The reading that I’m choosing to write a blog post about this week is the assigned reading “What’s it Like Being LGBT around the World?”. This article caught my attention because I was curious to see how people who identify as LGBTQ+ live their lives freely in other countries. Although Americans are becoming more accepting and making laws and rules to accommodate all sexualities, there are still people in our country that are against the LGBTQ+ community. I was wondering if it were different for people in foreign countries, if LGBTQ+ communities are able to express themselves more openly without scrutiny. What I liked about this article was that it was real stories from real people all over the world. Not surprisingly, which kind of disappointed me, other countries are pretty similar to America when it comes to the acceptance and law enforcement regarding the LGBTQ+ community. I was hoping to see a huge acceptance of all genders and sexualities in some particular part of the world, but for the most part there was nothing drastic. Bangladesh is known to have a pretty relaxing view of the LGBTQ+ community, particularly since they are so uptight about heterosexual sex before marriage that they don’t have time to worry about others. Germany is a pretty accepting country as well, but there are still always people against the community who initiate homophobic attacks. The only country that somewhat surprised me (but not really) was Russia. Russians are known for their strict demeanor and lack of PDA, so when I read that people in Russia are afraid to come out, I wasn’t too shocked. The writer stated that the only solution to this problem was to stay quiet. Hide your sexuality from others, and you’ll be fine. So all in all, other countries are pretty much in line with America when it comes to the acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community and the changes we are making to include all genders and sexualities, except Russia. Russia is a little behind. Honestly, America should step it up, we like to be the best at everything so why not get ahead on the inclusion of all identities?
Although we have not yet discussed this reading in class, “The Trouble with Normal” and the opinions of Michael Warner stuck out to me. At times, this was a difficult read for me, but I feel that a few aspects Warner brought to the table I both agreed and disagreed with. I was almost kind of shocked by a few ideas he wrote about and the viewpoints he held. Warner focuses on the point that he believes same-sex marriage actually has a negative impact for all people, queer or straight. He says that by allowing for a single form of commitment (marriage), this devalues other types of relationships held with different people. I disagree, since I believe that everyone, no matter their gender or sexuality, should be allowed to be happy with any partner they choose. I believe that every person should receive the same rights, including the right of marriage. I do not think that marriage for all devalues any type of interpersonal relationship, it strengthens it and makes your relationship known to all. It was odd to see that Warner does not agree with same-sex marriage or how the queer movement fights for their rights. Although I do not agree with some aspects of Warner’s writing, I appreciate when he states, “You learn that everyone deviates from the norm in some context or other, that the statistical norm has no moral value… You learn that the people who look most different from you can be, by virtue of that fact, the very people from whom you have the most to learn,”. I feel that this statement relates to everyone, any gender, sexuality, race, etc. It is such a broad statement that I feel everyone should believe, and learn from.
Out of the readings assigned for this week, I found “Do These Earrings Make Me Look Dumb?” by Kate Forbes to be the most thought provoking. Forbes states that she is a transsexual woman, academic, and scientist. She is seen as an expert in the science world since she has the academics to back it up, but cannot be trusted to speak as a gender professional since she doesn’t have the credentials. Forbes has many things to scrutinize with how the academy handles gender. Yet because she is not seen as a master in gender, she cannot do much to change anything. It’s crazy to think that Forbes, a transsexual woman herself, is not seen as an expert in gender even though she possesses personal experiences in that area. Forbes even states that she does not agree with the “theories” science has come up with to try and explain different genders. Forbes is the “primary data”, someone who has individual experience in the gender field. Personally, I believe that Forbes should be seen as an expert in this area of study. She is living proof of someone who wants to live as the opposite sex, and therefore her word should be taken account for. I feel that if I were curious about any gender, I would want to hear someone’s own story rather than a textbook definition. I believe that it is not necessary for someone to have an academic diploma to be seen as an expert of a certain topic. I feel that people learn more through experience than reading from a book. There are just some things that can’t be taught, instead you have to experience it yourself.