All Things Queer


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My Identity and Gender Transition, Photographed by @2point8photo

The Other Team – Transitions #Germaine

Having one's continuing identity and gender transformation chronicled does not happen every day. Having those moments visually translated by one of Johannesburg's best photographers and artists is extra-ordinary. I've been fortunate enough to have my continuing exploration and performance of my gender identity and playfulness with the queer photographed and recorded by Nadine Hutton, better known as @2point8photo on Twitter and Tumblr.

Dreads – Transitions #Germaine

Not in my wildest dreams did I ever envision becoming a photographer’s muse, let alone envision finding it a joyful and liberating experience. I’ve always hated having photographs taken of me. It always felt like all my awkwardness, insecurities and perceived ugliness were being magnified for everyone to see. It’s difficult enough feeling those things within one’s own body – having those things caught on camera was just too much for me.

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The 20 Best Young Adult Novels For Queer Girls

NPR recently polled its readers for their favorite teen novels of all time and published the results in their Top 100 Choices for Best Teen Novels. Unsurprisingly, very few queer books made it onto the final list, so Autostraddle came up with their own list of 20 awesome queer young adult novels.

20. Shockproof Sydney Skate, by Marijane Meaker (1973)

The gay lady in this underrated YA novel is actually the protagonist's Mom, but it's a fascinating look at her world through the eyes of her son, Sydney, chock-full of punchy dialogue, wry observations and classic pop culture references, shot through with a smart, fast-paced plot. Sydney decoded his agent mother's power-lesbian-girlfriend gossip at age eight but has never told her that he knows she's gay. Then he falls in love with Alison Gray, his Mom's newest client... who subsequently falls for his Mom. Hijinks ensue.

19. Letters in the Attic, by Bonnie Shimko (2002)

Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls and Betty DeGeneres blurbed this Lambda-Award-Winning young adult novel (and crossover success), which takes place in the early 1960's and follows 12-year-old Lizzy McMann, a teenager forced to move from Arizona to upstate new York with her "unstable" mother when her father leaves them for a hatcheck girl. There, she falls for an eighth grader "who looks like Natalie Wood and smokes," meets her grandparents for the first time, and experiences fun things like "puberty."  Emily Saliers notes: "Letters is a biting and compassionate look at the vulnerabilty of coming of age and the triumph of coming into own's own."

18. Girl Walking Backwards, by Bett Williams (1998)

Skye lives in Southern California with a psuedo-New Age enthusiast for a mother and a giant crush on Jessica, "a troubled gothic punk girl who cuts herself regularly with sharp objects," who Skye catches fucking her boyfriend in the bathroom at a rave. Following that unwelcome encounter, Skye switches up her life, acquiring a new pagan best friend and an athletic love interest. This book has been described as "a post-Catcher in the Rye roman à clef."

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Heterosexuals can learn a lot from gay relationships

Did you know that a homosexual relationship can actually set the example to society of how a good relationship works? Negative, homophobic remarks have made the world think that a gay relationship does not work; that there is a natural incompatibility. Many people, both gay and straight, think that gay people are worse at relationships. The world is made to believe that gay relationships are full of fighting, cheating and unhappiness.

I certainly don’t buy that view. Successful gay relationships can actually show the world how a truly happy and equal couple can function.

Our partner is our equal

Unlike traditional straight relationships, gay relationships do not have the historic trend of being made up of a dominant, controlling husband and a submissive wife. We have built our relationships from a trusting base where we are both equal. We take on roles within the relationship that suits our personalities and aptitude. The partner with the more financial sense may drive the budget. The more creative partner may drive the decorating. And there may be some activities where we both thrive in, and therefore we share the load (cooking in our case).

We are innovative in the bedroom

A gay relationship does not usually consist of one penis and one vagina. We therefore have come up with other ways to be close to our partner and to have fun. We are also not naturally forced to take on a certain role in the bedroom. We may prefer certain roles, or we may just prefer to be versatile.

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The lies we’ll tell (ourselves) for love

Lesbians specialise in the urge to merge, and we are adept at “complicated” relationships. We try every trick in the book to convince ourselves it’s meant to be, even if love flashes off and on more often than a strobe light.

The thing is, a good relationship is never that complicated, and doesn’t call for] multiple breakups. So here are some of the lies you’ll tell yourself when it’s not working – and your no-excuses guide to leaving the yo-yo behind.

Lie 1: It’s normal to ‘take space’

Yes, it is normal to need your independence. But when your relationship is working, you won’t need to put a label ontaking space. You’ll go off and do stuff on your own when you want to, and you’ll come back and reconnect when you want to; you’ll lie around watching DVDs when you want to, and talk a hole through the ceiling when you want to. No one will shout and no onewill feel insecure about it. If they do, it should take a three-minute chat to sort out.

What is not normal is to fight often, go tearing off into the realms of no contact, and come bouncing back with an over-compensatory level of intimacy. Alarm bell! You’re officially in volatile-ville.

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Lesbians for Dummies

I’m pretty sure there are hundreds of titles in the 'for Dummies' series but not one on lesbians. Why I ask? They would make millions off of naïve horny straight males and people with a lack of common sense. To be honest they would have saved us lesbians the effort of flipping these jerks the bird every time. This way we could tell them to go to the library and get a damn education while their at it.

See if you can relate to my dilemma:

1) So who’s the man in the relationship?
Well first off I know you all think we drive Harley’s drink beer and roll our own tampons, but quite the opposite. I didn’t lose my vagina when I started loving woman in fact I started embracing it. So therefore my idiotic fellow specie THERE IS NO MAN!!!

2) So how do you know that you’re gay if you’ve never been with a man?
Well this is easy to answer I’m gay I never wanted to be with a man. This all boils down to me wanting to know kind sir how do you know you’re straight if you’ve never been with a man?

3) So can I take you ladies home tonight?
Is this a trick question (looks over shoulder), Oh my God you are talking to us. Well you know being gay and all makes that decision so difficult as I regularly engage in sexual encounters with strange men, being a lesbian and all.

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Understanding BISEXUALITY

There's a lot of discrimination against Bisexuals within the LGBTI community. I have personally witnessed many of my friends that identify as gay or lesbian not wanting to date bisexuals, due to the myths surrounding their existence. They use excuses such as “I'm scared of getting HIV from bisexuals” and/or "bisexuals swing both ways because they don’t know what they want.” There are also derogatory labels floating about such as “Double adapter”, “Selfish”, “Confused”, “Dick-rider” (referring to female bisexuals) – to mention a few.

Where on the scale of human sexuality would you place yourself? I personally think that there are a great many bisexuals in the word – more than any other form of human sexuality. Let’s start by exploring the term...

What is Bisexuality?

Bisexuals are people who have the innate capacity to form enduring physical, romantic and/or emotional attractions to those of the same gender or to those of another gender. There may be an individual preference for one gender over others. Bisexuality is not synonymous with being polyamorous. Individual bisexual people may be celibate, monogamous or non-monogamous just as individual straight, lesbian or gay people can be.

Are bisexuals "fifty - fifty"?

Some may be attracted equally to both those of the same gender and those of another gender, but to a greater or lesser extent. The degree of attraction for one or the other can vary over time. Often it is the people and not their genders that are most important.

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South Africa too pussy for Pussy Riot? #freepussyriot

Anyone on social media in the last month or so has been bombarded by the Free Pussy Riot campaign. And rightly so. But are we too pussy to free the South African Pussy Riot?

The Russian controversy surrounded the issue of free speech, particularly in protest of the dominant politics of the country and government. The South African Pussy Riot does not exist, of course. But it should. And if it did, it would have the above-mentioned issues in common with its Russian counterpart, but would have to centre around realities and issues much more important than a political statement. The SA version would, and should, centre around the very personal and dire issues of the empowerment of women – a real PUSSY Riot.

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What is it that our ‘gaydars’ pick up in a person?

If you are gay, you have probably heard of the ‘gaydar’. I am not referring to the gay sex/hookup site, but rather the ability to tell that someone else is gay, just by looking.

Urban dictionary defines a ‘gaydar’ to be: “The ability/gift of being able to detect homosexuality in other people.”

But is it really a gift? A sixth sense that we were born with when we our DNA decided that we were gay?

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Mom? Dad? I'm gay.

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Safer sex for lesbians

It is funny how most people I come across classify lesbian relationships as safe from a sexual perspective – there is no risk of accidental pregnancy, and many assume that lesbian sex carries no risk of Sexually Transmittable Diseases (STDs), including HIV/AIDS. My parents, especially my father said “I’m glad that you’re a lesbian, because you won’t die of AIDS”. However, lesbians are still at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and other STDs. Contrary to popular belief, lesbian woman are not as safe as they would like to think.

Do you personally practice safe sex? Do you get tested for HIV regularly? Well, let’s explore safer sex for lesbians (or women who sleep with women).

Lesbians are indeed at low risk of HIV infection. However, sex between women are not always safe, and lesbians are just as vulnerable to certain sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) as women who have sex with men. It is therefore important that women know what the risks are, and what they can do to protect themselves.

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What Does Queer Mean?

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.

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