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If you are an ally wearing purple today in support and solidarity with those who have taken their own lives because of anti-queer bullying, good for you. What else are you doing? If you are supporting the It Gets Better project, what are you doing to make it better?

 

Because I have spent too much of my life repressing who I am, trying to kill myself for who I am, tenuously striking a bargain with myself to be okay with who I am, to put much faith in the idea of some undefined "tomorrow." It is not enough for me. It should not be enough for you.

People should not have to wait until later for it to get better. People should not have to wait for "better," period, if "better" means "well, people aren't giving you wedgies, drowning out your words with derision and exaggerated lisping, conveniently ignoring your raised hand in class, disseminating videos of you without your consent, trying to rape you straight, jumping you in the bathroom, or whispering in your ear that you should do everyone a favor and kill yourself anymore, but you can't get married, put your partner on your health insurance, be visited by hir in the hospital, or even have your partner join you in this country if ze was born abroad, be out at your job if you want to keep it, be treated by the government or random dudes on the street with any semblance of respect or dignity, or turn on the TV without hearing some red-faced pundit blame you for the wrongs of the modern world."

That is not better. That is a gross violation of civil rights for which people should not be reduced to begging, or lied to about it being the carrot worth keeping them moving forward. It is a vision of the world in which being queer is only okay if you can still squeeze yourself into a white heterosexual ideal.

If you have been surprised by the six suicides we've heard about in the past few weeks, you should be driven to tears when I tell you that 34,598 killed themselves in 2007 in this nation and more than a quarter of them were queer. Queer children kill themselves (and plot to kill themselves, and attempt to kill themselves) in droves. For queer children, self-hatred and self-harm come to feel like the necessary steps to a productive adulthood. Messages that it "gets better" are tacit approvals of how horrible it feels and is now, and vague promises of a future that feels like it will never come. It is why the other groups most at-risk for attempting or completing suicide are Native American men, elderly people, people who have recently post partners to divorce or death, people in or recently released from prisons and mental hospitals, veterans, and homeless people-- people, in other words, who feel different and alone, who have no safe space to bring their thoughts, minds, and bodies.

Wear purple, if you want. But do not do it an then pat yourself on the back for it, feeling that the message has been delivered. Because until you have written your congress person, refused to laugh at jokes made at the expense of trans women, had a meeting with your school principal about why the GSA can't seem to find a meeting room, spoken at your place of worship, thanked someone for coming out to you, asked your health clinic why they don't provide sliding-scale therapy to make mental health care more accessible, gotten up from the table when your cousin wouldn't stop describing things as gay, pushed for immigration reform, demanded that your school district provide sensitivity training for all school personnel, stopped assuming you know someone's gender history (or future!) just by looking at them, expressed love for your friends without quickly qualifying that you're "not like that," served meals at soup kitchens, held actual discussions with your child about difference, read books by people who look and love differently than you, not jerked your hand away when it is accidentally brushed by someone of the same sex on the T, and rallied your peers against the climate of death with which we surround difference in this country-- until we have taken steps to make queer lives with living now-- there is still an impossible amount of work to be undertaken and your self-congratulation is a disservice to the millions of queers who have killed themselves or been killed by others for who they are.

You have the duty to know these things and the power to change them.

What steps are you taking?
 

I end with an address to queer people in the words of Audre Lorde, who has said anything I might ever want to say more eloquently already:

[T]hat visibility which makes us most vulnerable is that which also is the source of our greatest strength. Because the machine will try to grind you into dust anyway, whether or not we speak. We can sit in our corners mute forever while our sisters and our selves are wasted, while our children are distorted and destroyed, while our earth is poisoned; we can sit in our safe corners mute as bottles, and we will still be no less afraid. [...]

The fact that we are here and that I speak these words is an attempt to break that silence and bridge some of those differences between us, for it is not difference which immobilizes us, but silence. And there are so many silences to be broken.

--"The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action"

 

Please donate to a worthy organization, and ask them what more you can do to help them. If you know an organization that could use some help, please feel free to leave a comment with their contact info.

The Trevor Project (http://www.thetrevorproject.org/)
866-4-U-TREVOR National listening line for queer youths contemplating suicide

Fenway Community Health Peer Listening Line (http://www.fenwayhealth.com/)
800-399-PEER A national, Boston-based listening line for queer people

Hopeline (http://www.hopeline.com/)
1-800-SUICIDE A national listening line.

The Boston Area Rape Crisis Counselling Center (BARCC) (http://www.barcc.org/)
800.841.8371 A Boston-based rape crisis center

Boston-Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, (Bisexual, Transgender) Youth (BAGLY) (http://www.BAGLY.com/)
A Boston institution nurturing the next generation of queer leaders

The Home for Little Wanderers (http://www.thehome.org/
A Boston non-profit that helps and houses at-risk kids (including a house for queer kids who have been kicked out of home or foster placements due to their sexuality or gender)

The Audre Lorde Project (http://www.alp.org/)  
Brooklyn-based organization for queer people of color concentrating on community organizing and radical nonviolent activism around progressive issues.

Camp Aranutiq (http://www.camparanutiq.org/)  
A summer camp for gender-variant kids aged 8-15.

Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN) (http://www.glsn.org/)  
A national organization supporting kids through schools. Especially notable for their work with GSAs and their school climate studies

Soulforce (http://www.soulforce.org/)

"Guided by the spirit of truth and empowered by the principles of relentless nonviolent resistance, works to end the religious and political oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning people."


(Please link with abandon.)

-The gang is at Central Perk in the middle of the day
-Monica starts cleaning (x2 if what she is cleaning is not hers)
-Homosociality. (x2 if Rachel is a conduit for it)
-Pheobe's checkered past
-A specific food is mentioned
-Ross mentions getting divorced (x2 if it is a hypothetical/future divorce)

-Whenever a Tina Fey's life is sad, penniless, and friendless
-Whenever a Plastic is on the phone
-"Some sort of nefarious girl mechanization is in process"
-Someone calls someone a slut, whore, or skank
-Someone does math ("they're in the math room; I don't know why we're not drinking")
-When someone mispronounces "Cady"
-Someone mentions Africa
-Someone kisses (grunting noises count as implied kissing)
-Whenever Janice or Damian are gay
-Gretchen tells a secret
-When Cady tells a lie to fit in
-Someone tells someone to shut up
-

the listening heavens

Check it.

Posted on 30/08/2009 at 03:19
To put things very delicately, it bothers me when I see people throwing their privilege around, and it bothers me when I miss that where it should be obvious. I'm working on it.

(Thank you to those of you who wrote nice comments on my protected post. I couldn't figure out how to respond, so I didn't. I'm like that.)

life of the party

There are times when we are absolutely nowhere1

Posted on 20/08/2009 at 03:08
I just saw this clip via The Angry Black Woman:


(embed is fickle. If it's not showing up, click here.2)

This is just the latest of videos of truly violent3, jaw-droppingly appalling, often racially- or ethnically-charged4 conduct at town halls on health care reform. But sometimes, I see stuff like this and it is just too much.

Because are you fucking kidding me with this? To say "heil Hitler" to an Israeli Jew, as an accusation, as an insult because you disagree with him on how large the government should be, and whether it should provide health care for its citizens. There is still so much work to do and there are times when I am not up to any of it. I understand anger-baiting, but I also understand cruelty, malice, bad faith, and evil. And there is something evil in this. Rabbi Menachem Mendel said:
Intolerance lies at the core of evil. Not the intolerance that results from any threat or danger. But intolerance of another being who dares to exist. Intolerance without cause. It is so deep within us, because every human being secretly desires the entire universe to himself. Our only way out is to learn compassion without cause. To care for each other simply because that 'other' exists."

Several protesters hold signs against health care reform. One man holds a sign that says 'we have not idea what they we are talking about.' On the sign, several arrows point at the people around him. In front of him, a girl holds a sign reading 'sorry, we thought reading the bill was ur job.'

This quote always brings up another for me. In "Mother Night," a book about a playwright-turned Nazi propagandist, Kurt Vonnegut writes
There are plenty of good reasons for fighting, but no good reason ever to hate without reservation, to imagine that G-d Almighty Himself hates with you, too. Where's evil? It's that large part of every man that wants to hate without limit, that wants to hate with G-d on his side.

I watched the above video with a good friend of mine, who is not Jewish, but whose gay great uncle was killed in the Holocaust. He, too felt flabbergasted, but a short while later we were trying to light a fire which kept dying. He called the efforts lame and I told him that was an ableist term. He gave me such a look of annoyance, though occasionally he will apologize when I call him on "retarded," and has learnt the term "hipster racism." Where do you go with this? What do you do in a world that wants to hate without limit? I can understand wanting a small government. I can understand not trusting politicians. To disagree what sorts of programs a government should provide. To get upset when you see people stand in opposition to your ideals, even to lash out occationally.

But I cannot understand the baseless, monstrous comparisons to Adolf G-ddamned Hitler; strapping on guns and publicly, proudly threatening the president; I cannot understand a willful abandonment of humanity for inhumanity, the hatred of the other who dares to exist.

So. Where do you go with this?5 Where do you find that compassion without cause? How do you care for the other when the other is against (health) care? Where do you find love to combat intolerance so visceral?

____
1. "The West Wing," "Take This Sabbath Day." Sam Seaborn to Leo McGarry on the President's refusal to take a stand against capital punishment.
2. For those unable to view or hear the video, the title tells you the long and short of it. An Israeli man is talking about how in Israel, they care for people, particularly soldiers, and provide everyone with health care. As he speaks, a woman off camera shouts "Heil Hitler." He says to the reporter "did you hear that? She said to a Jew 'Heil Hitler'." He then confronts her: "I'm a Jew, you're telling me 'Heil Hitler?' Shame of you! Shame of you!" Full transcript when I have headphones.
3. Hate crime-tracking groups report upswing in activity against President Obama, a health care protester uses Twitter to encourage people to carry and even use guns at town meetings, a Tampa town hall turns violent and is cancelled
4. Black Rep. David Scott (D-Georgia)'s offices are vandalized with a four-foot swastika following a town hall meeting, a woman has her poster of Rosa Parks ripped out of her hands. If you're not quite sure about this racial undercurrent, I invite you to take a look at the comment section of virtually any piece about health care reform.
5. Me? I intellectualize.


life of the party

A poem I wrote!

Posted on 23/02/2009 at 00:45
I have been reading a lot of Yehuda Amichai lately.

GriefCollapse )

life of the party

Things I fell in love with this year

Posted on 30/12/2008 at 23:19
-Fenway High
-My students
-"Why you gotta ride the Stallion?"
-Om 10
-"1984"
-Having a daily routine
-Being proud of myself
-Teacher talk in the teacher's room
-The other English Ed majors in my program
-Coolidge Corner
-Google
-Google calendar
-Google search history
-My body
-Testosterone
-Queer theory
-The Sisters of Notre Dame
-"How I Met Your Mother"
-"Pushing Daisies"
-"Dr Who"
-"The World According to Garp", John Irving
-Dinner Dash
-Wii
-Being naked
-Living alone
-Badger Balm
-Rocking the boat
-Being kind
-The Chicken Bone
-Sushi
-BANG!
-Wordpress
-Kurt Vonnegut, the New Kids on the Block, and reading, all over again

life of the party

I love my gram

Posted on 30/12/2008 at 14:43
Gram: Listen, tomorrow is my last day of being crazy. After the new year, I am going to start acting like a real, old, grandma.

Eli: See, Gram, this website has a program that will let you play crossword puzzles on your computer.
Gram: Too fast! Too fast! I'm not ready to die yet! I don't want to die! There's too much!

Gram: Now, how long do you put [the popcorn] on for?
Sarah: Well, actually, there is a popcorn button and you just press it...
Gram: I want to go home.

life of the party

Google search history

Posted on 03/07/2008 at 17:36
Awesome things I found in my Google search history

Read more...Collapse )

life of the party

Rules of Engagement

Posted on 03/07/2008 at 04:17
Fair warning: If you use the spelling "kree8yve" to mock using creative spellings of names, I will kill you.

That is all.


life of the party

I Am a Mental Person, Part XXIV

Posted on 07/06/2008 at 20:12
At work the other day, I was thinking about how to spell someone's e-mail address. Here's my verbatim thought:

"'S' as in 'Steve', 'T' as in 'tain--' 'tachycardia'..."

Who goes from "Steve" to "taint" to "tachycardia"?!

People sometimes ask me just what it is that keeps me up all damn night. Here's an insight:

Setting: 04:12am, lying in bed looking at my ceiling.

Utterly unprompted, aloud: "What's 'Elsinor'? Is that Hamlet's... town?"

And then I get up, run a Google search on it, and fist-pumpingly congratulate myself aloud.

Also, it turns out that not everyone needs to know the answers to every question that pops into their head. And that most people don't randomly find twicequater-mentioned 16th-century play settings bursting into their heads in the early hours of the morning.

*FYI: Yes, I did (immediately) need to go find a searchable full-text version of "Hamlet", count the number of times "Elsinor" appears, then look up the proper way to say "four times". This may also be why writing papers takes so long. And why I know a little about a lot.

life of the party
Posted on 13/02/2008 at 22:16
Current Mood: emotional
Tags:
Eli: Deconstruction is tricky. It's like trying to nail Jello to a wall, without nails. Or, possibly, Jello.
Gina: It's like nails and Jello don't even exist.
Eli: Exactly.

life of the party

Fenway HS

Posted on 17/01/2008 at 16:35
Tags:
I just called the guy at Fenway who handles pre-pracs. It was chaos. I heard helicopters baring down, there were gunshots, and I'm fairly sure I heard a baby crying. The first time I called, he had to have me call back. Second time it was pretty much the same state, but we got to talk for a minute about me coming in.

He sounded enthusiastic. He sounded alert. He sounded happy and excited. There were police sirens in the background and he was so pumped.

I am excited. You really have to appreciate a school that has teachers who can stand in th middle of stuff like that and still be excited. I think this bodes well.

life of the party

Tappa-tappa-tappa

Posted on 02/01/2008 at 21:48
My little sister just got an e-mail address for Christmas, and my older sister and I arehaving a fantastic time reading her e-mails aloud to one another:

"'I (lowercase) have a new poetry project for school. I'm studying a poet, and guess who I (lowercase) am doing exclamation point, exclamation point. Robert Frost, all caps, exclamation point exclamation point exclamation point. Daddy says you [signed "u"] guys could halp me with it exclamation point exclamation point. See [signed "c"] you [signed "u"] later [signed "l", signed "8"] exclamation point exclamation point.
"'Sarah exclamation point exclamation point smiley face.'
"I love her."


life of the party

Suitemates!

Posted on 12/11/2007 at 02:05
Tags:
My living situation is awesome as long as I try to think of it as some sort of sociological experiment during its more surreal moments.

life of the party

Ahh.

Posted on 21/10/2007 at 22:58
It's that point in the semester when I need to start planning being ill. It goes like this:

"Well, I'm out of lungs to cough up; my lack-of-lungs is sore; I have some sort of sinus event developing and my snot is an impressive shade of green; when I lie down, I can't stop with the pathetic, whimpering coughs, but I'm too sore to roll over, let alone sit up; I have BV and need to take showers every half hour on the half hour or everyone will die; my shot didn't go right the other day and I'd probably feel better about the huge arc of blood that came out with the needle if someone agreed that, since I didn't actually die, I'm fine; my roommate has strep and I've had a few days when my throat has been so sore I couldn't swallow; I'm tired and could use a day devoted just sleeping but I have so much work to do that I CAN'T EVEN CONTINUE THIS RUN-ON."

(I'm really doing well these days, and I'm happy and not overwhelmed. I'm whelmed.)

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