Re: Guest Post - Challenging DOMA

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I just emailed heebie this and she may put it in the post, but the comment from their lawyer on the case is striking and likely to tug at heart strings: "We do hope to build from here, and have this be the first step towards marriage equality in Ohio. But for now, we just want to be sure that when John dies, the death record shows him as married."


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-22-13 7:26 AM
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Ha, I just tagged that on to the bottom of the OP.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-22-13 7:27 AM
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And to tie it to your other post, I think real stories are much more important than anything celebrities do in changing opinions on gay marriage. But that comes from having opinions change for many reasons on gay rights or just gay existence and reality in general.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-22-13 7:29 AM
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I was thrilled to have two students working for marriage equality in my state, one who identifies as straight, and one as bi. They both showed up in the picture on the front page of the newspaper of HRC staffers & state reps celebrating at the Capitol.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 07-22-13 8:48 AM
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As an update, the judge ruled that while litigation will be ongoing, Ohio must consider them legally wed to (when the time comes) issue a death certificate specifying them as married spouses and allow them to be buried together in the surviving spouse's family plot.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 5:37 AM
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I like good news in the morning (leaving aside the dying).


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 5:43 AM
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5, that's a nice update! Did you see the news about which areas have the highest percentages of gay parents? Apparently, it's in the most conservative states. Mississippi was (I think) the highest. Salt Lake City got a mention, too. I guess the theory is that in more conservative areas, people are more likely to get married and have kids, then later come out, find a partner, and continue parenting.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 5:48 AM
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7: That's been true for quite a while now, and they're disproportionately non-white in a lot of those places too. We're one of maybe four families at our church formed by adoption, but I can't think of more than 4 lesbian churchgoers over 40 who don't have biological children.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 5:59 AM
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I've been wondering about the couples in test cases like this one. I know they're carefully selected to be sympathetic, but I was trying to compile criteria that make them so. They're usually pretty good looking, obviously well off financially, and usually one has some situation to make them extra sympathetic (terminal illness, military service). It seems like they prefer couples who have been together 20+ years, with (cute) photos to prove it. No kids seems to be preferred, maybe so it's them against the world? I feel like there's something else, though, about how these couples' actual sexuality is really downplayed that I can't put my finger on. It does seem to be working well, but I wish it didn't have to be that way. Also, kudos to this couple for making their lives so piblic at what must be a hard time to do so.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 6:01 AM
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8, I knew, but I like to see stories like that in circulation because I think lots of people don't.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 6:03 AM
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9: Yep, there's a big difference from the cases that are brought to change laws and public sentiment and, for instance, all the contentious lesbian breakups with litigation that have taken coparenting rights out of gray areas and into the against-the-law column across the country. Or KY's current challenge to state DOMA, whether a wife can be compelled to testify against her wife, who's accused of a murder it sure seems she committed.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 6:08 AM
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11: Holy shit is that a bad plaintiff and a bad set of facts for a test case. Get me a photogenic lesbian with an adoring spouse and terminal cancer, stat!


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 6:39 AM
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"Think you're not likely to be murdered by a lesbian. Don't be so sure. See the story on the news at 10."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 6:46 AM
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They're usually pretty good looking, obviously well off financially, and usually one has some situation to make them extra sympathetic (terminal illness, military service).

Twas ever thus. Oliver Brown was the named litigant in the eponymous school desegregation case (a dozen or so families were party to the suit) because the NAACP thought having a male plaintiff would improve their chances in court.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 6:49 AM
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There's an op-ed in the NYT, btw, sent to me by Oudemia, about Russia's crackdown on all things gay, written by Harvey Fierstien, who I always wish could have been the de facto spokesgay rather than awful Dan Savage. In it, he Godwins, but...I don't know, it's hard not to be on edge about this. (He says the US should boycott the olympics in Sochi. Would this do anything?)


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 9:12 AM
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Is Dan Savage awful? What am I missing?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 9:18 AM
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He says the US should boycott the olympics in Sochi. Would this do anything?

Nothing useful, far as I can tell.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 9:20 AM
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16: I think the fact that his whole shtick is being judgmental about sex leads him to being judgmental about things that genuinely piss people off -- I've lost track of specifics, but I think he's been a jerk on trans issues. And there's always the 'supported the Iraq War' thing, if you want to go that far back.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 9:25 AM
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15: I was just talking about this with a friend who's a specialist on Russia (and is gay). Very shitty situation. Putin deserves a good Godwinning. He's really turning things in a fascist direction. Unfortunately he does have a fairly deep base of support. The latest moves to ally with the church have helped on that front. Nasty stuff.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 9:26 AM
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18: Makes sense.

I suppose since his medium is a podcast, hearing his voice turns him into "regular person" category for me. So I do disagree with many things he says, but still find him likable. Whereas if I were reading it, I might hold him to a different standard.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 9:29 AM
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18: I'm a dedicated listener to the podcast and haven't heard anything troubling about trans issues at all. I've been paying attention since I had heard there was something troublesome there (and also about bisexuals), but so far I've seen nada. I've seen him tell people stuff they'd rather not hear, but never in a 'phobic way.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 9:34 AM
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Yeah, I've never heard him be anti-trans, but I was assuming he evolved on the issue and had been an asshole in the archives. Also, I remember he pissed off a bunch of fat-rights folks before I was a regular listener. He gets into gray territory there, but nothing that specifically seemed indefensible to me.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 9:37 AM
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I suppose that's what I mean by the power of hearing his voice: I give him a pass to grow and evolve, because he seems like a human being stumbling along.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 9:39 AM
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17: When the Russians boycotted the LA Olympics, it made for a good joke on The Simpsons.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 9:43 AM
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He says the US should boycott the olympics in Sochi. Would this do anything?

Remind everyone of the Cold War.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 9:43 AM
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Not to speak for Smearcase, but I think Savage is probably much more annoying as the media-anointed chief spokesgay than he is as a guy with an amusing podcast where he gives off-the-cuff advice about sensitive topics. I haven't seen him say anything that sounded all that unforgiveable, if you give him the pass everyone seems to get on the Iraq War, but I'd probably be touchier about him if he were recognized as the Voice of middleaged straight white women.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 9:44 AM
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the Voice of middleaged straight white women

That's somebody on The View isn't it?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 9:49 AM
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Has he stopped reflexively mentioning how gross he finds the idea of cunnilingus yet? I always found that a super charming habit.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 9:50 AM
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16: He's been, until people called him out on it, anti-trans, anti-bisexual...I saw a not all that fascinating documentary on Netflix about people who consider themselves asexual and he showed up to smirk and raise his eyebrows--it solidified my feeling that his image as progressive and inclusive is pretty shallow. I also get the feeling he thinks he's smarter than he is, and he comes off as unpleasantly smug at times.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 9:55 AM
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Also 26.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 9:56 AM
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Let's all post our incomes feelings on cunnilingus.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 9:57 AM
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I think Dan Savage realized at an early age that he was unable to speak without pissing a certain number of people off due to his immense smugness, so he tries to orient his smugness in such a way as to piss off people who are members of traditionally powerful groups.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 9:58 AM
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Let's all post our incomes feelings on cunnilingus.

Beamish boy there now, face-first into her vulva's where he's happily headed. Unwitting Cornford'll quiver and jerk, spasmy thighs'll crush his ears.

All's brilling thereafter though, Springer's amidst the slithy toves. All squishy and squirmy's his clitoral Cornford too.


Posted by: Lucien Springer | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 10:12 AM
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Since a large percentage of accusations about 'transphobia' seem to be directed toward people who casually mention the fact that e.g. MtF transsexuals are not actually women, I take them with a grain of salt. Did Savage say anything actually hateful?


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 10:18 AM
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Cue someone saying that PGD's offhanded assertion that MtF transsexuals are not "actually women" is "actually hateful" in five ...


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 10:19 AM
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31. Tastes differ.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 10:23 AM
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35: You didn't specify the units.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 10:24 AM
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Tastes differ.

Well yeah, depending on general health, nutrition, time of the month, personal hygiene.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 10:28 AM
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34, 35: Well, sorta kinda. I get confused around trans issues (that is, the whole concept of trans-ness seems to make claims about the fundamental importance of gender presentation in a way that I find uncomfortable) but I manage to resolve the confusion largely by trying not to be a jerk to people who have much more personally at stake than I do, and calling trans women not actually women is at least being a jerk.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 10:28 AM
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Well yeah, depending on general health, nutrition, time of the month, personal hygiene.

Thanks for making that explicit.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 10:31 AM
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Dan Savage tends to be blind to his own privilege and to the experiences of less privileged groups until he gets seriously smacked down and educated. At which point he becomes smug about whatever it was he used to be obnoxiously wrong about.

He also has a liberal contractarian view of human relationships that seems completely batty to me because it ignores a huge part of what goes on between actual humans who are in relationships, families, cultures, have bodies, etc. This view gets him to some better opinions than, say, Pat Robertson might have, but it often makes for terrible advice.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 10:32 AM
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Yeah, it does seem hateful for a cisgendered person to pass casual judgment on someone else's gender identity.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 10:33 AM
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41 last is wise. I actually and honestly do think the "not actually women" line is pretty transphobic, or at a minimum pretty jerkish, especially when used dismissively as the limit line for crazy activists as it was in 34.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 10:37 AM
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Guess who's coming over for dinner tonight?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 10:49 AM
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Dan Savage?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 10:50 AM
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Sidney Poitier?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 10:50 AM
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44, 45, 46 is a great sequence.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 10:51 AM
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Hannibal Lecter?


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 10:51 AM
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The holocaust?


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 10:54 AM
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David Brooks?


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 10:54 AM
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David Holocaust.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 10:55 AM
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Hmm, I don't even know how to play hot and cold with this one.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 10:56 AM
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Poor David. He fell in love with Melissa D. Nyer but they just couldn't ever make it work.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 10:57 AM
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Bitch!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 10:58 AM
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They're driving across the country.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 10:59 AM
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If she wouldn't have insisted on hyphenating the last name, maybe...


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 10:59 AM
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I think some of these criticisms of Savage are holding him to a degree of political rectitude that anybody would be hard pressed to meet. We all have blind spots, unexamined privilege, and so forth. Here's a guy who's been a leader in the fight for SSM, started a very successful campaign to address suicide and alienation among LGBT youth, and done a bunch of other good things, but fuck him because he's not perfect.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 11:01 AM
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57: `Kiss up, kick down' deserves criticism even when it's done to drag part of a disadvantaged group upwards. Maybe especially then, on the reasoning that treachery is the worst sin.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 11:06 AM
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55: Thunderstorms.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 11:06 AM
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I have no idea what 58 is referring to.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 11:07 AM
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57: I'm fine with criticizing Savage if he says dumb things, but I agree that it gets a little over the top.

In the parts of the intertubes I frequent, it seems inevitable that if Savage is mentioned, the resulting comments thread will eventually become a "Dan Savage: History's Greatest Monster, or just evil?" debate.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 11:07 AM
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54, 55: I knew this because I emailed to ask her WTF she was doing in Mississippi.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 11:10 AM
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58: Are there any specific examples of this bad behavior that anyone can point to? Or do people not like Savage because they don't like the cut of his jib? If it's mostly criticism on the grounds of smugness and obnoxiousness, I'd think a certain amount of that is fairly common among people who are outspoken advocates of anything.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 11:11 AM
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CA to TX via Mississippi??


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 11:12 AM
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39: I think the simplest explanation for persistent disagreements on this between good people, is that some people, but not all, are born with (or develop at a very early age) strongly gendered minds.

This post was helpful to me.

It can be hard for people for whom gender is just not all that salient - like me - to learn to understand why the "not actually women" thing is so insulting to people for whom gender is extremely salient to their core identity.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 11:12 AM
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The smugness or repetitive anti-cunninglingusness is the type of thing where all that matters is if I basically find the person funny and charming. If the person amuses me, then I'll find it amusing. If the person grates on me, I'll want to slap them. Generally he amuses me. (Now I feel like a queen, indicating with my scepter who amuses and who shall be beheaded. Rightly so.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 11:14 AM
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Many trans women have put a considerable amount of effort, at considerable risk, including social ostracism and a non-trivial chance of actual violence, into becoming women and identifying as such, so it seems particularly and unnecessarily nasty and flippant to go around deciding that they aren't "actually" women just because you say so.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 11:21 AM
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Funny covers a lot of sins. Anyhow, as LB says above, I don't think there's a case to be made for "Dan Savage, History's Greatest Monster" but there may be reasons why it's annoying to have him as the go-to spokesperson (to the extent he is) on gay issues.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 11:23 AM
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I think Savage is pretty good on the sex stuff, but his Big Dumb Iraq Column is really an exemplar of the genre. We aren't talking Yglesian qualified support + prompt apology + genuine reassessment of overall worldview here. It basically reads like checklist of all the dumbest shit people were saying in the run-up to the war. Comparisons to 1938? Check. Characterization of all war opponents as smelly hippies? Check. Un-ironic use of the term "Islamo-fascism?" Check. By the end, he's called for war with Iran, too. And while he eventually did write an "I was wrong" apology, it takes the same overall defensive tone he uses when someone yells at him for saying "retarded" or something. I demand grovelling! The best thing you can say is that he at least now he's learned to shut the fuck up about all things foreign policy.


Posted by: FHD | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 11:25 AM
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He also has a liberal contractarian view of human relationships that seems completely batty to me because it ignores a huge part of what goes on between actual humans who are in relationships, families, cultures, have bodies, etc. This view gets him to some better opinions than, say, Pat Robertson might have, but it often makes for terrible advice.

Anything he thinks people do because of religion, he hates.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 11:26 AM
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Cunnilingus is part of my religion.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 11:35 AM
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57: I just don't think it's being petty/don't think the things he's fucked up have been that minor. Given that he's a sex columnist, his flippant bullshit about bisexuals (for instance) is lousy, both because he should know better and because he is in whatever rarefied/debased way, an authority. Because of how he's positioned, his way of talking about sexuality validates people's tendency to universalize their own prejudices.

1999 "Sorry, but avoiding bi guys is a good rule of thumb for gay men looking for long-term relationships. Outside of San Francisco's alternate-universe bisexual community, there aren't many bi guys who want or wind up in long-term, same-sex relationships -- monogamous or not."

2009 "Question: I'm a lesbian, and my girlfriend is bisexual and wants to have a three-way with a man. This makes me nervous. What should I do?
DS: Get yourself a refillable Xanax prescription, or get yourself an actual lesbian girlfriend."

I'm glad he did "it gets better" though I think it was, on the whole, probably a meaningless feel-good moment. I think his hijacking of the word Santorum is funny and very clever. I'm not aware of how much he had to do with gay marriage. I just don't really like the guy and, as LB said, it's amplified by the fact that he is lately often the person interviewed on tv about my interests. I don't think he's history's greatest monster.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 11:41 AM
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I don't think he's history's greatest monster.

No, of course not. But is he history's greatest gay monster? What about history's greatest advice-column monster?

What's the broadest class of monsters of which Dan Savage is the greatest? He's clearly history's greatest gay advice-column-writing pro-Iraq-war anti-cunninglingus monster. But can we say anything broader than that?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 11:49 AM
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Cunnilingus is part of my religion.

It belongs to the Apo's tool lick tradition.



Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 11:50 AM
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"Cunninglingus" is heebie's fault; that was copied and pasted from 66.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 11:50 AM
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71: I'm shocked! I would have thought cunnilingus would be the whole of your religion.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 11:51 AM
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71: "Take, eat; this is my body."


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 11:53 AM
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77: I was going to go for a "body & the blood" joke, but yours was better.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 11:56 AM
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75 As to other variants thereof--despite blowing it on the band name and not being from the '70s, this song is one that I find hauntingly beautiful.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 12:01 PM
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76: And wash your whole religion, not just your religion hole!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 12:08 PM
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1971 may not be the 70s, but I just found this song by John Kongos, which is unlike anything I've ever heard. What else is akin to it?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 12:17 PM
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Sometimes it makes me feel terribly one-dimensional that I comment most on gay threads.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 12:19 PM
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82: I'd be happy to send heebie a knitting guest post so we can both feel more well-rounded!

I don't personally find Dan Savage all that great but I also don't pay him much attention, so I can't really share an informed opinion.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 12:22 PM
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What else is akin to it?

The verses are vaguely reminiscent of the verses of the Beatles' "Come Together".


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 12:24 PM
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74 is brilliant.

I'm actually surprised to see that "get yourself an actual lesbian girlfriend" line as late as 2009. I saw him give a talk in person a few months ago, and IIRC he explicitly expressed regret over his dismissive statements towards bisexuals in the past; I had assumed he'd seen the light, so to speak, quite some time ago. Then again, he was speaking in SF, at the Castro Theater, so maybe he was afraid of pissing off the "alternate universe bisexual community."

I think he's done an impressive job of simultaneously normalizing deviant practices while pushing against "kinkier is better" thinking. (Paraphrasing from his talk: "if you're a couple who likes sex to be always missionary with the lights off, and they're a poly five-some who does unprintable things, but everyone's getting they're needs met, both groups are doing the right thing.")

70 does get it absolutely right, though. When pressed by the moderator (Lemony Snicket!), Savage went on a long rant about how awful religion is and how for the sake of humanity we need to get over it.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 12:25 PM
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Jesus, and now I'll stop commenting for the day, driven away by the shame of my they're/their typo.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 12:28 PM
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I basically grew up reading Dan Savage, because the Onion was everywhere in my hometown long before it disseminated. My sense of him is that his brilliant plan for a career, which was to be a professional verbal abuser, slowly ran into trouble as he got more famous and had to keep apologizing to and diluting his shtick for a wider audience. His early columns were mostly insults leavened with decent advice about improbable situations. For a while, his increasing popularity and legitimacy sort of confirmed my worst early-teenage fears about... hmm. About how there was some masculine hive mind that was frequently contradicted by things individual men actually said to women, but that was much more important and serious than individual experience. You were always in a relationship with Male Sexuality first, and individual men second. To be clear, I take this mostly to be bullshit, but I can't quite account for DS's popularity without granting it some practical standing. As an adult I admit I haven't really kept track of his evolution from fire-breathing jerk to thoughtful, married-with-kid cultural patriarch, but I've never quite understood what forces were driving that evolution.

I was very interested in the Ben Dueholm piece on him linked here a couple years ago, because Dueholm and I are from the same place (and I imagine his exposure was similarly extensive if he tended to pick up newspapers lying around as much as I did). Of course the column ran in a lot of newspapers; there was something about that Onion/Savage combo, though, that created a very enduring model of (one kind of) masculinity for me, from about age 11 on...

I have accepted the assholes in our earthly midst with as much soothing goodwill as a fresh Tucks pad, but I still don't get the motives behind 35.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 12:33 PM
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The post in 65 roughly matches my point of view, but I was under the impression that analogizing trans people to people with BIID *is* trans-phobic. So I'm not sure how that post is going to help anyone become less trans-phobic.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 12:35 PM
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88: Why do you hate people with BIID?


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 12:44 PM
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Or, rather, why are we all supposed to?


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 12:44 PM
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Same reason we hate Canadians -- they are the Other.

The post linked in 65 is getting at the issues I find troubling, but the solution arrived at isn't one I find satisfying.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 12:46 PM
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91: solution?


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 12:48 PM
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Googleing "dan savage transphobia" turns up enough material to at least justify some finger wagging to put it mildly (using the words 'shemale' and 'tranny', being generally insensitive around trans issues). My listening to and reading his material predisposes me to believe that he's been on a generally positive arc, certainly with respect to bi issues, where he's gone into some detail on his podcast about his evolution. I seem to recall some signs of greater sensitivity on trans issues but they do not come up quite as often.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 12:49 PM
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What else is akin to it?

Has aromas of T-Rex and Sweet.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 1:00 PM
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T-Rex really had a lot of good songs. In fact, I can't think of any of their bad songs. I should probably get over the hatred instilled by 30 years of cultural cliches accompanied by overplaying of one of their (not actually bad) songs.

I wonder if Joan Jett and the Blackhearts were actually a good band, too?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 1:06 PM
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96

T-Rex really had a lot of good songs.

I'm rather fond of the feel of this one.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 1:11 PM
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I wonder if Joan Jett and the Blackhearts were actually a good band, too?

Not really. I wanted to like them, Joan Jett seems like a very cool person, but most of what I've listened to was just okay -- better than average, but not all that good.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 1:16 PM
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81: 1971 may not be the 70s

Reminds me that the song linked in 79 actually samples this Shawn Phillips song from 1970 (and makes much more effective use of the distinctive elements than the original which buries them in a long drawn-out snooze fest).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 1:24 PM
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I don't hate people with BIID, but I do feel sorry for them, hope that some day we come up with a cure, and am skeptical that health insurance should pay for their amputations. All of these are things where the analogue would be trans-phobic, so I find the analogy anti-helpful in terms of getting me to understand trans issues better.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 1:26 PM
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99: Seems like it should depend on whether someone with BIID (or, for that matter, a transsexual) wants to be cured. They're not hurting anyone else, they'll be happy and go back to their life if you just amputate the stupid arm, so why not do it?


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 1:45 PM
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I'm rather fond of the feel of this one.

Whereas I prefer this one.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 2:00 PM
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102

I don't think the end goal of trans activism is a situation where people think "well that's fucked up, but I guess they're not hurting anyone so we shouldn't interfere."

Part of my opinion is definitely colored here by having a brother who was basically trans as a kid, but is now a totally male-idenitifed bear-cub-ish gay man. The years he wanted to be a girl feels more analogous to me to the years that he was somewhat anorexic than it does to his being gay.

However, by looking at the arc of history and similar movements, it seems quite likely to me that I'm totally wrong about trans issues. I'd love to see a good explanation of why I'm wrong. But that article definitely doesn't get me any closer to that.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 2:04 PM
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103

In the last year or so, I've noticed more and more people describing themselves as gender-ambiguous or gender-uncertain. What's the current thinking about that? Because I sometimes suspect that a number of those people would, a decade or so ago, have described themselves instead as trans (on the theory that if they're not feeling x, then they must be y). And if that's the case, if the category of "trans" was, at least for some people, a way of naming a feeling of gender-ambiguity, then the analogy to BIID doesn't really hold up.


Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 2:20 PM
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104

103 is interesting because I've heard older lesbians talk about how people who would once have identified as butch started to identify as trans. (And then it veers into some interesting but fraught territory, cf: Michigan Womyn's Music Festival and the yearly clusterfuck about women-born-women etc.)


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 2:24 PM
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I think I'd bet on Joan Jett in a fight with Dan Savage.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 3:54 PM
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103, 104: if the category of "trans" was, at least for some people, a way of naming a feeling of gender-ambiguity

older lesbians talk about how people who would once have identified as butch started to identify as trans

That's actually sort of at the root of what makes me uncomfortable about trans issues. That is, I never really thought about trans-ness as something that it was my problem to be comfortable or uncomfortable about, so long as I managed not to be a jerk about it, until I became aware of what I will vaguely gesture at as the sort of thing the two of you are talking about. ("Vaguely gesture" because god knows I don't know what I'm talking about.)

And that sort of thing sounds sort of, to me, as if at least some trans/genderqueer people are thinking of trans-ness as including a feeling that one doesn't comfortably identify with the social/cultural role associated with one's chromosomal sex (as opposed to how I used to think trans people thought of themselves, as more having a strong feeling of identification as a member of the opposite chromosomal sex). And that sits uncomfortably with me, because it seems to reify the social/cultural role associated with chromosomal sex into something that has to be accepted or rejected as a whole rather than being critiqued or ignored: an XX person who doesn't identify with the social role women have in our society seems now to be likelier to think of themselves as someone whose gender identity is either male or at least non-female rather than as someone who thinks the social role women have in our society is largely bullshit. Which I find troubling, because I think there's a lot of value in critiquing and rejecting unfortunate aspects of gender roles as prescribed by our society.

And then I remember that I don't have much personally at stake here, and the stuff I have difficulty with is probably stuff that I'm not understanding properly, and I should go back to focusing on trying not to be an asshole about trans stuff rather than about how some aspects of it make me puzzled in a less than completely happy way.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 3:56 PM
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an XX person who doesn't identify with the social role women have in our society seems now to be likelier to think of themselves as someone whose gender identity is either male or at least non-female rather than as someone who thinks the social role women have in our society is largely bullshit. Which I find troubling, because I think there's a lot of value in critiquing and rejecting unfortunate aspects of gender roles as prescribed by our society.

This, IME, is where the notion of genderqueerness comes in. I've had this exact conversation with a gq friend of mine, though, and I think it's safe to say that your concern isn't really an issue; anyone who's thinking enough about gender and gender roles to consider themselves genderqueer or trans* is going to probably be even more dedicated to critiquing mainstream attitudes than you or I.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 4:07 PM
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108

107 gets it right, I think.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 4:15 PM
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Well, that's sort of the basis on which I go back to figuring that the important thing is to avoid being an asshole, but it doesn't actually make me less bothered.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 4:16 PM
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I'm not really qualified to speak to these issues at all, either, but the one FTM trans person whom I know well enough to talk about these issues with both (a) very strongly identifies as male and (b) is very strongly committed to critiquing gender roles, stereotypes, characterizations, etc. I think that's pretty common, if not universal. The two can very very comfortably co-exist, and there's not any obvious loss or problem for critiquing gender roles generally with having people feeling that it's important -- for them, not for everyone -- to cross genders. It kind of all blends into one big soup of people should be entitled to do what they want and take on identities of their choice without lots of pressure and stereotyping. So I don't really think that the thing you're bothered by is any kind of real concern, just an abstract concern about a problem that doesn't actually exist.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 4:24 PM
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109: Does it help to think of trans*-ness as more than strictly binary? If you look at the options in this graphic, a bunch of them don't fall into the trap you're bothered by.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 4:27 PM
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111 is also a good point.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 4:28 PM
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113

I thought of you, Halford, while eating a bagel.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 4:31 PM
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Shouldn't that be "while limping over to the counter to order a bagel"? Anyhow, yes, Glassman is kind of an idiot, but a good fitness coach.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 4:34 PM
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I have a lot to say about this, but it looks like Josh will manage it all before I get a chance. I think it makes more sense to think of trans as a spectrum or umbrella or constellation or something else that will hit the analogy ban. I read this post today and I think it really speaks to 103 (and I think there's a lot of truth to 104, too, and they're not mutually exclusive) and I'll just caveat that it's a blog I really liked when it was a two-mom blog and that I really appreciate that they've been so open about the process of becoming a mom-and-dad family. Anyway, time for me to go read Nia a chapter or two of her book. http://firsttimesecondtime.com/2013/06/21/why-not-then/


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 4:39 PM
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Vociferous disagreement here which I don't want to prolong. But just to say my bit: I think the 'jerkishness' issue is different if you are dealing face-to-face with someone in your personal life, where essentially you are doing them a favor, vs. the public sphere. (Which Dan Savage is operating in). I don't think that the demands of communal civility do or should require never mentioning the factual difference between MtFs and women. Identity exists in a lot of places at once -- subjectively in our heads and our choices, objectively in our physical bodies, and intersubjectively in the decisions of the community as a whole about how to recognize each other and how we are comfortable with each other. (And yes, that latter part can mean that someone else doesn't see you the same way you see yourself). All have their own kind of validity.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 4:45 PM
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111: Actually, the non-binaryness of current trans-related stuff is more what sets off my (minor, unimportant, almost certainly due to imperfect understanding, in any case less important than not being a jerk about it) discomfort. Someone who's transness is an expression of a feeling something like: "While I'm chromosomally XY(or XX), my self-conception is as a woman(or man), and it's important to me to be perceived by others and express myself as such rather than as I would tend to be perceived based on my chromosomal gender" doesn't bother me at all. I don't empathize with it particularly well, in that I don't have any kind of strong sense of what it would feel like to feel as if my chromosomal gender was wrong for me, but I don't need to be able to empathize with everything.

Once you get into the more non-binary gender identities, though, there seems to be an implication that rejecting socially conventional masculinity or femininity is itself a gender identity, which further seems to me to imply that some reaction to socially conventional masculinity or femininity is a necessarily fundamental aspect of identity. And that's where I start getting inchoately disturbed.

But really, remaining focused on not being a jerk about it, and figuring that if I understood things better I'd be less troubled, is probably the way to go.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 4:46 PM
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seems to me to imply that some reaction to socially conventional masculinity or femininity is a necessarily fundamental aspect of identity

Seems to me that some reaction to conventional masculinity or femininity, whatever that reaction might be, is indeed a pretty damn important part of most people's identity, and I'm hard-pressed to see how it could be otherwise.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 4:50 PM
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119

I admit I don't like all those alternative-gendered personal pronouns and feel it's slightly unreasonable to insist on their use in reference to oneself.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 4:59 PM
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120

64 was a serious question.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 5:02 PM
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121

She is not going from CA to TX via Mississippi.

Can you think of another route that would involve all of CA, TX, and Mississippi?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 5:04 PM
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Louisiana to California as traveled by a guy not very good at starting out?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 5:10 PM
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118: This is really not clearly thought out, and I'm obviously on shaky ground in talking about this stuff from any position other than total support, and should probably drop it.

That said, I meant to be doing something with 'necessarily fundamental' that I don't think came across. Like, I think of myself as cis, because I'm fine with the gendered aspects of my body. If being female-bodied felt wrong to me, and I identified with being male-bodied, I'd be trans; it makes sense to me that that sort of feeling of harmony or disharmony with one's physically expressed sex would necessarily be a fundamental aspect of identity, one way or the other. Your body's right there with you all the time, and you've got to feel somehow about it.

Conventional masculinity or femininity, on the other hand, seems like something that there's nothing necessary about. You can accept and play out gender roles thoughtlessly and wholly, or thoughtfully and wholly, or partially in all sorts of ways; you can put a lot of emotional/intellectual/physical energy into expressing socialized gender roles of whatever sort, or little or no energy. And what you do and feel in this regard seems to me to be a hugely contingent response to all sorts of factors in your social environment and personal history. Reifying a particular individualized response to conventional socialized gender roles into something that's necessarily fundamental to your identity seems off to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 5:14 PM
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LB, I keep getting confused by what you're saying. I keep expecting that you're saying: there's a tension between gender being socially constructed and a trans person being born trans. But when I try to read what you're saying it feels like something else.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 5:24 PM
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Hrm, I guess LB and I have totally disjoint sticking points. For me it makes sense to think "well society is really aggressive about putting people in gender boxes and I'd be happier being forced into that box than this one."


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 5:25 PM
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121: Circumnavigating the globe in 80 days, starting and ending in Shreveport?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 5:26 PM
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Well, (a) you're not following me because my thoughts on this aren't clear so what I'm saying isn't clear, but (b) while what you're saying isn't what I'm thinking, it's not wildly far off.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 5:30 PM
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I still have trouble with the part that involves some people undergoing ball-removal surgery.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 5:35 PM
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I'm not really sure I follow LB's point well enough to continue the discussion. Are you saying something like the following: all gender identities are socially construed, so saying "I'm really going to go for broke on screwing around with gender identities" isn't really a specific "identity" in the sense of something driven by something deeper/more innate (or biological?) but rather just something that's on a continuum with everyone's socially-constructed gender identity?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 5:50 PM
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119: yeah, there's that. I'm fine with third-person-vague via "they"* but zie and stuff feels...well, I'd do it if asked, but pronouns are a closed class and it's the kind of request
I think I would not readily make of anyone. (I can't think of an analog and they're banned anyway so I can't be sure.) Maybe this is my shit to work on. I'm not sure.

*as it turns out, it feels strange to speak of a specific person as they and them, less so "their" since that's common usage, as I know from having a very gender queer spouse of friend who first considered themselves FTM and now...I think "trans" as a less specific category.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 5:56 PM
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I'm not really sure I follow LB's point well enough to continue the discussion.

I'm not sure that I have a clear enough point to productively discuss -- any confusion or misunderstanding here is all on me. But on this:

Are you saying something like the following: all gender identities are socially construed, so saying "I'm really going to go for broke on screwing around with gender identities" isn't really a specific "identity" in the sense of something driven by something deeper/more innate (or biological?) but rather just something that's on a continuum with everyone's socially-constructed gender identity?

Sort of, although I'd probably put a 'largely' into the phrase 'socially constructed'. I'm not completely happy with the second sentence, but it's close -- I wouldn't want to say exactly "isn't really a specific 'identity'" but something more like 'is overvaluing the fundamentalness of any of the socially constructed aspects of gender identity."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 5:59 PM
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I tend to roll my privileged eyes at the more strident, humorless demands for New Language, New Thoughts, New People, New State, New World!, but in general I think it is both courteous and moral to address people as they ask to be addressed, whether the person asking is an irritating goth teenager (" 'Todd' is my slave name! And it's pronounced 'Zheel de Ray'!") or a person of non-traditional gender identification, not least because doing so is the very opposite of contributing to the world's sum total of hateful talk, of which there is far too much already.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 6:14 PM
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That, certainly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 6:15 PM
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We ought to choose a day and all comment as irritating goth teenagers.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 6:21 PM
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I misposted a thing about this in the other thread, but it's too depressing to post my cisgendered "I'm sometimes cranky about genderqueerness" inanity twice, so I won't.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 7:14 PM
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Speaking of unpopular gay spokespeople and trans issues, Andrew Sullivan today linked to an interesting article on gender identity and children.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 07-23-13 9:57 PM
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134: Don't tell me what to do! Oh my god you so do not understand my life Flippanter I hate you I HATE YOU!


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 07-24-13 3:34 AM
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137: Wonderella, you complete me.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07-24-13 5:45 AM
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Conventional masculinity or femininity, on the other hand, seems like something that there's nothing necessary about. You can accept and play out gender roles thoughtlessly and wholly, or thoughtfully and wholly, or partially in all sorts of ways; you can put a lot of emotional/intellectual/physical energy into expressing socialized gender roles of whatever sort, or little or no energy. And what you do and feel in this regard seems to me to be a hugely contingent response to all sorts of factors in your social environment and personal history. Reifying a particular individualized response to conventional socialized gender roles into something that's necessarily fundamental to your identity seems off to me.

This makes sense to me. This may or may not be what you were getting at, but the example that springs to mind is women who broke into male-dominated or exclusively-male professions in the 1950s. The were certainly bucking conventional gender roles, but does it really make sense to label them as being in "trans" in some way? And then fast forward twenty or thirty years, when it was no longer so remarkable to be a woman in one of those professions. Are the women who were the pioneers no longer trans, just because society has caught up to them? In any case it seems like this is something quite different than the experience of someone who was born with a vagina but feels deeply and strongly that they really ought to have a penis instead. Such a person feels that way regardless of what current societal norms say regarding what sorts of professions vagina-having people are allowed to enter into.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 07-24-13 6:30 AM
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This popped up on my radar the other day: http://www.interfaceproject.org/soulsville/2013/6/11/huey-lewis-eden-atwood-and-friends-present-soulsville-a-benefit-for-the-interface-project


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-24-13 6:57 AM
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(Because it was in the local paper)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-24-13 7:02 AM
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I feel like there's a major category error in 139 and 131. Sure, there's a continuum of gender transformativeness that a lot of people are on, and I guess I can sympathize with "I acted in a nonconventionally feminine manner and didn't ask for a fucking identity medal." But feeling a deep need to radically transform either your body and the public perception of it, including in the most intimate way -- your sexuality -- is such a difference in degree from, I dunno, wearing short hair and not liking frilly dresses that I think it's a difference in kind. Largely because, for the people involved, it IS identity forming, but also because we're just talking about a basically deeper level of transformation/rejection of gender identity.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-24-13 7:27 AM
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