June 2006


This friend of mine…we go way back. In middle school, I was a tiny thing. Under 10th percentile height and weight. Now, my friend…let’s call him Joe, wasn’t all that much bigger. But he was fearless.

He saved me from a lot of bullying, and was a true and loyal friend to me. Has been ever since. He was and is a simply nice human being, one whom I’m honored to have in my life. We don’t talk all that deeply…he’s the kind of guy that doesn’t really tip his hand very much. But we’re close, as close as can be considering. And I’ve never doubted that he cares…he’s always shown it in his way.

Why are you hearing about this?

The rampant and persistent homophobia that he expresses.

I’m really torn on what to do, but I know that I’ve reached my breaking point with it all. I’ve been trying to interrupt his use of gay as insult, and make targeted reductions in the amount that I hear this stuff from him…but I know that I’ve done little to actually change his thinking. And every time I don’t say something, I feel a pang of guilt. For not standing up for my relationship, for hiding behind het privilege, for choosing to stay “safe” from the consequences when there are people who don’t have a choice about being safe

How does a guy with a boyfriend come out to one of his oldest and dearest friends who happens to be a homophobia?

If you know, tell me.

-sly

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Went in to Barnes and Noble yesterday, while on a field trip to Rochester. A political friend of mine (in that she’s a professional, and i’m a hack) was down there on business and i tagged along for the ride. And, to watch for deer.

And immediately, my sense of hope for the future began to give off that slow constricting feeling.

I wandered the shelves, noting the utter frequency of the term “Bitch.” Why Men Fall for Bitches, Why Bitches Get the Good Men, Why Your Woman is a Bitch, Bitchful Ways to Find Your Man…. I dearly want to place my slightly used lunch on the self-help section, but then i remembered that i hadn’t eaten any.

I then skimmed through D. Horowitz’s despicable academic Hit List on the 101 most dangerous profs in america. The entry on bell hooks caught my eye. He used her opening line to “killing rage.” He intended it as a shocker that would convince his audience of how dangerous a woman she is.

I am writing this essay sitting beside an anonymous white male that I long to murder.

His reading isn’t just bad, or faulty, or in err. It is fundamentally dishonest.

As long as black rage continues to be represented as always and only evil and destructive, we lack a vision of militancy that is necessary for transformative revolutionary action. I did not kill the white man on the plane even though I remained awed by the intesity of that desire. I did listen to my rage, and allowed it motivate me to take pen in hand and write…

I went downstairs an bought myself a copy.

David, i hate to break it to you, but bell and i are having a very interesting conversation right now.

-sly

I talk myself into actually showing up for church last night, after debating the idea of heading home for a nap. It turned out to be a good choice, as Rev. Russell asked me to fill in for Josh by doing prayers of community and serving communion. It’s a deep honor, and one made all the more poignent by the fact that this may be the only Baptist church I ever serve in such a capacity.

God of Mercy, pray with us when we become afraid.

For it is not your will that we be afraid, too afraid to love or lose or risk living in the mercy. Pray with us when we cry out, “ too much, too far, too strange”

Your love for us is uncanny. Pray with us.

Amen.

God of Peace, you proclaim a wilderness. Your world is winds, sands, waves, and the drifting snow. Give us ground to stand on, even as all things change. Lead us to a life that interrupts the way things always are. God in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God of Love, you forget no one. Bring light to all of your children that have been forgotten. To the prisoner, the institutionalized, the sick, the starving, the dying. Remind us that your love refuses to be contained. Show us that this is good. God in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God of Hope, our choices seem so small. In world that has such great powers, ones do dedicated to war, greed, and hate, we live tenuously. Speak of a life in which we might be free. Forgive the compromises we make just to get by. Give us hope. Give us courage. God in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God of wonder, we thank you for your irrevocable love, promised in baptism. Teach us to love in who you made us to be, and help us to confess our sins of ingratitude for your creation of our lives. Let us rejoice in the pride you have in all your children. God in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God of Grace, we are a broken people in need of forgiveness. Show us that our hope is in you. Come in to our lives to build up and to tear down, that new life might take root. Hear our confessions in this silence.

-As you have spoken, our name from you is Forgiven. Your love is our healing. God in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God of Mercy, you are all in all. Let us come to you in this silence.

Amen.

Spent most of yesterday out in the rain/sun combination that is lovely Minnesota weather…at Loring Park, home to the nation’s third largest Pride festival.

Many folks have spoken critically of Pride as a concept, Savage doing so with perhaps the most visability. So here’s the reply i’m going with…

You can’t discuss the public implications of gay pride without understanding a historical perspective. Thirty years ago, when these celebrations were in their infancy, our community was invisible. I repeat, invisible. Mainstream news organizations did not cover our community; our civil rights struggles had no legitimacy; and if we were covered, it usually focused on negative or stereotypical images.

Indeed.

I’m lucky, and i know it. I attend a school whose offical policy is one of protection and affirmation. I live in a town that holds the 3rd largest Pride celebration in the nation (Note to other major urban areas. Try holding yours for free, and see what it does for attendance.)

But even then, Pride is a welcome relief. I’m with my people, and it’s all good for a while. We forget our internal struggles for a while (a few Michigan Womyn’s Space t-shirts notwithstanding). We let our hair down.

I’m lucky. I carry a very small burden indeed, especially in contrast to my queer fore-mothers, fathers, parents…who came before me and rightously declared that there would be no more silence. But i still breathe easier when i take that weight off, when i am in space that feels so free.

Excerpted from recollections of a impromtu speech given by a fitness instructor/go-go dancer from last year’s parade (read with approximatly the same conviction as Mel Gibson’s “Freedom Speech” from Braveheart):

And when you go back home tomorrow, when you go back to work tomorrow…you will not go back in to the closet. Do you hear me? We’ve gotten out. Pride, people. Pride doesn’t end tomorrow. Pride three hundred sixty five days a year.

I smiled, and the church ladies of St. Paul Ref cheered.

-sly

So, I somewhat took a break for a week there. Which was very good…the boy and I spent a lot of time together, and I’ve started in on my Greek for the summer.

The bad news is that i have 374 275 RSS articles to read. A fair amount of that can be skimmed through very quickly (Queerty), but it basically means i’m woefully behind in reading all y’alls stuff. Comments might be thin, but I am determined to catch up.

Otherwise what ideas would I steal write about?

-sly

From the frontpages of the local paper this morning…

Have Cash, Will Bid.

The basic premise here is that people who need credit and can’t get bankloans submit proposals, which are bid on by investors. The site is here

What’s the wierdest thing that’s going on…and i don’t mean the usurious interest rates that they can only justify as being better than a payday loan or loan shark…

They ask borrowers to post a picture. Because after all, a just and important part of the loan process is seeing what the applicant looks like.

This moment brought to you by American Racism.

-sly

As i wrote yesterday, i managed to break my two most enshrined rules of blogging recently. I posted the results of one, so here comes the other, by virtue of several key quotes.

BitchPhD responds to Puffin (in italics)

it’s also damn degrading work when you think about what cleaning toliets actually entails.

But the problem here is, what is *inherently* degrading about putting your mouth on someone’s genitals? It’s a loving act.

your own unexamined support of blow jobs

I’d be surprised if anyone here has failed to think about the feminist repercussions of oral sex.

what they’re enjoying is the act of pleasing their (male) partner,

Yeah. So? For those of us who are straight, pleasing our (male) partners is as much a part of sexuality as pleasing a (female) partner is for those of you who are lesbians. And yes, if you’re straight, this is a little more complicated inasmuch as one has to think about and work through the distinction between pleasing men as a class, and pleasing a particular man as a partner/lover. But I don’t think that the conclusion is that pleasing a man in any way is inherently anti-feminist.

Can you name a degrading and dangerous sex act men are asked to do to show “trust”?

Sure. Being fucked up the ass. Putting your dick in someone’s toothed mouth. Being tied down and beaten. Whatever. Hell, arguably giving a woman head is degrading, and potentially dangerous, since STDs do exist.

But for the record: I didn’t claim to be an “aficionado” of anal sex, though as I think I’m the only one here who said it can be enjoyable, I suspect you’re talking to me. Nor, by the way, do I think that most of the women here are talking about “how much they love sucking dick,” as Puffin insists on reading what are in fact pretty thoughtful explanations of why, despite our recognition that sucking dick is widely seen as degrading and our own dislike of some aspects of it, we nonetheless find other aspects pleasurable. I merely said that yes, I’ve had anal sex, and I’ve enjoyed it. That doesn’t mean, as you imply, that I’ve EVER conceded to a “demand” that I do it–nor that I’ve ever conceded to a demand that I do jack shit in the bedroom. I, personally, have a major hangup about sexual demands, in fact.

But that doesn’t mean that I, or anyone else who believes firmly that sex should be, as Puffin puts it, about my own “SEXUAL pleasure (i.e. what happens when you are SEXUALLY satisfied)” cannot, like any normally healthy human being, find sexual pleasure enhanced by the pleasure of my partner. I would not fuck a man who did not find my sexual pleasure important to him. I don’t think it’s super feminist to refuse to take pleasure in a (male) partner’s sexual pleasure–EVEN THOUGH I realize that there is a long and fucked-up history of convincing women that the MAJORITY of their sexual pleasure should be vicarious.

I think Dr. Bitch wins this thread so hard that it’s not even funny (apologies for the pun). There were many interesting contributions there, but she took the argument being presented and responded to it. As Piny pointed out, one of the real problematics of this discussion was that Twisty kept moving the goal posts.

The bathroom stuff really has me wondering, so i’m going to get back to that. Degrading? Again, it depends on context. Like some of the commentators there, i enjoy cleaning the bathroom. Maybe not the smell of windex. But I like my space clean and orderly, and as a participant in a household, i do my part in providing for that. Scrubbing isn’t terrible work in small doses, and i rather enjoy the time to think. The problem isn’t cleaning a bathroom. The problem is the narrowing range of socio-economic opportunities that designate entire classes of people as bathroom cleaners and nothing more, devaluing their work at the same time as we become more dependant on it. Maybe Puffin thinks it’s possible to live in a world without cleaning bathrooms. Maybe it is for her. But it’s not for me.

So for the love of the Holy Thing on Top of the High Place, can we please, oh, pretty please stop turning these discussions in to something that sounds like a Phelps family reunion, and stop waxing poetic on how damn nasty anal sex is? As i’ve said before, anyone who has intimate relationships with men, no matter their gender, has a stake in feminism. But I for one, can’t be involved in conversations that hinge on how disgusting(or impolitic) other people’s sex lives are, especially when it comes to “sodomy.” I know. It is not Twisty’s, nor any other feminist’s responsibility to create space that is safe for any man, regardless of orientation. But conversely, I’ve got no obligation to refrain from self-protection from any and all hate speech directed at me. So can we cease fire?

As BelleDame has reminded us, quoting Gayle Rubin: We should remember that porn is not legal; by this definition material that has no focus but to arouse is not legal. In other words, a sexual aim is not considered legitimate in this country.

This is why I get so wound up by these posts. The position of oral and anal sex in this society is of supreme importance to women working to enact their liberation from patriarchal systems. They are also a bellweather of the position and status of (male) queers. To slap on labels of Victorian prudery is a gross oversimplification. The critique of these sex practices is being made in terms of how the Patriarchy imagines women as degraded, subservient, secondary. But when we talk about these issues, the image of the effeminized gay man is never far behind.

There might be some feminist critics that can see their personal sexual expression being fufilled in a world that does not recognize these practices as normal, much less as normative. I cannot. Lawrence v. Texas is too recent a memory. So you’ll pardon my overreaction, as Puffin and Twisty said, against the imaging of male oriented sexuality as nasty. Because I exist between laws. Queers are not entirely legal persons in this nation. And if we’re going to be recognized, it has more to do with our ability to mimic a kind of straight culture. Nothing about the bedroom. Because in this country, a sexual aim is not considered legitimate.

-sly

PS: I’m trying this kind of post out, though i think I will try to keep them more infrequent in the future. My main issue here is that i forget where i posted comments, and will lose little pieces of writing off in to the ether. My apologies if these are repetitive for those already reading these other blogs.

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