HEADS UP

wutheringheightsbygeorgebush:

  • alan turing is a gay autistic man played by a straight actor who compared being autistic to Frankenstein monster
  • who is now up for an academy award
  • in a film that downplayed the sexuality he was persecuted and driven to his death for

    could we disrespect the memory of this man even more 

Yes, it actually is even worse: According to this Guardian article, the film not only downplayed the sexuality-based persecution aspect, but invented a storyline according to which Turing appears to cover up a Soviet spy. 

What Does Cis Privilege Even Mean?

I want to be careful with this post. I’m a cis-man and have quite a bit of privilege, so I’m an outsider in this discussion. I don’t want to mansplain, but I thought I’d weigh in with my 2 cents.  Please call me out if this is bullshit. This is not supposed to be authoritative in any way.

Caroline Criado-Perez wrote post about the “non-binary vs. feminism war,” her position in it and why she doesn’t identify as “cis.”

I get most of her points, and have no issue with most of them. She has every right not to identify with/not use the term “cis.” However, I think it’s a shame (and slightly ironic, but not surprising) that “cis” is understood by so many people as a derogatory term. I use it, and I think it is most useful this way, as a descriptor, relatively neutral, like trans – a way to describe non-trans people in an efficient, elegant way and without resorting to definitely problematic words like “normal.” I don’t think, however, that “cis” is one essential gender definition. “Cis” is also a term with a broad spectrum of different gender representations, etc.   

I even think that I am not “cis” in the same way Caroline Criado-Perez is (under my definition as not-trans) Gender categories are that different for cismen and ciswomen that “cis” could be said to have different meanings for women. Being cis for a ciswoman comes with (or rather includes) so many rigid, subjecting, misogynist baggage that it can have a different effect. It is way, way easier to be cis as a dude, obviously. I would still say that “cis” is a useful category, word. As a “non-trans” category, as plain and descriptive as word can be in this context.

For me, a feminism (or other anti-discriminatory activism) that is too essentialist in its categorizations and approaches is really problematic, basically bullshit. This could be reason for (cis)women and trans/non-binary people to work together, not against each other. This is not a naive call for “unity” that dismisses very real and valid disagreements, not at all. But in principle, working together could work fine.

Cis-privilege, the concept Criado-Perez rails against the most (and I would too if I understood it like she does) is relative privilege. It doesn’t make any of the problems, bodily and not, that come with being a (cis)woman in our sexist societies magically disappear or turn into sunshine and sparkles. It “just” means ciswomen don’t have a set of problems that trans*, non-binary people have. I’m a white cisman from a upper-middle-class background, that makes me quite privileged. That doesn’t make the issues that I have, like my mental illness problems, disappear – but I don’t have problems that other people have, from cis feminists in England to trans women of color on the other side of the world.

Criado-Perez also writes a lot about being scared. Receiving insults and threats is scary. These threats and insults are a tactic that is really problematic and wrong – and extremely similar to tactics and rhetorics employed as silencing attempts by people in positions of greater hegemonic power: Misogynist men. I think a lot of the backlash Criado-Perez gets comes from trans*/non-binary people who are also scared (and/or angry) for good reason. Also scared to death (too often literally!) in societies that reject them. Trans*/non-binary people can be vocal, for better and sometimes worse, on social media and in certain circles. But they also do not have hegemonic power. Trans women who lived “male” before usually also didn’t live as hegemonic men either.

There is a lot of anger and bitterness between feminists like Criado-Perez and trans/non-binary people/activists. And that’s a pity, because these two groups could punch upwards together a lot better than at each other. (As far as I know, Criado-Perez isn’t actually rejecting the existence of transgender people. If she is actually a trans-erasing radical “feminist” things are a bit different..)

As far as I can tell from my outside perspective, a central problem in this discourse is that people still use binary concepts, essential dichotomies, too much. I do think a lot of these problems could be reduced by getting rid of too essential binaries – especially a rigid man – woman binary – without negating the existence and lived experiences of both transgender people and (cis)women like Criado-Perez. Nor should the blurring of binaries mean that hegemonic, sexist, transphobic men (positions, institutions, …) get away free. That still exists and still is a massive problem we should work against. The field is just more complex.

“10 seriously easy things cis people can do”

Cnlester compiled a list of things cis people (like myself) can do “to make the world a better place for trans people” – and everyone else by extension. Most of the things really require only a minimum effort from us, besides basic re_consideration and acceptance. Do read the list.
(via highoncliches)

“10 seriously easy things cis people can do”

Beer Brand Samuel Adams Pulls Out Of St. Patrick’s Day Parade Due to Lack of LGBT Inclusivness

Samuel Adams Lager is the first beer I can remember – it was a beer my parents enjoyed when I was young and we lived in New Jersey. Though I didn’t have one until almost exactly 2 decades later, it still was a positive memory: The American beer that wasn’t terrible for Germans.

Now there’s more reason to like the beer: After negotiations to allow a LGBT Veterans group to march in the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in Boston failed, the company announced that they wouldn’t participate in the event:

“We were hopeful that both sides of this issue would be able to come to an agreement that would allow everyone, regardless of orientation, to participate in the parade,” the Boston Beer Company said in a statement. “But given the current status of the negotiations, we realize this may not be possible.”

Cheers to that, Sam!

Beer Brand Samuel Adams Pulls Out Of St. Patrick’s Day Parade Due to Lack of LGBT Inclusivness

If this issue [surrounding Arizona’s SB 1062] sounds familiar, it should, because it’s the exact same issue behind two of the most high profile Supreme Court cases being hear this term — Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius. In both of those cases, for-profit businesses object, on religious liberty grounds, to complying with Obama Administration rules increasing access to birth control. One of the most important questions presented by both cases is whether a for-profit corporation can have religious faith at all, and if so, whether it can use that supposed faith as the basis for a legal claim.
[…]
If the Supreme Court is willing to overrule Lee, and to embrace the almost oxymoronic notion that corporations can be people of faith, then there could be little end to business owners’ ability to immunize themselves from the law — so long as they cover their objections to those laws in a religious wrapper.

An Upcoming Supreme Court Case Could Impose Arizona’s Anti-Gay Bill On The Entire Country | ThinkProgress 

I can recommend the article in full, it gives a bit more contexts to the rulings referenced (if you’re interested in that kind of thing.)

This is one of those cases that are hard to understand if you want to hold on to the belief that jurisprudence is neutral and doesn’t favor certain power structures, certain social positions over others. Even then it’s mind-boggling. 

N.F.L. Prospect Proudly Says What Teammates Knew: He’s Gay – NYTimes.com

Michael Sam, a defensive lineman who played college football for the University of Missouri, came out as gay yesterday.

As a senior (6"2’/188 cm; 260 lbs/117 kg) Sam had a stellar season as Missouri finished 12-2 and won the Cotton Bowl. He was named first-team all-American, Associated Press defensive player of the year in the Southeastern Conference, widely considered the top league in college football. Teammates, to whom he came out prior the season, voted him Missouri’s MVP. Based on his performance, Michael Sam should have a good chance to be drafted to the NFL, a process that begins with the NFL Scouting Combine in two weeks. 

He came out to the greater public after numerous scouts from pro teams asked his agent about Sam’s relationships and sexuality while Sam played in the annual Senior Bowl. He wanted to come out on his own terms. 

There has not been a publicly gay player in the NFL to date; a few pro players have come out after their career was over. I hope a pro team takes the step to draft the first gay pro American football player. (I’m looking at you, teams from cities like New York, Seattle, San Fran..) His performance and relationship with his team in Mizzou shows that a team can be very successful, ‘even if’ the locker room includes a gay man. That a gay player would change the locker room atmosphere to the team’s detriment is a common argument against gay American football players. The team’s initial response to his private coming out gives me hope that gay players in this sport are more welcome than outsiders might expect/fear

Coaches at the University of Missouri divided players into small groups at a preseason football practice last year for a team-building exercise. One by one, players were asked to talk about themselves — where they grew up, why they chose Missouri and what others might not know about them. As Michael Sam […] began to speak, he balled up a piece of paper in his hands. “I’m gay,” he said. […] “I looked in their eyes, and they just started shaking their heads — like, finally, he came out,”

I’m looking forward to watching this impressive man play in the NFL.

His website features a few highlight videos, but beware, they autoplay.

N.F.L. Prospect Proudly Says What Teammates Knew: He’s Gay – NYTimes.com

Tumblr genuinely is younger than most other social platforms, and more diverse. A greater proportion of its users are people of colour than on any other major platform. Women users make up a higher percentage than anywhere else bar Pinterest. Teenagers over-index dramatically. And while Pew and other research agencies don’t tend to ask about sexuality or gender identification, LGBT visibility in Tumblr fandom is very high. What looks to dim outsiders as some kind of obsession with “social justice” often just springs from people talking about themselves, their lives and the shit that happens to them.

Just one of many excellent parts in this piece by Tom Ewing (which is only a little bit about Tumblr.)

(The piece is about Marvel fandom, though that’s not apparent from this quote.)

Trans* Day of Remembrance

Today is Trans* (gender*_sexual*) Day of Remembrance, a day to remember trans* people have been killed by trans*phobic, hateful violence. Feministing published a good link round-up. My friends at Mädchenmannschaft published a short text on the topic in German. I also want to recommend this list of thoughts for/on this day published at Trouble-X (via)  I’ll always be shocked by how many victims there are – how couldn’t you be.