A past couple of months I blogged about almost seven murders of LGBTI people, and today I find myself writing about yet another murder of a young lesbian woman in Cape Town. Saturday morning (10/11/2012) I received a call from Ndumie Funda the founder and Director of Lulekisizwe a project that nurses, supports and feeds the lesbian bisexual and trans woman (LBT) in townships who are victims and survivors of “corrective rape”, whom I had just seen the day before and we were just talking about the current situation facing the LGBTI community in Cape Town especially in the townships. Funda sounded stressed and in shock over the phone when she asked me to get the word out about the murder of Sihle Skotshi (19) who was an active member of Lulekisizwe. Later I met up with Funda and had an opportunity to interview the two survivors of the attack who were with Sihle when she died.
I know many people who think marriage is an outdated, conservative, downright needy idea. Why do gay people want to marry? they ask. Not even straight people should marry. Marriage is irrelevant. It is a club for the insecure. The opposite of independence. If you’re really in love, you don’t need a piece of paper.
Fair enough; you don’t need a piece of paper to prove that you love someone. But you need intention, and commitment represents that. Loving only in the present is not enough. The most powerful love reaches into the past and stretches into the future. It keeps up its rhythm of caring when the circumstances are rough, hard, bad, confusing. Love delivers loving actions when the feelings are rebelling. And that is when a promise becomes so important. It is the glue that holds you together when you are weak, tired, human.
Commitment is not the opposite of freedom. Marriage becomes really relevant precisely when it nurtures your independence; helps you grow as your own person. I was in bondage in relationships where the love was weak; it was in a strong love that I found myself able to move, stretch, test my limits.
Rapunzel cut all her hair off and everyone was totally into it but one unexpected consequence was that she kept getting hit on by women.
After like the tenth time it happened she wanted to say to the girl, “Is this still a thing, that only lesbians have short hair? Can’t pretty much anyone have short hair now?” But then she was like, Eh, yolo, and they made out.
It’s a different point in time for every person, when one realises just what has happened. I realised when I was searching for your things in my room. I stood in front of my dresser straining my mind to remember what was not mine, and it occurred to me that you were like that pair of pants I offered to repair for you and the cosy socks you loaned me after an impromptu sleepover at yours. They were never meant to belong to me; they were only a loan. Except that I’d become so accustomed to their casual presence that I’d eventually accepted them as a part of my life and stopped believing they would ever leave. The pants, the socks, and you.
Lana Wachowski, the critically acclaimed director of the Matrix trilogy and the new movie Cloud Atlas, opened up about her journey as a transgender woman while receiving HRC’s Visibility Award in San Francisco recently. Wachowski’s emotional speech included heart-wrenching stories about her inability to fit in as a child and her suicide attempt during high school. Wachowski shared her highly personal story with the goal of making conditions easier for other transgender youth to feel confident about their futures.
France's Prime Minister Francois Hollande's Socialist government is expected to introduce its gay marriage bill to the French cabinet on November 7. The government has pushed back the measure's introduction as it faced increasingly loud protests from religious leaders, including Pope Benedict XVI who called on Catholics in France to “defend marriage.” Passage would make France the twelfth nation to legalize marriage equality.
Opponents staged a nationwide rally on Tuesday in 75 cities to oppose the bill which would allow gay marriage and adoption.
Julia, 17, and Auriane, 19, say they came across the group and wanted to show their disagreement. Then they had an idea: "Hey, what if we stood in the middle of them and kissed.
The picture, which was taken by AFP photographer Gérard Julien, went viral on social media, and has become a somewhat symbolic image of the movement in favor of marriage equality.
Interviewed by French gay magazine Têtu the two young women explained they are both straight, but wanted to draw attention to the issue with a pure and simple gesture of solidarity.
"I don't think you need to be gay to support them. It's a gesture of solidarity, plain and simple," Julia and Auriane told the magazine.
"I'm in favour of what these protesters are against. But there were so few to stand against them... There was no point in talking to them, they were going to stick to their guns. And there was no point yelling at them or insulting them it would have just galvanised them further.”
Julia Pistolesi (in the picture), described the moment on Twitter as “full of emotion,” and thanked those who had shared the image, adding that “homophobes in Marseille can p*** off!”
"The Kiss" (23/10/2012) in Marseille, France: Two young women kissed in front of anti same sex marriage/adoption protesters.
I never realised that I would love being a Mother as much as I have.
I never expected to fall pregnant when I did.
I was told having a baby would change my life, just not how much!
Three days after I had conceived a very dear friend told me that I was pregnant. She was not a friend at the time. Rather I had sought her counsel as a tarot card reader, and I needed some answers desperately. I soon realised just how desperately.
K says that the minute your child is borne, so is ‘Mothers guilt’ I had it bad in the form of ‘single mothers’ guilt’ My fiancé rode off into the night never to return, my Mother was dying of cancer and I was almost at the end of my seasonal contract. Leaving me pregnant, single and sans job in the winter.
Photographs of me in physical transition, by Tracy Edser (www.trasethis.com). Tracy has captured the rite of passage of my physical transition over the span of 6 years, capturing my journey to fully inhabit my body, allowing me to play, without restrictions and more authentically, with the physicality of an identity in flux.
(The Letters from Selves Pas(t)sed series is drawn from writing created over 10 years ago. I've decided to include them as they create context for my journey. Keeping in mind where I come from helps me measure where I am and where I'm going.)
Pre-op - October 2010 #lettersfromselvespas(t)sed
I have been lucky in terms of the logistics of a breast reduction. When many medical aids do not cover the R50 000 operation because they view it as cosmetic, rather than medical surgery, I have been in the lucky position of not being able to afford medical aid. In a country where having medical aid is often the difference between life and death, how can I possibly consider myself lucky?
I’m lucky because I’ve never had to explain to some doctor, some pencil-pushing medical aid representative, that a breast reduction would be far from cosmetic for me. I have never had to explain that for me, a breast reduction would free me from a burden under which I haven’t been able to be my true self.
My journey with the logistical side of breast reduction began in 2007. I was referred to the Johannesburg General Hospital (now the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital) by the head psychiatric nurse at Tara. This referral meant that the breast reduction was immediately seen as a medical and psychiatric necessity, rather than a superficial or cosmetic surgery.
The doctors at the Jhb Gen were sensitive to my case, and sympathetic. In fact, their medical opinion that I had completely disproportionate, and chronically large and pendulous breasts, was an unexpected affirmation of something I’d known since puberty. The fact that they had medical terms for the scarring on my shoulders, for the severity of the largeness of the breasts themselves, was a wonderfully affirming experience. Despite my belief that there ‘was something wrong with me’, it took this doctor’s visit to confirm that indeed there was, but that I didn’t have to suffer from it anymore.
Are FTMs butch defectors who submitted to the patriarchal pressures of conforming to gain greater social access? Or are FTMs simply another breed of queer that tend to be misunderstood, particularly by butch feminists?
As an FTM, I confidently agree with the latter. But, this declaration doesn’t draw from personally-driven justification to account for the tumultuous and often disheartening process I’ve chosen to take on. It draws, I believe, from grounded reasoning and the belief it’s necessary to explore this issue if we are to avoid becoming internally divisionist at the expense of our FTMs (and genderqueers, for that matter).
MasterAmazon’s blog Dykes for Dykes presents, in multiple blog posts, eloquently-written yet highly contentious discussions (‘rants’…?) in which she describes FTMs as ‘sell-outs’ who have forfeited their womanhood for the socially imbued convenience of being male. She explains why women choose to transition: “Impatience for male power and privilege combined with monumental lack of faith in the future of women could explain it” (August, 2010). She seems to find no differentiation between a butch lesbian who transitions and one who doesn’t, aside from the difference in choice made regarding their body. Reductive is this approach, as she categorises all FTMs as former dykes, rather than recognizing that a considerable number never identified as either lesbian or as butch (such as myself). However, this is only the first of many problems I find with her argument. My greatest issue is the blatant conflation of sex and gender.
Last week I spoke to a beautiful amazingly-built woman with a perfect figure, who was complaining about how fat she was. This puzzled me, and I responded by pointing out that I also take my diet very seriously - people have no idea how hard I have to work to maintain my figure. In fact, I need to eat chocolate every day just to ensure that I maintain my curves. This was met by a somewhat critical look. But, does it really seem that absurd that I would rather eat chocolate and have (beautiful) curves than starve myself to look like a skeleton?
Queer is an umbrella term for sexual minorities that are not heterosexual, heteronormative, or gender-binary.In the context of Western identity politics the term also acts as a label setting queer-identifying people apart from discourse, ideologies, and lifestyles that typify mainstream LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual) communities as being oppressive or assimilationist.
Given the option to learn about sex ed from an anatomically correct diagram, or a sizzling dress, most would likely choose the latter –- which is why one Brazilian artist’s advocacy work is taking off.
Since the '90s, Adriana Bertini,[…]
Dr. Joseph Sonnabend on the cover of POZ Magazine
There's an edgy new film making the rounds of the gay film festivals. Age of Consent by Charles Lum and Todd Verow is about gay sex and its legislative battles in[…]
Twenty years ago, gay and lesbian people could not get married. Twenty years ago, many of us struggled with imagining being out at work, in our communities and in our places of worship. Some couples were adopting children and engineering[…]
A federal appeals court ruling striking down Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage is reverberating across the state's border.
Roy Cooper, North Carolina's Democratic attorney general, said at a Monday press conference that he would no longer defend his state's constitutional[…]