Category Archives: lgbt

lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (activism)

FFF 02: Sharing

“Oh, good Lord; look who just walked in,” Sandy said, nudging her older brother Julian in the ribs. Turning away from his conversation, he half-glanced in the direction of the doorway, stopped, and looked again.

He whistled appreciatively, low enough in his vocal range that only those in very close proximity could hear him.

“Stop being sexist, asshole,” Sandy grumbled.

“It’s not like you’re not thinking it, jerkwad,” Julian returned easily.

Sandy couldn’t argue with that, she supposed, but at least she kept her hedonistic tendencies inside. Usually.

“In fact,” Julian continued, turning away from his former conversation with a nod of the head, “I know what you are thinking.”

“Oh, do you.”

“Yes. And you know I know.” He leaned in close and rested a hand at the small of her back, causing her to shiver despite the party’s heat.

She kept her eyes on the young woman across the room who’d just arrived, but Sandy caught her breath when Julian’s hand moved lower between her body and the wall where they leaned.

“Cut it out,” she hissed.

“Aww, such a cocktease,” Julian said lightly, but he withdrew his hand and kissed her head as though their relationship was nothing more than familial.

She looked up at him. “Are you going to talk to her, or shall I?” She nodded toward the woman in heels and a low-cut shirt.

Julian pondered for a moment. “Same goal as always?” he asked.

“Of course,” Sandy answered, almost incredulous that he even bother asking.

“Does she look lesbian or bi-curious or straight to you?”

Sandy studied the woman for a moment. “Everyone is bi-curious in the right situation,” she finally replied.

Julian grinned. “I like the way you think.”

“I know you do, asshole.” She paused. “You go ahead. I’ll break in if it looks like you’re losing her.”

“What? Me?” Julian asked in mock innocence.

“Yeah, yeah,” Sandy said, pushing him forward into the throng of party-goers between them and the woman across the room, who was obviously looking for a way out of chatting with a man twice her age.

Julian tipped his imaginary hat to Sandy before slowly making his way over to begin rescuing the damsel in distress.

For her part, Sandy hung back and watched as the woman’s face washed over with relief when Julian cut into the one-sided conversation she and the older man were having. With the creeper out of the way, he began to work his magic, and his sister leaned against the wall nursing her drink, waiting for his signal.

She smiled a half-secret smile. They were ready to bring another person into their ménage.

———
This post is part of Flash Fiction February.

29 Days of Truth 18

29 Days of Truth 18

Day 18: Your views on gay marriage.

Okay, so here’s the thing about “gay marriage”… If I was asked offhand how I felt about it, and I didn’t have time to explain (or I didn’t want to), I’d say something like: I think people should be able to marry whomever they please, man or woman or whatever.

However, here’s what I really think, and it’s unpopular opinion time. I don’t believe any marriage is good. Marriage is a horrible, patriarchal institution that should be dismantled completely; I think that no one should get married. “Gay marriage” may open the door to other kinds of non-traditional (that is, one-man-and-one-woman) marriage—or, heaven forbid, no marriage at all—and that’s a good thing.

I’m not saying people shouldn’t have relationships; relationships can be healthy (or not) in their own rights. I’m just saying that marriage (and, by extension, weddings) is a broken, ancient system that should be chucked in the trash.

Just think about it. Why should my relationship with my best friend be more important than my relationship to my sister? Or my lover more important than my best friend? Or, what if I was in love with two people at the same time? A marriage would no doubt mess up the dynamic because, at least at this point in time, it’s not possible to have a marriage between three people. Broadening the definition of who may marry whom, as “gay marriage” advocates are doing, is like splashing a brand new coat of paint on a car with no engine. It’s the right idea (to be more inclusive), but it’s the wrong system. No matter how pretty the car looks, it’s still not going to start.

30 Days of Truth

AX 2011: the Loot

AX 2011: the Loot

[Note: this post is part of a multiple-post recap and review about Anime Expo 2011.]

I thought about splitting up my Anime Expo 2011 convention coverage into days (as I started to do with Day 0) but decided against it because I think more thematically than chronologically. So, here’s the first part: the loot I brought home! I will link back to the artists/companies if I have that information. I decided this year, based on Yager‘s years-and-years-old advice, to only buy things that I can’t readily find online. I realize many of the Artist Alley finds I could get online, but it’d take a lot of work—more work than, say, just picking up the Junjou Romantica boxset (which I considered), which I could easily get from RightStuf.com.

So, first: pictures! Then, under the pictures: a list and brief description of what’s in each picture. (Click for larger.)

Loot, part 2

In the upper left hand corner, cat ears from Yaya Han. I didn’t actually see Ms. Han at the convention (she was in and out of her booth a lot, I heard), but the woman who sold me these cat ears was the only person at the entire convention who recognized my Preventer jacket from Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz. That by itself was worth the price I paid.

The five small buttons directly below the cat ears, are characters—as plushies, on buttons!—from Final Fantasy, in no particular order: Sephiroth, Cloud, Vincent, White Mage, and Black Mage. The plushies are made by Hooked on Chibis! (also on blogspot). I couldn’t afford any (more than $20 a pop!) but I did buy these little buttons for my sister because she’s actually played some of the Final Fantasy games. If I see these guys again, I’m laying down the cash for a Spock doll for my dad, no question.

To the right of the cat ears, three postcards and the first two chapters of “Samurai Genji” by Geoff Trebs. Geoff was at his own booth; he’s actually worked in the game industry drawing character design, etc., but “Samurai Genji” is his true love, he said. Well, he might’ve said “pet project” and not “true love”, but it was clear he was a lot more excited about it than talking about his work in the industry. Just sayin’.

To the right of “Samurai Genji”, yes that is the goddamn Batman riding a unicorn and overlooking a couple jumping dolphins. I believe it’s a reference to the game Robot Unicorn Attack. I don’t remember the name of the artist, but the image was printed on that material that’s for wiping glasses, so it’s my new favorite thing ever. Totally worth the $6.

Underneath Batman-on-a-unicorn, a smallish black tote bag which reads “Team Zero” on it in white. The “team” part references the “battle” over Bella’s heart between in Edward and Jacob the Twilight series. (Ugh; don’t even get me started; seriously.) Zero is a character from the manga/anime Vampire Knight. The symbol on the bag is his neck tattoo. (The two small buttons also came with the purchase; they’re fanart of Zero and Kaname.)

In the upper right hand corner is the case for ViolinistBAKA‘s four-piece CD of anime music violin covers. Pretty good, if I do say so myself. You can also find her on deviantart.com.

Directly below the CD is a copy of Steal Moon 2. I read it (illegally?—not sure) online and decided that I really should put my money where my interests are. As a writer myself, I’d like someone to do the same for me, after all, so I’ve been collecting licensed copies of the manga I like.

Directly below Steal Moon 2, (right to left) a fanart postcard that my sister got for me of Rainbow Brite signed on the back by the artist and two bookmarks by Amanda Coronado (not the artist of the Rainbow Brite postcard). The Japanese on the pinkish one says “fox”.

To the left of the bookmarks, a copy of Viewfinder 3. Same deal as Steal Moon 2.

Right below Viewfinder 3, a cameo pendant by Robert Quill. He tossed in the tiny gold jewelry bag (upon which the cameo is sitting) for free. I managed to avoid picking up a (ridiculously overpriced) sketch of his, his charm and manner notwithstanding. I could go on and on about this guy, I’m sure, but I’m not really so inclined, so next time you’re around my sister (she met him, too, and she did commission a ridiculously overpriced sketch), let her tell you all about him.

To the left of Viewfinder 3 and the cameo pendant, two prints of characters from BLEACH. Ichigo (top) and Rukia. I went straight out and got frames for these two because, really, can you say “AWESOME!”? (I only framed a couple three of the prints I bought, including these two, so… yay for FanArtist. Maybe I’ll upload another picture of the framed pieces separately later.)

To the left of Ichigo, three smiley-face onigiri plushies by Sorbet Jungle! The one on top is probably still worried that he might be eaten hahaha.

Just below the onigiri is three packs of free tissues I picked up after one of the panels. Just to the left of them is a keychain I got for my brother of Gurren Lagann‘s Boota.

Right above Boota is an original drawn image by Albert Tandoc of Sakuya Izayoi from the shooting/fighting series of games called the Touhou Project. This piece was my first Expo purchase ($10) and I offered to just buy a copy of it, but it turned out he didn’t have any copies, so… yay original for me. It probably needs a frame, too, but it’s not a standard size (that I can tell), so I need to figure out something for that.

In the lower left hand corner and right above it are two fan pieces of Gundam Wing characters. In the top one: Duo, Trowa, Heero (center), Wufei, and Quatre. In the corner one: Duo. I searched and searched for GW stuff, but it’s sadly seriously lacking. (The anime is apparently old enough now that many/most average fans have never heard of it. Or they say, “Gundam? Like Gundam Unicorn?” [Gundam UC is the most recent Gundam series to be licensed in the USA.] -_- Ugh, no not really like Unicorn, okay?)

Across the very bottom is a Yetiboy bandana from Yetis & Friends. I got it for my brother because, honestly, who doesn’t want some yeti horns? The guys at the booth were super nice and tried to get me to buy a Yeti head wall mount and I was kind of like… “Hahaha, no.” Sorry, better luck next time!

Loot, part 3

At the top left, the first two chapters of the very-much-over-18 Teahouse comic, and directly below chapter two (far left), a couple postcards that I probably can’t send to random people via Postcrossing. The comic is in full, glorious color and is most definitely not safe for work. Hehehehe.

In the upper right hand corner, “Endless Love: Duo x Heero”… a straight up doujin—completely in Japanese, of course /cry—of my ultimate OTP, 01×02 from Gundam Wing. I can’t read it, but I can look at the pretty pictures, right? Reason #5734912 to learn Japanese, seriously.

Below the doujin is the first two chapters of “The Piper’s Promise” by Sammi G. I bought them both without having any idea what they were about, so when Sammi asked me if I’d like her to draw my favorite characters, I asked her to please draw her favorites. ^_^;;; nice save, me. Anyway, I stood there and we chatted for a little bit and she mentioned she’d looking for a BL writer for her next comic and I was like, “Whaaaaaa? *_*” Also, the comic is good; already looking forward to chapter three!

The bottom row is a set of four note cards depicting chibi-girls each representing one of the four seasons. They came with evelopes and everything! I really wish I’d kept better track of where in the Artist Alley I got these, but I don’t remember anymore, sadly. Also, I didn’t think about putting them in any order to speak of (hahaha), so they are, from left to right: Autumn, Winter, Summer, Spring.

Loot, part 1

In the upper left hand corner is the flyer from one of the panels in the Anime & Manga Studies Symposium (more on that in my panels post) advertising We Make Manga. To its right is a sticker I got from DMP/June from Yellow 2, a yaoi manga that I already own. To the right of the sticker is my 4-day con badge. ^_^ Yay.

Below the We Make Manga flyer is the convention schedule and layout; to the right of that (and underneath it) is a shirt from niconico that I got in the goody bag when I picked up my badge.

Underneath the shirt’s logo is a deck of Magic: The Gathering cards that was also in the goody bag. I barely had the damn stuff in my hands on Day 0 when some idiot kid came up to me and asked if I wanted my Magic deck. I was… kind of not happy about that, since I didn’t even know what was in the goody bag yet at that point. Needless to say, he didn’t get my deck.

The poster at the top (a little right of center) is for the MMORPG and French-language anime Wakfu.

In the upper right is an ocarina (yes, a real ocarina that someone could actually play!) and a playbook that includes some of Legend of Zelda‘s music. To the right: a couple of advertisement bookmarks; below: a pamphlet on where to purchase cosplay wigs and how to care for them.

In the lower right hand corner is an official Gundam folder (that’s not the right word, but it’s not a flyer or a pamphlet, either, so…) created especially for attendees of the Sunrise/Bandai offical Gundam panel. It includes a timeline for the entire Gundam franchise, from the original to the forthcoming AGE (more about this in my post about the panels I attended).

In the bottom left hand corner is a mostly-covered-up poster of the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic characters as human Sailor Senshi. You can see Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Twilight Sparkle, and a part of Pinkie Pie. Other characters (that are covered in this image) are: Rarity, Fluttershy, and Princess Celestia and her littler sister, Luna (aka Nightmare Moon)—and no, that name isn’t lost on me. Oh, also Spike the baby dragon as… a cat. Hahahaha. The poster is by Sandra Chiem and you can find the full image on her deviantart.

Finally, in the lower center is the the fanart that absolutely takes the cake (saved the best for last, and all that). It’s my favorite purchase of the con by far, and I’ve even managed to have it framed so I can hang it next to my desk because I’m a total fangirl. It’s Heero Yuy and Duo Maxwell from Gundam Wing, and they’re not just sitting there, either. They’re about to shoot you. Hehehehehehe. /evil fangirl cackle… The woman who sold me this piece wasn’t the artist, the artist didn’t have a card, and the woman who sold it to me didn’t even know the characters, so… /cry Maybe I can find her again next year.

———
It occurs to me only after the fact that I probably should’ve taken these photos somewhere besides my dark blue carpet because the images are so dark! I’m sorry about that, so if you’d like a better look at something that you can’t quite see, let me know and I’ll upload it special and send you a link. Hopefully the next parts of this review/recap won’t be so time-intensive for me to write or so link-heavy. Sorry about that, but I wanted to give as much credit as I could where credit is due, you know?

On changing the surname upon marriage

On changing the surname upon marriage

This feels like one of those things, a “as soon as I buy a purple Toyota, I start seeing purple Toyotas everywhere” type thing. People my age seem to be tying the knot as fast as they can get their hands on rope. The more weddings I attend, the more I can tell it’s not my thing. But weddings aren’t really what I’m going to write about in this entry, though they could surely take up one if I wanted to write about that.

I am strictly against changing one’s surname upon marriage. Actually, I’m not sure I’m for marriage generally speaking—that’s an entirely different discussion—but let’s assume for the sake of argument that we’ve already had the marriage talk and the consensus is that we’ll go with it for now.

For the women I’ve dated, marriage was never really a serious option because it wasn’t/isn’t a serious legal option, so it was sort of a non-issue. Of the men I’ve dated, one said he was fine with my not changing my name if we ever married, and one was against it from the start. That is, he was of the opinion that a woman should change her name to her husband’s upon marriage and any subsequent children would have the husband’s surname. For him, it was a matter of collective identity—“A family should be united,” he said once, “and a single last name for everyone in the family shows that unity.”—something that, I admit, is hard to argue with. Except to say, “Well, why can’t you change your name to mine, then, if that’s the big deal?” He, of course, didn’t like that idea at all.

That said, and as many people have noted (see my “Further Reading” section below), if you present yourself as a family, people will assume you are one, regardless of your surname(s). This phenomenon has also been noted in unmarried couples who present themselves as married. It’s not that hard to correct someone who thinks you’re Mrs. Smith when you’re actually Ms. Jones who’s married to Mr. Smith.

For me, a woman who changes her name to her husband’s is contributing to patriarchy, and that’s not a good thing. Changing the surname upon marriage is based in the same sexist traditions that have a man walk his daughter down the aisle and “give” her to her future husband, as if she were a man’s property (which, at the time, women were). Some people might argue that, well, a woman has her father‘s surname (probably), so that‘s contributing to sexism, and honestly, that’s true. But in that case, the woman in question hasn’t actively supported a patriarchal tradition because that was the name she was given at birth; she had no choice in the matter. And anyway, the name is hers now, not her father’s anymore.

By the way, I’m also against a man taking his wife’s last name. While a man taking his wife’s surname (a’la Jack White from the band The White Stripes) seems to be much more feminist, the result is actually much the same: people assume that the woman changed her name and it was the man’s all along. The same goes for couples who decide to forgo both surnames all together and create a new one. While it’s actually a subversion of patriarchy, it’s hard to tell on the surface, which may undermine the whole point in the end.

Some people have pointed out that they don’t like their family/ies and don’t want to be associated with an abusive father in any way, name included. Well, my answer to that is: you don’t have to get married to change your name. If you don’t like your family that much (which happens; I’m not saying you should just “tough it out” or something), then change your name now; don’t wait until you get married. That way, the name you choose is yours completely and you’ll be able to carry it with pride without having to connect it to another person.

But I want to connect it to another person! you say. Yes, well, I’m happy you’ve decided to take the plunge and tie the knot. But your name is your identity; especially in today’s world, it holds a lot of weight professionally, and name searches on Google (for example) would be split. But it’s a woman’s choice! you say. Well, yes, it is. And it’s a man’s, too. And if all else were equal, I probably wouldn’t care about it one way or the other. But we do not live on equal terms, here. Women are oppressed. If you don’t believe me, you need to take a class or two in gender studies.

As for children’s surnames, I don’t have a really good answer for that one. (What? I don’t know everything.) My gut reaction is let the child decide for him or herself, but even if a couple did that—at least the way the system is currently set up—they’d still have to give the child some surname in the meantime while the child grew up enough to be self aware enough to decide. Maybe you could mix it up a little and give daughters the man’s surname and sons the woman’s surname. Or hyphenate (ugh; don’t do that). Or choose a completely new name for the children that’s a combination of the parents’ surnames.

The only argument for giving the children the father’s surname exclusively that I’ve ever heard that makes any real sense to me was this. Leaving aside surrogate pregnancies, weird science, orphans, and adoptions for a moment, people know who the (biological) mother is. She’s required by biology to be at the birth. It’s easy to connect her to the child and visa versa. Not necessarily so with the (biological) father, who doesn’t need to do anything more than donate his sperm to the cause. Giving the child the father’s surname is a way of forcing the father to take responsibility for his offspring. Or at least calling attention to the fact that he’s not taking care of said offspring. But that argument presents a sad view of the state of fatherhood; what kind of world do we live in where the only way a man will acknowledge his children is if they have his surname and are therefore connected to him?

As I mentioned above, it’s not that hard to correct someone who thinks the child isn’t yours just because you have different names. (Though I imagine it would get hella tiring eventually, at least as tiring as correcting the pronunciation of a given name, as I have had to do my entire life.) Also, let me state for the record that people, generally speaking, are idiots; sometimes they’ll assume things about you that just aren’t true—like that you aren’t your daughter’s mother just because you have different skin tones—but that’s another journal entry in itself.

I want to live in a world where people who change their name do it for a real, true reason, not just because they’re getting married and it’s what you do. I want to live in a world where the people who change their names because of married are scoffed at, not the reverse, like it is now. “Oh, are you a feminist?” people ask women who haven’t changed their surnames upon marriage. (You know, as though being a feminist is a bad thing.) Really, I want to live in a world where a woman isn’t subsumed into her husband’s identity upon her marriage to him. And for that to happen, we have a long way to go.

You’ll notice I haven’t really mentioned women marrying other women or men marrying other men (or anything else that makes real romantic relationships interesting). That’s because the very act of changing one’s surname upon marriage is a form oppression that’s tied up in gender identity, gender essentialism, and completely erases gay and lesbian relationships (to say nothing of transgender people, bisexuals, and people in polyamorous relationships) because it assumes that one party (the woman) is “obviously” or “naturally” subservient to the other (the man). When two women or two men marry, that “natural” and “obvious” dynamic is necessarily thrown out. It may actually be a form of rebellion (as opposed to an adherence to patriarchy) for two men or two women who are not related by blood to share a surname, and it helps them convince other people that they are family in a world where two men or two women living together aren’t already assumed to be a couple.

Further Reading:
Why Brides Change Last Names
Keeping Your Maiden Name After Marriage
Against the Name Change: A Polemic
Things We Do for Love: Will You Change Your Last Name?
Women, Work and a Name Change
The Cost of a Name Change
Concerning Marriage and Changing Names
Lucy Stone League

“Valentine marriage”

In light of everything that’s been going on my life recently, I’ve been thinking long an hard about what I believe. I know many things I don’t believe in, but up to this point those things have been amorphous blobs on the horizon in my brain; I disagreed with something someone else said, but I never really thought about why in a way I could articulate to someone who disagreed with me. Most of my arguments with boyfriends, etc., in high school and college were primarily rhetorical and/or I just became “too emotional” to properly put into words what I was trying to say.

Now, this is something I can agree with, and it gives me hope for my (admittedly dim) outlook on the Church of Latter-Day Saints. The vlogger, melodramatization, (re)posted this short video (only two minutes, ten seconds) on St. Valentine’s Day this year (transcript below). In the section underneath, she wrote:

I put this video on MormonsforMarriage.com during the Prop 8 debate. At the time, speaking out via this video threatened my temple recommend and calling, and I chose to take it down to protect my standing in the church. I regret that decision and put it back up as a tribute to the legend of Valentine: http://www.dovesandserpents.org/wp/2011/02/first-comes-love-then-comes-marriage/

Transcript:

(A white woman with brown hair in her thirties* wearing beige clothing sits in a beige sofa chair in front of a white bookcase filled with books. She speaks directly to the camera:)

*Not sure of her age; “in her thirties” is really just a guess

My son, Wally, came home from nursery this Sunday with this picture. (She holds up a picture of four children inside a heart with a child’s scribbles on top.) Underneath the scribbles, you can see four children of different ethnicities holding hands in a heart, and at the top it says, “I will love others.” Wally learned an important lesson; he learned the second great commandment given to us by our Savior: to love others as we love ourselves.

Pictures like these are the reason that I go to church, the reason we wake up early on Sunday morning, and drag our children, and fight them through meetings. I want us to learn that we love others; not just those who don’t look like us, but those who don’t believe like us, either. Wouldn’t it be cool if in that picture there was a woman in a burqa, a Catholic priest, or even a man with a cigarette? “I will love others.”

So why is this church, who’s taught me so much about my Savior, asking its members for their time and their money and their votes [to] deny other people marriage? And why should I not follow them? This question has caused me a lot of time—a lot of reflection, and I had to figure out who I really am.

I’m Melanie Selco; I’m a wife; I’m a mom of five; I’m a loyal member of this church. But, I’m also a member of the community at large, and most importantly, I’m a disciple of Christ. And that last characteristic is what makes me obligated to follow my own conscience on this matter.

I still believe in these pictures that Wally drew, and in the primary lessons we teach in the simplest form. I know my church as good intentions in this legal debate; I know they’re trying to protect marriage. But I think my marriage can only be protected as much as the marriage that is least respected in our society right now, and that would be a gay marriage.

My church tells me there’s a slippery slope for allowing gay marriage rights, but they don’t talk about the slippery slope of not allowing it. What happens if we give our government the power to decide who can be married based on morality? Who’s to say they won’t come around in ten or twenty years and say that my marriage is immoral, that they don’t like the church that I belong to, or that they think I’ve over-populated the world, or whatever their reason?

I want to decide what a moral family looks like for me and try and live up to that. And I think that loving others is allowing them to do the same.

As if that wasn’t enough by itself to make me believe again that people are good, she later responded to a comment on her blog entry about it. The comment was:

PLJ
Posted February 15, 2011 at 9:55 AM

It’s a decent video and I support your freedom of expression. Too bad you can’t show the same amount of tolerance for polygamists as for just about every other lifestyle on the planet.

And she responded:

Mel
Posted February 15, 2011 at 1:48 PM

PLJ – I agree that polygamy is a difficult thing for people to show tolerance toward. You could substitute polygamous for gay in my video and I would stand behind it. Happy Valentine’s Day.

OMG I literally cried from happiness. My faith in humanity restored once again! Hallelujah.

Irregular Roundup #11

Irregular Roundup #11

Yes, there’s more.

Glove passion, to help with my touching weirdness. I think satin, or I won’t be able to use the track pad on the computer.

Scottish stuff: King of Scots, Clan Duncan Genealogy Data, Duncan Genealogy Research Files, and the Duncan Surname Association.

Daughters of the American Revolution. Daughters of the Republic of Texas (I’m working on this currently). Where to write for vital records (Texas).

Academy Award Winning Movie Trailer

(Direct link via YouTube.)

Mousapelli’s NaNoWriMo 2009 novel, Purely By Luck:
Part 1 ch. 1 | ch. 2 | interlude 1 | ch. 3 | interlude 2
Part 2: ch. 4 | ch. 5 | interlude 3 | ch. 6 | ch. 7 | interlude 4 | ch. 8 | interlude 5
Part 3: ch. 9 | interlude 6 | ch. 10
(behind a friends lock; ask to read)

The Acts of Gord: stories about a man who owned a video game store and what transpired there.

The Morphing Grid: the (unofficial?) Power Rangers wiki. Also, the history of the Power Rangers, by season. Yes, really. You’re welcome.

Points with Purpose: “A portrait is being created from 100,000 hand-drawn dots. Each dot represents a real person who has been raped or sexually abused.” Not sure how I feel about this, honestly.

Kinda want to see this: The New World. Somebody remind me to download it when I have space on my hard drive again, will you?

Also, this:

(If the video doesn’t work, click here to view it on YouTube.)

After reading a review about the film subCITY: Out of Sight. Out of Mind, I want to watch it, but it keeps not being the top priority. (The film is about mental illness and homelessness, the former of which I have dealt with… the latter of which thankfully not.)

How to Write a Kick-ass Protagonist. Also, Finding the Time to Write and 11 Characteristics of Highly Influential Blog(ger)s.

Delicate Soles: roll-up-able slippers for when your feet have had enough of the torturous high heels. I kind of want a pair, though I know I’d just wear them and forgo the heels in the first place, since heels and me generally do not mix.

An addictive Solitare game called Tripeaks.

Now back to this paper about Ai.

Day of Silence 2010

Day of Silence 2010

Today is the National Day of Silence. Though other blogs have written about it, too, I wanted to note something that’s bugged me for the past couple of years about the Day. Not the Day itself, I guess, but the way—in my experience—it’s been handled by members of the community supporting it. I don’t know if this is even appropriate, but I just have to write it to stop it from continuing to annoy me. And that is…

It really bothers me when someone says, “I’ll be participating in the Day of Silence, but I’ll be speaking in classes, of course, because I have to…” etc. The whole damn point of the Day of Silence is for people to realize how much they’re missing out on by not hearing other people’s voices (specifically, LGBT people’s voices).

The first year that my high school participated in the Day of Silence (in 2001), I was (supposed to be) the main coordinator. I was working with the GSA president (I was a sophomore and vice president at the time) to bring the Day to fruition. Unfortunately, after we went to the Associated Student Body (ASB, the students’ elected representatives) for support from them and from other groups on campus, ASB basically ran us both over and took over the project with a fervor I’ve never seen before or since from that group. Although everything still went through the president and me, in theory, we were leaders in name only. We were given sheets of paper to sign and told what was going to happen and that was about it for our involvement.

The first change ASB implemented was to make the Day of Silence about more than just LGBT people. On the Day, we were given different color ribbons depending on what group we supported (ie: people who are silenced because of racism, ableism, sexism, heterosexism, and so on.) The GSA president and I went along with this (even enthusiastically!) because we were warned that the school might not approve a Day of Silence “that’s only for the gays”…

The second—and, I think, more detrimental—change the ASB made was to “allow” for speaking in class “when required” because they couldn’t make the teachers change their curriculum for one day “on such short notice”. What if a teacher called on you to answer a question for the class? the ASB asked us. I’ve never been a teacher of high school students, so I don’t know how difficult it is to change one day’s worth of the curriculum to allow for students standing up for something in which they believe, but that’s beside the point because it seems half-assed to say (as a student, not a teacher) that you’ll participate in the Day and then talk when called upon anyway. Isn’t the whole point of the Day to show how bad for everyone silencing just one person can be? If participants are “allowed” to speak when called upon, they’re not really silent, now are they?

Honestly, though, my high school’s first Day of Silence was better than I expected it to be. I’m not saying it was all bad (as this journal entry may imply), and in subsequent years, after we showed the administration that we weren’t going to blow up a building or something, we were able to focus the Day more on LGBT people.

And I’m not saying that Day of Silence participants should be shunned or something for speaking in class, I just think they should really think about what they’re committing to and why… and truly commit to it, if they want to. Be silent, or don’t. You can still support the Day without being silent, as other bloggers have mentioned. But if you decide to be silent—be silent! Trust me, it makes for a more seriously-taken statement.