Jul. 25th, 2013

liv: cast iron sign showing etiolated couple drinking tea together (argument)
I really, really wanted to go Bicon this year, because it was in Edinburgh and because [personal profile] tajasel was organizing and because I've been promising myself for years I should make it one of these summers. In the end I didn't make it, not because I was too angsty but because I was just purely too busy and a bit short of cash. I mean, it's all for good reasons, my job is going really well and I'm supervising an undergraduate summer student (who is a darling), and I've already had one foreign trip this summer and I'm planning another for after the summer project finishes and before term starts. So I can't exactly complain, but I can't help feeling slightly wistful that I wasn't there.

Also, I ended up spending the weekend of Bicon doing really really heterosexual things. First of all helping out my in-laws with family obligations, then having a brief but delightful romantic date with my male husband, and making at least a token effort towards celebrating 15th Av, the Jewish romantic love day. It was just the same week that the UK passed the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill into law. So lots of my social networks were full of celebrating progress in gay rights, while a minority were complaining about the exclusion of non-heteronormative Queer people.

Some links against marriage equality:
  • The ever wonderful Meg Barker of Rewriting the Rules summarizes the positives and negatives of the UK marriage equality situation: Opening up and closing down
  • Stavvers has a great summary of the concerns of minority Queer voices, and argues for liberation rather than equality.
  • [personal profile] auntysarah lays out in great detail how the new Same Sex Marriage Act doesn't create equality at all, since it not only ignores and excludes trans people, but actively makes their legal position worse.
  • This really powerful essay from the blog A Paper Bird contemplates the harm done by facile "marriage equality" campaigns on the international scene: “Equality” has become the be-all and end-all of LGBT aspirations. A Paper Bird discusses in considerable detail the reality of racist and colonialist violence; the article contains both images and detailed descriptions of murders and torture, but every brutal, unflinching word is directly relevant and important.
  • ETA: The person whose locked post inspired me to think about these issues has given me permission to quote her piece anonymously: Heteronormativity is not equality


I don't know what to think )

In some ways I have something closely kin to straight privilege. Passing privilege, heteronormative privilege. I have this weird kind of doublethink going on, on the one hand my life has never been appreciably worse because of my sexual orientation, and on the other I can list a load of negative experiences that most straight and gender conforming people wouldn't have experienced; I'm not sure how both those things can be true at once! Partly because having a generally cushy life in other ways, being middle class and generally perceived as normal in most respects and so on means that I can see occasional bits of homophobia as just one-off incidents rather than as a systematic disadvantage. I am afraid of falling into the trap of wanting to claim / appropriate the shiny bits of Queer culture – not so much the rainbows and the musicals and the slightly off-beat flamboyant and gender-challenging fashion, but the sense of community and camaraderie – but without actually being in meaningful solidarity with people for whom being Queer isn't just a fun quirk of identity but a real source of problems in many areas of life. I definitely don't want to be among the people who give up because "we" have marriage equality now.

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Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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