on frank ocean’s alleged coming out
it’s been a while; life’s been busy busy busier than i’ve ever ever experienced it to be before in any sustained kind of way.
a guy i know wrote this great piece about, well, about how it kind of sucks when people jump to decide that love and affection between black men - cis or not, gay or not, whatever - is indicative of some gay or bi or queer or same-gender-loving identity, or of an attempt to hide or deny one. it’s really beautiful.
not reblogging it because he doesn’t use tumblr - this was originally a note on facebook.
As soon as I heard about this letter by Frank Ocean and everyone responding, labeling him. I thought OMG - this man didn’t say any of that.
I was also thinking about all the hetero, bi, none labeled, (and that does come in trans and cis by the way) Black men who crush on their home boys. Who circle jerk together, watch porn, did stuff like what wonderful Nathan McCall told us about and some of us nodded because we did messed up stuff like that also, or was quiet when we knew about it (we apologize). I was thinking… I hope this doesn’t run them off, run them further underground, stop the love.
Some times Black men really love each other so much - cause we recognize no one else does - and we do fall in love, have bromances, and love and respect each other in deep profound (secret ways).
I read it like that, when I read it. I was like DAYUMMMM brother said that shit? He let it out so poetically like that? Wow. I immediately called up two friends (one female and one male) from late teenage days and reminisced about our crushes on each other back in the day. We smiled and laughed at those….’remember that’ moments that we shared, over a summer, a couple of summers, the last time before you real grown and moved away. Just before you became best friends for life!
I was shocked cause within the next few hours I saw hundred of articles and blogs claiming and naming this man’s sexuality and experience. WOW! Noooo - don’t do that! Just let the letter ride and speak for itself. Being someone who is always mislabeled by others - not just mislabeled but folks get mad when I correct them about my own shit - Sorry, no I’m not transgender, no I’m not queer, no I’m not (just) African American - folks get pissed about it cause it feels like you don’t want to belong to them, with them. That’s not it at all - you just want to name yourself - for yourself - for what feels good and true to you - not what’s popular, hip or because that’s what they’re teaching you in gender studies class these days.
I hope all those Black boys, teens and men (who may or may not be gay, bi, queer or whatever) don’t get run off, turned off from the reactions. Not the negative stuff. But the naming and claiming. I read the story three times - I didn’t see that man say he was anything other than in love with this man friend of his and shared that experience and that can mean a LOT of things.
I just hope we don’t stop loving or crushing on each other because of this. Hope we don’t stop falling in love cause we see our worth, before anyone else does. We see that we need to be loved, encouraged, slept with, dapped, nodded out for our fly ass style and flavor. Black men have been pissing off our mothers and girlfriends forever cause they don’t understand why in the world we always hanging around with each other, calling each other, texting each other, why we jump up for our home boys, why?
Cause we’re in love with each other.
Shit, I’m crushing on Frank Ocean right now and I really hope this naming and claiming doesn’t stop from him loving other brothers - regardless of what he does or doesn’t do in the bed.
—- BT —-
“And if someone shines a 50-kazillion spotlight in my face, I’m not going to be happy about it either,”
Police: Despite TV reports, no increased violence among Midtown crossdressing prostitutes - by Dyana Bagby of the GA Voice GLBT newspaper (17 May 2012)
11Alive and WSB-TV went on air Wednesday night with sensational segments that stated cross-dressing and “transvestite” prostitutes were terrorizing residents living in Midtown. The commander of the Atlanta Police Department’s vice unit said Thursday the stories are not true.
Lt. Scott Kreher, commander of the vice unit for the APD, said there is no evidence of prostitute gangs or increased violence. […]
“There has been no evidence any increased violence,” he added. “And we’ve done details there as much as any other part of the city. We don’t see any evidence of pimp or prostitute gangs.”
When residents approach prostitutes, however, there may be issues, Kreher added. […]
“[T]he only violence I see is when citizens approach the prostitutes and are trying to challenge them,” he said. “I don’t see it [violence] any other way.”
For example, one Midtown resident living in this neighborhood, Steve Gower, who is gay, has for years followed prostitutes in a Midtown Ponce Security Alliance car and is known for shining a spotlight in their faces.
“And if someone shines a 50-kazillion spotlight in my face, I’m not going to be happy about it either,” Kreher said.
The APD makes sweeps in areas know for prostitution in the summer months, Kreher added, including Midtown.
Kreher said there is no evidence of “prostitute gangs” and that prostitutes do travel typically in pairs for safety reasons.
When asked if these prostitutes were transsexual or transgender women, Kreher said no, that they were men who dressed as women.
“They are mostly men dressed as women, not transsexuals or transgender,” he said, adding that LGBT liaison Officer Brian Sharp often accompanies the vice unit on details and trains the officers on transgender issues.
The word “transvestite” is also considered a slur by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
urph midtown security
even the fucking cop whose job it is to round up sex workers understands that harassing people [especially by shining bright, disorienting lights at people in the middle of the night] is likely to make them pissed off or scared and panicky or both
and i feel like there’s a lot of race and class (and gender!) stuff going on with the assertion that the folks who work ponce are all really cross-dressing men and not women or otherwise trans people, which is a rhetorical assertion that the midtown ponce security alliance themselves have made in the past to dismiss claims that they’re engaging in anti-trans oppression
(which, to be clear, is also not an assertion that i think that all of these people really personally identify as trans women or as trans at all, either; which can also be a dumb/normalizing/racist way of talking about whatever)
black women invented the over the top, boisterous, ultra femme, glitzy, big voiced, big haired diva.
thats why all the white gay men wanna be us.
h8 on h8rs.
WHITE GAY APPROPRIATION OF BLACK FEMALE IDENTITIES
You guys, you can appreciate Beyonce or Diana Ross or Tina Turner or Whitney Houston as much as you want, I love the hell out of all of their work (although Beyonce especially has problematic stuff happening) and consider them vitally important to queers in certain specific contexts, but that doesn’t mean that they belong to me or that their styles and presentations and ways of being belong to me.
If I hear one more white gay guy pull out “OH NO YOU DI’NT” or “GURL” in what is essentially a minstrel show parody of a black woman’s voice, I am going to lose it
the white cis gay male founder of the “campus pride” organization, is very invested in this style of “camp” and uses it to “explain” gay identity to collegiate audiences
i mean tons of people do it but it’s particularly egregious in situations that are supposed to be “educational”
man, there is so much to say about this
i think a lot of not-primarily-masculine white gay men make this connection between their own marginalized queer femininities and black (and sometimes other non-white) femininities that could be really worth thinking on more - like why is this white queerness so invested in picking up non-white marginalizations as rightly its own? or at least eager to presuppose a connection between (imagined or experienced) marginal femininities that somehow transcends other differences
differences that are, as above, often about race but that can also be about gender itself sometimes; one thing i’m thinking here of discussions about queer femininity/femmeness that can play out in some circles in ways that ignore more material differences between the things that feminine women tend to have access to vs the things that femme men and other non-woman feminine people tend to have access to, both in and outside of queer/gay spaces
i also suspect that the racial dynamic, among other things, way has to do with the way that a lot of ‘rad’ white-centric queer communities claim queer-of-color, woman-of-color, and people-of-color struggles as a source of legitimacy, too
(like acting as if the existence of anti-trans oppression means all trans people face a level of profound economic and social violence that is in reality largely faced by lower-income trans women of color; and like a white queer femme trying to school a gay man of color on the racism of militarism - lots of people have written and acted well on this shit, saltmarshhag comes to mind as a blogger who’s talked about this, and a big project of the campus african-american glbt group at my school a couple of years ago was making connections with and supporting people-of-color-centered and POC-run anti-army-recruitment organizations in order to better give lower-income and non-white high schoolers more knowledge about and access to non-military careers, rather than just acting like all or most queers in the military are stupid racist ~assimilationists~ or something)
so even when there might be articulated differences between the white gays who tend to be all uncritically OOOOH GURRRLLLL BITCH DIVAAAA and the white queers who become so invested in anti-racist allyhood to the point of wholesale (and stupid) appropriation, i do think there’s some cultural continuity there
(Source: bad-dominicana)from besttumblr
Re: Shit (Young, White, Class-privileged, City-based) “Radical Queers” Say to Each Other”
I don’t know. I’m just not thrilled with the way some pretty blatant transphobia seems to have gotten smashed in between a bunch of valid points about transandrocentrism, racism, class privilege, and misogyny. I wish it weren’t being passed around so non-critically by many of the people I follow.
i agree w/ this completely. the repetitive “i’m trans” really bothered me but i thought maybe i was misinterpreting. i have no involvement with ‘radical queers’ and thought maybe i was missing something because it seemed…. too blatantly cissexist. but maybe that’s actually all it was and i should stop questioning my instant reaction to things. my gut response was “are they implying that people are adopting trans identities as a TREND?”
also like, i thought it was bizarre that they mentioned their privileges by name only. they didn’t touch on racism or classism at all. acknowledging yr whiteness does not an anti-racist ally make. when i see a video that says “shit white […] people say” i EXPECT racist comments and they were completely absent…? which seems appropriate in a sad unintentional way.
i also think it’s weird how people are taking something that started out as, basically, ‘oppressive shit privileged people say’ and turned it into something else entirely. like, ironic self congratulatory “see we can laugh at ourselves and how we are all carbon copies of one another” shit. this is an opportunity to explore how harmful dynamics have manifested within so-called radical spaces but people are just making it into a big joke.
the repetition of “i’m trans!” did make me uncomfortable and there’s some chance it was just straight up making some kind of gross butch-flightesque comment - but i also think it might well be referencing how a lot of ‘radical’ trans guys will constantly emphasize their transness in order to better weasel out of being called on their sexism and misogyny
idk, i do think a lot of white rad queer spaces overtly or subtly pressure butch or otherwise gender-variant people who get read as FAAB to not use female pronouns and not publicly identify as women, even if this often happens less with an air of actual hostility and more with a sense of “oh, you can’t really mean that …” or “your gender is too interesting for you to just be cis female!”
and i think they did touch pretty well on rad queer racism/classism a couple of times? most white rad kids are too smart too say many really overtly racist things and are often pretty invested in imagining themselves as ‘poor’ or at least ‘not-really-middle-class-and-too-cool-to-want-to-be’ - and yet still think ‘building community’ means putting a year or so of work into the local food not bombs franchise before moving on to chicago or the bay area or something for a while
i largely agree with youarenotyou’s last paragraph, though
(Source: poorlifechoicesblog)from youarenotyou-deactivated2012022
Part of Hillary Clinton’s speech to the UN on LGBT rights (via penis4lyf)
what is funny about this is that technically being “gay” is totally a western invention
i mean i understand her wider point but why aren’t our politicians also all poststructuralists/historians?????
mhph, despite mostly liking jasbir puar’s actual work on the topic, i feel like the word ‘homonationalism’ has started to get tossed around in some places as kind of a new empty social justice keyword that is really shorthand for “hey i want to look like a have super critical rad politics” - think of the simplistic dismissals of folks who get legally gay married as ‘duped and privileged and nasty ~homonationalist~ collaborators with THE STATE’ without any sympathetic regard at all for the really important economic and legal contexts in which people make such choices, or the difference between protecting the wellbeing of yourself and your loved ones on the one hand and wholesale thoughtless internalization of the american capitalist dream or whatever on the other
but, dang, if the statement by obama and clinton from which this quote was taken isn’t a hell of an example of american exceptionalism and setting out a basis for aggressive and imperializing acts in ‘defense’ of real or imagined gay people
(plus, hmm, the secondary caveat that gayness as an idea and identity has been utilized and globalized in a lot of different ways, sometimes serving to pretty aggressively and damagingly wipe out or disempower or marginalize other identities and models of sexuality, and sometimes being used - including at times by people who don’t neatly fit under the category ‘western’ - in more tactical and complicated ways)
(and also with the tertiary caveat that ‘queer’ does not necessarily have a better track record in this regard, though it does have a shorter one)
last post on this call-out culture thread before bedtime
Uh I have and I follow other POC who have too. The messed up thing is that they were being mistakingly called out by white people who mistook something for cultural appropriation etc. when person was part of said culture. Honestly, I just find call outs from white people to be condescending as all get out. And thats probably because most of the time in my experience it’s turned into white-splaining. I also do think it’s mostly a white thing to do. I work with a very large POC activist community and accountability is much less about pointing fingers and shaming and more about learning and changing.
Do people of color ever write posts about how they’re tired of being called out in a negative and confrontational way? Seriously. I see this shit ALL THE TIME from white people after a string of “callouts”. Just sayin’, y’all, take a second to think about it.
yes, that’s also been very much my experience
and this by julymoon:
Yes, thats been my personal experience in social justice circles also. Thats one of the reasons I liked ourcatastrophe’s post—that they referred to this behavior as a product of “call-out culture” instead of the rage of the oppressed. I think call-out culture flourishes in white young upper middle class radical communities and is often disconnected (at least in my personal experience of being the person engaging in abusive behavior in the name of a call-out) from lived experience of oppression, becoming a battle of who can name drop the most radical zines and theorists. When I have engaged in social justice communities that are more diverse, economically, racially, and generationally, call-outs tend to be more nuanced and less like personal abuse (which is not to say they are not often angry) and people tend to speak from personal lived experience, as opposed to theoretical ideas.
yeah - it’s like that thing that a lot of liberal white people do in general where they name drop some theorist or politician of color to justify whatever, regardless if it’s relevant or not; it’s like:
entitled white person + a little knowledge + a random quote from bell hooks, gloria anzaldúa, or martin luther king jr (preferably a wholly contextless quote about righteous anger or rage or courage) = look at me look at me i’m so wounded and good and smart and i should be as mean and pissy and absolutist as i want ‘cause this brown person said so! (look at my knowledge of POC tactics for survival and social change - i’m soooo anti-racist! aren’t our struggles all so interlocking??)
and this is all pretty closely related to the who are you getting angry for? thread from a while back
and, in my own shot at the losing followers challenge 2011, i feel like this is also pretty well bound up in ways i haven’t thought through too well yet with a certain type of (also largely white and privileged and young) queer identity politics that graftversushost has written about really usefully lately: where - despite talk of fluidity and a claimed antipathy towards ‘identity policing’ - identity differences are endlessly proliferated and reinforced as part of a particularly tricky and (neo)liberal landgrab for space and legitimacy and control via claims of difference and specialness and oppression
(Source: ourcatastrophe)from tofuboots
Seeking recommendations from leatherfolx and craftspeople
Since I can’t afford Zana Bayne’s or Aslan’s gorgeous leather chest harnesses, I’ve decided to make my own. I don’t know much about where to start and would really love recommendations from knowledgeable folks about the best tools and leather suppliers. Have a good starter kit in mind? A useful book or tutorial? An online leathercraft supplier or wholesaler? Hot harness patterns? Holla at me please!
passing this along because i’d love to have access to this kind of knowledge, too; especially since i’ll be at alchemy this year
i have a friend who’s probably going, as well, and does a lot of crafty and fashiony stuff - we could probably do some interesting stuff with a little bit of guidance and ideasfrom osolibre
a friend of mine posted the following on my facebook wall the other day, probably in response to this post of mine
I saw on your tumblr that there are some problematic issues surrounding white cis queer folk using the term “fierce”. I tried to look up why that would be but didn’t really find anything. I was wondering if you had the time/inclination, could you maybe explain why that is to me? I’m totally not doubting you or trying to imply that a lengthy explanation is needed before I stop using a term that’s problematic, I just am kind of curious and would like to know more.
i wrote the text quoted below in reply, and i think it gets at most of what i think about the term - though there’s a lot more to be said about the specifics of what’s happening with the way that a lot of white queers variously fetishize and hate on non-white femininities, especially black femininities (at least in the south)
i feel like in a lot of white-centric queer spaces, particularly gay male spaces, there can be this weird mix of on the one hand outright declaring non-white (and often working-class) femininities to be nothing more than tacky failures to be appropriated for campy humor, and on the other hand i think there’s more complicated white guiltish stuff going on, especially when white gay men appropriate styles and cultural codes they associate with non-white femininities because they feel an emotional or cultural connection with racially marginalized femmenesses due to the marginalization of their own queer femininity
plus there’re all these narratives/stereotypes that are like ‘black women are so sassy and in-charge and sexual’ or ‘latinas are so tough and loud-mouthed and brassy’ etc converging with gay male identifications with a certain construction of strong sexy women
thank you for asking! i’ll try my best to think this through:
many uses of the word ‘fierce’ are in my experience strongly associated with gay/queer/trans communities of color, and are particularly linked in a lot of people’s minds with more femme-gendered black gay men and black trans folks, especially not-wealthy ones
and i often see white queers - mostly but not only gay men, some of them middle-class or wealthy and some of them not so much, many of them them openly racist or at least not really interested in thinking about how racism benefits them in and outside of queer spaces - who i feel are deploying the term in a particular way to kind of, hmmm, either to derisively or “affectionately” mock what they see as the campy ghetto-fabulous tackiness of such folks (which is clearly racist and classist and often straight-up misogynistic and anti-femme)
or to do this more complicated appropriation thing where white queers use the word in an attempt to signal a knowledge of or connection to PoC/black queer cultures because they want to kinda go culture-slumming and feel like they’re part of something cool or trendy or exotic etc - without actually giving much of a shit about racism or capitalism or gay/queer/trans people of color
and also there’s this thing a lot of white culture does where white folks can deploy what they accurately or inaccurately imagine to be black vernacular in order to construct themselves as being down with black people, and thus reassure themselves and others that they’re cool good white people and couldn’t *really* be racist (even when they, well, emphatically are)
i don’t think all uses of the word ‘fierce’ by white gay/queer/trans people constitute an attempt to mock or appropriate - but i do think creepy racist sexist classist uses of the word aren’t that uncommon