self

arvan's picture

DESIGIRLS! - a film about being queer across cultures

What role does the South Asian LGBT community in New York City play in the life of A, who might never tell her family that she is a lesbian?  In contrast, what do Priyanka, who lives with her girlfriend and is able to be open about her sexuality, and Ashu, a DJ who runs Sholay productions, a social events group for queer South Asians, gain from being a part of this community?

Desigirls follows A and Priyanka as they negotiate their diverse and often fraught experiences as gay Indian women in New York.  While A is not comfortable with her sexuality, how is it that Priyanka, brought up in India, is?  The documentary explores what their varying experiences tell us about the role of minority community groups in a diverse and often fractured immigrant society.

Desigirls (part one)

Desigirls (part two)

arvan's picture

Farah Malhass: Female Bodybuilder...from Jordan

"You are somebody when you stop being nobody"

I just read about Farah Malhass, a cis-female bodybuilder in the country of Jordan.  Yes, that Jordan.  The Jordan of  "honor killing", misogynist religious intolerance and many more culturally accepted forms of oppression to women.

Farah is one bad-ass human. 

She can bench press more than you, has awesome tattoos, wears whatever she wants, flexes her muscles and her boobs and she's taking her desire to compete as a bodybuilder to an international competition in Toronto, this September.

Farah is a sitting target for Jordan's hardliners, not least of all because her body is covered in tattoos: a bare-breasted angel is depicted on her upper thighs, angel wings cover her back, and edgy statements are branded across her arms.

"You are somebody when you stop being nobody," reads one. "Only the one who hurts you can heal your pain," reads another. [GulfNews]

Oh, and when she's not busting egos at the gym, Farah works at the International Organisation for Migration, assisting Iraqi immigrants who deal with relocation and the scars of torture and bloodshed.

Farah is a shining, perfect example of  the creativity, beauty, strength and limitless possiblity of individual expression that is in every one of us.  She is a glaring example of what is available to us all if we claim our own identity and declare it to the world.  She is also a great big "fuck you" to oppression, bullying and misogyny.  For that last point, she receives no end of discouraging remarks.  For the first point, she gets this writer's wholehearted approval, support and praise.

Rock on with your bad self, Farah!

- arvan

arvan's picture

My response to: The Pros and Cons of dating a druggie

If you prick us, do we not bleed?
if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison
us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not
revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will
resemble you in that.

      (William Shakespeare)

I read this post at The Most Cake, earlier today.  It's a tongue-in-cheek look at being in relationship with someone that uses drugs.  I tweeted it in part for the humor and in part for the willingness to look at something from another point of view.

In some of the replies to the tweet and in the comment field of the post itself, I began to notice something.  Several people really laid into either the post itself or drug users in general.  I saw a bit of a familiar pattern emerge. 

It is similar to the monkey-pile I see people jump onto when targeting transfolk, queers in general, women and so on.  It is the mob brutality of gangs targeting individuals.

Society so readily accepts the negative judgment of drug users and the "othering" / damning of them.   How happy we are to flog someone in the village square for the crime of not being who we think they should be - and how their not being "good" is used by us as license to blast them with language, isolation and punishment - including violence.  In short, dehumanizing them is unquestioned and relentless.

But the point is that "druggies" are no less human and no less likely to be in a relationship.  They are just as likely to be loved by someone:  a lover, a sibling, a parent and that they are no less deserving of love than anyone else.

People sit in judgment under the banner of being "morally superior", but what kind of morality can issue the vicious attacks by someone onto another person whom they perceive to be weaker than themselves?

Perhaps my own road from addiction to sobriety allows me to look back to the desires I had for love, human touch and community - even in the throes of my addiction.  Perhaps I have learned after half a century that opinion and judgment are not nearly so valuable as we would have others believe.

-arvan

Annabelle River's picture

On having been the "man" everyone warned me about

It's been a couple months since Teen Vogue columnist Jessica Simmons wrote her much-linked post "Is Hooking Up Good for Girls?" about how casual sex apparently disempowers women, because apparently it leaves us pining in agony for men to commit to us.  And Kate Harding has already written the great rebuttal:

...[I]f we teach all kids that there's a wide range of potentially healthy sexual and emotional relationships, and the only real trick (granted, it's a doozy) is finding partners who are enthusiastic about the same things you want, then there's room for a lot more people to pursue something personally satisfying at no one else's expense...

To which Rabbit White wisely added that the first step is (surprise!) honest communication.  But as I'm reading these feminist defenses of casual sex, I'm also wondering: Where in this discussion are all the men who have romantically pined for the women who mostly wanted to get laid?  They do, in fact, exist, and I can't possibly be the only straight cis woman who has struggled with the guilt of having dated them.

And before I write on behalf of Straight Cis Women Who Mostly Want to Get Laid, I should disclose that I haven't had much casual sex in the last five years.  In my mid-twenties, I honestly prefer sex with a genuine emotional connection, with people who already know my quirks and vice versa, and I haven't felt the temptation or the energy for seducing casual partners.  Filling out Heather Corinna's casual-sex survey was, for me, a nostalgic walk through memories from my late teens.  At the time, I even considered myself a virgin, because I still oddly believed that oral sex "doesn't count."

Annabelle River's picture

The Privilege of Not Defending Oneself

I've lately felt an unfortunate pressure to defend polyamory again (with apologies to etymologists).  I usually ignore the judgments of the uninformed, but then there's the friend of a friend who may or may not have been joking when she scoffed that she'd never let me near her boyfriend.  And the polyamory-focused indie film that's actually all about how it's kooky and doomed.  And the absolutist, all-caps-laced rant on the usually sex-positive The Stranger blog with profound metaphors like "such idiotic bullshit" and questions like, "Ever wonder why they all will fuck any damn thing that will hold still long enough?"  So I could use my blog to paraphrase all the same points of The Ethical Slut, Opening Up, and Polyamory Weekly.  But they're already making the crafted argument/explanation pretty well.  My personal version is mostly sentimental: I love two people.

And I remember one poly-book-club meeting where someone suggested we all go around the table and tell everyone "why" we're poly.  It irritated me, because it had nothing to do with the book we'd read, and do monogamous people ever go around a table explaining why they're monogamous?  I politely listened to the chain of people paraphrasing The Ethical Slut, and I didn't disagree with any of it, except that I had to wonder about the poly community's talking-about-our-feelings fetish.  When it got to me, I simply stated, "I'm in love with two people.  I don't want to lie to either of them.  ...That's it, really."

arvan's picture

Survey For Southern Transgender Folks

This survey is intended for individuals who identify under the Trans umbrella who currently or once resided in the South. If this is not you, please exit and forward this on to a Southern friend.

Hi, my name is BT and I am a trans man of color who's a part of a Southern Regional LGBTQ organization called SONG [Southerners On New Ground] (www.southernersonnewground.org) and I am working to gather data that is reflective of the conditions and needs of trans people who currently reside (or lived for any period of time) in the South.

If you fit that criteria it would be greatly appreciated if you took a few minutes to answer the survey that asks 3 questions around conditions and ask for 3 solutions to address them. This information will be compiled in hopes of helping to amplify the voices of Southern trans people and coming up with either ONE main resonating issue or a few equal issues that could be presented in June to the USSF in Detroit (www.ussf2010.org) as a part of a People's Movement Assembly (PMA) where a larger discussion will take place across other social justice causes. This People's Movement Assembly works to let the forum know the concerns/needs/desires of trans people in the South and ask those in attendance and beyond to join US in the ongoing work towards the resolution(s) of the presented issue(s).

For purposes of this survey the Southeast states are: (Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida)

The deadline to submit this survey is: May 10th, 2010.

Click here to take survey!.

You can help promote this cause by filling out the survey (if you fit the criteria) and passing it to others who also fit the criteria.

Email (http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/8TPC8PS) and add (Click here to take survey) friendly link to your FACEBOOK, web pages and other networks you might be a part of.

NOTE: This survey is totally anonymous, no names / email addresses are required. All demographic information is for the gathering of concrete data that gives us an idea to what our community looks like and is concerned about. You may provide your email address in any of the boxes below to obtain the decided action plan results from this survey. We assure you that we will not associate any names / email addresses with any comments & feedback shared on this survey unless we are given explicit permission to do so.

I thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

BT

(via TransTalk)

arvan's picture

1st International Sex and/or Gender Diversity Day: 26 April

 

(via The Scavenger)

The first International Sex and/or Gender Diversity Day has been declared 26 April and will be an awareness day and celebration of the existence or sex and/or gender diverse people, writes Tracie O’Keefe.

Sex and/or gender diverse people are encouraged to have picnics, tea parties, festivals or gatherings in their part of the world, inviting their family, friends and allies to join them.

We will be visible in all our sex and/or gender variations. It is for all intersex, transexed, transsexual, transgendered, androgynous, without sex and gender identity, cross-dressers, sex and gender fluid, transqueers, genderqueers, etc.

It is a day to have a picnic, tea party, gathering or festival wherever you are. In my 1999 book Sex Gender and Sexuality: 21st Century Transformations my research calculated that at least 1% of the world’s population is sex and/or gender diverse.

OK – so many of us who are sex and/or gender diverse are scary to the masses because we are out there being visible, but the majority are stealth, invisible and often live with shame thrust upon them by ignorance or trying to evade an over-controlling medicalisation of their identities and prejudice.

When I was 15, Kevin B, the boy I grew up next door to, told me his mother expressly did not want him speaking to me because she was afraid I was dangerous.

I did have very high hair, one-foot high platforms and more make-up and fashion accessories than most department stores, plus a boyfriend on one arm, girlfriend on the other and was registered at school as a boy – admittedly in 1970 that was probably a bit frightening to the public. I was never one for half measures.

Nowadays I’m more likely to shop in K-Mart and be found peering through a microscope. I don’t stick out in crowd (apart from my red hennaed hair), so I’m just your plain old intersex, transexed sort of girl. But the law still prevents me from having all the same rights as someone who was registered as their lived sex at birth.

arvan's picture

Intersex as Identity: Movie screening and lecture at School of the Art Institute of Chicago

SAIC is presenting two events this week dealing with gender identity, one film and one lecture.  I spoke briefly with Quiana Carter at the SAIC about these events.  The come about as an extension of the school's commitment to addressing the topic of gender per discussions with by students and faculty.  These events are open to all, as the school is looking to create an open dialogue in exploring gender and society.

XXY
Monday, April 12, 6 p.m.
SAIC Auditorium, 280 S. Columbus Dr.
Free Screening

Directed by Lucía Puenzo, this 91-minute feature tackles issues facing 15 year-old Alex (Inés Efron), who was born an intersex child. XXY (2007) was Argentina's official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 2008 Academy Awards. Sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs

Exs & Whys a presentation by Jen Pagonis
Tuesday, April 13, 6 p.m.
SAIC Auditorium, 280 S. Columbus Dr.
Free

A recent graduate of DePaul University and a member of the The Intersex Collective Speakers Bureau, Jen Pagonis received her degree in Women's and Gender Studies and completed her thesis on the topic of intersexuality. Her thesis presentation included original research and interviews with intersex activists from the San Francisco bay and Chicago areas. She is currently working on creating a peer led intersex youth and parent group in the Chicago area. Her appearance follows the screening of XXY on April 12 (see Films and Screenings). Sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs

For more information, contact:

Quiana Burwell
Multicultural Affairs Assistant Director
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
36 S. Wabash Ave, Suite 1203 J2

Ph: 312.629-6868
Fax: 312.629.6801

arvan's picture

Janice Raymond's Anti-Prostitution Screed Debunked in 2-part Video

I saw one of these excellent videos over at Harlot's Parlor this morning.  I think they both deserve to be seen. 

The anti-prostitution folks and abusive pimps have much in common - they all want to make money off whores without telling the truth or sharing the revenue.

I personally hope to see more from Laurel.  She has other videos on this topic at her youtube channel.

-arvan

Sifting Through B.S. Propaganda {Janice G Raymond Edition} Pt.1

{a video by Laurel}

Sifting Through B.S. Propaganda {Janice G Raymond Edition} Pt.2

arvan's picture

Cruel and Unusual: Film Screening and Discussion

Saturday April 3, 2010
2pm to 4pm
 
Biblioteca Popular
1921 S. Blue Island
Chicago, IL
 
Cruel and Unusual is a 2006 documentary film that tells the individual stories of five transgender women living and surviving in the US prison system.  The film provides a glimpse into the ways in which trans and gender non-conforming people are targeted and criminalized by the prison industrial complex, and reveals the many ways these individuals and their communities are directly affected by intersecting oppressions on multiple levels.
 
The film will start promptly at 2pm.  Please join a discussion following the film.
 
Please bring a $5 donation for the Write to Win Collective or stamps to send letters to prisoners.  No one will be turned away for a lack of funds.
 
**********
 
The Write to Win Collective is a Chicago-based penpal project for transgender, transsexual, gender non-conforming, gender self-determining, and gender-variant people who are living and surviving inside Illinois prisons.
 
**********
 
Cruel and Unusual on Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cruel_and_Unusual_(film)
 
Write to Win Collective:
http://writetowin.wordpress.com
 
Biblioteca Popular:
http://bibliotecapopularpilsen.wordpress.com

Syndicate content
Powered by Drupal, an open source content management system