Hey mersquad coven!
I hope everyone has been doing okay. I know I personally haven’t been, and as much as I have been wanting to avoid social media completely, my best support system has been on Twitter so I can’t stay away. Thank you to my friends that have been keeping me grounded and safe and loved during these difficult times, because without you, I would be struggling even more right now.
So this is totally a week late (but hey, this is kind of perfect because I’m posting this literally the day before my birthday so it works out either way), and I got to have my baby bro ask some questions about Pride Month because he is an expert on asking some really hard hitting questions that really make my mom and I think about the world around us.
Just Another Day on the Island is a bi-weekly discussion post featuring the thoughts and ramblings of the Untalan Clan (aka, Leelynn’s mom and brother). We talk about books, family, and other things that come to mind. This feature officially launched on March 25, 2020.
Gender in the LGBTQ+ community is a very nuanced subject matter. In traditional society one’s gender and sex is seen as one in the same, however our trans, gender-fluid and intersex folks would argue otherwise. Gender is seen as separate than sex and can be fluid based on what someone feels; perhaps someone gender-fluid could use She/Her pronouns one day and They/Them another. Because of that, using the right pronouns for people can be tricky, so first: What pronouns do you use? and second: How would you go about finding out someone else’s pronouns?
Roxy: I use the pronoun She/Her. As for finding out about someone else’s pronouns, I would just ask them “what is the pronoun you use?” I think before I ask this question, it would depend on who I am speaking to. I only just learned about pronouns when I attended a training called “Building Competency in Serving LGBTQ Youth”. If I asked this to a participant at this conference, they would understand that question. However, if it were someone else who is not familiar with the use of pronouns to identify their gender, I would have to explain this to them first.
RayGil: I recently found out I can label my pronouns as He/They! Which is very exciting for me. As for finding out someone else’s pronouns, most people are comfortable if you just ask them and some will just tell you. If for some reason my friend “social anxiety” comes out, I usually default to They/Them pronouns for everyone until told otherwise or until I hear enough people using other pronouns for that person and then I’ll sneakily transition to their perceived preferred pronouns.
Me: I would argue that while society may assume that gender and sex are the same, they are defined as different. This should be noted since this seems to be a common misconception throughout society and what society needs to educate themselves on. Anyway, I use she/her pronouns (which I indicate on my Twitter since I’ve told that I should do to help others know how to correctly refer to me), and I use this practice on Twitter and look on various social media platforms before asking someone in case they already addressed what pronouns they used. If they didn’t, I’ll ask them what pronouns they use.
In modern western history, homosexuality has been seen as something evil and to be eradicated. Now a days, although this mindset still exists in many, “gay-ness” has a stigma among the less politically combative characterized in statements like: “that’s so gay” or “no homo”. What are some homophobic speech you have observed, if any?
Roxy: Unfortunately, I still hear the phrase: “That’s so gay”; “Stop being so gay”; “He/she must be gay”; or “He’s flaming”, “Fag”, “Butch”.
RayGil: As someone currently in the depths of teenage-hood, I’ve been exposed to these phrases pretty often; generally heard more around groups of mainly male teens. These phrases include: “That’s so gay,” “That’s kinda gay,” “Don’t be gay,” “I’m not gay or anything,” “No homo,” “Are you a fag?,” “Don’t be a fag,” “What a fag,” “I’ll shove this up your ass,” “Do you want this shoved up your ass?” “They must enjoy anal,” etc. None of these phrases have ever been directed at me or used against me in any way and I usually hear them in passing as I don’t hang around these groups very often. Also, these phrases are not exclusive to mainly male groups, I have heard these used by mainly female groups to tease, patronize or try to be funny.
Me: I always thought it was interesting since in European history (like the ROMANS?!?!?) homosexuality was prominent. Athens and Sparta, anyone? But whatever. I think it’s only more recent that being “gay” is seen as a negative thing but I’m glad that’s been changing slightly. Some slurs I still hear are stuff like “fags”… mostly that but that’s still bad.
Reclamation of words has been a celebrated and cautioned aspect in the LGBTQ+ community. Words like “Queer”, previously used as a slur to describe someone as weird or out of the ordinary, has now been mostly reclaimed to describe someone part of the LGBTQ+ community in some way or another–in other words, someone not completely straight, allosexual/romantic and/or cisgender. What are some words used against yourself, or others you know, that you wish to be reclaimed?
Roxy: I am particularly sensitive for people who use the words “ Handicapped” and “Retarded”. I try to educate folks who use these words on why it is offensive and share with them the appropriate words “Person with a disability” and “ Intellectual Disability”.
RayGil: I have never been personally attacked with any slurs myself, however through watching a documentary about Kumu Hina. I would like the hawaiian word “Māhū” to be fully reclaimed as she reclaims it. Māhū is a hawaiian word meaning someone who embodies both male and female spirit, but is more colloquially known and used as a slur against trans or cross-dressing people. I am absolutely not a prime resource in terms of Hawaiian culture, so please if you want a more full understanding of this word and the meaning behind it find appropriate resources from people in these communities. (Look up Kumu Hina!)
Me: I mean I would say the main word that I wish could be reclaimed is the N word. I don’t like it and I would never use it but I hate that it’s still used as a slur for Black people and I wish that that word could just be erased from existence. I don’t like that it’s used to describe people like me. Words like “monkey” and other hateful terms that are used to describe how Black people look like, I would want to reclaim those words.
The well known acronym “LGBT” is now a familiar sight to most when they come in contact with the LGBT community. But what is less well known is all the letters that could come after, like: “Q” (queer), another “T” (transsexual), another “Q” (questioning), “I” (intersex), “A” (asexual), “P” (pansexual); a number “2” (two-spirit); and symbols “+” (standing for extended identities) and “ * ” (standing for all gender identities when added after the word trans). Were you aware of all of these possible identities? and How many people with these extended identities have you knowingly come across?
Roxy: I was only made aware of all these identities when I attended the training I mentioned in my first answer. I have come across a couple of people with these extended identities.
RayGil: Yes I was aware of all of these identities as I wrote the question, but to answer if I know anyone with less represented identities then I do. I have two very close friends who identify “exotically” if you will, including myself.
Me: I know some of them, but I didn’t know about the * symbol. Being in the book community, where almost everyone identifies as something other than cis-straight (I think some time last week we were all opening up to each other on how we identify and almost none of us identified as straight or cis, or at least it was a bare minimum, which was okay but I definitely was seeing a lot of different identities out there and it was so great to see all of us come together and be so loving and welcoming to one another) it’s great for me to see and learn what’s out there and have people that can help me understand what it means to identify a certain way and help me understand what I’m going through. So I would say I’ve come across a LOT of people and it’s been great not being alone.
Fashion in the LGBTQ+ community is the most ubiquitous form of expression people think of when LGBTQ+ people come to mind. Drag is a famous example of this, especially with how conspicuous in media RuPaul’s Drag Race is. But drag is merely an outward exaggeration of femininity or masculinity; characterized by drag-queens and drag-kings respectively. Similarly to drag, androgyny is an outward expression of a lack of masculinity or femininity popular among non-binary and genderqueer individuals. How do you feel in terms of your masculinity or femininity? and What is your reaction to seeing others with an extreme representation of masculinity or femininity or extreme lack of masculinity or femininity?
Roxy: I see myself as being balanced with both masculine and feminine traits. It really doesn’t matter if I see someone with extreme representations of masculinity or femininity. As long as they are happy and living their truth, I’m ok. I have several friends that demonstrate various degrees of masculinity or femininity and I love them as they are.
RayGil: In terms of my masculinity and femininity, I definitely lean more towards the feminine side but feel pretty neutral. I have always been uncomfortable with fully channeling what I see as masculine and I actually hope in the future I can explore my masculinity more and try to understand it. As for my reaction to extreme representations of masculinity or femininity I think it’s awesome! I especially love more androgynous fashion and it has always been a wish to properly dress androgynously.
Me: I feel like I’ve been leaning more towards my feminine side lately, although when I was growing up I felt like I leaned more towards my masculine side. I played a lot of sports and I felt more comfortable being around the guys than the girls. That could have been because of my weight issues though and since the guys didn’t really care about my weight as much as the girls did, it was something that I didn’t have to think about much with them. I missed playing soccer and basketball and stuff, even though I wasn’t super good at basketball (I didn’t play professionally or anything, it was more for fun) and even though I would hate running for soccer, I would end up feeling so exhilarated after a soccer game. Although lately I feel like I’d just rather be comfortable so I’m down for just wearing sweatpants and a t-shirt every day. But also, I’m okay with wearing a dress because it doesn’t mean having to pair up an outfit, you know? That’s me being lazy, not being fashionable. I feel like I don’t have much of a reaction. I love seeing others express themselves through fashion. It makes me wish that I could put that much effort and time into my clothes and style but I’ll let others do it and I’ll just admire it from afar.
The dream romantic relationship shown in Disney films and Jane Austen books are a staple of western culture, however these do not represent the relationships people with differing sexual or romantic orientations wish to have. Do you know of any books, films, or other media that do represent diverse relationships and how do they represent them?
Roxy: I know of several films or short tv series that represent diverse relationships. On Netflix, there are several tv series I watch like “Mr. Iglesias”; “Pose”; “One Day at A Time”; “Grace and Frankie” Orange Is The New Black”; “The Fosters” and “Unbreakable”. One of my favorite Netflix original movies was “AJ and the Queen”. On HBO Now, there were several tv series I enjoyed watching like “Betty”; “We’re Here”; “Here and Now” and “Camping”. On Hulu there were also several shows I watched like “Rescue 9-1-1”; “Star”; “Empire”; “9-1-1: Lonestar”; “Little Fires Everywhere”; “Perfect Harmony”; any Rupaul show; “Superstore”; “The Rookie”; “Glee”; “The Cool Kids”; and “When We Rise”. All these shows represented a diverse relationships such as trans and gay people.
RayGil: Once again I have returned with a way to bring Steven Universe back to my responses. Steven Universe has great representation of non-binary characters and queer relationships and please just watch the show. But to highlight other shows, Kipo and the Age of the Wonderbeasts comes to mind along with She-Ra and to a much lesser extent The Legend of Korra. For non-animated shows, the docuseries When We Rise was great along with everything else my mom listed in her response, except she didn’t mention Queer Eye.
Me: Jane Austen? Who is she?
- It’s Not Like It’s a Secret – Misa Sugiura
- Dark and Deepest Red – Anna-Marie McLemore
- The Poppy Wars – R. F. Kuang
- The Soul of the Sword – Julie Kagawa
- Girls of Paper and Fire – Natasha Ngan
- And So. Many. More.
Mom and Brother got to enjoy the Pride Walk in Hawaii last year, and even though I wasn’t there – sniff sniff – they said I could share their photos from the walk. Don’t they look so beautiful?