Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Cost of being Out at work

October 3, 2008

I live in a “liberal” city, and work in a “liberal” non-profit.  I am very very out at work.  I am sure at this point that everyone knows I am queer, although most probably do not know I am bi.  I have not experienced any harrassment or negative comments, although I have heard things that are not particularly celebratory or welcoming.  I am not afraid of losing my job because of being out.

However, I do feel I am being tokenized for my queerness.  Because I am out, and talk about the need for my organization to particpate in training on LGBTQ issues, and because I talk about anti-racism  as an issue, I am being boxed into the category of the “cultural competancy girl”.  Everyone seems to know that to be a non-profit with any integrity these days you need to at least say you are doing something about cultural competancy.  However, no one seems to have the actual knowledge or sensitivity or awareness to do this in a culturally competent way.. At least where I work.

This morning my supervisor came over to me with an article about discrimination in Seattle.  She told me how appalled she was to discover how many LGBTQ people experience dscrimination, harrassment or assault because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and how she didn’t know that there wasn’t an anti-discrimination law in WA until 2006. 

Great that she is thinking about it.  Great she is reading about it.  Reading it out loud to me at my cubicle?  Totally insensitive to the fact that the article is talking about ME.  I am more likely to face discrimination, harrassment or assault because I am queer.  How might being read this information that I try not to let consume my life on a daily basis affect me during my work day?  Perhaps I would get sad, frustrated, angry.  And I have no outlet.  Because while I feel comfortable being out, I don’t feel comfortable being totally cadid with most people who work here.  People just don’t get it.  So, I can go for a walk and talk out my feelings for a few minutes with the one person who really really gets it, but is this how I want my experience of being out at work to be?  No, not really.

Dan Savage: Stop with the biphobia already!

July 4, 2008

http://www.gay.com/health/sexuality/qanda.html?coll=rela_fantasy&sernum=1053&page=1

http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/SavageLove?oid=2859

 

Both of these are littered with the incredibly common bi stereotypes that seem so ridiculous to me, I just have to roll my eyes.  Dan Savage sees himself as so much of an expert that all he references are “people he knows”.  That’s great and all, and maybe all of the bi people he knows fit the stereotypes, because a few people always will (I know I fit a few of them from time to time).  Its just like a straight person saying ‘all gay people are sex addicts,’ well I am sure there are some gay identified folks out there who are also sex addicts, but that doesn’t mean everyone is.  Basic stereotypes lesson, right?

Many of the reasons for using stereotypes against bi folks come from dating.  Gender and dating seem to be sensitive issues.  Most lesbian identified folks I have talked to about dating bi women say it would be more hurtful if the next person their ex dates was a man.  Interestingly enough, I have also had straight men say it would be harder if their ex (bi) girlfriend were to date another man after them.  Penises are threatening.  And these are expressions of insecurity tied to the sexism inheriant in all of us because it is still present in society.

When Savage tells gay men not to date bi men because they really want to be with women, he is pointing out that homophobia affects bi folks (thanks for that acknowledgment, at least).  However, what he doesn’t realize is that BIphobia affects bi folks as well, and many of the men who have bisexual behaviors simply do not identify as bi.  The gay men he is giving advice to might actually identify as bi if the word were given a little more credibility. Why would you use a word that gets you kicked out of the club?  Especially with advice like this floating around.  In addition to this, very few studies of queer folks focus explicitely on bi identified people and their behaviors, etc, so how do we know for sure what bi identified men are or are not doing/wanting/feeling, etc?  Even when studies do include bisexuality, or focus on bi people, many times those studies are filled with the same stereotypes seen in Savage’s articles and advice. 

Would it be too obvious to point out that bi men and married men are two distinct (and overlapping) categories?  Generalizing about all bi men, when you really mean to be talking about guys who are partnered in some way is simply ridiculous.  Wouldn’t the story contain the same heartache if the guy was in a long term (supposedly) monogamous relationship with a man? 

Dan, biphobia is outdated, stop repeating yourself and start thinking about the real issues behind people’s problems.

its not Friday, and this is kinda more serious, but here’s a link!

March 27, 2008

http://community.livejournal.com/postqueer/514969.html

its from the livejournal community Postqueer, and is pretty interesting (comments especially).

fun link friday!

March 22, 2008

http://www.cafepress.com/stillqueer

just a fun link!