Posts Tagged ‘lesbian’

What do you think about the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill?

January 13, 2010

The Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill would be a violation of humans rights. The spirit of the bill is undemocratic and would be a blow to the progress of democracy in Uganda. It also isn’t a bill just against homosexuals – it’s a bill against everyone. A new draft bill includes a provision that could lead to the imprisonment for up to three years of anyone, including heterosexual people, who fails to report within 24 hours the identities of everyone they know who is lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, or who supports human rights for people who are.

The existing law, Section 140 of the Ugandan penal code, penalizes “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature” with imprisonment of up to 14 years. This legacy of British colonialism was introduced to punish local practices of what the colonial powers deemed to be “unnatural sex.” The laws stand as proof that same-sex sexual practices and gender diversity are, and always have been, part of Ugandan culture. The draft bill tabled today seeks to imprison anyone convicted of “the offense of homosexuality” for life.

Paragraph 3 of the draft bill sets out provisions on what it names as “aggravated homosexuality,” which will incur the death penalty, contradicting the global trend toward a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.

The final section of the bill provides for Uganda to nullify any of its international or regional commitments that it deems “contradictory to the spirit and provisions enshrined in this Act.” As both the African Commission and the UN Human Rights Committee have held, a state cannot, through its domestic law, negate its international human rights obligations.

Over recent months, there has been increased campaigning against homosexuality in Uganda, led by churches and anti-gay groups. The media have joined this campaign, and have publicly pointed to individuals they accuse of being gay or lesbian.

People suspected of being gay have faced death threats and been physically assaulted. Many have been ostracized by their families or faced discrimination, including dismissal from their place of employment.

“This inflammatory bill will be taken as further confirmation that it is OK to attack or even kill people perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender,” said Victor Mukasa, of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. “It is the government’s responsibility to immediately withdraw this dangerous proposal.”

It is a dangerous proposal for everyone. It will affect the lives of everyone of every sexuality because anyone can be accused. It’s like a war on human nature – it’s perfectly natural to be homosexual. They might as well outlaw breathing. I am appalled that in 2010 – this is even an issue.

What can you do to help? You can take action by going to the Amnesty International web page and send a email to your representatives to stop this violation of human rights.

Advertisements

What does “Queer” mean to you?

December 29, 2009

Being “queer” is different than being “gay” or “lesbian.” “Gay” or “lesbian” is a sexual orientation. Queer is more a sociological lifestyle rather than a sexuality (or gender identity). With the mainstream trying to make money off the “gay” and “lesbian” identities they use the word “queer” for marketing value such as “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” or “Queer as Folks” but not really addressing what it’s like to be queer.

For me, being queer is about rejecting heteronormalitivity and mainstream values. It’s not about being a sheep and following into line. It’s about thinking for yourself and being independent. It’s about rejecting societal and cultural norms. It’s about living life as you want to live it rather than being told how to live it. It’s about questioning everything – even yourself to come up with the solution that works best for you.

A current example of my rejection of heteronormalitivity and mainstream culture: my stepsister is downstairs on the couch cuddling her boyfriend while watching a show that makes fun of people. I don’t see how watching a show that makes fun of my fellow human beings to be entertaining since it’s laughing at their expense and not with them. They are so conditioned that they don’t even see that there’s anything wrong with chosen form of entertainment as I hear laughter trailing upstairs. I found something gravely wrong with the mainstream culture and what other people find permissible. I don’t find the misfortune of other’s to be funny. They do it for the sense of fitting in, to be cool, and possibly their minds are just that fucked.

Being queer is about not being fucked up like mainstream society. It’s about being vocal while the masses are silent. It’s about seeing and addressing the problems we face. It’s about having the best parties. 😉 It’s about swimming against the stream rather than going with the flow. For me, part of being queer is how I present myself to the world. I am rather butch, wear a frog bra, have tattoos, piercings, and a mohawk. I don’t “pass” at all. For some people, my mere appearance is a confrontation because I don’t follow gender stereotypes. I get stares, sneers, sometimes verbal assaulted, and once physically assaulted. Violence never solves anything. You can bash my face in but you can’t touch my mind. I won’t stop being queer just because you don’t approve.

I once saw a poster that said, “Not Gay as in Happy, But Queer as in Fuck You.” Queer is about being in your face and getting your hands dirty to change things. It’s not about being political correct. You can also be straight and queer. It’s a mindset and a way of being. It can also be a sexual orientation for those who defy the binary. It’s many things to many people. What does queer mean to you?

Transgender: An Ally’s Perspective

December 23, 2009

I was talking to someone today and somehow it came up that I knew a lot of transboys.  “They must be confused.” They said.  I furrowed my brows and shook my head, “No, they aren’t confused.  They just have the wrong body.”

I know that people understand male and female.  Everyone is aware of their gender from the moment they can understand anything.  But not everyone understands transgendered.  Transgendered is not confusion or anything like that – in fact it is quite the opposite.  It’s a deep knowing that the gender assigned to their body doesn’t match the gender in their mind.

Some people who are transgendered know from the very beginning that their body doesn’t match what’s inside.  Others, go on quite a journey to figure it out.  It’s probably really hard for most cis-gendered people to imagine what it is like to feel like an alien to your own body.  The closest metaphor I can use to explain the discomfort is it’s like the dream that you’re naked/in your underwear and everyone else is clothed and staring.  It makes you really self aware and very uncomfortable.  It’s like everyone else blends in and fit but you’re the missing a piece to the puzzle.

I feel for my transgendered brothers and sisters.  It’s not easy by any means standing up and saying, “Hey, this body isn’t right for me.”  Nor is it easy to go through the steps to set the body to match the mind.

I don’t know much about the transition process.  It’s a series of surgeries and injections.  It takes it’s toll.  Some transgendered people chose not to transition due to all the risks.  If they can’t “pass” they will be plagued in life being boxed into a box that doesn’t fit.

Every three days in developed countries a transgendered person is murdered.  Also, transgendered people are often left in the dust by gays and lesbians organizations who are trying to assimilate, most notably the HRC.

Not only are they abandoned by their supposed allies, things that people take for granted as being status-quo can be a threat to transgendered individuals safety.  For example, going to the bathroom.  No big deal for your average man or woman – but if you are a man in a woman’s body or a woman in a man’s body, it can be a very dangerous situation.

The point of all this is that transgender people are usually really awesome and don’t deserve such bad treatment by society, gays, and lesbians.  Being transgendered is no more someone’s fault than being left handed.  It’s just how they are made.

Punk Rock 101: A Vegetarian Queer Punk’s Guide to New York City

December 11, 2009

There aren’t many queer punks in NYC. I was one of maybe 10. The days of Meow Mix and riot grrrl are long gone. Most of NYC’s lesbian scene is lipstick lesbians modeling their life after the L-Word or hipsters who talk a lot and drink PBR but don’t do much. There’s a lot of segregation in the queer scene in NYC – depending on the color of your skin and economic class determines which parties you’d go to. I didn’t like that. I wish all the queers would unite and work together to fight against being oppressed. I tried to change it by putting on a couple of concerts trying to invite everyone to come but it didn’t really work.

Anyways, NYC is really big and corporate. That’s why I left but there are a handful of places that are DIY (do-it-yourself) or worth checking out.

First place on my guide is Abc No Rio. Abc No Rio is in the Lower East Side at 156 Rivington Street.  It has a mix of everyone.  There are punk shows every Saturday at 3pm.  There’s also a zine library, a dark room, a silkscreen studio, and a computer lab all open to the public (hours of opening vary – check out their website for details).

A couple of blocks away at 152 Ludlow Street is the Cake Shop which has live music, sells vegan, and non-vegan treats. The Cake Shop is also home of the ONLY Queer Punk Party QxBXRx which happens once a month hosted by one of the boys from Limp Wrist. It’s usually mostly boys with a handful of girls but it’s a good scene – good social scene not a cruising scene. There’s usually a few queer bands that play and it’s a fun time.

Around the corner from the Cake Shop is Bluestockings Bookstore. It is located at 172 Allen Street between Stanton and Rivington. It’s an activist center, a fair trade cafe (not much food – more drinks), and bookstore. There’s all sorts of books there from activism, anarchy, queer theory, queer literature, women’s studies, and anything else alternative you can think of. They also host events almost every night, so check out their calendar.

About 8 blocks away and an avenue or two over from Bluestockings is St. Mark’s Place (2nd – 3rd Avenue on 8th street is the main strip) which was home to all things radical in the past. It’s has a few cool stores like Trash and Vaudeville which has anything punk you can dream of. There’s also Search and Destroy which has lots of military surplus clothing. There’s also lots of little stores on the street selling all sorts of things – it’s a cool place to check out. While you there, stop by Mamouns Falafel at 22 St. Mark’s Place for really good and cheap eats. If pizza is more your thing, 2 Bros Pizza is just a few doors down and has dollar pizza.

If you head on over to the West Village, the best punk record store in the city is Generation Records located at 210 Thompson Street. They have all the punk you could want and then some. There’s also a couple of cool chess shops on the street which might be worth checking out.

That’s about it for punk places to visit. However, there’s a handful of other neat places that I think is worth mentioning. In the West Village, there’s Red Bamboo and VP2 which are amazing vegetarian restaurants owned by the same people. You should definitely save room for the vegan cakes made by Vegan Treats which are driven into the City every Tuesday. Atlas Cafe in the East Village also has cakes by Vegan Treats but for some reason they never taste as good as Red Bamboo’s. Atlas Cafe has some great faux meat sandwiches. I also recommend Quantum Leap which has two locations – one in the West Village and one in the East. They have the best veggie burgers I’d ever had.

Bonus: Where to get Tattoo’ed/Pierced in NYC

If you want awesome tattoos, your going to have to pay for them but it’s worth it. It’s a lifetime investment. I got my ink done at NY Adorned. My artist has since moved to Austin or I would recommend her. I get compliments on my tattoos all the time – and they are some of the best I have seen. However, the guy who worked the front at NY Adorned was really rude but all the artists are amazing so pay no attention to him. If you want to get pierced, I’d go to Daredevil Tattoo which is also home of LeRoi Jewelry which specializes in all things piercings. Daredevil also does some amazing tattoos so I would check them out. I’ve also been told Invisible does awesome tattoos. There’s a couple of other good places that I can’t remember their names, but that should be enough to get you started.

Update: Bars

I don’t really like bars or hang out at them due to being straightedge – but there’s a few bars where you might run into some punks or queers or if you are really lucky queer punks.

Manitoba’s – Owned by a lead singer of a punk band. I went here once and it was very hetero and normal so I wasn’t impressed but maybe you just need to caught it on the right night. It’s located at 99 Avenue B between 6th and 7th street.

Double Down Saloon – I’ve been here a few times and hung out with some punks. Not very queer but I did run into a queer girl. Awesome jukebox with lots of punk. It’s located at 14 Avenue A.

Mars Bar – Located at 25 E 1st St – it’s totally a punk rock dive bar. I’ve never been inside – I stopped out front of it while some of my friends talked to some punks inside. I heard from the reviews that it’s really dirty, but a little dirt never scared off a punk, right?

I never ran into any punks here except for myself but my favorite lesbian bar in New York City is The Cubby Hole located at 281 West 12th Street. It’s really tiny and it gets really crowded but the crowd is usually pretty diverse – boys and girls. Everyone was really friendly when I went.

Bar Bonus: Brooklyn

I sometimes would venture out to Brooklyn and go to The Metropolitan which on Wednesday Nights is full of hipster dykes. It wasn’t really punk rock but the age crowd is 20-30’s usually when sometimes the Cubby Hole is 30-beyond. Also, a party worth mentioning is Choice Cunts ran by the Gaysha which is a monthly “raw party for rare queers”. Sometimes it only has like 20-30 people at the party other times it can have 300 – it’s a real hit or miss but it’s worth checking out if you’re around. It’s mostly girls but there’s sometimes a handful of gay boys. It’s about as alternative as the queer scene gets in Brooklyn.

Butch seeks Butch: Why is it so Taboo? (Repost from Deleted Blog)

December 11, 2009

I was googling butch seeks butch and boi seeks boi out of curiosity and there wasn’t much to be found.  Sometimes I feel like the only genderqueer butch boi who wants another butch.  I mean there is plenty of butch seeks femme but just none for the bois.  I feel like I have a nonexistent dating pool.  I’ve been single for 26 years and I’ll probably be single for life.  I would like a girlfriend that I am attracted to both physically and mentally but finding someone like that is really problematic.  First off, there’s not that many lesbians to begin with.  I don’t know why there are so many gay males maybe because we live in a patriarchal society and it promotes men so it makes sense for men to love men.  It goes against everything that society tries to condition us to be a women who loves women.  But there aren’t that many lesbians and most lesbians tend to go femme.  I have nothing against femme – I know all about femme visibility and I am an ally to the cause but it’s harder being out all the time and visible queer.  I’ve been punched in the face before for being gay which sucked more than anything.  In NYC of all places in 2009 – how ridiculous is that?  I thought the world would be beyond such nonsense.  Anyways, finding smart people is hard.  We all know that.  The world is full of dummies.  And if you are already dealing with a small dating pool to begin with – it becomes even smaller looking for someone smart.  Plus, add looking for someone vegetarian and a boi – that’s near impossible.

Anyways, I don’t know why Butch seeks Butch is so taboo.  For gay men, since there are plenty of them, there’s a whole bear community for masculine men who like other masculine men.  They even have their own flag for their community.  There’s nothing like that for the lesbian counterpart.  It might just be there’s not enough of us but why is it okay for men and not for women?  Double standards again?  I remember being sad when reading Stone Butch Blues when they specifically said in the book butch on butch is taboo.  It’s the mentality now.  I get such a hard time when I hit on other butches.  I get treated like an alien and ignored.  It happens all the time when the rare occasion I find a butch.  It’s a real blow to one’s self confidence to be treated so poorly.  It should be taken as a compliment being hit on – by anyone.  It’s nice to know you are attractive.  If you don’t like the person who’s hitting on you, don’t be mean to them.  Say “Thank you, not interested.”  Then again, I learn that if they are a jerk to me, they weren’t worth my original attempt and are just a pretty face with an ugly inside.

I am a sweet kid who looks like a bad ass and I get lots of shit for that because everyone thinks a million and one things about me that aren’t true.  It’s also hard being genderqueer.  At least with being ftm or mtf – you have a gender identity – you might be the wrong gender but there’s a gender for you.  For me, there is no gender.  I am just genderfucked.  Not male and not female and just stuck being something I am not without any options.  I feel so out of place in a world with males and females and not much room for a this or that.

Essay: Genderqueer

December 2, 2009

Are you a boy or a girl?” A perplexed waitress at a Dunkin’ Donut in the heart of New York City asked of me when I entered the shop.  “I just wanted a muffin; I don’t think my gender matters.”  I said but she didn’t seem to understand, she was rather too interested on what was in my pants. “Are you a boy or a girl?”  I sighed.  I don’t identify as either being genderqueer but I don’t like having to explain myself all the time to everyone.  Mostly because people can only wrap their head around the gender binary and not think outside the box.  It got me thinking though, why do perfect strangers care too much about what’s in my pants?  It doesn’t matter to anyone unless they wanted to sleep with me.  But, for some reasons, this lady’s whole identity was formed around a world of boys and girls.  I bite the bullet since I really wanted my muffin, “I’m a girl.”  She let out a relieved sigh and then got my muffin.  Again, I was forced into the oppressive gender binary to comply with the needs of an oppressive society.  It isn’t just the males that oppress; it is also other women who’ve been conditioned to think as such.

In an ideal society, I would have been able to get my muffin without being hassled about what’s in my pants.  However, this is America – home of the free if you are rich and fix into neat boxes.  Most people can’t wrap their head around genderqueer – which is outside of the gender binary.  I am something else – not just another gender but I am beyond gender.  People can at least understand transsexual, but when it comes to genderqueer, people just don’t get it.  They want to box you in.  I am sometimes envious of my transsexual allies because they have a gender identity to claim – even if they are handicapped by being born into the wrong body.  I, however, have no place to go.  No identity.  I suck it up and usually go with lesbian because I am female bodied and like women but that doesn’t describe me.  I’m queer but queer is considered to be such a dirty word by polite society.

The LGlittleBinvisibleT community has no love for anyone who’s not a Stepford Gay.  If you don’t fit the mold of what a “safe” gay is – being gay but assimilating, the community turns their back on you.  It is a threat to society, the mainstream, the social constructed order, to be an individual and think for yourself.  We live in a society based on group think with team sports, entertainment and job rhetoric paving the way for the classless individual who functions as a cog in the well oiled machine of greed and anonymity.  I – for one, am not going to be part of any machine.  I’m not going to wear the clothes they tell me to wear, I’m not going to watch their programming (it’s called programming for a reason), and not going to take part in their world of a giant rat race.

I am going to fight the system with knowledge and education, compassion and understanding.   As Crass said, “You can’t change the system by bombing number ten, the people will go into hiding but they’ll be back again.”  The only way to change the system is to change the people.  The only way to change the people is with education.

Sometimes, it’s really hard, trying to change things.  I struggle with trying to get people to understand what “genderqueer” means.  Sometimes, it’s dangerous just being who you are.  Every third day, a transperson is murdered.  I’ve been assaulted before at a punk show which was supposed to be about peace and equality for being a “homosexual. “  I just want a world where I can go to punk shows without getting punched and get a muffin without being hassled about what’s in my pants.  I can’t do it alone.  Will you help me?