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reframing “sexual maturity”

Posted by pocochina on March 3, 2010

I’d like to challenge prevailing ideas of “sexual maturity” from a pro-PWD (and particular, people with invisible mental illness) perspective.  This is clearly an idea found within mainstream feminism, but I don’t think it’s really all that distinguishable from mainstream thought in general, so, you know, apply as necessary.  Overall, it is problematic because it defines women’s brains on what we do with our bodies, even if it does so in the spirit of fighting shame and stigma; it leaves out adults with developmental disabilities; and it’s harmful to teens with mental illness.  I’ll be concentrating on that last one because it’s closest to my knowledge and experience, but I’d love to hear in comments from folks who have opinions on the first two as well.

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Posted in body image, disability, feminism, lgbtq, sexuality | Leave a Comment »

because history is written in strange and silly ways

Posted by pocochina on June 17, 2008

Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon are not just some sweet little old ladies who waited around for five and a half centuries before some white knight on a horse came and granted them their rights.  Gavin Newsom deserves praises most high for his eagerness to lead on this important critical civil rights issue.  He is an ally which every civil rights movement needs and deserves.

Some more biographical history, from the SFGate (Via PD)

They founded the Daughters of Bilitis in 1955, the first national lesbian organization. In 1964, they helped launch the Council on Religion and the Homosexual, bringing together national religious leaders and gay and lesbian activists to discuss homosexual rights. Lyon, in a challenge to the leadership of the feminist movement, was the first open lesbian on the board of the National Organization for Women in 1973. Martin, meanwhile, helped lead a successful campaign to get the American Psychiatric Association to take homosexuality off its list of mental illnesses.


Let’s just honor that as it deserves, shall we?  They founded the first national lesbian rights organization at the height of the Red Scare – they could have been blacklisted, seen their friends called before HUAC, and instead, they chose courage.

They could have just fought for gay rights, and instead, they chose to take their life experiences and join the fight for the rights of all women, at a time when that movement was not fully accepting of lesbians.  They chose humanity.

They could have accepted that they and everyone like them were labeled as “sick” and instead they chose rightousness.

They did not ask, or expect, anyone to do for them what they set forth to do for their country.

These women are heroes.  They are deserving of their names in the history books, over and over again.  The state recognition of their marriage – while it is a necessary option for many same-sex couples – is but the least of what the community they call home, the state of California, can do for them.

For their marriage, I wish them unremarkableness.  I wish that as married women they live as they have always lived – with joy in life, with faith in humanity, with the courage and steadfastness of their own convictions.

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Blog Against Homophobia Day

Posted by pocochina on May 17, 2008

Normally, I’m really, really bad about blogswarm days.  I just forget, and they’re always the same day I have to hand something in, and I’m not very good at doing what I’m told.  That said, thanks to Her Majesty, I’ve just heard about Blog Against Homophobia Day, and it’s a Saturday in the summer, so I only have one major project to be working on.

I could write about the hate and ugliness of homophobia.  I could write about how it’s tied inexorably in with hostility towards reproductive rights and women’s equality because someone who is gay and out is flouting conventional gender roles, and refusing our puritanical shame and loathing towards sexual pleasure.  I could write about our long and horrible history of hate crime towards LGBTQ individuals, a history that continues to this day.  I could write about the utter shame and horror of executions of gay individuals, of the American government’s failure to even recognize this problem, and of European countries turning an uncaring eye and refusing asylum.

But this is a joyful week, made bittersweet both by how far we have yet to go, and by those fighters and allies along the way who did not live to see the California Supreme Court take a stand for justice and equality and human rights and we fighters and allies who are here must scream at the top of our lungs that these are true American values.  So I’d rather reflect on victory, right now.

I know there’s a perception that gay marriage is a middle-class issue.  I want to be on the record as saying I appreciate the importance of other queer rights issues – ENDA, hate crimes legislation, pay equality for women (which has twice the impact on lesbian couples) – but that this could not be farther from a distinctly middle-class issue.  Those rights and benefits which come with marriage are most important for couples who are not wealthy. Your partner’s social security means more when neither of you has a 401(k).  Those benefits  and responsibilities that couples get by way of marriage can be poorly imitated, but only by long  hours by a diligent and talented – and therefore expensive – attorney, as well as a probably-expensive move to a state where even those second-class rights are available.

The reason middle-class couples are the ones filing marriage equality suits isn’t that it’s some vanity issue.  It’s that gay rights organizations are strategic, and thank God they are, or we wouldn’t have even made the progress that we’ve made so far.  Two people who cohabitate and can’t afford to have jumped through the hoops granting power of attorney, or who don’t have assets to write into a will, might not be considered as committed to each other as couples who have done those things.  They know, in short, that they need a paper trail to prove their love.  Het privilege lets some observers ignore this aspect of the marriage equality battle, but I don’t think we should.  Yes, it is classist, but that doesn’t mean that the marriage equality movement is classist, it means that gay rights groups are attempting to gain rights for everyone are doing the best they can within a classist court system, which considers expensive legal expressions of commitment to be worth more than private but unpriced interpersonal commitment.  I don’t like it, of course not, but I also will not blame the marriage equality movement for the injustices inherent to the American legal system, because that’s fucking victim-blaming, to expect a marginalized group to fix everyone’s problems before getting any sort of chance to fix their own.  I’m always grateful for intersectional criticism of the progressive movement, I just don’t think it’s on point here.

What I am not saying is that marriage is necessarily for everyone.  I am not saying there is not merit in radical queer theory – this couldn’t be farther from the truth.  I am saying that equality under the law – the choice to get married – ought to be available to gay and lesbian Americans, and that this choice is especially critical for working-class couples.

While I’m here, I want to say, I am terribly glad I took Pizza Diavola’s suggestion to read the stories of the CA plaintiffs.   They have shared stories of better and worse, of sickness and health, of thinking daily of the deaths of themselves or their loved ones; they have told their utterly human stories to the world, and to a courtroom, so that others might have less fear and more joy.  They are heroes.

This is how we fight homophobia.  By celebrating the humanity and courage of the gay rights movement; by taking this moment to take some heart and move forward.

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How wonderful life is…

Posted by pocochina on April 10, 2008

….when Elton John is in the world.

2.5 million to HRC’s campaign!

And if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times – this is a great moment not just for Senator Clinton, but for the LGBTQ community.  Visibility is everything in the fight for equality. For a major presidential candidate to headline a major fundraiser, days before a critical primary, with an openly gay celebrity, is a step in that direction, and while my heart is with Hillary right now, it’s full of hope for all of my loved ones in the queer community as well.  Particularly coming on the heels of a major interview with a gay and lesbian newspaper, and another television appearance with supporter and friend Ellen Degeneres.  I, for one, want a Democratic nominee and president who will stand toe to toe with the homophobic bigots in this country, with her out and proud friends, colleagues (both openly gay Congresspersons are Clinton supporters) and constituents behind her.

“I’m amazed by the misogynistic attitudes of some of the people in this country. And I say to hell with them …. I love you Hillary, I’ll be there for you.” – Elton John

Amen.

*dances off, singing “Philadelphia Freedom”*

(For less promising comparisons, here and here. And here.)

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Posted by pocochina on January 29, 2008

Oh, Hillary.  Oh, my heart.

http://www.americablog.com/2008/01/hilla

ry-speaks-out-about-gay-youth.html

Doubtless, of course, she is pandering, plus HER HUSBAND SIGNED DADT and clearly they are married so they are the SAME PERSON (forget that things were even worse before DADT, and Bill did the best he could at the time, and both Clintons are on the record as wanting to change the law to make it better), plus she is a manipulative castrating bitch, OBVSLY, and Obama never panders, so the fact that she specifically chose to speak on this issue and put it on her website shows that we should all vote for Obama right now.  Everything good Hillary does or says is TOTALLY FAKE and a reason to vote for ANYONE ELSE.  *rolls eyes*  I’m not making this up, BTW, I’m getting it from the first twenty or so comments at AmericaBlog.

She CHOSE to speak on behalf of people who are triply marginalized – youths (who, remember CANNOT VOTE, and hence by definition cannot be subjects of alleged pandering), LGBTQ individuals, and people suffering from depression.  It’s a Republican Hate Trifecta.  (Oh, and plus being the right thing to do, it is also good politics, because the only jerks who are going to be angry about this are people who wouldn’t vote for a Democrat anyway.)  And….oh, my heart.  My head and my heart.  This issue is a travesty and I am so proud to see a presidential candidate take it on.

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Blog for Choice Day

Posted by pocochina on January 22, 2008

I vote pro-choice because it is my duty to vote in my own best interests and in the best interests of my country.

I vote pro-choice not only to stem the tide of the anti-woman, anti-sex, anti-choice movement, but also to show the world through policy and law what a vision of reproductive justice means.

Reproductive justice means saving Roe, but also making the right to an abortion a reality for every woman.  It means demanding an expansion of government health care to provide abortion, and a mandate for every health insurance plan to pay for abortion.

It means protecting patient privacy, so that the societal shame around abortion is never a factor in a woman’s decision, but it also means removing that stigma, in changing the Scarlet A to a private, soft pink “I chose.”

It means laws which require pharmacists to do their jobs, dispensing birth control and emergency contraception to women (and men) who ask for it.

Reproductive justice means an end to the Global Gag rule, this brutal policy which causes suffering to women around the world.  Wit my vote, I may tell the women not just of this country, but of the entire world, that I consider us human, and value our lives and safety.

It means legal and fiscal recognition of the fact that abstinence-only “education” is nothing more than a pile of federally-funded misogynist (and misandrist) lies, and replacing that with comprehensive sexual health education.

It means lifting the long and terrible silence on sterilization.  It means an unequivocal stance against forced or incentivized sterilization for poor women and women of color.  It means allowing women who choose sterilization because it is best for them to be able to do so, unshamed and unfettered.  There is no logical disconnect between these two positions.  The discussion around sterilization must – MUST- stem from women’s agency, and right to choose for themselves whether or not they will ever have children.  It is possible, and in fact crucial, to remember that this is our premise, that women be able to make these decisions for ourselves.  This doesn’t make us pro-sterilization or anti-sterilization.  It makes us pro-choice.

It means recognizing that when women are pregnant, with wanted or unwanted pregnancies, that they do not lose their personhood.  It means doing away with laws which seek to privilege fetal life over women’s lives, such as the “Unborn Victims of Violence Act” – as if murder of a woman is not reprehensible enough without the termination of a pregnancy, as well.  The fiction of fetal personhood does not protect fetal life, but it does threaten the agency of the very real woman carrying the fetus.  Women must unquestionably be able to exercise their rights, whether or not they are pregnant, and whether or not they intend to carry that pregnancy to term.

It means continuing to openly and vociferously support LGBTQ rights.  Gays and lesbians are not just allies in our fight for reproductive justice – though in the gay community there are valuable and valiant allies.  They are hurt by the anti-choice movement when they are denied the right to adopt children, denied in vitro fertilization, denied the right to marry.  These are pro-choice issues, too.

It means calling, once and for all, the overarching and murderous hypocrisy of the anti-choice movement.  A movement which opposes protecting women against cancer is not pro-life.  A movement which denies children of information about sexual health, placing them at greater risk for HIV/AIDS, is not pro-life.  A movement which denies women in danger the safest medical procedure possible is not pro life.

Voting pro-choice is a recognition of the fact that criminalization of abortion does not end abortions.  It ends safe abortions, it makes women and doctors into criminals.  Abortion bans put women’s lives in danger; abortion bans are not pro-life.  It makes the right to privacy, deeply enshrined in our Constitution, a qualified right available only to some people – which is no right at all.

I vote pro-choice because my life, along with the lives of women and men I love, depend on it.

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ENDA

Posted by pocochina on October 11, 2007

Okay.  I want a trans-inclusive ENDA.  I think it’s unconscionable that someone can be fired for being transgender in this country.  I want to call every fucking “free-market conservative”* and ask why they don’t think a the right of a to work qualified individual should be protected, I want to call up every “pro-life”** Republican and ask why they don’t think a parent’s right to earn a living for one’s children doesn’t deserve the full protection fo the federal government.

But it is also unconscionable to throw gay, lesbian, and bisexual Americans under the bus when there’s a chance to protect their rights to work.

And it is stupid to blame Representative Frank and Speaker Pelosi for this.  You want to write a letter?  Write it to the people who’d vote for a gay-inclusive ENDA but not a trans-inclusive one.  They’re being stupid.  Someone should tell them that.

Blame the bigots who won’t vote for any ENDA because they are unmitigated bigots.

Blame the reactionary elements of our society that piss their pants at the thought of anyone revealing the gender binary for the load of crap that it is.

But step the hell off the Speaker, who’s stood in front of the national press and called for transgender rights.  Who is breaking down the gender divide her damn self by wielding that gavel every day.

Step the hell off Representative Frank, who’s not only been fighting for LGBTQ rights for years, but who is doing his utmost to get both ENDAs passed, and then has the nearly unprecedented courage to explain, openly, honestly, emotionally, about the political realities of what he’s doing.

I’m in no way denying that transgender persons need employment protections.  They probably need it more than anyone else, not because being transgender makes a person in any way less fit to work, but because their place on the boundaries of genders makes employers “uncomfortable.”

I’m not going to lament the fragmentation of the progressive Democrats.  We’re fragmented because we have a high tolerance for diversity – it’s kind of our thing – and genuine disagreement and critical discussion are crucial to democracy.  But being angry because we live in a bigoted political system that will only give some people rights shouldn’t make us angry at the people doing their best to work within that system.  It should make us angry at the fact that this is even a fucking question.

Get as God damn angry as you want.  Let’s have a big anger party.  I’ll bring the chardonnay.

But get angry at the people who damn well deserve it.

*We’ll go with the lie for now.
**This lie too.  Although it hurts my soul.

Posted in lgbtq, politics | Leave a Comment »

Posted by pocochina on September 17, 2007

Somday, I’m going to run for national office.  Because I am absolutely pining to find out more about this “homosexual agenda” they all keep talking about.  Maybe it’s, like, in the debate prep or something.  And then all the candidates somehow get told what it is.  Is there a meeting?  Will there be a quiz afterward?  But seriously!  What are we so afraid of?  Mandatory hockey in schools?  All those tax dollars spent on dental dams – I mean mouthguards!  No, mandatory theater programs!  Fuckin’ kids, wanting to learn something at school.  No, wait, lots of gender-inappropriate clothing!  And all the time, not just at Halloween, which we all know is Satan’s holiday.  Maybe because of all the cross-dressing.  Maybe lots and  lots of people, over the course of a lifetime,  would at some point experience same-sex desire, and we all know the world would fucking end if that happened.  (If, you know, it wasn’t true already.  Or maybe the homsexual agenda has GOT US ALREADY!!!  WOOOOOOO!)  Oh, my God, that would mean some people are only sorta-gay!  What if there’s a bisexual agenda we don’t even know about yet?  Maybe the homosexuals walked and talked and looked and acted just like us and WE CAN’T TELL WHO THEY ARE!!!  Or maybe that’s just what they want us to think!  Oh, the humanity!!

More importantly, maybe there’s a headquarters.  And I can go sign up.  Because I am all for the homosexual agenda.

Whatever it is.

Posted in feminism, lgbtq, republicans | Leave a Comment »

in “things i never thought i’d say”

Posted by pocochina on September 14, 2007

I’ve gotta stop making fun of New Jersey.

In a five to zero ruling – that’s five to fucking zero, kids – the court has decided doctors are not required to tell women seeking abortions that the fetus is a baby.  Based on the impeccable legal reasoning that it is not, in fact a baby.

Equal rights for gay people* and women, all at the same time….what are those crazy kids on the NJSC going to come up with next?

*Fun fact – the marriage ruling wasn’t 4-3 in the way most media outlets seemed to imply.  It was 7-0 in favor of civil equality, and 4-3 over whether they should let the legislature decide on the terminology or just call it marriage.  Still not good enough, but still way ahead of the vast majority of the country.

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larry craig watch

Posted by pocochina on September 6, 2007

The critical section of the Constitution states: “The Senators and Representatives shall receive a compensation for their services, to be ascertained by law, and paid out of the treasury of the United States. They shall in all cases, except treason, felony and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other place.”

Craig was arrested just after 12 noon June 11. He cast a vote on a high-profile cloture motion on the Senate floor at 5:55 p.m. that same day.

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Posted in idiots, lgbtq, politics, republicans, sexuality | Leave a Comment »