Queer/Race

Not for the gays? Thank you for your honesty Rihanna. Seriously.

Posted in Uncategorized by teddytaylor on May 6, 2010

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.

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“It’s Electric”

Posted in Uncategorized by Becca on April 20, 2010

BLOG # 3

SHORT STORY

At thirteen, Mara resembled a ten-year-old.  Her sister Julie had just gotten her period at the age of sixteen, leading to an influx of tampon boxes being sent in the mail from all of the female cousins that could relate to being a late bloomer.  She was 4’10’’, eighty pounds, and extremely flat chested.  Calling them mosquito bites would be a compliment.  Often at school the boys would compliment her.  “You are so unlike the other girls.”  “It’s weird how you’re like, you know, cool and stuff.”  She was cool.  She played the trumpet and would play football outside at recess.  She had already traveled outside of the country and was in honors math.

Mara’s least favorite song was “The Electric Slide.”  Every time she heard the song, it felt like a raccoon crawled into her stomach, got rabies, and died.  Normally a stable, thirteen year old girl, Mara warped into something completely different as soon as the song came on.  Irritable, angry, and fierce, she found it bizarre that she had such an adverse reaction to a seemingly simple tune.

At Danny Martin’s Bar-Mitzvah, all was going well until she heard those fateful lyrics.  Excusing herself from the kid’s table, she ran out of the room before any boogy woogy woogies could take hold of her.  She stumbled into the lobby of the Marriott and sat down on the welcome couch.  Mara hated the thought of missing any crucial moments of socializing, but a girl had to do what a girl had to do.  She looked down to check her brand new cell phone and when she looked up her heart skipped a beat.  There he was.  Mike Jankowski.  Mara was in love with him.  No other person in the world could possibly feel what she felt for Mike Jankowski.  It didn’t matter that he wasn’t good at math or that he was shorter than the other boys.  It was how much he didn’t realize how amazing he was that drew her to him.  He looked around the room and then plopped down next to her on the couch.

“I hate the Electric Slide,” he said matter of factly. “I had to get out of there.”

Suddenly it all made sense.  She probably hated the Electric Slide because somewhere in her heart she knew that her soul mate might hate it too.  They sat and talked for about five minutes and then headed back into the reception room.  This will be our little secret, she thought to herself.  If other people know, they might want to come out and join.

Between December and May Mara and Mike were both invited to ten Bar Mitzvahs.  At every single one, Mara sat patiently, waiting for the dreaded song to begin.  Sure enough, each time the song came on, there Mike would be, seemingly waiting for her in the lobby.

During the final Bar-Mitzvah of the year, Mara knew that she had to raise the stakes.  She needed to know if Mike felt the same way about her as she did him.  She made the decision that during the “Electric Slide” she would ask him a very important question in the lobby.

Half of the reception had passed and the song still hadn’t come on.  She put on a pair of the free sunglasses they threw out during the song “Shout!” and slipped into the back.  Cautiously, she wrote down “Electric Slide” on the DJ request list and then headed back to her seat.  Luckily, in the last hour of the party, the song was played and she could experience her favorite part of her friends’ coming of ages.

As Mike approached her, she knew that the past six months must have been as special to him as they were to her.  She was ready.

“Mike?” she asked.

“Yeah,” he grunted.

“What do you look for in a girl?”  Her heart was pounding.  She hoped that he couldn’t feel the heat that was rising through her body.  She licked her lips, hoping to make them look plumper as he answered.  This was it.

“Cleavage,” he responded.  “I like a girl with a lot of cleavage.”

With that, he was met in the lobby by Lesley Simmons.  They left together and headed towards the nearest closet.  As they walked away, Mara heard Lesley say, “Why did you ask me to meet you out here now?  I love the ‘Electric Slide.’”

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Sadly, I was inspired to write this post by the movie “Shallow Hal.”  Please, stop groaning and judging.  In one part of the movie, one of the characters refers to a female as having “Ugly Duckling Syndrome.”  He explains this syndrome as girls who were ugly growing up and therefore had to rely on their social skills to get by.  This inspired me to post this short story, based on one of my real life experiences.

Granted, I’m not saying that I was necessarily an eyesore, but I went through puberty REALLY late, forcing me to realize that I couldn’t rely on my looks in middle school.  Other females could strut around with their newly formed curves and boobs, but I suddenly had to work for attention.

I feel that this phenomenon relates to this class because it highlights the idea of sexuality and aging.  We’ve discussed societal norms as they relate to things all over the spectrum such as body type, race, sexuality, relationships, etc.  Having gone through this history with delayed puberty, I think that I was able to focus in on the effect of feeling like an outsider in a certain sense and dealing with the crossroads of how to mold myself in order to fit in with the rest of society.  This isn’t to say that I changed who I was as a person, but rather that I was struck with the limitations that sexuality and desire can bring.  As a child, I never had to worry about things like body type, but ever since people started changing before I did, I was hit with it over the head and have never let the lessons go.

Queer news this week

Posted in Uncategorized by teddytaylor on April 20, 2010

1.  Hospital rights for LGBT couples

http://www.dcagenda.com/2010/04/16/obama-memo-mandates-hospital-rights-for-lgbt-couples/

President Obama issues a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services that ensures LGBT couples have the same visitation rights.  It applies to hospitals that accept Medicare or Medicaid funds.

I personally think this is a step long overdue.  The idea that you may have to die alone, in a hospital, because you’re gay doesn’t sit very well with me.   People who receive the death penalty seem to have more rights.  I think it should be my decision who I want making my medical decisions for me when I cannot, especially on my death bed.  I appreciate what Obama said in his memo, “And it means that all too often, people are made to suffer or even to pass away alone, denied the comfort of companionship in their final moments while a loved one is left worrying and pacing down the hall.”  The quote is so simple that it makes the issue seem that much more awful.  Why have people of the LGBT community been denied this for so long? I mean the right to marry whoever you want is arguable, with ideas such as religion and tradition, but when it comes to health-related emergencies I think people need to be a little more open-minded.

2.  Johnny Weir makes a statement

http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2010/04/19/Johnny_Our_People_Make_the_World_Gorgeous/

Figure skater Johnny Weir gives his opinion on the LGBT community.  He also mentions other minorities.

Although the story is not necessarily “CNN” headline news, I think it is important to recognize the importance of small acts such as this.  Johnny Weir is still a household name, coming off his highly publicized Winter Olympics performance.  This statement would probably grab more attention than if someone like Elton John were to come out and say it today, just because Johnny is more fresh and more relevant right now.  In order to build awareness and tolerance, people need more exposure.  A few weeks ago you had Ricky Martin coming out, and now you have Johnny talking about, “And this community, us, our people, are the people who make it fucking gorgeous.”  I look at it as positive reinforcement.  LGBT celebrities owe it to themselves and their community to use their exposure to build a type of awareness that ordinary people have a much more difficult time achieving.  It tells people we are not ashamed, we are not scared, and we are very proud of who we are.

3.  Derrick Martin and his boyfriend attend his prom

http://advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2010/04/19/Smooth_Prom_for_Derrick_Martin_and_Boyfriend/

Derrick Martin and his boyfriend attend his prom with no major issues.  He did have to ask for permission first though.

This article is kind of bittersweet.  If you tie it to the article above, it just goes to show how reminders like the one by Weir are beneficial to the entire community.  People may have their opinions on what is right and what is wrong, but versus how things may have been 20 years ago, people are more tolerant and less aggressive, and you can really only ask so much of people.  What is unfortunate about the story is how Martin had to ask for permission from his school.  Coming from a Baptist high school, I can understand how this might have been an issue, but it isn’t clearly defined if he goes to a public or private school.  I think it just goes to show how much extra the LGBT community has to go through to do things that most people would normally take for granted.  It’s stories like these, which are more personal, that get people thinking.  It’s not that we want your pity, but sympathy is never a bad thing!

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