Special ladyfriend ran into her straight friend on the way to one of the bars, and we had a straight male ally show up, and everyone welcomed both of them as they would any other nice people. Because that is what normal people do! It doesn’t matter what your gender or orientation or gender presentation is, there is a human being underneath all that shit who is probably funny and interesting and smart in ways that are different from you. Or maybe they’re an asshole. Either way you won’t find out unless you talk to them. Why the hell would anyone give two shits about anything else?

When we got to the last bar we split into two groups as there were so many of us. Unbeknownst to me, as I was busy laughing my ass off, someone on the other end of the room who had been with the original group of crankypants people but stayed behind, was going on a cissexist, transphobic rant. As I innocently ogled pole-dancing pictures on my friend’s phone and arranged people into ridiculous poses for photographs, this was happening. I didn’t find out until the next day when my friend who witnessed the rant, messaged me to tell me she wouldn’t be coming to anymore of this type of get-together. I don’t blame her, I wouldn’t either.

I’m not really sure how to police people’s behavior at something as casual as a bar crawl, especially when I am likely to quickly become too intoxicated to really notice anything but the fact that everyone is suddenly very interesting and hilarious. Until I figure it out, though, meetups may have to be in a holding pattern.

Except this Saturday’s meetup, of course. That’s already scheduled and is an unstoppable steamroller of queerness. If you live in or near Portland, you should come. Unless you hate femmes, not-femmes, trans people, or any other group of people for no good reason. Then you should just stay home and eat moldy waffles.

Prop 8 overturned

7 Feb

Take THAT!

California is now back in the fight for status as “superior West Coast state.”

Now if we could only fix this sh*t federally.

Straight men up, gay women down

16 Jan

Since the banks are closed to celebrate our mostly-imaginary progress toward a more equal society, let’s take a moment to reflect upon some recent news stories calling attention to inequalities we all knew were there, but most of us were ignoring:

As per usual, gay people get the shaft, and female gay people, being both female and gay, get the shaftiest of the shafts:

“Lesbian couples tend to have much higher poverty rates than either heterosexual or male couples,” according to [a recent report from the Half in Ten program, a campaign by the Center for American Progress and others that aims to reduce poverty by half in 10 years], titled “Restoring Shared Prosperity: Strategies to Cut Poverty and Expand Economic Growth.” “[Older] lesbian couples…are twice as likely as straight married couples to live in poverty.” [via The Advocate]

Sinister forces are at work here, one of which is the fact that women, even today, are paid pennies on the dollar when compared with men with the same backgrounds doing the same jobs. And it’s not that women don’t ask for raises with the same frequency and fervor as men – they do. They’re just not rewarded equally. It follows that a couple made up of two women would have a lower household income than a couple made up of one higher-earning man and one higher-earning woman, or two higher-earning men. From the Washington Post:

“Our recent Catalyst report, The Myth of the Ideal Worker, reveals that women do ask for raises and promotions. They just don’t get as much in return.

The research focused on career paths of high-potential men and women, drawing on thousands of MBA graduates from top schools around the world. Catalyst found that, among those who had moved on from their first post-MBA job, there was no significant difference in the proportion of women and men who asked for increased compensation or a higher position.

Yet the rewards were different.

Women who initiated such conversations and changed jobs post MBA experienced slower compensation growth than the women who stayed put. For men, on the other hand, it paid off to change jobs and negotiate for higher salaries—they earned more than men who stayed did. And we saw that as both men’s and women’s careers progress, the gender gap in level and pay gets even wider.”

The Advocate ran the first story under the header of “shocking inequality,” but is it really? Anyone with half an eye open already knew we were getting shafted. What’s truly shocking is that until now I’d never seen any research on the subject at all.

Happy Monday: Lesbians on film!

9 Jan

I’m not much one for public proposals, but I am a big fan of all the warm and fuzzies coming out of the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (Warning: Contains CHEESE. Lots of it. The meltable variety):

And just in case you live under a rock, here’s that famous kiss picture from last month:

Everyone needs a bit of warm and fuzzy on coooold January Mondays, wouldn’t you agree? One can only get so far with a cup of tea and a snuggie.

What do you do to cheer yourself in the long, dark winter? Other than watch cheeseball YouTube videos and read internet feminist blogs, of course…

Merry (heteronormative consumerist misogynist) Christmas!

24 Dec
Artist’s interpretation of my gayyyy
Christmas tree to go with my gayyyy scarf.

Hey! Today is Christmas Eve! That means it’s time to celebrate queery feministy socialisty things, right? No? It’s time to sit around and celebrate buying stuff and eating animal products, you say? Bah. My version of Christmas is awesomer than that, cuz it has rainbows.

Seriously, though, we actually do have a Christmas tree this year, and it has a faaaaabulous rainbow tinsel garland. But you’d never know that Christmas is an equal-opportunity holiday. Why? Because it ain’t. That’s right, kids, Christmas isn’t for everyone. And it excludes lots more people than just non-Christians.

For starters, Santa gives more presents to rich kids than poor ones. Santa’s kind of a dick that way. Illustrative anecdote:

In the third grade, Cole Slater, sporting his flat-top haircut, came up to me on the playground and asked, “What’d you get for Christmas?” I knew it was a trick, so I tried to avoid answering. “A few things,” I said (reality: A heap of stuff – probably a dollhouse, some footie PJs, more candy than a full-grown adult, let alone a 7-year-old, could ever possibly eat, an assortment of various other trinkets). “Why, what’d you get?”

“DIDDLY SQUAT!” he screamed so vehemently that his face turned red and blotchy.

Then he ran off to retrieve a basketball so he could spend the rest of recess hurling it at my head. Man that kid was pissed. Although in his case, he didn’t get any Christmas presents because he was a gen-u-wine jerkalope, there are plenty of angelic little sh*ts out there that do, indeed, get diddly squat for no other reason than Santa is not a fan of the Great Unwasheds. Christmas is for the rich.

Christmas is also for the straights. Specifically, straights with kids. And in particular the holiday is FOR children, not adults. Woe be to ye who is:

a)    Queer
b)    Childless
c)    An adult
d)    All three

Don’t believe me? Turn on your TV. Watch the onslaught of happy (white upper-middle-class headed by heterosexual couples with two point five tow-headed children and one golden Labrador) families (read: children, because everyone knows a family ain’t a family without kids) tearing into boxes stuffed with goodies from your favorite Holiday Retailers.

Even non-humanoid
illustrations are heteronormative.

Try finding an illustrated Christmas card that has humanoid figures on it that are not either of children (children ice skating! children looking hapless! children raptly gazing into Santa’s pedo eyes!) or families with children (the classic nuclear family portrait with surrounding sun-ray beams and matching outfits) headed by, you guessed it, one man and one woman. Man is center-frame, with his incubator wife and minion children around him.

What if you’re the adult female part of that hetero-happyland? Well then lucky you! You get to do all the work:

It’s the lady of the house’s job to make her kids happy – nay, enchanted – on Christmas, because kids that aren’t absolutely over the moon on Christmas get taken away by child protective services here in Amerikuh. Also she’s in charge of mailing all the cards to her family AND her husband’s family, as he certainly can’t be bothered with such niceties, as well as cooking, cleaning, and arranging the familial obligations and travel plans. He will carry the tree in, though. What a mensch!

All that being said, I do enjoy Christmas (particularly the excuse to mail stacks of cards to folks). It’s not my favorite (that’s my birthday, naturally, followed by Halloween), but any reason to gather with the three Fs (friends, family, food) is OK in my book. Passover, Christmas, Tuesday night potluck, pub crawl debauch, whatever, I dig it. What are your favorite holidays/holiday traditions? Do you notice the homogenous target demographic of “The Holidays,” and how does it make you feel? And what are you doing today, tomorrow, and the day after?

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