Growing up, I was called a girl, girly, or cutesy so often that the only thing I wanted more was to be manly. I wore the baggiest clothes, and abused my posture at every turn. When I realized in late middle school and high school that passing as a girl was as simple to me as playing up many of my traits rather than playing them down, I began to embrace androgyny.
The fashion world has long played up the beauty it finds in androgyny, be it the early women’s pants of Chanel, or the prepubescent males of Vogue’s editorials. Perhaps, this is the worlds comment on youth, which is often tightly linked to androgyny. It most clearly pertains to a concept of aesthetic appeal that has the dual qualities of both genders, bent bychanging global concepts.
Though I have androgynous qualities, compared to some, I am but a man with a feminine side. Occasionally, I wonder if my pansexuality is what draws me to people who inhabit the space of multiple genders. I have a few tidbits of news and knowledge pertaining to androgyny that my interest in it has accumulated.
Fashion house Givenchy has long struggled to find a unifying image. From Audrey Hepburn’s lady-like appeal, to fanciful turns under the direction of John Galliano and Alexander McQueen, the house has stayed LVHM’s second highest grossing company but has been at a loss for critical appeal. Enter androgyny, the defining concept behind many of current designer Riccardo Tisci’s concepts. He has taken the womens lines in a darker, less flamboyant direction and has elongated the silhouettes of the mens lines adding feminine tailoring.
This advert features Tisci’s transgender assistant Lea, a former fit model for his work. If you must know which one she is, she wearing the fuzzy top.
Karis is a west-coast performer whose androgyny has lead to success in film and media, he was featured in a recent music video by Cazwell, the performer behind a video we watched in class. He performs in burlesque and hooping shows.
and perhaps a poem too? I wrote this one a few weeks ago.
the angels have no gender
I awoke by a mirror
shiny and cold
from yelling a fate
my culture fortold,
sweating a liquid
of shame and disgust,
stripped of that which
would have been so bold,
and clasping my hands
o’er a mouth of mistrust.
Choosing my clothing according to tale,
I stared at the panel obscured on the wall
I prepared for a day in the life of a man,
disguising betrayal that man was not all
I felt I was (and am)… not alone.
The dream was still present.
The warmth of my skin had left such a fog
that I could not see in through polished panels,
of cunning and spite,
capturing, spinning and weaving the light.
I squinted through metal and glass and sin.
Attending dry air to lift away wet,
the oily perspiration slicked my face and hair back
A nightmare’s remembrance still would not abet,
spoiling hopes for solitude in my room
with a stranger behind the mirror’s brume.
A hideous specter
of beautiful rue,
sat strangely misplaced
in a world split in two
We swiftly locked eyes—
and viewing each other—
decided to be neither father nor mother
for door it was not, and mirror it is,
we are the same creature
by her grace (and his).
I’ve already posted all 3 blogs, but I was listening to this song and really wanted to share it and perhaps get some comments/thoughts.
This video/song really affects me-I feel sad for the “queer” people who seems so sad in the video and then I feel empowered because I feel beautiful. Are these people shown in the video (including Christina) queer? Why did Christina choose these images for her video?
Any other thoughts? reactions?
*This counts for my “what we haven’t talked about” blog. Even though I said that was my first one, that one was really a news article.
The name of this blog and class is queer/race. However we have not talked about how being gay affects being part of a certain race. Why haven’t we done this? You would think we would have discussed it at least in depth once but we really haven’t.
I have recently seen a documentary on gay Muslims. Their struggles of being accepted parallel many of those today however they have one problem that others do not. Because of their race/religion they can be punished by death and this creates a huge dilemma.
In the States you may be exiled from family or house because of being gay but it is not legally acceptable for people to beat and kill you. Although this still does occur in America it is not legal. However for many gay Muslims being gay is like being marked for death. It creates these immense internal struggles because they still want to be good Muslims but their religion denies them this ability.
I think this needs to be talked about because there are many races/religions (sometimes those are the same) that do not accept homosexuality as a fact. The African American community has been viewed in the past and still is now somewhat hyper-homophobic. Why are some races more opposed to this than others?
I really want some responses to this. I know this is late in the semester but I feel like this is something that has to be said or talked about since this class is about race. Also, everyone should watch this documentary because it is very informational and it shows how connected or unconnected race and queerness can be.
When we had a discussion about labor/public vs non-labor/private it reminded me about an experience I had in D.C.
One day I went to a book reading at busboys and poets. This reading was promoted through the organization HIPS “(Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive) was founded in 1993 by a coalition of service providers, advocates, and law enforcement officials as an outreach and referral service. HIPS mission is to assist female, male, and transgender individuals engaging in sex work in Washington, DC in leading healthy lives.”
During this event. A man (we’ll just call him ‘Joe’) who said he was “in the life” for about 9 months and a woman who was a dominatrix for six years talked about different experiences and the reason why the became sex workers.
You can get into sex work many different ways and these two people were examples of that. The man told us, the audience, about being kicked out of his home and meeting a man who subsequently raped him. After working at a frying chicken for a month and getting little pay; his boss approached him and asked if he wanted to make “real money.” He got into it blindly and without much thought.
The woman (we’ll call her ‘Jane’… yeah i know its typical) became a dominatrix fully aware of what she was doing, answering an ad that stated she could “get paid to be a bitch.” Jane was in college and need a way to make a lot of money quickly, waitressing what not cutting it.
Joe’ s first clients was a elderly widow. He expected the experience to be horrible and serious wondered if he could “perform.” Instead he had a nice evening with her and found that he genuinely liked her as a person. After listening to her talk about her love for her late husband she reveals that he had never performed oral sex on her. During the act of performing this duty he felt appreciated and vulgarly explained that 83 year old pussy tastes good. Joe’s last experience as a sex worker was what got him out of the business. He was asked to humiliate a Judge. The Judge wore his robe and nothing underneath it but a diaper. While his head was on the Judge’s chest he felt this pulling motion on his hair. He looked up only to discover the Judge sucking on his hair and he saw red. He beat up the Judge and destroyed the room they were in. He broke all the rule and of the sex worker- client relationship and realized he had to get out of the life.
One other part that was significant about this was the political aspects of sex work. The speakers spoke of the legalization of prostitution. There are two opposing arguments to whether prostitution should be legalized among actual sex workers. I was surprised to find out that there’s a difference of opinion between a high priced call girl and a poor drug addict on the street. The main arguments for the legalization is for health and safety. I believe this is incredibly important and was disheartened to hear one audience member talk about a cop who is a pimp at this moment and collects his money in the back of his car. Over all this was a very enlightening presentation.
This topic in inherently queer because its an atypical profession that is non-heteronormative. I think this is a very important issue that need to be highlighted by the mainstream. prostitution is seen a deviant as is being queer.
In fact many of the sex workers in Washington D.C are Trans. I believe there should regulations to ensure the safety of the sex worker and the client, whether that prevents a broken arm or an STD. I believe sex wok is going to happen legal or not so why not make its safe?
This has to be one of the most interesting news article I have seen this year. Found on BrokenCountry.com, a current events website, a lesbian lawmaker by the name of Christine Johnson, 41, of Utah is carrying a baby for a local gay couple. This brave surrogate mother says her reasons for doing this is because of the hardships many gay and lesbian couples have to endure when adopting a child. In the article it reads: “Johnson offered to be a surrogate at no cost to save the Salt Lake City men the prohibitive cost of hiring one-as much as $100,000. Johnson said she’s aware that many lawmakers in conservative Utah think a child does best with both a mother and a father. She predicts the men will be ‘wonderful parents.’” The baby is siad to be due on June 21, 2010.
This issue speaks highly to a lot of issues. For one thing, and the most important, it shows that there are people out there, even those who hold high political ranks and have political clout, stand behind the notion that people of the LGBT community make wonderful parents. In addition, it shows that gender and sexual orientation should be the last thing on peoples mind and more about giving a child a loving and caring home.
Kristi Martin, May 6th, 2010. Blog #1
This is kind of in response to my previous post about Pop Diva’s and the queer community…and yeah, sorry guys but I just really love Top 40.
For those who haven’t heard this song you probably will in the next couple of months because I think it’s going to be her next single. She’s been filming the music video (which might have to lead to another debate depending on how it turns out). This is another example of the Pop Diva and her involvement with the queer community. HOWEVER, I don’t have much to debate here because she’s very honest in the song. Instead I just appreciate the melody and her sincerity. I would rather have you listen to the song instead of me explaining it. It’s like a little story. People take lyrics for granted in pop songs, or maybe just in music in general. I like the idea that someone stepped outside of the box and was real about something. It’s like a celebrity acknowledging their gay audience and embracing it, but still being true to themselves (instead of telling the world they’re “bi-curious”). She isn’t afraid of alienating herself. I’m just kind of surprised Rihanna, of all people, was the one to do it. I love her now.
For blog #2, I made a song with lyrics that I really really liked from student posts over the course of the semester. If you don’t mind, I took a couple of the lyrics from the poems written by classmates and just put it into a tune that I felt would or might match their feelings. There were only a few poems but I also took some words from short stories. I hope that you guys don’t mind and if it is a problem, please let me know. I don’t intend on distributing this song or showing anyone other than the Professor and you guys. I will remove the video once the semester concludes as well. I took writings from the students: Sross, mrthomps, Graylielane, Becca and Kirstan. Thank you.
I sing a song
for the lost and broken hearted
I looked to society and was daunted,
By the lack me.
Who would give this black girl affection?
Me I am Jamie I am Taylor I am Jordan I am Sam
Who are you? What’s in you’re closet?
Are you in there too?
I hate the electric slide but I like to sing oh
My love is colored, love is colored
I colored my love
Words that cut and bruise like unforgiving swords
sticks and stones may break my words
and words can kill me, words can kill me, words can kill us all, they can kill us all
*Verse I wrote is bolded
The climax of the song articulates my points that rhetoric, words, word and words are SO important!! In race-queer, lgbt studies. If I had to use one word to sum up how I felt through out the course of this class it would be AWKWARD. I use this word because I am a newbie about LGBT studies and don’t know how to phrase, explain, analyze, detract how I feel about everything. And I fear my words because I don’t want to offend anyone and always remain diplomatic or “politically correct.” That’s why I like songs better. Songs are the emotions that we cannot put into words. Even though the lyrics are just ambiguous pictures or images, it paints such a broader, bigger meaning with the accompaniment of the music and melody. I believe words are so powerful and words are the key to fighting injustice, oppression, etc. I also wondered if I put in Sarah’s lyrics of “Who would give this black girl affection?” if people would judge me for saying/singing this lyric because obviously, I am not a black girl. =] But why does it make us feel uncomfortable if an asian girl sings from a black girl’s perspective? The obvious answer is that I am not black and therefore do not have the same experience. But does that mean we can exclude my personal musical tastes/lyrics just because of my racial or experiential identity? Couldn’t that be characterized as exclusion and a form of oppression as well?
*please excuse my appearance…its exam week, give me a break! lol jk
So there are many issues I have with everything. I know that’s really descriptive, right? Well, I think I’m really passionate about this right now because I just wrote my final paper on some aspects of this. I want to talk about marriage equality. I know, I know, no one wants to talk about this topic anymore. But I want to talk about another aspect of this issue.
Marriage equality is a big issue in the LGBTQ community, especially in the United States. This issue isn’t much of a problem outside the U.S., with other western nations. For a nation that is the leading in the western world, we are very conservative in our views. But that is all beside the point.
Why don’t people talk about how the concept of marriage reinforces the patriarchy and leaves women as subordinates in their lives? Why would people in the progressive movement of LGBTQ movement want to reinforce the horrible stigmas that marriage represents? Well, as a feminist, I can see why. Marriage between the same sex reinforces their love for one another. It’s a basic right that everyone should have.
Further, it is so much easier to gain rights as a married couple in this country. With marriage equality, partners become spouses, which give tax breaks and ensures safety if there is a death, etc. We all know the general benefits.
As the U.S. gets closer and closer to national marriage equality, I really think that we can help other nations with their LGBT movements. We’ve had our Stonewall, let’s help give other countries theirs. I don’t mean that we have to incur violence or anything like that, but what I mean is that we can help these other countries have a turning point in their LGBTQ activism.
I am specifically talking about India, in this sense. They have a rising LGBTQ community, with rising activism. Recently, last year, the Penal Code that made same sex relations illegal was repealed. There are even government sanctions that support LGBTQ people and organizations. This is huge for this third world country because for generations, LGBTQ relations have been so stigmatized. Not to say the stigma is completely gone, but there are moves being made. And this is awesome.
So as the U.S. becomes better with equal rights for LGBTQ people, we should reach out and help other nations that can benefit from our mistakes, experiences, and expertise.
Something that I think is worth looking closer at is how the ideas of queer and racial identities evolved in our class over the semester. I think it’s interesting to note how our discussions of both queer and racial identity have been framed. Queer has been equated to a gay man or lesbian and race is either black or white. At the beginning of the semester we discussed what queer might mean in theory and what the “umbrella term” might cover. But all of our reading assignments, which heavily frame out discussions, have stuck to this dichotomy. Both queer and race have become so narrowly defined that they became exclusive rather then inclusive.
Watching this slow narrowing of terms that I had always envisioned as incredibly broad suprised me a great deal. Maybe I was expecting a more diverse range of authors and stories from this class. Sure there were glimpses of diversity with Arnaldo Cruz-Malave, some references to queens , and a little talk of different fetishes. But where are the bisexuals , transgendered, or those queers so enigmatic as to be unclassifiable? Where were the Asians, Indians, Middle Easterners, Latin Americanss, etc? Does literature by Persian Transgendered individuals just not exist? (Or maybe it’s just not very good literature?)
I can rationalize the lack of both queer and racial diversity in out course materials because it may not have been as productive of a class or the class may have lasted for near five years if we had discussed everything and everyone under the sun. However, I think it’s very interesting that in our discussions we never strayed away from the texts to discuss these various aspects of queer and racial identities. We strayed to things like the House of Gaga and Noah’s Ark but not to transsexuality?
But there is a wide range of literature by a plethora of Queer authors out there. Here are some interesting links that I found that I hope will act as a leaping off point for further exploration: