Saturday, June 03, 2006

Seventh Edition of the Carnival of Bent Attractions

Welcome to the Seventh Edition of the International Carnival of Bent Attractions. It has been a pleasure for me to receive the submissions to this month’s Carnival and to meet the contributors from around the globe. We have a fine collection of humor, poetry, queer theory, and observations on life that reflects the diversity of our community. Our contributors come from throughout the US, as well as from Canada, Ireland, Scotland, and England. They offer us poetry, video and essays for our entertainment and education. (A note on formatting: I have depicted websites in bold and italics and articles in bold only.)

First up, Denise of Musings on Life, Law, and Gender offers us the article Stonewalled. Denise reminds us that, in our lives of apparent progress toward equality, we can not become complacent and cites documented examples of violence against the LGBTQ community by police in the United States. By knowing our history and current trends in the community at large, we can ensure that our rights are not eroded. It took a stand by the patrons of the Stonewall Bar in New York City in June, 1969, to stake a claim on our current rights. We must not allow those rights to be taken back from us.

If it isn’t the police, watch out for the church and identity police. In his post Identity Police Strike Again, Paul Decelles of The Force That Through tells of a heartland gay choir director who was fired for being gay and failing to “renounce” his homosexuality. Paul’s most poignant statement, to me, is that we have an example of the Church telling a man that he has to live a lie. How do you feel about being forced to live in the closet? Is that an honorable stance for any institution to take toward anyone in this day and age? How about an organization that lists honesty as one of its top ten tenets?

Next, EL of My Amusement Park brings us a video of the new Campari Red Ad and an analysis of its meaning to the LGBTQ community. I am reminded of a line from the “Celluloid Closet” where one of the commentators stated, more or less, that our community was so starved for a glimpse of itself in the mirror of mainstream media that we would even find a negative stereotype exciting. Times have changed since the movies of 1950s hid our characters in the nuance of language and villains. In this ad, neither of the two characters is difficult on the eyes and their behavior hardly reflects a negative stereotype. However, my question for you is this: Do we need to buy our acceptance in society by becoming the object of marketing campaigns? I can understand the view that through visibility we gain acceptance. On the other hand, does it mean that having a “gay” credit card, a “lesbian” car, or drinking a “transsexual” aperitif will keep us safer on the streets or guarantee our civil rights? Have a look, a read and leave your thoughts for us to ponder. Thanks, EL, for the thought-provoking submission to the Carnival.

For our next entry, Air of Air Pollution presents a discussion of Queer theory and its reflection in everyday life in Queer Politics and Domesticity. In some ways, this posting brought home to me just how old I have become while surviving this world. When I came out in the early 1980s, there were few, if any, university classes that dealt with the world of homosexuality (outside of clinical definitions, that is). Today, we are the object of meta-data and theory! The author and I had a brief exchange about the realities of relationship in the queer world and how queer theory presents the image of those relationships. One dichotomy that surfaces is the queer in-your-face confrontational approach versus the HRC approach of working within the system to bring about change. Maybe we need both? What do you think? Have a read and leave us your comments, please.

BiBi Cambridge recounts in her blog, High Grade Heroine, a rather hilarious exchange with one of her gay male friends about the nature of the vagina. Her article is entitled Don’t Look Down. I suppose all of us who have cross-gendered friendships have had this conversation at some time or another. Perhaps, after reading this article, you will want to share stories about your own or your close friend’s vagina as well? I personally recall a particularly funny event at a clothing optional pool party when my best lesbian friend screamed “Scrotum!” at the top of her lungs. Apparently, someone was on the verge of dangling into her beer. Feel free to share your favorite stories about your bits!

Ahh, Creampuff! My new friend Creampuff of Creampuff Revolution waxed poetic about her “first time” in a hilarious poem called Your Love Gives Me a Rash. It sounds to me like a memorable event! Please take a few moments to read and leave comments about loving until you are red and itchy! Sadly, girls, I have it on good faith that she IS already taken…I wonder who she will support in the Stanley Cup playoffs: The Carolina Hurricanes or the Edmonton Oilers??? Or maybe she will be indifferent....only the RoRo knows!

From Seattle in Washington State, US, Robin Evans presents Seattlest summarizes Pride v. Pride and our ill-remembered history lesson posted at Q-Seattle Events: Tacky Tourist Clubs. It is often difficult to grasp the significance of historical political struggles within our community if one doesn’t live at the source of the conflict. I am sure that there are similar stories from other communities than Seattle. In North Carolina, our community is still small enough that we have a state-wide pride event. We hold it in Durham, NC, in September when the weather is cooler and when the students have returned to Duke University (host site of the event), UNC-Chapel Hill, NC State University, North Carolina Central University and all the other schools in the state. Almost universally, our event is a cause of celebration and fellowship. You can read about our event at NC Pride. Reading of the political divide in Seattle’s Pride Events makes me think of Rodney King...”Why can’t we all just get along?” What do you think about the role of politics within our community? Please read and leave a comment. Perhaps through our discussion, we can gain a greater understanding of the schisms that sometimes run through our community.

In a tongue-in-cheek commentary on sex education, bookdrunk of Rhetorically Speaking presents Scottish Sex Education Reformed. It seems, once again, that no matter what our country of origin, the issues for the LGBTQ community are fairly consistent. My own addition to this discussion of sex education: Just in the past month, we have finally seen the Catholic Church possibly consider thinking about admitting that condom use might actually be the lesser of two evils when sero-incompatible married couples are having sex so as to protect the HIV negative partner. It would be great if they would recognize instead that more than 42 million people around the world are HIV+ and need to protect their partners at all costs. For the Pope who would hang the “No Homos” sign over the drinking fountain, hear this: I grew up in a country that had “No Coloreds” signs over drinking fountains and over entrances to waiting room doors in my own lifetime and their removal was not the end of the world. One linguistic observation: for those outside the UK, a kitemark is a seal of approval, similar to the ones assigned by Underwriters Laboratories in the US.

In a post nominated by Patrick Lincoln, "Sweaty Southern Radical Queer and Trans Convergence" Report Back, Joe Mier of Masculinities in Media
shares his experiences in Durham, North Carolina, at a conference on queer theory. His discussion includes the concept of binary identities, something that seems to be fairly well ingrained in our society. Having just seen TransAmerica, I laughed at the scene in a restaurant where a child turned around in her seat and demanded to know if Bree was a man or a woman. It is not that this scene is intrinsically funny, rather, it reminded me of a similar story from a personal friend. She was working as a barrista in a local lesbian-owned ice-cream/coffee shop when a four-year-old child demanded to know “What are you?” If four-year-old kids have already developed binary thinking, it must be quite a challenge in the long run for us to explain and gain acceptance for all of us in the spectrum of existence. How do you see yourself? When you refer to yourself in the third person, what kind of pronoun do you feel most comfortable with? His or Her Majesty may only be accepted if you have your tiara and a royal decree with you, by the way.

From Ireland, Suzy writes at Maman Pouletabout the consequences of experiencing early-onset menopause…in effect, never having achieved puberty naturally. Her friend Louise submitted 35 Going on 13 because she felt that this story needed to be heard and because the author is a talented writer. I agree wholeheartedly. This is one of the most poignant blog entries I have ever read. Thank you, Suzy, for speaking out about disabilities and sharing your story.

Jody Kuchar, friend and GLBTQ ally, posted on her blog Grey Matter Flatulence a post about our dear President George W. Bush’s administration’s attempts to censor the LGBTQ community out of existence, at least from programming for the series “Postcards from Buster.” Her article Trade in that Dirty Mind for an Open Mind—Part II explores the attempts by “Margaret Spellings, Bush administration Secretary of Education, [who] requested that this program be axed from the PBS lineup as it presented views contrary with the Bush administration policies.” Please visit Jody’s site and let us know how you feel about this issue.

At Coaching4Lesbians, Paula Gregorowicz explores the path of creativity as it wends its way through chaos and confusion on the road to success. In her article Are you Open to Chaos and Confusion? , she provides examples of events from her life that involved intermediate steps of discomfort before the pleasure of the final product could be appreciated.

Jen of You Would Think proved herself to be my kindred by posing questions about the obvious hypocrisy of the Christian fundamentalist movement toward anyone that differs from them. Her well-written and thought-provoking article can be found at Meandering Through the Maze. As I type these words, George W. Bush is speaking on CNN about how “activist” judges have left the US government no other choice than to define marriage as between one man and one woman and how he will support the Federal Marriage Amendment’s passage next week in the US Congress. For those of you who are willing “activist” citizens, you can call the White House at 1-202-456-1111. Feel free to tell the source how you feel about writing discrimination into the US Constitution. What can they do to you? Make you a second-class citizen??? For another take on this topic, please see my own post, Join Me in Opposing the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Our last submission this month comes to us from Aman Yala in the post A Piano Should Fall on Their Heads. In this piece, the role of black clergy in the fight against LGBTQ rights is explored and one African Archbishop and one African-American Bishop are singled out for their anti-gay rhetoric and actions. Please read and leave your thoughts with us. Also consider the role that the Republican Right played in reaching out to Evangelical African-American Churches in the last US Presidential election based upon the gay-baiting issue of same-sex marriage.

I had planned to write my own entry this month, but a false negative strep test played havoc with my immune system and I ended up being a fairly sick puppy for the past two weeks. Instead, I will invite you to read my rather lengthy diary from January, 2005, when I was in New Orleans, Louisiana, with the film crew of 1 Giant Leap. I had my own personal experience of attending a sermon by a homophobic African-American minister. I hadn’t been to church, other than funerals, since I was a naïve child, and the visit brought back a lot of emotion and ultimately, anger. The whole week that I spent with the crew of this phenomenal film (and whose second film will be released sometime in 2007) was fascinating, and I seemed to channel it when I sat down and wrote a draft diary of the week over three days. You can find all of the entries from that week in the first two entries in my blog archives as that visit and my diary were the inspiration for 2sides2ron.

I hope you have enjoyed this Seventh Edition of the Carnival of Bent Attractions, and that you will leave your thoughts with us before moving on. Remember to visit again next month when the carnival will be hosted by Aman Yala.



Anonymous roro said...

Wow - looks like some amazing readin'! Thanks so much for hosting, Ron. I can't wait to check out all these fabulous entries. And in conclusion - GO OILERS!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!

Carry on.

6/03/2006 03:00:00 PM  
Blogger Paul Decelles said...

Thanks Ron for hosting and your great commentary!


6/03/2006 04:05:00 PM  
Blogger DeniseUMLaw said...

Great job, Ron!! I'm so sorry to hear about the strep test and the rough couple of weeks you had. Hope you're much better now.

6/04/2006 07:33:00 AM  
Blogger air said...

Awesome carnival Ron! Thanks!

6/04/2006 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

hahaha! Ron, you are O right about the poem. Love it... now to read the rest...

6/04/2006 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

Um... SO right too

6/04/2006 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger Winter said...

Oh I'm late! This looks brilliant! Thanks Ron.

6/05/2006 09:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Jay said...

Excellent Carnival!

6/05/2006 03:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Colinn said...

Great post, I see racial self-segregation all the time, and I want to investigate the issue more thoroughly.

11/01/2006 09:58:00 AM  

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