America The Free

While waiting on SCOTUS to make decisions on Prop 8 and DOMA, I took the time to dive into some of the other cases that they were deciding on this week. Two of which struck me the hardest. The first was the VRA and the second was Fisher vs. The University of Texas (which whhhewwww white America we need to talk) As a black person and otherwise minority (queer, genderqueer, Jew, etc etc) the Supreme Courts decision on the VRA felt a little bit like a punch in the gut.

What is the VRA?

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. §§ 1973–1973aa-6)is a landmark piece of national legislation in the United States that outlawed discriminatory voting practices that had been responsible for the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans in the U.S.
Echoing the language of the 15th Amendment, the Act prohibits states from imposing any “voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure … to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.”Specifically, Congress intended the Act to outlaw the practice of requiring otherwise qualified voters to pass literacy tests in order to register to vote, a principal means by which Southern states had prevented African Americans from exercising the franchise.The Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, who had earlier signed the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law.
The Act established extensive federal oversight of elections administration, providing that states with a history of discriminatory voting practices (so-called “covered jurisdictions”) could not implement any change affecting voting without first obtaining the approval of the Department of Justice, a process known as preclearance. These enforcement provisions applied to states and political subdivisions (mostly in the South) that had used a “device” to limit voting and in which less than 50 percent of the population was registered to vote in 1964. The Act has been renewed and amended by Congress four times, the most recent being a 25-year extension signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2006.
The Act is widely considered a landmark in civil-rights legislation.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_Rights_Act_of_1965

The VRA made it so that there would be less voter suppression. By striking it down it now becomes easier to suppress certain voters. Ie; minorities, poor people, immigrants, and the elderly. So. Basically a win for all white rich conservatives. THANKS AGAIN GUYS. Texas wasted absolutely NO TIME in using this towards their favor.
The strict photo ID requirement blocked by the DOJ and a federal court would require Texans to show one of a very narrow list of acceptable photo IDs. Expired gun licenses from other states are considered valid, but Social Security cards and student IDs are not. If voters do not have an ID — as many minorities, seniors, and poor people do not — they must travel at their own expense, produce their birth certificate, and in many cases pay a fee to get an ID. http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/06/25/2212281/two-hours-after-the-supreme-court-gutted-the-voting-rights-act-texas-ag-suppresses-minority-voters/

Super.

What is Fisher vs. The University of Texas about you may ask?

If the Supreme Court is ruling on it, it’s probably a super important big deal right? Like gay marriage? Yeah you would think. Fisher is Abigail Fisher a white woman (girl?) who was denied entry to The University of Texas, and chose to get fucking heated at Affirmative Action because of her rejection. Remember the college application process you guys? It was all kinds of shits and giggles. You had your eye set on one school, no matter how many others you applied to, there was only one letter that actually mattered to you. And on the day that letter came your emotions were going to go one of two ways. There were either going to be ecstatic happy leaps, or a face plant into your bed. Those were pretty much your only options, because you are a sane human person. Rejection sucks, but it is a fucking part of life. Well Abigail Fisher decided that her rejection was actually worse then your rejection because you see she is white, and her spot no doubt went to some black person just because you know THEY’RE BLACK. So what did little privileged Abigail do? Her and mommy and daddy went to their lawyers and got this fucking shit all the way to SCOTUS. Which like, as parents isn’t this the time you tell your kid to maybe stop being such a brat and accept the fact that not everyone get’s what they want? She had a 3.5 GPA. Which, I am no Dumbledore at math or anything but is .5 points away from a 4.0 which means that well Abi isn’t exactly perfect.

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White people like to get good and fucking angry about Affirmative Action, but skate on by when it comes to legacies. You know that system in place in many colleges across the country that gives priority to those who have had families who have gone there in the past? Let us break this down REAL QUICK. Brown vs. The Board of Education happened in 1954. In 1962 the first black student was enrolled in The University of Mississippi. Soooo how many African American kids enrolling in school TODAY exactly can have legacies? Right. But Affirmative Action is unfair. Totally.

Don’t even.

Civil rights are something that we (society) have either been fighting for, or against since we could segregate ourselves. My parents grew up in a time when blacks and whites lived in a very different United States. My grandparents lived and fought in a war that tried to rid the world of Jews forever. And now our generation is fighting for the equality of LGBTQ people. And today we moved two steps closer to not being seen as 2nd class citizens.

As a black person, I have always known that America is not fair when it comes to race. Or shall I say, we have not come to a point where racism is no longer an issue. Of course I did not have to go through what my ancestors or even my aunts and uncles growing up in the 50’s and 60’s had to endure and I thank them from the bottom of my heart for fighting so that I could one day not worry about walking into the front door of a restaurant or sitting anywhere in a movie theatre or a bus. It is almost impossible for me to wrap my head around the thought that when my parents were kids they went to segregate schools. My parents are white. They were raised in a time of segregation, grew up, and adopted a black kid, who then in turn turned out to be gay. My grandparents grew up having to hear words like kike, and Jew said with disgust. My grandfathers fought in a war that sought to end their existence. They won. And now they have a grandchild who can just about say the same for gay marriage.

I knew that regardless of my families background the decisions on DOMA and Prop 8 would strike me, I mean how could they not? It is such a hard thing to vocalize. This feeling. I look back on my families history and all I see is a fight. There has not been one generation that hasn’t had to fight for the right to be seen as an equal. It finally seems like new generations will be born in a truly open and accepting world, well at least here in America.

This country is by no means perfect. But we have been moving towards equality since we began. There have always been those trying to stifle the rights of others and there have always been and I am certain will always be those who won’t shut up until they are heard and seen as equals. And today I can say that as a black, Jewish, gender queer, gay individual one less weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. Thank you to everyone who has fought, and thank you to everyone who will continue to make sure equality is not just a slogan on bumper stickers, but an actual practice that all of our children never have to question.

Happy PRIDE everyone.

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P-Town Up New Yawk Down

So you guys I leave for the gay mecca of all mecca’s this weekend – Provincetown and right now I’m kind of like:

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But really

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It’s just I haven’t been away for the whole summer since like camp but like IT IS TOTALLY COOL NOW I’ll be fine

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I won’t miss all you guys or anything

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I mean seriously though I’m sick of New York making me feel like this

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Plus I’ll be on the beach all summer

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And one can only hope that this won’t happen

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Just you know a whole lot of dance floor madness

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And probably a little bit of

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Plus P-Town is the GAYEST

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I’M TOTALLY GOING TO CAPTURE AND RIDE A UNICORN Y’ALL

I’m gonna be just fine guys

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Wait the ferry is $90?

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Cool, cool it’s fine

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You guys are gonna come visit me right?

Right?

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I’ll see you all in September.

Quuergrub. OUT.

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And if you do come visit remember:

The 20 Things That Will Happen on Any Lesbian Vacation:

1. Matching shirts. Preferably with nicknames and numbers. Because the last time you were with this many lesbians was playing college sports. And clearly as a herd of lesbians you don’t already look like a fucking semi pro team.

2. Bring your fair share of cut off tees. Utilize neon in any accessory possible.

3. Its not a casual wear kind of outfit without your headband.

4. Begin speaking only in inside jokes.

5. Make best friends with a new group of girls in the time it takes to buy them shots.

6. Realize how small the lesbian world is when in that new group of friends you realize you actually: played basketball with one of them, date one of their exs, live across the hall from their great aunt.

7. Take as many pictures as possible showcasing the amount of liquor you are consuming. All alcoholic bottles must be in pictures. MUST.

8. Makeout with the friend you PROMISED you never would.

9. Get into at least one insanely stupid emotional fight with either and ex or fellow team member (best friend).

10. Forget to eat.

11. Become the whore I mean “da man” you’ve always dreamed of.

12. Blackout during daytime hours.

13. Wakeup amongst strangers…and than go to breakfast with them.

14. Lose one friend to them being belligerently drunk. Freak out. Only to find them making out with some girl in the bushes.

15. Have some serious drunken heart to hearts. Including at least one over informing game of “Never Have I Ever”.

16. Puke on a friend.

17. Be involved in some form of competitive sporting event. (flip cup)

18. Lose your phone.

19. Make fun of every group that isn’t yours.

20. Fall in (“omg this was totally unexpected”) love.

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Belated

I wash my face at night with the soap you always used to use
Because then it’s like you’re kissing me
Not a bedtime ritual
More like tucking myself in
Taking you in
For a second – in that moment
I forget everything

Sometimes I wander into perfume stores
And spray my skin
And then I stand there
I stand still
Because you see then it is almost like you just left the room
I pretend that you just went somewhere else
To another room in the house
As the scent lingers in the air in front of me
You’re there
For a second I see you
I hear your laugh
And I hear you saying my name
Nina baby

Because I could not say it
To anyone but the air
I’ll say it here
Happy Birthday
Belated of course
Because you know how I am on that day
I would apologize
But you wouldn’t hear my sorry any way

I love you
And I thank you
For showing me that love is something that doesn’t have to fade
But more importantly love is something I am capable of
Loving is something I can give away

One day I’ll do right by you
One day I will make her happier than anyone ever has
One day I will walk down an aisle
And I swear as I say I do
Under my breath I will be saying
It’s ok you couldn’t make it
I have taken this life and I will make it
Mom – I love you
And no matter what death has done to tear us apart
I won’t shake it

Miley Twerk. Racism Jerk.

Read: http://jezebel.com/on-miley-cyrus-ratchet-culture-and-accessorizing-with-514381016?utm_source=recirculation&utm_medium=recirculation&utm_campaign=afternoon

So. Many. Thoughts.

I was just going to post this on Facebok and be like DISCUSS. But then my brain got to working and my fingers got to typing and well. This:

1. Could we not – for arguments sake, say that with Miley’s “I am a grown ass woman” phase that she is trying to distance herself as far away as possible from say super pristine artists like Taylor Swift? A strong antifeminist with a serious case of I hate all the boys but will keep dating all the boys but never talk about the sexing of the boys because I must maintain a Christian virgin like look? Cyrus talks about doing “lines in the bathroom” doing Molly and smoking weed which like cool girl do you. She is clearly trying something new for herself. Much like trying on new new clothing styles sometimes it takes a few different looks before you find a perfect fit.

2. The whole “gangsta” thing has taken over the fashion world, and while sometimes I do see it as people going a bit too far and not understanding the culture that they are all of a sudden repping, it also seems wrong to get mad at white people who take an interest in other lifestyles. Like white people DO listen to rap. White people DO live in the projects. No a white person is never going to be a black person, but wasn’t the point of our parents fighting so hard in the 60’s so that we could not use color as a descriptor? ALSO just because you were raised a certain way, it does not mean that adult you will remain that way. Young kid grows up in the hood – goes to college – becomes a lawyer. Yes he is still from where he is from, but his kids will never know that life, and he will assimilate himself into the world that he is now a part of.

3. Of COURSE Miley was raised on Disney and all things white as fuck. So of course there is a bit of discomfort to see her twerking, and you do wonder why she is in fact doing this SO hard. But at the same time I don’t feel this to be an act of someone ignoring their privilege or trying to monopolize off a culture.

4. Recently in New York I have seen tons of black kids wearing Abercrombie and Hollister – which I think everyone would agree are both pretty god damn white and or WASPY. Does the conversation go both ways? Are white kids allowed to be like: stop coping our look? Or because of their so societal/racial privilege are they not allowed? If a white person wants to dress in the clothes that they see in rap videos, and dance as they see black artists dancing are they immediately being backwards? If a black kid dresses in super preppy clothes and starts speaking a certain way are we to tell him to stop acting white?

I am the product of white parents. And growing up I often heard from black kids that I spoke funny. That I dressed funny. That __________ about me was funny. White kids often joked that I was “the whitest black person” that they knew. I was stuck in a weird place, I loved to skateboard and I listened to both rap and post hardcore. I shopped at Pac Sun and wore skater clothes, and would often get looks from black kids or hear snickers and comments about how “white” I was. So because of my skin color what the fuck was I supposed to wear? Is there a book that I wasn’t given at birth for each race depicting what it is that they are allowed to present as?

Elvis took black music and made millions off it. But did he take it as to rob black people from it? Or did he fall in love with it and want to make that kind of music himself? Amy Winehouse’s sound echoes of black artists, should we have told her to shut up and go love someone else’s sound? If the appreciation of those who did something before you is there, and you recognize who made this style possible can you still not do it yourself?

Paula Deen is under fire because of allegedly throwing around the N word and having black “slaves” serve at one of her parties.
http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2013/06/20/193913397/stuff-you-might-have-missed-in-the-paula-deen-brouhaha
Now if we want to talk about some back ass ways of race. This is a blaring one. When I first started reading about the allegations I started thinking about when I opened Huckleberry Finn for the first time. At the beginning Mark Twain explains why the book has uses of the N word; he explains that during that time in the south this is how people talked, he was telling a story about that time period and therefore felt it was necessary to include how people actually spoke and interacted. I respected that. How can you tell a story if you are sugarcoating it to make modern day readers feel “comfortable”. Deen on the other hand is using the history of the south as an excuse to further her own racism. It is absolutely astounding that she feels that in 2013 she can hide behind the past as a way to be blatantly racist.

While we are on the topic of the N word. White people. I need you to stop saying nigga I don’t give a flying fuck how many black friends you have, you sound like an ignorant idiot. Oh but nigga and nigger are two different words! Nigga is like totally slang. Oh? Why don’t you start calling you gay friends fags? And while you’re at it the next older black person you meet kindly greet them with a: whats up my nigga. Please let me know how that goes for you. I will be here waiting patiently.

5. I see so many white people dressing pretty much identically to Miley in this video DAILY in Brooklyn. Are we to not believe that it is possible that Miley does hang out with black people? And is genuinely interested in their style? Does it not go both ways? In the sense that when a group of black people see a white girl or guy that can break it down they FREAK THE FUCK OUT. Like: Oh damn for a white girl you can fucking dance. IS that not just as wrong?

Look race is a fucking tricky subject. And is something that we will debate about for years. It makes me HELLA uncomfortable when white people talk to me about how ashamed they are for their white privilege. I literally do not know what the fuck to say. I get equally as uncomfortable when black queers talk about throwing parties for other black queers and only black queers. Maybe because of how I was raised, in a very racially mixed family my views on race conflict with many others. And I won’t say that my views are 100% correct or more relevant than anyone else’s. I do think that conversations about race need to happen. And I do think that people need to recognize what they are projecting to the world with their word choices along with making attempts in understand why certain things are offensive to other races. Sensitivity and understanding along with open dialogue. That is all I’m asking for.

On Women, Sex and the Internet & Some Dude Named Shane Draper

The Village Voice has penned up an article talking about how lesbians just don’t seem to be into the whole: hooking up with a random stranger from a date app thing.

http://www.villagevoice.com/2013-06-19/news/lesbian-on-line/

Which like after reading all I could think was: duh.

But then I really got to thinking. When it comes to women and using the internet as a dating tool – is sex what they are looking for at all? And if not, why?

Firstly, let us not fall back on the antiquated thought that women don’t like one night stands or can’t hook up in the way men can. But a man on a dating app has a sexual power that a woman may not. What do I mean by that? With rape being a fucking ridiculous and often glorified problem in this country is it any shock that a woman wouldn’t want to “put herself” out there online? How often are women told that their rapes are their faults? The problem is where does consent come into play? Is the woman consenting to sex as soon as she agrees to meet a man for the night? Can she change her mind after they do meet? If he has sex with her anyway can he claim that it was indeed mutual and consensual? “Look at our messages!” he could say. “She’s on a site looking for sex, of course she wanted it.” Now this rape scenario may not have anything to do with lesbians dating online but lesbians ARE after all women, many of whom grew up dating men. But regardless of who they once dated, once common thread ties all women together: society has since birth told them how they should act.

Women in this country have gone through many a feminist movement, and are still to this day fighting for equality. It seems no matter how much progress is made there are still reminders in society showing us how far we have to go. Look no farther than millions of American’s t.v. screens on Sunday nights at 10:00. Mad Men has taken over our lives in more ways than you may think. The show has done more then spawned clothing lines and spike the sales of scotch and orders of Old Fashioned’s. It has also shown a man, many men at the top. Fucking whomever they fucking please, and still going home to their wives and kids. While some characters have seen the downfall of living such a lifestyle for the most part these men live a life of absolute power – both financially and sexually. It would be absurd to say that men watching Mad Men were not intrigued by Don Draper. He gets away with being both a tremendous asshole and a sauve misogynist simultaneously. If Don can do it? Why can’t I?

When I first started watching Mad Men I was captivated by this man. He walked into offices and you could literally see women salivating. He reminded me of one of my young idols Shane (you know THAT Shane). Both characters have striking similarities. They are both loyal to their friends, yet have no idea how to actually function in romantic endeavors. They both use their charm and wit to attract nearly anyone and everyone who crosses their path. They both come from secretive troubled pasts that control their current worlds. They can not escape who they once were and it haunts them everyday. So they get drunk, they fuck as many women as they can, and they routinely fall on their faces, yet somehow get back up.

These masculine figures that the media portrays to us, they trickle down to real life settings. No one wants to date a Don Draper or a Shane, but inevitably it happens. Now the question arises, would someone like these two use a dating app strictly for hooking up? No, because it would ruin the veil of mystery and secrecy the two have crafted so well. So what kind of man is on these sites, what kind of lesbian? The one thing that seems apparent from every woman Don Draper fucks, is that they all trust him. They see him as someone who would never physically harm them and could quite possibly fall in love with them. Shane comes off as a helpless lost puppy. Certainly not someone who would inflict harm upon you. Break you heart? Yes. Totally. But neither of these two would assault you.

I think it is safe to say that women not only like to but need to feel safe when it comes to any kind of sexual encounter. The internet is simply to easy a place for people to hide. How does a woman – gay or straight know that the person they are meeting is actually who they say they are? In a lesbian’s case homophobia becomes a question. What if the person on the other side of this conversation is actually a gay bashing hetero man? Now of course ANYONE can lie when it comes to online dating. But a man has an upper hand so to say. A hand that society has already given him.

So why aren’t lesbians lining up to the interent fuck bin? Surely there are lesbians out there who just want sex. Of fucking course there are. But they want to do it in a safe space. They need a little more than: 23, Black, Athletic. Women need at the bare minimum some face time, a bit of conversation, a little more than: Room 217 knock three times. But this has nothing to do with women being prudes or beings who can’t explore their sexuality openly, I honestly think this has to do both with safety and with how women are wired. For the most part – ladies do not talk about sex and those who they are attracted to the way men do. I won’t stereotype and say that ALL men will stick it wherever they can but men and women are simply different sexual beings.

I have lived life both as a female and as a male. And I guess in a way I still continue to do so. I have taken part in conversations with men (who see me as a man) about who they are attracted to/dating/fucking and with women talking about the same. AND LET ME TELL YOU: Shit goes down quite differently. There are of course many factors to why these conversations occur oh so differently. A group of men for instance are not exactly trying to have a powwow about feelings and what this encounter could possibly mean. One on one maybe. But with the pack? Fuck no. It also can not be ignored that men can seemingly separate sex and love in a way that women can not. This is not to say that they are at fault for this, but it does seem to be a truth. Maybe I hang out with some very emotional ladies, but it is rare that I hear from one of them about someone they have had sex with and not heard some form of emotional something about it. There are exceptions to every rule of course but I am speaking from my own personal experience.

Do lesbians and straight women look to the interent for sex? Are women thinking that they want to find a fuck buddy using their iPhone? Let us not forget that both sexes act with the thought of what their friends will think. Let us take these two scenarios: If a guy’s friend went onto his phone and saw an inbox filled with women/men who wanted to fuck his friend what would his reaction be? If a woman went onto her friends phone and saw the same what would her reaction be? Now it is quite possible that both would react with high fives and _____________ insert any inappropriate comments here. But the one thing I can 9/10 guarantee is the girls friend WOULD say that the dudes friend would not is:

“Is this safe?”

Dear OkCupid,

A few weeks ago I started a petition asking OkCupid to extend both their gender and sexuality options. https://www.change.org/petitions/okcupid-extend-the-gender-and-sexuality-options

OkCupid has a vast amount of trans*, gender queer, and gender neutral folks using their site. On top of that it also hosts an extremely large amount of: poly, queer, and pansexual users. Yet OkCupid has failed to take note of these people. The only options one has when creating an account are M and F for gender, and Straight, Bisexual, or Gay for sexual orientation.

I appeared on Huffington Post Live to discuss why this was important to the queer community:

http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/segment/okcupid-online-dating-lgbtq-gender-sexuality/51a7801f02a7606ddd00031d

*Note that OkCupid did not offer a statement

So I wrote them a letter (well email because who really has time for letter writing – and stamp prices? What is this?) and by them I mean one of the email addresses that they have listed in their “contact” section. So essentially what they make their interns read. Anyway this is what I sent:

OkCupid is a great resource for LGBTQ folks to not only date but find like minded people. The only problem is your current options for gender and sexuality make some of us put ourselves into categories that we are not comfortable with.

After many friends had come to me with their stories – and their tales of reaching out to the powers at be on OkCupid (to no response) I figured some form of action needed to be taken. So I started this petition. 

I also attached the Huff Post Live interview and link to change.org

This is the response I got:

Hi, 

Thanks for your message. We absolutely want to add more gender and orientation options in the future- it’s something we’re working towards. Unfortunately, it involves a lot of reworking of the site, because we built it in a pretty binary way. I’ll definitely pass along your comments to our developers.

Thanks, 
Adam

Which. What?!?
Unfortunately, it involves a lot of reworking of the site, because we built it in a pretty binary way.
I. Don’t. Even. Know. What. To. Say. To. You. Sir.

Now I know that reworking a site is not child’s play. But I am also no stranger to HTML and web design. So like I’m going to need for you to not act as if this is some huge task for your developers to take on. OkCupid somehow managed to launch the fuck out of “Blind Date” aka the creepiest dating app ever and kept it alive even though approximately no one in the history of ever has used it. *Save for a few curious bloggers. I know that change does not happen instantly, but honestly this strikes me more as a “we actually just don’t know how to handle this”. Or “we don’t actually want to handle this”.

Am I overreacting? Something about the use of the words “pretty binary way” made my head spin a bit. Because it made it seem like OkCupid’s developers never intended for the site to be a home to the trans* or queer community. To which you may be saying BUT WAIT they happily allow gay people. To which I will say YES BUT A TON OF GAY PEOPLE HAVE SERIOUS PROBLEMS WITH THE TRANS* COMMUNITY. Take Dan Savage for instance. Nobutreally he is the worst: http://fucknodansavage.tumblr.com/
I just.
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Hashtag: Splits On Trees

There is little in this world that I love more than Mean Girls I think the only thing that comes close is bacon.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better. THIS happened:

And well now it’s kind of like they made a sequel that I actually care about. Because seriously what the fuck was this?

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YOU CAN’T SIT WITH US.

Anyway. This buzz killing rain is destroying the holy hell out of Friday and can clearly only be saved by some Mean Girls quotes.

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Truer words have never been spoken.