poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Monday, August 16, 2004

Rights for lesbians, transgenders, transsexuals
Lesbian, gay, bi and trans pride series part 12
By Leslie Feinberg

According to historian Dan Healey, "Unlike their male counterparts, Russian women who had erotic relations with members of their own sex had less access to the public sphere and so were less able to construct for themselves a coherent subculture with the attributes of the male homosexual world. This is not to suggest that no female homosexual subculture existed in revolutionary Russia."

Healey has made a great contribution towards digging up some of the records of the lives of lesbians, masculine females and transsexual men in revolutionary Russia during the 1920s. Much of this research can be found in his book "Sexual Desire in Revolutionary Russia." (Univer sity of Chicago Press, 2001)

He offers this caveat: "Adequate sources about this love between lower-class women have yet to emerge, and its character must be judged through the distortions of a single ubiquitous occupation, prostitution."


Colleges offer gender-blind housing option for students
By Noreen Gillespie, Associated Press

HARTFORD — The idea that college students should have to live with roommates of the same gender is ridiculous to Paige Kruza.

For starters, she says gender is not as simple as male and female.

"It started in the days that same-sex, all-male colleges existed," Kruza said.

Kruza, an openly transgendered student at Wesleyan University, shuns the idea of a world that carves people into categories of "male" and "female." The sophomore women's studies major prefers gender-blind pronouns — "ze" instead of he and she, "zir" instead him and her.


Why Do We Transition?
by Sierra Burke

     Why do we do this? There are people that say we do this because it is fun or we like to play dress-up. I pooh-pooh their ignorance.

     I know girls who are fighting to keep relationships years in the making, debating whether to go back to a life sure to lead to death simply to stay with their partners. I know of girls that have given up everything they have to make their transition a success.

     I know of girls that have said goodbye to all they know, all friends and family, for a chance at freedom, safety, life. I have heard of girls selling their very bodies because they have nothing left to get by with. I know of many who cry themselves to sleep every night because they struggle every day with the prejudice, injustice, and cruelty that forces them to live two lives, one real, one false, to live a craziness that wears at the soul, beating down the essence of life that keeps them going each day.


German soldiers allowed to have sex with each other

Germany has introduced a new guideline allowing sex between members of its armed forces.

While sex during work hours will continue to be considered a "disruption of service operations", the new ruling is more liberal on what soldiers do during their free time.

Provided it involves two consenting adults, the new regulation permits "both heterosexual and homosexual relationships and activities", writes Bild daily.

Differences in rank are also considered no obstacle.


Frenchman, bound and beaten, found dead in Romania

BUCHAREST, Aug 16 (AFP) - A Frenchman, bound and half-naked, was found dead in his car in a Romanian corn field, police said on Monday.

The man, about 50, had suffered serious head injuries and was wearing a wig when discovered a few kilometres (miles) from Arad in western Romania. Police speculated that the man, from the French town of Saint Quentin, had engaged in homosexual relations before being killed.

He had entered Romania Sunday and was destined for Brasov in central Romania to meet some Romanian friends.

Also found near the scene of the crime was a dead dog hanging from a fence, presumably belonging to the victim - while the contents of the man's luggage were scattered around the car.


Million Worker March to say:
'We need jobs--not war'
By Minnie Bruce Pratt

Organizers for the Million Worker March, to be held in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 17, are calling for an end to the war in Iraq--and an end to the war on working people in the United States.

Fliers for the MWM, now being widely distributed, bear the headline: "We Need Jobs--Not War!"

International Longshore & Warehouse Union Local 10 in San Francisco initiated the march. The members of Local 10, the home union of the 1934 general strike, have in recent years refused to unload ships to protest apartheid, police brutality and U.S. war drives.

There is a tremendous groundswell of support for the MWM, including a recent endorsement by Roger Toussaint, president of powerful Local 10 of the Transit Workers Union in New York City.


Panamanian starts gay rights movement
By Deb Price / The Detroit News

PANAMA — Just as the visionaries at the start of the last century speeded up commercial trade by connecting the Pacific and Atlantic oceans via the Panama Canal, Ricardo Beteta is trying to engineer a shortcut to help fellow gay Panamanians reach full equality.

Although in law and society, gay Panamanians are all but invisible, Beteta is gathering petition signatures to pressure the incoming new legislature to give gay couples marriage-like rights.

The petition is a giant step forward given that, in many ways, life for the average gay Panamanian resembles pre-Stonewall America — before the 1969 New York City riots that marked the first gay resistance to police brutality and that are now celebrated worldwide as the symbolic kickoff of the modern gay rights movement.

Many gay Panamanians, filled with shame and fear, have grown comfortable living a double life and are uneasy with Beteta’s American-style activism. But others, inspired by his vision of equality, are swallowing their fears and signing the petition.


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