Musings on Life for the Queerly Inclined

Posts tagged ‘lesbian’

National Lesbian Handbook Updated

Attention, everyone!  Florida’s Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll has released an amendment to the ubiquitous National Lesbian Handbook concerning the dress code for queer women.  What’s that you say–you’ve never heard of the rules for lesbian appearance?  How did you skip that class?  I’m talking about the core of ‘merican culture here!

Lt. Gov. Carroll is facing scrutiny after a former staff member announced that she’d walked in on Carroll and Beatriz Ramos (an aide) in a “compromising position” in Carroll’s office.  According to Carroll, “Black women that look like me don’t engage in relationships like that.”

Lesbian women, take note: you are absolutely not allowed to look like the above photo.  Just so you know.

Several big issues:

1. What does “relationships like that” mean anyway?  Is she talking about extramarital affairs or same-sex ones?  Bueller?

2. Carroll has interpreted this as an attack on her entire family, stating, “My husband doesn’t want to hear that.  He knows the type of woman I am…my kids know the type of woman I am.”  Her phrasing creates a gulf between two distinct types of women, clearly ostracizing the ones who might engage in any same-sex romance or sex.

3. In refuting these rumors, Carroll insinuated something–but what?–about her staff member’s relationship status: “[she is] the one that’s been single for a long time.”  Did Carroll really just throw the queer spotlight on her colleague just because that woman isn’t married?  Like…for real?

4. Beyond gender policing, what are the real implications of Carroll’s remarks about black women and lesbianism?

  • Images of LGBTQ+ history and culture have often misrepresented these communities as primarily (or even exclusively) white.  Here again, Carroll implies that black women must be straight.  [Edited]
  • Queer women are routinely stereotyped as androgynous or masculine in our gender presentations.  No femininity here, right??  Furthermore, we can occupy only three jobs: security guard, police officer, and gym teacher.  Duh.  Everyone knows that.
  • At the intersection of these assumptions, black femme lesbians (and other queer women) are not only rendered invisible, Lt. Gov. Carroll says they simply don’t exist.
  • By holding herself up as the standard of acceptable (heterosexual) womanhood, Carroll is using femininity as a tool to alienate masculine-of-center women while simultaneously erasing feminine queer women.  Seriously?  I just can’t…

In response to Carroll’s bullshit homophobic and femmephobic comments, HuffPo gathered photos of queer women, all tweeted with the hashtag #ThisIsWhatALesbianLooksLike.  I think this was an awesome response and some lovely ladies sent in fierce and touching captions with their photos.  Check out the full article and slide show here.  Shout out to my fabulous femme friend Jessica, who’s classing it up as #76.

I would also like to call y’all’s attention to this article because it has the best title.  Like ever.  Not to mention, some excellent FB comment screenshots.

The moral of the story: check yourself before you spew ignorant fuckery like this, especially if you happen to be laughing through your remarks like they’re no big deal (see video accompanying HuffPo article).  Now hold on a sec while I sit back, relax, and wait for Lt. Gov. Carroll to put her foot further into her mouth as she tries to make her way out of this mess.

All quotes are from HuffPo.

Edit: Nadine Smith, founder and executive director of Equality Florida, has also written a terrific response.  Check it out.

ATTENTION: The National Threat Level Has Been Raised to RAINBOW

Last night I had a crisis on my hands.  I mean a full-fledged disaster.  It was like running out of glitter.  Okay, not that bad.  What to wear for dyke march?  The question hung over me, drenching me in desperation and doom.  The blue jeans short shorts?  Or the pink jeans shorter shorts?  These are the questions that keep me awake at night, people!

Keep in mind, pride weekend is a two day affair: Saturday is dyke march; the parade is on Sunday.  There are multiple after-party opportunities following both.  Gotta figure out what fabulousness I’m gonna wear for each event.

Sequins are gonna happen.  I mean, duh, that’s pretty much a given.  I decided on a silver sequin top (ya know those items of clothing that toe the line between a shirt and a dress so you besta wear something underneath them?  ya, that), with the pink shorts, a pink chunky belt, and pink sneakers.

If you’re gonna be at Chicago dyke march, come say hey!  I’m gonna march with FFICA: Fierce Femmes in Chicagoland Area.  We have a huge red velvet banner–yeah, we’re keepin’ it classy–that says “femmes” on it in red and pink sequins and white lace.  Needless to say, we won’t be hard to miss.  I helped make the banner, so you should check out my fancy cursive lettering in red sequined fabric.  Holla!

Why You Can’t Take Me Out in Public

This past weekend was Andersonville Midsommarfest, one of Chicago’s 598206 annual summer street fests.  For those of you who don’t know, Andersonville is a historically Swedish area that now has a reputation for being the queer women’s neighborhood.  When my friend and I were there on Sunday afternoon, the sun was shining, the temperature was above 90, the music was blasting, and the beer was flowing.  What did this mean?

Okay, what else?  It means a brigade of HRC volunteers were out collecting money and signatures to support their ceaseless campaign for same-sex marriage.  Now don’t get me wrong–I think marriage equality is an admirable goal.  As long as marriage is the key to gaining tax breaks, healthcare, immigration aid, easier adoption, etc, I absolutely think it should be equally accessible.  Marriage also means a great deal to many people, so yes, I support same-sex marriage.  That sounds lovely, but it’s not my top priority.

My issue with the HRC is that it claims to represent and fight for the needs of all LGBT (where’s the Q?)** individuals and families, yet it’s really a one-issue party.  Everything the HRC does or addresses miraculously gets tied to marriage equality.  I was a member for several years, but finally gave up after receiving an email informing me that a right-wing politician who was campaigning for a governorship had ties to a white supremacist group that had publicly called for the murders of queer folks and people of color.  This was a problem because if he won and if (hypothetically speaking) a marriage equality bill were to come to his desk, he might veto it.  Excuse you…WHAT?  No.  That’s a problem because the guy is part of a hate group that wants to kill peeps.  That’s not a marriage issue; that’s a HOLY SHIT WHITE SUPREMACY issue.

Besides that very extreme incident, I’d rather throw my (limited) money and (bountiful) support behind an organization that reps a full community of queer folks, not just white, class-privileged, gender-conforming ones.

So…I walked into Midsommarfest and was immediately stopped by an HRC rep.  (Side note: why they gotta have so many hotties working for them?  C’mon why can’t the hotties be more critical thinkers?)  (Reminder to self: okay, okay, people just have different values when it comes to their political organizing.  That’s fine I guess.  Boo.)  There was a petition for me to sign and oh I could donate too.  I quickly and politely, but firmly, explained why I quit the HRC and that if their values aligned more with mine–addressing hate crimes, safety in schools, youth homelessness, inclusive and accessible healthcare; fewer black tie dinners–then they should talk to me again.

I found my friend and we continued walking through the fest.  While giving her a brief rundown of what had just happened, we were stopped by another HRC rep.  Another petition.

Me: When the HRC gives a shit about trans* people and people of color, come talk to me.  [Walking away]

HRC volunteer: [Calling after me] We’re getting there!

Me: [Calling back] Very slowly!

Me in my head: “We’re getting there?”  What does he think this is, 1970?

My friend, Elizabeth: I love you.

Later in the afternoon, we saw him again.

HRC volunteer: Can I talk to–oh, I saw you earlier.

Me: Yeah, you probably don’t wanna talk to me again.

HRC: I actually don’t know that much about the HRC.  I’m a straight guy and I’ve just been volunteering for the last two years.

Me in my head: Thank you for clarifying your straightness.  I might have misread you as a sneaky gay.  The horror!

HRC: I’ve been hearing some criticism of the HRC–now some of that has been directed at our last president–some people have said we’re elitist and not in touch with “the common man”…

Me: You hear correctly.  [Mini “marriage and rich white people aren’t the only issues” spiel]

HRC: Well, what I’m talking about today isn’t marriage.  It’s about employment.  Have you heard of ENDA?

Me in my head: I probably know more about ENDA than you do.

Me: Mmmhmm.

HRC: Ya know, there’s actually more state-by-state discrimination against transgender people than against gays and lesbians.

Me in my head:  

He assured me that there were some trans* people working for the HRC– “I learned that there aren’t just men and women, there are people in between and all kinds of other ways”–and that he in fact knew a couple.  He proceeded to tell me about his girlfriend’s friend’s birth name, her current name, and her medical history.

Me in my head: Please stop talking.  I’m happy for you and I genuinely would like to talk with you about what you’re hearing about non-binary genders and how different people experience their transitions, but right now you’re outing your acquaintance.  I’m sure she’s beautiful and yes, I’m she sure rocks that dress, but I DON’T NEED TO KNOW THESE THINGS.  This is not my business and you are outing her in your effort to demonstrate your own trans* friendliness.

The conversation kinda ended there, as he needed to get back to talking to people who wouldn’t problematize every word and might even donate some cash.  Before we parted, he reiterated his hope that things at the HRC would get better (ie more inclusive) with time and that their new president, Chad Griffin, might push for that.  We shall see…

In other news, I got to catch up with the lovely Elizabeth and share one of these:

Oh and I won a beer glass (I would) and a bottle of water (really?) at the Proud to Run tent.  Good times.

**In this case, LGBT has been interpreted as big G, small L, tiny B, no T.  Forget radical queer, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people.

My Life Is Rough

WordPress tells me that I have readers in the USA, the UK, Pakistan, Germany, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico.  Welcome, everyone!  Now to business.  I would like to draw upon your collective creativity and knowledge to help me solve a most urgent problem.  *drum roll*  How can I watch The L Word without being subjected to the outrageous shenanigans of Jenny Schecter?  She starts off okay, but by halfway through the series, she needs to go.  By the final season, she’s unbearable.  As Diane Schipley wrote in The Guardian in 2009, “the death of whiny egomaniac Jenny was probably long overdue.”  (That does not need a spoiler warning–season six premiered three and a half years ago.)  Suggestions?

My solution?  Bypass The L Word all together and instead watch Noah’s Arc.  So many gay men.  So much awkward flirting.  Let’s see how long I can stick with that.  It’s dramatic and entertaining, but the patronizing macho power plays really put me off.

On to the good things in my life:

1. I actually made breakfast.  Real “I’m home now and have access to a fully stocked kitchen and super fabulous professional stove” breakfast.  The house was filled with the sugary scents of cinnamon rosemary artisan French toast, stewed bananas on the side, all sprinkled with crushed pecans and drizzled with maple syrup.  Last night I had pennette with homemade pesto (my mom grows basil).  There’s also been an exponential increase in the amount of homemade guac and chips since I returned home.  I’ve missed cooking…

2. My mom (of her own accord) bought the new Allison Bechdel book: Are You My Mother?  I promptly stole borrowed it.

3. This.  All of this.  Who’s in Chicago?  Hit me up.  We’re gonna find out who these people are (already got one of them), where they are, and when we can party it up with them.  Let’s go drink champagne and get you laid.

Chicago Wins…Again

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