epporsimuove: Bisexual and Brilliant on a Rainbow (bisexual and brilliant)
Last night, Richard Cohen, a gay-to-straight activist whose company has been linked to the kill the gays bill currently in the Parliament of Uganda, was interviewed by my idol, Rachel Maddow. The video and transcripts are behind the cut.

VIDEO - The Rachel Maddow Show : Interview with Richard Cohen (08 December 2009) )

TRANSCRIPT - The Rachel Maddow Show : Interview with Richard Cohen (08 December 2009) )

There are a couple of really important points here that I would like to emphasize. First of all, Rachel Maddow emphasizes over and over again that Cohen is not accredited by any professional physiological or psychiatric organization in the US or Canada. Secondly, Cohen's information is blatantly false; there are two passages that she reads to him where he says it is wrong and will not be included in the next edition. Thirdly, Cohen apparently does not know what is even in his book.

However, the most detrimental aspect of Cohen's "work" and organization is Cohen's inability to see how harmful his, and the right's, continued assurance that non-heterosexuality is a choice or a psychological condition. If being non-straight is a choice and a viable option, then the doorway is thrown open for legislation like Uganda's kill-the-gays bill. In addition, this falsehood is incredibly harmful to young people who are coming out to themselves or the world. It reinforces the idea that non-heterosexuals are wrong, confused, and less than their straight counterparts. It is one of the reasons the suicide rate for LGBT teens is so much higher than the suicide rate for non-LGBT. It is the reason X called me crying, saying "I don't want to be gay. I want to be normal; I want to be happy." Maddow may not have said it, but I will. Fuck you Mr. Cohen.

For a slightly funny take, see this spot from InfoMania.

I am working on a transcript for this video.
epporsimuove: Bisexual and Brilliant on a Rainbow (bisexual and brilliant)
As most people know, I am a big supporter of health care reform. I support a strong public option. I support universal health care. If I had my way, we would have socialized health care (whatever that means).

So, of course, I was happy that the health care bill passed the house last night. However, I am happy purely because we passed a health care bill. But that bill itself...

I cannot believe that an anti-abortion amendment was attached to this bill. What is more, I cannot believe that 64 Democrats, two of them women, voted for this amendment. The Democrats have a large majority in both chambers of Congress. There is a Democrat sitting in the Oval Office. Why, then, are my reproductive rights being taken away? This is a battle we have already fought. On a bill that is supposed to be progressive, moving us forward, why are women being moved back? What's more, why is it always women's rights that are the first to go? No one would ever consider taking away insurance coverage for Erectile Disfunction or other male health care issues.

I am so upset right now.

The text of the amendment:

The amendment will prohibit federal funds for abortion services in the public option. It also prohibits individuals who receive affordability credits from purchasing a plan that provides elective abortions. However, it allows individuals, both who receive affordability credits and who do not, to separately purchase with their own funds plans that cover elective abortions. It also clarifies that private plans may still offer elective abortions.

There is a lot more about this amendment and this bill (the influence of the Catholic church, the "move towards the right," the abysmal behavior of Republican male representatives during speeches by their female Democratic colleagues yesterday, the fear mongering by the right). Anyone who wants to talk about it, let me know. I need to blow off some steam, and I need to talk to people about it.

Cross posted at lj. There are some other comments there.
epporsimuove: (Default)
Title: Bodies at Rest
Fandom: Blade Runner
Subject: Decker/Rachel/Gaff
Notes: Created for the 2009 [livejournal.com profile] polybigbang. This is a companion mix to [livejournal.com profile] kittydesade's gorgeous fic of the same name. Part 1 | Part 2

Bodies at Rest : a ficmix for kittydesade in the 2009 polybigbang )
epporsimuove: (Default)
Title: Bodies at Rest
Fandom: Blade Runner
Subject: Decker/Rachel/Gaff
Notes: Created for the 2009 [community profile] polybigbang. This is a companion mix to [personal profile] kittydesade's gorgeous fic of the same name. Part 1 | Part 2

Bodies at Rest : a ficmix for kittydesade in the 2009 polybigbang )
epporsimuove: Bisexual and Brilliant on a Rainbow (bisexual and brilliant)
Yesterday marked the 11 year anniversary of the death of Matthew Shepard. For those who don't know, Matthew Shepard was a college student at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. On October 6, 1998, Matthew Shepard was taken from a local bar, tied to a fence post, beaten with a gun, and left to die. The next day, he was found and rushed to the hospital. Six days later, Matthew Shepard died without ever regaining consciousness. Moises Kaufman and the Tectonic Theatre Project went to Laramie in the days and months following Matthew Shepard's murder to interview the residents of the town. These interviews were turned into a play, and later an HBO miniseries, entitled The Laramie Project.

I was eight when Matthew Shepard died. I don't remember much; I think I saw the candlelight vigil on television, but I could just be incorporating what I know now into my memories of then. However, I discovered The Laramie Project in high school and have been touched by Matthew's story ever since.

Last night on the eleventh anniversary of Matthew's death, a reading of The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later was performed in 130 theatres nationwide. The play follows the Tectonic Theatre Company as they return to Laramie ten years later. It deals with the disasterous 2004 20/20 special about the murder which claimed Matthew's death was not fueled by homophobia, but by drugs; the election of Wyoming's first openly gay state legislature and her experiences with the defense of marriage resolution in Wyoming; the impact of the murder on the town, specifically the university; and Judy Shepard's activism.

I saw the reading at the Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati. The entire reading was superb, but there were three moments that vividly stood out to me. First was the recounting of the debate in the Wyoming House regarding the defense of marriage proposal. While the debate began with no hope of defeating the bill and with a Republican congressman arguing that children from married homes with one man and one woman grow up happier, better behaved, smarter, etc...(same bull we have heard before), the tone changed as two Republicans then gave speeches opposing the bill. The first talked about his gay daughter, and how he could not vote for a bill that made her less of a person than she is. The second began "We are the state of Matthew Shepard and Brokeback Mountain, but we are also the state of the first female legislature..." Both were amazing inclusions into the show. (BTW: The bill was defeated 35-25).

The second moment began the second act, an interview with Russell Henderson, one of Matthew Shepard's murderers. Russell genuinely seems full of remorse. Our understanding of the murder is that Henderson was following Aaron McKinney. This does not excuse what Henderson did, not at all. However, you do walk away feeling sorry for him and wondering where exactly we went wrong that he got caught up in something like this.

Aaron McKinney is also interviewed in the piece. He comes off decidedly less well that Henderson. McKinney's changing story (from homophobia to drugs to robbery) constantly comes off as fake. He is interested in the Nazis, and, while he would like to goes to Germany, admits that he could be arrested for some of his tattoos while there (swastikas on his arms and NAZI written in Old English type on his lower back). McKinney's interview gives the impression that he is beyond hope. He is someone you want locked away.

The third moment in the play is Judy Shepard's interview with the company. She talks about why she transformed from a very private person at the trial to the public figure she now is with her activism work. She talks about her family's decision to request the removal of the death penalty in McKinney's sentencing. Perhaps most powerfully, Judy Shepard talks about the hopelessness she feels in some of the activism work. Ten years later, she says, and we still don't have a hate crimes bill passed.

Overall, this new epilogue for The Laramie Project is very powerful. I feel lucky to have seen it. It reminds us for the need for something to be done, whether that is hate crimes legislation or something different. Don't forget, homophobic hate crimes did not end with Matthew Shepard. Last year alone there were over 1400 hate crimes against sexual minorities. Something must be done.
epporsimuove: (Default)
I am thinking of starting a blog dealing specifically with feminism. Anyone have any naming suggestions?

I would be dealing with a bunch of different issue, but with a large focus on pop culture and stupid politicians (they are both so entertaining!). So, what should I call it?
epporsimuove: (Default)
Recently, I have been thinking a lot about the intersection of labels and identity. We build much of our identity based on labels. Don't believe me? Quick, describe yourself in thirty seconds or less. Go ahead, I'll wait.

My description would be something along the lines of "I am a white, female, uu, liberal, bisexual feminist." All of which are labels, and not even all of the labels which I assign to myself. In fact, they are labels created by someone else, but which I have now commandeered and identified myself within. No one has the right to tell me I do not deserve to label myself as I do.

To give a more concrete personal example, my description of myself as bisexual is often challenged, for various reasons. The challenges range from "bisexuals don't really exist, they are just confused/lying/etc" to declarations that I am not bisexual enough to be labeled as such because I have not had sexual relationships with both sexes or genders. When such label objections come up, I am forced to defend my identity.

Two recent events have really compounded this idea of labeling and identity for me. The first is the recent attention surrounding track star Caster Semenya and trans mayoral candidate Melissa Sue Robinson. Both have recently been discussed in the media, and generally not respectfully. (I blogged a bit about Caster Semenya earlier this week, and here is a brief, and not perfect, discussion of an article about Melissa Sue Robinson.)

The importance of labels and identity is very apparent when dealing with sex and gender. Anyone who does not easily fit into a male-female observed gender (the gender an observer assumes a person to be) and an observed gender that matches their own gender identity, will often be forced to defend their own gender labeling and identity. For Robinson, this means constantly being labeled "a transgender" (and their are a myriad of problems with that statement) and often being referred to as a male. For Semenya, I would be incredibly surprised if every article about her from now on does not label her a hermaphrodite, regardless of whether that is a label she wishes to adopt herself.

The second event was a recent outpouring of discussion about whether men can be feminists. Some said yes, a feminist is someone who exemplifies and values a 'feminist' mentality. Others said no, the definition of a feminist requires a gender/sex of female.

All three of these examples depend on differing definitions of the label discussed. And the problems extend beyond feminist and gender and sexuality examples: the LDS (Mormon) church, for example, is often considered not Christian; although most of my friends and acquaintances in the LDS church consider themselves to be Christian.

Where the problem lies is not simply in our different definitions of what bisexual/female/male/feminist/Christian/etc is, but in our own identity connections to those terms. Do people care as much when it is not the definition of their own label that is being questioned? When we meet others who label themselves as we do but do not do so in the same manner, our own identity and 'right' to that label is called into question. Likewise, when we meet people similar to ourselves who labels themselves differently, our 'right' to reject that label is questioned.

So, in the end, my point is this: everyone has the right to craft their own identity and to assign whatever labels desired to that identity. If you do not agree with their own self-labeling, declaring that label to be false is not the correct response. I, at least, will respond positively to a respectful question: "I often think of a bisexual as...How do you define it?" Please don't be offended if you don't change my mind, I probably won't change yours. And, really, neither of us should be expected to. But dialogue and genuine attempts at understanding, that should be expected.
epporsimuove: (Default)
Despite not talking about it much, I have been following the Caster Semenya "scandal" pretty closely. It is bringing up a lot of different issues, from a discussion of what makes a woman, to an ongoing conversation about the media's epic fail in covering the story in a respectful manner. Take, for example, this stunning piece of brilliance from Yahoo!News, which was the first thing I saw when I finally got online today. The piece discusses the recent rumours that Semenya's gender testing has revealed her to be a hermaphradite (these are, of course, still unverified). Nothing really new, but

Reading the IAAF rules, it would appear that Semenya would be allowed to run if her condition was treated.

Allow me to put on my angry face as a I say this is not a condition, and she does not need to be fixed.

Also, your funny quote for the day:

Not having ovaries isn't something that goes unnoticed.

Actually, unless you have x-ray vision, not having ovaries can easily go unnoticed, as ovaries are not visible on the outside. Sounds like the writer needs to go back to health class.


Aug. 28th, 2009 05:30 pm
epporsimuove: (Default)
Please allow me to geek out at the fact that the complete series of Farscape is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com. I don't know if I am patient enough to wait and get it for Christmas, or if I am going to demand it on the day it comes out.

Farscape: The Complete Series
epporsimuove: (Default)
This has been sitting on my hard drive half-finished for months. With the new challenge at [livejournal.com profile] singitdj, I figured it was time to dust it off, cut it down from thirty songs, and post it.

I Didn't See a Way We Both Could Win : Twelve Stories Where We Didn't Live Happily Ever After

A Man/Me/Then Jim : Rilo Kiley
Foundations : Kate Nash
Nobody Needs to Know : Norbert Leo Butz from The Last 5 Years
Fast Car : Tracy Chapman
Big Yellow Taxi : Joni Mitchell
Buildings : Regina Spektor
Wonderful : Everclear
Good Man : India.Arie
Two Beds and a Coffee Machine : Savage Garden
Recessional : Vienna Teng
Sequel : Harry Chapin
Goodbye Until Tomorrow/I Could Never Rescue You : Sheri Renee Scott and Norbert Leo Butz from The Last 5 Years

I Will Survive : Puppini Sisters

epporsimuove: (Default)
Today in Iran, a massacre occurred that is being called Iran's Tienanmen Square. The information is still vague, but reports are coming out of the country about police hacking through protesters with axes, pushing people off of bridges, and bludgeoning protesters with clubs. Just to make this exceedingly clear; THIS IS NOT OKAY. And, no, there is nothing the US can do about it.

First, there are a few troubling comments that I have seen repeated over and over again that I would like to address.

Iran Links Dump: from feminism to news )

Anything I am missing? What have you been reading? What do you think?

ETA: Updated Liveblogging links for today.


Jun. 22nd, 2009 08:53 pm
epporsimuove: (Default)
I need to do this post. You do not need to read it, but I need to post it.

I decided a few days ago to do a primer into what was going on in Iran for people who were confused. Then, I didn't. I don't know why; I was busy and focused on something else. I thought it would be resolved quickly.

Well, all of those excuses are gone now. Well, not gone, but worthless. People are dying and being tortured. I can not, will not sit idly by and be complicit in my silence. This is not quite what I had meant to post, but for now it will do.

Terminology, because the mistakes are starting to drive me up a wall )

What is happening in Iran? )
epporsimuove: (Default)
I have quite a few things I want to talk about in the next few days, among them religion (Christianity and Islam), Iran, and this.

It is the last one I want to address in this post. It involves a very offensive video game, and the creator's mistaken and misinformed ideas about love and relationships in the modern media. I am leaving this post public for now.

The path to true love is obviously through abuse and torture, right? )

I have to admit, were the creator not so vocal about his beliefs surrounding this game and adamant that this is okay, I would likely support his right to produce and sell the game wherever. It is, after all, a game. There are plenty of books out there that have rape scenarios, and I do not want them banned. But the creators of those put them out there with the intention of playing on certain fantasies. They are not there to suggest a someone should actually implement them.
epporsimuove: (epporsimuove)
I know people really like to complain about the rain, but I adore thunderstorms, especially the ones that occur in the evening on a really hot, still day. They make me want to curl up inside with a cup of hot tea and a good book or movie and acoustic guitar music playing in the background.

In other news, one month and two days until I am free to leave Orlando! (July 18th is my last official day at both jobs.) I am trying to revisit all of my favorite places in Orlando before this happens, in addition to visiting some places I always meant to see but never did.

In that vein, I hung out at UrbanThink!/Infusion Tea today while doing my reading for my Women in Literature Class. And now, I have to go back again because I finally filled my "buy nine teas and get one free" card!

To Do Before Leaving:
- PomPom's Teahouse and Sandwicheria
- Seven Sister's Coffeehouse
- Black Sheep Yarn Store
- Audubon Market (Anyone wanna go tomorrow?)
- Orlando Art Museum
- Leu Gardens
- Enzian (I want to see Outrage and Un baiser s'il vous plaƮt/Shall We Kiss)

What am I missing?
- House of Blues for the most amazing peppery ceasar dressing
- La Nouba
epporsimuove: (Default)
Today, I come to you in handy-dandy list form! (AKA, I am too brain dead to form a coherent paragraph with effective transitions between each idea).

If you are reading this on LJ, I have pretty much moved over to Dreamwidth. I am still gonna be posting in both places for the time being, but eventually my two journals are going to split off. If you are on Dreamwidth and want to friend me there, comment or send me a message and I will give you my Dreamwidth screenname. And, if you don't have a Dreamwidth account and want one, let me know. I have invites that are not being used.

The good thing about Dreamwidth and my being so excited about it is that I have started posting again. I get the feeling this will get more frequent after I move back in with Dad in a town where I know no one at all.

I have them! Finally got some uploaded to DW.

Speaking of moving, I am going to Ohio to live with Dad for the next few months, possibly a year. I am planing on entering graduate/law school in Fall 2010, but with Mom heading to China and me without any real plans for the next year, moving up North sounded like the best option.

My proud accomplishment for the past six months? I made it through all ten seasons and two movies of Stargate SG1, and all five seasons of Stargate Atlantis (fine, I have three left, but I'm practically there). Next up? Farscape, which will only further my crush on Claudia Black (aka Vala Mal Doran, aka Aeryn Sun) and Ben Browder (aka Cameron Mitchell, aka John Crichton). This could get bad.

I am really enjoying reading through the fandommeta page. Work has been so slow that I have been exploring all of the fandom battles I missed last semester. I have come to a few conclusions about myself and my own prejudices and privileges; I have also seen a few people expressing ideas that made me go "YES! THIS! A million times this!" If anyone is interested, I can recommend some great reading. Anyone have anything to recommend to me? I need more reading at work.

Alright, that is all I got for the moment. My brain is still not fully connecting with the world around me; its to focused on other things.

Also, two news stories I have found incredibly interesting this week - one in a positive manner and one in a negative one. Firstly - the wife of the moderate contender in the Iranian presidential elections is an interesting, powerful female in the Middle East and I look forward to seeing what she will do if her husband wins, maybe even if he doesn't. Secondly - this = Epic Fail! I understand protecting the baby; that is to say, I understand the good intentions of the judge. However, locking a woman up for being pregnant and having AIDS IS NOT OKAY! It sets too many precedents and says to many negative things about AIDS and pregnancy. See Feministing for more.
epporsimuove: (Default)
Not much to report. I have been working (both paying jobs and at schoolwork) and trying to figure out the next few steps in my life. So far, I have gotten to the driving out of Orlando step. Pretty excited about that.

What I don't have figured out is the cats. I would kind of like to keep O'Malley, but I probably should not be responsible for a cat with the amount I will be traveling (hopefully). Anyone want a really sweet cat? Or two?

In order to make this post not just about my indecisions, two recipes especially for Amanda, since she wants my cookies. Sorry I can't oblige right now, but I will make you cookies the next time I see you. Promise.

Everything But the Kitchen Sink Cookies )

Red Rice Bowl with Vegetables and Mustard Vinaigrette )
epporsimuove: (Default)
She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb.

Oh this book. In my Adolescent Literature Class last semester, everyone was recommending this book. "It's amazing, brilliant, spectacular, etc." Well...I almost put it down in the first twenty pages. Then again ten pages later, and again, and again. However, I have never not finished a book just because I didn't like it. (It is that whole anti-failure complex I have). In the end, I am glad I finished it. I really liked the ending and the last two hundred pages were brilliant. I flew through them. However, the first two hundred pages were a bear to get through.

Onto the book. She's Come Undone is the story of Dolores Price, a girl who always seems to be losing someone. Dolores is one of the reasons I had such a problem with the book in the beginning. I simply did not like any of the characters, including Dolores. They were constantly making stupid, awful decisions, and I could find no redeeming qualities that I would admire. I have a very low tolerance for stupidity.

That being said, the book picked up considerably halfway through. While I had to slog through the first half, the second half was over before I knew it. Once Dolores takes charge of her own life and destiny, even though it is the wrong decision she makes, I became interested again. I am now working on Lamb's second novel, I Know This Much is True. I don't know if I will get through this one. It's not that this one is boring, but I already am having problems with the characters.
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In honor of National Poetry Month and Shakespeare's Birthday, I present on of my favorite bits of Shakespeare:

When that I was and a little tiny boy,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
A foolish thing was but a toy,
For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came to man's estate,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
'Gainst knave and thief men shut their gate,
For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came, alas! to wive,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
By swaggering could I never thrive,
For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came unto my bed,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
With toss-pots still had drunken head,
For the rain it raineth every day.

A great while ago the world begun,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
But that's all one, our play is done,
And we'll strive to please you every day.

epporsimuove: (Default)
There is just so much to do and figure out. I feel like I am being pulled in so many different directions. Gah!

Before Thanksgiving:
- Clean apartment (really clean. The parents are coming and are going to want to see the new place.)
- Finish YA Lit portfolio. Got a lot done on it today, but I still have 10 more pages to write (single-spaced. Who wants their papers in single-spaced typing??) BTW: this class has taught me, the next time I go on and on the week before withdrawal deadline about whether to drop the class or not...just drop the fucking thing!
- Find somewhere to eat on Thanksgiving.
- Finalize Independent Study. I'm really excited about this; it is going to be on Shakespeare and Youth Culture and I am setting up a blog for it.
- Do posting and written assignment for Government. Not too concerned. Out of the 74 points remaining in the class (one assignment and one test) I only need 39 to get an A.

For finals:
- Write Shakespeare paper. Also really cool. It is going to deal with the body and personhood and identity, especially in Romeo and Juliet and The Merchant of Venice.
- Write retold fairytale for Women's Studies. Just got the assignment, but I think I know where I am going with this. Probably going to be based around The Seven Swans story. Dealing with silence and issues of motherhood.

Over break:
- Complete Boren application. and application for Kenya study abroad.
- Research Phd programs in Composition and Rhetoric. So far my favorites are Berkeley, Syracuse, and Michigan, in that order. However, Michigan might be just a bot too close to my mother's family.
- Write conference paper for the Last Unicorn. I really want this completely done by the time I go back to school.
- Yuletide.

I think that is it. Next semester is going to be a bear though. My schedule is nice...I only have class Tuesday and Thursday mornings, but I also have my independent study, GRE to study for, work, UWC, conference, mentoring, etc. I'm gonna be a little stressed. But at least I think I will enjoy it a lot.
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Living in Sin by Adrienne Rich

She had thought the studio would keep itself;
no dust upon the furniture of love.
Half heresy, to wish the taps less vocal,
the panes relieved of grime. A plate of pears,
a piano with a Persian shawl, a cat
stalking the picturesque amusing mouse
had risen at his urging.
Not that at five each separate stair would writhe
under the milkman's tramp; that morning light
so coldly would delineate the scraps
of last night's cheese and three sepulchral bottles;
that on the kitchen shelf among the saucers
a pair of beetle-eyes would fix her own---
envoy from some village in the moldings . . .
Meanwhile, he, with a yawn,
sounded a dozen notes upon the keyboard,
declared it out of tune, shrugged at the mirror,
rubbed at his beard, went out for cigarettes;
while she, jeered by the minor demons,
pulled back the sheets and made the bed and found
a towel to dust the table-top,
and let the coffee-pot boil over on the stove.
By evening she was back in love again,
though not so wholly but throughout the night
she woke sometimes to feel the daylight coming
like a relentless milkman up the stairs.