arvan's picture

Melissa Steyn: On Defining - and Defying - the 'Most Proper Way' to be Sexual

Christi van der Westhuizen interviews MELISSA STEYN, author and professor of diversity studies

CAPE TOWN, Jan 16, 2010 (IPS) - "The Prize and The Price - Shaping Sexualities in South Africa" is the first book of its kind in South Africa to unpack the ideology behind the enforcement of "acceptable" versions of sex, gender and sexuality.

The book's editors, Melissa Steyn and activist Mikki van Zyl, take aim at the system of "hetero-normativity": the institutions and norms that enforce exclusive heterosexuality.

Christi van der Westhuizen spoke to Steyn, who is the director of Intercultural and Diversity Studies of South Africa at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Q: Why study hetero-normativity?

A: Because hetero-normativity is so powerful in the way it structures social behaviour, expectations and our identities. It is invisible, so we tend not to be conscious of the extent to which it shapes our society.

This is true for most dominant ideologies. But hetero-normativity is even less within our conscious understanding day-to-day than, for example, how whiteness operates to shape the racial order.

book of blue's picture

A Conversation About Exchanging Bodily Fluids Over WiFi

This continues a series of posts from events and explorations conducted at Burning Man 2009.

Lucille, photographed by Eric Francis.

I woke up again in the late afternoon. I had to reconstruct the last moments of that experience to even recall what happened; everything had taken on the semi-lucid, not quite credible quality of a dream. The dome was empty of human presence. Or more aptly, it was silent, though outside the sounds of the camp and of the city vibrated with existence.

I collected my clothes and dressed and, after pausing for a long moment and honoring this space that was offering me so much, went outside. At my car, I cleaned up and dressed in fresh clothes and wandered listlessly up to the main tent.

There, among many people milling around, Lucille was sitting in the corner writing in her notebook. I walked up to her and said hello and, closing her notebook, she invited me to sit down.

arvan's picture

Great video: Coming out with Mom

A gay daughter's one-on-one talk with her Mom about coming out.

Michelle from the Beaver Bunch and her Mom discuss questions on coming out.  The Beaver Bunch - where five very different LGBTQ members have come together to break stereotypes, discuss the world at large, and answer your questions.

The Beaver Bunch - where five very different LGBTQ members have come together to break stereotypes, discuss the world at large, and answer your questions.

And should you have any questions (Parents included) email them here :) 

(h/t to @TurboHeather)

arvan's picture

Beyond the Dirty Window

Leah Harris, psychiatric survivor, mother, and social justice activist tells the story of how she overcame a legacy of oppression to become a part of the global movement working for rights, dignity, and justice for people labeled with mental illness, mad people, and people living with emotional distress


(h/t Beyond Meds)

Annabelle River's picture

Re-Defining Marriage, or Love for The Daily Show

I realize that I'm a couple days late by blogging standards, but I still want to join Anita Wagner, Alan, and Loving More in cheering for the polyamorous threesome on The Daily Show last Monday:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
No Gay Out
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Crisis

The poly folks come in at 3:10, but the whole clip is a good analysis of the marriage debates.

As the comments on Poly in the News agree (including one from George and Joy Reagan, the couple featured),  The Daily Show did an impressive job of showing the poly interviewees as articulate, well-adjusted, sexy people, and getting its laughs at the expense of professional-comedian Jason Jones and his mock-sensationalism instead.

arvan's picture


Co-founder and director of CineKink Lisa Vandever is looking for a group of kinky film-lovers to help spread the word about the kinky film festival. I’d love it if you’d read below about her work and check out the website for more information.

Please repost, tweet, facebook and otherwise share this post about CineKink’s events and need for support...and see what you can do to become a sponsor, yourself.


The seventh annual edition of CineKink NYC is scheduled for February 16-21, 2010.

Once again the kinky film festival will feature a specially-curated program of films and videos that celebrate the wide diversity of sexuality. Along with a wealth of screenings, plans for the event also include a short film competition, audience choice awards, presentations, gala kick-off party and sexy AfterGlow celebration, all to be followed with a national screening tour.

While we’re just finalizing the schedule, among this year’s stories are a couple’s first brush with the world of swinging, a judge forced to choose between his legal career and his wife’s hunger for S/M and a French sex farce with actual sex in it! Viewers will also get a look at the boylesque sensation Waxie Moon and take part in “Bring It!,” our annual show-down between some of adult entertainment’s hottest directors.

Attendance at the CineKink NYC event, which runs over six days, averages 3,200-3,400 overall.  Turn-out for tour appearances, which vary market-to-market in terms of venue size and number of screenings, ranges between 150-1,500 per city.

arvan's picture

Dr. Dean Ornish: Your genes are not your fate

Dr. Dean Ornish shares new research that shows how adopting healthy lifestyle habits can affect a person at a genetic level.  For instance, he says, when you live healthier, eat better, exercise, and love more, your brain cells actually increase.

arvan's picture

Advocating Choice in Sex, Gender & Body Identity

I like choice.  I believe in choice.  I think about choice as the exercise of one's own mind and as fulfillment of any rights granted by a society. 

My personal experience of rights is that they do not exist outside of the agreements that combine to create and define a society.  I won't venture into the unprovable belief that rights are given by god.  For this conversation, I am talking about the rights granted by the social contract(s) we agree to follow as a group for the benefit if the group and by extension - ourselves.  In that context, rights are an agreement to what we can and cannot do, as individuals or groups within the society at-large. 

As individuals, we demonstrate the reasons for our rights.  In fact, so many conversations demand that we prove why we have rights.  The rights of the privileged exist and everyone else is seemingly forced to fight for theirs - one painful step at a time.

When it comes to choice, our human cultures and societies seem to be giving a lot of preference to reasons over choice.  Take for example, identifying ones self as gay or trans.  There are plenty of conversations about how we don't have a choice in being gay or trans.  Many good minds have found physical evidence that we were born that way.  Some people know at an early age that their gender, sex or body identity does not align with the hetero gender binary definition.  They are born thinking and feeling that way.  I absolutely believe that.  (I don't know the science in detail, but it seems pretty sound to me.  However, I am in NO WAY even beginning to question this information, which I happen to believe is true.)

book of blue's picture

Communal Sex in Paradise Camp

This continues a series of posts from events and explorations conducted at Burning Man 2009.

Aerial perspective, Black Rock City 2009, looking toward the west. Photo by Eric.

This was all extremely interesting and I knew I was extremely tired.  A bit delirious, in fact.  As dayworld took over, the electric charge of night waned and a pleasant, sleepy feeling warmed over my consciousness.  The desert heats up fast. I looked around at my new friends and, I knew, my new story subjects, and politely excused myself.

“This is the most interesting space on the planet. I feel like I could go anywhere from here.”

Do you know those times when you open your mouth to speak and say whatever – what you didn’t plan to say?  That’s what happened.  I almost laughed, it was so ridiculous.  Nobody seemed to notice, though Lucille smiled.  I glanced up at the woman called Zoya, with her bright yellow shorts and river of blond hair flowing over her back and breasts.  As I did, the word Thresholder came back to me.

I looked at Siobhan, with whom I had spent the night roaming the playa in my dreams and sleeping on a public couch. “Are you walking back?”

“I’ll come back later. It was a lovely journey with you,” she said in her soft Irish accent.  Which melted me, as did the delicately mischievous view from her eyes.  I smiled sweetly and glanced toward Lucille and walked up to her and hugged her compact human frame.  Then Siobhan, embracing her and her scent, grateful infinitely for the presence of these two women in my life.  I bowed to the breakfast camp gathering and slipped out onto a street called DNA, turned toward the playa at 4:30 and a few moments later, slipped into Paradise camp.

arvan's picture

International Meeting Against Homophobia in Turkey, May 1-17, 2010

By Kaos GL

International Meeting Against Homophobia, May 1-17, 2010

Every year since 2006, they get together against homophobia within the week of May 17.

Kaos GL, working against Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity based discrimination, organizes a meeting against homophobia for the week of May 17. The 5th meeting against homophobia will be held on May 17th, 2010.

For 15 years, KAOS GL has been organizing social, cultural and academic activities for the improvement of the human rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transvestite and Transsexual (LGBT) individuals.

They hosted the 1st meeting in 2006 as a four-day event; in 2009, the meeting went beyond Ankara and spread to 5 more cities as a result of the network established against homophobia.

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