What’s at Stake?

June 17, 2010

I’ve written before about the euphemizing (euphemization? Neither of these appear to be actual words) of queer relationships–how it marginalizes us, how it feels when straight friends or family do it to us. But lately I’ve been thinking about the dynamics at play when we euphemize ourselves versus when others euphemize us.

What’s at play when I refer to my girlfriend as merely my friend?

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May 28, 2010

There’s an interesting post over at Feministing on a scene from a recent episode of Glee, wherein a (straight) dad takes his girlfriend’s (straight) son to task over the teen’s use of “faggy.” I haven’t seen the episode yet (I haven’t been watching it live due to the timeslot conflict with Lost until recently, so I’m several episodes behind) and I have pretty conflicted feelings about Glee on the whole, but I’m intrigued by the discussion at Feministing about the context of the scene. While I was mulling it over, I came across this comment:

I was annoyed with the parenting that led up to this moment. What the hell kind of parent rooms two teenagers of sexually active age together, when you know that one of them could be attracted to the other? You wouldn’t ask an unrelated teenage boy and girl to room together, surely it’s a bad idea to ask unrelated gay teens of the same gender to do so. It’s just asking for trouble of some kind.

A couple of things strike me when I read this comment. First, apparently it’s only an issue when unrelated boys and girls (or pairs of any gender when one is gay) room together. And secondly, you should always err on the side of caution when one teen could be attracted to the other?

Maybe this just strikes a nerve with me because all too familiar with the perception that queer teens are sexual predators.

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Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

February 2, 2010

This afternoon I got so angry at the radio that I had to turn off the heat in my car. I was boiling in my own rage. I don’t think I’ve so forcefully yelled a string of expletives at an inanimate object since since that one time I kicked an irrigation pipe really hard. (Safety tip: bad idea.)

What had me so steamed? Why, former California Representative Duncan Hunter, of course!

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Out of the Mouths of Boys

January 20, 2010

[Mild trigger warning for language]

Since I started working schools, I feel like I’m constant Language Police duty. At my last school it was “no homo.” Here, it’s “That’s gay,” variations on the f-word (no, not the four letter one), and something I didn’t expect at all: rape analogies.

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Rethinking Safe Spaces

October 30, 2009

The concept of “safe spaces” is often the subject of debate in the blogosphere. Is it ever possible to create a completely safe space for everyone? Can we avoid triggers? Can we eliminate hate and ignorance?

I first became acquainted with the idea of safe spaces as physical spaces during my freshman year of college, when a letter published in our student paper endorsed a secret court from the 1920s that investigated and expelled several students suspected of homosexual behavior. (I can highly recommend William Wright’s Harvard’s Secret Court: The Savage 1920 Purge of Campus Homosexuals. It’s quite a read.)

Campus reaction to the letter was swift, and heated. The main queer organization on campus, then called the BGLTSA, responded by distributing Safe Space signs across campus, which are now a staple of materials distributed for occasions like National Coming Out Day.

But do they work?

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You Know How I Know You’re Gay?

January 18, 2009

When was the last time you saw something overtly racist in a mainstream movie?

Okay. There’s probably a lot of institutional racism in American cinema. I’ll go ahead and admit that I probably don’t even notice a lot of it, what with my white privilege and all. If I were taking notes, I might notice how often the people in power are white, or how class plays out on the screen–I’ll go ahead and confess that I haven’t been paying that much attention.

But really–when was the last time you heard an off-color joke (pardon the pun) with racial content in a movie?

Now ask yourself the last time you watched a homophobic joke play out on the silver screen.

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Quick hit: more movies

January 10, 2008

Did I mention that we go to a lot of movies? We go to a lot of movies.

Sweeney Todd: Very good. I was vaguely familiar with the premise of the musical but had never seen it. Not ordinarily a huge musical fan, but this one was entertaining. Bloody, which shouldn’t be a surprise if you know the plot. Helena Bonham Carter is extremely good.

National Treasure: Book of Secrets: Surprisingly good. I’ve been disenchanted with Nicolas Cage lately but I was able to mostly ignore him and enjoy the movie. Also, Harvey Keitel. Wait, what?

Atonement: Now I see why it’s been getting all the buzz. Super good. I particularly enjoy the style of the first half and the typewriter suspense music. A little sad, but I didn’t have to get my kleenex.

PS I Love You: Too long. Too sappy. Interesting at times, particularly in how they managed to make Gina Gershon’s lips look normal. (Note: I usually try to stay away from critiquing women’s bodies, because the mainstream media does enough of that to enforce traditional gender and body norms, and we all feel shitty enough about our bodies as it is, and on and on and on…. So I’m being hypocritical here. I will totally own up to that. I just happen to find Gina Gershon and Angelina Jolie utterly distracting in the lip area.) Anyway some of Lisa Kudrow’s lines were hilarious, but the movie just dragged too much for me. Also there was some odd gay humor thrown in.