Sexual Orientation Laws in Russia

It’s kind of no surprise to me that Russia does not promote the LGBTQ community and they have laws limiting freedom of expression. When I think of Russia, I always think of a rigid community that doesn’t accept anything that’s not considered “normal”. But like we’ve said in this class, there’s no clear definition “normal”. I’m not really sure what Russia does and does not like overall. I’m sure it’s ok for the women there to dress in a tomboyish fashion but when the opposite occurs, I guess all hell is going to break loose. I know the US sometimes has some backwards opinions but they seem much farther behind us when it comes to acceptance. It was also sad to see the firsthand account from the drag queen from the RuPaul’s drag race video that we watched in class. It was heartbreaking to see what the one drag queen had to go through just because the way he was dressed didn’t match up with the typical male outfits in Russia. Then to hear that the other contestant who lived there for a couple years had to censor or hold back everything he did or said. It kind of reminds me of this other thing that I saw regarding one of my favorite youtubers went through. Her name is Gigi Gorgeous and she’s a transgender woman. She was completely humiliated in a Dubai airport  for just the same reasons. She made a whole video about it where she talks about her experience and just sounds like she was so scared because she had no clue what was going to happen to her and no one would give her any information. When she finally got to catch up with the group she was with, she was so overwhelmed to realize that she was going to be ok. This is no way to treat human beings. I mean I understand not everywhere is equal on the laws for the LGBTQ but we’re all still people. I just don’t get why people tend to treat the others that are “different” than what they are used to, then they are treated as if they aren’t real living human beings. The end result of these people getting detained at airports always ends badly and needs to stop. Or there’s got to be a better way to go about it.

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Since when is sodomy a bad thing?

During class this week, we talked about Goldberg’s reading and how sodomy is associated with homosexuality. I see how it may be associated with homosexuals because it is a non-repoductive act, but in no way shape or form does it mean it excludes heterosexuals as well. Sodomy is made out to be this horrific action that only same sex relationships participate in. By definition, sodomy is “sexual intercourse involving anal or oral copulation.” Just by reading this definition I do not seem to understand why society makes it out to be such a “bad” thing to do. I mean if you really think about it, mostly everyone joins in on some version of sodomy in their partner relationships, whether same sex or not, at one point or another. Oral/anal sexual intercourse should not be looked at as a corrupt action… it is simply a part of sexual intercourse as a whole.  Just because sodomy does not result in actual reproduction does not mean it should be automatically connected to homosexuality. Chances are heterosexuals are participating in sodomy just as much as homosexuals are. Once again, we see society falling into the binary norms and judging homosexuals for joining in sodomy. It is safe to say that basically everyone has or had oral/anal sex at least once in their life. For some it may not be their “cup of tea”, but for the most part, everyone around us has taken a part in some sort of sodomy as much as the next person does.

The Ideal Vs. the Reality

While all of the readings in this class have been interesting to say the least—the writing that sticks with me most is Audre Lorde’s “Age, Race, Sex and Class.” Out of all the authors, Lorde’s background is the one I identify with most. She covered a lot of topics in this publication and criticized society for things I am guilty myself of. Specifically, I am referring to the part of her essay where she suggests that those who are outsiders, typically harbor resentment towards individuals who fall outside of the “mythical norm” in opposite ways. This message stands out to me, and I see this type of behavior throughout the day in life and extensively on social media. From the impoverished people who don’t like gays to the immigrant who says racists things, or the gay guy who looks down on those who are uneducated.  This behavior is unsettling, and as Lorde put it, those who have been oppressed will not escape their status by demeaning other groups of oppressed people.

There as so few people who fit perfectly into these ideal standards—young, straight, educated, white, attractive, financially secure, Christian male. Yet, at some point in everyone’s life it is so tempting to try to align his or herself with them.  While the few individuals who do fit perfectly, or almost perfectly, into these categories he or she is not inherently bad or evil. Still as history has shown us, people who benefit from the oppression of others will do everything in their power to continue to reap the rewards. Truly the oppressors have won by turning minorities against each other—they taught us to hate ourselves and to hate our differences.  The solution to this dilemma is to accept everyone, and together minorities can create an unstoppable force against inequality. As simple as this sounds, I could not imagine in a thousand years that such a thing could ever occur.  Hate is immensely powerful and it’s everywhere, as so is fear and insecurity.  In small groups people can get along, but we have yet to find a way to do so on a large scale.

As pessimistic as I may sound, this is my perspective of society. From incidents I’ve witnessed, and experiences I’ve lived through, and  from reading Audre Lorde’s take on this thirty years ago and realizing how much it still applies to our world now.

Hurricane Bianca

The class discussion about “Do These Earrings Make me Look Dumb” was very interesting to me. The whole time we were discussing of how society is used to one type of person, for example, as universities as an older white man it reminded me of this movie that I just watched a couple months ago called “Hurricane Bianca”. It’s about this drag queen named Bianca Del Rio who appeared on Rupaul’s Drag Race. When she starts off at the school, she comes as the sex she was born (a man). But he was working in a school in one of the Southern states when they suspected that he was a homosexual, he became to be disliked. He was disliked so much that one of the teachers basically did a “test” on him to determine whether or not he was gay. When the teacher did not go for the town whore as the woman suspected he wouldn’t, it was discussed with the principal and the man was fired for his sexual orientation. After that he came back in his drag attire as a woman and applied for the same job and at this point everyone loved him. Bianca was considered the coolest teacher in the school because her attitude had changed with the children and so did her attire. He even helped a student in one of his classes that was struggling with bullies at school because of his sexuality as well.

My point is, in the beginning no one liked the man just by the way he dressed and acted and by the end of the movie Bianca was everyone’s favorite person. She was even being hit on by the aggressively straight football coach as well. There was a set list of qualities a person had to have at this school in order to succeed and he had to change himself into Bianca for them to see the potential the the man had as a teacher.  It was normal for the male teachers to be aggressively straight just like the others as well as to hit on the female teachers and Bianca did not have those qualities. I feel like this happens every day in our society. Someone has to hide who they truly are so that people will have high opinions of them and that just sucks, honestly. Even now we’re seeing that as Donald Trump overturns part of President Obama’s plans and now transgender youth are going to have this huge weight on their back again because we can’t see past the person based on their looks.

Two weeks overview…

In less than two weeks, our class has read and discussed articles, essays, as well as a TED talk show, from a variety of feminist leaders. We have used feminism as an introduction and a means to better understand the study of sexuality and gender.

Starting with our first assigned reading, we learned from Lorde that feminism encompasses more than just equality among men and women. For many women (myself included) are targets of oppression because of our race, sexual orientation, class, nationality, etc. Often times, individuals, who don’t perfectly fit into to what Lorde names the “mythical norm, only acknowledge equality among those differences that specifically apply to them, in vain hope of aligning themselves with the suppressors. She reiterates that this noninclusive mentality halts the progress of equality for all women.

In Gayle Rubin’s essay “The Traffic in Women,” Rubin refuted several perspectives of human behavior—including Marxism, Kinship and Psychoanalysis. The biggest qualm Rubin had with Kinship is that women were viewed as gifts and men were the gift givers—meaning women did not have the same rights as men nor would they realize any notable benefits from being exchanged.

Then, we viewed Confessions of a bad feminist, a Ted Talk by Roxanne Gay, and bell hooks critical review of Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In. While I find hook’s critique of Lean In necessary, after watching Gay’s Ted Talk, I would not go as far to call Sandberg a “faux-feminist.” Sandberg’s book may not be perfect, and she may just be a bad feminist—yes, that’s okay. Even while, I would rather hear her be more inclusive of all women, I believe she is playing to her target audience. For her, I am thankful she has been so successful, and would look forward to seeing her mature as a feminist, who could one day be a role model to women of many different backgrounds.

Most recently we have read “The Technology of Gender,” and of all the readings, this one most closely examines the relationship between sex and gender and the possibility of the absence of either label. The author, Teresa De Lauretis, talks about how gender is both a social and self representation. How it was learned will ultimately effect how it will be deconstructed.

Thanks for reading—have a great weekend!