I had to design a web form for something today. The creative brief said “include a drop-down menu to select ‘gender’ that has ‘male’ and ‘female’ options.”
So I conveniently ignored the bit that dictated a drop-down and made it fill-in-the-blank instead. Because you know, common sense. Not everyone identifies as either “male” or “female”. Fucking duh.
Unfortunately, it didn’t fly. I even explained, “not everyone identifies as ‘male’ or ‘female’” - but my input was trumped.
IT IS NOT THAT HARD TO UNDERSTAND, PEOPLE. JUST BE INCLUSIVE AND MINDFUL OF OTHERS OKAY JUST DO IT.
i hate lady gaga for so many reasons.
but i think her whole “jo calderone” thing is the worst one.
she uses people’s actual identities as this entertaining costume to gain more attention for herself. if she actually gave a shit about trans* people or even the queer community in general, she wouldn’t write shitty fucking songs like “born this way” and she wouldn’t say “oh, here we go again” when someone asks her a question criticizing the way she addresses the queer community.
if she actually gave a shit about trans* people you would hear her talking about them, not just dressing up. it’s all fucking theatrical, this is the same thing as when she used a wheelchair onstage. this is the same thing as when, during a photo shoot that was “asian inspired”, she squinted her eyes in every single picture. it’s the same shit. she’s a fucking commodity and this is the cheapest possible way to make oppressed minorities feel like “oh, she cares!”
not to mention that using tape to bind is a terrible idea and it’s bad for you.
Alright… I’m just gonna go ahead and say… Fuck that noise. As far as I know Jo is an alter-ego. Her quote: “How can we remodel the model? In a culture that attempts to quantify beauty with a visual paradigm and almost mathematical standard, how can we fuck with the malleable minds of onlookers and shift the world’s perspective on what’s beautiful? I asked myself this question. And the answer? Drag.”
See that? Drag. DRAG! Lady Gaga isn’t trans, ladies and gents, she just does a mean drag. Why are we getting all bothered about this?
And personally, I’m so very pleased she does this because it shows the flip side of gender bending. Everyone knows what a drag queen is, not everyone knows that drag kings exist. It makes it a lot easier to dress as male around family when you have a reference point, no? Helps me anyway.
Oh and… UNF SO HOTTTTTTT.
If the kind of male reference point you want is one that objectifies women, over-sexualizes masculinity, exists solely for display rather than true identity, and engages in dangerous and highly unhealthy ace-binding, then go right ahead, but I want NO part of Lady Gaga’s world, and I want her to stop pretending to be my idol. She specifically states that JO is representative of FTM trans* identity, but she doesn’t represent me, my identity, and my lifestyle. I want reference points like Stephen Beatty and Lucas Silveira, Leslie Feinberg and S Bear Bergman.
So there has been a lot of discussion surrounding this response to white fat activism from People of Color in the fat justice movement. I have only been a spectator in the midst of the uproar until now. Even before these discussions I have been quietly watching and learning, recognizing my privilege and understanding how I can make Redefining Body Image as inclusive as possible.
Marianne Kirby’s blog post on the topic has been monumentally helpful in explaining what I can do as a fat, white ally to people of color (as well as a cis-gendered, straight ally to trans/genderqueer individuals.)
Creating a project or atmosphere of any kind that is welcoming to people of color involves more than an invitation to participate. That’s the tiniest step you can take in getting people of color involved. What you actually have to do – and if you don’t know how, that’s again why google is so very useful – is make your project or atmosphere actually welcoming. You have to create a space that invites diverse people to participate without fear of ridicule or hatred. That is hard damned work. And I don’t think anyone is perfect at it.
The really great thing though is that no one is really expecting perfection. A genuine effort and a willingness to listen when we screw up is half the battle that we as fat white people trying to create diverse spaces have to fight. Screwing up is not the end of the world! It’s uncomfortable – we’re embarrassed and our feelings get hurt and we kind of flail around a little wishing no one had scolded us – but discomfort isn’t going to kill us. In fact, discomfort is a really great teacher, if we pay attention to it.
The Rotund - Dear White Fat People
So I’d just like to take this opportunity to say, as founder and primary contributor to RBI, that I will try my best to make this space as inclusive to all races, genders, classes, and walks of life as possible. You have my support, my love, my admiration. And if I’m not doing something right, please let me know how and why so that I might check my privilege and learn how I can be more inclusive.
More from Marianne’s post:
There is a difference between saying a person of color is welcome to participate (and solve the diversity problem their own damn selves) and saying that it’s something that will be addressed. One is a deflection of responsibility – the other is an acknowledgement that it hasn’t happened yet but we want it to, we’re trying to make it happen.
I recognize that despite my best efforts, perhaps not all people will feel welcome or included in this space, and I open myself up to any and all criticism regarding this issue.
From this point forward I will be more active than ever before in seeking out those whose voices and backgrounds are different from my own. I will be dedicating my own time to improving the inclusivity of this blog, but do feel free to help guide me along the way. If you know of any body positive blogs dedicated to PoC/trans/genderqueer individuals, or possible contributors to RBI who might help diversify the content featured here, my submission page is ready and waiting!