Archive for category queerness
The tension between sexuality and religion is not news.
As a person who considers herself sex-positive, and who associates with other sex-positive people on and offline, I’m well familiar with the often-justified assessments of religion as damaging when it comes to holistic health, especially as vehicles of guilt about bodies and sexuality. The criticisms, the examinations, the tirades – I often agree with them. But I’m also left with a nagging feeling, that such categorically dismissive views on religion end up alienating people who might otherwise be allies for a saner attitude toward sex and sexuality.
Am I fan of religion? I’m not. Have I been harmed by religious dogma and hurt by those who live for and through such dogma? Oh yes, I sure have. But do I think that blasting religion is going to convince anyone that they should give up religion? I don’t. Not at all.
Perhaps the real question is: do we want to have a conversation with people who think and feel differently, or do we want to preach to the non-religious choir? It seems unlikely that anybody who feels sympathetically toward religion is going to change their mind or heart by reading someone’s angry or patronizing views on why religion is ridiculous, harmful, or wrong.
What is the first question I hear when someone learns I grew up in Utah? I bet you can guess. “Are you Mormon?”
Two women board an airplane, they kiss, people get offended, an altercation ensues, and those kissing women are kicked off the plane.
Uh Huh Her bandmates Camila Grey and Leisha Hailey, also known as a cast member of “The L Word,” were asked to leave a Southwest airplane yesterday. Twitter chatter flowed, official statements are bouncing back and forth, and there have been calls of a boycott (though the National Gay Pilots Association asked folks to chill out and take a pause before using the b-word).
The time has come to bid farewell to Dee Greene. I’ve been pondering Dee’s departure for some time. Ultimately it was a mixture of NPR, married men posing as lesbians, and a long-overdue chat with my dad that prompted me to put the pseudonym to rest.
In the US this June, PBS stations will begin airing Two Spirits. This film memorializes Fred Martinez, a 16-year-old killed in June 2001. It also goes behind Fred’s personal story, exploring non-binary gender systems within Native American traditions.
This Map of Gender-Diverse Cultures is included in online material for Two Spirits, and reiterates the great variation in gender expression worldwide. That information, in conjunction with Dr. Lulu’s post last month on Hermaphrodites and Cross-Dressing Saints, is enlightening for global and historic perspectives.
In April, Carlin wrote about Pakistan giving legal recognition of a third gender, juxtaposed with an attack on Chrissy Lee Polis in a Baltimore McDonalds. Recently I’ve also shared my personal perspective, as one whose partner considers herself Both and Between in the Two-Party Gender System.
Where I live, Two Spirits will air as part of the Independent Lens series the night of June 14. You can check your local listings here. DVD information can be found under “See the Film” on the official website. In the mean time, here are three clips:
Last week I cleared out my checking and savings accounts, plus my sock drawer stash. Then I handed over that thick stack of twenties, fifties, and hundreds in exchange for money orders to pay my tax bill.
“Today I got confused looks in the doctor’s office waiting room.”
“Those looks where they can’t tell if you are male or female?”
When I saw Nicole Hardy’s piece in the New York Times, “Single, Female, Mormon, Alone” [link], about the author’s visit to Planned Parenthood as a 35-year-old virgin, my chest expanded with recognition. Yes, I thought. Yes yes yes. As I read, my pulse quickened in a rush.
The recognition was cultural, rather than directly personal. She was not telling my story. My adulthood did not include many years of celibacy. I took a different road from a similar starting place. But reading this account brought unexpected comfort and insight.
Discussions about religion and sexuality that rely on hefty doses of contempt, if not outright vitriol, leave me weary and discouraged. The underlying message usually seems to be, “if only those foolish people would wake up and shuck off the chains of silly religion, they would be free!” I find such a view frustratingly narrow.
“There’s no way I would have fucked you in the ass before I was good and ready. Even though you were begging me for it.”
A few months ago I wrote about Mike Wallace in the 1967 CBS Reports: The Homosexuals (cross-posted here). Last week I saw that the documentary Stonewall Uprising will be making the film festival rounds this summer; I’ll likely catch it in Portland the week after Pride. You can find the schedule here.
“It was the Rosa Parks moment,” says one man. June 28, 1969: NYC police raid a Greenwich Village Mafia-run gay bar, The Stonewall Inn. For the first time, patrons refuse to be led into paddy wagons, setting off a 3-day riot that launches the Gay Rights Movement. Told by Stonewall patrons, Village Voice reporters and the cop who led the raid, Stonewall Uprising compellingly recalls the bad old days when psychoanalysts equated homosexuality with mental illness and advised aversion therapy, and even lobotomies; public service announcements warned youngsters against predatory homosexuals; and police entrapment was rampant.
A treasure-trove of archival footage gives life to this all-too-recent reality, a time when Mike Wallace announced on a 1966 CBS Reports: “The average homosexual, if there be such, is promiscuous. He is not interested in, nor capable of, a lasting relationship like that of a heterosexual marriage.” At the height of this oppression, the cops raid Stonewall, triggering nights of pandemonium with tear gas, billy clubs and a small army of tactical police. The rest is history.
- Courtesy of Film Forum
On Easter, I did something very unusual. I went to a Christian church. It’s been a long time since I attended a mainstream Christian service, as opposed to some DIY hippie-pagan let’s-celebrate-being-horny-in-the-springtime festivity that counted as “Easter” for me. Plus, I was raised Mormon, which is arguably Not Christian, although such theological discussions essentially bore me. So let’s move on, pausing long enough to acknowledge that a few weeks ago, at the invitation of our neighbors, I attended a Baptist Easter Service.
It ruined my whole day.
A couple grumpy hours after the service, I said to Taryn, “Sin-and-forgiveness is a paradigm that really bums me out. It’s like, even though I was raised to believe in sin, it’s so far away from how I experience the world now that it really rattled me, hearing all that stuff about being delivered from the pain of sin. I kept thinking, ‘What pain? I’m not feeling pain. Maybe I’m not a sinner.’” We laughed, and my mood lifted slightly.