Sunday, May 22, 2011

WHaQ! meeting, May 22nd 2011

No cookies required today: got there early, got some work done, panicked when no one was there on the dot at 4, unpanicked when Gurl in the World showed up with beloved a few minutes later. Smallish meeting, 8 people.

  • S. is contemplating sex education, sex education re: method, contraception, orientation, predators, awareness. Specifically: school children. S. is contemplating, hazily, being an educator in this line - and if you're interested in helping out, leave a message here or on the group email.
  • One of us is leaving in a few weeks. This sucks.
  • This. Children have been separated from their mother, kept captive in a foreign country. Their mum has legal custody, their dad kidnapped them anyway. If you are American, sign this, petition, please? If you are not American, pass it on to someone who is?
  • M. brought a dozen books to the office. LADY BOOKS. Or mostly lady books. We left them in an untidy pile on V.'s desk so he could arrange them to perfection on the shelves.
  • More of us, those o us who're comfortable meeting random strangers/men, should come to the Good As You meetings on Thursdays. The meetings are fun sometimes. Also, we should ask if the boys want to play cricket.
  • I was taking notes while simultaneously writing, so I have "lesbian demographics" just randomly jotted down in the minutes. I think we were comparing lesbian numbers in China versus India. Statistically speaking, in a decade or so India should have more people, and perhaps therefore more lesbians, than China. (India is composed of people who know how to have sex, and people who think they'll get pregnant if they're kissed, by the way. Our population craziness is not caused by a uniform rite of orgy all across the country.)
  • Several of us have been shopping lately. Shoes and saris. Saris are pretty, and awesome, and often expensive.
  • Queer Ink. "We, at Queer-Ink seek to disempower those who look at others with derision or suspicion or ignorance. We do it not by shutting ourselves out but by embracing the world and all its treasures. We do it through the retailing of books, or the publishing of new works, or even setting up our special Qi Community. " Go there if you want to read. Go there if you want to write. Just, go.
  • Indu Anthony's Beauty in the Blur project. (And this.)
At some point, we broke up, with most of us heading to Koshy's. Brandy! Coffee! Tea! Lassi! Food! Loads of people we knew were there, which is why we get to feel snobby about Koshy's. Or something.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Three rings (stop me if you've heard this one)

I've been thinking about marriage a lot lately - not for myself, but as a concept, an institution. For the purposes of this post, I'm not talking about two people (or more!) deciding to spend their lives together, I'm talking about two people (or more? usually just two at a time, though) deciding to spend their lives together and telling the government about it. For the purposes of this post, we're talking about a union of which some government, somewhere, has a record.

Since I'm not a romantic, or at least I'm not unspoiled idealist - the first bitch who comes along and reminds me that I'm a cynic I'mma cut - I have trouble as it is understanding a long-term commitment. The faith, the optimism, the promise - it's all a bit intense for me. I like the idea, don't get me wrong. If you are in a long-term relationship of the romantic kind that you intend to be in till death do you 'part, then yay for you. (I suppose.) I can say, well, I hope this works out.

I understand the above as a universal process - anyone who is capable of forming deep emotional bonds is hypothetically capable of finding someone or some people s/he wants and decides to bring into their circle of "me".

I get confused at the point where the commitment gets formalised in some way. (For the purposes of this, and every post, I am a Stupid Hermit Who Does Not Get People. Don't ask me why I'm asking the dumb questions. I'm dumb.) When two people who want to spend their lives together go to a priest, arranger, ordainer of some sort in order to make vows/promises/be wedded together - with witnesses, sometimes many, many, many witnesses, I am bewildered by the necessary, inevitable spectacle. The process is simultaneous show, celebration, and validation-from-spiritual/other authority; there's a part of me that says, your lives together don't in and of themselves need that.

Yes yes, it's a social institution, and traditionally, alliance-wise or romance-wise, there're social pressures, and sometimes pleasures, to the pubic spectacle. The ceremonies act as a public, communal, community milestone. I don't get it, emotionally, but I can talk my way through it.

I'm not confused by this social ritual because it's not necessarily open to all people capable of informed consent - even if it's often open to people who do not give consent at all. I'm not wandering around going, why do heterosexuals do this when so many places have LGBTIQ people who can't? I'm a little bewildered why anyone would do it, period. This is because I lack empathy and religion, and decidedly do not want to go the horrors of a Hindu Brahmin wedding for myself.

For the people who want to live together forever and not have a social, religious, wedding but still want to live together forever as a unit, there's "marriage" as defined, allowed and rewarded by the state they live in. In India, while most states did not until recently require that marriages be registered, the various marriage laws did. [In case you didn't know, we have the Hindu Marriage Act (under which the Sikh, Buddhist and Jain marriages have been categorised, for reasons of bureaucratic laziness), Indian Christian Marriage Act, Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, the Special Marriages Act (for inter-religious/caste unions), Muslim Personal Law. The Hindu Marriage Act does not require that the wedding be registered. Hooray for democracy.]

I am not going to argue that LGBTIQ people should be allowed to marry and have that marriage recognised by their governments. Okay? I do not need to, it is perfectly obvious and right. If anyone is allowed to marry - and make no mistake, government recognition is permission, validation and reward, just as societal celebration is - then anyone should be allowed to marry.

Nepal is currently redrafting their constitution - actually, it's nearly done by now, and by July, if the people vote in the majority for it, all people of adult age regardless of sex, gender, sexuality, religion, nationality, what have you, will be able to marry. Brazil passed its same-sex law just a few weeks ago. Various American states are arguing yay and nay, and I link you to this lovely moment from the Minnesotan debates on the subject - just that moment, since the final results were not happy.

So. In our perfect world where anyone capable of informed consent is allowed to marry - and I mean, specifically, in the sense where said union is registered with the government, is probably licensed, recorded somewhere, is legal... why do we want to marry?

  1. It would be nice if everyone who is in a committed relationship is allowed to bloody visit their loved ones in the hospital. Or in prison. Or when they move to family-specific zones, which does happen in some nations still, I think.
  2. Tax breaks! Insurance breaks! Inheritance breaks!
  3. Regulated break-up! Division of your stuff by someone else so all you need to do is fight about it!
  4. Nationalities and visas!
  5. Specifically for those of us who have to fight for it - respect, recognition. (Which is why we're only sullenly accepting "civil unions" as a sort of "marriage" for the purposes of this post.) This means the government doesn't say, Ew, icky, and put us in jail, or separate us against our will.
  6. Comment at will, I am out of ideas.
I am going to beat the dead donkey now: 2, 3 and indirectly, 4, are about property. 1 and 4 are about acceptance, and permission, and mobility. 5 is acceptance, recognition, permission. As a practical woman, I get that these are very good reasons to have your government accept that you are married, and recognise, permit you that right, with the obligations involved.

I just... really do not see how it is the government's business. I find it incredibly creepy that people submit something so important to a only hopefully benevolent, definitely, actually impersonal authority. This is not a "someone" who loves you. Or has a plan for you and humanity as a whole. This is... THE MAN. Shouldn't this be private - or at lest just between you and your god/s?

We grant our governments too much responsibility.

Gurl in the World has already blogged this, but this is a reminder: sign here, if you're from the States. Help a family get back together.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

sign, blog, repost, tweet.....pass the word on

Please sign this. I'll ask someone more eloquent than me to blog on the reasons why and say only that.....

If they were your daughters, you'd do anything to get them back and those who helped you would secure your most loyal devotion.

They are MY daughters.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

WHaQ! meeting, May 8th 2011

I got there early, and opened the garage door all by myself while wearing a sari - look, I keep saying it, and it i still true: I deserve COOKIES. People trickled in on time, starting with N., who is new and came by on the off-chance that we would have a meeting today. Nice timing, us! We also had a few old familiars, people who've been missing, away, busy for a while, and it was nice to finally put a face to the often-dropped names.

  1. I had just come from a wedding, so marriage was on my mind.
  • Brazil recently granted same-sex unions the same broad rights as non-same-sex marriages, the ruling was passed on the 5th of May, in Rio Grande do Sul. Brazil has recognised same-sex unions for a while now, and is largely, at least on paper, an LGBT-friendly nation. (Brazil also has a very high count of violence against LGBT people, so take this how you will.)
  • Minnesota, somewhere in the U.S. of A., is currently debating same-sex marriage laws, yay or nay, and I link you to this. It is awesome and speaks for itself. AWESOME. This is for those of us who are fighting against religious prohibitions (encoded in nominally secular law, which sucks big time) against our collective right to be married and recognised as married and granted the same privileges the state grants same-sex unions.
  1. MOVIES. Our Beloved Leader has loads of lezzie movies, and we are agreed that we should watch 'em. (She is also going to share a few with Vinay, who runs movies every Saturday at Swabhava at 6 p.m., because he mostly has and shows BOY movies, not that there is anything wrong with BOY movies, only sometimes I want a woman or two in there. Just for variety.) So we're having a showing this Sunday, 15th of May, at the Swabhava office. 4 p.m.
  2. Books. OBL has books, which we shall maneuverer, hopefully, into the Swabhava office. OBL and Vinay must do the negotiating for this, so it is really out of our hands.
  3. Sunday was Mother's Day. HUGS to all the Mothers out there.
  4. There was some discussion about South Korea (we had a visitor from South Korea who knew her stuff) - the scene (underground but existent), the bars, the culture. The Bangalore scene was judged slightly more open, while the Delhi scene was active but invisible, since Delhi is a horribly unsafe place for women to anything at al, much be less openly queer.
  5. OBL leads us to this article in DNA: "My favourite part of being lesbian is the exhilerating sex". No need to explain this one, right?
  6. The Chennai Pride march is going to happen sometime in June, most likely in the last weekend (the 26th). Maybe we WHaQ! members could go? As a group? It will be fun, even though it is Chennai. (Sorry, Chennai-ites.) More discussion on going later, possibly on the group mail.
  7. Chitra (who gave me permission to name her on the blog, thanks, Chitra! :) ) is a bike racer with several wins under her belt (quotable quote: "Dude, I kicked your ass!"). She drove from Chennai to Bangalore - no, seriously. Dykes on Bikes chic. She intends to attempt the world record for travel within 24 hours on a bike - from Chennai to Tiruvanthapuram and back. That's over 1,700 km. Sometime by the end of this month. Good luck! :D
This didn't happen at the meeting, but I am including it in here:

Uganda is passing a ban on homosexuality - The "Kill the Gays" bill. It will make killing LGBT in Uganda a crime punishable by death. I'm not sure how helpful petitions are, but have a look at the All Out petition and sign it. Uganda is a pretty horrible place as it is to be LGBT as it is; no one needs this kind of shit.

And since this post was ultra delayed, as well as the posts I've promised you already, here is the Sorry Puppy again. I'm trying, and I'm sorry, it's just that my life and my health have been evil and down the last few weeks. I'm sort of back. More to come soon. :D

Friday, May 6, 2011

:( I've been a bad blogger.

Life has been whirling me around a bit.

BUT! I do have posts in mind. The long-promised BQFF blog, should anyone still want to read about that, will be up on Monday, while tomorrow I have semi-rational musings on matrimony for your perusal.

Don't be mad: look at the puppy! How can you be mad when he looks so sad! etc.