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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.

Continue reading

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…

Not funny, Facebook: Sexism and homophobia from your friends and family

7 Nov

What would we do without Facebook? Well, for one, we might never find out which of our “friends” are complete and utter poopheads. And for that, Facebook, I thank you. My news feed has, oddly, found itself somewhat fuller-than-usual with illogical anti-gay or sexist rants of late – go figure. A sampling, presented for your derision:

The above is one of those “link-sharing plus commentary” posts. It points to the heartwarming story of a lesbian couple being named as reigning monarchs of the homecoming court.

Here is the text from the offending (white, male, cisgendered heterosexual) Facebooker:

If this trend continues society will be the biggest loser and women will be the second. If gender does not matter why stop here how about making the Olympics only the best in each event regardless of gender. Honoring the difference between men an (sic) women make (sic) women safer expressing femininity men better men by honoring those differences.

Like most hate speech, the rant makes little to no sense. “[gender roles] make women safer“? Last I checked it was way harder for women to run away from would-be muggers/rapists while wearing heels. Just saying! Additionally, I wonder if the OP noticed that both women in the photo are wearing dresses and full makeup? Looks like some pretty damn well-performed femininity to me. Maybe he’s wearing asshole goggles.

And how about the second part of that “sentence”: “expressing femininity men better men by honoring those differences“? Wait, what? Maybe if I took whatever hallucinogen this dude was on when he typed that and forgot everything I learned in grammar school, that sentence would make sense.

The best response I’ve heard so far is from Rebeca Arellano, the whip-smart teenager crowned Homecoming King at the high school in the news story:

For all the girls who think tradition should be continued: go back to the kitchen, stop having sex before you’re married, get out of school and job system, don’t have an opinion, don’t own any property, give up the right to marry who you love, don’t vote, and allow your husband to do whatever he pleases to you. Think about the meaning of tradition when you use it in your argument against us.

Today’s runner-up post is brought to you by the “girl-on-girl violence” club:

Transcript:

“Yes, I’m a woman. I push doors that clearly say PULL. I laugh harder when I try to explain why I’m laughing. I walk into a room and forget why I was there. I count on my fingers in math. I hide the pain from my loved ones. I say it is a long story when it is really not. I cry a lot more than you think I do. I care about people who don’t care about me. I try to do things before the microwave beeps. I listen to you even when you don’t listen to me. And a hug will always help. Yes, I’m a woman! Re-post if you’re proud to be one, come on ladies..(heart emoticon)”

I can’t decide which is my favorite kooky stereotype. Is it the finger-in-mouth, head tilted “I count on my fingers in math” statement? Because oh ho ho, that is one helluva knee-slapper! I mean, MATH IS HARD, AMIRITE ladies!? Re-post if you’re proud of your inability to count past ten!!

Or is it the nonsensical “I try to do things before the microwave beeps”? Like, what kind of things? Do you set the microwave to five minutes, and then try to run a mile? Or is it something more sinister – an entire life, perhaps, dictated by an evil beeping kitchen appliance – you get up in the morning, and try to put your pants on before your microwave announces “Beep. TOO SLOW, slowpoke. Now suffer the wrath of the EVER-EXPANDING MARSHMALLOW PEEP! Muah ha ha ha!!!”

Got your own jerk Facebook
posts? Email them to me
and I’ll probably post them:
adventuresinmediocrity@gmail.com

Most of them just sound like slightly amusing, somewhat sad things that happen to everyone now and again – who hasn’t pulled or pushed a door the wrong way? What the hell does laughing when trying to explain something funny have to do with your genitals or gender performance? And what the hell is WRONG with these Facebook people?

What’s the worst post you’ve ever seen on The Facebook (or any other social network, for that matter)? I’m sure these two are tame by comparison. Oh and – if you’re into screencapping, take some screenshots and email ‘em to me at adventuresinmediocrity@gmail.com (adventuresinmediocrity (at) gmail (dot) com), or tweet ‘em at me @mediocreventure. Be sure to include how you’d like to be attributed, if at all.

Amusing lesboslang

3 Nov

Cruising around the internet, one encounters quite a bit of entertaining slang. Some of it is geared toward the gay, lesbian and otherwise queerly-inclined folks. A selection, presented for your amusement:

Hasbian:  One who used to be a lesbian. Often can be counted among the Five Allies in Queerland.

Lesbient: A stoner lesbian. “Ent” comes from the tree people from J.R.R. Tolkien’s famed Trilogy of the Rings, in case you didn’t know.

Lesberina: This is pretty much what I wanted to be when I grew up when I was a kiddo. Just guess the definition.

Lesberjack: Urban Dictionary defines this as “a woman who wears plaid to clearly identify herself as a lesbian.” Clearly, though, nowadays, if one isn’t careful with accessorizing, one could be mistaken for a Mere Hipster.

Lesbaru: A Subaru, driven by a lesbian. Urban Dictionary says this has to be a late-model Subaru, but can be driven by any woman. I disagree, Urban Dictionary, particularly since Subarus in the Pacific Northwest are driven by pretty much everyone. Related: We also need a word for Lesbian Pickup Trucks. Ten points to the first person to come up with a clever moniker for that.

Lesbionic: Again, I disagree with Urban Dictionary here. They define it as “something pertaining to two female robots or cyborgs who are emotionally and sexually attracted to each other.” Since there’s no such thing as robots, clearly what they meant to say was a lesbian with bionic superpowers. Duh.

What internet slang did I miss (no offensive stuff, please)? What slang do you use in your own social group that the internet doesn’t know about yet? Tell me in the comments.

The Five Allies You Meet in Queerland

2 Nov

After yesterday’s post lambasting the five folks you’d rather not run into as a queer person, why not take commenter Tom’s suggestion and categorize the five kinds of people we don’t mind running into? Well OK then – without further ado, here are the five allies you meet in Queerland:

1. The Liberal/Activist

Yes, we already talked about The Liberal yesterday. But I’m talking about a different kind of liberal. This is not the dinner-party noblesse obliger of yesterday, the sort that leaves you feeling dirty and used afterward. This is the true liberal – the champion of the underdog. S/he is the sort who truly believes in that moving parable “first they came for X, and I was not an X, so I said nothing…” A real-life example:

  • My friend D, who fights valiant social battles on my behalf for no other reason that she knows the difference between right and wrong, and feels strongly about doing the former.

2. The Academic

This person is very similar to the liberal, but a bit drier and well, more academic. They minored or majored in women’s studies, sociology or something else really cool in college. They may be straight, but they don’t say really silly, oh-so-nuanced things like “Girls are great and all, but I really like dick.” (How edifying!)

3. Allies from sympathetic groups

People of color. People with Asperger’s. People with disabilities. People who experience discrimination in all its myriad forms – whether they got made fun of for wearing glasses in the second grade or they grew up poor or they have only nine toes – know what it’s like and are sometimes (but not always) sympathetic to the Cause o’ Queerness.

4. The (un)Hater

In many cases, the phrase “haters gon’ hate” is applicable. But not with the (un)Hater. Although many of us wouldn’t consider this person an ally, since they love you in spite of your queeritude, they still love you. I have friends like this. They consider many things about me to be Highly Distasteful, just one of which is my romantic entanglements with the fairer sex. A selection of my flaws, which they are able to overcome in order to remain excellent friends:

5. The “I’m not into gay rights” gay person

They may SAY this, but really they’re just into being polite in mixed company. Which is a totally understandable urge. They’ll come around eventually, I promise.

Who have I missed?

The Five People You Meet in Queerland

1 Nov

I’ve countenanced a lot of, shall we say, “crap” over the years. It comes from strangers who shout “dyke!” out their car windows. It comes from well-meaning friends who introduce me as their “lesbian friend,” as if that were the only notable thing worth mentioning. It comes from not-so-well-meaning friends who make drunken declaratory assessments of my “true” sexuality, as of course who better to judge who I can or should or actually do love or lust after than someone other than ME?

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:

2. The Liberal

This is the one who trots out your sexuality (or any other non-trad feature of you, including but not limited to your race, religion (or lack thereof), gender (or lack thereof), occupation, etc.) to garner “liberal points” at dinner parties. This friend uses you to fortify their liberal bonafieds. You are offered up at social gatherings as proof positive that, because of his or her friendship with you, The Other, s/he is The Most Open-Minded, Most Liberal of all his/her liberal friends. Examples in my life have included:

  • Facebook Friend A, making repeated public requests to have drinks/lunch/whatever with my Special Ladyfriend and myself thusly: “I’d like to sign up for lesbian happy hour!” Ahhhh yes, because hanging out with us is, in fact, hanging out with women who date women, how very au courant of you.
  • Meeting new people, “And this is my lesbian friend, S!” And this is my dick-sucking friend, Mallory. C’mon, people. Think before you talk.

3.    The Denier

Deniers are particularly vocal around queers that conform to heteronormative gender standards (i.e. femme lesbians, butch gay men, bisexuals who don’t wear some kind of “Hi, I’m bi” badge). They’re convinced that you’re “confused” or “traumatized” or some other load of crap. Examples in my life include:

  • During a booze-fueled late-night heart-to-heart with one of my good friends, he made the following unhelpful and inaccurate assessment of me: “Well S, I never really thought you were queer. I think you’ve probably been hurt by men in the past, and, well, you know… *falls asleep/drools on self*”
  • Letter from my ex-boyfriend to my then-girlfriend: “Stop messing with S’s head. She’s really straight, you know.” Because my head, you see, it is pretty, and little, and easily messed with. I certainly can’t be trusted to make my own partnering decisions, heavens no. Others must make them for me, you see, either through coercion, or, if necessary, force. It’s like one big game of sexuality keep-away. Funsies!
  • Boy I dated: “Oh you’re just confused, you’re actually straight.”
  • Girl I dated: “Oh you’re just confused, you’re actually a lesbian.”
  • Random Girl in Social Circle: “So Boy A turned you gay, and Boy B turned you straight again, eh?” Right. Because that’s TOTALLY how that works. There’s like, a toggle switch, or something. But only really sexy people know where it is.

4.    The Fetishist

This guy is so accepting. He LOVES lesbians. In fact, he loves them so much that when he thinks about them, he touches himself. His eyes twinkle when he sees you with your Special Ladyfriend. If you’re bi, they twinkle even more. He’ll attempt to maneuver you near his wife/girlfriend, who will be pushed into becoming besties with you so that one glorious day, he can have a four-way. Or a three-way. Or some such -way. Examples from real life:

  • Friend X’s perfectly nice girlfriend, W, approaches me in bar and asks to have three-way with me, her boyfriend, and her. Me: “Did Friend X put you up to this?” W: ::hangs head slightly:: “Yes.”
  • Me, at a party: “Hi Random Guy Sitting with My Friends. What do you say to me having some of that Tasty Beverage over there?” RGSWMF: “Hmmm… first, you gotta make out with your girlfriend!”

5.    Curious George

Curious George just wants to know aaallllll about you so that s/he can better understand your kee-razy sex rebel mind and/or “lifestyle.” Curious George thinks your entire life serves as either a) a teachable moment, or b) material for the spank bank. Curious George used to be my downfall. “Familiarity begets acceptance, right?” I would think to myself. But then I realized how incredibly rude it would be if I asked them the same sort of questions they felt perfectly justified in asking me, and stopped talking to these arseholes. Examples from real life:

  • (Very drunk) checkout clerk from local grocery emporium, upon running into me out at a bar: “But… what is it you guys DO? I mean, you know…” My then-ladyfriend then proceeded to patiently explain various sex acts to her while I suddenly became very interested in the worn quilted bar leather.
  • Male friend: “So, how do you guys, you know, keep it interesting? I mean, do you have… you know, tools?” Yeah dude. We have like, drill bits and shit. Also, a sewing machine and a stand mixer. Ferfuckssake. 
This concludes our Tuesday misanthropy session – although I know there are closeted bigot categories I’ve missed (like the ever-popular fundiegelical – “God hates fags! But Jesus loves you.”). Share yours in the comments. Oh, yeah, and subscribe!

A love letter to femmes

27 Oct

This is heartfelt, and hilarious, and long, and so worth it:

Here is the transcript:

To all the beautiful, kick ass, fierce and full-bodied femmes out there, I would like to extend my thanks to you.

It is for you that I press my shirts and carefully iron my ties. It is for you that I make sure my underwear and socks match. It is to you that I tip my cowboy hat. It is for you that I polish my big black boots.

I know that sometimes you feel like nobody truly sees you. I want you to know that I see you. I see you on the street, on the bus, in the gym, in the park.

I don’t know why I can tell that you are not straight, but I can. Maybe it is the way you look at me. Please don’t stop looking at me the way you do.

All of my life I have been told that I am ugly, I am less than, I am not a man, I am unwanted. Until you came along, I believed them. Please do not ever stop looking at me the way you do.

I would never say that the world is harder on me than it is you. Sometimes you are invisible. I have no idea what this must feel like, to pass right by your people and not be recognized. To not be seen. I cannot hide, unless I am seen as something I am not. This is not more difficult, it is just different.

I know those shoes are fucking killing your feet. I want you to know how much I appreciate that you are still wearing them. You look hot. I love you in them. They look great with that dress.

If it makes you feel any better at all, the boots I have on right now weigh approximately 12 pounds apiece and they make the soles of my feet burn like diaper rash in a heat wave and it feels like I’m wearing ski boots when I have to walk up stairs. But I wear them for you.

Even still, my new boots are velvet slippers compared to your knee-high five-inch heels. I notice, and I salute you.

I promise, I am not just staring at your tits. I am trying to look you directly in the eyes, but you are almost eight inches taller than me, please see above note regarding your five-inch heels. At the same time, I would like to mention that while I was trying to look you in the eyes, I couldn’t help but notice your lovely new pendant. I am sure it really brings out the colour of your eyes, if I could see them.

I want to thank you for coming out of the closet. Again and again, over and over, for the rest of your life. At school, at work, at your kid’s daycare, at your brother’s wedding, at the doctor’s office. Thank you for sideswiping their stereotypes.

I never get the chance to come out of the closet, because my closet was always made of glass. But you do it for me. You fight homophobia in a way that I never could. Some of them think I am queer because I am undesirable. You prove to them that being queer is your desire.

Thank you for loving me because of who I am and what I look like, not in spite of who I am and what I look like.

Thank you for smelling so good.

Thank you for holding my hand on the sidewalk during the hockey playoffs. I know it is probably small-minded of me to smile wicked at all the drunken dudes in jerseys smoking outside the sports bar in between periods because you are so fucking hot, and you are with me and not them, but I can’t help it. That’s right fellas. You want her but she wants me. How do you like them apples?

Thank you for wearing matching bra and panties. I don’t know why this makes my life seem so perfect, but it really does.

Thank you for being the daughter my mother always wanted. You are so smart and successful and you dress so fine that you almost make up for her having me and my sister for her real children.

Thank you for reaching out in the dark at the movie theatre to grab my hand in the scary parts. It makes me feel like I am strong, that I can take care of you. Even if there is no such thing as vampires, and you do so much yoga that you could probably easily kick my ass.

I want you to know I love your crooked tooth, your stretch marks, the missing part of your finger, your short leg, your third nipple, your lazy eye, your cowlick, your birthmark shaped like Texas. I love it all.

I want you to know that I know it is not always easy to love me. That sometimes my chest is a field full of landmines and where you went last night you can’t go tomorrow. There is no manual, no roadmap, no helpline you can call. My body does not come with instructions, and sometimes even I don’t know what to do with it. This cannot be easy, but still, you touch me anyway.

Thank you for escorting me into the women’s washroom because the floor of the men’s was covered in something unmentionable. Thank you for asking me if I had a tampon in my purse really loud so the lady in the turquoise sweatshirt did a double take before gathering up her daughter and hitting me with a pool noodle. I can’t say for sure whether that is what actually would have happened, but thanks to you I didn’t have to find out.

Thank you for wearing that dress just because you knew it would match my shirt. Together, we are unstoppable. When seen through your eyes, I am beautiful. Turns out I was a swan the whole time.

- by Ivan Coyote, who is awesome

Related posts: Femme invisibility; F-A-G; naval-gazing

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