eumelia: (queer rage)
I wrote a post yesterday just before I headed out to the parade, but Officer Kalakaua ate it alas. I'm still getting used to this whole typing with my thumbs and not touching things by accident.

I also switched on the spell check, which happens to be the autocorrect, so my initial attempts at swearing were a bust. Truly, Officer, I really did mean to say "fuck" and not "fork".

Funny stuff. I may install a chat app just so Imcan screengrab things and send them to Damn You Autocorrect!

Any way, it was a successful march. I'd never taken any formal part in Pride, but the march in Jerusalem is of way more significance due to it's nature as a human rights march, as opposed to the pandering street party that the one in Tel-Aviv is. It's also far more significant due to it being a memorial of the shooting of the gay youth club three years ago, so you know, it's important.

I was very concerned about the police and the border patrol (the border police has more presence in spaces like these as opposed to the actual border), but my own paranoia was just that.

I stood with the security at the entrance to the assembly area and put bracelets on people to prove that they had been checked out by security, so that was annoying - also, the amount of Holocaust jokes were abound.

After standing around for two hours, I and the rest the ushers became the headers, basically making sure there were no people behind us except the police.

I forewent the post-march concerts and speeches, and along with a few other people went to celebrate [sexy!roommate]'s birthday on the grass a bit away from the the assembly.

Long, but rather good day, all in all.

I now have a t-shirt I can't wear ever again, due to it being an usher shirt, not because it was ruined. I also got burnt on the back of my neck.

Just call me Red Neck Mel.
eumelia: (get a job)
For fuck's sake.

I really, really wanted to post another "Meta on Commute" tonight.

But I'm not going to.

I arrived home from work at ten. I arrived at work this morning at half past nine.

I can barely see the screen in front of me. I am at that point where I can only make vague hand gestures and flop tiredly on flat (yet soft) surfaces.

The worst thing is that I will be working these hours tomorrow as well, because I'm taking a day off on Thursday. Christ, no one told me it was such hard work to have a holiday.

And it's not like I'm even taking a day off because I feel like having a long weekend. If only! I'd get a chance to write, something I'll have to sequester myself into my room on Friday and Saturday. Damn in, I need to get this story done, it is meant to be a gift!

Yeah, so my day off is going to be a nightmare one way or another. You see, I've decided to schlep my ass to Jerusalem (a city towards which my feelings are not wholly positive) in order to participate in the annual Pride/Memorial march. Not only am I participating, I'm going to be an usher there. I've never been an usher at any kind of political event in my life. Well, apparently this includes interacting with the police (a segment of the population that has never made me feel particularly safe, not as a woman and certainly not as a gay woman with political opinions that are considered wrong by many and dissident by others).

So yeah. Fun times.

At least I'll see friends, allies and have a place to crash, considering my sister and her family make their home in that city.
eumelia: (bullshit)
When I was in high school I was slut shamed. A lot.

Whether I was sexually active or not is beside the point, because the boys and girls who bullied me, they weren't the ones who knew my business. I was called "bitch", I was called "whore", I was called "dyke".

I was also called "slut", but that has a different context.

When I was in high school I used to go to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. A lot.

The word "slut" was bandied around in a positive way, no one was saying it to offend or to shame. No one was saying it in order to see me blush and avert my eyes, just so they would leave me alone.

I remember once I screamed in the middle of the hall way, a loud drawn out scream. I don't remember why I did it, I must have looked insane. People parted around my like the Red sea and I was Moses.

Our most powerful weapon is our voice - Ursula (of The Little Mermaid infamy) obviously taught me well.

I didn't mine being called a slut when I was with my fellow Rocky peeps. Just like I don't mind being called a dyke or queer when I'm with fellow LGBT's.

Context is everything. No word can be reclaimed in full. I can the biggest bitch there ever was, but you don't get to call me one just because you don't like me. Yes, I am bisexual and lesbian, only I get to call myself queer. My sex life in my own and the people I actually have sex with and has no bearing on my morality and character - as such, slut is a word that I get to chose who says it and when and I decide whether I use it or not.

SLUTwalk has come to Israel and I will march.

Some people disagree with the politics of SLUTwalk, because the word is not reclaimable and the overt sexualisation of some of the marchers is counter productive.

I can't help but think back to what people say about the various Pride marches in my locale and all over the world. With regards to how provocative it is.

To that I can only say, Pride marches are necessary because of that sentiment my dear detractors.

And so long as sex and the having of it with whomever we chose is considered "provocative" and "slutty", and rape continues to be tied to the sex lives of the survivors and victims rather than to the actions of the rapist, these actions are necessary.

Because it doesn't matter what we wear, it doesn't matter what we don't wear. We could walk naked in the street with a neon sign flashing "Willing to Fuck Anyone!" in hot pink and that is still not "asking for it".

It happens to be International Woman's Day.

A friend said she considers this a day of mourning for the feminist struggle and I can't help but agree. IWD is a day in which we go "Yay Women!" and that's important, empowerment is not to underestimated, but who is empowered? And what are we empowering ourselves to be?

Feminism is not just about women, it is about the opening of minds and it is about resistance. Resistance of patriarchy, racism, homophobia, misogyny, modern-colonialism, war and economic terrorism, because they harm the majority of people on the planet.

SLUTwalk may be small potatoes in the grand scheme of things, but rape is an instrument of war, it is an instrument of terror and so long as it is considered just something else we need to "deal with", resistance to the double standard of gender paradigms is paramount.

Make some noise.

eumelia: (tosh is love)
I'm back from the training seminar.

To say that it was interesting would be the biggest understatement of the 19th, 20th and what has been the 21st century.

To say that it was empowering would be too simple, because there were times where I felt utterly crushed and torn to pieces.

I'm still not sure what to say about it. I don't think I should. The intimacy of the group and the dynamic was... I'm literally speechless... I'm amazed as to what I learned about myself and other people.

I will say this and I said this during one of the feedbacks for the activities - it was one of the few times in my life that while mingling and getting to know people, I didn't have to guess, hint or assume who was gay, lesbian, bisexual or queer - we just were, all of us, and despite all of our stories being different - that golden thread of sexuality and the fact that we are all queer in different ways - the sense of solidarity that I felt with the other participants, our guides, the activity and work shop guides - we didn't have to come out, except to clarify what type of queer we all were and to have a place to speak the complexity of being a lesbian identified bisexual queer was probably one of the most liberating experiences of my life.

I feel very changed, I don't know how yet, because things need to sink in and I'm not sure how processing the past two and a half days will feel or what will happen now. Everything feels new and unsure and I'm very content with that feeling, whereas once I think it would have scared me.

It was fucking cold and it rained endlessly. We were very isolated and the safe space of an LGBT focused workshop was beyond all my expectations.

I can't believe I actually had the guts to do something like this.

Retreat

Jan. 12th, 2012 02:08 pm
eumelia: (omg lesbians!)
I'm about to head out to an out of the way Kibbutz for a weekend retreat.

It's a weekend long (and full according to the itinerary) workshop, which should train me and the other attendees for Hoshen:

Over 200 volunteers work daily to achieve this goal via a wide array of educational activities: personal meetings, academic lectures, workshops, and seminars. Those are aimed at many different target audiences: high school students and teachers, university students and faculty members, police and border guard corps officers, soldiers, army cadets and officers, medical staff, social workers, and guidance counselors.

Hoshen is officially recognized by the Educational Psychological Autority (SHEFI) of the Israeli Ministry of Education.


I'm both excited and apprehensive, I don't know anyone beyond the few I met during the introductory evening last month.

Though I'm more paranoid about missing my ride! We're carpooling, but eep! What if they don't wait for me!

Better get going then, huh?

I'll be sure to tell you all about when I get back Saturday night!
eumelia: (vocation)
It's been... wow... two weeks.

This is also possibly the worst time to actually update because the majority of you, dear readers, are probably getting wasted on mulled wine and eggnog (I myself have been slowly stuffing myself with Sufganiot - that's doughnuts to you gentiles :P)

Much has happened since I wrote last and most of it is quite good, which, considering my last few posts is rather great and it's not so much that I've been AFK (even though that's also happened).

So, what has happened?

Well, uni is still boring and not really that enjoyable. I am loving this living with a roommate in my own apartment - even though my flat tries to periodically kill me with sparking electrical sockets, and flooding toilets and washing machines - but god, being accountable to no one nut myself and my ever decreasing bank account, is awesome.

Other great things is that being free of so called "adult supervision" is that I've been proactive about getting myself a network in my new city. So I've joined an academically inclined LGBT/Queer reading group with a focus on the theoretical prism of Homonationalism. Why yes, we are all Ivory Tower Leftist Gay Intellectuals - only we're poor, working outside of academia (we meet at the Feminist Community Centre "Isha L'Isha" which is Hebrew for "Woman to/for Woman") and are pretty pissed off about having "gay rights" used as a propaganda tool.

The coinor of the term "Homonationalism", Jasbir Puar is coming to Israel next month and yeah, I'm going to hear her speak. BDS is good for this shit, I tell you!

But the best thing about "Isha L'Isha" is that they have a library and archive for which they need a volunteer to catalogue and classify. Guess who's starting volunteering there next month?

Hells yes it's me!

In addition, I went to a volunteer recruitment meet for an organisation that sends LGBT people to schools, military bases, police stations etc. in an Education and Change capacity - where us LGBT's tell our "life stories" and then have a Q&A in order to broaden people's horizons and hopefully have younger or closeted LGBT and queer listeners know that we are out there and in the classroom.

I am slightly cynical, as is possibly evident, by the actual capacity for difference any of this makes, but hey, I'm an also an idealist in the worst possible way and I believe in exposure, truth and education.

I was contacted by the recruitment coordinator and they likes what I had to say at the meet (they're also desperate for volunteers) and would like me to continue on the path to building a "personal story" and volunteer once a month.

I'll let you all know what happens.

And those have been the past two weeks, along with gorging myself on oily foods and cake due to holidays and Nieces birthday parties.
eumelia: (mystique)
My whole life it's been thrown in my face.

As an accusation, more than anything. As a way to deflate my arguments, my words and my own feelings.

I'm over sensitive, so I'm looking to be offended.

I'm over sensitive, so I imagined the teasing, it was meant as a compliment.

I'm over sensitive, so the disparaging looks and gazes hurled at me were imagined, in my head, actually want it to happen just so I have something to complain about.

What does it actually mean, to be called out as "over sensitive"?

It has always, always been used as a way to silence me. It has always been a weapon to cut me at the knees and make sure I know my place - silent and weeping in the corner.

And it's not even being aware that the world is shit and that bad things happen due to disparity in power dynamics and gross social injustices.

This has been my life since I was a child.

And now, as an adult, and I swallow the lump in my throat because everything I say is coloured by this prism of sensitivity.

It is flung in my face too often and getting tips by those who silence me how to deal with the silencing is a small comfort - especially when I'm told they feel sorry that I take things so personally.

My over "sensitivity" fuelled rage wants to take a chair and throw it over someone's head, but social programming prevents me from going feral in a house of residence, or, you know at all.

It's just, you know, this week has had a few wins against the patriarchy, what with Israel's rapist (ex-)president going away for seven years and participating in an event protesting the marginalisation of women in Israel due to growing religious extremism, but reading about the news about Penn State in the United States and that getting into an argument about the position of women in public and the symptom of street harassment and how people do not get that this is all connected, it makes me bury my face in my hands and wail inside my head.

Yeah, if I'm sensitive, I fear how numb so many other people in my life are.

Being called over sensitive is equivalent to being called irrelevant. I am too sensitive to judge anything fairly or have an informed opinion about anything because it the speech of an hysterical woman.

I regret to say I left the conversation. I often do. It is difficult for me to handle the assault over my emotions and my perceptions, because when I fight back I will raise my voice and my abrasiveness will overtake and being of small statue and round face, I do not look like an informed and factual feminist woman, but more like an angry teenage girl with a grudge against the world.

My body dictates the perception.

This is how it has always been.

I'll just sit here and swallow the tears that make my eyes shine and my voice catch, because obviously, it is useless to speak for too long about that which has forced me to grow a skin that feels foreign to me.
eumelia: (verbiage)
That's the hope at the very least.

That's the potential of Mubarak being ousted, sure he said he wasn't going to "run" for office again, but that's such a disingenuous claim and one meant to curb the momentum of the movement and action happening in Egypt at the moment, that I feel only Western nations and persons of, shall we say, interest are willing to play that game.

At least, I hope.

Per usual, and I know it's not the most okay thing when commentating about a different country, but meh, I'm as parochial as the next gal, so yeah I am thinking about how Egypt changing is going to affect Israel.

Mainly, I'm hoping the change kicks our collective ass into gear.

One of the biggest concerns, so much so that it borders on paranoia, is what the next government in Egypt will do about the peace agreement and to a lesser extent, the peace process.

Well, I'm not political expert, I just live here, but here's what I think will happen:

Not much.

For one thing. Egypt will hopefully be busy rebuilding itself in an image that suits its 80 million people and won't be too concerned at this time with Israel, unless Israel decides to invade Sinai - in which case all bets are off, but that's another matter entirely.

You see, in a lovely blog post titled A Guide: How not to say stupid stuff about Egypt one of the sections writes:
“Mubarak kept the peace treaty”:

That's one of the stupid things people have said, yes really. And the retaliation is that:
So, what do you think, if the Egyptian people choose another government, they will go to war with Israel? Maybe they will demand a few more things from Israel in how they negotiate with the Palestinians. Maybe Gazans will get better treatment? Maybe the balance of power will not be tipped over to Israel? Egypt protests: Israel fears unrest may threaten peace treaty. Hmm, so we should support the oppression of 80 million Egyptians for a false stabilization?
Emphasis mine.
972 Magazine is a wonderful example of English language independent leftist journalism in Israel, if you want a different perspective on the goings on in Israel and Palestine from the Israeli-Jewish pov you should check it out.
Yesterday a very savvy article was posted regarding this whole instability thing and how bad it is for peace:
No, Egyptian uprising won’t hurt the peace process
(Simply because there is no such thing)
[...]
The truth is there is no peace process, and it’s not because of the Palestinians, the Syrians, the Iranians, the reform movement or the coaching staff of the Minnesota Vikings. There is simply no point in talks with Israel right now. The Israeli government refuses to commit to evacuating settlements, refuses to discuss borders or even open maps and refuses to talk to Syria.
[...]

Honestly, this whole "stability" thing isn't working very well - especially because it requires the subjugation of a hell of a lot of people.

And there is no telling or way to predict what can happen when liberty is actually an option - because if there's one thing the average Israeli doesn't understand, in my experience, is that liberty and freedom also means compromise and letting go of privilege.

What does all this have to do with Egypt? Well, you see, Both Israel the Palestinian Authority, Israel's great ally in keeping the West Bank under control is worried that all these shenanigans will enable an actual uprising from the Palestinian people, because ever since the Palestine Papers, Israel and the PA are claiming Al-Jazeerah is out to get them, despite being lauded then for brave journalism, not the Qatari network is just causing problems in the Middle East. They just couldn't have left well enough alone.
Or something.

When I read the article linked above and the News that Hamas curbed a solidarity demonstration in Gaza because they're were worried the uprising will spill into their little cocoon of terror, because the people of Gaza are sick and tired of Hamas and the Israeli blockade.

So, yeah, why shouldn't Egypt be a democracy? There's no reason it can't, there's nothing but our fear of change and the fear that if we think rather than obey, then we will be stranded in a sea on uncertainty.
However, when the choice is between tyranny and uncertainty, I know what I'd chose and that's what the people of Egypt are demanding.

Mubarak Dégage!

As I write this: And Holy Shit Yemen!!!

And while the Arab world decides it kind has an idea what this liberty thing means, Israeli tyranny continued to creep as The Knesset Commitee to investigate the funds of Left Winf NGO's is approved, let the witch hunt begin.
eumelia: (fight like a girrl)
As usual.

The myth of the subjugated Muslim/Arab woman is just that, a myth.

Egypt has a rich history of female liberation, this is just another example.



Viva Egypt!

ETA: Adding links of first person accounts by women who are writing as they demonstrate for a better Egypt.

"Tomorrow, to Tahrir again" by Yasmine El Rashidi.
eumelia: (media lies)
Despite the frivolous title, it is a deeply serious topic.

If you have any interest in the state of the Middle East and North Africa, you know this. Egypt has always been a pillar of leadership and culture in the region.

I'm not an expert, I just live here, but I know that it is now inevitable that an overhaul in the Egyptian government is going to happen and there is a lot of anxiety on the Israeli street (I really couldn't care less about the Israeli government) because Egypt and Jordan are basically our only allies in the region.

However, when it does come to the Israeli street and government the collective "we" would rather have a dictator in the name of "stability" than allow the actual people to express their grievances and criticise their government like us First Class citizens in Israel are allowed.

The main anxiety is whether the opposition to Mubarak who attain power are going to be the Muslim Brotherhood who are the parent movement of Hamas (which over the past months have been curbing the rocket attacks on the towns and kibbutzim surrounding Gaza - the rocket attacks are committed by Islamic Jihad, who are constantly being curbed by Hamas in turn) and considered a radical Islamic organisation.

A fallacy, but that's how they're viewed.

The main thought going through Israeli people's minds, I think, as it is going through mine, is whether the Peace agreement, which more and more feels like a tourist agreement along with non-aggression deals... though honestly what with the Army shooting at the Bedouin who live in Sinai, I'm not optimistic regarding that.

Mostly though, I am envious of the action and the taking of the streets.

When will we have our Friday of Rage? When the Palestine Papers came out, we should have flooded the streets in revolt and revulsion - lied to for over a decade regarding who is a Peace Partner and who isn't - a second Intifada that was used cynically by the Palestinian authority to control the population and to usurp more land for illegal settlements by Israel.

Despite the apathy, the spark is lit and all that remains to be seen is how long the fuse line is going to be.

In the mean time, when I'm not studying for my exams (ACK!) I'm staring at the awesomeness that are Sock Dreams. Seriously, it's worth moving to skirts and shorts full time just to wear these babies everyday!
eumelia: (resist!)
A change is coming.

I don't know what it will hold.

All I know is the Middle East and North Africa are ON FIRE! And it is a cleansing one, whatever it may bring.

Here is a personal anonymous account and what is going on in Egypt:
Personal Anonymous Account From Cairo.
[...]
Yesterday was a firm answer putting an end to all the allegations and brain washing that claimed that the current system is better than all other options in front of us, it was also a good revision to all that I have learned through my Political Science courses. And because I believe in what I’ve learned, I see a ray of light. If change doesn’t happen now, it’s coming none the less. We have changed, and we have proven that we want and deserve to change. And even though all political theories may fail to forecast what will happen, one theory stands true, God is Fair.
[...]


Read the whole thing.
eumelia: (get a job)
So yeah, I haven't been writing here that much for the past couple of weeks.

I've been doing a lot of escapism reading and a lot of activism reading, spreading information regarding the various anti-democratic laws that have passed the Knesset floor, the fact that Human Rights and Anti-Occupation groups are being investigated for absolutely no reason other than to de-legitimise them.

There's a big emergency march in Tel-Aviv today which I'll be attending.

I was also stressing over Uni, because there was some bureaucratic glitch I had no idea what to do about other than spam the head of my department with panicky emails of "Help!" to which she replied "Let it be" and passed my emails on to her dogsbody.

I'm hoping that by the end of this semester (next week) I will be able to say with confidence that next semester is my last.

Once again I'm getting the urge to return to martial arts and now that I have a job that isn't pocket money I may find myself a dojo. I'm keen on Krav Maga because while I loved Kung Fu and it made me flexible (which I'm not any longer) I never felt as though I was able to walk around and properly defend myself.

There's an uprising in Tunisia and I have to say I'm excited about it! The Middle East is never boring and seeing something of this magnitude unfold and affect us all over is amazing.

Also, there's barely been any reporting of it here, only when Former President Ben-Ali fled the country did reports start happening in earnest in local media and no one is saying anything positive. The status quo is trembling.

Meanwhile in these parts democracy, as mentioned, is straining under the crawling weight of fascist legislation and persecution of the Left. I know I've been saying this for years, but dude, it is not on!

Israeli law professor Aeyal Gross traces the decline and strain.

In related News, when I read about Sarah Palin defending her speech-acts (because words affect and like our actions they are accountable) and callously using the phrase "Blood Libel", I couldn't help but wonder - would the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) do anything about it?
Oh, they made a statement, late in the game, in which they Abe Foxeman (chairman of the ADL) said: "we wish that Palin had not invoked the phrase "blood-libel" in reference to the actions of journalists and pundits in placing blame for the shooting in Tucson on others."

Golly.

The ADL isn't willing to toe the line when it comes to Republicans, huh? Can't say I'm shocked as the ADL has always kept sketchy bed-fellows, in the interest of political capital.

Speaking of political capital, the Rabbinical court continues to infringe on freedom of and from religion when it comes to marital and family law and encroaches on divorce in civil marriages which aren't civil unions, but rather marriages that are contracted outside of Israel. Currently, Israel doesn't have a civil court in which marriages can be conducted and no civil union that come in place of marriages - the best we have is common law marriage.

You guys have no idea how much I haven't linked here.

Good luck to you all Down Under and Power to you in Tunisia.

Times they are a changing. We have to make sure they change for the better.
eumelia: (ctrl+alt+delete)
The last time I was Bil'in was almost three years ago and amazingly, or not, nothing had really changed.

Three years ago, the IDF used rubber bullets and tear gas grenades. Now they still use tear gas (which made the membranes of my head burn and water - I actually had to spit onto the ground the taste in my mouth) and the new fangled tech known as the "Skunk" which is a high pressure hose - used to disperse demonstrations with water - only it literally smells like shit.

It is the worst smell I've ever smelt in my life and I've done garbage duty during my Army service.

I actually said: "At least there's tear gas to clear the sinuses", that's how horrible it was.

One of the things that shocked me the most, beyond the entire situation of being less than 200 metres from the fence and having terrified 18 year olds shoot in the direction I was standing, was seeing them fire a direct hit at a Red Crescent Ambulance.

It's batshit.

The whole day began with actually getting to the village. There was some suspicion that the IDF had set up a road block deeper in the West Bank to stop demonstrators from getting to Bil'in, so we all went on a 40 minute hike down the Wadi to be picked up by local transit - a private car, a truck with a wagon and a bus that looked like it had escaped from the 70's.

The stay was marred by the fact that a friend of my was groped by a local teenager - an intersection of all that is bad in this land.

The hike reminded me of a few things: #1 Always have a hat, #2 A back pack is better than a side purse and #3 always wear hiking boots.
At least I had #3 down pat.

I met a tonne of people I know online, which is always fun, made some new acquaintances and contemplated when I was going back. Because three years ago, I was so not prepared for what I was seeing. My privilege asserted itself and my fear took hold.

Now I'm far more concerned about what might happen to me as a dissident (which is what I'm fast becoming, even if not a significant one, as I'm pretty much a baby guppy when it comes to the body of water of activism) in Israel, than facing the very real and somewhat avoidable violence going on by the fence.

Right now, my legs are killing me and I got up far too early to be thinking clearly. I'm going to read fic and watch escapist television.

Stigmata

Dec. 9th, 2010 01:26 am
eumelia: (queer rage)
Plural. Stigma
1. a mark of disgrace or infamy; a stain or reproach, as on one's reputation.
[...]
6.
Archaic . a mark made by a branding iron on the skin of a criminal or slave.

One of the problems with discussing HIV/AIDS is that you always have to go to the history. The history of AIDS in the West is a pretty disgusting. The mistreatment of those infected with HIV in the United States and Great Britain is pretty well recorded - I personally like Simon Watney's book Imagine Hope: AIDS and Gay Identity as both a perspective and a critical reading of AIDS.
Because like it or not, HIV/AIDS has been a huge influence on queer culture, queer relationships and the way we conceptualise HIV/AIDS as a social phenomenon.

In my previous post I wrote about the frustration regarding the notion that those who are discriminated against bear the responsibility with regards to their "image", in other words, that gays (and lesbians and bisexuals and trans* people and queers in general) are partially themselves to blame when it comes to the stigma we are forced to live with.

My anger at that concept and the conceptualisation that we are deviant in essence because of our incompatibility with heteronormative gender-binary and male supremacist culture, has not waned - if anything, hearing the panel and discussion last night about the discriminatory paragraph that prevents gays and men who have/had sex with men (MSM) from donating blood, has strengthened my opinion regarding the wrongful notion of what HIV/AIDS means in the gay community in Israel.

Because you see, the QUILTBAG (let's be honest, the gay) Outreach Branch of the Israel AIDS Task Force (Hebrew) goes along with the letter coming out of the Ministry of Health and the Israeli Blood Bank guidelines (which go in accordance to the Red Cross, the FDA and the other US and Canadian blood donation organisations). The guidelines are Zero Tolerance to risk groups.

Now, I know, after 20 years and the migration of crisis (supposedly) Gays should not be regarded as a risk group - after all, HIV doesn't discriminate and statistics show that nearly half of HIV+ people are women.

I'd also add that in my locale - there is a sweeping ban (Zero Tolerance) with regards to people who have immigrated from Africa (meaning the major Ethiopian community living here can't donate blood) and drug users who use needle and snorting paraphernalia to consume the drugs.

The "dregs of society". Not much has changed in 20 years, right? The weakest and most disenfranchised members of society are also the most susceptible to disease and lack of treatment (not such a huge problem in Israel, as treatment for HIV is well funded due to our partial public health services).

However, HIV is a huge and growing problem within the Israeli gay (gay men and MSM) community. Whereas in the other groups that are prohibited from donating there is a stabilising trend (and even a reduction in infection), gays and MSM have risen steadily over the past eight years.

The disproportion between the percentage of HIV+ among gay men in accordance to their actual number in the general population is staggering.

In the last year, 140 new positives were identified through blood donations alone - all of them were from men who had had unsafe sex with other men.

in 2010, in a country with public health service, progressive legislation (via court precedences and not parliamentary bills, I have to say) regarding queer rights and banks on gay tourism, the statistics are truly horrific.
A 40% rise in less than ten years. Fucking hell.

The representative from the AIDS Task Force was adamant regarding the ban and acknowledged that while the language is discriminatory (there's no escaping that) gays and MSM in Israel create a higher risk of infection due to positive blood entering the blood bank - the HIV test in top of the market - reducing the detection window from three months to 11 days - still, he said, there are those who always want to skew the statistics and will come to donate 8 days after a careless encounter - the guy didn't show a whole lot of faith when it comes to humanity. I'm inclined to agree.

To me, the rise in positives in the gay community shows a failing in sex and health education and a lackadaisical attitude when it comes to practising safe sex - apparently there's also a syphilis epidemic rampaging through the Tel-Aviv gay community - oh, yeah, great sex tourist spot!

All of this. Everything. None of that has anything to do with the fact queers are maligned and discriminated against as a population within a hetronormative society.

The fact that HIV can be found in higher concentration among gays and MSM in Israel doesn't mean the discriminatory clause if legitimate - but opening up the form to interpretation as to what safe sex is (because let's face it, safe sec is not just putting on a rubber before tab a goes into slot b - reductive sex acts are reductive) is not something worth the public health risk.

Prior to last night I was sure that the clause also prevented gays and MSM from being insured by the blood bank should something happen and they would need a transfusion. You see in Israel - due to us being all social and shit - grant a year's worth of blood insurance with every donation (people who have donated 10 pints get life long insurance) - positive people can be insured, they can go and donate and mark the box that says "Not for Transfusion" and the blood is then either chucked or taken to be studied, but that person in insured.

This is something, I think, most people in Israel aren't aware of.

Now, what to do about the fact that in 2010 so HIV is back to being on a steep rise among gay men and MSM in Israel? Sex education has to be overhauled. Badly. This is not a gay issue, this is an overall social issue. But it is pertinent for gays and queers in general.
The definition of sex needs to be inclusive and not exclusive and needs to be spoken about in a candid way - sex is not a hunky dory activity, even if it is generally speaking fun - anyone can catch an STD. AIDS is stigmatised due to history, alas.

So, while my opinion regarding HIV/AIDS and the stigma attached to the disease due to homophobia has not changed, because Christ, how the fuck can one excuse homophobia in any way, shape and form. My opinion regarding the clause is that it's really the least of our problems. It is a minuscule issue when one looks at the statistics and you go "What the fuck?!".
The blood bank, rightfully, doesn't want to open itself up to risk.

The risk for a gay man to be infected is higher than a straight man or straight woman or a gay woman, simply because there are more gays and MSM who are positive - that's the issue. The blood donor clause is so far down on the list of concerns, I feel kind of silly that I've ever made a big deal out of it.
eumelia: (queer rage)
For the first time since Thursday I'm finally feeling normal. The 'rental units are still insisting I take some fever reducing meds, which yes, I know makes me sound 15 rather than 25, but you know what, they thought I was dying so I don't mind.

But yay! I'm finally compos mentis enough to write about things.

I was debating whether to write about the crap political situation. After all, what else is new?
So, sorry folks, for my opinion on the Piss Talks and what happened on the Jewish Flotilla... bad timing, will probably not happen. As well as an update on the alleged "rape by coercion" which is alleged, simply because apparently it was an actual rape of a previously victimised woman and what it says about the justice system, the media and the ability of victims to tell their story. I might update on that later on.

Speaking of victims.

I'm finding the sudden focus on queer teen suicide in the News to be odd and unsettling, beyond the teen suicide issue, which has always been unsettling, but the stark focus we're suddenly seeing coming out of the USA is particularly disturbing. What I'm trying to understand is, why? I mean, for those of us who look out for these stories, these incidences of bullying, cyber-bullying, violence and assault upon queer youth isn't rare... it's fucking ubiquities.
As someone else on my f-list mentioned, the media is framing this as another kind of "Shark Attack", that is, making the rare seem far more common than it actually is.

Teen suicide is ubiquitous. A higher than the over all median percentage of teen suicides can be found within the queer slice, the majority of them are boys (because boys have a better "success" rate than girls) and trans kids all over the spectrum.

Along with Dan Savage's (who I find personally unpalatable) It Gets Better project and the other campaigns popping up like We Got your Back (created because of Savage's, um, unpalatable history and character), older projects like The Trevor Project and locally speaking There is Some to Talk To (Hebrew page), which is a hot-line and not a suicide prevention project or even a general stay positive and alive project like the other ones are.

So yes, there are projects aimed at keeping queers alive.

Is this sudden interest by the US mainstream media into the tragic ends of gay kids a turn for the better, a reaction to the social changes that are being pushed by mainstream QUILTBAG activism - the fight for marriage and the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"?

Meh. I say.

As I said, the US mainstream media covering these suicides are treating this as though there is this sudden surge or epidemic in queer teen suicides. Well, it's lovely how the media constructs message and narrative, isn't it.

Firstly, from what I've read, there doesn't seem to be any specific blame placed upon the fact that society, as a whole, treats gay people as pariahs. Formal rights or not, the heterosexual default and social imperative reign supreme, if we're not actively discriminated against, we're tolerated as perverts who should be happy with what we've got.

Secondly, the surprise and shock that we're supposed to feel at this horrible turn of events. Queer rights have come a long way in the past twenty years. Of this there is no doubt. But seriously, seriously not enough and things are less than stellar, especially considering what I've mentioned in my "Firstly". So, dead queers. What else is new? Oh, it's children, teens, won't someone think of them and save them? Well, seeing as their (usually) heterosexual peers are the ones bullying them to death, due to the fact that they haven't grasped the notion of tolerance (acceptance? Pfft!) and that bullying does not happen in a vacuum. Even if the specific bullying is a one time occurrence, the underlying cause of targeting a specific person because they are queer is a continuous and often tautological problem: social norms mark queers as targets for abuse who are abused because of social norms.

As for these suicide prevention, positive thinking, personal stories in order to encourage solidarity, those are good and have their place and I have a real admiration to you who are pushing them - despite my aversion from things Dan Savage - there's one thing I'm not seeing on the same level.

Outrage. Anger. Being fucking Pissed Off.

Yes, gay youth suicide is much more abstract than DADT and Marriage and AIDS and actual discrimination under the law. And I'm not sure there can be this kind of front of solidarity in the face of suicide - much like other Radical Queer struggles which seek to upturn the intersected hierarchies of oppression; the gender binary, the privilege of the couple, the marginalisation of BDSM - these struggles somehow appear much more abstract, because they've not been taken in mainstream activism.

All queer people suffer under *phobia, one way or another, not everyone commits suicide... that doesn't mean, the pain is less sharp or demeaning.
eumelia: (bisexual fury)
I've been staring at this page forever, the cursor mocking me with my inability to write a recap of yesterday's events.

I suppose it was because the actual event was, thankfully uneventful.

There was one counter demo at the march itself, in which Itamar Ben-Gvir and Baruch Marzel, easily the most disgusting specimens of humanity Israeli society has to offer came with signs reading "Holyland not Homoland" as we marched by.
If you are interested, you can read some of their hate speech and incitement here.

But we were safe, because the police (despite some asshattery earlier this month regarding the route to the Knesset) are very serious about the security. Now, I trust the police about as far as I can throw them (meaning, I don't) and it's really due to the fact that the Pride March in Jerusalem gets more threats than any other political march in the city - my sister, who is a Jeruselamite (of many years) was surprised at the fact that there weren't people on the sidelines hurling insults or worse. I explained that ever since the stabbing in 2005, the security had been upped. Not to mention that Pride is not an explicitly Leftist event and doesn't invite that kind of political ire from its opposers.

I, per usual, marched with the Reds :) along with Yael, [personal profile] tamara_russo, my sister (who next year will be bringing her husband and kids) and I saw my friend S and it was awesome.

There were great speeches in the pre-march events, an open stage for anyone who had something say, so there were many talks from grassroots activists, the kink community, the bi/pan community, the anarchists, the communists, an anonymous letter from a religious gay man... it was very heart warming.

As I've previously mentioned, this is the first time we marched to the Knesset, and it felt profound and meaningful. Which is how I felt during the Radical march back in June in Tel-Aviv and didn't feel during the Municipal march in Tel-Aviv - that's a carnival and has lost the political power it once held. I don't know how I feel about marching in the Municipal Tel-Aviv march considering the fact that Tel-Aviv is constantly used to pinkwash Israeli society - while we're called filth and animals everywhere else.

This was doubly clear at the Memorial rally held after the march in the Knesset rose garden in honour of Nir Katz and Liz Trobishi (z"l) which the 1st of August marks the year anniversary of their murder. Nir Katz's mother, Ayala, became a pivotal figure in the community, becoming the chairwoman on Tehila (the Israeli version of Parents and Friends and of [QUILTBAG] people) and she gave a very moving speech.

We were told that the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was "supposed" to send a letter for the community, but didn't get a chance to sign it. Tsipi Livny delivered a letter, which I don't appreciate thanks, seeing as gays are seen as nothing more than fodder for tourists, at best.
Gay and out MK Nitzan Horowitz gave a very passionate (and loud) speech and stated pretty blatantly that the other members of Knesset sucked when it came to policy concerning queers.
So, yeah.

My sister and I left after his speech and missed the (so I've heard) surreal speech by former Speaker of the Knesset and author Avrum Burg, who is a religious man and upholds universal values of human and civil rights and spoke about reconciling those with religion.

I spoke to my sister about the Statement of Principles I mentioned yesterday (LJ/DW) which is obviously connected to the whole reconciling of religion and homosexuality. And she said it's better than sitting Shiva on the child and mentioned that at least like this they can still have a place.
"Men" I said, as the Statement is very much tilted towards the male experience, despite the fact that gay women are mentioned, it's clear that the only people "really" affected are men, because there is this disbelief surrounding female desire towards sex that doesn't involve a penis belonging to a man.
My sister said that possibly being an unmarried woman in traditional Orthodox society is the worst position, because there really is no place.

Call me crazy. But to me this means traditional Orthodox society is just not the place to be if you're gay. Also, traditional orthodox people need to stop being bigoted ass-holes.

Just sayin'.

Yes, it is better not to sit Shiva over your child, just like common-law marriage is better than having no partner rights whatsoever.

So, yeah.

Here are some pictures, all taken by [personal profile] tamara_russo. Thank you babe, for being there with me!
I'm cute )
eumelia: (flags)
Are you ready to read about some politics?

Are you ready to read about the fact that soon those who advocate (as in speak words) economic boycott against Israeli products will be criminalised?

Are you ready to read about the fact Israel believes that the Occupation is a public relations problem and not an actual human rights problem?

Are any of these things News to you?

They are not to me, but here's the gist. The Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement is gaining momentum. So much so, that politicians are running scared and have drafted a law (which has already passed a first reading - for a Bill to be passed it needs to pass three reads in the Knesset) in which supporting, advocating and participating in BDS activities will be criminalised: Seriously.
Of course, this all came about because the Palestinian Authority boycotted Israel first!

Wrong.
The most brutal, naked boycott is, of course, the siege on Gaza and the boycott of Hamas. At Israel's behest, nearly all Western countries signed onto the boycott with inexplicable alacrity. This is not just a siege that has left Gaza in a state of shortage for three years. Nor is it just a complete (and foolish ) boycott of Hamas, save for the discussions over abducted soldier Gilad Shalit. It's a series of cultural, academic, humanitarian and economic boycotts. Israel threatens nearly every diplomat who seeks to enter Gaza to see firsthand the unbearable sights.


The Israeli mind set, of which mine does not escape, views everything in terms of warfare, something that Dr. Dalit Baum articulated in the video embedded below. A boycott, by it's definition, is a pro-active non-violent form of protest by abstaining from economically participating and dealing with bodies, organisations and governments whose policies, for instance, you do not believe deserve to be supported.



But that, that's Antisemitism right there, not willing to wheel and deal with Israelis, well... that's you being a hateful bigot isn't it?

Never mind that an Arab man is currently in hospital for talking to a Jewish girl. But no, there's no racism.
None at all

It's all, one big PR problem. And you who are freakin' fantastic at PR?
Gays.
Yep, Liberals in Europe and the United States always approve of the Gays.
I mean, all Israel needs is a little re-branding.
Gays made the best logos.
Especially when they host great parties and have a fabulous night life.
C'mon over my brothers! Tel Aviv is just the City for you.

Don't mind that girl who was beaten to a bloody pulp by her brothers because she's trangender (the girl is constantly misgendered in the article).
Or the fact that it has been a whole entire fucking year since the murder at the Gay Youth club and the murderer is still at large.

But no, we queers have to be the pretty face Israel presents the world because while we continue to benefit for activist judges and some social progression, the IDF proclaims itself to be under no obligation to protect civilians. By the way, that white phosphorus Israel has been denying it used during the assault on Gaza? Well, now we're going to "reduce its use".
Brilliant hypocrisy.
Just fucking brilliant.

This is what Israeli democracy looks like - with Loyalty tests, religious persecution, racial inequality, human rights violations and hijacking the language of human rights in order to paint ourselves as better, more accepting, more tolerant and Normal.
eumelia: (infantile response)
Hells Yes, Argentina! You're better than the majority of the other Democracies out there today.

I find it very interesting that over the past few years (I think) many, if not most, of the countries pushing progressive legislation of this nature - Same Sex Marriage - is gaining momentum in Latin countries, which are also very Catholic.

I mean, earlier this year Portugal legalised same sex marriage, and a year or so ago Mexico City did so as well (with other states soon to follow from what I understand). Spain has had same sex marriage on the books since 2005.

What do you make of this?

Of course with Catholics come Priests, who are always with the times, don't you know?
Apparently, Argentina passing this bill is the work of the Devil.
Seriously?. Why do people believe this shit?

I'm glad that not all men of the cloth are like this, it is heartening to see. Though, honestly it is fucking obscene that by being a decent human being and saying that the official stance of the RCC is, you know, backwards, this priest may be separated from the institution he loves.

Good riddance, but that's me.

On a more personal note, I'm not generally speaking a supporter of marriage as an institution, I don't think the government should have any say about what people's relationship choices are - nor do I consider the extra rights and privileges that come with marriage to be beneficiary when many people would rather not be monogamous or, heaven forfend, single!
However, queers are a vulnerable population because we are denied various rights and privileges that are awarded automatically to straight people, so I think anything that levels the playing field is a good thing.
I will never get married, but I know many who would and denying that want and need would just be privileging relationships arbitrarily that in my opinion are "better" than marriage. To get to a point where all relationships are equal... we need to work towards that.

Speaking of! Remember how a couple of weeks ago I wrote how the Jerusalem Police were axing the Pride March Route to the Knesset(JL/DW)?
Well, they OK'd it in the end! We'll be marching out in the open in a central street to the place where the supposed democracy is kept.
Yeah.
I'm happy about that, I wasn't relishing the idea of going with a few other dozen people, disrupting traffic and being arrested.

My BFF is always telling me that zie isn't worried about me getting arrested, but is worried whether I'll get out of these things alive.

I've also been listening to Country music, which may have accounted for my melancholy state yesterday... or the other way around? Feh, I should just put on my Sarah McLachlan CD's. Or just listen to some more Dixie Chicks!
eumelia: (resist!)
This is my ANGRY FACE! It ain't no damn Poker Face!

The Jerusalem Police is banning the Pride March to the Knesset, our Parliament, and telling the organisers (J-Lem Open House) that the route, through side streets from one park to another, we marched on last year is the one they're approving.

The Open House is appealing, of course.

The reason? "Security".

The article, linked above, doesn't state any particular security reason, simply... security!

"Security" is like a worm in a computer, it can shut down any and all conversations regarding the needs and wants of anyone. If it's security, it trumps all. That's why there are stories journalists aren't allowed to write about.

Fuck this shit. I can grantee, if the police doesn't approve the March to the Knesset, there will be a sever case of civil disobedience from citizens who are fucking pissed off at having their rights trampled on!

Fucking pigs.

On better notes:
Queers Against Israeli Apartheid will march at Toronto Pride!, well done you guys!

And President Obama presents an initiative to gelp homeless queer youth, *thumbs up* Mister President. This would be a good time to remind you Yanks, that Obama has been none too shabby when it comes to QUILTBAG (Best Acronym Ever!) Rights in the U.S.A - I love lists of good things.

Pride 2010

Jun. 11th, 2010 10:36 pm
eumelia: (Default)
I was apprehensive, as you know, due to the fact that over the past week there had been a lot of incitement towards the Radical Queer part of the LGBTQ community.

It's really fucking insane that the head of the LGBT Centre in Tel-Aviv would say that we planned on coming with Turkish flags and call for the destruction of the State.

Anyway, backing up.

I first stopped over at the Pride Happening in the park in which the Tel-Aviv LGBT Centre is situated in which the different organisation had a booth. I was asked to make a sign for the BDSM Pride group, which I dropped off before heading to the Radical March meeting place. I sat around the BDSM booth for nearly an hour, because I was super early and I did a bit of explaining about why there was a booth, why there was a need for BDSM Visibility and why it's not skeezy or creepy.
It was fun.

Someone said I was elegant and that I made them reconsider what they had previously thought about the subject.

Awesome.

I left the Happening and took a cab to the meeting area, there were about 20 people and I helped make some signs.
So much craft!
The Trans visibility is always big in the radical blocs and marches, they really are a driving force in the Radical Queer community, it was really amazing to see all that they've done over the past few years. By the end of the march, back at the park, we were about 400 people strong.

I loved the fact that I was marching with people whose ideas and ideals I share, a march that was distinctly political and critical and oh so Queer and not just Gay.

I marched with the Socialists/Communists in this march and I held a red flag and a rainbow flag.
It was heavy, but it felt awesome to carry both those flags together.

I met my favourite lecturer at the Radical March and she seemed really happy to see me *squee*.
We talked a bit and she told me that this felt like Parades in days gone by... *sigh*

We arrived at the Park around one pm and had about half an hour before the Municipal (traditional and commercialised) March was set to go. I really had to pee.

I gave the flags back to the Socialists and had planned on zig-zagging between groups, but ended up being, ahem, tied up with the BDSM group and when I say group, I mean it was me and two other BDSMers walking with the flags. It was really fun, people asked us what the flags meant and we spieled! I handed out flyers :)

After I kissed the two other Leather Ladies goodbye (no one was in actual leather, 36 degrees Celsius OMG!) I joined up with the other Socialists and we went to lunch complaining about how commercialised, loud and full of too many people it was.

The thing about the Parade being so massive and is produced to be a great big party in which those represented are mainly White-Jewish-Cis-Gay-Men, I feel that the different groups should insist on being visible and not be marginalised even more.

I had a great time. I felt I made a good decision going to the Radical March and then continuing on to the Traditional one. I really disagree with the split that's gone on.

Any way, here's a pic of me: under the cut )

Happy Pride Y'all!!!

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eumelia: (Default)
Eumelia

June 2015

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V and Justice

V: Ah, I was forgetting that we are not properly introduced. I do not have a name. You can call me V. Madam Justice...this is V. V... this is Madam Justice. hello, Madam Justice.

Justice: Good evening, V.

V: There. Now we know each other. Actually, I've been a fan of yours for quite some time. Oh, I know what you're thinking...

Justice: The poor boy has a crush on me...an adolescent fatuation.

V: I beg your pardon, Madam. It isn't like that at all. I've long admired you...albeit only from a distance. I used to stare at you from the streets below when I was a child. I'd say to my father, "Who is that lady?" And he'd say "That's Madam Justice." And I'd say "Isn't she pretty."

V: Please don't think it was merely physical. I know you're not that sort of girl. No, I loved you as a person. As an ideal.

Justice: What? V! For shame! You have betrayed me for some harlot, some vain and pouting hussy with painted lips and a knowing smile!

V: I, Madam? I beg to differ! It was your infidelity that drove me to her arms!

V: Ah-ha! That surprised you, didn't it? You thought I didn't know about your little fling. But I do. I know everything! Frankly, I wasn't surprised when I found out. You always did have an eye for a man in uniform.

Justice: Uniform? Why I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about. It was always you, V. You were the only one...

V: Liar! Slut! Whore! Deny that you let him have his way with you, him with his armbands and jackboots!

V: Well? Cat got your tongue? I though as much.

V: Very well. So you stand revealed at last. you are no longer my justice. You are his justice now. You have bedded another.

Justice: Sob! Choke! Wh-who is she, V? What is her name?

V: Her name is Anarchy. And she has taught me more as a mistress than you ever did! She has taught me that justice is meaningless without freedom. She is honest. She makes no promises and breaks none. Unlike you, Jezebel. I used to wonder why you could never look me in the eye. Now I know. So good bye, dear lady. I would be saddened by our parting even now, save that you are no longer the woman I once loved.

*KABOOM!*

-"V for Vendetta"

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