Christina Engela's picture

A Place In The Sun

No matter what I am or what I have done, I am also just as human and just as flawed and vulnerable as anyone who thinks they are perfect, or stronger, or better than me. Nevertheless, it seems there are always people who think that because I am not straight like them, and not living the gender I was born in, that I am anti-social, have a persecution complex, a huge chip on my shoulder, and am either less intelligent than they are, or that I am just plain stupid.

All told, I had a pretty interesting week.

Friday night I attended a small informal event at a cosy straight-friendly pub in Central Port Elizabeth at which the new SA gay flag was being passed around, promoted and even sported as a clothing accessory. It was nice to see people embracing a symbol of our diversity, even as I noticed the stark absence of the lesbian component of our community at events in this city. As usual I was drowning in testosterone, albeit pink.

Where were the lesbians? Where were the trannies? "Who cares?" Someone said - reminding me of the saying "out of sight, out of mind". And isn't that the truth? Our different groups socialize apart from the rest, forming little cliques. And then we sometimes have the audacity to wonder what happened to the "community"? Some people later wonder why they have been excluded from any of the planning of x, y, and z. What a cheek.

And then I looked at the item being billed as the "gay flag" for South Africa. Gay flag. Says everything, doesn't it? It has stripes of all the colors which represent each group making up the Pink Community, but somehow it winds up getting called the "Gay Flag". How did that happen? And why didn't I get the memo?

A friend told me of his frustrations at getting people in this burg to actually show up for anything without booze, smokes or some other form of entertainment laid on for free, gratis and for nothing. I empathized. Having had a hand in the planning of several under-attended and even cancelled-due-to-lack-of-interest events in the past, I knew exactly where he was coming from.

A few things were said at this event by some, about how fortunate we as the Pink Community are to live in South Africa, and about how "concerned" our government is with our welfare, about how important our well-being, dignity and protection is to the government and so on, and so on to the point where I wondered who they were working for. I cringed. "Are these guys for real?" I asked myself.
Jack Molay's picture

Dr. Allen Frances and his arguments against the DSM-5

Doctor Allen Frances has caused uproar with his attack on the new American manual for mental diseases. This is highly relevant for transgender persons.

Those who have followed me for a while know that I am very concerned about the fact that both crossdressing and crossdreaming  (“autogynephilia” and “autoandrophilia”) are classified as mental diseases and are included in the American psychiatric manual (the DSM) as well as the WHO ICD counterpart.

I have argued that these phenomena might as well be the psychological expression of natural human diversity as regards gender and sexuality, and that it is the fact that it is society – including psychiatrists who insist on calling this a perversion or a “paraphilia” – that causes the real mental anguish of these people.

Jack Molay's picture

You are not one of us!

The separatists  transwomen intensify their attacks on crossdressers and "transgender", immensely fearful of contamination by association.

White Pride

Separatist ideologue and HBS International general, Rose White, has now declared war on the presence of drag queens in Pride Parades in Calder-dale, Britain. The argument:

“Drag queens – homosexuals dressed as women – and drag kings, women dressed as men, performing as stereotypical crossdressers promote, foster and reinforce the belief among the audience that any bloke in a frock must be a homosexual.” she says. “If these people are allowed to perform in the town in the Pride, they must have a prominent sign stating ‘We are homosexual men – not transexuals’."

In other words: "You are not one of us!"

Christina Engela's picture

The Blood Feud Continues...

I keep hearing the SA blood "service" whining about another blood shortage - but at the same time they continue to refuse to accept blood from people who are gay. They won't accept the perfectly good blood that the Pink Community willingly offers - so as far as I'm concerned, they can just whine and whine till they run dry.

They have no reason to not accept our blood. None. Only the terminally stupid or ignorant believes that blanket discrimination is the best way to protect people from receiving HIV infected blood. The problem here is their clear refusal to screen for HIV infected blood - but they clearly have no problem with discriminating against people. And surprisingly, they are allowed by SA's government to continue blatantly thumbing their bigoted little noses at the non-discrimination clauses in our Constitution. What gives?

Every complaint against their unjustifiable bigotry and prejudices has been met with skepticism, regurgitation of right-wing rhetoric asserting the deluded opinion that HIV is caused and spread exclusively by gay people - and that mainstay of South African culture - apathy.

The SA National Blood "Service" bans all gay people who are not sexually inactive for less than 6 months from donating blood.

They also ban blood from males on the grounds of anal sex - as if straight people and women don't indulge in anal sex. Uhuh. Right. Clearly these jackasses should watch a little of the pornography they take a so-called moral stand against - they would be educated quite quickly into abandoning this little fantasy of theirs - and naturally I am referring to the heterosexual variety.

Lupus Gimp, How Does Your Garden Grow

With gardening ProTips!
Whether it is in a small pot on a table, or in the section of yard I have claimed for my garden, the smell of freshly turned earth turns me on – not in a horny way, but in a “this is really real life” special kind of way. It helps me feel productive and connected.

I call it my garden because it is my idea, and I am the one that insists on having it. Everyone in the household sees the benefit of it. Everyone in the house contributes effort to it, either because they want to, because I ask them to, or because it increases their allowance. It really is our family garden.
Jaded's picture

Between The Lines

Recently I came across Sara Ahmed’s fantastic essay ‘Feminist Killjoys (And other Willful Subjects)’ and have been re-reading several sections of the essay since. I identify with more parts of the essay than I can count, but one line that never leaves me is “[As a feminist killjoy] you become the problem you create” –- a single sentence that probably embodies the essence of my grandmum’s journals. Part of why I wanted to learn to read and think in my native tongue is because I want to read my grandmum’s journals, written in a pidgin many Gujurati’s. Apart from accounts of food items, daily expenditure and some chants dedicated to Krishna, there are extensive notes on translation and literary criticism of Oriya, Telugu and Bengali women’s literatures — in a different tongue altogether¹ — and her research of many texts banned in the British Empire. Most of the texts that are listed in her journals were banned because of “obscenity” under Section 292 of the Penal Code — not that big a surprise that most of these banned and censored texts were written by women and especially by women of the “lower sections of the society”. I couldn’t find most texts she talks of, but luckily I found Radhika Santwanam written by the Telugu poet Muddupalani in a great aunt’s attic — sadly, the text is in English but there were translator’s notes along with it, explaining their choice of words and consonants. Loosely translated, the text can be called “Enticing or Appeasing Radhika”, an epic erotic poem that talks of Radha and Krishna’s love affair — a text that inverses the male literary tradition of supposing the “male” as a locale of power when speaking of sexual agency.

I spent most of the last month reading this poem, in its many parts and verses, simultaneously shocked and in awe of Muddupalani’s audacity to speak so explicitly about female sexuality, of Radha’s encouragement of Krishna and her niece’s love affair, of the various ways Krishna has to woo and appease to Radha, a text quite “queer” by today’s “re-readings”. While the text is beyond beautiful, with its many deviances and silences, sadly this text has always faced heavy censorship at the hands of the Raj — interestingly when Muddupalani wrote it originally two centuries ago, her autobiographical prologue mentions no objections to the content or her context as a distinguished courtesan of the Thanjavur court². The Empire banned it for “obscenity” and “shamelessly filling poems with crude descriptions of sex” — cannot thank K. Lalita and Susie Tharu enough for keeping a neat account of all the charges levied against Muddupalani, ranging from ridiculous to incinerating and everything else in between — and for about 150 years after the ban Indian scholars maintained the same views about Muddupalani. In many instances, grandmum calls Muddupalani “adulteress” as this is the name she was known by. The more time I spend with grandmum’s journals, her accounts of the Raj’s censorship, read this exquisite poem, the more angry and fascinated — where fascination is the new disgust — I get.

PatientC: Ally Anxiety

So, Tuesday, I am did my usual thing… I listened to the Blacking It Up pod cast (and you should, too – it is amazing!). Apparently, bridges had been built over the weekend by Jack and Jill’s Cheryl Contee and Elon James White at RightOnline, because we had one of our first trolls. Ms. Contee’s and Mr. White’s adventure is documented here: “INCOGNEGRO:  UNDERCOVER AS A BLACK CONSERVATIVE AT RIGHT ONLINE DURING NETROOTS NATION PART 1." It is a must read! While I already read Jack and Jill Politics, I keep checking the site for the next part…

The pod cast was full of the anticipated and appreciated awesome. Then the troll showed up. What followed caused, for me, a severe case of ally anxiety.
arvan's picture

Menstruation Machine

スプツニ子!/Sputniko! - Menstruation Machine, Takashi's Take

A new video by Sputniko! (http://sputniko.com/blog) I'm a female artist and the machine is not only for men, it can also be worn by women in future when menstruation might become something obsolete - I'm not suggesting when or by whom this machine would be used - after much research with reproductive scientists (which I write in my website) I know that the psychologies which people associate with menstruation is too complex to make the reason for using such a device so simple - this music video is just one example of many possibilities.

More Info Below
http://www.sputniko.com/works/sputniko/menstruation-machine

arvan's picture

itschriscrocker: I am not my gender

I saw this on a Brazilian site today and loved it.

http://www.twitter.com/chriscrocker

Olga Wolstenholme's picture

The Dark Room

Thoughts trigger other thoughts and so on like a marigo round. That’s just how the mind works when you give it free reign. You start off thinking about your dire need for clean laundry and you end up remembering the day you lost your two front teeth. I was lying in bed the other night, trying to fall asleep while simultaneously trying to find a title for a new blog I want to start. Not the best way to fall asleep mind you, but hell, that’s when I do some of my best thinking: in bed…and in the shower. Interpret that as you like.

The new blog I want to start is about crafts and other creative endeavours, so I was brainstorming about the origin of ideas. How they spark, how they develop, which led me to think about dark rooms and the time I was groped in one. You see, my grade nine biology teacher was an amateur photographer and he had transformed a small room at school into a dark room. A few miscellaneous students got together and put together an unofficial photo club. This endeavour didn’t last very long, since none of us were really that organized and our bio teacher was a bit of a boozer, but for a short time we misfits had free access to a dark room.

There was this guy in school who most people wouldn’t look twice at and he had this huge crush on one of the “cool” girls. Unabashed by his lack of social skills and all around dorkiness he pursued this girl all through grade eight. She wouldn’t have it, but by the time we entered grade nine he had transformed himself into this totally hot cool dude, and suddenly the girl in question finally gave into his advances and they became one of the “it” couples.

The guy was cuuuute and many a girl fancied him, but as I’ve already told you he was taken. I hadn’t dated much up until grade nine, I hadn’t gone further than first base (first base is kissing right?), but my budding sexuality was all a fire at the time and I had cravings like any other typical teenager. You’ll see how all this information fits together in a second.

The couple I mentioned where in this photo club of ours and one day the three of us found ourselves sharing the dark room. Dark rooms are magical places. Full of shadows, toxic liquids, and red lights: a true place of mystery and possibilities. I have to admit that I had been flirting with the male half of this “it” couple while in the dark room. “Accidentally” brushing against him in the small dark space, lingering touches, etc. Now, remember that his girlfriend was in there with us, but he didn’t seem to mind and neither did I.

I was just having a little fun (I was a real menace at that age)!

At some point in the developing process its necessary for the room to be completely dark, and in those few moments, the guy I was flirting with copped a feel. It happened so fast, but there was no mistaking it. He had “accidentally” felt me up. This was the first time my breast had ever been touched by anyone else but myself and possibly my doctor. I’m sure there’s a feminist somewhere who’s ready to call me a traitor, but the whole thing was thrilling. I might not react the same way today, if some strange dude tried to feel me up in a dark room. Then again, I suppose it all depends on the context. The fact that his girlfriend was standing right next to us added to the thrill. What can I say?  I’m bad, I know.

(Posted at Cuntlove)

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