Good Signs

With what happened this week during UD Day I wanted to talk about the protesters and the protests to the protesters. I know we talked in class about this topic but I wanted to voice my opinion here. Someone in class mentioned the signs that people made. Many of the signs were in support of the minorities and groups that the protestors were shaming. A lot of them said that UD accepts everyone. Some of the signs were jokes however. The one that mentioned Finding Dory and Finding Nemo stuck out to me. I know in class that sign was said to have connected everyone being great even if they are different but I thought it was not. I saw it as a guy who wanted to stick out in the crowd by making a sign for something completely irrelevant. Although it did bring a little bit of comedic relief I also found it annoying. I feel like if you are going to make a funny sign at least refer it back to why everyone is gathered. There are plenty of jokes that he could have made to stick out instead of talking about movies that has nothing to do with the protesters. I know that he was probably just trying to be funny with his friends and I know that it was just a small tiff on campus but for some reason it did not sit right with me that some people were taking that situation as a joke. These groups are constantly discriminated against and the fact that so many people rallied together to protect them and support them made my heart swell. When I saw the joke signs however I kind of get a little bit disappointed.

Big closet or not, it’s still a closet.

 

I decided to write about the status of LGBT rights and legitimacy in Bangladesh. Bangladesh is perceived to be one of the few Islamic states which exercises considerable tolerance towards the issue of homosexuality. Practicing homosexuality is strictly prohibited by the law under Section 377 A of the CrPC (Criminal Penal Code).The law says- “Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman, or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall be liable to fine.” In the Guardian Article we read, What’s it like being LGBT around the world?, they described a reality in which people of LGBT status live in a “comfortable closest”. They call it “comfortable” because the actual actions of same-sex relations are not policed well and are normally looked over. However, those citizens are still crammed into a closet, nonetheless! I think this really draws into the E. Patrick Johnson’s theories and the idea of Quare theory. There’s explicit restriction of personal expression and processes. How do you feel about this? It it worth fighting the traditions and outing oneself even if there’s loose enforcement? Things are slowly changing however, I have difficulty imagining real changes being made. How much of an impact do you think this restriction has on civilians of LGBT status? Do you think it would be best to live comfortably and not combat the tradition? Even with the support of many human rights groups and individuals, I’m not sure it will be enough to overturn traditional convictions. But, you never know until you try. Right?

Sodomy Illegal until 2003?

I found our discussion of Sodomy to be very interesting. To be honest, I have never heard of this word really except in passing and I knew that it was particularly negative but I had no idea that it just simply meant oral or anal sex. Although I understand that sodomy relates to non-reproductive sex which ended up being associated with gay sex, I can’t help but feel like it is a ridiculous term. To think that heterosexual couples didn’t practice oral or anal sex (though maybe it wasn’t as common, there were definitely people who did it) is a very naive assumption. I can assure you that heterosexual couples in the past 3 decades have been having oral and anal sex and were not punished. Also, to say it is not natural is also laughable. There are examples in the natural world of sodomy. There are bats that practice oral sex, regardless of gender. Therefore, how can it be unnatural? It amazes me that sodomy was still illegal and punishable by prison in some states in the United States until 2003. It is wild that I lived during a time where private same-sex sex was a crime only 14 years ago and now same-sex marriage is nationally recognized and legal. We have come far in LGBT acceptance but I also think that we can’t say that LGBT people need to stop pushing for their rights. Same-sex marriage was not the end of the battle and seeing as just 14 years ago sodomy was illegal, it is guaranteed that there are states and people who don’t accept LGBT individuals and think they should be punished.

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.

Credentials Vs. Experience

The reading that I connected with the most from our class so far has to be “Do These Earrings Make Me Look Dumb” by Forbes. More specifically I really connected with the part where Forbes was talking about needing proper credentials and the professional training that some people have that others don’t have access to. Even though Forbes may not be an expert some experts who do have the credentials value her perspective because of her experience. I connect with this the most out of all the readings we have done because I remember that during freshman year a girl who lived on my floor tried to talk to me about her opinions on same sex marriage and how she, a political science major, knows about the struggle it was for the LGBTQ+ community to gain the same rights that heterosexual people have and how happy she is that people like me are finally “equal”. I personally felt like she had no idea what it was like for me. She had the right to marry whoever she wanted and that right for her has never been in jeopardy. I felt like she really had no way of knowing what it was like for someone in the community to go through that but she felt like she could completely understand because she’s “learned about what it takes for a law to get passed” and she, “knows that it can be a real struggle sometimes”. I will admit that she knows a lot more about laws and what it takes to get them passed and how long it takes but I felt that she really could not have known what it was like to be someone who that specific law was applying to. I feel like Forbes’ “Do These Earrings Make Me Look Dumb” stated most accurately how I felt about not having the correct credentials but having the experience that outweighs the credentials.

Quare in the Media

Today in class we were talking about white privilege because of the term we talked about “quare,” a term that is usually for LGBT people of color to use instead of Queer. I was thinking about how recently, LGBT people have been showing up in advertisements more often, in television and other media. It is interesting to see though, that usually, it is two white men portrayed in advertisements or two white women. It is funny to see that the way we are introducing the queer community into the media is through using white people to warm up the public. Famous gay people like Ellen and Neil Patrick Harris are constantly treasured (not that I don’t also like them, but they have no trouble being accepted by the public, having talk shows and multiple tv appearances). How many LGBT people of color can you name off the top of your head? Yet Ruby Rose, Kristen Stewart, Anderson Cooper, etc., seem to pop up right away. Even a search on google for lgbt celebrities will gladly redirect you to Ellen and Neil Patrick Harris in big font.

I think we are moving away from this though thankfully. Recently, Lush’s valentines day advertisement showed what appeared to be an interracial gay couple sharing a bath. However, the lesbian couple they showcased indeed was white. Also Laverne Cox has a role in a popular netflix series and presents awards on award shows. However, Caitlyn Jenner seems to be more of a transgender “icon” compared to Laverne Cox, due to fame and also most likely her whiteness. Despite Caitlyn Jenner being extremely problematic, she represents the trans community more than Laverne does in the public’s eye. RuPaul’s television show isn’t even on ordinary cable, even though it has won awards and is several seasons in.

While I think  we have made some strides, it would be great to put more LGBT people of color in media. I can understand why “Quare” is used in place of “Queer” for people of color considering the public, due to the media, associates Queer people as being white.