Tagged under "queer" (24)
Get Your Feminist On
Ever wish you had a rad group of women to help you with all those projects you dream up? This weekend, feminist creative collective For The Birds is offering up a festival of ideas and discussions on just that. The 4th annual The Big She Bang will be happening all day this Saturday, August 15th in the West Village. Their theme, A How To Guide for DIY (that's Do It Yourself, for anyone who needs translation) Feminism, promises a full day of workshops, panels, discussions, visual art and performances by local ladies here to empower others who want to create, share, join forces, and make change. "The theme came out of our own identification as a DIY feminist collective and recognizing that there are other groups in the area that have formed with similar inspirations and goals," says Lauren, speaking on behalf of the recently formed collective.  "We wanted the opportunity to share the resources and tools that we found helpful and give an opportunity for other groups to do the same.  Our collective members all have different backgrounds within organizing and feminism, so creating a space to share our experiences and learn from other people is really important." The festival will include a wealth of information on different feminist initiatives and projects. The panel Feminist Urban Mobility features discussion between three incredible organizations: Right Rides, a Brooklyn based non-profit that gives women and transfolk free rides home on Saturday nights; Safe Walk, which offers free walking accompaniment to anyone on Friday nights in certain Brooklyn hoods; and Holla Back NYC, a site that encourages people to snap and send in photos of street harassers. For The Birds hopes that conversations about these great causes will inspire others to start their own. "We're really hoping that the event will give women and women-identified community members access to new resources, and will create a safe space to network and feel empowered about what they'd like to see happen in their communities," says Lauren. The festival will be happening all day, but if discussions and panels aren't your cup of tea, you should swing by The Big She Bang Saturday night for an awesome line up of several female bands and musicians, including Little Lungs, Inertia, and Zombie Dogs. The Big She Bang will be happening this Saturday, August 15th from 10AM to Midnight at Judson Memorial Church at 55 Washington Square South. Admission is sliding scale $6-$10, but no one will be turned away. For a schedule of the festival and more information see http://www.myspace.com/thebig_shebang. You can learn more about For the Birds at their website http://www.forthebirdscollective.org.
Tagged on August 14, 2009
Change & rEvolution for 2009: The Riot Grrrl Ink Show @ Sugarland
If only every company could be like Riot Grrrl Ink...queer-centered, grassroots, and totally dedicated to producing/supporting art that is radical, political, marginalized, and non-conventional. RGI –the largest LGBTQ label in the world- is a true supporter of the artists/organizations they work with for the evolution of wo/mankind through (an artistic) revolution. So who better to celebrate the inauguration of our new President Barack Obama than with folks who themselves work for change in all mediums and spectrums of our lives?! Obama promised us change and RGI is helping to deliver it- Wednesday, January 21- at Sugarland in Brooklyn, NY. Riot Grrrl Ink is hosting a show sure to beat all the inauguration balls going on this week. The show at Sugarland will be femmeceed by Bevin Branlandingham and will feature videos by Ali Cotterill and U People. Three of the awesome artists RGI produces/supports will be playing: Athens Boys Choir, Hanifah Walidah, and Inner Princess. Athens Boys Choir, a transgender spoken word artist from Georgia spits about everything from dildos to dreidels. Hanifah Walidah is a triple threat- hip hop artist, poet, and actress- who speak out on culture, politics, and minority issues.  Inner Princess hails from Brooklyn with their gender/genre bending brand of punk rawk. All three are super radical, très genius, and uber-queer; they will no doubt rap, rhyme, and rock their politics into the ears and hearts of the audience Wednesday night.     The RGI Show is definitely a kick-ass way to kick-off 2009, a landmark time in our nation’s history. Everyone is welcome to attend, and donations are highly encouraged and appreciated! Give your dollar a voice-join Riot Grrrl Ink in celebrating Obama, rEvolution, art, and the change we need and is sure to come!   Riot Grrrl Ink Show January 21, 2009 8-11 pm @ Sugarland 221 N 9th St Brooklyn, NY 11211
Tagged on January 19, 2009
The Real (Queer) World
I’ve always had a problem defining my sexuality. I dated men until I was 23, and then only women since then. Newly single and enjoying this solitude of being, I find myself holding onto “queer” as a sexual identity tighter then ever. Especially since we live in a world that loves dichotomy, where lines are constantly drawn and people are hell-bent on labeling/defining gender and sexuality with a fury. And even though it’s 2009, a new year doesn’t always bring about a new attitude, especially when it concerns sex. The LGBTQ community has always gotten shit for being themselves, loving who they do, and wanting the rights every human undeniably should have. Proposition 8, among other things, is the prime example right now of how our community is continuously denied legal rights because of our sexual orientation. After all the oppression we have faced and continue to on a daily basis, why does the LGBTQ community join forces with homophobic, heterosexist America in ostracizing queer folks who refuse to label/define their sexuality? MTV’s The Real World Brooklyn premiered Wednesday, January 7 and introduced us to Sarah Rice, a queer woman from San Francisco. Sarah has only dated women in the past, but is now in a committed relationship with a man. In a recent interview with a gay website Sarah explains how her lack of a sexual orientation (for lack of better words) has many in a tizzy. She goes on to explain how she is constantly questioned on how she identifies-gay, straight, or bi- and how she chooses to not acknowledge either three identities but instead define herself simply by who she loves. These folks Sarah speaks of- which include members of the LGBTQ community- criticize, hassle, and are dumbfounded by her refusal to define her sexuality. In the premiere episode where Sarah’s coming out and current relationship came up, Ryan (Sarah’s straight male housemate) asked her “I’m just wondering how you converted”. Converted? I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at his choice of words! The idea that Sarah could be bi/queer seemed so out of this world to him that his only reasoning for it was that she decided to switch sides. The notion that there could only be one gender Sarah is interested in screwing and that she had to choose is one that Ryan shares with many people- gay and straight. Well, Ryan (and everyone likeminded), sexuality is not a religion! The experience of intercourse can be a holy, sacred thing, but there are no rules and regulations when it comes to who your heart wants to hump. Besides Sarah Rice, Lindsey Lohan, Aubrey O’Day and Jess Origliasso (from The Veronicas) have all gotten flack for not confirming or declaring their bi/queer sexuality. Not that I want any of these particular chicks playing for our team, but whether they do or don’t should not be my- or anyone else’s- main concern regarding their character. The fact that Sarah works as an educator and advocate for survivors of (sexual) abuse using art and creative therapy does not catch as much attention as the fact that she is sleeping with a dude. Indeed, many queer folk I know and have come across (young lesbians, particularly) harshly criticize people like Sarah for being a sexual fence-sitter. In fact, many gays and lesbians refuse to date someone who is bi/questioning/queer because these people refuse to check off a box labeling their love for a.) Penis or b.) vagina. They use terms such as “traitor”, “faux-homo”, and “hasbian” to label women and men who are bisexual/queer and in a relationship with the opposite sex. This kind of ideology is an attack on bisexuality as an authentic part of the LGBTQ community as well as a call to question what exactly “queer” stands for and who it includes. This attitude also serves as a reflection of the gay and lesbian community’s own internalized homophobia. So why are some (queer) people so scared to accept another person’s queerness? Why is bisexuality still not considered a valid sexual orientation by society and the LGBTQ community? And doesn’t “queer” -as we know it now through LGBTQ/gender studies and popular definition-  encompass all sexualities, all desires, all forms of fetishes and lusts? Seems like we have a long way to go in terms of  tolerance and acceptance of all members of our great rainbow community. But what it breaks down to is simple: Love is love. It sees no color, no creed, and definitely no gender. That’s an adage I’ve had since I can remember, and it makes total sense to this day. In this real queer world of ours, it is hard enough finding someone we can connect with on a deeper level, much less fuss over what genitalia they are carrying. Just like no one has the right to out someone, no one has the right to hate on someone who won’t pick a team to play for. Especially if they are members of your own community. I give props to people like Sarah who know labels are for cans, who don’t let society push them into defining their sexual identity but instead claim and create their own. The Real World Brooklyn is on MTV Wednesday nights at 10pm.
Tagged on January 16, 2009
Babies Are The New Black
There must be something in the water. Or maybe it’s the election frenzy that’s bringing hope to people, promising a new beginning after eight horrendous years of Bush. And speaking of bush, it seems women around me are getting knocked up left and right and couples are pro-creating like rabbits in the springtime. What’s with this baby fever all of a sudden?   The baby boom around me started when my cousin gave birth this past July. Recruited as a last minute doula, I had the honor/insanity of assisting Sonia during the partum process. Thrilling, scary, and adrenaline-rushed, I watched my goddaughter Mia enter this world.  It was one of the craziest experiences I’ve ever had, and it didn’t even involve a naked woman, chocolate covered strawberries, or a stuck elevator. Coming face to face with a delivering vagina and a newborn child radically heightened my awareness to this parenthood trend flourishing around me.   It seems that babies are the new black! All of Hollywood- Gwen Stefani, Tori Spelling, Christina Aguilera, Nicole Richie, Ashlee Simpson, Angelina Jolie, and Ricky Martin- are having/adopting children. I’m sure Ellen and Portia will jump on deck soon as well. And with a new goddaughter, a pregnant best friend, and a few other folks I know (including a wonderful lesbian couple) expecting a visit from the Stork , this blogger is left questioning her own perspective on motherhood, the paradigm of queer parenthood, and how having children affects all the dimensions of life in this mad, mad world.   Watching so many women join the Mommy club makes me anxious (but by no means feverish) to be a mother myself. In college, I wrote an essay arguing motherhood as a social construction, and I still firmly believe that women in all cultures are raised to want to procreate, to accept it as an innate, biological female urge. Truth is women are conditioned from the day that they are born to be mothers - baby dolls, strollers, and toys of this nature are just examples to prove it. The desire to be a mother is socially created and reinforced, and by no means is it a biological urge. But that’s a whole other blog.   Watching a child enter this world, seeing the glow on my best friend’s face, watching new moms ramble on and on about the joys of babydom forces me to consider so many things. Foremost, it makes me consider the struggles of motherhood. The sleepless nights and long days of feeding, cooking, changing, washing, and holding down a full-time job. The budgeting, spending, coupon-clipping and saving for college tuitions. The doctor’s visits, soccer games, piano lessons, and ballet classes to get to. The purchase of a (cringing) van. All these factors dramatically change someone’s life (style) - financially, professionally, physically, familialy, even morally and ethically.   Having a child compels me to think about all the children in this world that don’t have parents. While everyone is out reproducing, there are millions of orphans without shelter, food, arms to comfort them. Why are we bringing more children into this world when we have a world of children who need parents already?   Being around lesbian mothers-to-be obliges me to consider the trials, tribulations, and obstacles a queer parent faces. With constant bigotry and opposition like Proposition 8 and Focus on the Family reminding us that we live in a society that’s uber-homophobic towards same-sex families, queer couples who want/have kids deal with double the trouble of raising a child in a world that hates them. It also reminds me of my duties as a godmother to teach Mia acceptance, respect, love, and tolerance for all peoples, all colors, all sizes and sexualities.   Most of all, this baby boom pushes me to praise the power of the pussy! What mighty beings we are, that we can create, nurture, and bring life into this world! Men might be physically superior to (most) women, but when it comes to birthing a being, they have nothing on us.   Thank Goddess I find the concept of motherhood appealing and pregnant women to be super hot; I’d be screwed at this time being constantly surrounded by them if I didn’t. Whether it’s pure coincidence or if I’ve just reached the age where my peers are ready to populate the earth with their offspring, I look forward to a generation who will hopefully grow up in a better world, a more tolerant, respectful, loving, Obama-run society. When I look into my goddaughter Mia’s eyes, I see myself in a few years, raising my own little feminist. But a soon as she spits up her lunch, I smile and hand her back to Mommy. Someday, I’ll drink the water, but for know, I’m happy just swimming in it.
Tagged on October 20, 2008
PhaseFest 2008 in DC
Phasefest is an annual Queer music and arts festival dedicated to the development of queer and queer-allied musicians and artists. Sept. 10-13, 2008. Photography by Alex Hickcox. www.phasefest.com
Tagged on September 30, 2008
Free Life Campaign 10/27