Category Archives: Uncategorized

WTF Ann Coulter?

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Now, obviously, I’m not Fox News fan so I generally don’t pay attention to what goes on in the small-minded worlds of their show personalities. But I ran across this tweet from conservative host Ann Coulter:

What.The.Fuck Ann Coulter?

In an age where gay and lesbian youth already deal with the “normal” pressures of academics, fitting in and finding a date for prom, the last thing they need is to worry about being disowned because they chose to come out to the people with whom they should feel most comfortable. I’m pretty sure I was super lucky to get the parents I have because even if they had an issue with my “coming out” to them, I never knew about it. They never put their issues (if they had any) on me. They continue to love me exactly for as I am and regardless of who I love.

I just can’t fathom what kind of parent would behave as A.C. suggests…but, clearly, it’s not all that uncommon. See my post here about that.

I finally get you Anderson Cooper

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Lesson in believability…

Journalist Anderson Cooper came out as gay in July and everyone was like “no kidding, dude.”

Some folks, including myself, were miffed for about five minutes that he hadn’t come out earlier and some people, including myself, didn’t really buy the whole “but I’m a journalist and some of my sources won’t be as open if they know I’m gay.”

Well now I get it.

My turn in the rotation to write a Sunday editorial for our paper comes the weekend after Marianne and I get married. I really want to write about my wedding and they everything associated with it…including providing a link to my blog. But then I thought about it and realized that as an education reporter, it may not be the smartest thing for me to do. Let’s think here:

  • I live in the South and in a not-so-cosmopolitan county in North Carolina;
  • While they are totally wrong, there are parents who still believe that all homosexuals are out to recruit their children (among other far more nefarious deeds);
  • I have to interact with said parents and their children on a daily basis sometimes;
  • My being out really may affect my ability to do my job.

Wow. I kind of want to write Anderson Cooper a letter and apologize for being an unbelieving cynic.

10/11/12 – Happy National Coming Out Day!

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Rally for marriage equality at the White House, October 2009. My shirt, it total, read “Closets…are for clothes”

Today, in honor of National Coming Out Day, I thought I would share my story. For the record, I don’t believe that everyone must come out, but for those of us who are out, I think it’s important that we share our stories sometimes. So here’s mine:

Early summer 2000, evening: I’m 15 and working as a junior counselor at a Girl Scout camp in Ohio. My fellow counselors and I are hanging out in the living room of our lodge when another 16-year-old counselor comes out from the shower wrapped in nothing but a towel. My head whips around and suddenly my world is no longer what it was. That’s the first time I ever consciously realized I might like girls.

Summer 2000, the rest of it: I spend my days simultaneously flirting with and excoriating myself for liking this girl. I was Catholic after all, I *can’t* be a girl who likes another girl.

The rest of high school 2000-2002: My friend Bernie and I would skip youth group to go hang out at the grubby pool hall in the local bowling alley. We went to an Indigo Girls concert and snuggled in the back of my old Ford pick-up truck. I dated boys and was sure I wasn’t a girl who liked girls.

Summer 2002: I joined the Air Force to “get straight” according to my journal entry at the time. Yeah well…

January 2003: I’m stationed in Minot, North Dakota where I meet my first girlfriend. I finally come to terms with the fact that I might be a girl who likes girls. I was sure I didn’t like any boys as much as I liked her.

June 2003: My parents came to visit me (all the way from Ohio!) for my birthday. My girlfriend was spending nights in my dorm and had enough stuff there to make it look like two people were sharing a bed. O crap. I mustered up all the courage I have and call my parents, one and then the other since they weren’t living together, that B was more than just my “best friend.” This was the first time I said out loud that I was something other than a girl who likes boys.

July 2005: After a tumultuous and sometimes abusive relationship which at one point involved almost admitting to my superiors that B and I were dating, the Air Force sent me to college on an ROTC scholarship. Truthfully, at the time that seemed the only way I was going to get a transfer from Minot and away from B.

Fall 2005: At Miami University, I had no idea what to do as a single girl who liked girls. I found I was too butch for the butches and too femme for the femmes. So I chopped my hair off, threw out all my dresses and tried to fit as much into the butch role as possible. It worked, kind of. It got me dates at least.

Spring 2006, Women’s Studies 101: I took this class as an elective and finally began to gain a vocabulary for everything I knew about myself and was learning about others. I was a lesbian. At some point during the semester we were having a class discussion (maybe?) about the military and it’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. Anyhow, I ended up outing myself to my classmates. It felt good for about 5 minutes. Then I chased the professor down after class and had a freak out session about what I did and how I could potentially be kicked out of ROTC for being a lesbian and “O my God what do I do!?!?!?!?” In front of the Oxford Starbucks, she kindly told me that she would remind the class that what was said in our classroom should stay in our classroom. Susan Pelle for the win!

Late Spring 2006: Apparently no ROTC kids or their friends took Women’s Studies 101. Crisis averted. At this point, I was pretty much living openly, save for Tuesdays, Thursdays and the occasional early morning physical training session. As I was older than most of the seniors (I was 21 when I came to college from the military), they just assumed I didn’t hang out with them because of my age. Yeah well…

Memorial Day 2006: I found Camp Out for the first time. If hanging out with a group of amazing women didn’t solidify for me that I belonged in the queer community, I’m not sure what else would have done it. I really believe that that place and the people I met (meet) there had (have) a hand in my growing up and growing into my identity.

Memorial Day 2007: My mom went to Camp Out with me. I had an extra ticket because an ex had bailed on me right before the event, so I asked my mom to come instead. That weekend was the first time I got to bring my mom into my world. I still remember the conversation we had as we were walking to the showers one evening – “Katie, I get it. Being gay isn’t about sex. It’s about love.” Right on, Mom!

April 9, 2008: I outed myself to my ROTC commander. I had just had enough of the lying about who I was, even only 2 days a week, and I didn’t like the fact that I would spend 4 more years lying as an Air Force officer once I graduated. It wasn’t fair to me and it wasn’t fair of me to ask my subordinates to be honest when i couldn’t do that for them. That and I wasn’t about to shove Marianne (whom I had been dating about 6 months by then) into the closet with me.

April 10, 2008 forward: I’ve vowed to myself and to the world that I will always be honest about who I am and who I love. I’m at a point where I can say that if someone doesn’t like my being a lesbian, that’s on them. It still hurts when I hear someone tell me “Your family is the reason I’m voting FOR the N.C. gay marriage amendment,” but I don’t internalize it like I used to. That’s on them and I just figure they’re missing out on getting to know one of the coolest people on the planet.

Now it’s your turn, what’s your story? How will you choose to tell it?

White privilege; Gay marriage (or not); and Africa as a (non)homegenous continent

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This is a reference to Peggy McIntosh’s “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” where she lists as many privileges as she can think of that she gets because of her white skin.

My lack of posting a Sunday New Roundup last week led to an abundance of amazing pieces for this week. I still limited it to three, and thy actually all came from The Feminist Wire, a group whose aim is to

provide socio-political and cultural critique of anti-feminist, anti-racist and anti-imperialist politics pervasive in all forms and spaces of private and public lives of individuals globally. Of particular critical interest to us are social and political phenomena that block, negate, or limit the satisfaction of goods or ends that humans, especially the most vulnerable, minimally require for living free of structural violence.

Without further ado, I give you news to make you think:

What We Aren’t Talking About When We Talk About ‘White Privilege’

  • Folks need to have an honest, frank conversation about race;
  • We do not live in a “post-racial” or “colorblind” society;
  • When someone calls you out on your privilege, whatever it is, they’re not attacking you or thinking you’re an idiot, they’re just asking you to recognize it and think about it.

Beyond the Access Narrative: Marriage Politics, Austerity, Surveillance

  • Marriage for everyone isn’t just about access, it’s also about the government trying to police individuals;
  • Some gay folk are starting to “come out” against the idea of marriage equality;
  • The article draws parallels between the “marriage ideal” that was pushed on freed slaves after the Civil War and the current gay marriage movement.

Palm Wine! The Birth of a Movement

  • LGBTQ rights in Africa are tenuous at best – ranging from presidents who want to give the same rights to everyone to those that still want to criminalize homosexuality and punish it with death;
  • Palm Wine is an online group that allows African LGBTQ folk to share their experiences and draw strength from each other;
  • “The Palm Wine movement acknowledges the apparatus of fear at work, and we are intentionally powering through it to create the change we seek.”

Racialized overtones of the word “nude”

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Fall 2012 wedding dress by Vera Wang

I have thought about the fact that “nude” or “flesh colored” clothing (or band-aids) only work if you happen to be white. Clearly, nude or flesh-colored does not accurately describe people of color, but I had never thought about it in the context of a wedding before.

And then along comes Sociological Images post from yesterday: “Nude,” Racial Marginalization, and the Wedding Industry

Author Lisa Wade put together a Pintrest board featuring our examples of light-tan clothes and products described as “nude,” “skin-colored,” or “flesh-colored.”

She explains

The practice erases or marginalizes people with medium or dark-colored skin by presuming that everyone’s flesh is light tan.

She’s totally right, and she goes on to explain that there a number of other ways in which this type of racial marginalization exists in everyday life.

To reiterate, calling this color “nude” reminds us all that light-skinned people are regular people and everyone else needs a modifying adjective.  In addition to the many other examples of this that we encounter everyday — like lotion for “normal to darker skin,” ornaments in “bride and groom” and “African-American bride and groom,” and dolls in “dolls” and “ethnic dolls” — these instances can be constant and exhausting examples of one’s marginality.

Anyway, just something for you all to think about.