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deval 53%, healey 31%

Deval Patrick crushes Kerry Healey, and by a considerable margin over Reilly, in a new poll released by Zogby International. Their interactive map is an interesting tool too look at what states are turning more blue. Click Here for the Map!

Who's Good Body?

Tonight, I saw Eve Ensler perform The Good Body, her newest play about her struggles with body image, her stomach, exercise, fat, bread, ice cream, dieting, plastic surgery, and other related issues.

Frankly, I was disappointed. The only other thing I've seen of Ensler's is The Vagina Monolgues, which is a very powerful play. I do think it's problematic in a number of ways (e.g. the play ends with a monologue on birth, which makes it seem like birth is the apex or ultimate purpose of Woman; the only women of color in the play are subjects of violence and have few voices, none of which actually explore racism; queer women have even less of a voice, and the only woman who is a lesbian [who is also a woman of color] fulfills the stereotype that women become lesbians because they have bad experiences with men), but I also think it's a great show in many ways. For me, the most amazing part of the play is seeing how it's transformed and empowered so many women-friends of mine. The change that they experience working on that show is phenonemal, and for that, I think Eve Ensler is incredible.

But, this is a critique of The Good Body, not The Vagina Monologues. Lord knows I could post quite a bit about vaginas and what they have to say. But, back to the body. I found myself rather disappointed with the show, for similar reasons that I find The Vagina Monologues problematic. One odd thing about this show is that it is incredibly self-indulgent while simultaneously attempting to maintain the multivocality that Ensler accomplished in The Vagina Monologues. The show was performed by Eve Ensler herself, but the show was as much about Eve Ensler as it was about anything else. Ensler remains the very center of the piece, telling personal stories about her life, her experiences as a writier, an activist, a traveler... I wonder what the point of a play is if it can only be performed by the writer. The show wouldn't make sense any other way. Someone would have to play the part of Eve Ensler, as she plays the part of other women. And I realize this is all good and postmodern, it just seems egotistical (not to mention impractical) to create a play for oneself.

Also, I found Ensler's homophobia to be yet again a problem, creeping in to my thoughts as I'm trying to enjoy the show. The show is overwhelmingly heterosexual/heterocentric/heterosexist, with all focus on women's body in relation to their desirability and ability to please the patriarchal gaze of heterosexual men. All talk of sex was straight sex: women giving blow jobs, hand jobs, soft dicks, hard dicks, sitting on dicks, he fucked me like this, etc. There was, however, one lesbian character that Ensler performed. This was the piercer that Ensler went to when considering getting her belly button pierced. Ensler portrayed this (self-proclaimed) dyke as terrifying. As a perverted sadomasochist that scared Ensler away from getting a piercing. Ensler was afraid of the lesbian. The established relationship between Ensler and Lesbian is one of terror. Additionally, there was not a single mention of trans individuals in the entire show. While a lesbian was at least present in the play, albeit in a problematic way, tran folk were completely erased from the Ensler's narrative of body image. For someone who considers herself a "radical feminist," I find this to be totally unacceptable.

Also, I find the way she co-opts cultures to be extremely problematic. She thinks that because she is this straight, white, upper middle class, wordly, feminist, she can be culturally neutral, or universal, and easily play the part of any woman, from the black woman she met at fat camp, to the latina at weight watchers who was a skinny bitch, to the Indian woman who took care of her and rubbed her belly when she had a parasite. Ensler moves in and out of these bodies of color, co-opting their experiences and attempting to share them with the world, but only manages to do so in a way that is ultimately exploitative as she safely, and securely, returns to her own, white, thin, American, body at the end of the performance. The other bodies are simply tossed aside and forgotten as Ensler ends the performance eating ice cream, as if she has somehow managed to overcome the unhealthy expectations placed on women's bodies. Bullshit. She tells us from the beginning that she hasn't overcome this. Why lie to the audience and make us think she feels okay eating the ice cream, when clearly she doesn't.

The feminist in me was expecting to enjoy the show more. Ensler has done incredible things, and I respect her. However, the queer, the anti-racist, the ever critical feminist in me, did not enjoy it as much as I was hoping to. There's too much that's too problematic in her performance.

Sorry, Eve.

mccain hearts jerry falwell

John McCain, the nation's third most conservative senator who is somehow still widely known as a moderate voice in the republican party, has announced that he will offer the keynote address at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University.

Jerry Falwell said he was assured by McCain that he will support the issues dearest to his heart, and that he could definitely vote for McCain for president.

LU will not admit openly gay students, and will expel students for "homosexual behavior."

Safe Colleges Conference, April 1st

Check out New England's largest Queer Conference for college (aged) students at Tufts University (red line, Davis Square).

This Saturday! Hundreds of attendees, over a dozen workshops, a dance, a film screening, and just general fun.

Check it out!

Rally for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Make Boston History: Rally for Comprehensive Immigration Reform! Oppose Anti-Immigrant Legislation!

MONDAY, March 27, 2006
5pm, Park Street T

The National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities and MIRA invite you to join our public demonstration seeking comprehensive immigration reform.

Over the last two weeks, millions of immigrants and supporters of immigrant rights have marched across the country to oppose anti-immigrant legislation being debated in Congress and demand comprehensive immigration reform. WILL YOU HELP BOSTON MAKE HISTORY ON MONDAY?

We will gather at 5PM at Park Street and will walk to Tremont Temple at 6PM. For more information, call 617-350-5480, x205

Note from Although they have a progressive history, the Tremont Temple is the congregation who's leadership has taken a turn to the far extreme right-wing. They hosted the anti-gay "Love Won Out" Conference organized by the racist, sexist, homophobic Bush Advisor James Dobson this fall. We urge you to attend the rally but make your own decision about entering that establishment.

Get Your Hangers Ready

For those of you who haven't heard, South Dakota recently passed a law that criminalizes all abortions, even in capes of rape and incest. The only time some abortions may be permitted, is if the woman's life is in danger. Or, as state Sen. Bill Napoli (R) described such a situation:

"A real-life description to me would be a rape victim, brutally raped, savaged. The girl was a virgin. She was religious. She planned on saving her virginity until she was married. She was brutalized and raped, sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it, and is impregnated. I mean, that girl could be so messed up, physically and psychologically, that carrying that child could very well threaten her life."

So, essentially, Napoli wants abortions to be only available to religious (read: Christian) virgins who are "sodomized as bad as you can possibly imagine it." I mean, honestly! How absurd is this? To only provide reproductive health care to women and girls who are devout Christians and are brutally raped? That is beyond absurd. What about a woman whose HUSBAND rapes her? Or her father? Or boyfriend? Or employer? What about if someone can't afford birth control, can't access emergency contraception..... Okay, the list goes on and on about when women need access to reproductive health care. The fact that South Dakota is denying women the human right of allowing them to have control over their bodies is incredibly damaging. Whether the legislature allows it or not, women WILL have abortions. They will just be back alley abortions with a hanger.

A good friend of mine recently made a joke about hangers and how women are going to be using them soon. At first, I was apalled. She then made me realize that while I should be apalled at such a prospect, it's also important to remember that a) it's not so long ago that women regularly used hangers to have abortions and b) that we are not so far away from returning to that.

Now, I've been talking about reproductive health as if it's only women who need access to abortions. However, we also must remember that many trans individuals who are already denied access to MANY forms of healthcare will stand an even feebler chance at obtaining an abortion. FTM individuals already face terrible transphobia in healthcare. Do you think Sen. Napoli is gonna give a damn if a trans man is brutally raped and impregnated? For some reason, I'm gonna guess that trans folk don't fall into Napoli's protected, Christian, virgin category (even if they are Christian virgins).

Check out Planned Parenthood of Minnesota and North/South Dakota for opportunities on how to take action or donate money to help fight the abortion ban.

In other related news, Wal-Mart is now going to carry emergency contraception in all its stores nationwide. This came as a result of some important work of awesome activists in Massachusetts, and now the policy is being adopted nationwide. One step forward, two steps back....

antiwar march recap and photos

The march in Boston on Saturday March 18th, was a huge success. The LGBT community had a visible presence, and thes pirit of the march was right on the mark. For more photos check out the Boston Rosa Parks Day web site.

join the march this saturday

Join the queer contingent in the historic march and rally against poverty, racism, and war on March 18th, the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Gather at 11AM at Dudley Common (Blue Hill Ave & Dudley Street). We will march into/through Boston and end at Government Center.

Official Demands of the March:
End ALL Occupations
Defund the Pentagon - $$$ for Jobs, Housing, AIDS, Healthcare & Education
Military Recruiters OUT of Our Schools
Justice & Reparations for Hurricane Katrina Survivors
Union Jobs - A Living Wage - the Right to Organize
Defend Civil Rights & Civil Liberties
Stop the War Against the Black, Latin@, Arab & Muslim Communities
Stop Racial Profiling & Police Brutality
Stop the Attacks on Undocumented & Immigrant Workers & Students
Stop the War on Women & Lesbian, Gay, Bi,Trans People
Equal, Quality Education is a Right

Sign up for a reminder >

Some Sense on/of Style: Queers, Capitalism, and Conformity

When many people think of queer men, they often think of Fashion, of Style, of Carson Kressley. Whether we like it or not, queer men are inextricably linked to the world of fashion within the national imagination. For a long time, this was something I resisted. I enjoyed the fact that I had been wearing the same t-shirt since middle school and walked around in sweatpants. I felt that this was contradicting the popular stereotypes that queer men were all genetically predisposed to be the next great fashion designer, or if we were unlucky, the next Santino Rice. I took pride in my mismatching shirts. I dared to wear navy and black.

It wasn't until more recently that I began to consider Style a bit more seriously. After all, what's wrong with being stylish? The truth was, I did know how to dress myself in the morning. I did not need my mother to pick out my clothes for me. I could look at clothing racks and decide what would look good on me, on others. I'm not claiming that I'm particularly talented when it comes to fashion, or even that I have anything other than common sense on the matter. What I realized, was that there was a part of me that did know SOMETHING about what looked good. For some reason, I think I was ashamed of this fact. I felt that it made me a hypocrite. I spent so much time trying to change people's stereotypical notions, and yet here I was, secretly enjoying clothing and wishing I were wearing something other than my 9th grade volleyball jersey.

Also, as a political person, I felt as if I had a moral obligation to dress poorly. Or, at least that's what I told myself. I thought that by not buying new clothing (at least not very often), I was resisting capitalism in a way, resisting the lure of conspicuous consumption. I was avoiding supporting the capitalist structures that once put me and my family on food stamps. I was resisting the colonialism and human exploitation of sweatshop laborers in countries like Thailand and Bangladesh, and the femicidio that is going on right now on the Mexico/U.S. borderlands in these sweatshops. By not dressing well, I was saving these women's lives.

Perhaps someone needed to disabuse me of illusions of radical grandeur, but that was what I told myself. On a certain level, I still believe this to be true. We should resist capitalism and consumer culture. Sweatshops are terrible and exploitative and we should do something for the missing and murdered women of Juarez, Mexico.

However, I also have to acknowledge how internalized homophobia pushed me to this anti-capitalist politic of... anti-fashion. On some level, I didn't want to be like all the other gay guys out there (or at least, how I imagined them to be). Maybe I like to be different, or maybe I was afraid of what it would mean to look gay. I wish I could say it were just an anti-capitalist passion that drove me from Style, but the truth is that homophobia also played a role.

More recently, I've come to embrace style. I believe there is a level of subversion that is present within style. When I embrace fashion, I participate in the deconstruction of gendered norms. My tight pants not only hug my ass, but they queer my ass. They queer me. They queer those around me who witness my queer gender performance. Style feminizes, and I embrace the queer femininity that comes with that style.

What I struggle with is how to reconcile my desire for queer subversion while simultaneously acknowledging my anti-capitalist politics. How does one embrace style without participating in oppressive structures? Does it mean that I only shop at some place like American Apparel because they don't use sweatshops? But then I'm still participating in capitalism, even though it might be slightly better than most stores out there. Are the two politics compatible? Or do I have to give one up? If so, which and why?

the real mccain

Many people have the media generated opinion that John McCain is a moderate independant thinker. But the truth is he is a slimy politician all too willing to court the far right when it benefits his political future.

"He recently met with the Rev. Jerry Falwell, a leading evangelical conservative whom he previously had denounced as intolerant. To the delight of GOP partisans, he publicly lambasted Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois — a rising star among Democrats — over an ethics and lobbying overhaul." - LA Times

deval patrick rally

Today my boyfriend and friends were lucky enough to get inside the Deval Patrick Rally. It was great, although I was hoping for a huge surprise guest. I guess Obama will have to come to MA another time.

The opening speaker gave a pretty bland speech. She was "new to politics." Her story, and the idea that Deval was inspiring people to get involved in the political process, was made an example and theme throughout.

Devals' speech was excellent albeit a tad repetitive. He made it very clear that he has not just a vision for the commonwealth but a real strategy and plan to make our state a better place. He did a good job explaining his important work at Coke and Texaco. However, if I were him, I would refrain from calling Texaco and Coke "great companies." When he said that Texaco was a great company I almost threw up a little in my mouth.

Deval stood firm on gay rights, pointing out a married couple sitting up front. He did a great job framing the issue as keeping the government out of people's relationships. He also spoke about those living in poverty, and those who are most vulnerable. His support for universal healthcare drew thunderous applause.

Expectedly, the audience was primarily white. The SEIU had a large presence in the hall. Boston's first Asian city Councilor Sam Yoon and his wife sat up front with their adorable children.

Deval has the energy and the vision to lead this state. I hope and pray people wake-up and unite behind this extraordinary leader - the only true leader in the race.

Looking forward to the convention...

"Ex-Gay" Groups Targeting Kids: NGLTF Report

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) has released a report entitled, Youth in the Crosshairs: The Third Wave of Ex-Gay Activism. It is, quite frankly, one of the best reports on "ex-gay" groups (again, I don't even dignify them with the word "ministry") I have read.

I was disappointed by the NGLTF's Calculated Compassion (1998) and A Report From 'Love Won Out: Addressing, Understanding, and Preventing Homosexuality (2005) because I felt as though the content of the report did not go far enough in refuting the lies of "ex-gay" groups, but instead focused on describing what these groups actually do. Yes, we know these groups are bad and that they say outrageous things about queer people. What we want to hear is what's wrong with these ideas and how to respond to them.

Youth in the Crosshairs is quite good in dealing with "ex-gay" charlatanry because in many instances the authors of the report (Jason Cianciotto and Sean Cahill) go into detail, spelling out methodological flaws with anti-gay "science" and pointing to better, more scientifically legitimate studies. For instance, often right-wingers will say that sexual molestation is a major reason that people are queer. There is one widely cited study that purports to show this. Cianciotto and Cahill point out that the statistical samples pulled by the authors of this study were wildly different and that numerous relevant questions about the samples were unanswered (pp. 53-54). The heterosexual sample was pulled from surveys distributed in the classroom at universities, and the queer people's sample was pulled from people who went to a booth a gay pride celebration (and we know nothing about what the signs on this booth said, or what). That's almost like distributing surveys to members of college LGBT groups and to straight people at frat parties and then making generalizations about queer and straight people! But this is the kind of "research" that "ex-gay" pseudoscience is based on. Another juicy tidbit of info about this "study" is that it was coauthored by Donald I. Templer, a man who supports the racial inferiority theories of Charles Murray and Richard Hernnstein, authors of The Bell Curve (pp. 55-56)! So, while it shouldn't surprise us, the Christian Right is citing the research of open eugenicists and racists. Like I said in another post, racists and homophobes are two peas in a pod. It also shows that the methodology of eugenics and anti-queer "research" is similar.

Sadly, when it comes to how to respond to "ex-gay" groups, the report falls short. The report asks on p. 91: "...what can be done to protect people, particularly minors?" As a solution, the authors suggest victims of these groups seek legal help and presumably file lawsuits against "ex-gay" groups. While I certainly believe that individuals have the right to sue these groups, and the study certainly provides some good suggestions on what legal and ethical arguments one could use (pp. 85-89; 91-92), this strategy by itself will probably have very limited success. "Ex-gay" groups have been successful in thwarting stronger action against them by the scientific community by citing "free speech" and religious freedom.

If we want the scientific community and the State to take more aggressive action, the key is to create a sense of public outcry, and to force the media to look at the scientific facts, not the rhetoric of "ex-gay" groups. Cianciotto and Cahill cited "public outcry" (p. 5) against Love in Action, an "ex-gay" cult in Tennessee as the reason that the state launched an investigation into the group. But it failed to mention the grassroots efforts of local activists, particularly queer youth, in organizing this "public outcry." In fact, it took quite some time for the mainstream LGBT press to even take notice of this battle. It wasn't the mainstream LGBT organizations that were responsible for the response to LIA, but queer youth's own self-organization. Grassroots organization of the community has an important role to play in the opposition to "ex-gays" (and in advancing the interests of the queer community in general), but the NGLTF report fails to suggest this, let alone offer ideas on how to organize.

The fact that the NGLTF even did this report shows that they rightly perceive the danger of this new youth-focused strategy of "ex-gay" organizations. But if we truly believe that "ex-gay" groups are entering a new and dangerous phase, mainstream LGBT groups are going to have to do more than issue angry press releases. This ties into what we at have been discussing and debating this week. The undeserved prominence of "ex-gay" groups and their ability to target youth with virtual impunity shows how the over-prioritization of same-sex marriage and other "mainstream" issues has hindered us. A response to these kinds of insidious attacks by the Right will require the grassroots mobilization and engagement of our community that involves confrontation and protest. This can only happen if a large part of the community's resources are put into logistical, financial and legal support for largely local grassroots mobilizations--which will necessarily mean less resources are poured into mainstream, lobbyist bureaucracies (like the HRC, NGLTF, GLAAD, etc.).

walter cronkite: end the war on drugs

I was so pleased to read Walter Cronkite's post about the disgusting war on drugs this country has been waging for some time now. The war on drugs is an insane waste of money and resources.

I have a friend who was in Dominica recently, and he said that our government flew over in helicopters to burn down their marijuana fields in the weeks preceding Carnival. The result is devastating to their local economy.

If you look at some of the governmentally funded anti-drug web sites for teens you'll find ridiculous stereotypes such as "pot smokers tend to smell funny and not care about their appearances."

Read Walter's Post on ->

scissor sisters bored with gay conformity

The lead singer of the Scissor Sisters is sick of gay conformity. When speaking about an Out Magazine event he said, "The event reminded me of how bored with the gays I've become. ... A lot of the gay mainstream is so desperate to assimilate into straight culture that they've turned into their own high school principals, except with a spoonful of ketamine up their nose on the weekends."

india says no to bush

Over a hundred thousand Indian protestors showed up to greet Bush upon his arrival to India today. It was his first time visiting the country. The street theater, signs, etc. were especially creative. View Photos