philosofunk

what if the worlds/were a series of steps/what if the steps/joined back at the margin


Leave a comment

White-washed “Stonewall”: Hollywood’s Version of the Truth

Hollywood is infamous for distorting historical truths in the name of better entertainment. Hollywood is also infamous for limiting staring roles for minority actors and as a result stunting the careers of many promising black actors. This time in the telling of the infamous queer riot in New York City, Hollywood has set aside key people of color for the queer movement and replaced them with cis male white actors. Key moments of history are being portrayed in favor of a more heteronormal sexualized version of the queer movement. See, Stonewall was sexy, and thats why you should come see our movie, says Hollywood.

danny

He is a sexy man-boy, someone anyone who is attracted to men would find enticing. He throws the first brick, which is symbolic of the entire rebellion, which happened in response to police harassment and raids. When members of the LGBTQ community violently reacted to the barrage of physical harassment and provocation, it wasn’t sexy or pretty. It was a group of people fighting dearly for their lives. In all fairness, Hollywood does have to operate on a sexiness factor, and sexing up the story a little is fair game for mass production. However, taking the power away from the marginalized people who were responsible for the entire ordeal is disrespectful.

Marsha P. Johnson is widely credited with throwing the first brick. This is her:

marsha p johnson

She is poor, she is marginalized, she is black, and she is trans. Her life was one of vulnerability and genuine originality. She worked to lift an entire community out of the broken mess that was created by the hatred of the greater world, and was beautiful in her own character and being. She and friend Slyvia Riveria created the group “Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR)” which was an advocacy street organization for transgender and gender queer people. She even had associations to Andy Warhol, who asked her what the “P” stood for in her name to which she replied “Pay it no mind”. To sass Andy in his day was a bold move, one that gained her notoriety among the New York queer and arts scene. She was also an AIDS activist in ACT UP, a now international organization that started in the streets of New York by gay and queer people seeking better care and research on the AIDS virus.

Her sexuality and sexual orientation are one of an obscure nature, not a lot of people share that sexuality or sexual attraction, so her story isn’t going to be considered by Hollywood producers to be a money maker. She could be a quirky side character, a mention in the film, a noted footnote, but not the focus of the film. The director of the film responded to criticism about ignoring Marsha in this message:

rolad

Very slick, very Hollywood, very “hey folks, remember its fictionalized, so its okay if we distort the reality a little bit”. Its classic solipsism, something that is taken for the perspective that is the more entertaining, relatable, normalized version of events. This means making the focus of a queer story, something that is already a marginalized perspective, into a cis-male white protagonist because in utility, he is the character the most number of people are going to be able to relate to. The truth is the casualty.

Many within the queer community are calling for a boycott of the film. I view it as the next Rent: a sterilized version of a very serious story where people where beaten, had their rights denied, and died. While I can appreciate that the story was told, the way in which it is conducted is very important to the dignity of the people who lived it. Ignoring Marsha P. Johnson is like ignoring George Washington, or saying that he was not that important in the American Revolution. Marsha is credited with throwing the first brick that sparked the riots. This is significant and not something that should be ignored.

If this had been an independent film, odds are that the story-line would have been more congruent with the truth. However, independent films are not as widely distributed so then not as many people would see the story of Stonewall. But, it is the fictionalized version of Stonewall, one where black trans people are ignored, the very people who held such an integral role within the movement. Hollywood needs to be questioned on this because it is ignorant to not have the main character have any connection to Marsha P. Johnson. If she is too strange to be a main character, than a supporting role would be a fair compromise. Besides, making the main character into a person of importance within the movement makes sense, and therefore it would be historically accurate to have him work with Marsha.

It is unfortunate when Hollywood gets shortsighted in the name of conformity and aesthetics.

Advertisements


2 Comments

Why Transgenderism Should Not Be Classified As A Mental Illness

A mental illness “is conceptualized as a clinically significant behavioral or psychological syndrome or pattern that occurs in an individual and that is associated with present distress (e.g., a painful symptom) or disability (i.e., impairment in one or more important areas of functioning) or with a significantly increased risk of suffering death, pain, disability, or an important loss of freedom”. Currently, transgenderism is classified as a mental illness, it is called “gender dysphoria” by the DSM-5. However, it should be noted that what constitutes a mental illness has changed over time, for example, homosexuality was a mental illness until the 1970s. Essentially, “DSM-IV notes that “… although this manual provides a classification of mental disorders, it must be admitted that no definition adequately specifies precise boundaries for the concept of ‘mental disorder.’ The concept of mental disorder, like many other concepts in medicine and science, lacks a consistent operational definition that covers all situations. All medical conditions are defined on various levels of abstraction”.

With this in mind, there are clear mental illness. Afflictions such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia are real illnesses that impair, cause distress, and severely cause suffering for the person with the illness. However, manipulation of science for the benefit of overarching social norms is also a human phenomenon which has historically had tragic endings, such as classifying homosexuality as a mental disorder. There is evidence to support the claim that there are biological components to transgenderism, as there are obviously biological components to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. However, to argue this is the entirety of a reasonable assertion that biological components equate a disorder is incorrect.

For some, being transgender is a disruptive experience. Most likely everyone has adjustments to make and changes to adhere to as a result of being transgender. For most, having mental illness is disruptive, and most everyone has to make adjustments and changes as a result of having a mental illness. However, similarities are not exactitude. For transgender children, most happily embrace their identity because they have not been conditioned to fear gender blending and transgenderism. For mentally ill children, most suffer and are in a level of pain because they are experiencing symptoms of serious illnesses.

Gender is a socialized institution. Sex is a biological component of an animal. One prescribed set of criteria exists for one sex and another for the other, however, that paradigm is incorrect and misleading itself. There are actually naturally many biological sexes, including intersexed persons, and there are many gender combinations that play off the diversity in natural biological sex. This has not yet been a legitimized concept within the heteronormative societal structure because it threatens the idea of the gender binary and that heterosexualism is the normative and default sexuality.

If variation in biological sex is natural, and gender is a social  construction, then how can it be logical that transgenderism is a mental illness? It makes much more sense to accept that transgenderism is a natural outgrowth of the diversity nature has to offer within the animal kingdom than to label it a mental illness. The upset and instability that transgender people may experience due to their identity has less to do with the chemicals in their brain and more to do with the nonacceptance transgender people experience in daily life.

Gender dysphoria supports itself as a mental illness by claiming sufferers are experiencing distress due to not being the opposite gender. While this may be true, it should theoretically be easy to transition into the other gender; the person dresses as that gender, adapts the mannerisms of that gender, and goes by a name identified with that gender. The experience many have, such as Caitlyn Jenner, is one of fear that they will not be accepted and rejected by others around them because of their gender identity, one which has been labelled as both abnormal and a mental illness. This then causes them distress and harm which then gets labelled as a mental illness.

The next goal of the trans movement must be to get “gender dysphoria” of the DSM-V because it is degrading to those who identify as transgender and disrespectful to those with legitimate mental illnesses; people should not be labelled as mentally ill just because they are different.


Leave a comment

What Transgenderism Is Part 2

In my last post, “What Transgenderism Is” I mistakenly stated that it is not viewed as a mental illness. It is called “Gender Identity Disorder” because it is viewed as a disruption of functional life, thus it is a disorder and classified in the DSM-5. I am unsure if I object to this classification. On one hand, if transgender individuals are classified as a mental ill, then they are afforded certain unique protections under the law. This could be positive for the transgender community. At the same time, it is questionable as to whether being transgender is actually a disorder, or if the greater nonacceptance society has bestowed on transgender individuals is the reason for the disruption and possible dysfunction in their lives.


2 Comments

What Transgenderism Is

Today I was surfing Reddit.com when I found an excellent thread called “ELI5 [explain like I’m 5]: How are transgendered individuals different from other dissociative disorders?”. Oh boy, I thought, there is so much ignorance in that one small statement. I am a person who has a hard time remembering that ignorance  does not always equate meanness or small mindedness, it just means a person doesn’t understand certain concepts or lacks all the facts or hasn’t done the research to properly articulate a point on a certain subject. I am ignorant to certain topics, such as car mechanics, but that does not mean I am not intelligent. So, I had to take a minute to remember that just because this person severely lacked an understanding of mental illness and gender identity does not mean that they are being intentionally malicious. They started the question like this:

red1

So this person is familiar with certain mental health terms but has a poor understanding of what they mean or how they are applicable in the real world. This was important for me to note, because “the more I think about it. The more it makes zero logical sense” was an indicator to me that this person doesn’t really think about things outside their own perspective, and is hopefully operating on a smartphone because their grammar is horrific. From point one, it is important to remember that a solipsistic perspective is one that has incredible difficulty imagining the other side.

It is important to note that transgenderism is not a mental illness. Body dysmorphic disorder has nothing to do with transgenderism, dissociative identity disorder does not either. Body dysmorphic disorder is when a person obsesses over perceived flaws with their body. This is different from being transgender because having the social and physical identity of the wrong gender is not a perceived flaw, it is an identity expression that exists on a larger scale than is widely accepted by heternormative society. For transgendered individuals, something isn’t incorrectly perceived, there really is something wrong with the discrepancy between the identity they had accumulated versus the identity they feel comfortable with. People with body dysmorphic disorder often have the perception that they have fat where there is none, for example, something which has little to nothing to do with identity. Dissociative identity disorder is when a person has more than one personality states, which means they can become confused, withdrawn, or apathetic to their surroundings when they are in an altered state, that being the other personality. It is not like what Hollywood has typically portrayed the illness as, a person with a bunch of wild personalities going crazy. It is more likely that a person experiencing an episode of disassociation would become markedly different in attitude, rather than a sudden bout of ranting and raving. Certainly, a transgendered individual can have both these illnesses but neither is the cause of being transgendered.

A redditor (user or Reddit.com) more or less explained this point:

red2

Unfortunately, this did not fully clarify the point for the inquisitor:

red3

It is important to look at the number of “points” this received because it is indicative of how cis-gendered people view this issue. On reddit.com a member can up-vote something if it adds to the discussion, or down-vote something if it does not add value to the discussion. Sometimes dumber things can get up-voted depending on the relevancy to the reddit.com culture. This post got up-voted 52 times, meaning at least fifty-two people shared similar sentiments. This is a medium up-vote, its not hundreds and certainly not thousands like some posts get, but its enough to indicate that this is a shared feeling among cis-gendered people enough to not get down-voted like it would in queer circles or academic circles.

It is also important to read the last paragraph thoroughly. The poster says “it really bothers me that people are taking their own lives when they are such great people”, so this person is admitting that they feel no malice against transgendered folk, and that they just really do not understand what transgendered people are going through. Since there is no way to listen to tone on internet posts, so the last sentence can either seem condescending or genuinely confused depending on the reader’s internal reading voice.

Panda-pup has a fantastic explanation for sparkreason:

red4

It is a calm, comprehensive rebuttal. Transgendered individuals do not enter into altered states nor do they imagine things about their body to be true that are not. They soberly have understood something about the discrepancy between biological sex and socialized gender, and that they are not personally part of the heternormative gender binary that has been traditionally presented as normal. In fact, there are many genders and gender expressions like there are sexualities and sexual expression. For example, a person can be hetero-romantic and bisexual, or homo-romantic and pansexual. A person can have a penis and be a woman, this is a difficult thing for some people to understand because we have been taught to believe that biological sex and gender are the exact same thing. To live as a woman or to live as a man is definitely a lifestyle choice, they are not the same type of life. Obviously being human we have things in common, but there are clear differences in the identity of a woman versus the identity of a man, including masculine women and feminine men. To be genderqueer, or a clear combination of masculine and feminine qualities, or androgynous, or a clear ambiguity of masculine and feminine qualities, is also a clear lifestyle and identity choice. To be cis-gendered is for your biological sex to match your prescribed gender, which is what the majority of people are. However, there is logical and reasonable explanations to having a transgender or gender fluid identity.


Leave a comment

The Politick of Bruce Jenner’s Transgenderism

Over the past few years, the tabloid media have been speculating about Bruce Jenner’s gender identity, sometimes as an affront to the dignity of Jenner and his transgender brothers and sisters. Now, Bruce Jenner has revealed that he is indeed in transition, and very happy about it, thank you. This is significant for the place in time this announcement is being made for the transgender/intersex movement, and also for the celebrity culture Jenner is a firmly part of within a variety of avenues. Jenner is an Olympian, married into the Kardashian fame family. His part within the American celebrity fabric is extremely unique as an athlete and member of the Kardashian family. While we do not have noble royalty in America, we do have celebrity royalty, and if the Kardashians were a political family, they would be the Bush Dynasty (obviously, Kim would be George, pretty but dumb, just smart enough to prop up and snap photos of while being quietly steered by questionable forces, in this case Kris and Dick Cheney). If there was a family tree of his celebrity family demonstrating the power his clan claims, it would look like this: kardashian fame Bruce is placed very strategically within this family tree. In this hypothetical model, he is Jay-Z’s brother’s father-in-law, and Blue Ivy would be his granddaughter’s cousin. Kylie Jenner, his daughter, is hot shit within the teen sphere at the moment. A model dating a rapper, she lives the fantasy life of an American teen: young, rich, on television, and part of a fame dynasty. My theory is that if Kylie Jenner can accept her father for being a  transgendered woman, that will make transgender folks seem a little more normalized for the American teen because of how much of a hot fuss Kylie is. The younger a person is exposed to something as socialized normal, the easier it is for them to believe it is a normal part of life. Since there are many people with transgendered or gender queer parents who are young but do not know anyone else with a trans or gender queer parent, Kylie Jenner’s family can be an example of trans people being viewed as more normal. It is easier to accept something if a person can look to another person’s story and see themselves in it. Kim Kardashian’s role within Bruce’s transition is also important. As the Queen of Superficiality, she has made a career on essentially publicly whoring. Appearances are very important, but she has also exposed her celebrity behind the scenes, letting people in on the secret that celebrity lives are fantastical products of entire teams of persons. Her image is crafted, but she has done something strange and let us watch the production of the craft. If Kim Kardashian can be publicly supportive of Bruce, that would be highly positive for the progress of the making intersexed, transgendered, and gender queer people viewed as socially normal. The royal court is always a spectacle.


Leave a comment

LoveSlut: A Short Story

I am a loveslut. I am also a regular slut in the sense that I have a lot of sex and enjoy having a lot of sex. But I also collect, in mass quantities, the affection and adoration of others. I cultivate and protect these affections, throw away the rot, trim the excess, and generally try to make the hole thing as loveslutty as possible.

The cyber revolution has made being a loveslut so much easier. Arranging dates based on profiles becomes a pastime, an excuse to judge others, a reason to snoop about how egotistical a person is. There is a science and art behind the writing of a good profile. The science has to do with the percentages of creating a persona, asserting what one wants, and providing adequate evidence of your worth as a date. The art has to do with one’s writing ability and charismatic worth. There is also a slight narcotic effect of meeting a person in real life, to evaluate them up close and personal. Real life doesn’t make a person pretend to be the profile, real life reveals how out of touch the person was when they wrote the profile. Lovesluts are the ones with the perfect profiles, the ones that are like advertisements done by professional public relations people for big corporations. The entirety of loveslut essence is a craft.

Cups of coffee, pints of beer, glasses of wine, carrot cake, cigarettes, bong rips, grocery shopping, all sorts of things happen on dates. Things that are both normal and made purposefully reserved for special occasions. I realized after starting my volumes of datebooks, collections of the non-intimate details of my dates, that most dates happen in one’s own head. Like clothing being removed, layers of the other person are peeled. An important note on lovesluts: they do not like dates with no talking. One night stands are fine, but there must be some talking. Being with another person has to be an experience that can be divided into classes of time; before I found that out, after I understood why he does that. That increases the amount of affection the other person has. You will never find anything sexual in my datebooks. The point isn’t the sex, the point is the experience to get to the sex. Sex is more or less all the same, it is what happened in the lead up to it and how the two people felt afterword that makes it have significance. The dance, the run, the strange happenings that occur between two people. Or sometimes three, even four. For sure, the times when I got to have sex with multiple people were the most intricate of stories in the datebooks. Not for the reasons of the outrageous nature of the sexual encounter, but for the reasons of how our paths crossed and why. If we were people who had known one another for years, if two of us were friends before, if we were all strangers, who initially disliked who and why, if they still dislike them. Then there are the paradoxes of sexuality, like how a person can hate someone else yet have amazing sex with them, or how two people can be in love and swear off sexual interactions out of fear it will ruin the relationship. Lovesluts cannot get enough of this.

Being a loveslut involved a lot of planning and organization. I had two planners for all my dating, one was big and detailed and the other was a small pocket organizer, with certain dates blacked out so I could know in an instant if I was available or not in case I found a candidate for affection in places like the grocery store or the mall. I’ve of course picked up people on the street. Inevitably, people of lovesluts desires run into one another while in the company of the loveslut. These can be rather neutral, mundane encounters if all parties are mature and abreast of the situation, or they can be awkward, brief moments of suspense, or they can be moments of comedy or drama entertaining enough for a stage. If any loveslut claimed to not like this element, they are lying. This is part of being a loveslut, watching the fuss people make over you, it is perhaps the essence of our neurosis.

Being a loveslut also meant a lot of heartbreak. Like, buckets of heartbreaks, oceans of deep rusty red blood, bathtubs filled with tears. This is because the world is a cruel place, and some people mistake a suggestion for a cuddle as a clairvoyant glimpse into a wedding engagement. I believe the term is something like “commitment-phobic” or some other bullshit. Those who cannot simply live for the moment, who must make all sorts of weighted calculations based on figures that do not even exist in reality, those people can kill the desire in a loveslut. One rational, hesitant person and the whole attempt at collecting those intangible figures of affection can cause a simple flirtation to become an embarrassing debacle. Enough reality and all love dies.

If there was ever a reason to become a loveslut it is this: when we are all dying, going to the next place, we will all remember each other. Lovesluts will have collected so much affection, amulets of love we wear around our bodies of lust, our lull between life and death will be one of a series of lovers coming to visit to say good-bye one last time. Sex and death are the two most bonding and binding experiences two or more people can go through. An excess of death will cause an end. An excess of sex will cause a lackluster orientation, boredom toward the world, or a hyper-focus and uncontrollable amount of energy repelling in every direction. But these two things, these two drives of primordial human drive, go beyond any of our cognitive or cerebral understanding; there can only be so much analysis before the subject disappears into vapor. Lovesluts, we live in this vapor, the smoke and the mirrors, and real and the inferred.

In lust, there is only orgasmic desire toward understanding.


Leave a comment

After Trans Teen Leelah Alcorn’s Suicide, We All Must Do Better

Flavorwire

As the year ended, folks including me were applauding a burgeoning transgender acceptance in the media, with Time magazine is devoting a cover to the “transgender tipping point,” Janet Mock landing an MSNBC show, and TV hounds devouring Jill Soloway’s Transparent.

But over the holidays, the public suicide note of Ohio teen Leelah Alcorn, published to Tumblr after her death, was a horrifying and sobering reminder that for many trans people, everyday life is a gauntlet, and a perilous one at that. Alcorn’s stark series of posts went viral and spawned hundred of news stories. Without any sort of acceptance from her religious parents (they mis-gendered her and called her “he” even after her death) and convinced that she wouldn’t be able to successfully transition, Alcorn described her despair vividly, telling her parents “fuck you,” begging readers to fix society and make her death matter.

View original post 751 more words