Tag Archives: queer rights

Sexual Quantification: No More Western Dichotomies, Please

by Erika Lynn Abigail Persephone Joanna Kreeger, ’15

What percentage gay/straight are you?

I was asked this question earlier today on a form I had to fill out for the iO Tillett Wright photo shoot this afternoon at Terra. I had initially wanted to get my photo taken for the same reasons as probably many of the other people who got their picture taken: it’s a national campaign, it’s making waves and iO Tillett Wright had a great TEDx talk about her project and sexual orientation.

But that question bothered me. It bothered me a lot. I ended up writing “me/me%- I don’t conform to bs dichotomies.” And I took my picture, and as much as I wanted to, I didn’t challenger her. But I kind of wish I had. Here’s why:

The most apparent concern is its treatment of bisexual/pansexual/non-gay/straight/fluid identities. As someone who is attracted to people of multiple genders, I don’t think of myself as part straight and part gay. I think of myself as someone who is attracted to multiple genders in very different ways. Furthermore, my attraction to those different genders (if you will, the degree of my attractions to these broad categories of people) has varied significantly over my life. Continue reading

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

(Queer) Activism at Stanford University

by Lina Schmidt, ’15

screenshot of survey
What is queer? and what does queer want? were two questions asked over the course of the class “Introduction to Queer Studies” (FEMST 120). Questions about what queer “means” are important to me because, as both a queer-identified individual and as a member of the campus group Stanford Students for Queer Liberation, parts of my identity are implicated in use of the word. The  meanings of queer can be a scholarly pursuit. However, the placement of queer in the title of a student group committed to “social change” makes its meanings relevant to the entire Stanford community, regardless of academic focus.

Described as a “discursive horizon” (Queer Theory 1), queer is fluid; a site of connotation rather than denotation. As a result, writings about queer — “Queer Theory” — are sometimes contradictory. The goal in reading, however, is not to produce a consistent worldview but to challenge entrenched ideas. For example, Annamarie Jagose suggests that 0ne use of queer is as an umbrella term for non-normative identities, serving as a contraction of “LGBTQIA.” Another writer, Cathy J. Cohen, suggests that queer has a more “radical potential” through its inclusivity not just of non-normative sexuality, but of differences in race, class, physical ability, and more (Punks 11-16). Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Welcome to Transgender Awareness Week

by Elizabeth S. Q. Goodman, PhD student

Many student groups have pitched in with Stanford Students for Queer Liberation to bring the events of Transgender Awareness Week to campus.  This is the third year doing it, and every year is different.  Last year’s week was discussed here and here.

The week begins with a “trans* 101” panel, designed to introduce everyone and anyone to the experiences of the panelists, to give space for questions, and to give cis students (those who are not trans*) tools to use in supporting trans* folks.  We call that “being a trans ally”, but as many people will tell you, ally is not a thing you can be, it’s a thing you can strive to do.  The tools of allyship are a theme throughout the week and this post.

However, we believe that to focus only on the oppression that transgender people face will firstly not serve transgender students who want to attend without getting depressed or triggered, and secondly not point in the direction of the kind of respect that transgender people deserve.   Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Stanford Students on Marriage Memes

by Holly Fetter, ’13

You’ve undoubtedly seen an onslaught of red squares in your newsfeed this week as the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a national LGBT rights organization, has encouraged supporters of marriage equality to display their politics via their profile photos. A red and pink version of the ubiquitous HRC logo has been consuming Facebook alongside many creative reinterpretations, including my personal favorite — the Tilda Swinton one. (Is it a political commentary? Is it a meta meme? We may never know).

But what do all these symbols mean? And what’s the difference between = and > and Paula Deen? I asked several Stanford students to share their thoughts on what these images mean to them.

>I have the ‘greater than’ symbol, as a symbol of solidarity with all those whose relationships and models of community and care are excluded from the state’s recognition of marriages, and a statement that our queerness neither begins nor ends at assimilation.  Marriage is not a ‘first step’ that has the potential to launch more conversation; it is, right now, an eclipsing step, that has overdetermined LGB politics in the US and erased much of the history of queer resistance pioneered by people of color, low-income queers, and trans* people.
—Alok Vaid-Menon, ’13

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sex and Cis-tems of Oppression

by Joanna Poppyfield, student

Note: This post contains images that are NSFW.

bodySince I began my transition from living as a male to living as a female between my sophomore and junior year of college, my mother often expresses her pity for me at my “disability,” as she calls it. She refers to my penis.

When I began my medical transition — that is to say I started taking hormones — it was assumed that I would have surgery to “fix my problem.” Sure, there was always the option to not have the surgery, but it was often presented as less valid. I felt like there was no other option but to have surgery, or else I’d never be a “true girl.”

I’ve been living the past four years as a trans*woman — someone who is assigned a male sex and gender at birth, but instead identifies as a female — but I’ve felt feminine ever since I comprehended what feminine meant. I attached the words feminine and girl later on in my life. Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Coming Out is Complicated

by Monica Alcazar, ’13

As I was walking back from talking to a friend about her recent break-up, I walked past the LGBT-CRC and thought to myself, “Damn, I am so lucky to be here. I am so happy to be able to be out…I miss my family.”

I’ve been thinking about my identities a lot lately, and after participating in a few SOSAS panels this quarter already, I feel like I’ve been thinking and re-processing my “out”ness a lot more than usual. Many of us on this campus have heard, or even had to explain, on at least one occasion, that “coming out” can mean different things (e.g. it doesn’t only pertain to sexual orientation), it can be on different levels of importance to a given individual, and it is not a singular, one-time thing–people come out multiple times a day, many days a year, etc. Coming out, for me, has been quite the process. It started with the first inklings of “uhhh, I’m pretty sure none of my other female friends are looking at that girl the way I’m trying to NOT look at her…” and has progressed to where I am today: participating in dorm panels, staffing at the LGBT-CRC, and double dating with other queer female couples.

While I am pretty darn open, vocal, and dare I say, at-times flaunty of my gayness, I have a conflicted relationship with the concept of “coming out”. Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , ,

Republican Party: The Official Sponsor of Hate

by Holly Fetter, ’13


I recently had the pleasure of accidentally attending the 2012 Values Voter Summit. Midway through a school-sponsored trip to the nation’s capital, our hotel was overrun by perky people holding signs that advertised the conference’s host, FRC Action. This organization is the lobbyist branch of the Family Research Council (FRC), a right-wing hate group. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, FRC “richly deserves” such a designation because it “engages in baseless, incendiery name-calling and spreads demonizing lies about the LGBT community.” Other hate groups include the Ku Klux Klan and Stormfront, Wade Page’s favorite website. The FRC is also anti-choice, anti-tax, anti-welfare, anti-pornography, anti-gambling, pro-school prayer, and they question the validity of global warming. Basically, they hate everyone who isn’t a middle-class White heterosexual Christian Republican that dresses modestly. Which is a lot of people.

I couldn’t gain access to the actual events during the conference, but my friends and I were permitted to browse the multiple rooms of organizations passing out propaganda for their various causes. We’re greeted by a large painting of Jesus kissing the Liberty Bell as we begin to make our way through the right-wing extremist version of a Stanford Activities Fair. Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Drug Users and Polygamists”

by Joy Brooke Fairfield, PhD candidate in Theatre and Performance Studies

I just got this email from HRC (of the “marriage equality sticker” fame) with the subject line “Drug users and polygamists.”  The nation’s largest LGBT advocacy group (and lobbying organization) was asking me to give them money to help beat Mitt Romney because he’s such a jerk that someone on one of his committees just compared gay marriage to drug use and getting married to multiple people.  The (now embarrassingly conservative) HRC is apparently horrified that this guy would put “gay marriage” (a GOOD thing) into the same category as drug use and multiple marriages (BAD things).  They’re attempting to use this “shocking” comparison to rile up their base and of course, get donations.

This was not okay with me. Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Why I Protested at the San Francisco Pride Parade

by Elizabeth S. Q. Goodman, third-year graduate student in Mathematics

Early in the protest, the parade organizers made a wall to separate protesters from Kaiser.

On a typically beautiful Sunday in San Francisco, at the annual Pride parade of June 24, I joined SF Pride at Work for the second of two protests. We had one focus: to demand that Kaiser Permanente, a healthcare insurer that has been certified LGBT-friendly by the Human Rights Campaign, remove certain exclusions from its healthcare plan.

It is very hard to say what effect a protest has, but this should be only part of a conversation healthcare companies need to have about their care of transgender patients. SF Pride at Work chose to target Kaiser because we have reason to hope that they may change their plans. The Human Rights Campaign endorsed Kaiser Permanente for LGBT patients, in 2010, but an endorsement from the HRC is not one trans people can trust. Kaiser does make efforts to support LGBT patients, and there are people within Kaiser who would like to remove the exclusions against transgender people (which fall particularly on transsexual people). Indeed, there were people on the float and among the Kaiser marchers who were glad of this protest, and who were having conversations about it as they walked. Kaiser needs to cover the sex reassignment surgery and “related” care that many transsexual people undergo; if it does not, then it is not truly an LGBT-friendly healthcare provider. Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fortunate and Privileged

This past Memorial Day weekend, I attended a retreat for LGBT Muslims in Philadelphia just as I had done in 2011.  When I had first gone last year, the idea of such an event happening was both bizarre and exciting for me, and I was mostly in a daze the entire weekend.

The retreat this year still left me in somewhat of a daze, but for different reasons.  I have now been mostly out of the closet for nearly 2 years, and I feel that I’m finally starting to understand my place in the larger LGBT community as well as just how the community works in general.  I’ve learned that there are many different groups that have branched off from the LGBT acronym, and new terms and identities are constantly evolving to represent the complexities of who we are as human beings, especially ones who have to fight so hard to be heard apart from the cisgender, heterosexual mainstream.

With those thoughts in mind, I embarked on my second retreat with the LGBT Muslims I had met last year and formed close bonds with.  From the moment I stepped into the main event building, it felt like I was returning home.  We had all done a great job of keeping in touch through Facebook since last year, and the anxiety I had last year over approaching everyone was nowhere near as significant.  Although I was happy to see everyone, I couldn’t help but ask myself: Now that I’ve joined this community and I know it’s possible to be both LGBT and Muslim, what could the retreat possibly offer me this year? Continue reading

Tagged , , , ,