Friday, May 14, 2010

A GREAT GIFT: This "Still Brave" Podcast, with a HUGE Thank You to Alexis!!!

What follows is part of a rich legacy of radical feminist and womanist activism, academic excellence, theory-making, writing, and the sharing of stories. This book was very important to me when much younger and has never stayed out of reach. It was a blessing. And now, this blessing continues. See below for more, and more, and more.

[image above is from here]

What follows is a cross post, a gift, a blessing, from Lex, from *here* at her blog/website, Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind.

Still Brave Podcast

May 14, 2010
Greetings loved ones!!!!!
This podcast is a graduation gift from me to you, from Black Women’s Studies to me and to a planet ready to be transformed by our bravery!!!  Consider it a bravery infusion, listen to it when you need a supplement, or honor yourself by contextualizing your brilliance in the deep tradition of Black feminist intellectual bravery.
Despite the adversity (two different police officers in one county in Virginia pulled me over on my way) I was able to have the beautiful experience of attending the Still Brave Symposium at University of Maryland, a celebration of the impact of the classic anthology All the Women are White, All the Blacks Are Men, But Some Us Are Brave: Black Women’s Studies and the contributors of the new collection Still Brave, published by the Feminist Press last year.
On this podcast you will hear Black feminist scholars Akasha Hull, Barbara Smith, Patricia Hill Collins, Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Frances Foster Smith, Farah Jasmine Griffin, Cheryl Wall, Cheryl Clarke, Elsa Barkely Brown, Merle Collins, Renina Jarmon, Christin Taylor, Courtney Marshall, Monica A. Coleman, Faith Pennick, Nikki Lane, Sharon Hurley, and Althea Tate talking about what keeps them BRAVE.  You will also hear music from Janelle Monae, Mahalia Jackson, Goapele, Mosadi Music, John Coltrane, Lykki Li, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Amanda Ray, The Lost Bois, Santigold and more!
The experience of making and editing this podcast affirms for me that tomorrow when I walk to get my PhD in English, African and African American Studies and Women’s Studies, I am participating in a long, deep, resonant walk with many fellow travelers.  One of the blessings that keeps me brave is the vibrant, intergenerational community of Black feminist scholars, cultural workers and activists represented here.
Stay brave,

What I DIDN'T learn happened TEN DAYS AFTER the Kent State Student Massacre: the Jackson State Student Massacre

That's because the Kent State students were white and middle class.

[from here]

40 Years Ago: Police Kill Two Students at Jackson State in Mississippi, Ten Days After Kent State Killings

Four decades ago, on May 4, 1970, four students were killed at Kent State University when National Guardsmen opened fire on hundreds of unarmed students at an on-campus antiwar rally. The killings received national media attention and are still remembered forty years later across the country. But the media has largely forgotten what happened just ten days after the Kent State shootings. On May 14, 1970, local and state police opened fire on a group of students at the predominantly black Jackson State College in Mississippi. In a twenty-eight-second barrage of gunfire, police fired hundreds of rounds into the crowd. Two were killed and a dozen injured. We speak with Gene Young, a former student at Jackson State who witnessed the shooting. 

La raza blanca es fascista and the A.R.P. Adolph Award in May 2010 goes to Arizona's Governor and Arizona's Superintendent of Schools, and Sen. John McCain, AZ (R)


[photo of John McCain is from here]

[photo of Jane Napolitano is from here]

[photo of Tom Horne is from here]

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, and Superintendent of Schools, Tom Horne, for Gross and Aggressive Acts of Anti-Latina/o and Anti-Chicana/o Governmental and Professional, State-Sponsored White Supremacist Bigotry and Discrimination, made effective via passage of unconstitutional legislation.

The Governor of Arizona Jan Brewer supports a virulently racist law, targeting immigrant and non-immigrant Latina@/Chican@/Indigenous populations for profiling, harassment, and discrimination. Senator John McCain has been written up as a genocidalist in past posts. (See here and  here.)

Superintendent of Schools,Tom Horne, who is running for office as Attorney General, has been an outspoken supporter of Arizona House Bill 2281 which  as law makes it against illegal to teach Latin@ ethnic pride and history in the classroom as "destructive ethnic chauvinism". He has the arrogance and audacity to quote Martin Luther King, Jr. as his role model for his racist position. He is running for Attorney General, and no doubt this support of a racist bill will help racist Arizonans organise support for his candidacy.

What neither are willing to articulate is the force of white supremacy in the United Rapes of Amerikkka, currently, and how they are two powerful agents of that white supremacist ideology masked, under white hoods, as it were, by linguistic obfuscation, including, in the case of the Horne, abusing the memory and politics of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Witness White Het Male Arrogance and  Ignorance in all its Inglorious Bastardisation of U.S. Black Civil Rights History:

[from CNN, here]

For more, see this, from here.

Arizona Students Protest New Law Banning Ethnic Studies Classes

Just three weeks after signing a highly controversial anti-immigrant bill that orders police officers to stop and interrogate anyone they suspect is an undocumented immigrant, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has signed a new law banning ethnic studies in Arizona public schools. The law could shut down a popular Mexican American studies program in the Tucson school district. It will also affect specialized courses in African American and Native American studies. In response, students have taken to the streets to voice their opposition to the bill. On Wednesday, fifteen people, most of them students, were arrested protesting the law at the state offices of education in Tucson.

And this, from Mother Jones, *here*:

The Brains Behind Arizona’s Ethnic Studies Ban

| Fri May. 14, 2010 9:08 AM PDT
Like Kris Kobach, the architect of the state’s immigration law, the man behind Arizona’s anti-ethnic studies law is also running for office this year—and he’s already touting the legislation in his campaign. Tom Horne, the state superintendent of public instruction, is battling an ally of Maricopa County’s infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio in the Republican primary for Attorney General, Talking Points Memo’s Justin Elliott explains. The new law prohibits classes that “promote the overthrow of the United States government,” “promote resentment toward a race or class of people,” “are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group,” or “advocate ethnic solidarity.” Championing his legislative victory, Horne is now trying to gin up fears of a Hispanic “revolt.” Elliott reports:

The ethnic studies law is Horne's answer to Thomas' immigration record. Horne's campaign website currently includes headlines like "Tom Horne Championed Bill to Ban Ethnic Studies" and "Alarming Video Shows a L.A. Teacher Calling for Mexican Revolt in the U.S." above a picture of Hispanic protesters of the law dressed in quasi-paramilitary garb and bearing pictures of Cesar Chavez.

Horne isn’t the first to take up ethnic studies as a political crusade. The battle over ethnic studies originated on college campuses decades ago when minority student groups began pressing for classes that covered underrepresented viewpoints. As recently as 2007, Columbia University students (and one professor) staged a hunger strike to protest a Dead White Male-centric curriculum and push for an expansion of ethnic studies. On the other side, conservatives like David Horowitz have crusaded against ethnic studies for being a socially divisive product of liberal groupthink on college campuses.

But Arizona’s new law has taken what was once an academic debate to a new level of vitriolic fear-mongering. Horne says that he wrote the law specifically to target a grade-school program in Tucson that he says is teaching Hispanics to resent whites through "ethnic chauvinism." Horne’s law makes no pretense of engaging in an honest pedagogical discussion—rather he skips straight to the inflammatory charge that such learning could encourage students to revolt against US government, effectively legitimizing fears of a Mexican “reconquista.” Where students of ethnic studies were once merely criticized as enemies of the Western canon, they're now being villified as enemies of Arizona state.

Suzy Khimm is a political reporter in the Washington bureau of Mother Jones. For more of her stories,click here. Follow her on Twitter.

Yahoo Answers has a Misogynist/Antifeminist guy named Jim who is a Delusional Fool Who Thinks "Misandry" Exists! LOL

[image is from here]
A question is asked by an Ignorant Man:

Open Question

Show me another»

When is it OK to hate half the world's population?

Apart from when you are a feminist I mean:

'My feelings about men are the result of my experience. I have little sympathy for them. Like a Jew just released from Dachau, I watch the handsome young Nazi soldier fall writhing to the ground with a bullet in his stomach and I look briefly and walk on. I don't even need to shrug. I simply don't care. What he was, as a person, I mean, what his shames and yearnings were, simply don't matter."
Marilyn French; The Woman's Room (later, advisor to Al Gore's Presidential Campaign.)

"All sex, even consensual sex between a married couple, is an act of violence perpetrated against a woman."
Catherine MacKinnon

"I believe that women have a capacity for understanding and compassion which man structurally does not have, does not have it because he cannot have it. He's just incapable of it."
Former Congresswoman Barbara Jordan

"Probably the only place where a man can feel really secure is in a maximum security prison, except for the imminent threat of release."
Germaine Greer.

"Men who are unjustly accused of rape can sometimes gain from the experience."
Catherine Comin, Vassar College. Assistant Dean of Students.
  • 12 hours ago
  • 3 days left to answer.

Additional Details

Dark Eyes said: "You take what 5 demented women said...and base that on an entire gender...? O.o I've seen these quotes hundreds of times on GWS... No one believes them..."

These demented women are mainstream feminists, particularly Catherine MacKinnon, who is credited with creating the sexual harassment paradigm and is a respected Ivy League professor.

Women like this are the intellectual foundations of the feminist movement.
12 hours ago

  • The question is answered by someone who is trying to clue the ignorant man above into something called the actual world of human events and oppression:

    Oh please.

    How ridiculous you and every other guy on Yahoo Answers is who trots out this same stuff over and over again across the Web.

    I can find one thousand times more "quotes" from men, including from "sacred religious texts" that put down, insult, degrade, and are overtly hateful to women. Women are considered dirty and in some societies are forbidden to be social while having their periods. Thou shall not lie with a man as you would a woman. Why? Because men love women? You know why? Because to lie with a woman is considered degrading. Which gender is allowed to be priests? Women or men? How about the Pope? Women or men. Is that because women hate men?

    Men's Rights guys want to delusionally pretend that a problem in the world is "women hating men", when everyone with a brain knows the institutionalized and interpersonal problem re: gender is MEN hating WOMEN. That hatred is expressing it in sexual harassment, rape, father-daughter incest, husbands and boyfriends beating up their wives/girlfriends, men molesting girls, men procuring women to "rent" them for sex, men drugging and date raping women, and on and on. Which gender burned women as witches? Men burned women. Which gender stones women to death? Men. Which gender is so devalued that infants are killed? Female infanticide is a major issue in the world, NOT male infanticide. Female genital mutilation means cutting out females' clitorises and sometimes sewing up their vulvas, to prove they are "pure" for their husbands. Do women cut off boys' penises and sew up their scrotums to preserve boys' "purity"? No.

    Indigenous women in North America are raped... not by women, but by men, and 80% of the time, or more, it is white men. One in THREE Indigenous women in North America is raped. Now what kind of idiot thinks the dozen or so quotes you put up above equals all the atrocities I've just listed here?

    You'd have to be one inhumane, unfeeling, uncaring jerk to think that all this equals a few "choice" quotes from women whose books are mostly out of print. And do you honestly think there aren't hateful things men say about women that can't be gathered up across the internet? Did you ever see what men say about women on pornography sites? How about what men who use women in prostitution call those women? How about what pimps call women?

    Who controls media, globally, men or women? Men. Who controls the military and the police forces globally, men or women? Men. Who are the majority of Supreme Court Justices in the U.S.? Men. What gender has EVERY U.S. president been? Men. Who controls the medical and educational institutions? Men. Which gender has portraits lining the halls of the Academy in the U.S.? White men. Who is ordering the mass murder of men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan? Men. Which gender is getting raped wherever men have wars? Women.

    Which gender sailed the seas and raped and slaughtered women? Men. Did women do this to men? No. Which gender sexually enslaved women? Men. Did women do this to men? No. Which gender forbid women to be considered anything other than chattel property, forbid women the vote, made it illegal for women to enter universities, and currently pays women less to do the same work as a man? White men. Have women done any of this to men? No.

    Did a man shoot many women in a Montreal university twenty years ago, because he hated feminists, or did a woman shoot a classroom full of men? It was Marc Lepine who killed fourteen women. No woman has ever done this to men.

    What planet ARE you living on? Why don't you get your head out of [the clouds] long enough to see what's really going on in the world? Why don't you just read THIS to get a grip on something called reality:


AIS Intersex Visibility, Understanding, and Support: a Conversation about Gender, Sex, Normalcy, and Identity

This is one person's story and it shouldn't be assumed to be just like anyone else's story. And not completely different either. I want to include this link, to a blog that deals with intersexuality in various languages:

Next, please meet Maya Posch:

I once knew someone with no gender and no sex. To look at this person, you wouldn't likely be able to say with any degree of certainty, "this person is male" or "this person is female". (I'll use the pronoun "they" in the singular form.) You wouldn't be able to tell if they were "a woman" or "a man". This person looked like themself. They didn't look "odd", they looked like another human being on the Earth. They didn't identify as transgender either, as this person didn't see that there was any reason to have to choose any gender or any place along the dominant spectrum of what is called "gender". They didn't experience themselves as transitioning. No surgery was performed on this person when they were born, and they have never had genetic testing to find out "what they are". This person was asked on a talk show, "But don't you want to know?!!" And they said, I know what I am. I am Toby. They felt very comfortable being who they were--someone without a sex and without a gender. I say "no sex" because this person had no genitals at all, but could urinate just fine. One problem with discussing intersexuality is the pre-occupation with what someone's genitals look like. (This is also often true when trans people are in the media.) This robs people of a kind of privacy non-intersexed and non-trans men can have if they want to. I would argue that all girls and women are  not allowed this sort of privacy, because clothes are usually and often designed to be tight and/or revealing of their bodies, and the shape of them.

It's important to note that among "males" and among "females" there is enormous physical variation, in so many ways, from weight and height, to shape and size, to strength and fragility, to the degrees to which primary and secondary sexual characteristics are present. There are relatively hairless men, for example, and women who are quite hairy. Tragically, to me anyway, the men who don't have much hair are generally socially acceptable, but women with any thick hair on their faces or other areas of their bodies like backs, arms, legs, buttocks, etc., are made to feel like they have to have it removed somehow, or dyed a color that does't make it show up so much. Why can't women be just as hairy as some men are? This is completely "natural" after all?

For all of us, there are concerns about appearance and identity, and depending on what societies we live in, those concerns can be minor or major or completely pre-occupying. As Audre Lorde wrote so often, we need not be like each other to honor each other's being.

I have always felt a particular kinship with asexual and "intersex" people. I was very glad that someone with the screen name justme wrote to this blog, and I got permission from justme to make these comments into a separate post. What follows is our exchange thus far.

justme said...

Thanks for this post and for the blog, which I only just discovered.

As for me, I am a young (graduating college), white, upper-middle-class, Jewish, "intersex" (PAIS) female who is currently trying to deal with her identity with respect to sex (action, not gender). In particular, I was/am one of the "victims" of those surgical "fascistic enemies." While I don't necessarily agree with such a dichotomous characterization of what happened to me (or to others like me), I will say that I have been profoundly affected by the decision that was made about my body just minutes after I was born. Of course, thinking about what I’d be like if I hadn’t had it is scary too, since I only know myself the way I am now.

Mostly, the physical part of the whole sex thing has always been quite problematic. Growing up, I was always pretty girly (not tomboyish at all). Clearly the surgery had an effect on the level of arousal I feel and whatnot, but I grew up having crushes on boys and thinking, perhaps like most other good heteronormatively raised female children that I would get married in a white dress and have children and be just like everyone else.

That is, until my parents told me a partial explanation of my diagnosis when I was 10. So then I knew that I wouldn't menstruate or be able to bear children, and something about not having certain organs. I was told via my parents (who had clearly been given this information by the medical professionals) that I would have a "perfectly normal" sex life.

I eventually knew something else was up, but was too private to ask. I, devastatingly, found out on my own that I had AIS from seeing an old newsletter from the support group (which my mom had told me about before just by saying that it was for "girls like me") and googling it. I was 16, a full year before my mother finally was going to tell me.

Basically, since doing some discovery “work,” I've finally admitted to myself that I'm attracted to women.

It's really hard, because so much of my life has been about pretending that I'm a "normal" girl, and I always wanted to be normal despite the condition/not have it define my life. And it seems like for most queer people, its the "sex" part that is powerful enough to overcome all of the societal pressure (whereas I've never been very sexual - at all).

Also, in terms of "coming out," I feel like it's supposed to be about being you really are, but who I am is so complicated and fucked up, particularly for someone who I may have only met recently. And for other people, when they know, its all about the sex part. But I suppose that's getting ahead of things.

At this point, I would love to try being with a woman, but all the fears I have had about "down there" with respect to being with a guy (which I've never really done) are just amplified, as well as just the continuous thought that no lesbian woman would want "damaged goods" like me, let alone someone so inexperienced.

I've told some close girlfriends about the condition, but this step is obviously the hardest. I also wish I had more "queer" friends. I have a lot of gay guy friends, but theyre either somewhat self-hating or just not really activist about it. I have a pretty good friend who's a lesbian (and has a girlfriend), but again, not really a big deal in her life overall. The one girl I've met that is in a similar situation as I am (close in age, same condition, similar experiences) is really open about it after getting involved with her schools queer community and then being with a girl. Also, fyi, she identifies as queer as an umbrella term that avoids labeling anyone as anything. I like that way of looking at it.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 12, 2010 6:25:00 AM EDT

justme said...

Sorry for ranting all about me, its just hard to talk about this with anyone. As for the "I", I think it would be nice it terms of the awareness aspect, even though I don't really like actually identifying as intersex (the word itself). I presume most people have no idea about intersex, or if they do, its way more sensationalized or dealing with gender than what I have, but it's hard to be open about something so hidden.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 12, 2010 6:26:00 AM EDT

Julian Real said...

Welcome, welcome, and more welcomes, justme!

No worries and no apologies please, about speaking about yourself and the struggles you face.

I am so grateful you feel safe here to speak. And I hear in your words the deep and complex layers of parental and larger social mystification and confusion, and how much you've been struggling to even know what others know "about you", let alone how you want to be in the world.

I support you doing speaking here, as much as you'd like, as much as you need.

You are also, in addition to posting more comments here, more than welcome to email me at the address in the top right corner, and I'll offer whatever support I can, a listening ear, whatever, in more private email. Please regard me as a solid ally and potential friend.

I have to think that your voice here will be found by other people who share aspects of your own story and struggles, and will feel less alone because you took the risk to speak out somewhere.

In some ways I'd like, only with your permission and genuine wishes, to make your comments thus far into a separate post, as well as leaving them right here. (But read through this whole reply to you, because I, personally, have reservations about this as well.)

I see so little understanding for people with AIS and other conditions that allow the current medical world to term you "intersex". I'm so glad you raise the issue of the term not being one you like. To me, it's a very "destabilising" term. It's a term that locates someone's being as not being where they "should be", if that makes any sense at all!! It's sort of like calling someone "disabled". It assumes there are "able" people who are just fine, who don't struggle with body, mind, and general being in the world. Who is it that we're all being measured against to determine the degrees to which we fit or don't?

I've recently discovered from some writings by Sarah Deer, how really problematic the term Two Spirit is, if used by non-Indigenous individuals an umbrella term for Indigenous people in North America (or beyond) who are not "traditionally" gendered and sexed in ways recognised by WHM society. By whose traditions, first of all. Why is there even an assumption that dominant society has it even close to right?!

WEDNESDAY, MAY 12, 2010 12:28:00 PM EDT

Julian Real said...

This whole matter is so perplexing, of what to call ourselves--to even find names that aren't labels, as my feminist mentor used to say. (Naming being something we do to empower ourselves; labeling being something done to us by oppressors.)

There's this whole matter of finding words that make sense of who we are, rather than force us into some medical diagnosis created for surgeons and pharmacies to more "appropriately" be able to invade our bodies.

I struggled for years about whether or not to identify as gay--partly due to the sheer force and depressing weight of heterosexist and homophobic society. But also because I'm so at odds with so much of what I see as "gayness" in places where I've lived--meaning, primarily, the degrees to which it is heteronormative and patriarchal, either in ways that dominant society accepts and welcomes, or in ways it despises.

I totally understand anyone wanting to fit it, to not be the queer among the queers.

I'll stop for now, but please let me know, either by commenting again here, or by email, if you would TRULY welcome me to post your comments as a separate post, in part to make the parts of your story you've shared easier for other folks who struggle similarly to find you and know they are not alone. (I wouldn't want to do so if putting your voice in a separate post would feel in any way exploitive or exposing in ways that leave you feeling less safe, less comfortable, etc.)

In other words, I don't believe you ought to have to "be out here" for anyone but yourself. If it is preferable, for whatever reasons, to have your voice be as it is here, some comments among many others others on a post that already exists about queer politics and terminology, and not more "center-stage" than that, I support that fully remaining the case.

In what you say, I feel and see this whole matter of our lives being both incomprehensible (and therefore grossly misunderstood and stereotyped and feared) to and by mainstream/dominant culture and its people, and ALSO over-exposed (and therefore exploitive, robbing individuals of forms of privacy needed to sort out ones own feelings without also shielding oneself from very harsh and glaring (and dehumanising and often degrading) spotlights: for me this is such a dilemma: what level of social contact and public presence to have?!

Find yourself a comfy seat or couch here, justme. And let me know what else I can do to make your visits here more comfortable, okay? :)

WEDNESDAY, MAY 12, 2010 12:28:00 PM EDT

justme said...

Thanks for the response, and the concern.

Trust me, of all places to be uncomfortable, this is not it. Post away.

When I said that it's hard being open, I meant in the regular world, where explaining all of this is necessarily connected to myself as a non-anonymous person existing in the world - a person that people have known for a long time without any inkling about this (or just inklings about being asexual/gay/superprivate). In other words, rather than dealing with my sexual identity, I've kind of just pretended it doesn't exist (which isn't that untrue).

All of the friends I've told about this (4 pretty straight girls, and 1 straight guy friend) have been really open and accepting. But these are people I know love me for me regardless of anything else.

I definitely agree with a lot of what you say on this site, but I know a lot of people in the world that would view it as hyperbole, or at the very least "not that big of a deal" - as in, straight people who are not homophobic or gay people (read: men) who don't see themselves that far outside the mainstream gender binary, and thus are less willing to be open about those who are.

Mostly, its the fact that the most important thing for most people when they hear about these sorts of things (intersex) is gender - and associate it with trans/genderqueer (which i feel VERY little connection to, besides empathy i suppose). I know that some intersex people do deal with those issues, but again, that is just not a concern for me.

So, again, this is not where I feel uncomfortable. I've always been very open about these sorts of things - in a general sense, but its hard to debate (I'm mostly thinking of one gay guy friend) people who make ridiculous comments about lesbians and "trannies," without opening up about how I fit in to all of that.

In any case, I'm sure many people would be more understanding if this issue wasn't, like you said, both incomprehensible and over-exposed (only in the most sensationalist way possible, of course). Thanks for doing you part to change that.

THURSDAY, MAY 13, 2010 2:29:00 AM EDT

InterSex Education: Videos That Explain Some Experiences of Being Intersexed

Caster Semenya, an 18-year-old from South Africa, 
after the women’s 800 meters at the world track and field championships in Berlin.
[photo is from here]
Caster Semenya was over-exposed in the media last year due to having her gender and sex interrogated in invasive ways. It was a despicable example of how dehumanising the media can be. Not that there's any shortage of stories of that proclivity in media!

Before going on with this post, I want to point out this website which is an education and support site for intersex people and people who have been labeled intersex. And it is where I found the image above.

What is so refreshing to me about this website is that it is multi-racial and multi-ethnic. I've just spent an hour pouring over all-white videos, to find some to post here. I found three that I think might be helpful. But they're all white and Western. So here's the website for all of humanity to learn about being intersexed. (I also link to it from my blog, on the right side.)

One child in every 2000 is born, naturally, with a sex that isn't male or female. Why, then, do we pretend there are only two sexes and two genders (and that one set--males, boys, and men--are superior to and  naturally dominant over the other set--females, girls, and women)?

I offer here three videos, each one quite different in style and subject matter. All have to do with what is termed being "intersex". These are the best I could find on YouTube, which I guess has just turned five years old. So Happy Birthday to YouTube. And while I'm offering up my critiques before each one, I find enough in each one to value and appreciate them. I mean, So You Think You Can Dance is Outrageously heterosexist, profoundly oppressively anti-gay and anti-lesbian in this regard, but, well, I LOVE that show. Such is life: finding what's special amidst all the oppressive CRAP. So I'll go into some critiques sort of to get them out of the way. I can't show stuff on this blog that, to me, is racist, for example, without mentioning how I find it to be so. Bear with me, please. I'm just not a "single-issue" kind of guy.

Each of the following videos centralise whiteness and Western white cultures, all normalise and naturalise heterosexuality, and none of them deal with race, sexual orientation, the politics of gender, or class. I didn't expect anything else, to be honest. But I wished for more.

This first video is one of the only ones that takes a positive view of being neither male or female. It does, however, assume everyone is white and in case they haven't noticed, people of every color and most ethnicities live in North America, the UK and Northern and Western Europe, when combined.

In the West, all the medical and most of the societally "unusual" stories are going to assume that whiteness is normal, and that telling the stories of white people with whatever conditions of birth or culture, is sufficient. I strongly disagree, and wish any story about white people described how their being white impacts their lives, how white supremacy and white privileges effect how they understand themselves and their particular form of humanity. How does institutional power shape the ways they view the world and the choices they make? How are white children and adults treated differently by the dominant Western medical establishment in the white het male supremacist West than children and adults of color? WHM-owned and controlled media, including television isn't likely to give us that answer.

This video is typically oblivious of its whiteness, of class, of sexual orientation, and this video is troubling to me on a lot of levels. For one, the medical intervention described is cruel, unconscionable, and done with no consent from the parents. This video is graphic about what this one intersex child physically looked like as an infant. I'm troubled by that too. I remember kids growing up and watching their parents show pictures to the grown child's friends, including the "nudie" tub pics or "naked baby on the rug" shots. No one I know welcomed this to happen. So how is a child to feel knowing their bodies were invaded not only surgically, but also photographically, and that this was posted on the Internet?

The other thing that most troubles me about this video is the way there seems to be a valuing of "boyhood" over girlhood", and the insistence by parents that, due to gender stereotyping--a child's interests and activities--they must be "a boy". There are plenty of people who were not boys who were more athletic and more active than Patrick. Girls and "non-boys" are not as socially valued and respected or statused and privileged as boys and men are. This, to me, plays out in what you are about to see. The video narrator ominously tells us that this child will have to take testosterone through injection all his life. Why? Why does he need more intervention? Why can't this child grow up without taking testosterone? There is an assumption that "playing like my son and not like my daughter means my child is a boy", and "because my child is a boy my child must be injected with testosterone for the rest of his life, due to a medical nightmare". I'm glad they are suing the doctor--who is just a butchering criminal who should have his license taken away, but I'm not happy that this child is not allowed to be a unique child (as every child is), but instead is being shaped into being a certain kind of child, with regard to gender.

The ways I was gendered were brutal at times, but far less traumatic than for some boys. I have written some about this, and you can read that *here*, in an essay called "The Trauma of the Gendered Child". I oppose the system of gendering that is fused to male supremacy and  to a gender binary of male over and against female. I support the radical transformation of all institutions and systems in society to eliminate all manifestations of male supremacy, and just "trying to make more genders within a male supremacist society" is not workable, in my view, or liberating for women and girls, or for anyone else who is deemed to be not boyish enough if a male-designated child, and not manlike enough if male-designated, boy-raised adult.

Having said all that, what I most respect about this white seemingly working to middle class heterosexual mother, is her insistence that her child should NOT have to be surgically altered.

I find these stories, narrated by Juju Chang, compelling and honest. In the case of the younger person especially, we are introduced to a very positive role model for how to value being "different". (I love the self-loving spirit of that child!!) This film goes way too far in offering up views of the flesh of one of the people profiled. And the gender stereotyping is heterosexistly oppressive, to me, in some parts. It promotes the "thin, Western European female human form", which dominant media never seems to tire of reproducing. This whole "No, really, she's a WOMAN! Here, I'll kind of show you her breasts!" to me is typically, unnecessarily sexist exploitation. But I find both Eden and Kylie in this video, from a U.S. ABC-TV program, wonderful people.

So what do you think folks? Is this helpful to you? Does it anger you or upset you? Does it affirm you?