Friday, October 15, 2010

Coming Out as Queer in an Academic Culture: Speaking Out Against Heterosexist Misogyny

image is from here
Why does the Human Rights Campaign graphically promote the Coming Out of only relatively thin and seemingly able-bodied people? Who gets to be lesbian, gay, intergender, intersex, and transgender in media? First answer: If intergender or intersex, virtually no one. Second answer: usually and typically it is white, thin, not too young, not old class-privileged people. Notice how all the people presented below as women--if we can discern such things through a graphic like this--are ESPECIALLY thin. I am opposed to an LGBTIQ program that centers the experiences of able-bodied, class-privileged population as normal and representative. I am supportive of queer people of color speaking out against the many oppressions which confront someone without white and het male privilege.

Audre Lorde worked very hard to be visible enough to make lesbians of color less marginalised in the movements for Women's Human Rights and what is now called Queer Human Rights. I support the voice of Cyrus in speaking to LBGTIQ concerns as a Filipino Queer young male Californian. What follows is from The New Gay blog/website and may be linked back to by clicking on the title below.

Activism: Fool That I Am: National Coming Out Week
13 October 2010, 4:00 pm
This post was submitted by Cyrus

Come Out, Come Out, Who ever You are- Harvey Milk; Photo Credits to Human Rights Campaign
This week is National Coming Out Week on my campus. I am very fortunate to attend a working class, diverse, liberal minded college in California where there has been a strong sentiment towards celebrating diversity. Spearheaded by my college LGBT resource center, many of the festivities featured this week include Transgender Awareness 101 and a resource fair with many representatives from the campus and city community in attendance. I wholeheartedly support National Coming Out week because ten years ago, at the age of 14, I came out during NCO week. There is something uniquely enjoyable and incredibly striking about raising consciousness and collective power. You realize the closet is a small space and people are out there who are waiting for you to be the person you are meant share with the rest of the world.

The process of coming out is centrally tied to the realization and the actualization of recognizing one’s queer tendencies in relations to the world. Coming out is the constructive point of realizing the closet was heterosexual construction for queer people to “come out” from and realize their queer selves to celebrate themselves in recognition of the life. This is why I think the sharing of coming out stories is so important in the queer community because everyone grew up differently. No two coming out stories are ever the same, though very similar, and no one ever fully comes out of the closet. We continually have to mention our queerness to another person, a new acquaintance, a new individual.

Takes one step out of the closet; Photo credit: NCOW Washington
My school newspaper solicited coming out stories for this week in particular. I was originally opposed to the idea of publishing my story because the newspaper ran a satire about sexual violence on campus and a loser’s guide on “How to Get Laid”. In essence, that specific issue was very misogynistic and dehumanized the female experience on campus. But it made for one infamous newspaper publication. Thus, when the Union was soliciting, I could not help but wonder, how they would take these stories and whether they would do them justice. After the “How to Get Laid” publication, I swore never to support the Union ever again, but not acting is passively supporting. I had to react. I had to prevent these stories from being published and in my acitivist moment of fight-or-flight, I logged on facebook, got on my listserves and did everything in my power to prevent these stories from being publish. I myself sent my own “coming out story” with an exclamatory “fuck you” to the newspaper in even daring to publish coming out stories. In the end, despite my story and anger towards the newspaper, I found my story, “fuck you’s “ and all, in the newspaper.

My “story” was published. To the shock and ironic attempt of not having coming out stories published, I realize that I am ultimately the beneficiary of the process of coming out myself. If I never came out, I would never have the courage to even write what I did in the Union. Furthermore, I displayed my anger and passion to showcase the power of sharing my voice as an open queer individual because I can live my life as a queer individual.

Coming out is a resiliently liberating experience for any queer individual.

Audre Lorde- Black Femnist Scholar; Photo Credits: World People's Blog
Audre Lorde, a famous black lesbian feminist, and her famous quote reads, “ I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood and even the smallest victory is never taken for granted. Each Victory must be applauded”. My liberation is bound with yours, I support you.

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