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Posts Tagged ‘sexuality’

The connections between race and sexuality that Patricia Collins mentions, for me, are really relatable. Even though she and many other feminist studies writers have focused on African American men and prison power dynamics, as an Asian man, I can see exactly what they might be talking about in my own history.

When I was growing up, I had a really high voice; it was really really high. Some people might have said things such as, “You sound like a girl”. It really was that high pitched. And ultimately, many people at my school assumed that “He must be gay”. It’s true. People even asked me about it.

When I told them “No”, many of my peers were confounded. “That can’t be!”, they said. They assumed I must be lying and this was big issue for them for a long while. But then, many people suddenly turned around and said that I wasn’t lying after all. And I was confused.

It turns out, according to some individuals, that my voice was so “feminine” because I was Asian. “Asian men are just much less masculine and we should just accept you because you can’t help but be that way”.

Now, I realize that this was an example of the connectedness between race and sexuality. Like African American women or the less masculine African American men that were called “bitch” or “dicksucker”, my say on who I was was ignored by my surroundings but instead got replaced by peoples assumptions. And conversely to African Americans who were threatened because of their race, I was “validated” as acceptable because of mine.

No one paused to think that my sexuality, a private issue, was being violated. And then no one stopped to think that “blaming” a whole race of people for my “situation” was sort of racist. Reading such passage has enlightened me that, in this scenario, there were interlocking systems of power at play. Race and gender, in my case and many others, were used as intersectional societal methods of control at the expense of those affected by such assumptions.

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Image Source: http://www.avclub.com/article/theres-mash-rainbow-road-themes-all-8-mario-karts-206528

I’ll focus on my own experience here but I know there are going to be things about my experience that many other queer people can relate to in this regard.

My experience with queerness has never been linear, it has indeed been very queered. It has consistently involved not knowing about a way of being queer and then being introduced to the concept, a moment of reflection and then realizing “oh shit that’s me.” But I’ve also consistently struggled with coming to terms with these new labels and seeing how they fit me.

From the age of 12 to about a month away from turning 21 I had been on a journey of denial, internalization, grief over myself changing and growing, complete secrecy, exploration, etc. etc. about me being bi. I had come out after years of being afraid of myself, but in that time I also developed a yearning for community. When I came back to UMBC after two years of community college I knew that I’d want to seek out my community. Since then my reality as a queer person has shifted so greatly. I feel so liberated. Yet I grieve. I grieve for the ways I have been, not knowing if they are different than who I am now. My sense of self has been questioned. I don’t know if my new state of existing is just blurrier, or if things have just been just out of my sight this entire time and it constantly feels like both. I don’t know how consistent this person who is me is. (more…)

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Talking About Sex

I mentioned in a previous post that talking about sex is very taboo in my family. I have a big family and spend a lot of time with them so naturally I grew up uncomfortable talking about sex too. (more…)

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I had a conversation with people I was close with about nurses who help disabled people find sexual pleasure. Someone brought up a documentary about the nurses who do this and I offered that I heard a little about it in my Unruly Bodies class. I told them briefly about our section on disabled bodies and the things we’ve discussed in class. (more…)

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injection

I went on birth control to take control of my body. while I got some control, I also got a little more than what I bargained for.

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trigger warning: weight, body image, self-hate, suicide mention

Recently, actress Sharon Rooney who plays Rae Earl on the UK TV show My Mad Fat Diary announced that the show is returning for a third season. MMFD is allll about bodies. Rae Earl is the protagonist of the show, a fat sixteen-year-old girl dealing with not only her weight and low self-esteem but also with mental illness. She has a tough push-and-pull relationship with her mother, and a father that is out of the picture.

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It seems to me that no one ever thinks about this, or they never want to talk about it. I want to talk about it. I think it needs to be written down, passed around, and heard over and over again until we replace our present beliefs with the truth.

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The guy I went to prom with called me a waste the day I came out to him. He looked me in the eye and said this with a smile on his face as if it what he were proud of what he just said. This wasn’t the last time something like this had ever been said to me. On multiple occasions I have been called “selfish”, “unfair”, and “a waste” by a number of men because of my sexual orientation. And on every one of these occasions I ask them all the same question, “Why?”. (more…)

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Why does what I’m wearing define my sexual orientation? I’m a 22-year old female, and I often change the way I dress, even on a day-to-day basis. I may feel like wearing a tight skirt, heels, make-up, and jewelry and shaving my legs on Monday. On Tuesday I might wear sweatpants and a T-shirt and throw my hair in a messy bun, and on Wednesday I may wear a baggy pair of guy’s jeans with paint stains on them, a tank top, and skater shoes but do my hair in a cute way. I enjoy dressing in any way that makes me feel comfortable, and I usually do.

But recently, I got a girlfriend, and even though I dress the same way I’ve always dressed, with my same unique style I’ve always had, I’ve heard some interesting comments, even from people that I know care about me and aren’t trying to be offensive. But if I’m dressed up (and meet society’s beauty standards) I’ll hear people say things like “Are you really a lesbian?” or “I don’t understand how you’re gay” and when I dress down, or “more like a guy” I hear “You’re such a lesbian.”

And I’m not even a lesbian! I’m bisexual!

I feel as though society often judges people as being gay or straight based on what they’re wearing. A recent conversation with my (straight, male) roommates went like this:

Roommate 1: “What are you wearing?”
Me: “Jeans.”
Roommate 2: “She has a girlfriend, she can wear what she wants.”
Roommate 1: “She’s only half-gay.”
Me: “What does that have to do with it?”
Roommate 1: “Well sometimes you dress like the straight half.”

First off, I consider myself a hundred percent gay and a hundred percent straight, and I hate it when people call me “half gay.” It’s not like I find women attractive half the time; I find attractive PEOPLE attractive ALL the time. Second, how come I can only wear “whatever I want” because I have a girlfriend? It’s not like my girlfriend dresses me. Could I wear girls’ jeans if I was a lesbian? Could I wear guys’ jeans if I was straight? Why are my roommates only saying things now? Don’t the same rules apply now as when I was single? Or am I “more gay” when I have a girlfriend?

It’s also weird to me that clothes can make you look gay (“He’s totally gay, look at his pants.”  “I can’t tell if he’s gay or if he just dresses really well…”  “She looks like a dyke in those pants.”) or even make you look straight (“Can you believe he’s gay? He dresses so straight!”) but I have never heard of clothes making you look bisexual. If bisexuality, homosexuality, and heterosexuality are all valid sexual orientations, why don’t our clothes make us look bisexual? Where can I buy pants that make me look like I date boys and girls?

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So I’ll definitely put myself out there I am a virgin and I am 22 years old. And yes I am waiting till marriage. That being said I am tired of the, what seems to me, random depictions of virgins. In the movies usually the virgin is one prophetess or religious deity like in the movies Immortal and Conan the Barbarian. Or people in generally think that all virgins are prudish, stuck up, extra conservative, and hyper religious. It’s as if within the push for the feminist movement that means that have as much sex as you please and make the choice to have sex. What if you do not make that choice are you then against feminism. I thought the whole point of feminism is to respect women and the choices they make with their bodies (themselves). But more so it is lets show the men we can have as much sex as they can. I personally am not interested. It is as self there are two different secs the women who chose to wait and rock purity rings and the women who engage in sexual intercourse looking down on those that don’t. Of course I know that this goes both ways. But I feel as if women need to know that both options are viable and for this to happen sexual education needs to occur. Sex is everywhere and women are constantly being pressured to engage in something they might not be ready to yet. So where is the dialogue for those who want to wait and those who do not.

I think it is equally annoying to have certain body movements legitimatized by bodies who have sex and those that don’t. Just because I can wind and swirl my hips a certain way doesn’t then mean I have sex. Or if I can’t dance for anything doesn’t mean I am a prude. We create so many binary for ourselves that it is difficult to claim to be a feminist is daunting if as a part of that it means you have a body that participates in sexual intercourse. And to add on to that if you are any other ‘color’ than white your body is then hyper sexualized and expected to participate in sex. And if you are not that you are linked to being a prude. And fyi a prude means “a person who is excessively proper or modest in speech, conduct, dress, etc.” It comes from the french word meaning “worthy or respectable women”. But we take words and add our own derogation connotation to them and look down on the people that fit the altered rhetoric of the word. Lets change our words and connotations or words. In thus doing we change the frame of our world.

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