Queer Literature

a study of sexuality in literature

Amazon Eve

by emtolle

Erika Ervin, aka. Amazon Eve from American Horror Story Freakshow, spoke about her transgender life with giantess. She speaks of her journey through law school and trying to move forward into accepting her strength and find where she fits into the “freakshow.” Ervin first started realizing she was “different” when she was only five or six years old. This reassures me that there does need to be better education for our youth because a majority that are feeling this way perhaps have no idea what is happening, they have no direction. Erika hid herself during these years and it was only until her later teens that she came to realize she could physically change her body to reflect how she feels on the inside. AIDS is mentioned in fear, she hid from it because of that. Her mother was accidentally infected with AIDS, making the fear all that more real.

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Oranges and Sweet Sister Boy

by duparm

Although this short story was confusing at times and hard to follow, I think that it addressed issues that needed to be addressed. Throughout the class we have been reading articles and stories with the queer character as the narrator. In “Oranges and Sweet Sister Boy” the narrator was not the queer character but instead was the sister. I liked this because it shows the difficulty in telling family members about one’s queer identity and how that affects them. The sister was written with a schizophrenic and anxiety disorder so the thought process of her accepting her brother was very frantic and broken. But I think this thought process could be associated with many family members or loved ones that are trying to accept their loved one. I think that many people can identify with the confusion and dream like state when first learning about the queer identity that a person close to them has taken. Many of the emotions and acts that the sister goes through are common for family members or friends to have. I know that telling friends and family for the first time can be very very difficult and I like how in “Oranges and Sweet Sister Boy” the difficulty in accepting a family member or friend is shown also. But I think my favorite part in the whole story is that the sister does accept her sibling because although it was hard for her, it was even harder for her now sister to do what she did.

-Michelle Dupar

Bonded by Skin

by mkoo2

Does skin color automatically bond two people?

In lieu of recent events, I would like to discuss skin color. As I have followed the case of Michael Brown and last night’s verdict, my facebook newsfeed of different opinions, all I could ask myself was: just because you’re ___(insert non-white race here)___ does it mean you should take a certain side of the situation? Because you’re black, does it mean you should defend Michael Brown and be against Darren Wilson? Personally, I have been asked many times by strangers who happen to be the same race and speak the same language I do for favors or want to essentially talk shit about other races in our language. Does skin automatically make person X and I friends or more connected than other people in the room?

We want so badly to belong and the issue of race has always been a downfall in our country. As a country built on slave economy, it leaves a legacy deeply entrenched in every breathable facet of our political landscape. It is time we stopped this teenage angst stage of wanting to belong, and broke the stereotypes and traditions that no longer should apply to modern day society.

Shopping Trips with Mom

by barriea

As a kid I was always into the opposite gender’s toys. Luckily, I had parents who would let us siblings share toys so I had a chance to play with the fake workshop toys, matchbox cars, guns–just as much as the three beautiful baby dolls I loved so much. However, at the stores, I was only found on the little girls’ aisle, and when in Toy’s R Us or wherever and I happened to venture to the Lego section… I was hustled back over to the land of pink and tangerine-rubber smell of new baby-doll I knew so well… (just for my own reputation apparently). So when I found this article about a young girl who loves superheroes, but in a store is extremely unhappy to find a sign that claims the superhero toys she loves are “boy’s toys”, I was really proud of her and excited to read more. Her mom snapped a quick picture of her face upon seeing the sign and after going viral, the store has banned gender/sex marking signs from their premises. It is steps like these that people will take when they can see that people they affect are real people and actually are out there, being affected by gender roles and expectations and sexism on just an innocent shopping trip with mom. I am proud of the store’s ability to step up to the plate and deal with this head on.  Check it out:

http://www.dailydot.com/geek/tesco-sexist-marvel-sign-viral-photo/?fb=dd

Anne-Phillips Barrier

Tomorrow

by wilso228

I like to think the futures gonna be a great. That no matter what your skin color, gender or sexuality is, you will never be judged because if them. I like to have hope that humanity is inherently good. And that in the end we will strive for what’s best. But with the most recent events in Ferguson and the ruling that David Wilson will not be arrested for shooting an unarmed black child multiple times. Waiting passively with good intentions and lots of hope won’t do anything. To change the future we must take an active role in the present. To cause change we need to take a stance. It can be difficult to provide support to every just cause. Sometimes all you can do is donate a few dollars, other times you just have words to offer. But in both large and small acts people can unite and form a voice. By speaking together the previously unheard or ignored voice becomes audible. By taking a stance and not passively judging from the sideline I think we can create that future. The world slowly rots while people are attacked on a daily basis. It is hard to have hope like this. In this messed up crazy world. And I don’t think having hope for a better future is ever a bad thing. But if we never act on it, that better tomorrow will never be.

LGBTQ representation

by paigem2

Mean Little Deaf Queer removed me of another story that involved a queer character with a disability. It was the movie The Way He Looks: a movie about a gay teen and his first crush,  dealing with being bLind and dealing with his over protective mother who won’t let him study abroad due to his disability. And unlike alot of media that has queer characters (which you can have a very detailed explanation about this in a earlier post) the movie had a happy ending. The main character convinces his mother with the help of his crush,  who he ends up dating. This isn’t the only material I have found that includes queer characters with a happy ending. There was the extremely cheesy Were the World Mine,  the very dark play written in the 1950’s Game of Fools all about the sodomy laws (2 of the 4 gay characters end up together and after getting a ticket to leave to Britain they opt to stay in america to fight the sodomy laws), my favorite comic Young Avengers,  also the comic Adentures of Queermo (all about the misadventures of a f to m transexual), also romeos (also f to m transgender), and other such media have happy endings for their queer characters. True, most of this media is hard to find,  part of the indie scene or a foreign film,  it does exist. Also it is becoming more and more prevelant (young avengers is a mainstream marvel comic), so hopefully as time goes on more and more queer characters will be seen in a positive light.

Thoughts on “The Gay Agenda”

by ginagabl

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the phrase “the gay agenda.” What is it? What does it mean? Who uses it? How and why? But mostly, I’ve been wondering if the phrase is homophobic. Can someone use it seriously and then turn around and say that they are not a homophobe?

“The gay agenda” is primarily used as a term to mean that gay people are out trying to convert straight people into being gay. The phrase is often used by anti-gay activists to compel people into thinking that gay people are bad and into voting against gay rights issues. Common arguments against the concept include indicating the irony in how many religious groups do have an overt agenda to convert people to their religion, while most gay people just want the right to live their lives without actively trying to “turn” straight people.

When discussing “the gay agenda” with a few of my friends, one of them found the idea of someone believing that gay people have an “agenda” legitimately laughable. While I see her point, it is important to keep in mind, even living in such a liberal and accepting environment, that there are people out there who actually believe in the concept and are actively applying it to the lens of how they view the world. My other friend said that he thought that even if the term “gay agenda” is not strictly homophobic it is, at the very least, offensive.

I think that the phrase is definitely one that is coined off of a fear of something different and a lack of education surrounding queer issues. Most of the contexts that the phrase could ever be used in are ones with tones of homophobia. It brings into the conversation the concept of the reflective closet in how it uses the term “agenda” to describe how an openly gay person calls into question straight people’s own sexuality. I am still unsure whether or not that makes the term itself a homophobic one, or just that the phrase is generally used in homophobic contexts and now has homophobic connotations.

What do you think? Is the phrase “the gay agenda” a homophobic one?

by katalienim

The conversation in class the other day about representation in media really made me mad. It brought me back to a previous blog post of mine regarding representation, or rather lack there of, in Disney films. What really irked me about this more recent conversation, however, was the lack of support for queer actors, actors of color, actors with disabilities, and actors who live in those intersections in roles portraying people like them in media. I am half Korean and half European mix. When I was growing up I had no one in media who looked like me. I still don’t feel like I have anyone who looks like a plus sized multiracial woman anywhere in media. One of the most prominent times the role of a queer person was acted by a straight cis person is in the film Dallas Buyers Club. Jared Leto, a cis straight actor played the role of a trans woman. It enrages me to think about the numerous trans actors who weren’t given the opportunity to portray a trans woman in a highly acclaimed film, let alone even have the chance to audition for such a role. Representation in media is one of the most important things for children to see. For children to know that there is someone who looks like them, acts like them, feels like them is crucial to the development of their self-esteem and identity. So don’t tell me representation doesn’t matter because I’m still trying to find a face that looks like mine.

Natalie Kim

Sad ending

by degarmh

Scrolling through yahoo.com I came across an article that was about how a transgender woman was presented as a man at her own funeral in Twin Falls, Idaho. It went on to mention how she had been born as Geoffrey but legally changed her name to Jennifer in 2007. At her funeral, she was presented in an open casket, with short hair and in a suit. I find this incredibly sad that even after her death her family still seemed to not accept that she had changed or let her be buried as the person she wanted to be. Even in her obituary it didn’t even mention the past decade of her life transitioning to her authentic self, Jennifer. How could her family or whoever write it completely ignore that? It just shows that today families still have a problem with accepting this kind of change. It actually pretty offensive for the family to ignore her change and still perceive her as a man, and its as though they thought they “owned” her body so they changed it to the way they wanted it. You would think with death, that a family would respect the wishes of their loved one or finally let go of the grudge and be at peace with who the person was. She died very young and suddenly so thinking about and planning for her final wishes obviously was a thing for the future but this does show the importance of having registered final wishes with an attorney. I just wish her family could of had an epiphany and just accept her for who she was and wanted to be.

by marykhale

I’d like to post about Oranges and Sweet Sister Boy by Judy Ruiz, I’m still thinking about that story. I though it was so interesting to read. The relationship the narrator has with her family and the way she handles the information of her brother telling her “he is now [her] sister” was captivating (Ruiz, 1). I see now that Ruiz wasn’t just jumping about to give us al this information at once but that is was he thought process in a way. Showing us how she was understanding and gaining hat understanding of what her now sister had told her. I think that that is awesome writing skill. How she causally jumps from one though to another seemed random yet it made sence and had flow just like one’s own brain and though process. How she throws in important information of her own background, when she tell’s her sister she “know[s] how it feels to think you are in the wrong body” and how she tried to “blow the woman out” of herself” (Ruiz, 5) That even the way she dress or acted wouldn’t change how she felt. I like how her and her sister are two different points on a queer spectrum not so different from each other. She also sneaks in how she is a paranoid schizophrenic (which would make me question trusting her as an author in another story), and how everyone peels and orange differently (which we discussed is a way of sexual identity and act, not that orange peeling directly relates to ones sexuality but that it is an exact metaphor symbolizing sexuality and its many forms and no correct form), and also how she talks about her father. He too me is very much questioning his identity, many more subconsciously. Open to mock cross-dressing for fun on Halloween but eager to jump the gun and beat the life out of his four your old son for dressing in his older sisters clothing. Seems like the family is fun of unsettled feelings and undecided sexual identities. In the end what I enjoyed most is that the sister was able to accept her brother and she sister (she was used to calling him her brother so it makes sence that in her head she would jump around on pronouns getting used to something different just like getting used to someones name or a new nickname). That the two can have each other to care for each other and accept each other even if it seems there parents wont be apart of it. -Mary Hale