An online space for queer, questioning, lesbian, bi, trans and everything else in between women at Yale

Monday, March 28, 2011

Want to be thoroughly entertained and support the Rape Crisis Center of Milford at the same time?! Then this is for you...

This weekend Sappho is organizing a trip to see The Vagina Monologues together on Saturday at 6, and having a discussion after the show! 

A benefit production of
Eve Ensler's
The Vagina Monologues

Friday April 1 @ 7 PM
Saturday April 2 @ 6 & 8 PM
Sunday April 3 @ 2 PM
Crescent Underground Theater, Morse College Basement

Directed by Lindsay Davis.

Starring Carolyn Farnham, Naima Sakande, Becky Aston, Hilary O'Connell, Martine Powers, Shelby Davis-Cooper, Alexis Cruzzavala, Hayden Mulligan, Katie Aragon, Dilan Gomih, and Carmen Chambers.

Produced by Kendra Dawsey.

Sponsored by the LGBT Coop.

Email: VMticketing@gmail.com to reserve tickets

Students $5
Adults $10
to be paid at the door
100% of ticket proceeds benefit the Rape Crisis Center of Milford

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Defining Virginity

First things first: I am a virgin. Depending on your personal views and experiences, this may be shocking to some people, but there you have it. I am not, nor have I ever been, ashamed of my virginity, but upon entering college, there certainly were added pressures and influences. Nevertheless, my doctrine remains no love, no sex, and I'm planning on sticking with that.

I have reached a point in my life, however, at which my v-card is in a confusing state. As a bisexual, I can easily imagine myself with a woman or a man, but I never know how to define "sex." With a man, it's easy: sex is simply sex, and if I have sex, I am no longer a virgin. Simple, clear cut, to the point. With a woman, it's more complicated; I've talked to experienced lesbian and bisexual women, and their answers differ. Some have told me fingering can be considered sex, others say oral, and some said that a sex toy needs to be used. I guess my confusion comes from the fact that I can (and at some point probably will) sleep with a person of each gender, but if I sleep with a woman first, how will I know when my virginity is nulled? I highly doubt there is going to be some lightening bolt of knowledge or some cosmic vision or something, and I find the hymen argument silly (I mean, come on, it can break riding a horse. Does that mean Stanley the Stud has taken my virginity?). And if oral or fingering is sex with a woman, do those actions carry over to being sex with a man if one is bisexual?

For me, at this moment, I define sex as the most intimate moment you can share with another person. I don't know what that necessarily is, but I'm willing to bet it's going to be an interesting journey finding out.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

"Lesbian" Movies

Being a Film Studies major, I can't help but look for queer or queer related films. If you're in the mood for some lovin' but don't have any of your own, some of the films mentioned below might help fill the void (unless you're going straight to the hardcore stuff). Otherwise, if you're interested in lesbian depictions on screen, I'd recommend taking a look at some of these (when you're not saving the world, securing an internship, helping endangered gorillas, or whatever it is you incredible, superwomen are doing out there).

Some of my favorite "Lesbian" films (in no particular order):

High Art (1998) Dir. Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids are Alright)

Synopsis: A young female intern at a small magazine company becomes involved with a drug-addicted lesbian photographer, both of whom seek to exploit each other for their respective careers, while slowly falling in love with each other.

It's dark and sometimes unsettling, but the chemistry between Ally Sheedy and Radha Mitchell is palpable and raw. Very raw.

Water Lilies (2007) Dir: Celine Sciamma

Summer in a new suburb outside Paris. Nothing to do but look at the ceiling. Marie, Anne and Floriane are 15. Their pa
ths cross in the corridors at the local swimming pool, where love and desire make a sudden, dramatic appearance.

An intimate portrayal of what it means to come of age as a woman. It is in the subtle tensions and visual juxtapositions that the film makes its greatest impact.

Saving Face (2004) Dir: Alice Wu (Holler!)

Synopsis: A Chinese-American lesbian and her traditionalist mother are reluctant to go public with secret loves that clash against cultural expectations.

Hilarious and awkward and real. Explores the process of coming out within professional, personal, and cultural circumstances.

My Summer of Love (2004) Dir. Pawel Pawlikowski

Synopsis: In the Yorkshire countryside, working-class tomboy Mona (Press) meets the exotic, pampered Tasmin (Blunt). Over the summer season, the two young women discover they have much to teach one another, and much to explore together.

The cinematography and soundtrack alone are reasons to see this film, but the performa
nces are equally compelling. Blunt is especially seductive, and the screen loves her. One of my favorite scenes is after the girls take mushrooms and crash some type of geriatric ball, and they start dancing together. It's eerie and a little psychedelic, but also intense and intimate. The story is not about being gay as much as it is about love and the self-serving function it can have. It's a bit melancholy so I'd suggest saving it for the upcoming rainy spring days/nights.

The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love (1995) Dir. Maria Maggenti

Synopsis: An adventurous love story between two young women of different social and economic backgrounds who find themselves going through all the typical struggles of a new romance.

So, were you a fan of Tina on 'The L Word'? Been trying to find anything and everything that features Laurel Holloman? Well, this movie is for you. In one of her debut features, Laurel plays a shy, butch, and guitar-playing lesbian, who falls for a relatively conservative, well-educated, and ostensibly straight classmate. There's some Riot grrrl happening in the background and some terribly awkward but beautifully authentic scenes between the two. It's not a groundbreaking film by any means, but one that captures the self-consciousness and uncertainty that comes with any first real love.

But I'm a Cheerleader (1999) Dir. Jamie Babbit

Synopsis: A naive teenager is sent to rehab camp when her straitlaced parents and friends suspect her of being a lesbian.

It's definitely campy and loses some laughs along the way, but overall, it has plenty of momentum and comedic gems to keep you interested. It's also one of the only films to deal with rehabilitation centers for gays, despite it's satiric approach.

Kissing Jessica Stein (2001) Dir. Charles Herman-Wurmfeld

Synopsis: Jessica Stein is a hard-to-please journalist/artist who is constantly plagued by people trying to find the right "one" for her. When her ex-fiancée tells her she's too picky, she answers Helen Cooper's personal ad looking to make a friend, but gets more than she expects. Jessica doesn't think there's just one person out there for everyone, because plenty of people are kissing Jessica Stein

This is more of a traditional Rom-com, but one that's full of witty dialogue and a brilliant neuroticism. Jennifer Westfeldt, who plays Jessica, is adorably self-critical and anxious, but tender and sexy at the same time. Watching her relationship unravel with the other woman is everything you want it to be: suspenseful, intelligent, and unpredictable. You'll leave this one smiling.

That's all for now... I'll post more at a later date, if more is wanted :)


- A

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Post-Queer Relationship

Everyone spends their Spring Break in different ways. Some people go abroad, exploring the world and learning about new cultures. Others stay at home, watching TV, sleeping, and catching up with old friends. While I certainly did plenty of the latter, I also did something both more stressful and more rewarding than watching bad movies on TV: worked things out with my ex.

I’m not here to share the nitty-gritty details (disappointing, I know…) but I do want to talk about something that some of you might or might not relate to, because I’m struggling with it right now. My ex is a wonderful person—funny, sweet, talented, caring, good taste in women (…), and—dare I say it—very sexy. The other thing is that my ex is a guy, and we dated in high school, when I was still in that proverbial closet.

Strangely enough, I’m having trouble reconciling my queerness with our newly re-ignited relationship. This isn’t because he’s a man and I feel like I can’t be with guys, because as I may have mentioned in a previous post, I’m definitely bi. It’s more because he doesn’t know me as a queer woman—he knows me as his (formerly straight) ex-girlfriend.

Don’t get me wrong—he’s very accepting of my bisexuality. He’s not uncomfortable with it, nor is he creepily excited because he thinks girls who are bi are slutty or always open to a third party in the bedroom. I came out to him in November, two months after I was out at Yale and a month and a half after I broke up with him. He was understandably surprised, primarily because he thought it would’ve come up in conversation before. It was difficult for me to explain to him that the reason I never came out to him wasn't that I thought he would judge or attack me. He couldn't understand why I never felt like I could tell him! The simple answer, of course, is that I had barely admitted it to myself.

We’ve talked about it since then, multiple times. We’ve talked about what my queerness means to me, what it means for us, and even covered simple questions. “When did you know?” “Who was the first person you told?” And so on. But I'm still struggling.

I just don’t know how to be a queer woman in a relationship whose foundations are pretty damn hetero. How can I reconcile who I am today with who I was when we first got together? If you have any advice, please hit me up. I could definitely use some words of wisdom.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I Hate to Support the Ex-Gay Movement on Anything...

But I can't in good conscience support the petition demanding that Apple remove an app by Exodus International for its anti-gay content.

Exodus is one of the leading ex-gay Christian organizations in the country, and, as you might expect, their propaganda, on their website and on their app, is profoundly misleading and hateful.  But it's not any worse than what you're likely to find on the Exodus website, which is accessible through the Safari browser on your iPhone.  Why is it unacceptable for them to promote the same hurtful message through an app, if it's perfectly all right for them run a similar website.

I suspect many of the signatories to the petition don't see a qualitative difference between app content and web content. The only real distinction is that, here, there's a censor to appeal to.  Apple wants to act as a gatekeeper for content and is committed to removing apps which are "offensive to large groups of people."  That's not an approach I want to endorse.

People with smartphones paid for memory storage.  They should be able to keep any kind of content saved to their device, whether or not I find it offensive.  Apple has a history of infantilizing and abusing its app store customers by withdrawing any app that musters a vocal opposition.   Among the deleted: an app criticizing Mohammed and the Koran, a saucy satirist, and anything that might boost Apple's rivals.  Apple's power to censor needs to be curbed, not expanded.

If you want to attack the app, feel free to leave a negative reviews, as many already have.  The app evaluation system means you've got a much better chance to present your argument to people who may be wavering; after all, most websites don't let you critique their content on their homepage.  This is the appropriate response to the Exodus app and all other offensive apps.  The gay rights movement can't let our legitimate outrage with Exodus be used to help Apple legitimize its terrible approach to content and the rights of the tech user.

UPDATE: Apple pulled the app.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Traveling Women

So...I'm guessing since we're all on break, digging holes in Peru or becoming reacquainted with sleep, not too many of you are going to be reading this. But what the hell. It'll be a treat after that blistering sunburn and aching back, or muscle atrophy brought on by not leaving bed for two weeks.

After falling asleep after my last midterm, scrambling to force more shit in my overflowing duffle bag (I like to travel light), and having the CT Limo driver yell at me for arriving late/forgetting my reservation number, I was officially en route to JFK. Hello Spring Break! I rolled up around 4:30 AM, and despite having to wait 3 hours for my flight to San Fran, I was on Spring Break and brimming with excitement. When I finally reached the gate, I think part of me was expecting the lights to go down, music to start up, and women to come flooding out in ripped shorts and tank tops. So when I settled in to a mostly empty waiting area (my only companions being a sleeping elderly man and an arguing Indian family), you can imagine my disappointment. Where were all the debauchery seeking college students, or more importantly, gay women? Definitely not there. My fantasy started to fizzle and I ended up joining the snoozing grandpa in a little zzzs. Fast forward to boarding time. I awake to a crowded and active gate. The eldery man is awake as well, now munching on a delicious looking egg sandwich (mmm), and the Indian family has relocated to the counter and seems to now be arguing with the attendant. Hmm...I take in the rest of the crowd. Although I figure I look a bit disheveled and could have recently been drooling/snoring, I'm still looking for prospects. To the left, some guy ogling a woman bending over in line, and to the right, just what I was looking for: a group of girls in torn jeans, flannels, and combat boots (AND carrying guitars. Score!) Sorry but girls playing guitars (hopefully well) = hot. While I might sound incredibly shallow in this entry, I think most can admit to appreciating women on looks alone. The great thing about spotting hot girls while traveling is that even if you don't actually have the pleasure of meeting them, you still can admire.

On this particular day, I have to say I did a whole lot of looking with only some mild flirting, and no real action. While usually I'd have to worry about determining the object of my desire's orientation, transient attractions don't need any real clarification. Whatever her preference, I can look with no concern of future interactions, misunderstandings, etc. If I do end up talking and flirting with a girl, there's usually little chance of it going anywhere, but it does offer a great source of fun while it lasts. For me, being a fantasist (artistically speaking of course), traveling women provide great material. Unlike women you only pass for a moment on the street, those at the airport at your gate and on your flight stay in your midst for a longer, albeit limited, amount of time. You can choose the fantasy or interactive route, or perhaps a combination of the two. If one were to choose the latter route, it's still in a safe and buffered atmosphere for those trying to test out their flirting/gaydar skills. If it takes, you have a good 4 or 5 hours to play, and if it doesn't, it's still only 4 or 5 hours until you never see one another again. Either way, it's a win.

On my trip, I didn't have the pleasure of doing much interaction, mainly because I was still slightly disoriented/sleep deprived, but having even the hope of interaction made up for all the other hassles of traveling. I did have one great moment while waiting at the curb outside arrivals. Just seconds before my mom came to pick me up, I turned to my right and noticed a girl loading her suitcase in the back of a truck. As she closed the tailgate and made her way to the passenger's door, she turned just slightly and we made brief eye contact. She paused before getting in and grinned at me. Then, as soon as it had started, she was gone. Nonetheless, those moments can't help but keep me smiling. It reminds me that even though at Yale and throughout most of the country, we (being gay/bi/curious women) seem to be non-existent or extremely well hidden, every so often a little event takes place that reminds me we are alive and well.

Wishing you all safe and flirtation filled travels :D


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Defending Gays from Marriage?

Barack Obama's decision not to defend DOMA is a big step forward for proponents of gay marriage, but not all queer people are that invested in the outcome.  Some gay activists support equality generally but think that marriage is an intrinsically heterosexist or destructive institution and don't want queers to buy into it.

If you're interested in thinking and talking about this issue, you should come by the YPU debate "R: Abolish No Fault Divorce" tonight.  Don't be put off by the topic or by the fact that the guest is from *shudder* Focus on the Family; the YPU picked this topic to have a debate about the goals of the institution of marriage and whether it's desireable for everyone.  I know that Marian, one of the people scheduled to speak, is giving a very liberal, anti-marriage speech.  She's excellent and sure to be thought-provoking, so it will be worth waiting through the (probably offensive) remarks of the guest to hear her.

The debate starts at 7:30 in WLH 119.  If you have any questions about format or asking questions, post here or grab me at the debate (I'm the one with very curly brown hair).