Queer News: Foreign and Domestic

Posted in Uncategorized by Jordan on May 3, 2010
  1. Current Immigration Bill on circulating on Capital Hill includes provisions for LGBT families according to the Advocate. The provision would allow U.S. citizens and legal residences to sponsor their same sex partners for residency.
  2. (Recently Out) latin popstar Ricky Martin speaks out against  newly  racist Arizona immigration laws by going off script at the Billboard Latin Music awards.
  3. India is currently considering a new policy which would outlaw surrogacy for Same-sex couples from western countries.
  4. Hawaii legislature passes Civil Unions Bill.  Still no word on whether or not republican governor, Linda Lingle will sign or reject the measure.


My  news choices this week are based upon intersections of queerness and race as played out and circulated through and across the foreign and the domestic. The first two items are interrelated, as the federal government is pushed to work on a comprehensive immigration reform bill in response to the Arizona measure which effectively writes racial profiling into the law. I find it interesting that on the one hand, it is Ricky Martin, who recently came out as gay (although I’m not sure who believed he  was straight? lol), went off script…in a sense “queering” the award show to make a political statement and call attention to unjust legally sanctioned racial profiling. Profiling in this case,  reflects to us which kinds of embodiments: gender/racial/sexual/etc. are considered not only foriegn, but actually un-american. In other words, profiling  as a kind of national(ist) security measure depends on an axis which makes visible (perhaps violently so) which embodiments are aligned/(allied) with the State and which embodiments are considered threatening, and therefore ought to be evacuated from the Body of the Citizen. We discussed at several points during the class the ways in which queer/s and heterosexual people of color and have been deemed threatening to the nation and its project of white hetero-reproduction. Additionally, we also mentioned some of the ways in which queer/s and heterosexual people of color have been have been integrated/assimilated  into the nation. For example, the proposed same-sex inclusive federal immigration reform depends on a heteronormative conception of the couple as the means by which queer relationships are allowed to suture their intimate bonds: both privately and across national boundaries.

My third news item is also about the mechanisms of queer reproduction.  It is perhaps not widely known that many same-sex couple seeking to have a child of their own, rely on surrogate mothers to carry their children.  What complicates this exchange are the ways in which this process perhaps depends on globalization.  Isn’t Indian surrogacy in some ways a disturbing outsourcing of the labor of labor to the bodies of another nation-state?  But even under with this criticism, India could simply outlaw foreign surrogacy altogether; why only target same-sex couples? Is this merely a case of homophobia at the level of globalization? Or is this exchange complicated by class relations? And finally, what about the status of these children?

My forth news item is perhaps the most “domestic” of the my news stories.  The movement of civil unions through the Hawaii state legislature is a promising moment for same-sex couples in that state. Especially considering that Hawaii is arguably the birthplace of the same-sex marriage movement, and subsequently the first state to pass a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.  We will have to wait and see if Gov.  Linda Lingle (I can’t get over her name) is willing to give into pressure from the other side in an election year as contentious as this one, when politicians both right and left, seem less likely to take political risks.


Let Constance Go to Prom!

Posted in Uncategorized by Lorena A. on March 24, 2010

In case anyone is interested, here’ s the link to join the ACLU’s fan page for Constance McMillen on Facebook. Show her your support =)


In case you don’t know who Constance is, or her story, here’s the link to that:


News, Opinions, and Perspectives

Posted in Uncategorized by kriegerdeslichts459 on March 3, 2010

Hey, y’all!

So my articles this week come from a variety of different sources, publications, fora, blogs, etc., and I think they add some interesting topics for discussion around the phrase “Intersectionality of Identities.”  Enjoy!

1)  Queer Liberation is Class Struggle

This essay, composed for a San Francisco-area queer news blog, addresses the modern LGBT rights movement and the spearheading thereof by affluent white men.  The author advocates a complete restructuring of the queer rights movement based around securing rights for working class queer people.

2)   Queer Symposium Addresses Native Identity

An article published for the Johns Hopkins Newsletter at JHU, this piece describes a gathering held at which issues pertaining to Native American queers were discusses.  Several distinguished professors were invited to speak about their personal experiences with these issues.  The symposium provides what I think is a fascinating look into the national and social identities of Native American societies and how queerness affects them.

3)  Be Gay, Be Anything You Want – Just Not Single

I found this article to be not only entertaining and lighthearted, but also extremely relevant considering our discussions on marriage as an institution.  Focusing on Indian American immigrants, this piece sheds light on the immigrant perspective that for some cultures, marriage trumps sexuality.  Not having a spouse is often seen as more socially taboo than having one of the same sex, which I find profoundly interesting.

4)  Black Relationships: Polyamory

For my final article, I wanted to include something that didn’t necessarily have to do with same-sex partners or non-normative gender identities, yet was still undoubtedly queer in nature.  Polyamory has been a subject of contention between me and my own friends for quite some time, so I wanted to get a collection of non-white opinions about the issue and how it affects members of a marginalized racial community.  What better place for this than a blog about Polyamory on a site dedicated to African-American issues?

I chose these articles because the entire theme of this class is “Intersectionality of Identities.”  Queer people are not defined solely by our sexual orientations or our gender identities – our races, economic statuses, religious beliefs, ethnicities, and many other factors play a large role in determining who we are as individual people.  Each of these cultural identities plus personal experiences all combine to shape our theories of the world – supporting the theory that no two people are exactly alike.

Marriage and relationships have come to be the foundation of many of the world’s societies, and it’s interesting that it’s taken the LGBT rights movement and the “gay marriage” initiative to open the proverbial can of worms and really delve into the nature (nay, utility) of the entire institution.  Marginalized groups have always had to fight for the legitimacy of their existence, and piling one political “ism” on top of another makes it hard for people to understand others’ platforms.  For many cultures, queerness is a decadent Western import that pollutes the culture, so how do proud members of these racial/ethnic/religious/etc. groups reconcile their queerness with their other identities?  Does being queer make one “less black,” “less Indian,” “less Irish?”

The overarching question is: Should these facets of personal identity be viewed holistically or separately when the time comes to fight for political power?  Why can we not just accept that we’re people and we need to get along?  People are silly… 🙂

Queer/Race News

Posted in Today by ascheer on February 24, 2010

Compton Cookout

I found this post on the blog Racialicious.  The article details an incident at UC-San Diego where students organized an off-campus party called the “Compton Cookout” and used derogatory racial stereotypes of African Americans when advertising the event.  The event itself is inexcusable however there has been a well organized response to the incident that promises lasting change for black students at UCSD.

“Gaysians take over fashion week”


The title is the most interesting part of this article posted on Colorlines Magazine’s blog, RaceWire.org.  Guest columnist Alex Jung describes the numerous successes of several prominent young Asian male designers.

“Obama’s new proposal: LGBTs still missing”


All of the gay related provisions from the original House bill for health care reform have been removed from Obama’s latest proposed compromise.  It is not likely that provisions will make it back into new incarnations of the bill.

I selected these particular news items because I believe they illustrate a useful spectrum of queer and race current events from culture, art, and politics.  After Obama was elected, there was a lot of talk about how the US had finally become a “post-race” society.  The first article, “Compton Cookout” I think very definitively shows that there is still a long way to go before that is the case.  I think the fact that this happened on a college campus, one where only 2% of the student body is African American, is especially telling.  The advertisements for the party went to great lengths to define what it means to be a black, “ghetto” man or woman and in doing so exposed how some people (of privilege) relate to and understand the bodies of poor people of color.

I found the “Gaysians Take over Fashion Week” article interesting because the headline makes very clear connections between the race and sexuality of the designers and yet the article itself, aside from photographs where some of the designers appear flamboyant, does not itself address sexuality at all.

The finale article, “Obama’s new proposal: LGBTs still missing” reinforces the US government will not willingly recognize LGBT people as humans deserving of access to quality healthcare.  In doing so, I believe politicians are sticking to this idea that Middle America cannot handle LGBT people or issues, which I just do not believe to be true.

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News this week

Posted in Architecture, Uncategorized by mchambe2 on February 15, 2010

February is Black History Month. Many of us probably didn’t know that February 7th is also National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. I found an article on the Human Rights Campaign website (hrcbackstory.org/2010/02/the-work-continues-on-black-hivaids-awareness-day/ ) reminding us all about the importance of HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment…especially for one of the most profoundly affected communities- the African American community.

The quote “In Washington D.C., everyday is National Black HIV Awareness Day” really struck a cord with me. Prevention, treatment and public awareness and education goes beyond just one day… the article reminded us that it was a rededication to the movement. The article went on to say that the number of people tested, and the number of people receiving free HIV medication has doubled.

My second news article also comes from the HRC website.  (www.hrcbackstory.org/2010/02/sen-gillibrand-and-rep-baldwin-suggest-action-on-lgbt-refugees/ ) This article concentrates on state representative and senators reaching out to the State Department  to address issues concerning foreign LGBT individuals. Specifically, the article cites the violence and persecution of Iraq and Iran LGBT individuals who are forced to flee their homes. One prospective move towards progress cited by the article is the increased promotion of LGBT human rights by the U.N.

The third news article I focused on was found on a website dedicated to the LGBT community of West Virginia. http://www.wvasqueernews.com/headlines.html

the article discussed the recent news that Prop 8 trial judge, Vaughn Walker, is gay… and how the National Organization of Marriage is having a conniption. (figures). they described the judge as ‘biased and incompetent’. the article then makes its point by saying that any judge, gay or straight, could be considered biased in a judgement about marriage due to sexual orientation. Although this article is not specifically focused on race, i thought it was interesting first, because the website is from a West Virginian LGBT community… an area that may not necessarily be associated with LGBT and secondly because Prop 8 has seen its own race issues specifically the claims that the African American community is CA was to “blame”. I think it is important to keep track of the changes/progressions and criticisms of Prop 8 in order to gain a greater understanding.

Now for the reflection.

I chose these three news stories because they all contribute to lgbt and race understanding and the relationship between the two. Also, these three stories are incredibly relevant to the times today. Although HIV/AIDS awareness does not seem as public as other world news, it is still an immensely important issue. It shows that this disease still affects huge numbers of people, especially in the African American community and LGBT community. the presence of a National Black HIV/AIDS awareness day is evidence of the need to reach out to a specific ethnic group. the focused attention highlights areas of concern and great need. it allows us to concentrate and work toward a specific goal. It shows insight into queer/race living by focusing on health issues that affects a great number of African American and queer people. i think this website showcases a particular understanding of knowledge surrounding the need to spread awareness and prevention technologies.

the HRC is criticized heavily for its lack of ethnic representation, but i think this article is a step in a more cohesive understanding. the fact that its a national ‘day’ could be seen as a double edge sword. although specific days like such work to highlight an issue and rededicate members towards a common goal, it could als0 be seen as a mockery.. that the fight against AIDS stretches generations and decades and calls for more than a days attention. although the services span time, the recognition is a mere flicker, which could also contribute to criticisms against the HRC, that more ‘white news’ makes daily headlines on a more constant rate. what do other people think about the HRC’s coverage of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day?

I chose the story abut Iraq and Iran LGBT refugees because of our countries on going tension with the Middle East. I think it is important to acknowledge and works towards LGBT human rights all over the world. Recently, LGBT world news has focused on Uganda… this article shows that much needs to be done world wide for the larger LGBT community. It shows how the U.S is on its way to being more progressive, although the journey is no where near to being over… in some countries it’s incredibly worse.

The difference in queer/race living world wide shows the widespread attitudes and the importance of keeping up the movement and working towards a more transnational agenda. it shows that our understanding does go beyond our boundaries, and acknowledges the need to recognize problems and work towards resolutions.

lastly, the short article on Prop 8 trial judge displays an important side of understanding. i believe it showcases how the National Organization of Marriage is quick to combat a gay judge’s involvement in such an important case without realizing that calling his judgement bias is only a half thought out statement. if sexual orientation deems someone bias then won’t a straight judge contain a certain degree of biasness? it shows how the national organization of marriage understands queer living…. they don’t understand at all.

all of these sources are pro-LGBT, and therefore reflect a more positive and progressive form of knowledge, but how do you all feel like they reflect knowledge pertaining towards race relationships?

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Posted in Architecture by bblurbs on February 3, 2010

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