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.

Trangender Day of Remembrance

Today is the 11th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. Here is a list of 162 names of known trans people who were killed from 20 November 2008 to 12 November 2009. “Most were women. Most were black or Latina. A disproportionate number were sex workers. Several were still only teenagers.”

“Today is a day to remember the transgender people (or people perceived by their killers to be trans) who have died as a result of hatred and violence, and as a result of the hateful and violent cultures that support the perpetrators. Today is a day to remember those whose deaths authorities and media attempt to sweep under the rug, whose identities are devalued and erased once they are gone, whose murders usually go unsolved. Today is a day to read their names, and not forget.”

I am sick with grief today.

h/t Feministe

A Manifesto! The Time Has Come!

From Bishop John Shelby Spong,

October 15, 2009

A Manifesto! The Time Has Come!

I have made a decision. I will no longer debate the issue of homosexuality in the church with anyone. I will no longer engage the biblical ignorance that emanates from so many right-wing Christians about how the Bible condemns homosexuality, as if that point of view still has any credibility. I will no longer discuss with them or listen to them tell me how homosexuality is “an abomination to God,” about how homosexuality is a “chosen lifestyle,” or about how through prayer and “spiritual counseling” homosexual persons can be “cured.” Those arguments are no longer worthy of my time or energy. I will no longer dignify by listening to the thoughts of those who advocate “reparative therapy,” as if homosexual persons are somehow broken and need to be repaired. I will no longer talk to those who believe that the unity of the church can or should be achieved by rejecting the presence of, or at least at the expense of, gay and lesbian people. I will no longer take the time to refute the unlearned and undocumentable claims of certain world religious leaders who call homosexuality “deviant.” I will no longer listen to that pious sentimentality that certain Christian leaders continue to employ, which suggests some version of that strange and overtly dishonest phrase that “we love the sinner but hate the sin.” That statement is, I have concluded, nothing more than a self-serving lie designed to cover the fact that these people hate homosexual persons and fear homosexuality itself, but somehow know that hatred is incompatible with the Christ they claim to profess, so they adopt this face-saving and absolutely false statement. I will no longer temper my understanding of truth in order to pretend that I have even a tiny smidgen of respect for the appalling negativity that continues to emanate from religious circles where the church has for centuries conveniently perfumed its ongoing prejudices against blacks, Jews, women and homosexual persons with what it assumes is “high-sounding, pious rhetoric.” The day for that mentality has quite simply come to an end for me. I will personally neither tolerate it nor listen to it any longer. The world has moved on, leaving these elements of the Christian Church that cannot adjust to new knowledge or a new consciousness lost in a sea of their own irrelevance. They no longer talk to anyone but themselves. I will no longer seek to slow down the witness to inclusiveness by pretending that there is some middle ground between prejudice and oppression. There isn’t. Justice postponed is justice denied. That can be a resting place no longer for anyone. An old civil rights song proclaimed that the only choice awaiting those who cannot adjust to a new understanding was to “Roll on over or we’ll roll on over you!” Time waits for no one.

I will particularly ignore those members of my own Episcopal Church who seek to break away from this body to form a “new church,” claiming that this new and bigoted instrument alone now represents the Anglican Communion. Such a new ecclesiastical body is designed to allow these pathetic human beings, who are so deeply locked into a world that no longer exists, to form a community in which they can continue to hate gay people, distort gay people with their hopeless rhetoric and to be part of a religious fellowship in which they can continue to feel justified in their homophobic prejudices for the rest of their tortured lives. Church unity can never be a virtue that is preserved by allowing injustice, oppression and psychological tyranny to go unchallenged.

In my personal life, I will no longer listen to televised debates conducted by “fair-minded” channels that seek to give “both sides” of this issue “equal time.” I am aware that these stations no longer give equal time to the advocates of treating women as if they are the property of men or to the advocates of reinstating either segregation or slavery, despite the fact that when these evil institutions were coming to an end the Bible was still being quoted frequently on each of these subjects. It is time for the media to announce that there are no longer two sides to the issue of full humanity for gay and lesbian people. There is no way that justice for homosexual people can be compromised any longer.

I will no longer act as if the Papal office is to be respected if the present occupant of that office is either not willing or not able to inform and educate himself on public issues on which he dares to speak with embarrassing ineptitude. I will no longer be respectful of the leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who seems to believe that rude behavior, intolerance and even killing prejudice is somehow acceptable, so long as it comes from third-world religious leaders, who more than anything else reveal in themselves the price that colonial oppression has required of the minds and hearts of so many of our world’s population. I see no way that ignorance and truth can be placed side by side, nor do I believe that evil is somehow less evil if the Bible is quoted to justify it. I will dismiss as unworthy of any more of my attention the wild, false and uninformed opinions of such would-be religious leaders as Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, Jimmy Swaggart, Albert Mohler, and Robert Duncan. My country and my church have both already spent too much time, energy and money trying to accommodate these backward points of view when they are no longer even tolerable.

I make these statements because it is time to move on. The battle is over. The victory has been won. There is no reasonable doubt as to what the final outcome of this struggle will be. Homosexual people will be accepted as equal, full human beings, who have a legitimate claim on every right that both church and society have to offer any of us. Homosexual marriages will become legal, recognized by the state and pronounced holy by the church. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” will be dismantled as the policy of our armed forces. We will and we must learn that equality of citizenship is not something that should ever be submitted to a referendum. Equality under and before the law is a solemn promise conveyed to all our citizens in the Constitution itself. Can any of us imagine having a public referendum on whether slavery should continue, whether segregation should be dismantled, whether voting privileges should be offered to women? The time has come for politicians to stop hiding behind unjust laws that they themselves helped to enact, and to abandon that convenient shield of demanding a vote on the rights of full citizenship because they do not understand the difference between a constitutional democracy, which this nation has, and a “mobocracy,” which this nation rejected when it adopted its constitution. We do not put the civil rights of a minority to the vote of a plebiscite.

I will also no longer act as if I need a majority vote of some ecclesiastical body in order to bless, ordain, recognize and celebrate the lives and gifts of gay and lesbian people in the life of the church. No one should ever again be forced to submit the privilege of citizenship in this nation or membership in the Christian Church to the will of a majority vote.

The battle in both our culture and our church to rid our souls of this dying prejudice is finished. A new consciousness has arisen. A decision has quite clearly been made. Inequality for gay and lesbian people is no longer a debatable issue in either church or state. Therefore, I will from this moment on refuse to dignify the continued public expression of ignorant prejudice by engaging it. I do not tolerate racism or sexism any longer. From this moment on, I will no longer tolerate our culture’s various forms of homophobia. I do not care who it is who articulates these attitudes or who tries to make them sound holy with religious jargon.

I have been part of this debate for years, but things do get settled and this issue is now settled for me. I do not debate any longer with members of the “Flat Earth Society” either. I do not debate with people who think we should treat epilepsy by casting demons out of the epileptic person; I do not waste time engaging those medical opinions that suggest that bleeding the patient might release the infection. I do not converse with people who think that Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans as punishment for the sin of being the birthplace of Ellen DeGeneres or that the terrorists hit the United Sates on 9/11 because we tolerated homosexual people, abortions, feminism or the American Civil Liberties Union. I am tired of being embarrassed by so much of my church’s participation in causes that are quite unworthy of the Christ I serve or the God whose mystery and wonder I appreciate more each day. Indeed I feel the Christian Church should not only apologize, but do public penance for the way we have treated people of color, women, adherents of other religions and those we designated heretics, as well as gay and lesbian people.

Life moves on. As the poet James Russell Lowell once put it more than a century ago: “New occasions teach new duties, Time makes ancient good uncouth.” I am ready now to claim the victory. I will from now on assume it and live into it. I am unwilling to argue about it or to discuss it as if there are two equally valid, competing positions any longer. The day for that mentality has simply gone forever.

This is my manifesto and my creed. I proclaim it today. I invite others to join me in this public declaration. I believe that such a public outpouring will help cleanse both the church and this nation of its own distorting past. It will restore integrity and honor to both church and state. It will signal that a new day has dawned and we are ready not just to embrace it, but also to rejoice in it and to celebrate it.

–– John Shelby Spong

Well put, sir. Well put.

Irregular Roundup #7

This is the kind of thing that makes me love history. Looking Into the Past, a set of photos on Flickr that takes old photos and puts them over… well, just go look. It’s really cool. Past and Present, all in one. Really neat.

After watching two and a half seasons of House M.D. in less than a week (EDIT: as of 24 June, I’m well into season 5), it’s just like me to become fascinated with walking canes. Of all the things on the show I could obsess over, of course it’s the cane. (Also, as a side note, I think I’ve figured out why Bennett likes House so much; he thinks he is House. *headdesk*)

The Midwest Teen Sex Show is pretty awesome. (It’s sex ed with Midwest flair.) Just thought I’d mention that.

I saw Cheer New York at the AIDS Walk last year, but I didn’t think to look them up until recently when I’ve been having trouble finding colorguards and winterguards on this coast. (Fail.)

Bunny found Groupon (Group + coupon) while visiting me in NY and sent me a link, and now I’m passing it on to you all.

This post by mousapelli absolutely cracks me up; Japan is the awesomest country on the planet, hands down. (The link involves jporn but is hilariously safe for work, so don’t worry.)

While at Wilkes for my 616 residency, I discovered Memoir (and), which is a journal for nonfiction, and New Pages—“good reading starts here”—where I can go for reviews of all types of literary journals.


What do dominant women want? and the alternate piece: 8 things submissive men want from a dominant partner. Even more taboo is a pro-incest rant on YouTube and an article in Time from early 1980. I’m pretty open-minded, but the last two are more inflammatory than most things I support. Even if I did support incest (under the circumstances laid out in the YouTube link), it’d be pretty stupid for me to admit that. I forget that people read this, but I don’t forget that often.

Irregular Roundup #6

Wow, this is beyond stupid. My Life is Average: “a place to share your everyday mediocrity. It is a place to post the mundane things in your boring, normal life, and read about other people’s average lives.”

WTF. I freakin’ hate the Catholic Church. To all my Catholic friends: I’m sorry, but how can you be a part of something that allows the abuse of children and then covers it up to protect its own reputation? I just don’t get it.

Twitter profile pics: my Twitter pic is #5, “The People Who Love The Close Up,” ‘cept mine is really close up, lol.

The break-down of California’s Prop.8 court decision. I am, to say the least, displeased with the result, but at least they didn’t null and void all the marriages that have already take place.

ANIME! High Art and Pop Culture at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Anyone been to this exhibition and want to tell me about it?

[Probably not safe for work, just fyi:] Now this is the kind of domination I can condone. ^___________^

Also, I was watching this and thinking the entire time, “You know, that looks like Robert Downey, Jr.” …and then I realized it was him. Sheesh. Took me longer than the whole freakin’ song to figure it out. I’m way slow.

No matter how many times I’m told that “writing is not therapy”—I just can’t believe it. Good to know that someone agrees with me. Speaking of (creative) writing, can you teach it? I mean, generally, do you think it can be taught? (My being in a creative writing program doesn’t stop me from thinking not sometimes, but that’s just me.) It’s that kind of article, however, that drives me crazy. People (including me) are already enough on the fence; we don’t need decent writers not getting instruction just because they think it can’t be any better.

In case you don’t know the anatomy of a “child” pornographer. Seriously, can anyone give me a good reason why we’re all gasping and clutching our pearls on this one? I mean, they’re teenagers. Heeeellllooo. (Although, I do tend like like Reason Magazine for most things. I just hate the “omgz, but think of the children” argument.)

If you just want something to irritate you, have an article about female Marines and “lax” sex practices. And alcohol. And STDs. Of course it’s about the women. It always is.

Irregular Roundup #1

All right, this is me getting rid of all the cool stuff in my tab bar + a cool new name!

Whosoever, an online magazine for GLBT Christians. The name is based on John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” (Oh yeah, I’ve memorized me some Bible verses.) The point, I think, that some Christians don’t seem to get, is that God loved everyone; everyone is a sinner, and everyone can be redeemed. I was asking my mother about The Point (of Life, the Universe, and Everything, of course), and she said that everyone has to figure out what The Point is for themselves, but for her it’s to worship Jesus. If everyone thought the way she did, we might not have so many “problems” and everything would be boring (probably), but we also wouldn’t have this kind of thing happening, either.

Derailing for Dummies, the tag line of which is “Making Discrimination Easier!” It’s a humorous infuriating look at pretty much every single way Bennett or Nathan has ever argued with me. My favorites are “You’re Being Hostile”, “You’re Taking Things Too Personally”, “You’re Arguing With Opinions Not Fact”, and “You’ve Lost Your Temper So I Don’t Have To Listen To You Anymore”… *blood boils*

On a lighter note, I learned two things from this article about Twitter, one Twitter-related, and one not. First: I’m apparently a Millennial and a member of Generation Y. (For all you not-so-smart kids out there, that means that I must have been born between 1982 and 1995. *gasp* I’m a young’un! Both my younger sister and brother fall into both categories, as well. Aren’t we lucky? *sarcasm* We get two names! YAY. As a sidenote, both my parents are part of Generation Jones. Yes, they are also special and get their own “generation” aside from being Baby Boomers. *rolls eyes*) Second, being such, I’m not supposed to think Twitter is cool. Oh, and just for laughs: Flutter.

According to some new study, having a sister makes you happier. You’re welcome, Bunny and Johnny! ^____^ And some other new study reveals that “alpha students” can have their cake and eat it, too. Alpha students are the kind who are super smart and super popular, and that just makes me want to punch someone in the face. Preferably an alpha student. Seriously; that’s just not fair. You’re allowed to be smart. You’re allowed to be popular. But you are not allowed to be both. *thinks for a minute* Though, I suppose there are some people who would say that I am such a person (or was one before college, anyway). In which case, I want to punch someone more alpha than me.

I signed up to be notified about developments on the Tauntaun sleeping bag. (If you don’t know what the hell a Tauntaun is, just be grateful you’re not as much of a geek as the rest of us and leave us to fight our lightsaber duels in peace.) The awesomest part of the whole thing is the lightsaber zipper pull. It just cracked me up. I would so buy that shit if it was for reals.

In other, semi-useful news, Japan is being very technologically oriented—were you expecting anything else from them? Really?—and has come out with the Pikachu snow-eater. (Yes, I know it’s not really Pikachu, but the doctored photo at the bottom of the page is just too cute to pass up.) Plus, the thing must’ve been created by some junior high school student who just didn’t want to have to make his own igloo bricks anymore, because the snow-eater virtually shits bricks (of ice). And what kid hasn’t wanted to build an igloo at some point in his lifetime? (Well, aside from life-long Angelenos, but that’s only because there’s never any snow there to use.)

This is for my future reference: Cages main archive. GW, AU, yaoi. Pairings: 6×1, 6×4, 6×3, 6×5, 6×2, 3×4, 1×2, 6x1x2x3x4x5, hints of 13×6 at the beginning, multiple OCxOC and OCx#xOC just to make things interesting. Main pairings are fairly standard, though I can’t possibly name all of the pairings here because I can’t even remember them all. (If you know what any of that means, you probably won’t mind the link, or you’ll know not to click on it if it’s not your thing; if you don’t know what those letters and numbers mean, I recommend not clicking the link. Just trust me on this one.)