Back in 1983, Frankie said "Relax" and a media unsettled by gay S&M did the exact opposite. A generation later, we pride ourselves on being a little cooler with queerness and BDSM, but I suspect there are still some double standards when it comes to gay men getting kinky....
Where are the kinky ladies who love to spank other ladies at? Unfortunately, in pop culture they're often squarely under the male gaze. In today's post, I turn to literature in search of more diverse representations of lesbian BDSM....
Yesterday, Republican Presidential hopeful Herman Cain clashed with Piers Morgan about whether or not people are born gay. Here's the video:
The important thing to know is that Cain sets out saying that "homosexuality is a sin" because of his "Biblical beliefs," but Morgan quickly steers the conversation into "born this way" territory, outraged that Cain won't concede his point. Cain's response: "What does science show? You show me evidence other than opinion, and you might cause me to reconsider that... Where's the evidence?"
I have a confession to make. I was raised in an evangelical Christian home, and when I was much much younger... I was a fan of contemporary Christian music (CCM). Oh, yes. I reailzed just how much of an affront to music it is almost half of my life ago, but lately, I've been thinking about just how entrenched it is in the ideology of the Christian Right. Consider this awful 1995 track by Twila Paris called "Rescue the Prisoner." (The "prisoner," it turns out, is a member of the LGBTQ community who is said to be "demanding rights" and "defending wrong.")
In May, Religion Dispatches published my first interview with former darling of the Christian contemporary music scene, lesbian singer-songwriter Jennifer Knapp. Then over the summer, I got to meet and interview Knapp in person while covering the Wild Goose Festival, an event that celebrated (predominantly Christian) spirituality, justice, and art. We talked a bit about the limitations of Christian music, feminism and sexuality on the same day she filmed the "It Gets Better" video below. I'll be critiquing some evangelical Christian music later in the series, so I'm very excited to share unpublished parts of our interview with you here today:
One of the first squares I always fill in "Hateful Conservative Press Release Bingo" is the one devoted to references to child abuse or to the claim that queers are more likely to abuse children. This perpetually debunked claim is almost always trotted out in national debates about providing queer-inclusive sex education. It is a disgusting lie that puts children in danger by preparing them to be wary of a mincing stereotype instead of real sexual predators, most of whom identify as heterosexuals. It is unclear at what age the Traditional Values Coalition would think mentioning that queer people exist would be appropriate, but my guess is their answer would be "never" and "shut up about it."
Now that the confetti has settled, the media is starting to move on from the modern fairytale. But there are some people for whom the royal wedding was an experience they'll never forget, in all the wrong ways.
June is LGBT pride month, commemorating the multi-day standoff at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, 1969. When I've marched through the sticky heat of Washington, DC's pride festivities, I find myself wishing we were commemorating something in April, but the Stonewall riots are probably the best touchstone to choose, so June it is.
As commercialized as Pride festivals are these days—and here I note the full inclusion of a Frito-Lay truck having an actual float in this year's DC parade—it's easy to forget the moments that have been hard fought in the last 41 years. When I first came out in 1991, I thought gay marriage would never happen in my lifetime, and as of today, it is legal in five states and the DC. We have progressed further than I thought possible, and in other ways, we have barely moved an inch. [More]
After the National Equality March wended its way through the nation's capital this past October, the New York Times ran coverage of the event under the headline "Gay Rights Marchers Press Cause in Washington." A year earlier, in the midst of California's Prop 8 battle, American Apparel debuted its "Legalize Gay" t-shirts, which were scooped up by supporters of gay rights, gay marriage, gay adoption, and gays in the military. After Prop 8 passed, comedienne Wanda Sykes came out. She was very proud, she said, to be "gay."
At the risk of seeming pedantic or quibbling, one might pause to wonder what ever happened to the word that once seemed to march so firmly hand-in-hand with "gay." Whither "lesbian"?