Andrea Gibson at Muhlenberg!

Widely acclaimed slam poet Andrea Gibson is performing at Muhlenberg tonight, March 25th at 7pm in Miller Forum. Event is free and open to the public, and includes a free poetry workshop Saturday, March 26th at 2pm in Moyer 109.  Don’t miss this opportunity to see a truly captivating performance!

Tags: events

Non-useful political/activist slogans and rhetoric.


so this is basically a repost of my comment on the picture of the gay male couple and child, but I thought I’d flesh it out.

So there seems to be a few styles of slogans that are popular amongst activist types:

The How Come They Can Do It And We Can’t?: like that picture - “it’s easier for a 14-year-old to have a baby than for this gay male couple to adopt”

Its flipside You Wouldn’t Let That Happen To Them So Why Can It Happen To Us?: ”You wouldn’t let a racist joke on air so why would you let a fat joke get on air?”

And then there’s They Got Their Rights So Where’s Mine?: ”Gay rights are totally the new civil rights!”

Often these things paint the “they” as a horrid negative stereotype: the people getting married are rich golddigger divorcees, the people not getting abortions are redneck teenagers, they’re often all religious to some degree and lower-class, and so on.

None of this is helpful. All of this is harmful - both to your cause and to others.

You’re basically throwing a whole bunch of people under the bridge here. 

You’re forgetting that your group has rights and privileges that other groups may not necessarily have - and that those privileges are possibly disadvantaging others. Like that couple photo again - that couple has white male privilege, they’re relatively upper-middle class, they got a lot more respect then this hypothetical teenage mum.

You’re erasing the challenges that other groups of people - including the people you pit yourself against - still have to face. Civil rights are still going on. Racist jokes are still being played on air. Those working-class rednecks are likely dealing with lack of resources or employment or just plain ol’ respect. And sometimes it’s because of you that they’re not getting there.

You’re washing away everyone on your side that doesn’t fit the clean, respectable model you’re espousing. Ever notice how in gay marriage campaigns you hardly ever see couples that are not middle class, white, stable jobs? Gay couples still divorce and remarry and gold-dig. You want to be sex-positive? Accept that some people will make sexual choices that you may not necessarily like or approve or seem particularly “feminist” - and that’s their choice too.

You’re putting judgements on things that happen in human life and that isn’t necessarily good or bad - like divorce or unemployment or young parentage. They can suck for some, sure, but how does that make them bad people?

You’re ignoring that what you may be fighting for or against, people may vehemently need the opposite. I don’t mean things like pro-life vs pro-choice. I mean things like how while some women fight for the right to abortion, others are fighting for the right to not be sterilized against their will. They’re not mutually exclusive, they still fall down to personal bodily autonomy, but right now there’s an assumption that only one cause is worth championing.

You’re erasing and ignoring allies because you’re making their experiences and value irrelevant. Just because they may be Bible-thumping Christians doesn’t mean they don’t have something of value to share, or that you can’t possibly find some common group to build from.

You’re politicking based on stereotypes, not real people - neither on your side nor theirs.

Stop and think. Solidarity rather than divisiveness. Not Us vs Them - All Of Us Together.

Rights are for all, not for a select few. And that goes for the campaigners as well as the supposed enemy. As I said in the other post, fight for your rights because you deserve them, not because other people don’t.

[This is the comment/photo the original poster is referring to]

I’d really like to hear people’s thoughts on this. How do the ideas laid out here relate to how we are all approaching our own political advocacy? Do you see any potential problems with the ways larger LGBT rights organizations conduct their advocacy? What does this mean for those who are often left out of or do not benefit from the goals of these large social movement organizations? What does this mean for the queer community as a whole?


(Source: creatrixtiara, via kalemason)

rainbowramblings said: Sorry to creepily follow this...I'm going to Muhlenberg next year and this is something I'm really really really excited to be a part of. I honestly can't wait.

Not creepy at all thanks for following, and we look forward to meeting you in the fall!


Lesbians Until Graduation? What does that even mean?

 Written by Ann Hoelscher, March 19, 2011

The New York Times recently (March 17th, 2011) put out an article by Tamar Lewin entitled “Study Undercuts View of College as a Place of Same-Sex Experimentation”, which addresses the common stereotype/belief in the existence of the Lesbian Until Graduation, or LUG.

 (You can see the entire article here:

If you’re queer identified/interested in queer politics/not living under a cultural rock (just kidding!), you’ve probably heard the term. But according to the New York Times, a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (a weird group to do this, in my opinion) studying data from 2006-2008 says that,

…based on 13,500 responses, almost 10 percent of women ages 22 to 44 with a bachelor’s degree said they had had a same-sex experience, compared with 15 percent of those with no high school diploma. Women with a high school diploma or some college, but no degree, fell in between. Six percent of college-educated women reported oral sex with a same-sex partner, compared with 13 percent who did not complete high school. 


This sort of data would lead the average person (or at least me?) to think that maybe the amount of “practicing” queer women, or at least women who were experimenting and interested in their own sexuality, has become more openly common. An interesting thing to note, though: 

Although 13 percent of women over all reported same-sex sexual behavior only one percent identified themselves as gay, and another 4 percent as bisexual. To get accurate answers to intimate questions, the researchers asked those surveyed to enter their responses directly into a computer. 

I think, first of all, that I have 2 main questions for the authors of the study, although they may not be issues with the study itself as the issue of the article I read. Here goes:

1)What is a “same-sex experience?” Does a massage count as an experience? Kissing when drunk? I feel like I need some sort of clarification here.

2) Are we talking about cis-gendered women, or everyone who identifies as a woman? Were there other gender possibilities offered other than just “male” and “female”? Did both genders assert that they identified as “women”?

3) Does it say who the people who identify as “gay” or “bisexual” are out to? Is it only everyone or does being out to some people count as well?

Obviously in a study like this, there are going to be a million complicating factors regarding why certain people are out, whether or not there was pressure to have a same-gendered sexual experience, etc., which is basically why the article doesn’t even bother coming to its own serious conclusions about the issue (a wise move, in my opinion). That being said, I think the most interesting part of this article is the commentary included by Lewin regarding the study, where several people were consulted to try and suss out analysis and conclusive results from the data.   

Comment #1 that made me hit my head against the wall:

‘I always thought the LUG phenomenon was overblown, in the context of it being erotically titillating for young men,” said Barbara Risman, an officer of the Council on Contemporary Families and a University of Illinois at Chicago sociology professor. She added that the new findings may reflect class dynamics, with high school dropouts living in surroundings with few desirable and available male partners.’ 

I’m not sure where to start on this one, actually, which means I guess I have to jump right in.

This perception of “it” (which seems to suggest women being sexually involved with other women) being “erotically titillating for young men” has never made any sense to me whatsoever. I used to always ask my straight, cis-gendered male friends about this, and I think it was my ex-boyfriend who used the DoubleMint trope to explain it:

“Double your flavor, double your fun!” Personally, I would think it would be doubly a bummer/fairly threatening to your sexual ego to watch two people who you are sexually interested in directing all of their attention AWAY from you rather than TO you. If the women in question are actually lesbians, chances are pretty astronomically high that they are not interested in you, and will be offended/disturbed by your ignorance when you think you can “change their minds” or “turn them straight”…So I guess that’s a question I still don’t have answered, and I don’t think I ever will. And I don’t think that perpetuating this idea is particularly helpful, either.  

Secondly, and correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to me that the implication behind Risman’s argument is that queer women who don’t go to college are unrecognized and unrepresentative of Lesbianism with a capital L because they are only sleeping with women out of desperation and a lack of worthwhile male sex-partners.  


Excuse me? Am I the only person who sees something horrifically wrong with this idea? If you ever hear anyone try to defend the fair representation of “high-school dropout” queers (aka non-white, not-college educated/rich queer ladies), punch them in the face with this little ditty and they will surely back down.

As much as this makes me furious, Lewin follows this comment with another perspective from “Amber Hollibaugh, interim executive director of Queers for Economic Justice, a New York-based advocacy group, [who] said the results of the federal survey underscored how poor, minority and working-class lesbians had been overshadowed by the mainstream cultural image of lesbians as white professionals.” This was the thing that jumped automatically to my mind upon reading Risman’s comments, because let’s be honest, you don’t need to watch all 5 seasons of The L Word to know that any kind of non-white non-rich person is pretty much not even considered in terms of media portrayal outside of niche group programming/consumption. I guess I don’t really have much else to say about this, except that the statement by Risman seems to be just one more example of how unfortunately spot-on Hollibaugh’s commentary is.

I guess in an attempt to name drop, Dan Savage, who is often identified with having strong queer politics, is also quoted in the article:

Dan Savage, a gay sex columnist in Seattle, said the LUG phenomenon may be overrepresented in the national imagination because so many students sought attention for their sexual exploration: ‘A lot of them are out to prove something and want their effort to smash the patriarchy to be very visible,’ he said. 

Okay, so, does this mean that anyone who is bi-curious (assuming that they don’t identify with any sexual orientation that is interested in women) is automatically trying to make a political statement? Whatever happened to sexual exploration as an attempt to better know oneself? I thought that was how a lot of us ended up as queers in the first place. And why shouldn’t that sexual experimentation be visible? Just because it’s visible doesn’t mean that the participants are trying actively to make a statement for the greater good of all womankind. Furthermore, I think that to insist on a closeted manner of sexual exploration is an exhaustingly conservative message, and I’m actually pretty surprised that Dan Savage would even imply anything close to that.

The last line of the article is the most irritating to me, though, if not the most blatently offensive, as any good journalist knows that endings are privileged and should therefore be chosen pretty carefully. Therefore, shame on you, Lewin. Shame. Anyways, it goes a little something like this:

‘It’s becoming more acceptable, at least in some parts of society, to see your gender identity as fluid,’ said Joan Westreich, a Manhattan therapist. ‘I see women whose first loves were women, who then meet and fall in love with a guy, and for whom it seems to be relatively conflict-free.’

Please, please, and please some more—if you are going to be counseling people on their identities and their lives, learn to at least identify what’s actually going on in their lives. Just because someone is not a heterosexual does not mean they are confused about their gender identity, and conversely, just because they are confused about their gender identity does not mean that they are in any way questioning to whom they are attracted. GENDER IDENTITY DOES NOT EQUAL SEXUAL ORIENTATION.

Also, having relationships or feelings for different gendered people does NOT necessarily mean there will be conflicts, so do me a favor and don’t imply that anyone who identifies as attracted to multiple genders is going to have a “conflict”-ridden relationship anymore that anyone else. I think that you can find people who have “relatively conflict-free” relationships in any gendered set-up, for the record. 

Finally, as I don’t think it helps to re-iterate the same commentary over and over, I seriously suggest checking out the well-written analysis written by Rachel K on Autostraddle, entitled, “The Lesbian Until Graduation: Now a New York Times Most Emailed Article!”, for some more critical considerations of the study/the article. I did, and I found it to be a thought-provoking perspective. Good job, Rachel and Autostraddle! Check it out if you get a chance.  


The Safe Schools Improvement Act (S,506), a federal anti-bullying bill, in the U.S. Senate.

 “The bill requires schools that receive Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act funding to implement a comprehensive anti-bullying policy that enumerates categories often targeted by bullies, including race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression and others. It also requires states to include bullying and harassment data in their state-wide needs assessments reporting’.


I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much information in one place.  Hormones, transition, speech, bathroom use, everything.  This is amazing.

(via genderqueer)

pelafina said: Lovelovelove that you did this. We just created one for Lehigh, and wanted to give credit where credit is due. Add us! <3


Hey Muhlenberg GSA members- This is a great way to see what other schools in the Lehigh Valley are up to. Check out Lehigh’s blog!



bayard rustin (black and white version) by arimoore

This guy!

Words that are Transphobic and Why poster for the UC Davis Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center. Displayed for Principles of Community week in the Memorial Union until March 14th, 2011.


Words that are Transphobic and Why poster for the UC Davis Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center. Displayed for Principles of Community week in the Memorial Union until March 14th, 2011.

(via kalemason)


Words that are Biphobic and Why poster for the UC Davis Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center.  Displayed for Principles of Community week in the Memorial Union until  March 14th, 2011.


Words that are Biphobic and Why poster for the UC Davis Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center. Displayed for Principles of Community week in the Memorial Union until March 14th, 2011.

(via kalemason)