heyy interwebz. it’s that time again. the one where i just talk about random shit and share links i like? you know the drill. i have been gone for a while, its true. not only was i taking a bit of a blogging hiatus after the mrs. fiasco (and because i sorta naturally cycle in and out of attachment to the outside/online world), but i also had a job for a bit! actually doing what i studied in college, actually doing exactly what i want to do! i got paid to teach lessons on gender diversity and trans issues to two 6th grade health classes. let me say that one more time, just so the right can hear me (and cause it makes me feel good ;)
A TRANNY WAS GIVEN YOUR TAX DOLLARS TO TEACH YOUR TWELVE-YEAR-OLDS THAT GENDER ROLES ARE CONSTRUCTED BULLSHIT AND THAT QUEER PEOPLE ARE AWESOME. AND THEY FUCKING LOVED IT.
ah. that did feel good. too bad the unit only lasted two weeks and i’m unemployed again. on the
other er, same hand, i’ve been sick for over a fucking month on and off (mostly on) which, given my previous interwebz-lite phase, has meant a chance to really explore my new found love of buffy the vampire slayer, which i somehow missed out on in the 90s (sexism and some internalized homophobia probably had a lot to do with that), as well some good ol fashion books and video games. btw, everyone should read octavia butler. seriously. she’s the shit. (i recommend starting with kindred or parable of the sower).
but those video games. what a wonderful way to ignore the sick and constant bullshit of the real world and just slash some generic baddies, find some gems, and… experience homophobia and transphobia! escape my ass… for the uninitiated, i was playing fable, a role playing game for the original xbox set in a fantastical, medieval-esque world. the game’s signature gimmick is that it allows players a relatively large amount of freedom to do what they want with their character (the notable exception being, of course, that you have to play as a white dude). you basically run around electrocutin’ goblins and collecting shit, but then you have some sims like options such as getting other characters to like you –i mean, like like you. and here’s where it gets fun (by which i mean obnoxious). This is what the official fable guide tells you about finding a partner:
isn’t that interesting?! two men — whudda thunk it?? and if you choose to flirt with and marry women, more often than not they’ll directly ask you to “go to bed,” with them, whereas if you ply the men with smiles and gifts (yeah, that’s the “process”), you just “have a nice lie down.” following either dialogue, it cuts to black and you just get audio. all the speech and sound fx are pretty over the top, so all the women’s moans sound a bit comical (your character remains oddly silent), but they’re nothing compared to the abrasive, jerky yelps that the dudes uniformly let out. it seems the developers went out of their way to make gay male sex seem as absurd as possible.
now, it’s not like this is altogether surprising given the straight male dominated world of gaming. as a group they are definitely not known for their “tolerance,” but the next tip did really throw me. if you aren’t gender-conforming, there will be actual in-game negative consequences. you’re fucked if you equip that dress or those silk gloves instead of that leather tunic. they actually wrote transphobia into the game –transmisogyny, to be specific. it’s that feminine article of clothing that marks your character as “revolting” –revolting! even the language is unabashedly reflective of the way male-assigned expressions of femininity are regarded in our culture: disgusting, perverse, the ultimate deal breaker. hell, i don’t need to play a video game for that experience.
in any case, while we’re on games (never really thought i’d be blogging about gaming…), jay smooth offers some harsh rebuke to the virulently misogynist dude gamers who fucking POUNCED on feminist frequency’s anita sarkeesian for daring to launch a kickstarter campaign to fund a (much needed) study on female representation in games entitled, “tropes vs women in video games.” see her own roundup of the sexist shitshow here. (oh and ps, that shit got funded like mad! #fuckyeahfeministgamers :)
anyway. enough about games. there’s so much more to share! like this incisive piece by jos at feministing:
“…“I date women and trans men’ is the definition of cissexism. It’s basing your frame for sexuality on the gender coercively assigned to a person by their doctor at birth, not on that person’s actual identity. In this case, we’re talking about folks who were assigned female. Of course, “women” means cis women – trans women totally drop off the map.
“…It’s incredibly undermining to frame sexuality in a way that lumps [trans] men in with all female assigned folks instead of with cis men. It’s a failure, in the realm of sexuality, to recognize that trans men’s male identities are just as legitimate as cis men’s. If you’re going to base sexuality on gender, better base it on people’s actual genders.
I get why a lot of female assigned folks exist in this frame for reasons that aren’t overtly about undermining trans identities. There’s a ton of gender based trauma out there, and I understand that folks associate this with cis men, and not with trans men. But that’s not a reality-based approach to gender. A lot of that trauma gets easily linked to genitals, but this isn’t about bodies, it’s about patriarchy…
“…This approach to sexuality totally erases trans women by excluding us from the group of sexually existing queer women. Yes, it’s also incredibly undermining of trans women’s identities by moving us out of the category “women” when it comes to sexuality… It’s part of the broader problem of privileging masculinity over femininity, and specifically of privileging masculinity in female assigned folks and hating on and marginalizing femininity in male assigned folks. The problem goes beyond gender theory about masculinity and femininity – this is about really specific, really real transmisogyny. Even when some femininity is accepted, it’s in female assigned folks. Trans women (even the butch ones) get left out in the cold. (I think it’s time for everybody to re-read Julia Serano’s groundbreaking book Whipping Girl with their sex brains on.)…”
i’ve just cherry-picked it here, but the full piece and some of the responses are well worth the read. (i also found it surprising– and disheartening — to see all the defensiveness and negativity coming out in the comments too, though i did especially enjoy this one.) as a genderqueer trans femme (who gets read a hundred different ways) who primarily dates queer women, i found what jos had to say especially relevant. i can’t count the number of times i’ve been crushing on a queer, female-assigned person only to find myself wondering if the presence of my penis is some sort of automatic disqualifier for any kind of sexual/romantic relationship… that may be it’s own post later on. meantime…
updates on the CeCe McDonald case, the black trans woman who was assaulted last june on the basis of her race and gender presentation and in the process, killed one of her attackers in self defense: last month, she was sentenced to a 41 month prison term for the (hard-fought, downgraded) charge of second degree manslaughter. for the past year, she has been held in a men’s prison, and will serve her sentence in one as well. it is common practice for transgender people to be housed in prisons based on their assigned gender, as well as placed in solitary confinement at a rate far higher than their cis counterparts. read more at supportcece.wordpress.com.
this being a news round-up of sorts, I also gotta mention the supreme court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). as usual, the crunk feminist collective offers an excellent breakdown and link round-up, and this little post(er) on the healthcare improvements it provides for trans* folks is great. and while it’s true that the ACA does address some of the problems in our current healthcare system — especially for women and trans* folks — it is also “a love letter to insurance companies, who stand to gain millions of new customers with the implementation of the law,” (CFC). this truthout article provides a useful analysis of this aspect, and how otherwise toothless the act really is. it is also disturbing to look at how (conservative) chief justice roberts siding with the liberal bloc in upholding the constitutionality of the ACA may have a lot less to do with the act itself and a lot more to do with political posturing and long-term strategizing.
“By siding with the liberals, Roberts insulates himself from charges of partisanship for the foreseeable future. This may be worth remembering next year, when the Court, led by the Chief Justice, is likely to strike down both the use of affirmative action in college admissions and the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. And if, in the same year, the Justices uphold the noxious Defense of Marriage Act, many will deem Roberts’s motives beyond reproach.” – Jeffrey Toobin in the new yorker
in other more mainstream news, following texas’ example, tea partiers in tennessee have been demanding that slavery and other unsavory aspects of US history in school textbooks be portrayed “in a more positive light” (WTF??) or omitted altogether. apparently, “Hal Rounds, the Fayette County attorney and spokesman for the group, said during a recent news conference that there has been ‘an awful lot of made-up criticism about, for instance, the founders intruding on the Indians or having slaves or being hypocrites in one way or another.’” made-up? made-up?! i must have missed the part where the native americans just up and left and all those black folks being volunteers… i can’t believe this is for real. please read that shit, ’cause there’s a fucking laundry list of egregious alterations to what is already a whitewashed curriculum. and i would love to rant about this more, education being near and dear to my heart and all, but as usual this intermission has gone on for too long, and frankly, been rather depressing.
so once again i will end on a positive. ARGENTINA KICKS FUCKING ASS, at least in terms of trans rights. from the new york times:
“Argentina has put in place some of the most liberal rules on changing gender in the world, allowing people to alter their gender on official documents without first having to receive a psychiatric diagnosis or surgery.
The measure, which won unanimous support in the Senate this month, would also require public and private medical practitioners to provide free hormone therapy or gender reassignment surgery for those who want it — including those under the age of 18.”
unanimous support. #fuck.yeah.