Cuba’s Families Code a bold step forward for LGBTQ+ rights in the hemisphere
As conservatives in North America, but particularly the US, redouble their efforts to restrict women’s and LGBTQ+ rights, we must applaud Cuba’s popular and democratic decision to draft, discuss, and implement their new Families Code, a powerful document that is one of the world’s most progressive laws concerning women’s rights, familial rights, and LGBTQ+ rights.
No return to ‘normal’ LGBT politics!
A radical re-orientation of queer and trans organizing is in order, one that understands queer and trans liberation as part of an overall vision of social and racial justice. We need to take leadership and direction from Black, Indigenous and racialized queer and trans people and espouse an approach that views different oppressions as interconnected, placing the needs of those left out of the rights revolution at the centre.
Documenting the fight for decriminalization in the sex workers’ rights movement
Sex workers have for too long been seen as something less than fully human, our work seen as unskilled, as a “high-risk lifestyle” rather than a job. Our fight for decriminalization is but one aspect of the sex workers’ rights movement. The other, more complex component is our fight against stigma and the silence that we are encouraged to maintain around our work.
Compassionate analysis of homosexuality in the Canadian military
Paul Jackson’s One of the Boys is a complex, layered, and compassionate analysis of homosexuality in the Canadian military during World War II. Through careful and painstaking research, using archival evidence including court martial proceedings and interviews, he writes into World War II a social history of homosexuality in the Canadian Forces—a social history that had been, as he notes, ignored by military historians.
Queer liberation: The social organization of forgetting and the resistance of remembering
We need to reclaim the radical roots or our struggles in the new contexts we face. Past acts of resistance can be an important resource that we draw and build upon in our contemporary struggles. We need to reignite radical queer liberation movements to challenge all the remaining forms of heterosexual hegemony we face and all the ways our oppression is bound up with capitalist class, patriarchal, racializing relations and other forms of dominance.
Queers against apartheid: From South Africa to Israel
Like South Africa twenty-five years ago, Israel today portrays itself as a progressive liberal democracy, an endangered island of modernity in a backward and hostile region. The existence of a gay rights movement in Israel is deployed as another example of this modernity. I think that these similarities tell us a great deal, that they actually reveal the underlying process that they are designed to obscure—a common colonial project.
Queer & Radical Politics
At the time of writing we were informed that Pride Toronto had banned Queers Against Israeli Apartheid from participating in this summer’s Toronto Pride March. Capitulating to Israel lobby groups and to City Hall threats to withdraw funding if the group marched, the board of Toronto Pride has chosen to set a dangerous precedent by censoring a community human rights group. We are thinking about the impact of QuAIA on queer movements, queer politics, and where the “movement” is now.
Peeping in on Goldie (and liking the show)
In queersexlife: Autobiographical Notes on Sexuality, Gender & Identity Terry Goldie offers up a heady brew of theory and introspection that is both refreshing and biting. The “autobiographical notes” that infuse the book reveal the intimacy and inextricability of personal experience and theoretical perspective which grounds the work and makes it feel “human” and accessible. At the same time, the deeply personal details jar the reader who might find his frankness unfamiliar, if not uncomfortable. And good for him. Goldie’s narratives are not merely casual observations that superficially draw links between the personal and political; instead, he is willing to be vulnerable and raw. Academic writing rarely offers this intimacy—moans and other physical pleasures in the first person—and it is a welcome shake-up. Indeed, it causes the reader, at least this reader, to question what that initial discomfort may mean, about the boundaries of knowledge production and about the scopophilia that positions the reader in a unique relationship to the text, gazing upon the strokes and sounds that emit from the pages.
Fist of the Spider Woman
When I decided to venture “out,” I yearned for lesbian literatures that would brace my trembling, newborn limbs. I’d spent years projecting my own lesbian desires in my mind’s wide dark room while at the hands of male lovers, but at the brink of queerdom, I struggled to connect sex and emotions. For guidance, I bought the annual Ultimate Lesbian Erotica, which wasn’t ultimate, I was so disengaged from the contrived characters and situations I never finished reading the collection. Instead, I wish I’d picked-up a literary collection like Fist of the Spider Woman: Tales of Fear and Queer Desire, an anthology edited by Vancouver’s Amber Dawn, however, I doubt there were many like it. This anthology’s diverse cast of characters skillfully embodies the political and personal that molds a lesbian’s desire, constructing stories and poems that are sexy and substantive.
State Repression of Sexual Minorities
In 1996 Justice John Wesley McClung, Q.C. ruled against Delwin Vriend in the famous case prompted by his dismissal from a religious college owing to his sexual orientation. Warning against sanctioning “deviant practices,” McClung asserted that the province had appropriately refrained from “the validation of homosexual rights, including sodomy, as a protected and fundamental right, thereby rebutting a millennia [sic] of moral teaching.”
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