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Dieser Beitrag wurde unter Allgemein, Aufrufe abgelegt am von .

Menschen, Mythen, MUTTIationen– Ein Abgesang (engl. version)

A contribution by alsmenschverkleidet
Translation by bleistiftrebellx

Intro
I wasn’t free before either. At least my structurally forged chains were of a nice and decent lenght though, so I was sometimes able to successfully convince myself that they didn’t exist at all.
Freedom. Whatever that may mean to you. For me it means holding the privilege of choice, amon other things. Becoming and Being what I am, to live the way I want to. Together with those who are important to me. Without de_gradation, comments, oppression. Being subjected to even worse than that.

1st verse
The conclusion that I am not sick but pregnant occured simultaneously to the insight that I had been life-changingly mistaken in this case. EqualityTM in shiny writing glued, from now on, onto a family size package. The content unchanged. From human to nothing-but-emissary of my uterus in less than nine months. Compulsory labour following. All rights transferred to the holy mother. Finally, complete mummytation.

An ode to servitude.
If actually something more has been achieved than the highly-praised New Daddies buggy-parading around gentrified hip neighbourhoods, then why are we still missing visible and noticeable consequences everywhere? In the still rare case of their parental leave being longer than some months, their promptly written books or tales of woe that fill the feuilletons of notable daily papers eventually merely get the stamp: REMARKABLE. A monument cast in words to cement the EXEMPLARY EXCEPTION and to pirouette in large circles around themselves… and to not change a thing about the actual distribution of power.

Overtones.
As a person affected by sexualized violence, I have struggled to feel at home in my body again for a long time. Now I was again, and very differently, thrown back to physical traits, and I marveled – bemused or optimistic – at what was happening there for months. Above everything the measuring and commanding units with which a pregnant person today is strictly weighed. If you don’t comply, you’re instantly suspected of being an uncaring mother. Another successful strategy among the many diciplinary actions that focus on the female body, thus legitimizing all forms of appropriation.

Learning that I’m not cis either during this time – not exactly a coincidence. The more people around me insisted on me being on the peak of my femininty, the more I realized that this wasn’t true for me. I felt odd in a comfortable way in this body that hadn’t been there for me for such a long time… I wanted to enjoy that and not have to deal with and be bugged by the attributions of others.

2nd verse
Faded decal pictures of the mother serve as a basis, ostensibly enriched by high gloss covers à la working mum. There’s no room there for the fact that not only women get pregnant and that family does not equal fathermotherchild. The mother remains as a doubly biologically charged hinge-joint in charge of the functionality of the heteronormative system. Even if one resists, one will be pushed back into the old mold via the child. FamilyTM must remain what familyTM always has been. All who (want to) do it differently – only deserters, to be decried.

I didn’t plan to become part of a fathermotherchild ensemble. Even during my pregnancy, friends and I discussed about possible parent-al-ternatives, made plans, laughed and were scared together. After the child was born, for the time being there was neither time nor space to continue working on that. Theorizing about alternatives was now a complete luxury I couldn’t afford to practice. Pushed aside into a wholly one-dimensional layout of motherhood. To be filled in right now, closely emebedded in a tightly measured code of conduct. Misdemeanour leads to penalization by your entire surroundings, first and foremost by fellow parents (solidarity always ends where „my“ child is concernded!) and also everybody who had ever held a book about child development in their hands or seen something about it on TV. Diversity in parenting styles and a seemingly widened definition of family – ultimately another fairy tale of capitalist free market reason. Only going so far that it doesn’t really shake up the Traditional and remains economically exploitable.

Striking up a new song?!
Questioning the mythically overloaded term „Mother“, stripping it down little by little and laying bare with the scalpel of deconstructivism what is at work underneath it, that’s a possible way (for me). Starting far away from the confining one-way streets towards a parting of the ways to explore new variations and concepts of real-life parenthood.

Outro
For me, this isn’t about attacking those who (can) identify with the term „mother“ and fill it for their purposes, but to make room for those who don’t. I have met a lot of great people, since the child is there, who go their paths of parenthood with sky-high burdens on their backs… Far too often the supposedly constructive criticism of the mother – from the dissociated examination of (mostly derogatively) so-called mama-blogs to the sole blaming of mothers for all evils of the world – only again masks the many facets of misogyny, more or less aptly.

The child teaches me personhood anew, reminds me of what really counts, and above everything there’s an omnipresent snugly orange-yellow giant love. That only makes me take offence more at the close-knitted confines of the mother role, at how little, in its stereotypical version, it represents me and my life.
For me, family (by choice) and parenthood is what I make of it. It’s not a rigid construct, but fluid and adaptable to the needs of everyone involved, or at least that’s the idea that lights up the path. As practiced by me, it includes friends as much as relatives that are dear to me. I would love to accompany many more children into the world and watch them as they take up space and grow… but under no circumstances do I ever want to go back to that hell of biologistic backlash that I was pushed towards in my pregnant body and that I haven’t left for long yet.

Alsmenschvergleidet is the white genderqueer parent of a three-year-old child, writes for umstandslos.com about queerfeminist parenting issues and occasionally blogs on www.alsmenschverkleidet.wordpress.com, where this text was originally published. The TM or italic letters are meant to point out the problematic constructs behind the thus marked terms.

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“If I were a boy”: Young Queers in US-Television

By Steffi Achilles
Translation by Elena

What kind of rolemodels exist for non-heterosexual youth in US Television? How are young queers represented there?
The ability for underaged people to decide what gender they identify with, which sexual orientation they have or what kind of relationship they want, if they are cis or trans*, gay or lesbian is often under discussion. Within these public debates young people are portrayed as too young, too immature, too unexperienced . Some people even think that having contact with non-heterosexual people can be dangerous for young people, or thinking about it: for everyone.

The other side of the debate claims that young people are capable to decide on their identities and bodies. Kids are already raised in heteronormative structures, where the logic dictates that they are only two opposite genders that are romantically and later also sexually attracted to each other.
There is no uprise against the heterosexualisation of young kids, because it is seen as normal.

What kind of young people are portrayed as gay, lesbian, bisexual/pansexual, genderqueer, transgender or inter(sex) in current US-Television?

Gay boys were starting it off
Young, non-heterosexual main characters are relatively new in mainstream television.
After seeing Rickie Vasquez (played by Wilson Cruz) in the Series ‚My So-Called Life‘ (ABC, 1994) it took 10 more years for me to stumble upon Justin Suarez (Mark Indelicat) in the show ‚Ugly Betty‘ that was screened from 2006-2010 on ABC. Shortly after that we could see Eric van der Woodsen (Connor Paolo) in ‚Gossip Girl‘ (2007-2012 The CW) and Marshall Gregson (Keir Gilchrist) in ‚United States of Tara‘, which was screened 2009-2011 on Showtimes.
Justin and Marshall are portrayed in a similar way: young, skinny teens, shy and ‚unmanly‘ in a way that gave the viewers a chance to interpret them as queer right from the beginning. Both of them do arty activities (editing films & fashion design) and are from less privileged families.

Like ‚Ugly Betty‘, ‚Gossip Girl‘ is also situated in New York but in an upper class setting, meaning that Eric is part of a rich and influential family. In all three shows the characters main topics are coming out, their first samsex kiss and relationships. Another interesting show in this contest is ‚South of Nowhere‘ (The N – Teen Nick) in which a lesbian and a bisexual teen are portrayed. The Show ran from 2005 to 2008

Looking for an Identitiy during High School
The Fox-show ‚Glee‘ that started screening in 2009 features 5 main characters that are LGBT*. Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer) is bullied by his peers for not presenting as heterosexual from the very beginning of the show. In Season 2 he is joined by, his later romantic relationship, Blaine Anderson (Darren Criss), who helps him stand up to the abuse he endures in school.

The two cheerleaders Brittany Susan Pierce (Heater Morris) and Santana Lopez (Naya Rivera) start off as close friends, that are revealed having a more complex relationship to each other later in the show. After a lot of struggles they start leading a more or less monogamous relationship.
The Show ‚Pretty Little Liars‘, that runs since 2009 is evolving around four girls that share a common friend Ali, who disappears and whose corps is (presumely) found.
The main story line is the detective work that the friends do in order to find Alisons killer.

One of the friends is Emily Fields (Shay Mitchell), whose lesbian relationship is part of the storyline from day one. Emily experiences a difficult coming-out in the first season, where her parents are not ok with her relationship with Maya and her identification as lesbian.
This being said, the romantic lifes of the four friends take less room in the show than their relations with each other, which makes the show even more interesting.

The Show ‚Faking It‘ exists since 2014 and portrays Amy Raudenfeld (Rita Volk) and Karma Ashcroft (Katie Stevens), who are faking to be lesbians and are couple in order to be more interesting in their progressive high school. While Amy is starting to think that she might be in love with Karma for real, Karma is trying to catch the attention of boys at their school.

A lot of storylines in ‚Pretty Little Liars‘, ‚Glee‘ and ‚Faking It‘ discuss finding an identity and words for young people to explain themselves.
Santana experiences a big break through when she finally self-identifies as a lesbian and comes out to her religious latina family.

Santana, Brittany, Amy, Karma and Emily are TV-figures that are portrayed as equally feminine to the other girls in the shows. Emily is a swimmer and while her other friends also do sports, like running or tuning their bodies, Emily is always seen as the sporty one or as a tomboy. Amy is also portrayed as less feminine than Karma, altough this distinction within the show is not visible for the viewers on the first glance.

Trans & genderqueer as a sidenote
In Season 3 of ‚Glee‘ the young transwoman Unique Adams (Alex Newll) enters the Glee Club. In the Musical-Club which gives the show its name, the young people cover rock and pop songs, often in order to work through conflicts or share personal thoughts and emotions. Unique sings the song ‚If I were a boy‘ by Beyoncé in episode 05×05 after being harassed by cis boys while trying to use the bathrooms.23

‚House of Lies‘ (Showtime) is, as far as I know, the only show in US-Television portraying a genderqueer person as a lead character: Roscoe Kaan (Donis Leonard Jr.). Their Father Marty is sometimes overwhelmed, for example when Roscoes wants to try out for the female lead in ‚Grease‘ or shouts at museum visitors because they stare at them. In general he is very supportive towards Roscoe and is the only one who believes them when they are accused to having kissed a schoolmate against their will.

Sex, Drugs & religious media campaigns.
The show ‚Skins‘ (MTV, 2011) who is a remake of a British show with the same name features the student Tea Marvelli (Sofia Black-D’Elia) who first appears having romantic relationships with girls but later on has a long affair with a boy called Tony. Sex with him is weird for her at the beginning, but this changes quickly. Tea is portrayed like most of the current LGBT*IQ characters as having high self-esteem, honest, witted and determined.

Sadly the show was stopped after the first season by MTV.24 One of the main reasons was that the ‚Parents Television Council‘ 25 called the show ‚child pornography‘ which had a huge impact of sponsors who withdrew their investments.
The fact that alcohol and drug use were also part of the storyline probably didn’t help the reputation of the show in these circles.

The Show ‚Shameless‘ who started 2011 in the US brings sexual activity and drug use by minors to the screens aswell. Ian (Gerard Kearns) is a gay teen who is part of the Gallagher family around which the show is centered. He wants to enter the US-Army and spends a lot of time training for this. After a short affair with a married man he starts a not-monogamous on-and-off relationship with Mickey Milkovich (Noel Fisher), an aggressive and violent boy from his neighbourhood. When Micheys dad finds out about their relationship he beats up his son and makes him having sex with a woman while he stays in the room and makes Ian watch aswell.
So far as I now the ‚Parents Television Council‘ hasn’t issued a statement concerning ‚Shameless‘, maybe because the show is not directly targeting teenagers as ‚Skins‘ does or because it is screened on the Pay-TV channel Showtime and not on public television.26

Showtime also features shows like ‚Queer as Folk‘, ‚The L Word‘ or ‚Nurse Jackie‘ who are probably not ‚family-friendly‘ from a Christian perspective.

Supernatural is the new queer
The fantasy show ‚True Blood‘ not only portrays a lot of queer characters but also plays with the similarities between real LGBT*QIA movements 27 and the struggle for rights for vampires, who in the most cases are not strictly heterosexual. I would also argue that supernatural characters in fantasy shows very rarely go through the same process of finding an identity and coming out as their human counterparts do. The status of supernaturals seems to give them more freedom and power over their bodies. Queer youth is not part of the main cast in ‚True Blood‘.

In contrast, the fantasy show ‚Teen Wolf” (MTV, since 2011) has a gay werewolf since 2013: Ethan (Charlie Carver), whose identical twin Aiden is heterosexual. In this show the sexual identity of Ethan is not a big topic and he has more or less an equal amount of affairs as his twin. This could also be because the twins stories are anyhow overshadowed by the heterosexual (ex-) relation between the two ultimate main characters.

Since a couple of years young queer characters are part of US-Television. These shows are rarely criticized by conservatives if they don’t target directly young people and show youth doing drugs or having sex.

The LGBT*IQ characters are mostly portrayed as powerful and often work through finding and identity and coming out. Only supernatural characters do not have to come out, because they are apparently able to self-define their sexual preferences and act outside of anti-queer structures.
In US-Shows we most often see gay boys/man, followed by lesbian girls/woman and very, very rarely also transgender or genderqueer people. Inter(sex) characters haven’t been main characters and the portrayal of asexuals is also a difficult topic that is worth an article of its own.

author:
Steffi Achilles grew up near Bremen and is currently living in Frankfurt am Main (Germany). They mainly blog about queer characters in US-Shows on www.queersehen.de [german]

23
http://www.metatube.com/en/videos/209501/
GLEE-If-I-Were-A-Boy-from-The-End-Of-Twerk-Full-Performance
24
http://insidetv.ew.com/2011/06/09/mtv-cancels-skins
25
The „Parents Television Council“ (www.parentstv.org) is a fundamentalist christian lobby organisation in the USA who claim to be active for the ’safety of children‘. Their mainly talk about being ‚family-friendly‘ which means holding up their christian ideal of heterosexuality, monogamy and sexual abstinence. Everthing that they see as not ‚family-friendly‘ is being targeted by media campaigns and attemts of censoring.

26
http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jan/27/entertainment/la-et-skins-essay-20110127
27
http://www.slate.com/blogs/outward/2014/06/25/
true_blood_reviewed_why_hbo_s_vampire_show_is_a_queer_masterpiece.html

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Shabbat Shalom!

By Paul Kalt
translation by sophie

It is because of my Jewish heritage, that I have for a while now been contemplating my Jewish culture and religion. Recently, I decided to pay a visit to the local Synagogue. The first visits went by without any complications. The rabbi took me in with open arms and younger parishioners introduced me to the procedure of the service. The following incidents happened on the day, that I decided to out myself as a trans man. Because I did not have sex reassignment surgery and dress feminine on special occasions, it is not very obvious which gender I relate to. On this specific day a new rabbi than the one before was present at the service.

I am as nervous as the first time. Intimidated and confused my eyes dart over the waiting crowd in the entrance area. The fluted cup filled with coke slips through my hands. The plastic crinkles. I am trying to become invisible behind a newspaper.
„Hello! Who are you? Are you here for the first time? Where did you leave you`re kipah? Did you forget it?“
The child is approximately 5 years old. Excitedly it jumps up and down in front of me.
I have to smile to myself, but try to keep composure, arraying my black skirt.
Imagining the man next to the entrance being this child’s father, I reply: „I have been here three times alreay. Maybe you were not here then. I am a woman!“
„No way! You are lying!“
„No, just wait, I will be going up with the other women once the service starts.“
I don’t want to overwhelm the child, I’m thinking.
At the very same moment I get angry about this compulsion to assimilate.
Trying to find the right passages in the book, I am sitting up front, in between two elderly women.
Listening to the familiar sounds of the rabbi’s melody, I am entering a trance, feeling like I have arrived.
The child is looking up to me, whisper-shouting: „You are wrong up there!“
The pleasant feeling vanishes in an instant. What am I doing here? I am on the fence, but finally remain seated.
After the service the parish gathers in the neighboring hall of the synagogue. The table has been set and after the prayer the glasses are lifted.
„Boys don’t have things like that.“
With a serious face the child examines the rings and bracelets on my hands. „Or are you actually a women??“
With eager eyes and an impish grin he looks up to me. The mother of the child puts her forefinger on her lips: „Shhhhhhh.“ (It is forbidden to speak before the meal.)
„Well“, I open my mouth to speak, as the napkins are lifted. Fishbread and cakes appear underneath them. I turn to my neighbor as I am a bit embarrassed now of the unclear image I am projecting on the child.
„You are just right, I am not a women.“
The child smiles proudly.
„I knew it!“
„But now I have to ask you a question as well, after you have been pestering me all this time. So, why is that you think that men cannot wear things such as rings or necklesses?“
„Hmm“, the kid spots a lonely ring in my right ear.
„Oh ok, well, actually you are just wearing one earring, like boys do.“
In connivance we focus on the delicacies on the tables.
It doesn’t take long until the child wants to share his newly gained news about me.
„I am sitting next to a boy, a boy“, it reveals, high-voiced, the happy news to the rest of the group.
The relatives intend to intervene, admonishingly.
„Ruben, please leave the woman alone.“
„But its true, he said so himself!“
„Be quiet! This is nothing to joke about.“, his father rebukes him softly.
„S_he is certainly right“, I accede.
The rest of the group is looking mesmerized now. Some have to chuckle.
The rabbi approaches the source of turmoil with big steps.
„Who is this girl there? Is she new?“ He asks a person, who just shoved a big piece of trout in his*her mouth.
I feel compelled to make a move and get up hastily.
„Paul, hello. I am not a girl.“- I introduce myself, trying to extract my most graceful countenance.
The rabbi ignores my hand and instead uses his own, wide spread hands, to throw them up over his head in despair. His kipah almost falls off his head.
„That just can’t be true!“
Broad laughter, shaking heads. One person speculates that this could all just be a play.
I am trying to make myself heard. The blood is boiling in my temples.
„There is a saying among us jews“, the rabbi explains.
„We say: Can black people change their color of skin?! So, how can it be true, what you are telling me?“
„That goes without saying, there is no need for a discussion!“, another member of the parish exclaims. „Exactly. The women are sitting up front, and the men are sitting down here,“ the rabbi reckons, „so tell me, who are you?“
My face frowns.
I don’t have to put up with this, I think.
„A good day to you, Shabbat Shalom.“ I leave the hall.
In retrospect I think, that the conversation with the child was very valuable.

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