Posts tagged queer
Posts tagged queer
All I wanna do is walk around my house and eat ice cream and shout about intersectionality and the queer community and how much I love being queer and queer people and be angry and maybe cry about how we are not valued as human beings.
But I can’t because my grandma is here visiting and she’s homophobic and racist and doesn’t know I’m queer.
yoyo, M sent me this video. While I have reservations about some of the angles (listing T for trans but never discussing it, “coloured people”?!), it seems worthy regardless. Transcript, emphasiseseses added:
Hi, I’m Katherine Franke from Columbia Law School, and I’m sorry I can’t join you today in person at the Equality Forum’s panel on legal issues, I want to thank you for indulging my presence by video.
As you no doubt know, the Equality Forum has chosen Israel as it’s featured nation this year, and for that reason I thought this was a good opportunity to talk a little bit about the state of gay rights in Israel/Palestine. Last January, I was part of the first lgbtq delegation to the West Bank – 16 of us, academics, artists, journalists, community leaders, and even a lesbian rabbi – visited Palestine and Israel in order to get a first hand sense of lesbian, gay, trans and queer politics in the region. While we were there Tel Aviv was voted in poll to be the “world’s best gay city.” Lesbians and gay men have been openly serving in the Israeli military for years, same-sex couples’ marriages have been recognized by the state for some time, and Israel has much better sexual orientation discrimination laws than we do. The Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren often notes that, in his words: Israel “provides shelter to Palestinian homosexuals seeking safety from Islamists in the West Bank.”
Given all of this, I was really curious to hear what queer Palestinians had to say about the struggles they face. I met with Israeli gay activists in Tel Aviv, as well as the members of Al Qaws, the Palestinian lgbtq group based in Ramallah, and Aswat, an organization of Palestinian lesbians who are citizens of Israel and is located in Haifa. What they told us, and what I witnessed, complicated the story of gay rights in the region considerably. Here are some highlights of what I learned:
While Tel Aviv may have a hot and hunky gay bar scene – the tolerance or acceptance of homosexuality is not as common elsewhere in the country. Israel, like the U.S. is a complex place, and is increasingly religiously conservative – in fact when I was in Jerusalem I saw that many of the public busses are now sex segregated, men sitting in front, women in the back, and in one Jerusalem neighborhood women are banned from walking on the main streets entirely so as to avoid men having contact with them. A recent report documented that almost half of the out gays and lesbians serving in the Israeli military have been sexually harassed by other servicemembers, and a member of the Knesset and Education Minister recently said that gays “are not people like everyone else,” that we are an abomination. Ambassador Oren was mistaken when he said that Israel gives asylum to gay and lesbian Palestinians. Israel does not grant asylum to any Palestinians, regardless of their sexual orientation, and in fact won’t even let an Israeli who marries a Palestinian share their Israeli citizenship with their spouse. Tel Aviv may have a great gay scene, but most Palestinians will never see it since, regardless of their sexual orientation, because they are not allowed to pass through the checkpoints and the Wall to enter Israel from the West Bank.
What I learned from the queer Palestinians I met was that gay rights organizing in Palestine has to be understood within the context of the Israeli occupation. The Occupation is a totalizing experience – permeating all parts of life for Palestinians. It is impossible for them to isolate their gay or lesbian selves for special legal and political treatment, but rather the fight for sexual rights is part of a larger struggle for Palestinian self-determination and freedom. Let me give you a particularly salient example: Since 2000 Shin Bet, the Israeli security service, has had a policy of blackmailing Palestinians who are gay or who are perceived to be gay and threatening to out them unless they become informants against their own people. For this reason, gay people in Palestine have a reputation as collaborators with Israel – so some of the homophobia gays and lesbians in Palestine experience is the direct product of the occupation itself.
The Palestinian queers I met made clear that the last thing they want is to be rescued “as gays and lesbians” by the international human rights community. In a region that’s already so defined by identity-based binaries, such as Israeli/Palestinian, Jew/Arab, peaceful/terrorist etc, to introduce another identitiarian form of politics, gay/straight, is dangerous and does a kind of violence precisely to the people the “gay rights” movement wants to help. The see their work as necessarily queer in so far as they are seeking to break down these binaries in favor of a kind of shared humanity, and shared territory that isn’t split up based on identity. I found the Wall to be an incredible metaphor for the way people and land are separated from one another based on identity.
The last thing I want to say is to explain why I’m not attending the panel today. You may or may not know that the Equality Forum has come under strong criticism for its selection of Israel as it’s featured nation, and particularly its selection of Michael Oren as the keynote speaker. Palestinian Queers for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Israel, or PQBDS, has urged the gay community in the U.S. to become more aware of how we have become an unwitting partner in Israel’s efforts to improve its much-criticized human rights record – especially with respect to the Palestinians. Through a policy that some have called “pinkwashing,” Israel has self-consciously sought to rebrand itself as less religious, less militaristic and less hostile to its neighbors, and in so doing wants to deflect attention from the International Court of Justice and UN Human Rights Council’s findings that many of Israel’s policies with respect to the Palestinians violate international law. Through events such as the Equality Forum’s celebration of Israel this week they have enjoined the U.S. gay rights community to become cheerleaders for Israel. It’s one thing to express our solidarity with gays and lesbians in another country such as Israel, it’s quite another to become pawns in that country’s foreign policy strategy.
While it may seem natural for gays to side with Israel, after all they have such good gay rights laws, this support reflects a major weakness of so many human rights movements that tend to prioritize their own struggles without considering the ways in which all forms of discrimination are linked. In Israel/Palestine gay rights and human rights more broadly are necessarily connected to one another, and treating one domestic minority well does not excuse or diminish the immorality of the state’s other rights- abridging policies. Had South Africa enacted good gay rights laws during the Apartheid era no one would have seen that as excusing their treatment of black and colored people. For this reason I have chosen to honor PQBDS’s request that we boycott the Equality Forum.
To uncritically celebrate Israel at a conference organized around notions of equality and liberty, and have Michael Oren serve as the keynote speaker at the “international equality dinner,” is taken as a slap in the face by our queer brothers and sisters in Palestine as well as by the queers within Israel who are actively seeking a just resolution of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. By avoiding any programming that offered a balanced view of the human rights record of its “featured nation” the Equality Forum lost an important opportunity to be a leader in the international gay human rights movement, and instead allowed itself to be used as a part of Israel’s larger efforts to deflect criticisms of its human rights record.
I say these things mindful that when I have talked in other venues about our trip in January and have tried to paint a picture of the complexity of gay rights in the region my comments have been met with some of the most intense criticism in my career – I have discovered how hard it is to express any criticism of Israeli state policy or any sympathy toward the plight of the Palestinians without being called anti-semitic. There must be some room in our community to have a mindful and critical conversation about the politics of this region that does not get immediately labeled racist or hateful. While not all of you may want to support the BDS movement as I have, I do hope you’ll take the time to learn more about al Qaws, Aswat, PQBDS, and attend the panel on lgbtq rights in the region being held at 3:00 tomorrow at the William Way Community Center.
Fucking blackmail, eh? UGH
the piece i wrote that i promised y’all i’d link to eventually :)
There is a school that is currently BANNING the Day of Silence and the use of any LGBTQ words in announcements. In case you were wondering, this is indeed illegal.
Stop this by singing the petition here!
Sign and reblog the shit out of this, please.
What the fuck? Sign.
I’m not going to love them now because they support marriage equality.
If they thought for one second that supporting marriage equality was going to cost them anything substantial, they wouldn’t have done it.
I’m not going to thank them for “supporting the lgbt community” when that’s not what they’re doing.
I still don’t buy that marriage equality is the most important thing for the queer community be focusing on.
I hate that every queer person who thinks this way are pushed to the side, silenced. I hate that the face of the supposed lgbt movement is almost completely devoid of anyone who isn’t cis, white, and affluent.
And I hate Starbucks for reinforcing all of it. And I hate that even in the face of all of their grossly exploitative practices, there are still people who think they’re advocating social justice.
That’s all I wanted to say.
The ruling on the gay marriage ban is expected in the next 30 minutes.
We’ll be keeping an eye on this.
Last summer, CeCe McDonald, a young African American transgender woman, was violently attacked in the heart of South Minneapolis. As she and several friends, also African American and queer or allied, were walking to the grocery store, a group of white adults standing outside of a bar started shouting racist and transphobic insults at them, calling the youth “faggots,” “niggers,” and “chicks with dicks”. Tragically, the violence did not stop there- one of the white adults slashed CeCe across the face with a broken bottle, cutting all the way through her cheek, and another of the attackers was fatally stabbed. Amazingly, in the aftermath of this racist and transphobic attack, the only person facing charges is CeCe McDonald- the victim. Michael Freeman, the Hennepin County Attorney, has charged CeCe with two counts of second degree murder. Because of these charges, she has been unable to recover from the attack and prevented from continuing her studies at the Minneapolis Community Technical College. Considering that County Attorney Michael Freeman has dropped charges in similar situations this year and that he has advocated strongly for programs to keep kids in school, arguing “We all know that when kids miss school they don’t learn,” why is Michael Freeman ruthlessly going after this young student? We refuse to allow racism and transphobia, on Minnapolis streets or in Minneapolis courts. We support CeCe. We are waiting for County Attorney Michael Freeman to honor his committment, in his words “to serve all of our citizens with understanding, dignity, and respect” by dropping the charges against CeCe McDonald. (via Petition: FREE CECE: We’re Looking at You, Michael Freeman: Drop the Charges Against CeCe McDonald | Change.org)
The shit hit the fan in the trans blogosphere last night, when it came to light that there is a disturbing new section in the Identity Screening Regulations used in airports throughout Canada. Simply put, Transgender People are Completely Banned From Boarding Airplanes in Canada.
The offending section of the regulations reads:
5.2 (1) An air carrier shall not transport a passenger if …
(c) the passenger does not appear to be of the gender indicated on the identification he or she presents;
Although this obviously discriminatory smear of regulation did not come to significant public attention until very recently, it apparently came into effect on July 27th, 2011.
It is important to note that these regulations are not actually a piece of legislation, which would have had to pass through readings and votes in the House and Senate (which is probably why it went unnoticed until now). Rather, the Identity Screening Regulations are a set of rules implemented unilaterally by the Ministry of Transportation, as part of Canada’s so-called Passenger Protect, which is essentially the Canadian Federal Government’s equivalent to the U.S.’s “no-fly” list.
Minister of Transportation Denis Lebel is, of course, a federal Conservative MP appointed to the cabinet position by Stephen Harper.
So what does this mean? Well, in order to change the ‘sex’ designation on a Canadian Passport, the federal government requires proof that surgery has taken place, or will take place within one year. So for non-operative transgender persons, for gender nonconforming (genderqueer) persons, and for the vast majority of pre-operative transsexual persons, it is literally impossible to obtain proper travel documentation marked with the sex designation which “matches” the gender identity in which they live.
In the eyes of the honourable Minister of Transportation, that makes trans people unfit to fly in Canada.
It is interesting to note that this regulatory adjustment occurred immediately following the federal election in 2011. In the previous parliament, Bill C-389, a bill to amend the Human Rights Code to explicitly enshrine protections against discrimination for transgender people, had successfully passed in the House of Commons, only to die on the Senate floor when Harper declared a Federal Election (thereby dissolving parliament).
Is the timing of this disturbing and blatantly discriminatory regulatory adjustment merely a coincidence? That is up to you to decide. However, the negative impact on trans people is crystal clear, and we need to take action now.