Queer/Race

Gay Muslims

Posted in Uncategorized by thecasualsquirrel on May 7, 2010

*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.

http://www.sundancechannel.com/films/500320095/

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Look Over Here: Queer as Folk?

Posted in Architecture by kth14 on May 4, 2010

I’m a little late with my third blog post, but here is the issue I want to talk about: representation of queer peoples or people of race in the media, my main focus being on Queer as Folk. Now, I love this show but it is horribly flawed as a representation of queer life. First, there are no characters (none) that have any sort of significant role who are not white. This is true of many shows, however. There is usually an all-white cast or all-black cast or all-latino cast; take your pick of which race and you can usually find a show that shows a certain “racial culture” without actually including anyone of any other races. Of course there are exceptions, but for the most part certain shows target certain audiences with a certain race, age, gender, and queerness. I guess my question is: is this lack of diversity of race a product of the television/film industry, the audience or a true representation of reality?

Now, while there is very little racial diversity in Queer as Folk, there is a wide representation of “queer” people, including porn stars and drag queens and Queer as Folk does address a lot of queer issues and the realities of being a queer person. Yet, there is a lack of “normal” or heterosexual people on the show. The only people I can think of that have a significant role as straight people are Debbie and Daphnie. While I understand that it is a show designed to show queer life (and Debbie and Daphnie could count as queer, despite being heterosexual) it seems that the characters have little contact or interaction with heteros(except when they are causing problems), which would be very unlikely in the heterosexual-dominted world. It seems as if they are living in their own little world of queerness and when something disrupts this, it is a big shock to the outside world of heteroness.

Most shows in general do this. Friends is completely set in their own little world wih no queerness or race to stir things up, and it does not change anything in the world we live in. Queer as Folk I feel had a large impact on the way others view the queer world, whether good or bad, the show tried to make a difference and put some controversial issues out there. While this show suffered from a lot of issues that are more than likely to present in television shows (overgeneralization, character exaggerations, radical plot changes, etc) I think it did make a difference for the queer community, whether within it or how others view it. I just want a show that can accurately depicts queer and race in reality and still be fun, witty and entertaining. I realize this is next to impossible, but I think it is important for people to realize that these shows are not accurate representations of queer life, although some of it can be.

However critical I am of the show, I absolutely love Queer as Folk! And, here is a video I found which I thought was interesting and kind of supports my post. Also, you can see how realistically all of the background dancers are extremely well-built and attractive, which if this depiction is true, I am immediately moving to Pittsburgh to dance at Babylon where everyone (besides Ted) is extremely attractive.

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Queer/Race in the Census

Posted in Uncategorized by kth14 on April 8, 2010

This article is against “queering the census” or rather adding an option on the census about sexual orientation. This argues that LGBTQ peoples are struggling for the same rights as heterosexual people and therefore categorizing non-heterosexual individuals would be against the idea of the LGBTQ community being ordinary Americans.

Gay “Marriage”

Instead of getting a part on the census where one can indicate sexual orientation, the lesbian and gay individuals can now check the “married” box if they believe that reflects the status of their relationship. On the census form they are allowed to participate an acknowlege their relationship as a marriage while legally they are not allowed to have this title.

President Obama filled out his census form and when asked about race he checked the “Black, African Am., or Negro” box despite being half white. The government is trying to encourage people to check whichever box they feel expresses them best, which for Obama was black/African American/negro instead of “multiracial” or “white.”

So, the census is a very big deal and highly publicized to the point where I do not want to do it because it is being shoved down my throat too much. But, some recent articles have taken a very critical view of the census and how it applies to the LGBTQ community and racial communities, specifically black peoples. The first article, “Don’t queer the census” has some good points about the LGBTQ community being just Americans instead of the “gays” or “queer” population. Not having a box to choose sexual orientation integrates queer people with the normative, heterosexual population.

Also, there are way too many ways for queer people to identify themselves (gay, bisexual, lesbian, transgender, I just like to experiment, etc) and trying to define queer people in specific ways is hard to do while including every definition and combination of definitions. Each individual has his or her own identity and sexual preferences, should we include  on the census the type of person we are attracted to (big muscles, blonde, tan, really smart guys with glasses-this is for an example and not true as to who my type is, so if you qualify, don’t waste your time. Unless you’re the character Ben from Queer as Folk…)?

This somewhat segues into my next point about race on the census. Obama checked black/African American/negro. Yeah right. Obama is the whitest black person ever-he’s even half white! So, why is he checking this box instead of white or multiracial (which would make most sense)? He’s trying to appeal to the black community as well as any other liberal community (LGBTQ, democrats, lower class) that finds his race appealing and a good reason for him to be President. Now, I don’t really have anything against Obama (I’m a Hilary girl) and I think he’s doing OK as President (well, everyone looks good after Bush) but he needs to stop trying to appeal to an audience of black Americans, like by checking the black race box.

The race box is kind of annoying to me because I am not just “white,” I’m Irish and English and some other European countries. But, how come I do not get to express my heritage and background? Just because I am white I am simply an American and white is my race? Is black a race now? I thought that race was a cultural or geographical heritage or background, not simply the color of our skin. In a couple months when I’m sunburnt, can I check a “red” box?

Or, my great-great-grandmother was Native American, so can I check the Native American box? It seems that the race box is trying to access one’s background and heritage, but the boxes that are on the census do not really determine a person’s culture and upbringing. Obama may be half black and check the black box because that’s what he identifies with, but he is one of the most culturally white-black people ever.

I want to briefly mention the article about LGBTQ people being able to identify their relationship as a marriage in the census, but not legally. The census is allowing people to be very liberal with describing themselves and statuses (as liberal as possible with boxes) which may distort the results. While it is open-minded to be able to allow people to choose their relationship statuses and races based on how they feel they identify them, the results may also be misleading because multiracial people identify themselves as black and two lesbians living together identify as married when they legally are not. The census is taking a scientific, precise way of accounting for every American and making it more illogical and imprecise, which is good in some ways and bad in others.

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Attention Here! The Gamer!

Posted in Uncategorized by cni1 on April 1, 2010

One doesn’t have to be too immersed into the gamer world to view some opinions on sexuality.  It’s a frequent attack over Xbox LIVE—along with race and gender.  Boys like to use insults behind the anonymity of a headset and a TV screen to feel manly.  It is what it is.

Back in October of 2009, The Escapist, a popular online gaming magazine, ran its usual weekly themed issue—this time titled “Queer Eye for the Gamer Guy.”  The themed articles for the week focused on sexuality in gaming.  One article, “Too Gay for the U.S.A,” summarizes the depiction of homosexuality in gaming.  Such themes are less offensive in Japan than in America, and American publishers are either quick to edit or quick to refuse to sell the content on our side of the Pacific.  The Escapist has some rather interesting reads beyond the realm of videogame reviews that delve into the psyche of gamers, and issues amongst the genre.

Link to the issue: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/features/issue/222)

Additional Link:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_56/333-You-Got-Your-Race-In-My-Videogame

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/columns/moviebob/6797-Twilight-of-the-She-Geeks

Race, sexuality, and gender are equally big topics in gaming.  In several reviews, game critic Yahtzee has been quick to point out how conveniently enemies in recent releases feature minorities as enemies against a white, manly, American figure. (http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/zero-punctuation/27-Uncharted-Drakes-Fortune)  I linked to an article above that depicts what happens to the geek culture when gender objectification reverses itself in a series of popular, if of questionable quality, books.  Depictions of women have long and often been stereotyped and unfair in geek culture, but since this area is largely dominated by men and boys this goes overlooked.

It’s easy to write gaming off as something simply for men and boys, or geeks altogether.  With geek culture spilling over into mainstream media, however, perhaps it’s time for a closer analysis.  From The Escapist, I discovered a few other blogs that are pertinent to the issue—for anyone interested in doing a little extra poking around.

http://gaygamer.net/

http://www.heroine-sheik.com/

http://www.joystiq.com/tag/playingdirty

Connecting Art with Race and Queerness

Posted in Uncategorized by kirstan27 on March 30, 2010

Color My Love

My love is colored

Brightly and proudly and broadly

My pale white skin

The color of acceptance

My feminine desire for her feminine grasp around my feminine waist

The color of rejection

Yet I still proclaim my colored love

Black Prince of my Kingdom

Obligated to color my love with a Queen

My only desire is for him to bow between me and I between he

The ruler of my body and the ruler of my throne

I’m a Prince in search of a King

My gayness does not color me weak

My color of strength and his love will further strengthen me

Throw me at the hands of death

I do not mind dying if I can die loving he

My love is colored

Not suppose to mix and match shades

Told to direct my love only the opposite way

But I want to mix and match shades

The Asian and the Black

The Hispanic and the White

I want to stroke the same shade over and over again

Women with Women

Men with Men

I colored my love

You don’t have to watch me paint

But don’t negatively judge my work

I’m proud of the art


This poem articulates how race-queer intersectionality can be cause a struggle when we try to mix the two in intimate relationships . In the LGBTQ community we want equality but we have to realize that we live in a state that denies those equalities to other citizens based on race, class, gender (identity), nationality, religious affiliation, or anything that allows our bodies and lives to be marked as  a sign of deviance.  Therefore if we want equality for the LGBT community we must realize and must continue to be connected with the liberation of all oppressed people especially racial discrimination. If we continue to separate them it will continue to be a struggle to blend race and queerness. It will continue to be conflicts with the idea of, “not only are you a gay couple but your interracial too.” This poem embodies the idea that love is love and that queerness and race have an interconnection that is intimate and people shouldn’t be judged for trying to blend the two together.  “I colored my love you don’t have to watch me paint, but don’t negatively judge my work I’m proud of the art.”


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No Place Like Home

Posted in Uncategorized by Lorena A. on March 23, 2010

The mug crashed to the floor. The coffee pooled at her feet but my mother did not even blink. “What do you mean, you like girls? ¡Tú no sabes lo que dices!”

I couldn’t bring myself to look at her but I said” Yes I do know what I’m saying mami. I don’t date boys. I don’t like them. I can’t hide who I am anymore.”

She just stood there in the puddle of coffee, staring at me as if I had suddenly grown a horn in the middle of my forehead. Finally, she stretched her mouth in a weird way that was supposed to be a smile. “You’re just joking right? It’s not funny! You, a lesbiana? Don’t ever joke like that again!”

I took a deep breath and looked her in the eyes. “Es la verdad,” I told her. “I’m not playing Mami. I’m a lesbian. I have a girlfriend. Se llama Ana and I love her with all my heart and if I keep hiding it then it would be like admitting there’s something wrong with that. Pero yo sé, there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s why I’m telling you.”

For a split second, I hoped she would hug me and tell me everything was fine. Silly me. The next thing I knew, she was smacking me with the loaf of wheat bread that had been on the breakfast table. “Get out!” she screamed at me. “Get out of my house right now! You weren’t raised to be a pervert! Get out, get out, get out!”

“Mami,” I cried, “What are you saying? I’m your daughter!”

She yanked the door open and shoved me out. “No you’re not mi hija anymore! ¡Mejor muerta que lesbiana!” With that, she slammed the door in my face.

Explanation:  the above is what I imagine would happen if I came out to my mother. Though I’m not gay, it’s always fun to come up with things that upset her. And NOTHING would upset a strict, overbearing, Catholic, and Latina mom then a dyke daughter. However, it seems like everytime I watch a tv show or read a fiction book where someone comes out of the closet, the family is very accepting. But I’ve also noticed that the family is usually white. That’s because tolerance and understanding of queerness just doesn’t happen in a Latino family. My parents are blatant homophobes and there’s absolutely no way you can say anything to change their minds. Trust me , I’ve tried. Just last week I overheard them talking about how children that are adopted by gay couples will just be abused and grow up to be gay themselves. I think the worst thing I’ve heard my father say was that gays should be burned alive. Who the fuck says that about another human being??

The vast majority of my friends have parents that are the same way. I wonder if this is particular to having grown up in Latin America decades ago? Is it because of religion/church teachings? Is it because Latino culture is very focused on traditional gender roles and men are supposed to be macho? I just don’t get it. As Latinos, we are judged harshly all the time. People assume we don’t speak English, we’re illegal, we don’t pay taxes, we’re stealing jobs. And they hate us for it. So why does our culture foster hate for others when we know how painful that behavior can be?

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More Black Male Worship

Posted in Uncategorized by connvoss on February 25, 2010

Andre Leon Talley, right hand man to Anna Wintour and a personal hero of mine, is a fashion god: one must wonder how sitting in the offices of Vogue magazine, Talley decided to join Tyra’s weekly circus of a show.  Is the affection and acknowledgement of a TV audience powerful enough to make such a mogul into a black/gay token character? After all, Talley’s promo video stars black/gay slang, preacher-like robes, and hearty laughs.  Or perhaps, Talley feels it is not harmful to his image or career: a friend of mine who has worked with Mr. Leon Talley says he has a good sense of humor despite being so powerful in the industry, a characteristic which will serve him well in such a ridiculous broadcast program.

Raynard Kington was unanimously elected to the position because of his place at the intersection of higher education, public policy, science, and medicine, however, his place at the intersection of race, sexuality, and class interests me more than his exquisite job qualifications.  The notice sent out to NIH employees, divulged none of his biographical information, and the majority of news coverage keeps his sexuality a footnote.  Of Grinnell’s three core values, one is the advancement of a socially diverse community, and another is the pursuit of social justice; also discussed in much of the coverage is the college’s progressive nature.  I cannot be more pleased for Kington’s achievement, and I cannot be more entertained at the widespread attempt to divorce his personal identity from his qualifications.  It may be worth mentioning that this man has more to him than a killer resume instead of imagining his location on the political spectrum is merely an oddity.

Diesel Washington has dominated his field of black gay porn stars since he busted all over the scene. He is awarded every year with something or another, and generally it is owing to his size and ethnicity.  The porn world makes no bones about the masculine appeal of a strapping black man, and many delight in the racial aspect of his body of work, however, recently he has been getting attention for his blog.  Perhaps someone has realized the importance of such a viewpoint, one that is colored by race, and twisted by a sexual minority’s wild sexual fantasies.

As a side note, Diesel attended awards ceremonies for Xbiz, Cybersockett, and Hard Choice with his diminutive, white date Andy Kay.  His critique of the situation was focused on the general response to his pairing with Andy Kay at the event more than anything else.

In conclusion…

The one-two punch of blackness and gayness has always played a political role in the spheres or academia and entertainment; my news choices attempt to draw together a few “achieving” black gay men to investigate.  In two cases, I believe that the identities of these men play a large role in their accomplishments, accomplishments which put them at the top of professions which have “othered” them in more ways than one.  Andre proves the accessibility of advanced fashion journalism (or reality television) to the minority communities to which he identifies.  Raynard in turn shows the same in fields of education and medicine. In the case of Diesel, his appearance and sexuality have in fact made his career, opposing the legions of a waxed, white, male “twinks.”  Yes, I believe being black and gay are deal makers in a wannabe-post-racial/post-…gaytial (?) sect of society, and solid buffers to mistakes and mishaps, but no, I don’t think these men are anything less than wonderful.

Also: I began to realize in compiling queer/race news, that I do not directly access racial topics, but rather reach them through queer news and other queer means.

“Arts” Collage

Posted in Architecture by kth14 on February 24, 2010

queerrace    queerrace Hopefully, this works. It should be a collage on a powerpoint slide.

I decided to do a collage of pictures for the Blog number 3 option. I really like collages and I think that it works well for the idea of this class/the assignment because it intertwines the ideas of queer and race together. In order to find pictures, I googled (of course) under google images.

First, I tried queer. Then lesbians. Then gay men, black gay men, race and gay, gay families, lesbian families, gay pride and probably a few more combinations. One of the first things I noticed was how predominately white most of the people in these pictures were. I had to start searching with racial words in order to find more diverse people in those pictures. Also, most of the pictures I found at first contained only men, so I had to specifically look for lesbians, or black women or black lesbian women.

But, just searching “queer” resulted in almost all pictures of white, gay men (including many pictures from the show Queer as Folk, which I love, but also contains predominately white, male gay characters). A lot of the pictures of the men (and for the women as well, but less so) were very sexual or showed half (or more than half) naked men/women, together or alone. It was hard sometimes to find pictures appropriate for the collage. I just found it interesting how sexualized the queer community is within itself or made to seem.

However, when I searched for gay pride images, I found a little more diversity concerning race, although not much. I really liked the pride pictures,with all the rainbow colors and such that represent the queer community’s differences, yet the main image for this community which prides itself on being different and diverse is mainly white males, which is the main image for Americans in general.

One of my favorite pictures is the one of the two black men wearing shirts saying “Gay is the new black”. I love this image and it seems a perfect intersect of the two ideas we focus on: race and queer. I am not really sure what this saying is supposed to illustrate, however my interpretation is that the queer community is the new group of people who are fighting for their rights, like people of different races had to do previously (and still today fight against racism).

I guess the queer community is fighting queerism? Or is there a different word to describe the hate towards queer peoples, like racism or sexism?

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Race and Sexuality à la the Socialist Worker

Posted in Uncategorized by cpeverley on February 20, 2010

The Socialist Worker is a newspaper and daily web site that describes itself as “presenting a wide array of left voices involved in today’s struggles and taking up today’s political questions.” Similar to the way in which Prof. Cruz-Malave presented 42nd St/ Times Square as a confluence of culture, race, and class under the sign of “gay,” the Socialist Worker unites under the umbrella of “leftist”/”socialist.”

Sherry Wolf (LGBT socialist activist who I think is awesome) discusses the judicial challenge on Prop 8, Perry v. Schwarzenegger. She talks about the irony of the fact that Olson and Boies (the challengers) plan to use the (essentialist) claim that sexual orientation is immutable and that, like racial minorities and religious groups, gays and lesbians should be treated as a “suspect class,” while the right wing is taking up the constructionist view. Also, she noted that Judge Vaugn Walker (who NOM is challenging because he is gay) ruled that the proceedings should be taped for YouTube, which I think is really cool!

South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer made an absolutely horrendous statement comparing welfare recipients to stray dogs. A blogger talks about her frustration with the statement, and with the country’s lack of frustration with the statement, a phenomenon that she attributes to the lack of political representation of the poor.

This article discusses the media coverage of the group of “missionaries” who are in prison under investigation for kidnapping after trying to take Haitian “orphans” (two thirds of whom had at least one parent) to the Dominican Republic, with the intention of finding American, Christian adoptive parents for them.  The media is practically portraying the group as victims, and the blogger the role that cultural and religious imperialism play in the coverage of the situation.

I chose these three articles because although they are not directly related to each other, they all address the underlying ideologies and hegemonies that influence these current events. (In my experience, if there’s one thing that socialists do well and reliably, it’s identifying instances of hegemony!) Sherry Wolf points out the essentialist/constructionist conflicts in the trial of Prop 8, and thinks about how the success or failure of each ideological approach to the case could have long-lasting repercussions for LGBT people. The blogger of “It’s racism, and they know it” looks at the realities of identity politics and the non-unity of people under identities of “class,” the underlying assumptions that we make about the nature of activism and how it affects current movements, and at the relationship between race and class in politics.

The article about the “Christian Right kidnappers” goes beyond the logistics and legality of the situation and instead looks at the ways in which notions of cultural, economic, racial, and religious superiority affected the reaction to the situation. The blogger points out that the same action by, say, Muslim missionaries, would have been met with outrage at their audacity at seeking to convert young children in the wake of a natural disaster… which is exactly what the Christian missionaries tried to do. Because the missionaries were white, middle-class, American, and Christian, though, the media has almost embraced them as victims. This reaction to their actions reflects an underlying (or not-so-underlying) affinity of many Americans to have these kinds of imperialist impulses and feelings of cultural/racial/economic/religious superiority.

Kaleidoscope of the Queer Experience

Posted in Today by sross10 on February 17, 2010

Afterellen.com is a website about LBT woman in the media. Usually this pertains to television media or movies, but it also applies to the written word. Afterellen provides the reader access to news that you could hear on E! or MTV such as a movie with a lesbian sex scene or a famous person coming out.

On the other hand it also highlights news that is not mainstream such as the a book review on a lesbian love story or an interview of an underground queer hip-hop artist. Afterellen celebrates woman from different backgrounds

The link below is too an article that is celebrating black lesbians in America. These people aren’t noted by mainstream but are highly visible in the LBT women community.

Angela Robinson and Jasika Nicole

Just for fun I’ve added a link to a Vlog about race on Afterellen. Read the comments

“Who will stand against Uganda’s brutal anti-gay law?”

This article is posted on the Washington post website. What interested me in this article is not that law, which is hugely unjust, but America’s involvement. “In a time of constant calamity and crisis fatigue, proposed legislation in Uganda to execute gays passes through the American consciousness with the impact of a weather report.” In a country that will talk about a cheating golfer for weeks, there is no mention, no awareness of this corrupt situation.

My final article on EW.com (Entertainment Weekly). It’s purpose is to re-cap the show Rupaul’s Drag Race (RDR). RDR is competition between Drag queen from different parts of the U.S. to become the next Drag super star. The show if filled with bitch fights and Drag slang (which I wholly support). The article, like the show, is very light-hearted and campy.

What I appreciated about the show and the article is the diversity and the drag history they like to slip in every now and then, using words I had not heard outside of Paris is Burning

I selected these particular news items simply because they interests me. I could have chosen 3 very serious articles about the struggle and strife that the queer minority goes through, but that’s not all there is to the queer experience. For me it was equally important to highlight serious world issues and light hearted entertainment.

Everyone one has a story and there is such diversity in the queer experience. These articles exemplify race-queer living now. They focus on issues of today’s world; a lesbian filmmaker trying to make it, how to be an out lesbian actress, the current criminalization of queer people (gay people) in Uganda, and Drag queens.

In the simplest sense discourse is conversation, or information; the exchanging of ideas. It is through discourse (through knowledge) that we are created. Discourse gains power and validity from the casual acceptance or apathy of the public at large of the “reality” with which we are presented. The public at large has deemed these issues unimportant and has brushed them aside. The article and my speaking of these articles are a counter-discourse to the mainstream.