*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.
I realize there might be some confusion about what exactly Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) is. So I’m going to provide some basic facts about DADT and then I’m going to post the U. S. Army Homosexual Conduct Policy (HCP) so that everyone here can read it for themselves and know that they understand it.
DADT is formally entitled: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Harass. HCP draws its authority from Title 10 United States Code (USC) 654, Department of Defense (DOD) Policy, and Army Regulation (AR) 600-20.
Every soldier is familiarized with HCP upon initial entry into the Army. While no soldier is supposed to be asked about their sexual orientation, they are required to initial a document that states they are aware of HCP and that they can be discharged for violating it. I’ll try to find that document later and then update this post.
The U. S. Army Homosexual Conduct Policy:
U. S. Army
Homosexual Conduct Policy
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,
U. S. Army
Homosexual Conduct Policy
Implements 10 U.S. Code § 654
Implements DoD Policy
AR 600-20, chapter 4-19
Army policy is a balance between the legal prohibition of homosexual conduct and the privacy rights of soldiers
What does the Law Say?
“The presence in the Armed Forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.”
10 U.S.C. § 654
The Law and Army Policy in Everyday Language
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
Homosexual Conduct is:
Admission of homosexuality
Committing a homosexual act
Marrying or attempting to marry a person of same sex
Train the Force
What Does ‘Don’t Ask” Mean?
Applicants for enlistment will not be asked nor required to reveal their sexual orientation.
Applicants for enlistment will not be asked if they have engaged in homosexual conduct.
While on active duty, soldiers will not be asked about their sexual orientation or conduct unless there is credible information of homosexual conduct.
What Does “Don’t Tell” Mean?
“Don’t Tell” is the opposite side of the coin from “Don’t Ask.”
Soldiers should not disclose or discuss their sexual orientation or conduct.
If a soldier admits to being homosexual, the commander will begin the process to determine if credible information exists which would warrant separation.
What is Credible Information?
A statement by a reliable person that a soldier has:
engaged or solicited to engage in a homosexual act
heard the soldier state that he or she was homosexual
heard the soldier state that he she had married or attempted to marry a member of the same sex.
A statement by a reliable person that they had observed a soldier admitting to or engaging in homosexual conduct.
What Is Not Credible Information?
Rumors that a soldier is homosexual
Others opinions that a soldier is homosexual
Going to a homosexual bar, reading homosexual publications, associating with known homosexuals or marching in homosexual rights rallies in civilian clothes
Reports of being harassed shall not by itself constitute credible information justifying the initiation of an investigation.
What are Grounds for Investigation?
Credible information must exist.
A commander must have a reasonable belief that a soldier has:
Engaged or solicited to engage in a homosexual act
Stated that he or she is a homosexual or otherwise indicated a propensity to engage in homosexual conduct
Married or attempted to marry a person of the same sex
The initiation of any substantial investigation into whether an admission of homosexuality was made for the purpose of seeking separation from the Army and/or determining whether recoupment of financial benefits is warranted must be approved at the Army Secretariat level.
Definition of substantial investigation: An investigation that extends beyond questioning the member, individuals suggested by the member for interview and the member’s immediate chain of command.
DoD Directed Policy Changes
Installation Judge Advocates will consult senior legal officers at a higher HQ prior to the initiation of an investigation.
Initiation of substantial investigations into admission of homosexuality for the purpose of separation will be made at the secretarial level.
The IG will inspect homosexual conduct policy training.
Zero Tolerance for Harassment
Definition: Derogatory, persistent, threatening or annoying behavior directed toward an individual or group.
Possible types of harassment
Verbal (on or off duty)
Jody calls regarding homosexuals
Derogatory language or references about homosexuals
Graffiti in latrines, bulletin boards, etc.
Anonymous threats; telephonic, electronic, etc.
What Can a Soldier Do If Threatened, Harassed or Accused of Being Homosexual?
Report harassment at once to the commander
Commanders will take appropriate action to protect the safety of soldiers who report threats or harassment.
Who Can a Soldier Talk with Confidentially?
Legal Assistance Attorney
The challenge to all soldiers is to comply with the law that prohibits homosexual conduct while at the same time respecting the privacy and dignity of every soldier.
“Hey, are you busy ? Is there anyone around in your apartment ?” My father must have been able to tell that I had him on speaker phone.
“Nope, it’s just me,” I replied.
“Okay, can I ask you a question?”
I wasn’t sure what he was going to ask about. Probably something about school or maybe my plans for the summer. My father was always, always worried about the future. Or maybe it was about the trip we were going on that weekend to visit my grandparents in New England. I was bringing along a friend this time, and my grandparents were pretty deep in their religious faith. Maybe he didn’t want my friend to hear. Did he have some news?
“Okay…Are you gay?” It was the last question I had expected to hear from his mouth.
“Am I what?” I asked, startled by the question that came with out any forewarning. Maybe I misheard?
“Are you gay?” he repeated.
“NO I’M NOT GAY!” I shouted quickly into the phone, surprised by not only his questions but how defensive I got. “What the-?”
Immediately, my mind raced back to all the lesbian-ish things I had done in my life. I remembered the time my dad found a picture of me pretending to kiss a girl in high school and how disturbed he was (Those kissy pictures were cool back then). I thought back to the times when I had really kissed girls. But was I “gay” in actuality? No! I wasn’t gay. But now my dad apparently believed so.
“Now, hold on, hold on!” he said, interrupting what would have unintentionally been a string of cuss words that I learned to use so elegantly in college. “I was just wondering!”
Wondering? Had I really given off that gay vibe?
“Well, where in the world did you get that from?”
“A friend of mine apparently saw on one of your social websites, Twitter or Facebook, that you were in a relationship with a girl. Are you?” he asked again. I felt a sigh a relief. My best friend and I had put that silly status up months before as a joke. I tried to explain this to my father.
“Noooo, Dad! That was just a joke. She’s my best friend. We did it as a joke,” I said, attempting to explain to my father how “In a Relationship” with your best friend on Facebook was humorous. He didn’t laugh. “I’m not gay, I’m serious!”
“Well, okay. Well, that’s good. I mean, if you were gay, that’d be fine too!”
“Dad, I’m not gay…”
“I was just thinking about this all week. And then you invited your girl friend on our trip to New England, and I thought that was your girlfriend. And then, I was going to ask you about it this weekend, but I didn’t want to ask it in front of Grandma and Grandpa, and it’s just…”
“Dad!” I laughed. “I’m really not gay!”
“Okay, are you sure? Because you know, I don’t care about that! I’d accept you either way. I was just wondering how you would have kids, would you adopt or…”
“DAD! I am NOT gay!” He had clearly been thinking about this for awhile, and it was so embedded in his head that he refused to believe that I was actually straight. “You will have grandchildren, okay? Lots!”
“Okay, phew! Good. But wait, not too soon right? Wait a little while!” he joked.
“Yes, Dad,” I giggled.
“Okay, that’s all I wanted to ask you!”
“Okay, Dad. I’ll talk to you later.” We exchanged our goodbyes with awkward laughs and I hung up the phone and realized how much I loved my dad.
After the conversation with my dad, I will admit I had to reflect on my past few crazy years in college. He had been so convinced that I was gay during that conversation that it actually scared me, setting me back into a self-conscience and confused reflection. I had experienced a plethora of things in that five minute conversation with my father that made me really sit back and not only take a look at myself, but at the queerness of it all.
- Coming Out? Although, I did not come out in this equation, because I am indeed a straight heterosexual female (who admittedly happens to appreciate other females), I felt as if I almost had, or as if I easily could have came out to my father; A privilege that I realize many homosexuals, attempting or wanting to come out to their parents, do not have. (Actually, a privilege that many heterosexuals with their regular, straight issues don’t even have lol). Taking this Queer Race (ENGL459Q) class had almost made me want to call my father back and say “Yes, I am gay!” just to see if his accepting reaction would still be the same. Would he suddenly be caught by surprise? Had he wholeheartedly thought I was gay, or maybe just a smidgen? I wondered. But the fact that he had wasted no to little time waiting on his daughter to come out to him made me feel proud.
- Double Standard. It’s obvious. As a woman, I feel as though we are allowed to be as sexual and as sexually open as we want and it’s often considered erotic or in plain terms “hot”. I can kiss girls on a drunken night or dance a little too close. I can take kissy pictures with friends and I’m still a heterosexual. (To some, apparently not my dad lol). But see a man kissing another man after a few too many beers, man taking a kissy photo with another man, or dancing a little too close to a man. That’s “homo” and it’s only right to call it “homo”. Why is that?
The tantalizing looks that two women being sexual with each other receive will be undoubtedly different than two men doing the same. I feel as though it’s unfortunately a double standard I even hold myself to. I can act “gay” and do things that are “gay”, but not be gay. A man who experimented in college with men, but is now married to a woman with children (WITHOUT any Christian intervention, but as a personal choice) would be looked at completely different than a woman who experimented in college and was not turned heterosexual.
I’m not a particular fan of double standards or anything unfair for that matter lol. Therefore I tried to think outside society’s box. If a person’s sexuality was based not just on their apparent present actions and sexual preferences, but on their past sexual preferences, are they gay? I, for a moment, subjected myself to the man’s side of the double standard and was displeased, as I questioned myself and feared that perhaps, acting out on my urges, whether sober or drunken, may have given people the wrong idea about my sexuality.
And then I thought again about how little I regretted about my past (It’s not as scandalous as I’m making it sound) and how momentarily ashamed I was to be so defensive about being questioned about my sexuality. Why couldn’t I have just answered with a simple “no” without all the defensive dramatics? There’s nothing wrong with being gay.
Kissing girls or not, it was obvious that it what I wanted to do at the time. I know that generally speaking, I am not gay. Although I find women physically attractive, I am secure in my heterosexuality to know that I am physically, mentally, emotionally, sexually, etc., etc., and all of the above ways, attracted to men. However, society, as we allow it, infamous for unfairly creating and placing labels on people, could generally convince others of different. I find it incredibly funny how it’s essential for society to make and enforce these labels, and how uncomfortable these labels can sometimes make us because what other people relate to them, and we are unfortunately a product of it all.
One thing that I learned from this whole, now very humorous situation, is that it’s SO IMPORTANT for people to define themselves by their own terms, not others, and not societies. The Census gives you Black, White, and Hispanic. What if you want to check all three? What if you don’t fit in the box? What happens then? You define you. And when you define you and become comfortable with your own label without having to check in with society, that’s when you become comfortable with yourself!
– Brittany Britto
It’s about that time, kids, Registration time. Time to pick out your classes for next semester fall. While talking to one of my freshmen friends and recommending the Queer Race class for next year, I was surprised to find out the past controversy surrounding a “LGBT” class offered at the University of Michigan in 2000. The course (not offered at Maryland, THANK GOD) was an English class, called: How to be Gay: Male Homosexuality and Initiation.
The Course Description begins: “Just because you happen to be a gay man doesn’t mean that you don’t have to learn how to become one. Gay men do some of that learning on their own, but often we learn how to be gay from others, either because we look to them for instruction or because they simply tell us what they think we need to know, whether we ask for their advice or not….In particular, we will examine a number of cultural artifacts and activities that seem to play a prominent role in learning how to be gay: Hollywood movies, grand opera, Broadway musicals, and other works of classical and popular music, as well as camp, diva-worship, drag, muscle culture, taste, style, and political activism”.
Huh? Am I missing something? This course is laughable to me. Since when does college offer courses teaching students to become homosexual? I thought we were supposed to be academic and getting degrees here, not learning how to be the poster child for homosexuals around the world. “Learn how to be gay” “Homosexual INITIATION”? I guess University of Michigan should also offer some classes on how to be “black”, how to be a “woman”, how to be distinctly hetero perhaps? What do you guys think? Opinons?
According to other articles, the title and description were “misinterpreted”, saying that it doesn’t teach students how to be homosexual, but “examines critically the odd notion that there are right and wrong ways to be gay, that homosexuality is not just a sexual practice or desire but a set of specific tastes in music, movies, and other cultural forms — a notion which is shared by straight and gay people alike” (1). Hmm, I say, nice try. What were you thinking UM?
You can read (AND LAUGH) more about this course on the University of Michigan website. Click here: http://www.ns.umich.edu/index.html?BG/317descr
In class we have discussed people that come from all different aspects of queerness and race. Throughout this semester, I have been very intrigued by the word “queerness.” I feel that each class I am constantly considering new ways that the word can be used and interpreted. A couple of weeks back we discussed the idea of marriage and how it can relate to queerness. I’ve been considering a lot of the comments made that day and have been most intrigued by the intricacies of where queerness begins and ends.
For example, a non-married 24-year-old might represent a “norm” but once she hits 32? Dear God, watch out for that queer crone. Yet, a divorced forty-year-old at this point in our society represents a norm like any other. (God forbid that same forty year old was never married. Can we say coockoo?)
To take this matter further to a topic not delved into while in class, I wanted to shine some light on another aspect of marriage as it applies to society today. In a world where certain strides have been made in the acceptance of queer individuals, I think it is interesting to think of people who initially joined in the practice of heterosexual marriage and are now “coming out.” Whether this be as cross dressers, homosexuals, transgendered individuals, or anything else, these types of changes can produce a queerness explosion. Suddenly, because marriage initially took place, we are introduced to the “Queer Family.” Children with queer parents, queer spouses, queer grandparents! Unfortunately, I have not been able to find specific statistics on this type of thing, but did find some links that might be helpful in providing more information on the issue.
STORIES OF SOME INDIVIDUALS WHO CAME OUT AFTER MARRIAGE
WEBSITE THAT PROVIDES SUPPORT FOR STRAIGHT SPOUSES.
It is put together by “Current and former Straight Spouses/Partners of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender people, Mixed Orientation Couples and our Families and Friends.”
MOVEMENT DEVELOPED FOR KIDS WITH ONE OR MORE LGBTQ PARENT.
I find some of the research and “facts” to be pushing it a bit, but appreciate the movement.
This is a cool and informative blog on blogspot that we found which has numerous links pertaining to LGBT topics. The description of the blog reads “The activist blog uniting the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersexual, Asexual community & Allies in the fight for equality.”
With that being said, it has several posts alerting its followers of queer events, news, terminology, programs, associations, and brings to light the prevelance and most importantly the presence of the queer community. The posts are quick, easy reads and pretty creative They even have “Word of the Gay”, clarifying never heard of but commonly used queer terminology for the ignorant, and “Spotlights”, posts highlighting and promoting webs and organizations or programs that add to queer awareness or provide assistance to the community in some way. They have numerous posts, 49 for this new year alone and 1,309 for year 2009.
The greatest thing about this website is though it is named “Queers United”, it serves as a gateway to information and links to organizations, programs, and news that can not only benefit, help, and educate people of the queer community, but the heterosexual community as well!
Brittany, Brian, Lorena