elaby: (Holmes and Watson - Heart)
I came across this via Sarah Diemer's tumblr and I just had to share. I'm proud to be living in the same state as this veteran.

Mitt Romney Accidentally Confronts A Gay Veteran; Awesomeness Ensues

The site summarizes it pretty well: "Back in December 2011 during a campaign stop in New Hampshire, Mitt Romney decided to drop by Vietnam War veteran Bob Garon's breakfast table for a quick photo-op. What Romney didn't realize is that Garon was sitting with his husband, whom he had married just a few months earlier."

I think Bob Garon says it all: he was undecided about who to vote for, but when somebody tells you to your face "I don't think you deserve the same legal rights as other people," it tends to make you less inclined to vote them into office. I wonder if Romney would have tempered his flat-out "no" if he had known who he was talking to. Somehow I don't really think so :\
elaby: (Madoka - Madoka Homura hug)
Two of my very favorite authors (and favorite people), Sarah and Jenn Diemer, released the first of their lesbian YA stories for their incredibly awesome Project Unicorn today. Does Project Unicorn sound awesome to you? I thought so!

From their site:

Project Unicorn: A Queer-Girl, YA Extravaganza! is a fiction project created by lesbian YA authors Sarah Diemer and Jennifer Diemer. It was created because of the obvious lack of queer-girl heroines in the Young Adult genre, and the critical need for them.

Project Unicorn is updated twice weekly with a free, original, never-before-published YA short story featuring a lesbian heroine. Also, every story is a work of genre fiction (Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Dystopian, Post-apocalyptic, Historical, etc.).


You can read the first story, "Witch Girls" by Sarah, for free by visiting the Project Unicorn site. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but Sarah's writing is always beautiful and stirring and this project is incredibly important. I didn't know enough about myself when I was an adolescent to understand why I was so uninterested and then increasingly irritated by many of the romances in books I read. I thought for many years that it was just a rebellion against the idea that romance is necessary for living a happy, fulfilled life. While I still rebel against that idea, I also believe that a large part of my lack of patience with romance in stories was because I couldn't feel any personal connection with the relationship. In high school, I thought I would "grow out of" my discomfort and disinterest at the idea of romantically being with a guy. Luckily, I found out I didn't have to :)

Even though I never recognized my disconnection with straight romances in stories for what it was, there are lots (and lots and LOTS) of kids who understand that they're not straight and need stories that validate them. Sarah and Jenn say it better than I ever could - please read their dialogue about why writing gay YA matters (click the links to their other blog posts on similar topics - you won't be sorry!)
elaby: (Michiru - Lipstick lesbian)
On one of the various lesbian literature tumblrs I follow, I found out about The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister. Anne Lister was a woman living in Yorkshire, England in the early 1800's, who chronicled her daily life, including her self-driven education and the management of her estate. One remarkable thing about her diaries is that many of the entries are written in code, and when people decoded these encrypted entries, they discovered a new facet to her adventures: her unapologetic, detailed romances with several women.

I tried to have this book Interlibrary-loaned, but it turned out to be unavailable anywhere in the U.S. O_o So my wonderful, amazing librarian wife got the university to buy the book for its collection. And now I have it XD And it's fascinating.

The parts that aren't encrypted are still extremely interesting (even if I am reading it primarily for its contribution to lesbian history). Anne Lister was very isolated even in a culture where she necessarily spent a lot of time with other people. As part of the only landowning family in her town, she obviously felt like she was of a different social class than everyone around her and she didn't have anyone she could relate to. She obsessed over a particular girl from town but refused to formally call on her family, because doing so would be beneath her. She's a total snob, and her candor is both amusing and shocking. It's very cool to be able to read something so honest when the majority of stuff I've read from this period was intended for publication and therefore had an agenda.

And the lesbian parts are, well, awesome. According to Anne, EVERY girl in town is in love with her. She has, at the moment (I'm up to 1819, two years into the diary), three primary targets of her affection - her true love who was recently married and from whom she is now somewhat estranged, a local girl from the town, and an older friend whose "temper" she much dislikes but who she fantasizes about because of the good times they had and her current disillusionment with her true love. I keep thinking about what a treasure this diary is, because Anne's experience is just like so many other girls' - the ups and downs, the exercises in self-delusion, the plans about how to act around the object of her affections... Not only does it show that girls now feel the same things as girls two hundred years ago, but it gives a lesbian perspective that sounds surprisingly modern.

Also, after more than a hundred pages, it finally dawned on me that all the in-code references to "kissing" may be a euphemism. Heh.

I definitely recommend this to anyone who's interested in women, Victorians, gender expression, or GLBTQ history. If you're interested in all four, it's the jackpot :3
elaby: (Anthy - Rainbow)
Mia McKenzie, writer of the blog Black Girl Dangerous and award-winning author, is raising money to organize a writing workshop for queer, trans, and gender-non-conforming writers of color. This is an incredibly worthy cause that I, as a lesbian and a writer and an ally examining my privilege, want to do as much as I can to promote. Besides that IT SOUNDS AWESOME. Part of the reason I'm putting this up here is because I need it to remind myself to donate when I get to a secure internet connection, but the larger part is because I want to spread the word. Here's some information about the project from the page.

I would like to offer 4-week intensive and 1-week super-intensive workshops, as well as monthly 1-day workshops, for queer, trans*, and gender-non-conforming writers of color in Oakland, Philadelphia, and Toronto, over the course of six months, beginning in July. We will workshop stories, novels, memoirs, essays, articles—whatever prose our writers are working on and need support for. Together, we will get our stories ready for the world! Each 4-week workshop will end with a reading salon where writers share some of the work they created in the workshop with our community.

Workshop is essential for writers. It provides both the structure a writer needs to get the work done, and the feedback and support a writer needs to make a story great. Black Girl Dangerous Workshops are about that and much more. I am working very hard to create an environment where queer, trans*, and gender-non-conforming writers of color can feel safe and nurtured, not only in terms of creating and sharing literary work, but also sharing ourselves, our experiences, our wounds, our truths.


This would be such a good thing for so many people. Spreading the word always helps even if you can't donate!

Aoi Hana

Mar. 1st, 2011 09:25 pm
elaby: (Utena - Red dress)
I'm not sure if I've squeed about Aoi Hana before, but it deserves it. Aoi Hana ("Blue Flower(s)", known among fan-translation circles as "Sweet Blue Flowers") is a manga series by Shimura Takako. I would call it a yuri manga except that it's unlike any other "girls dating each other" series I've ever come across, even The Last Uniform. It would be more aptly labeled as a GLBT issues series. This is the only manga I have EVER come across that's treated same-sex relationships with seriousness and sensitivity, and not as either comedy or something to squee over/get turned on by. AND COME ON, how can I not love that?

The story is about Manjoume Fumi, an extremely shy girl who has had a couple of relationships with other girls and knows that she's a lesbian, and her best friend Okudaira Akira, who has a lot of confused feelings. In terms of pacing, the story is very slow, but I like it that way - it took the couple I rooted for five volumes to kiss. AND IT WAS SO WORTH IT. It's also a really intelligent story, with lots of references to classic literature (both Japanese and Western). The main cast is focused around the drama clubs at the two schools the main girls go to, and they put on fantastic plays that act as the backdrop of a lot of the plot. The costumes are gorgeous, the drawings are simple but elegant, and I find the characters to be very realistic. I can't tell you how refreshing it is to read manga where same-sex relationships aren't treated as titillatingly forbidden. In Aoi Hana, people don't always understand or approve of same-sex attraction and love, but that's realistic too. And the GLBT element drives the story and the characters' growth; it's not just there to excite readers. There's none of the standard "Oh, my body feels so warm! What is this feeling? But we're both girls!" Heh, there's even a part where one character, after confessing her affection to another girl and hearing her response, says "I'm glad you didn't say 'But we're both girls!'"

The only problem is that I can't find anything about it ever coming out in English T_T I read all of the volumes that are out on www.mangafox.com and I plan to buy the raw Japanese if I can find it somewhere (my favorite Japanese bookshop, Sasuga, has closed -_-). This sums up my feelings on fan-translating and manga scans online: North American distributors, if you bring it out in English, I WILL BUY IT. Please give me the opportunity.

There's also an anime :3 But I don't think the manga is done yet, so I wonder how far the anime goes. I think it's only like 12 episodes (of course, the stuff that happens in five volumes could probably be put into 12 episodes. It just wouldn't be as gently paced).

Akio, you look much more lascivious in my mood icon than I intended by choosing it. Of course, I should expect no less from you.
elaby: (Clover - rainbow)
This is really freaking scary. Kiana Firouz, an Iranian woman, is a GLBTQ rights activist, filmmaker, and actress. According to the article linked below, In Iran, punishment for an adult consenting lesbian of healthy mind and is 100 whippings. If the act is repeated three times and punished each time, the death sentence is applied the fourth time (Art. 127, 129, 130). Firouz left Iran for the UK after intelligence agents got hold of one of her films, which explores lesbianism and oppression and Firouz's civil rights activism, and began to follow and intimidate her. She's applied for asylum in the UK as a refugee, but her application was rejected and she's scheduled for deportation. Firouz isn't ashamed of who she is, and I get the impression from these articles that she would be immediately arrested for her "crimes" upon returning to Iran.

Campaign to Save the Life of Kiana Firouze at Risk of Deportation from the UK
Save the life of Kiana Firouz
Petition to stop the deportation of Kiana Firouz

Right now, I think what people are trying to do is verify the facts and raise publicity so that the people with actual pull will take notice. Anything you can do - sign the petition, spread this around - could help save this woman's life.

Note: The lack of rage and despair in my tone re: worldsuck is only because I understand and avoid my own triggers.
elaby: (Rei/Minako - Swirly hair)
How about more significant first? I think that's a good idea. I read two articles the other day, found through [livejournal.com profile] glockgal's journal (where I find many of the most thought-provoking and self-improving things), about fandom perceptions and fandom's impact on people's lives. They're very thoughtful, informative, and important. Italicized quotes are from the articles.

iambickilometer on Dreamwidth writes META: Five+ Ways Being Transgender in Fandom Really Sucks, and Why I Stick With It Anyway

The title is self-explanatory, and this article is very well-written, helpful, informative, and ultimately optimistic. I learned a new term: cisgender means a person whose perceived gender conforms their physical sex and society's view of their gender or sexual identity.

You know what I want to see in source material? I want to see someone transgendered save the world, and pass while doing it. I want to see the guy win the transgirl. I want the genderqueer person in a position of power, kicking ass, taking names. I want the transguy to live happily ever after. I want to read or watch their stories and think, "Hey, maybe that could be me." I want other people, cisgendered people, to read and watch these stories and think, "Hey, maybe that could be me."

[livejournal.com profile] bookshop writes "i know you care for him as much as i do."

The title of this article, some of you may notice, is a line from Sherlock Holmes '09: Mary says it to Holmes about Watson. The article, which I can say reflects pretty much exactly what I think and feel, talks about how slash isn't just a treasure-hunting game, it's what we do to be able to see ourselves in fictional characters when there is a massive dearth of gay protagonists.

I don't slash because I like finding and pointing out homoerotic subtext everywhere I can. I slash because the stories I want, I can't have.

[...]

I don't want Holmes and Watson, House and Wilson, Merlin & Arthur, Blair and Serena, to make out onscreen because I am a slasher. I don't want it because I can go "aha!" and add that moment to my collection.

I want those main characters to fall in love and make out because it means that fans of their characters will have to come to terms with their gayness, exactly like they would have to do in real life. [...] The most empowering aspect of slash for me is that it takes beloved, known characters, and strips away their heteronormativity. Yeah, countless people have accidentally discovered Harry Potter slash on the internet, and gone "ACK MY EYES" and hit the back button as fast as they can, but that also means that for half an instant, countless people were forced to grapple with the idea that someone they loved was gay, even if that someone was a fictional character. And maybe they didn't get it, but maybe that moment brought them closer to acceptance or tolerance or empathy.


--

In less significant fandom news, I really really love this manga called The Last Uniform (Saigo no Seifuku). The art isn't spectacular, but it really gets better over the first two volumes, and the story is sweet and adorable and full of gentle girl-love in which the characters barely get as far as hugging one another. It's also very much about friendship, between the paired-off couples and between all of the characters, which is a nice change after all of the yuri, shounen-ai, and yaoi that's only about physical desire.

But it seems pretty evident that the third and last volume won't be released in English. *sadface* It's been since 2008 that anyone's mentioned it, and as far as I can tell from the publisher's forums, they were putting it "on hold" then because the first volumes didn't sell well. It's only one more volume! The second ended with a cliffhanger! BWAH! T_T

It appears to be available on the Borders.com website, on backorder, shipping in 2-4 weeks. I don't really trust this, since nowhere else does it say it's been published in English. And the thing is, I would take it in raw Japanese, in scans, anything. But I can't find any scans for volume 3, and my one known resource for Japanese books (www.sasugabooks.com) doesn't have it. Since it was a little obscure three-volume series from 2005, I'm not really surprised, but I had hoped they might be carrying it.

Anybody out there know any other Japanese bookstores I could navigate in English and order from online? Any manga sites that put up scans? I'm woefully ignorant about what's out there for raw scans, and I didn't have any luck searching for scanlations. Woe!

[Edit: For my own reference, Kinokuniya has the last volume if you search for it using Japanese characters. Not sure how to order yet.]

IBARW

Jul. 30th, 2009 09:32 pm
elaby: (Anthy - I am gone sir)
It's International Blog Against Racism Week. There's a comm ([livejournal.com profile] ibarw) with awesome blog posts galore, but two particularly awesome ones are here:

[livejournal.com profile] rawles's post about Nyota Uhura

[livejournal.com profile] glockgal's post about The Last Airbender

And since IBARW deserves actual blogging, here's something I'm kind of late in the discussion to, but which I think is important nevertheless.

On the cover of The Advocate the other month was the phrase 'Gay is the New Black'. )
elaby: (Utena - red dress)
AHAHA YES.

Civil Union Bill passed in New Hampshire

The recent civil union bill was passed through the state Senate yesterday, and starting in January of '08, civil unions for same-sex couples will become legal in New Hampshire. BOOYAH. TAKE THAT. *dances and throws confetti* Not in time for our wedding, but we'll only have to wait three months until we can have legal partnership rights! Words cannot express my elation.

Onto other, more mundane subjects:

Hey, local peoples who offered to help us move furniture and boxes tomorrow (Saturday), could you comment here and say what time you'll be able to come? I'll probably get to ask most of you personally at Gaming tonight, but just in case. The people who I think said were coming are [livejournal.com profile] templarwolf, [livejournal.com profile] amythest_cat, [livejournal.com profile] jongleur_gerard, [livejournal.com profile] hak42, [livejournal.com profile] tam_elbrun, and [livejournal.com profile] minyan.

Thanks, guys :)

O.O

Aug. 17th, 2006 02:53 pm
elaby: (Utena - armor)
Holy CRAP, something GOOD happened today. *was convinced this was not possible*

Pension Protection Act signed into law, including extending rights to GLBT families

Pretty much what this means for GLBT rights is that now "non-spouse beneficiaries" like domestic partners (and siblings, etc.) can are allowed to keep their partner's retirement plan benefits in the event that their partner dies. Before this, they were required to take the entirety out in a lump sum and were subject to tax penalties of doom. It also means that non-spouse beneficiaries can get access to this money in the case of "certain medical or financial emergencies."

I'm really happy to see a step forward instead of just a defeat of a step backward, as grateful for those as I seriously am.
elaby: (Utena - loved)
So, this was in my in-box tonight. And it's all a very nice thing, and I'm not knocking it, don't get me wrong. There are just some things I disagree with.

October 11th is National Coming Out Day, and this was part of the e-mail HRC sent to me:

"Maybe you’re coming out for the first time ever,
or maybe you're just talking with a neighbor, coworker, friend
or acquaintance about GLBT issues for the first time.
Regardless, coming out and being out is the most important thing
you can do."

Now, I agree that spreading the truth and correcting ignorance about gay people is a very good thing, and that coming out and being candid with your friends, etc. is very liberating for some people. What I disagree with is the idea that coming out is "the most important thing you can do". I don't think that a person should feel they have to come out in order to be comfortable with themselves. Some people could call me cowardly or say that this is against the gay liberation movement, or whatever they want to call it, but I think that you have to be cautious and think very carefully about who you come out to. Now, it sucks that we would have to worry about this at all... but nonetheless, it's the truth, and I really don't think that someone who is just figuring out their sexuality should feel pressured into telling people. In a perfect world, yeah, you could celebrate a day in which everyone was candid about their sexual orientation by telling whoever you wanted. But as many people have pointed out, it's not a perfect world.

I think people should be able to go at their own pace and feel truly ready before they tell anyone anything that's this important. True, some people may need the kind of push that a set date gives them, but from my point of view, I would feel pressured and uncomfortable talking to someone I didn't really trust about this kind of thing. I would never say that it isn't brave to come out, but I would say that it isn't cowardly not to do so. In some ways I feel that people who are still "closeted" are some of the bravest.

And that's my social-type issue opinion for the *checks watch* decade.

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