To successfully earn credit on the discussion board, you’ll need to copy and paste the template below into EACH discussion board post for which you want credit–this includes an original post and a response to another student. Every post you want to count, must include the template.
The template, found below, is essentially a grading rubric that you use yourself to make sure that you’ve met the requirements of the discussion board when you submit. In order to count, your discussion board must add new information to the conversation based upon a close reading of the assignments and a close viewing of the films. Your post must explicitly tie what you are saying to either/both the readings and the films. You’ll need to add something new to the conversation. The template that you post is the entire passage below in brownish-red font.
To receive a credit for your discussion board post, you must copy and paste the bulleted items below, paste them beneath the message you’re posting (in the same dialogue window as your post) and explain how each of the bulleted items in the template are met by your post. Again, EACH of your posts for which you want to earn a tally, whether original posted response to my prompt OR a response to a fellow student’s post, must include the completed template. In order to receive credit, your post must the following three criteria:
1.) The post adds new information(besides your opinion, agreement or disagreement) to the conversation?
2.) The post must add new information related to the conversation from the class reading assignments. (Indeed, including a quote from the reading with an explanation of what that quote means would help you here.)
3.) If there is a film to be viewed for this week, the post must include specific information from the film itself that relates to the conversation.
Here are the prompts for the week:
I’m leaving the board wide open this week: What would you like to discuss regarding the simplistic lecture on the acronyms this week (this becomes more complex with the ABCs of LGBT) and what do you think about the videos below?
On Rainy River
I assigned the short story, Rainy River, to the class because it is a “coming out” story. When Tim O’brien sits in the canoe and sobs, he is faced with a decision that ALL LGBT people readily understand and experience: Does he choose himself, fall into the water and swim to shore–potentially losing his family, friends and the life he as come to know OR does he stay in the canoe, go back to be the person that his family and friends want him to be thereby losing himself in the process. Any LGBT person who has struggled to come out to a family member or a friend knows this vulnerability and potential loss. Tim O’brien, in this short story, is asserting that giving up yourself to be who others want you to be an act of cowardice. What do you think?
Some Terminology at the Start of the Class
Now, some terminology. But first: Sexual orientation and gender identity/expression terms are evolving rapidly. Inevitably someone in this class will be bothered by the definitions that I’m listing here. At this time, these are the current, standard definitions. Check back in five years and the terms could be completely different.
This lecture serves to establish a common language that we’ll be using throughout the course. It’s important to spend some time getting to know these terms to be sure that you’ve properly understood the language of the discipline and to ensure that you are properly understanding the course. I’ll expect you to be able to appropriately use these terms on the quizzes, exams and discussion board. These terms are more basic terms than the specific film terminology found at the end of your syllabus. You’ll want to define those terms as you view the films so that you can use your notes on the film quiz.
The LGBT Community, as you will soon find out, was formed out of anger—anger that culminated in the Stonewall Riots. (There were other riots prior to the Stonewall Riots but the Stonewall Riots were the ones that stuck—thanks to the courageous and tenacious work of the early activists.) I guess the first term that you should know is “Stonewall.” The Stonewall was the bar, raided by police, where the riots kicked off the LGBT rights movement.
LGBT: The alphabet soup is up next. We are an unruly group of “bed fellows.” The community was formed out of anger at the oppression facing all of us but the community has always experienced tensions due to opposing goals and purposes.
L stands for Lesbian. A lesbian is a woman attracted to other women. While this attraction is most often sexual, I guess, a lesbian need not be “homosexual” but could be “homosocial.” If, for example, a lesbian had some sort of biological issue that took sexual relationships completely off the table, she would still be a “woman directed woman.” This means that her primary sexual/social/affectional relationships are directed toward (an)other woman/women.
G stands for Gay. A gay person is a man. Though lesbians were once called “gay girls,” this is no longer the case. Lesbians are lesbians. Gay men are gay. “Gay” is similar to “lesbian.” A gay man is a man whose primary sexual/social/affectional relationships are directed toward (an)other man/men.
B stands for Bisexual. One would think that “an eye toward equality” would put the letters in alphabetical order. I’ve often wondered why we don’t. If we did, the community would be the BGL community. However, it is most often labeled the “LGB” community and sometimes the “GLB” community. (You’ll soon find out that Bisexuals are not only invisible to the greater population but also to their closely related LG community members as well.) Someone who is bisexual is attracted sexually/socially/affectionally to members of both sexes.
Orientation: LGB are orientation terms. These identities are determined by the object outside of oneself to which one is primarily attracted. Not all letters in the LGBT are focused on orientation.
There are other orientation letters as well:
Someone who self describes as Asexual experiences no sexual attraction. Someone who is celibate experiences sexual attraction but refrains from acting on it. Someone who is asexual experiences no sexual attractions.There can be strongly asexual identities, moderately asexual identities and mildly asexual identities. When an individual comes out as asexual, s/he/zie are often met by suggestions that some sort of medical intervention could “fix” them; this is offensive, clearly.
Pansexuality is very similar to bisexuality but there are some important differences. Whereas Bisexuals are sexually/socially/affectionally directed toward both men and women, Pansexuals are sexually/socially/affectionally directed toward both men and women, and transgender persons as well. “Pan” means “all.” “Bi” means “two.” Essentially, the title “bisexual” accepts the gender binary while the title “pansexual” rejects the binary and recognizes other gender identities. And, this discussion brings us to the “T” in LGBT.
Queer refers to. . . well, we’ll get to that. Keep reading.
Questioning refers to someone who is unsure about his/her/zier sexual identity.
First, we need to distinguish between Sex and Gender. Sex refers to biology. Gender refers to social roles to which men and women are expected to conform. Most societies stubbornly want to claim that there are only two sexes in the world: male and female. Our institutions and architectures are built upon this supposition. However, the world does not come in only male and female. Sometimes the world comes in male, female, both and neither. “Intersex” refers to individuals who used to be called “hermaphrodites.” Intersex refers to individuals who betray some male and some female sexual characteristics. Many people suppose that gender is tied to sex, i.e. that men are masculine and women are feminine. This, however, is clearly and observationally false. Sometimes men are feminine and sometimes women are masculine—and this is independent of anyone’s sexual orientation. Just as with sex, the world does not come in either masculine gender or feminine gender. The world also comes in transgender or genderqueer individuals.
“Transgender” is a broad term that includes transsexuals, transvestites, drag queens, etc. Transgender literally means to cross gender.
A “Transsexual person” is a transgender person who typically adopts some sort of biological, surgical, hormonal changes to bring his/her/zier biological sex into accord with gender identity.The “T” in LGBT is not a sexual orientation term. Rather than sexual orientation, the T addresses gender identity and expression—how one feels himself/herself/zierself to be.
There are at least two approaches to self-understanding in the trans community. The Traditional Trans narrative and being Genderqueer. The Traditional Trans narrative accepts the gender binary, i.e. that the world comes in two types of people (men and women) and an individual was defined as one of those terms at birth but is now transitioning to his/her appropriate label to be who he/she really is. Someone who identifies as Genderqueer rejects the gender binary and, instead, claims that all individuals occupy some realm in between male/female and masculine/feminine. This distinction is important in the individual goals may vary. For example, a former student of mine (who has given permission for me to use this example in the abstract) is a transman. He was assigned “female” at birth but not uses hormones to transition to expressing the gender (male) that he is. He identifies as a straight male, goes to straight bars and identifies little with the LGBT community. A genderqueer individual, by contrast, would typically identify more closely with the LGBT community as a gender nonconforming person. On his/her/zier view, the world comes in a range of gender identities and it is not problematic to stand out as gender nonconforming.
What are your PGPs? “PGPs” are preferred gender pronouns. My PGPs, as a cis-gender gay male are he, him and his. What are yours? It’s polite to use the PGPs that an individual specifies and why would it not be polite to do so?
In addition to the orientation letters (L, G, B) and the identity and expression letters (T, GQ), there are also words to express quantities: monogamous, polygamous, polyamorous, etc. These, too, can serve as very powerful identities. Monogamous = 1 to 1 for life (unless one is a serial monogamist, which means one at time but several over a life span. Polygamous = one man and several women. Polyamorous = multiples more than two of any sort or size. Though our society explicitly states approval for monogamy, most people are at least serial monogamous and there are sizeable polygamous and polyamorous communities/relationships/couplings.
So, what’s with Queer? Queer is an odd word. In its original usage, it meant odd. Then it became a derogatory word hurled at LGBT people to injure them. It’s now been re-appropriated by the LGBT community and, in a sense, has returned to its original usage. In the world outside of academia, “Queer” is slowly becoming the catch-all word that covers the spectrum of identities—L + G + B + T + I + Q + Q + A. In Academia, however, Queer sometimes stands in stark contrast to the other letters, especially the orientation letters. Queer in the academic sense means “not-heterosexual monogamous.” Academically, Queer is a counterculture viewpoint and covers anything but the “normal.” Normal is a bad word from the queer perspective. Queer perspectives tend to feel equally incarcerated by the labels “lesbian-gay-bisexual” as they do by the label “straight.” Queer perspectives reject labels with a recognition that once one accepts a label, he/she/zie tends to construct his/her/zie life in accordance with that label. The Queer perspective favors the freedom that comes with moment-by-moment individual experience rather than the community allegiances of a label. In this regard, Queer communities tended to NOT support same-sex marriage because marriage is a “normal” institution and being normal is boring. When I think of Queer people, I think of the X-men. When I see an X-men film, I always WANT to be an x-man, I NEVER want to be merely normal. The film is about the very special x-men and the normal people are there as fodder. Queer people see “normal” as “wonder bread, boring, ho-hum” and, instead, encourage people to create their own lives the way that they individually want them to be, independent of labels and definitions. When I say that I am a gay man, I am limiting my options. Who knows that will catch my eye tomorrow. Queer Theory, as a counter culture movement, has given birth to some other closely aligned counter culture movements: Fat Studies and Crip Theory. In the case of fatness and disability, society is quick to body shame, seek to fix or repair through diet or discipline, feel pity for and insult those whose bodies they find to be too corpulent or not “normal.” In both of those realms, Fat Theorists and Crip Theorists are quick to point out that their bodies are theirs alone and their bodies have made them who they are, and if others have a problem with their bodies, that is completely the problem of those others. There is a meme that I share on my face book page toward the end of every spring. It reads: Want to know how to get a bikini body? Put on a bikini and you have a bikini body!
A final word: Just as the word “queer” is an opprobrious word that used to be hurled at me as an insult and usually right before someone punched me, so the words “fat” and “cripple” are words that have been used to harm people. With “Queer Theory,” the word has been reclaimed and is use as a badge of pride and honor, “I’m a queer man.” The same is true of “fat” and “Crip.” These words have been recovered and reclaimed as a badge of honor. Look up “fat studies” on amazon and see what you find. Look up “Crip Theory” on amazon and see what you find. If you want to read a novel that is seemingly so offensive that it was banned across the USA, check out “Geek Love.” Geek Love is about the Binewski family, a circus family. The circus isn’t attracting visitors any more so they decide to build a glorious side show attraction by having Ms. Binewski drink liquid plumber, etc., while pregnant. She gives birth some glorious characters: The siamese twins, Artie the flipper boy, etc. If she gives birth to a “normal” child, they leave it on the steps of a convent. In this novel, Normals are discarded. The ones they keep are truly special and spectacular. It’s an inverted world that changes the views of the reader. Check it out but only if you dare.
Additionally, the Xmen movies are very queer in nature. I don’t care who you are, when you go to see an Xman movie, you do NOT want to be one of the normal people in the film. You want to be one of the people who are special, and being special with regards to being a sexual outsider, a fat outsider or a differently abled outsider, makes you who you are.
This all is very unsettingly to the normal point of view, the view that people think we are good gays precisely because we recognize that heterosexuality is normal and we want what they have. The LGBT people who, frankly, do not want what they have and who see their lives as more spectacular than normal, tend to identify as gloriously queer.
Check out these youtube videos. The first is absolutely heteronormative and tells us what “the heart of every girl longs for.” (Transgirls and lesbians included or excluded?) The second video revels in resisting categories and showing people who revel in NOT wanting a heteronormative lifestyle. “Queer” is not opposed to heterosexual; Queer is opposed to heteronormative.
Or with subtitles:
or with subtitles:
describing four LGBT riots prior to Stonewall.
BE VERY NICE WITH WRITING