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?
I’ve talked on this blog several times before about RuPaul and her career, and here I am to do it again, because when it comes to a sexuality and gender studies class, she is almost always relevant. Quare is used to define the experience of specifically queer people of color, and the RuPaul is certainly one of the most prevalent quare figures. Probably the second most popular aside from Laverne Cox. RuPaul, since the 1980’s has RuPbeen a fixture in the pop culture scene, and continues to remain relevant more than 30 years after her rise to stardom. She’s written two books, made a movie, has had two television shows, and has been featured in countless other films and television programs. Due to her massive success and marketing savvy, she has built a brand and empire larger than anyone, including herself, ever expected.
However, RuPaul has stated before that she does not like to be grouped in with the mainstream media, because she believes that the art of drag, in and of itself, is used to make fun of mainstream media. So in a world where she and her show, RuPaul’s Drag Race, are nominated for and win an Emmy, where does she draw the line on remaining separate from mainstream media. RuPaul continued to assimilate herself with pop culture with the recent move of RuPaul’s Drag Race from Logo, a notably queer (and also notably unsuccessful channel, other than her show) network, to VH1, a network that is considered by many to be mainstream.
While I firmly believe that it is a good thing that a quare individual like RuPaul, as well as all of the queer and quare queens who go through her show, are given a larger platform to show their talents, is drag losing its bite as a result? Is there room for drag in pop culture?
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.