eumelia: (jewish revenge)
So the last time I wrote something here was last Friday.

Well, damn, I'm losing sight of this blogging thing! I used to be prolific, I used to be interesting, I used to be able to strong words and shove them out into the universe with little to no thought.

Glad those days are over!

That was only sarcastic to a certain extent. I'm way behind on my metas for H50, because I totally over estimated my ability to watch and then write cohesively about things. I'm still going to try and churn them out before September 24th, but it's gonna be hard work.

Add to that my general procrastination when it comes writing, not only because that is how I roll, but also because I'm so tired all the time. I'm happy with my job, especially because I'm getting better all the time, but well, it's time consuming and I don't actually have time to write on my breaks.

I'm lucky to have time to read on my breaks. Generally, I'm too sociable during work, so I end up having lunch with co-worker.

Goddamn fucking normality.

Especially when one of my co-workers pissed me off like you wouldn't believe. I'm honestly not sure why I even bother to take this shit to heart any more. There's only so much rage you can have towards people who are racist, but think they're not.

I get the appeal of the majority, believe me, I do. I have a whole lot of privilege in my life, I'd still rather not live in a country that's crumbling and hates every single one of us that doesn't align itself the paranoid schizoid behaviour of the neo-liberal war warmongering government.

There's also the issue that when you try and talk about social justice in the context of Palestinians, terror will always be brought up, because they're all terrorists and they're all out to kill the Jews, which... augh... I don't even know how to tackle that - because okay, I know people who died during the time that there were huge amounts of suicide bombing, my father was nearly shot in his store and my ex-girlfriend was in the range of missiles back in 2009.

That still doesn't mean we're on equal ground, or that we have any right to occupy their land, or that their human rights are forfeit, and I'm just sick of trying to keep humanising the situation to people who don't consider other people human.

The thing that my co-worker (with whom I had the political argument over lunch) is that she kept saying that things were bad "for the Jews" in other countries. Well, that's nice, what does that have to do with the fact that "the Jews" in Israel are racist and treat non-Jews (and Jews that look like African asylum seekers) like shit?

Not to mention about this crap of feeling a connection to the land? What? What is they metaphysical brain washing people have about "the land"? The land doesn't belong to us because it "feels" like it does!

Manifest Destiny Hebrew Style.

Er, yes, I think I'll go watch another episode of H50 and write that meta, shall I?
eumelia: (compassion & kindness)
I'm sure some of a you are waiting for my thoughts on the Hawaii Five-0 finale. Without giving much away, and in a word? Wow.

But something even better happened this week.

I got a birthday present from one of my dearest friends who I never met off-line.

[livejournal.com profile] verasteine wrote me a story.

It's called Whispers and Blades.

I don't often rec fics in this space, but this was written for [livejournal.com profile] queer_fest and FOR ME! On my birthday!

She specifically used a prompt I submitted and wrote a truly magnificent story, her interpretation of it revealing an understanding on what it can mean to be gay in public.

Her story is a series of moments in Steve McGarrett and Danny Williams' lives as partners both at work and at home. They have to deal with people making assumptions about them, what they do and who they are, simply because they are gay in public.

One of the things which I think gets overlooked both in the media and generally speaking when it comes to LGBT people, is the fact that we are expected to accommodate people's curiosity and assumptions about us.

Snide little micro-aggressions that fill our lives and colour our experience of it that tells us, again and again, that we're off kilter, that we don't fit the proper continuity in society and that we make them uncomfortable and that we are accepted so long as we adhere to certain conditions.

The little micro-aggressions in the story are peppered throughout, some more over than others, but always elusive, because homophobia isn't always verbal assault and it isn't always violence as we are accustomed to know and see it.

But possibly my favourite part in the end, when Steve and Danny talk about these instances, because they get to Danny is a way that I recognise intimately. The frustration and anger of being exposed to other people's judgement for who you chose to sleep with and how it is made into an issue, as opposed to regarded as just another part of who they are.

Steve says: "Being gay means you're on the outside."

There's a truth in that, because when you're on the outside, your perspective shifts and you are positioned in a way that keeps you from denting the straight default, mainly by being there to be and be judged one way or another for not living up to an ideal that was never attainable for you to begin with.

Thank you, [livejournal.com profile] verasteine, for illustrating that position so well through these moments between Danny and Steve. Two men, who love each other and push each other, and push against the world.

Old News

Mar. 30th, 2012 07:08 pm
eumelia: (nice jewish girl)
Despite focusing lately on things not relating to the occupation in a direct manner, I still access the media and am as big a News junkie as ever.

As some of you may or may not know, today is Land Day, which is a commemorative day marking the strikes and protests Palestinians held in 1967 after the state (Israel) appropriated privately held Palestinian land. Thousands of dunams were basically stolen from under the owners feet.

This appropriation is still happening today, obviously.

But Land Day is a big event and such there are more demonstrators and many more wounded.

It's been a while since I've been involved in anti-occupation politics as I am focusing on more organised LGBT activism and, well, my life, but I don't think one can really separate the issues, as they colour every fraction of my life one way or another.

For instance, what does it mean that Israel cut ties with the UN Human Rights Commission, because they dared open up a probe regarding the building of settlements in the West Bank.

Apropos land appropriation. If I cared one whit about Israel's image I'd say we shoot ourselves in the foot, but seriously, we commit flagrant human rights violations every day, all the time. I can't say I'm surprised the foreign ministry started talking about Al-Qaeda (your guess is as good as mine as to why) and about how it's the Palestinian Authority committing - wait for it - diplomatic terrorism on Israel.

Because the state terrorism Israel commits on a regular basis is really not a part of the discourse.

Speaking of state sanctioned terror, and another reason why the IDF is a hierarchical, masculine-supremacist, racist and patriarchal institution of the worst kind?

(Trigger Warning: Rape Culture, Encouragement Of Rape, Overt Racism): IDF Colonel-Rabbi implies Rape is Permitted in War.

If you read the body of the text (heed the trigger warnings, my god!) you will see that when they write "imply", they actually mean "clearly states" that raping female prisoners is not only permitted, but actually encouraged!

...even though fraternizing with a gentile woman is a very serious matter, it was permitted during wartime (under the specific terms) out of understanding for the hardship endured by the warriors. And since the success of the whole at war is our goal, the Torah permitted the individual to satisfy the evil urge...


As the author of the article writes, this is the face of the IDF of 2012.

The fact that this kind of religious doctrine is actually published by the IDF is telling. Mainly, they they really can't see anything beyond their weeping national erection.

Despite the above, or possibly because of the above, I must mention Adrienne Rich's passing.

Her writing has been an inspiration to me for many years, both her poetry and essays - all of which have been a great aid to me when it came to my own feminism, even if I didn't agree with everything she had to say (her gender essentialism was and is notorious, despite the way she leveraged it so beautifully in the political and theoretical spheres).

She was also a Jewish woman who spoke out against the Israeli occupation of Palestine and a supporter of BDS, which, you know, is special.

She also spoke of the role and the responsibility of the poet, the writer, the artist to be political and proactive and not shy away from social justice in their work.

Someone is Writing a Poem
...But most often someone writing a poem believes in, depends on, a delicate, vibrating range of difference, that an “I” can become a “we” without extinguishing others, that a partly common language exists to which strangers can bring their own heartbeat, memories, images. A language that itself has learned from the heartbeat, memories, images of strangers...


May her memory be blessed.
eumelia: (queer rage)
I'm part of an organisation that was boycotted in Seattle last week.

The Seattle LGBT Commision cancelled a planned evening with Israeli representative of the Association of Israeli LGBT Educational Organisations. Organisations which include IGY (Israeli Gay Youth), Tehila (Parents and Family of LGBT people) and Hoshen (Education and Change - the org I associate myself with).

It happened because a local Seattle activist made the case that by having an Israeli event, the Commission would be participating in pinkwashing - in which the use of LGBT rights are culture are appropriated and used to diminish the human right abuses and violations committed by Israel in upon Palestine and the Palestinian people.

The Seattle activist, Dean Spade (Facebook link) was not wrong. Due to the recent history of pinkwashing the Occupation, it would be safe to assume that any and all events regarding Israeli LGBT groups would perpetuate this stance.

The Queerty article rightly states:
Debate has raged both on Queerty and elsewhere about whether the Israeli government’s efforts to publicize the country’s gay-friendliness are a smokescreen to distract from its mistreatment of Palestinians.

And that’s a valid debate.

But the AILO participants are from nongovernmental groups who might very well have a problem with their leaders’ actions. Are anti-pinkwashers like Spade now saying that all gays from Israel should be silenced in the public arena, lest they accidentally encourage someone to visit their homeland?

Are we calling for the end of civil discourse and kicking Israel’s LGBT off the bus?
Emphasis by me

Yes, a great many of the people I know who volunteer for any number of these orgs oppose pinkwashing. Not everyone sees the cynical use of the Israeli government of the LGBT community as pinkwashing, because hey, things better in Israel than, say, Russia or Croatia.

But that isn't the point. Gay rights are human rights. To "brag" about one groups progression from marginalised and debased (which some of us still are, sad to say, because only a certain type of gay is actually "okay") while trampling on the rights of another group simply due to their ethnic, national and religious affiliation is beyond hypocritical and disgusting.

And no, LGBT Palestinians from the Occupied Territories do not actually "seek asylum" in Israel - seeing as Palestianian refugees are a class of their own according to the UN, practically all LGBT Palestinians who have fled the territories are illegal residents in Israel, subject to deportation back the Territories at any time - and seeing as heterosexual straight couples get no slack when it comes to "family reunification", you can bet same sex couples get zero tolerance.

It is telling that I know of no Arab LGBT volunteer in any of the AILO orgs, but I know of several Palestinian specific LGBT orgs that operate within Israel or have no specific base of operations.

Pinkwashing is heavily debated and is a hugely divisive subject within the Israeli LGBT community (whatever that may mean), it has been so since 2009 as far as I'm aware even though the discourse has existed for longer.

My own opinions are of the radical and liberationist kind. I do not think queer people need or should pander to straight society in order to be "accepted" or heaven forbid "tolerated". I've long come to the understanding that as a gay Jewish woman person there is no "true" place for me on this planet - not as long as religion, nationalism, patriarchy, racism, heteronormativity and homophobia prevail - but I know that doing nothing and just complaining about shit is a useless state of being.

So I joined a liberal org that panders to straight society. Being a role model for younger people is a privilege that I have the ability to leverage into a type of activism that may piss a lot of other radicals off, but has been proved to be effective in the long run.

And being a part of that org means that I participate in pinkwashing, just like being part of the local economy means that I participate in corruption and land appropriation. It is a double edged sword that I grip.

I don't know how much longer we can bleed into this blood sodden earth.
eumelia: (bisexual fury)
Just because Israel doesn't automatically persecute gay men, lesbian women, bisexual people and trans people, mean that Israel is so bloody progressive when it comes to LGBT rights.

As regular readers know, I've been pretty vigilant about the way the LGBT community is being used as a way to cover up the disastrous human rights violations Israel commits on a daily basis, not only to the various ethnic minorities, but to LGBT people - a minority that crosses ethnic and religious "divides".

"Pinkwashing" isn't new, but it's getting a lot of news due to the fact that Israel's "re-branding" is, hah, failing.

Back in November, Sarah Schulman wrote an op-ed in the New York Times about this strategy that Israel uses, through its foreign ministry, its tourist industry - don't you know that Americans voted Tel Aviv as the best Gay city in the world! - and just plain flinging all those wonderful "rights" us queers have in the Holy land. Excuse me, I must go vomit.

Taking all that into account - the fact that there is this constant push and pull regarding Israel's image as a liberal oasis in a desert of religious conservatism - people seem to forget that all those "rights" lovingly bestowed onto the gay community (and yes, there is a big difference between the gay men and every other group put together in the alphabet soup of LGBT) are not presented accurately to the world, or more to the point to the United States.

A recent pinkwashing op-ed by a fellow by the name of Scott Piro wrote that:
Israel is the only Middle Eastern country where people are not persecuted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

He then lays out the "facts" about Israeli LGBT life:
Israel has passed anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBTs.

Formal laws, do not rights make. Not to mention that women still receive 75% of the average salary as opposed to men. Consider a two women house-hold, when both women work in what is considered a "second-salary slot".
I can't even begin to tell you how fucked transgender people are when it comes to labour, because no one will fucking hire them - trans people are not protected under anti-discrimination laws with regards to the work place - putting that T in LGBT, launders the reality of trans people in Israel, who I can safely say are the most fucked over group under the queer umbrella.
Unless they also happen to be Palestinian. More on that, in a bit.
And sure, businesses are not allowed to discriminate against same-sex couples or people who have a gender non-conforming appearance, but hey, if you're a religious institution you most certainly can!
That's just the tip, of course.

Israel Recognizes same-sex marriages performed abroad.
No, Israel does not. It writes on the ID card "married" for couples who got married in a country where same-sex marriage is legal, because international law requires that there be equal status in all documents. The fact is, if you are same-sex couple and you got married in, say, Canada (like many of the wealthier gays and lesbians do), your status will be written, but not recognised and you have the same rights as a registered co-habitated or common-law married couple.

So, uh, you can scratch that off the list.

Israel has legalized LGBT adoption rights.
The supreme court allowed one lesbian couple to cross-adopt each other's biological children. It is a legal precedent, like most LGBT "rights" in Israel, as opposed to actual pro-active legislation.

Can this horse get any higher?

LGBT soldiers serve openly in all military branches, including special units; discrimination is prohibited.
Only Americans find this special. Seriously. Just because you had DADT for too fucking long (read, at all) doesn't mean that the fact that LGB (if you are a T and are out you will most likely be exempt from military service for reasons relating to mental health. Snack on that.) serve "openly" make the IDF in any way progressive. Considering the fact that the IDF is growing more religiously conservative as we speak and has rabbis telling soldiers to not hear a woman sing on pain of death, I can't see the fact that some boys and girls in certain units are out (you are not likely to be out in a cambat unit, as opposed to an intel unit, for instance) make the army liberal.

And in any event, why would we want to emulate a militaristic, hierarchical, masculine-supremacist, racist and patriarchal institution?

Same-sex couples have the same inheritance rights as heterosexual, married couples.
Wrong again. Inheritance rights for unmarried, common-law married or co-habitating couples relies on drawing up official papers and making your spouse your beneficiary, unlike heterosexual married couples, where it is automatic.

So you see folks. We may not be the worst, but really, when you compare us to actual Western countries (because we pretend to be one), we are not in the best shape. In other words, it's really easy to compare us to countries where things are really bad and come out looking quite good.

Also, of course, all this is related to Jewish LGB(T) people in Israel. The fact is, Israel uses the hard won fights the LGBT community has wrought throughout the years in order to cover up the fact that it violates international law and human rights in the West Bank, Gaza and in Israel proper - where is the help for Palestinian LGBT's in the West Bank and Gaza? There is a reason Israel based Palestinian queer groups like Aswat and Al-Qaws are critical of the mainstream and Jewish LGBT community for lapping up the fact that we are being used as a fig leaf for Israel's human rights violations.

Don't tell me Israel is a "queer oasis".
eumelia: (flags)
Huh, it seems I've missed a few days of the challenge. Time flies! And stretches! And wibble-wobbles as they say.

I do plan on doing them all - the challenges that are meant to be filled out in my own space as opposed to going to comment somewhere else, those are less interesting to me.

So here we have something for Day 5:

In your own space, share something non-fannish you are passionate about with your fannish friends. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.


Regular readers of this DW/LJ know that this not only a fannish blog, and even now when I am being intensely fannish it is still not just about fandom.

You could say I am passionate about a lot of things, I tend to get enthusiastic about a great many things, but politics tend to engage me in a way they never did back when I was an apathetic teenager.

I don't think there can be any doubt that I'm a leftist. In my locale it's a complicated position to hold. Most likely because politics, as they are narrowly defined, are Parliamentary and Judicial and about the occupation and the "situation" as the whole shebang is euphemistically called.

All in all, I find the Parliamentary system in Israel utterly useless when it comes to serving me as a citizen, as it is an oppressive and suppressive government and the fact that it is an elected government doesn't make it any less totalitarian. It is totalitarian because none of the elected officials see fit to end an illegal Occupation over millions of people we keep under thumb, beyond that, instead of dealing with the housing and financial issues within the country proper, it throws money at settlements and illegal housing in the occupied territories.

In addition to the actual crimes this sovereign state commits upon the occupied population of Palestine, the state of Israel sees fit to use it's comparatively liberal attitude towards the LGBT community to make itself appear better than it actually is in the eyes of the Western world we so try to mimic - the fact that LGBT people have it "better" than our siblings in the neighbourhood isn't something to proud about - it's called goold ole' human decency!

The fact that my culture is being used as a fig leaf for war crimes is sickening to me and pretty offensive when you consider that the misogyny that is imbued into the culture here.

So, yeah, politics... I'm passionate about that.
eumelia: (master politician)
It's worse, because it is far more insidious than ever. You know the old saying about the frog in the boiling pot?

That's us.

It's been forever since I've had a good "bad news" round up. This platform has become something of an escape for me, you see, since the Summer in which thousands of people took to the streets protesting the current political, financial and social disparity in Israel - we forgot to take into account the underlying reason the current government has managed to shut us up and shut us out.

We are occupying another people and the Summer of so-called social change decided that that was too "political", not to do with "us" and not to do with the fact that the cost of living is practically unbearable within Israel. Because that's one thing and Israeli society is another.

Apartheid never seemed so clear.

Over the past few months, while we were resting on the laurels of actually being in the street and protesting the Men, the superficiality of (Jewish) women's equality has been steadily eroding.

Who is to blame? I mean, other than patriarchy. Of course.

Deepening religious extremism is one reason, I mean, when you have a Settler Rabbi telling soldiers should chose death rather than suffer a woman singing. You may go O_o at this little piece of News, but when you have more conservative interpretations to the Jewish adage "A woman's voice is Ervah" i.e. the sound of a woman's voice is pubic or sexual by it's very nature.

A woman is nothing but her sex, of course.

Speaking of voices, our freedom of speech has been basically been taken away, I can't tell you who you should boycott for fear of being sued for damages and now I can't call the Prime Minister, for example, a smug lying asshole, due to this abso-fucking-loutly spiffing amendment bill.

In which, and I quote the article linked above:
The bill represents an amendment to Israel's existing libel law, which would make it possible to sue a newspaper for libel, not only for commensurate compensation for any tangible damage caused by the publication, but for an additional sum of NIS 300,000 − without having to prove damages.

Emphasis mine.

Was there an emergency meeting of journalists? You bet there was.

Unsurprisingly, this bill coincides with the firing of one of Israel's few true watch dogs from public broadcasting Keren Neubach. As you can read in the link, the "reason" given? She "looks" bad on screen.
They're not even bothering any more.

Ditto on shutting down the Ramallah based radio station Palestinian-Israeli cooperative "Kol Ha'Shalom" (a play on words, as "Kol" is a Hebrew homophone for "voice" and "all").

Last night 2000 people rallied in protest of this bill.

2000. Yep, that many.

That really is the equivalent of crickets chirping.

The other bills that have been passing through the Knesset floor have been eroding civil society for years.

But wait. There's more.

The totalitarian nature of the Occupation is finally catching up with Israel proper. The non-violent demonstrations in the West Bank, exemplified by the recent Freedom Rider arrests (amazing pictures) shows the stark contrast of what is actually happening on the ground and the mindset of the average Israeli.

I mean, when the Prime Minister "shelves" the bill set out to persecute NGO's by limiting their funds, but his Foreign Minister goes ahead and does it anyway is, well, telling.

Add to that the fact that there is an all out political attack on the political science department of Negev's Ben-Gurion University, the alarm bells should be ringing off the walls.

Because when the Germans are telling the Israeli government: Um, excuse me, this is not very good and we're really sorry that we have to criticise you like this.

History repeats and really, the Germans would know.

In the meantime, my parents are watching commentary about a documentary about Steve Jobs and Apple.

I fucking hate the world.
eumelia: (bollocks)
Hint: It isn’t a debate.

Trigger Warning: This post is about the narratives of dubious consent, non consent, rape, sexual assault, body autonomy (or lack thereof) in fanfiction and fandom, and what being triggered actually means.


Before I begin to dig into this issue, let me put one thing on the table; the only moral issue about sex between two or more adults is consent. Everything else is a matter of what floats your boat. My kink is not your kink and that’s okay – in fact, it’s great, because in fandom we share and learn and discuss these things to a greater degree of openness and detail that in the “real world”.

So, I read a fic. It is a good fic. It’s not perfect, but very few stories are. Much like life, I must say1.

It is a really good story, which, right off the bat, places the characters in a scenario known in fanfic as dub-con, a short hand of “dubious consent”.

Let me put something else on the table here. In real life, there is no such thing as “dubious consent”. Dub-con is a narrative device, it is a construct of point of view, we see and read the conflict of the person (say, Hermione of “Harry Potter”) whose autonomy has been breached and we know, along with Hermione, that she actually wants this happen, only she’s not sure about why, or how, or some other thing – she just knows, kind of, that she wants this other person (say Snape) to do what he is doing.

Alternately, we have Snape’s pov, he who breaches the aforementioned autonomy and magically (no pun intended) knows that this fine, that Hermione actually wants it. That this is sexy, even if Hermione says “stop” or “no” or says nothing at all.

I use this example from “Harry Potter”, because this type of narrative is so typical in this pairing it is practically a trope. But it is a narrative found in all genres and happenstances of fic, be it het or slash, hurt/comfort or fluff – it is there and frankly, I despair at having to actually talk about this.

In real life dubious consent can’t happen. It cannot. Not because we don’t often feel conflicted about doing something with another person in bed, or because there wasn’t enough communication and the sex ended up being more enjoyable for one of the partners over the other (or others).
It cannot happen in real life, because the narrative in our heads can’t be shared. We can’t know if our partner is conflicted, or not comfortable, unless they tell us. The opposite, of course, is the same.

Dubious consent alleges that Ianto (for instance) can and would fight against Jack’s advances and actions if he really wanted to, this is the context of Ianto being subordinate to Jack in the hierarchy of the “Torchwood” team and their age (putting it lightly). With that in mind, it is likely that this scenario wouldn’t actually be construed by fic authors as an issue of consent because it is happening between two men, in the case of slash.

Consent isn’t about Steve’s (for instance) physical ability to stop Danny from performing fellatio on him. Consent is about the fact that Danny doesn’t care to ask or wait for Steve to actually say what he feels about the idea of it happening at all.

That is the point. The disregard to one’s choice, one’s comfort and one’s own wants (and needs) when it comes to sex is endemic, because the idea that the onus is on the person whose will and autonomy is being violated is simply not true. In the fic I read, there was a clear description of someone wanting to say “No”, but didn’t get a chance to do so, due to the narrative dictating that the “No” or the “Wait a minute” didn’t count because the sex was just that good. Dubious consent hadn’t even been an option here, because this scenario was constructed in order for the inner conflict of “do I or don’t I want this” to be taken as a token resistance as opposed to assertion of free will.

This particular fic isn’t even the only time in “Hawaii Five-0” fandom that this sort of thing has happened. In the name of sexy, how many times have we read Steve or Danny say “wait” or “stop” and have the other guy say “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of you” or “I know what you want/need” and continue to do what they were doing despite the “No”.

And yes, “wait”, “stop” or even non-responsiveness when action is taking place in sex is a big “NO”.

You cannot know why a person says “stop” or “wait” during sex unless you actually stop or wait. Possibly, this person has a cramp, or you’re digging your knee or elbow somewhere uncomfortable or maybe, you are doing something that is making your partner feel distressed and things need to change.

When you assume that Steve or Hermione can physically/magically prevent Danny or Snape from violating them, you are perpetuating rape culture2.

When you assume that knowing what a character is feeling or thinking when their free will is being disregarded by their sexual partner makes this disregard okay, and when you then normalize this behaviour in your fic, you are perpetuating rape culture.

And in the case in which there is clear non-consent going on when you assume that by removing the word “rape” from the fic magically fixes the disparity in power dynamics and that the violence perpetrated now isn’t sexual or gendered, you are perpetuating rape culture.

This is doubly so, when you don’t warn that these things actually exist in the fic!

It doesn’t make a difference what your intent was, I doubt authors are actively malicious, but when you have a character (major or minor) that is assaulted, whether “live”, or in a flashback or memory, or discussed, that is still a textual description of sexual and/or gendered violence. The assault, whether explicit violence, psychological coercion or disregard to another’s free will, choice and autonomy, is still written down and as such must be warned for, because the words you use are the same.

The thing is I don’t mind that dub-con exists in fic, as it is a fantasy narrative device and everyone has fantasies they wouldn’t want to actually happen in real life. This is why we have role playing and BDSM and actually talking to your partner(s) when it comes to making fantasies come true. In the name of full disclosure, I read fics that have dub-con, non-con and rape scenarios in them, because I like hurt/comfort and angst – I need to be warned for this, not because I have triggers, but because I need to know that these scenarios are going to be handled with the due respect and sensitivity that they deserve.

The respect and sensitivity should be awarded to the readers who do have triggers.

It is no secret that transformative art fandom (fanfic, fanvid, fanart and more) is made of a majority of women and/or female identified people and a significant amount of gender variant people, LGBT men and women, non-white people, disabled people and other social minorities who are all vulnerable to sexual violence, because our humanity and body autonomy is considered inconsequential.

The notion that a not insignificant part of your readership will have been through a traumatic experience concerning sexual consent, and sexually based and gendered violence, is not out there!

It is not only a courtesy to warn for this in your header, it will save someone from stumbling into a scenario that will make him or her feel less safe in their own lives, because their hobby and their creative community triggered their trauma.

But in the end, what I find distressing is that people do not recognise what they write for what it is, and in slash fiction it is particularly endemic, due to the fact that this happening between two men. Because rape culture dictates that between men consent isn’t an issue. Because rape culture dictates that men never say “no”. Because rape culture dictates that men can stop the coercion by virtue of being “strong” and physically powerful.

Dear readers, this is bullshit.

As a community of vulnerable people who often place characters we love in painful and violent scenarios that happen in real life to real people in a society that considers our trauma to be exaggerated at best and made up at worst, we have to consider the consequences of our actions and take care of each other.

One of the ways we do this is to know what it is we are writing and to warn accordingly.

Footnotes:
1) This post was triggered (no pun intended) by a particular fic and a discussion that followed, but it is not specifically about any one fic. This post is about a trend and a trope that is all too common in H50 fandom and in fandom as a whole, and I am using this fic as a way to exemplify and make clear my points.
Back to text.

2(For a clear and concise definition of what rape culture is I would refer you to Melissa McEwan’s post at Shakesville where she writes:
[…]Rape culture is encouraging male sexual aggression. Rape culture is regarding violence as sexy and sexuality as violent. Rape culture is treating rape as a compliment, as the unbridled passion stirred in a healthy man by a beautiful woman, making irresistible the urge to rip open her bodice or slam her against a wall, or a wrought-iron fence, or a car hood, or pull her by her hair, or shove her onto a bed, or any one of a million other images of fight-fucking in movies and television shows and on the covers of romance novels that convey violent urges are inextricably linked with (straight) sexuality.[…]

Back to text.
eumelia: (resist!)
As you know I am currently jobless. The prospect of getting a job at the moment is daunting as the economy is particularly tanked and it has actually been convenient for me to have all this time on my hands in order to deal with the disaster of moving into an apartment that wasn't as good as [Sexy!Roommate] and I first thought.

Not all that glitters is gold as the saying goes.

The country is very likely to be going on general strike tomorrow, which I am totally for, as the only way to get the workers who are outsourced any rights is for the public and semi-public sectors to shut down the systems.

The amount of anti-strike sentiment is unsettling, considering the summer of "Social Justice" we supposedly had. It stops it touches you personally, huh. It also goes to show how out of touch so many people in this country are.

Yeah, I need the bus and the train, but the people who clean the buses and bus stations deserve a living wage.

The universities are also striking, so tomorrow [Sexy!Roommate] and I will clean the place up and hopefully get other shit done that doesn't require me to be attached to the phone.

I have had it up to here with the effing phone.

With luck, things will settle by mid-November and I'll be able to get a move on job finding wise and the apartment won't give me any more headaches.

Next up: I fucking hate religion.
eumelia: (diese religione)
It's probably significant that I'm writing a navel gazing religion thing post-Days of Awe and Yom Kippur, which this year failed to move me as in previous cycles.

It may have to do with the fact that my outside world stress exacerbated my inner world stress. I'll (very very probably, but nothing is signed yet and until then I'm not willing to say live or die) move out by the end of the month. It's going to be the first time living outside of my parents house other then those six months in the US where I lived with my sisters (and had zero expenses).

I don't have a job lined up yet and university is starting... about the same time I'm setting up shop with my room mate (thank god for her, I don't think I would have managed to do anything if it wasn't for her holding my hand throughout this whole thing).

Add to that a "mild" brain meltdown and it's been fucking peachy.

What's all that got to do with religion? Nothing, really, but it seems a good opportunity to talk about things.

Those of you who read me on a regular basis know that I'm atheist, but I also that being Jewish is an important part of my identity. It's a cultural thing, a history thing... a people thing.

Due to the aforementioned life changes I can't say I felt the liturgy flow over me like it usually does. Not even the best Cantor on earth (the only reason I emerge once a year for Yom Kippur to go to shul - Bar/Bat Mitvahs and baby namings don't count) got me feeling that sense of belonging and history I usually feel on Yom Kippur when I stand with the rest of my family and listen to the whole congregation sing the dirge about removing the promises and vows we made the previous year.

Maybe it was due to being stressed about the fact that I'm a sleep away from sighing a binding contract, or that I'm going heading on an entirely new path, one I was not utterly convinced I was going to be on this year.

I've mentioned the brain meltdown, yes?

Not to mention the fact that politically speaking being Jewish puts me squarely in the bad guy's shoes this time around, what with Muslim and Christian graves desecrated over the holy day weekend.

I'm sure "G-d" approved of that bullshit.

So yeah, my "people".

Not feeling the connection that much lately.

Then again, in a new development The courts approve the registration of "no religion" for author Yoram Kaniuk, which would be grand, if religion was actually stated on our ID cards as "religion". It's not, it is stated under nationality - oh, didn't you know that there's no such thing as an "Israeli" nationality. I think if there was, or if there had been, it would have solved a whole lot of things.

But you know, Jewish demographic panic and all that.

I'm bothered that this is what my Judaism is reduced to, and that it's controlled by a Rabbinical court that, well, hates the idea of me.

Ironically, my Jewishness if far more diaspora like than ever, and me? I was born here and I don't really want to leave - despite the fact that some of my closest friends are telling me to join them when they leave.

*clings*
eumelia: (queer rage)
It being the holiday season in my locale, it is a time of family and obligation.

Yesterday I was helping my mother arrange the place names for the seats, the name cards were a mess, so I quickly put all the couples and their children into smaller piles.

I was the only solo card.

Now, after an entire semester of studying the sociological aspect of singlehood and writing a 6000 word essay about the position of the single aunt in the extended-nuclear family for said course, you probably don't understand the feeling of sheer poignancy that came from seeing my name, alone, among the clumps of little families that make up my huge tribe.

I have no doubt that I'm not the only single person who has a family made up of couples and families and has felt this way. But I have been theorising about it, this position of mine in my family, the role I play of Dutiful Daughter, Doting Aunt (despite raising my voice a few times and having my cousin, a mother, come to make sure I haven't murdered her children) and Single Gay Relative.

I may be the only one who perceives myself this way. Who knows, maybe others do see me this way. Glass closet and all.

What has come to mind in my navel gazing about this, because I have been thinking about it the whole week, were the issues of "passing" and "flaunting" my sexuality in the context of my family.

My nuclear family are a paragon of harmony, support and TLC. Really, I couldn't have asked for a better family, really. My bitterness considering my coming out process and the crappy way I and [Southern!Girl] were treated when were together notwithstanding.

Being single and queer is easier than being queer in a relationship - man or woman. The invisibility I experience when I'm with a guy is painful because of the erasure of my identity and the culture I identify with. The all out double standard of being with a girl requires constant negotiation of what is appropriate or inappropriate behaviour in so many contexts.

It is sheer kismet that Spark In Darkness wrote about this very issue on his blog, where he writes about living your life through a filter:
Every question has to be passed through it, evasions and lies considered, examined and discarded or adapted. And damn if that isn't tiring, even now when I largely shut the filter down and try to answer without it – it still fires up and activates the closet instincts. Before when I nearly always used the filter it was even more draining – because everything someone said to me or I said back had to be run through the filter to ensure that the BIG DARK SECRET was hidden.

[...]that's before we get to simple things like the awful crime of kissing/touching and the dreadful decisions of whether it's ok to sit next to him or not – can we go out to dinner together or do we need to bring more people so it's not a date? Am I stood too close? Whose watching, who can see is anyone upset/angry/sitting on a cactus expression?

So, yeah, here's little ol' me “flaunting” my sexuality because not “flaunting” is a lot of work. I just don't have the energy not to flaunt.

I emphasised the last bit, because that pretty much hits the nail of the head. Sometimes, most of the time, we're asked to "tone it down", or stop making everything "about being QuILTBAG".

There are worse things that happen to gay people than being told by heteronormative society that we're disruptive and should shut up and suck it up, because you know, being beat up and murdered because you weren't quiet enough is worse than being escorted off a plane for kissing your partner.

But the incident with Leisha Hailey and the Southwest flight, brings to a head how careful we have to be in order to walk around unscathed.

I mean, if you read the statement from Southwest Airline following the incident, you can't help but cringe:
Initial reports indicate that we received several passenger complaints characterizing the behavior as excessive. Our crew, responsible for the comfort of all Customers on board, approached the passengers based solely on behavior and not gender. The conversation escalated to a level that was better resolved on the ground, as opposed to in flight. We regret any circumstance where a passenger does not have a positive experience on Southwest and we are ready to work directly with the passengers involved to offer our heartfelt apologies for falling short of their expectations.

All emphasis is mine. It would be mind boggling if it wasn't such a typical framing of "gay behaviour" in public.

First of all, the passenger complaints? Really? You know how many times I've complained about a child running up and down the isles of a plane? Are you going to remove that child and its parents?! Boy that would be grand!
Never happen of course, after all, a child running up and down the isles is "natural". As is, you know, kissing and holding hands between a man and woman.

Two women, well, that's "excessive". Because it disrupts the "family oriented" flight, of heterosexual and nuclear clumps of couples and their children.

And of course one must not make the customers uncomfortable, I mean, it's not like gay people pay for services, or use the same methods of transport as straight people. *snort* of course not, we have our own airlines, our own cities, our own laws and regulations, you know... in those "clubs". We'd never imagine doing that in public.

Existing, that is.

Of course, despite Southwest's hypocrisy, they are a well known airline that discriminates against its customers.

Dorothy Snarker who wrote about this earlier this week mentioned that Southwest is the airline that kicked Kevin Smith (Director of "Dogma" and "Chasing Amy") off a flight for being fat and Billy Joe Armstrong (Green Day front man) for dressing in baggy pants.

Obviously, Southwest feels very strongly about its well dressed, straight and thin customers. Everyone else just isn't up to par for this airline.

These are incidents that have happened to celebrities. Just ponder that one for a moment.

Reading about the above and planning out this post, well, it makes my own single status a thing of visibility and invisibility. I break the pattern of pairings in my family, but I am rendered silent because talking about wanting to date or going on dates is "flaunting" and "disruptive" and sometimes I just don't have the energy to deal with that.

It's giving into homophobia.

And the homophobia exhibited by Southwest, by accepting the underlying assumption that a kiss between two women is disturbing to customers, but being called disgusting by other people is just something we should suck up, is so entrenched in the culture, practically every culture on earth, that I sometimes despair at thinking I'll get to see or feel, fundamental change in my lifetime.
eumelia: (resist!)
A month ago when the civil unrest in Israel began and I put aside my cynicism in order to participate in the protests and demonstrations, I was irked to hear people (friends and not friends) say they hoped these demonstrations don't turn "political".

I was baffled.

Social justice is probably the most political standpoint in society at large. The demand that resources, the economy and legislation treat everyone fairly is without a doubt a hard political line.

But in Israel, "politics" doesn't mean the power dynamics between groups of people, or how one's identity creates intersections of privilege and disparity, oh no, politics is that dirty laundry best left to elected officials, you know, which dirty laundry I'm talking about.

Racism. Occupation. "Security".

One of my friends the other day accused me of not liking her as much, because she's Right Wing. I'm like, you're not Right Wing, you support economic justice and she's said, in more words but that's the gist, that I was being deliberately obtuse and that Right and Left in Israel don't mean what they mean in other places in the world.

It's true, Left in Israel means opposing the Occupation to the point of hating Israel and Right means that the only way for Israel to survive is for the Occupation to stand because then Israel will be on the brink of destruction.

Safe to say those are two extreme positions even without breaking down the facets of race, nationalism and trauma that are intertwined into both arguments.

The demonstrations against the high cost of living, the class disparity and the over-all economic injustice that swept through the nation did not touch on the subject of the Occupation. I felt that it should have, because so much of what creates the economic disparity in Israel has to do with building settlements in the West Bank, has to do with building the Separation Wall, has to do with troops out there culling non-violent protests and with pushing an Apartheid economy in the West Bank.

An unregulated cartel like economy thrives in conditions like an Occupation.

I don't know much about the economy, but I do know that.

So the Occupation and the Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank were excluded from the discourse and activity to do with the social justice campaign the Tent Demonstrations started.

For good reason, Left and Right, such as they are conceived in Israel have to do with security, how Israeli Jewish bodies can be kept safe in the face of the big bad terrorists.

The government solution, bomb the shit out of civilians living under siege (because of Israel) and under social and religious oppression (because of Hamas), even though the People's Resistance Committee (PRC), who committed the co-ordinated attack, are not affiliated with Hamas, have nothing to do with the Hamas government and were all ID'd and killed by the IDF on the day of the attack.

And not to mention that the skirmishes that followed on the Egyptian border killed 5 Egyptian soldiers, after they had to deal with a suicide bomber of their own.

This, as they say, is a clusterfuck.

Beyond the diplomatic nightmare (Egypt has withdrawn its ambassador to Israel) and the "cease fire" between Israel and Hamas being thrown out the window.

Yes, beyond that, the Israeli paradigm that Security trumps society will be tested, and I fear that it will hold true, because we are nothing if not predictable. Our fear and trauma prevents us from seeing that war benefits very few (Israelis and Palestinians) and hurts the innocent more than anyone who actually perpetrates violence.

The Hebrew Leftists blogosphere is already talking about the end of the social justice demonstrations in light of the government's hawkish endeavours. I'm hoping the people have wised up a little, and notice that the government who sweated due to the fact that we know they used the economy against us, will have wised up and see that the government will exploit this renewed violent conflict in order to get back the control it had briefly lost on the citizens.

My response?

Resist and go back to the streets where we've been for the past month.
Resist and don't accept the idea that "security" demands social justice to be forfeited.

*V For Vendetta. What else?
eumelia: (verbiage)
Yesterday Israelis took to the street again, for the third week in a row.

Mass demonstrations and protests, which are planned during the weeks in the tent cities that have mushroomed all over the show.

The main reason this is happening now?

Because the neo-liberal economic system is hurting everyone and finally we middle class peeps don't have pockets as deep as we thought.

Yes, this is an economic justice protest, it is a socially political protest, it is a demonstration of my favourite thing - Vox Populi.

I was one of the 300,000 that walked the streets, I didn't sleep last night and I'm still wiped, who knows when I'll have a proper night's sleep this week.

On Twitter, someone asked, why are we having such huge protests if we are a democracy and chose our leaders through elections?

I didn't answer at the time, but I'll answer here, because it's true we are not like Tunisia and Egypt, though economic justice and welfare were the bottom line in many cases for those demonstrations as well (there are still people in Tahrir), but the fact that our fear, Israeli Jewish fear to be precise, for our survival in a hostile territory created a voting system based on national security rather then job security, affordable housing, a proper welfare system and public health care - every single one of those aspects of Israeli life has been eroded through privatisation (school children aren't getting their vaccines because of privatised school nursing system) and de-regulation (people can't buy milk and cheese and fruit and vegetables!).

And so we reached a brink, there's an idiom in Hebrew is to say enough is enough, literally it means "The water has reached our breath/spirit" and never before have I seen so many people demanding to what should have always been there.

And finally, little by little, I'm seeing more and more people demanding political justice as well, calling an end to the Occupation - because though it is the moral and ethical thing to do, it is also the practical thing to do. The Occupation take money out of our pockets and is used to opress another people in economic and political dire straights.

Come September, and the UN bid for Statehood, if things don't get moving, this whole summer may be a waste.

I have hope, actually, for real, seeing all those people, being among them with my friends, it's enough to start a revolution of some kind.
eumelia: (fight the rich)
In case you weren't aware, Israel is in turmoil. The good way, as in, people are taking to the streets, rather than to our guns.

Three weeks ago, a protest regarding the cost of living (mainly the price of rent) was started by a young grad student who set up a tent in one of the businest boulevards in Tel-Aviv. And well, the rest is history.

[personal profile] roga has a picspam that will show you the magnitude of this, well, surge.

There have been quite a few big marches and demonstrations, and tonight there were simultaneous demos all over the country.

150,000 people marched in Tel-Aviv alone.

I didn't go to that one. I went to the one close to home, the one in my town. We were 300+ people shouting slogans about social and economic justice.

My town is very fiscally conservative, like most of wealthy suburbia, so I felt it was important to show a presence in places where it is very much not obvious that there will be a turnout.

So there I was, shouting along and holding up the symbolic tent.

Times they are a-changing?

I can only hope the idea of social justice, welfare and economic justice will spill out towards actually touching the Occupation and how the majority of our issues come from the fact that cheap housing is built in the territories, that the jumbo budget of the army should be allocated towards education, welfare and public health.

I don't have faith, but I do have history, I rely on it being repeated.
eumelia: (this small)
So, yeah.

This week has been insane, hasn't it, particularly this weekend, most of which I missed due to the fact that I am both lame and trying to wrap up my degree.

So I missed what is probably the most important demonstration of the last decade studying for a stupid exam. Plus I wasn't feeling 100% hopefully the fresh muggy air of morning helped clear my head in order to pass this thing.

The important demonstration is ostensibly about the fact that people can't afford to pay rent or buy a flat in this country, but really, it's about the fact that we're not getting paid enough money, that there is no regulation of practically any market and that the government hates us.

Bibi, will you please fuck off already!

And then there was Norway - which, amazingly enough, the local news didn't jump to the conclusion that it was, you know, brown people like the rest of the world. And man, isn't the world feeling that smart.

I'm sorry to be glib, but in the face of such a horrendous tragedy, my only choice is tell the world to get over itself and stop Strawman-ing groups of people that are easy to blame because they're a They, rather than Us - white people have caused more destruction and murder all over the world, than many other atrocities combined.

And yet, I don't see anyone blaming Whiteness and Christianity for this killing spree.

My heart goes out to the family of the victims in what must be the worst time of their lives.

Be strong, Norway.

I'll mention Amy Winhouse, because she shouldn't have gone. It's always sad when an artist as good as that leaves the world.

And last, but not least, on the fandom front, because mixing political and social disasters with fandom on this blog is so rare - I mainlined the first season of Hawaii Five-0 for which I blame [livejournal.com profile] verasteine, who showed me picscams of Scott Caan and told me about the subtext on a show that really shouldn't be all that good, but is actually really, really good. Character consistency! Who would have thunk it.

So, now I have an icon of Scott Cann being sarcastic.

The show itself leaves much to be desired in, um, plot. The plot, was, well, okay, it made the characters suffer which is fine.

Now I'm invested and I'm watching you CBS, do not fuck it up!

I'm resting, now, and I need to watch Torchwood - oh, man I need to write about Torchwood.

I have no time.
eumelia: (ctrl+alt+delete)
My speech (which, no matter what people say, has never been absolutely free) has been curtailed in a frightening way.

I cannot tell you which companies not to buy from, because I could get sued and fined (but not confined) for it.

The "anti-Boycott" law which passed last week in the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament stipulates that it is a civil wrong (not a criminal offence) to call for a boycott on Israeli made, well, anything.

It is meant to protect Settlement made goods from the West Bank from financial loss.

In effect, it punishes people from doing the most non-violent action possible, asking people to be conciousness consumers.

I am not telling you to boycott, because that would open me up for law suits that could sue me for more money that I've got, due to hypothetical financial loss.

If ever there was a time for you to learn about the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction campaign and movement, it is now.

But, well, I can't tell you what you should do regarding that.
eumelia: (brilliant)
Apologies for the vague post yesterday, I had many thoughts running around my brain and I really needed to jot down a reminder that they should exorcised at some point.

I have a terrible poker face, or maybe I'm just surrounded by people who know me well enough to read my facial expressions and body language.

On Monday I had a full on neurotic crisis, of such that I called a friend to talk to her about it for 15 minutes, basically repeating myself ad nauseam regarding how terrible I felt when in fact it was my own internalised views of society that made me feel terrible.

For you see, I was once again hairy in public )

On top of all that, and this actually puts thing into perspective, kind of; I am finishing my BA in Literary Theory and Women & Gender Studies, and my Future is Now! I am in a very unstable place regarding how I feel about where I think I should go and I (don't know what) want to do, which is no doubt, affecting my emotional reactions to things that really, are on no consequence.

Also, my LJ and DW accounts are expiring in the next week or so! Which makes me sad-ish.

But hey, yesterday a lecturer of mine asked my opinion regarding a course she's making up for the New Students who will have the privilege of studying Women & Gender Studies and that made me feel awesome. Especially because I told her to check out Henry Jenkins and The Society of Friends of the Text, because fan interpretations deserve to be taught in Academia.
eumelia: (nice jewish girl)
In Alphabetical order and a tiny bit of commentary:

Algeria: Defying a ban, protesters demonstrate in heavily policed Algiers. The demonstrations in Algeria in early January due to food shortages, but really, the poverty level in a country that is very rich in natural resources (and a long term dictator) showed it was a matter of time.

Bahrain: Bahrain mourner killed in clashes during another protester's funeral. The violence coming from the government in response to the protests has been overwhelming.

Iran: Police confirm protest death. The Reformists demonstrations never stopped, it just wasn't reported with the same fervor as when it started, but now that fire is sweeping through the region, it makes sense that the demo's are gathering greater numbers and are being suppressed with more violence.

Israel: While the region begins it's slow slog towards something resembling democratic process, we continue to dig our heels is and write out racist legislation like a Bill proposes discount in tuition fees for soldiers - meaning that higher education will become even more inaccessible than it already is to the working class - it is racist and ethnically based because the only ones drafted are Jews and the Druze (only men in this case) meaning that those who do not serve (i.e. Arabs, who also happen to be the most economically disenfranchised) will find it very hard to study at university, creating an even greater disparity between classes that (miraculously) coincide with ethnic and religious groups.

Palestine: Palestinian government resigns in hope of fresh start. Allow me to be more scathing than usual. The PA is so scared of what's happening in the region, the fact that just a few days about Saeb Ereakat resigned because of the Palestine Papers that they'll do anything to make appearnces of appeasement, while they suppress anti-PA demonstrations. Hamas, by the way, will not be running in these elections as it rejects Fatah authority. Like this schism is anything new.

Syria: Schoolgirl blogger jailed. A week after Syria opens their internet up for Twitter and Facebook. The Asad regime is in survival mode, it has been for years now.

Yemen: Yemen protests enter fifth day. The numbers are small, and there isn't a huge presence of women in Sanaa, but following reports on Twitter informs me that there was sizable female presence in Taizz.

That's what I got.

Auspicious

Jan. 1st, 2011 04:15 pm
eumelia: (nice jewish girl)
Happy New Year, if you celebrated I hope y'all aren't hung over.

For me, the new year actually started with the birth of my new Niece who was born two weeks ago, so really, the passage to 2011 didn't feel to important comparatively.


Some changed regarding this DW/LJ for 2011. I've started writing in Hebrew on a different platform, which is one of the reasons I hadn't been writing much here the past couple of weeks. That, and Uni is beginning to crunch, I'm being very bad writing here instead of studying.
So I may not write that much about politics here, though I don't know.

The current political climate in my locale is fucking scary. The fact that the court actually gave a guilty verdict to former president Katsav on two counts of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment is a small ray of light, that justice was served is a real point of optimism in an otherwise pretty bleak atmosphere.

This morning, Jawaher Abu Rahmah, died of tear gas inhilation. Yesterday was the 1000th demonstration against the illegal fence/wall that partisions the West Bank from Israel and at the same time annexes vast amounts of land belonging to the West Bank to the so-called Israeli side (the whole notion of the Green Line is pretty much dead). She was resident of Bil'in, anti-fence activist and sister of Bassem Abu Rahmah who died in April 2009 from a direct hit of a tear-gas canister.

And people are surprised that people become Shahid. And you're damn right there will be harsh reactions.

Of course, that's the crazy Palestinians and to be frank, I'm not sure how many outside my milieu actually give a damn.

But let's talk about them crazy Jews, who, much to my horror, appear to be a great majority rather than not.
I can't remember if I wrote about this at the time, but a few months ago, 50 municipal Rabbis (Separation of state and religion? What is this thing you speak of?) signed a letter calling flat owners not to rent flats to Arabs.
This sparked a huge wave of protest against this deceleration and of course for this deceleration as it pretty much fed the already burning fire of racism that is so entrenched in Israeli discourse. The biggest demonstration against Arab residents was in Bat-Yam, a city adjacent to south Tel-Aviv, there though, the focus was about - and I shudder to write this - miscegenation.

The notion of the nation's cunt being under attack is not a new one, but it is certainly gaining momentum, as the Rabbis' wives published a letter telling us, daughters of Israel, to stay away and not date Arab men.
There has been no mention of Israeli men to not date Arab women, of course, as it is Arab men who are hyper-sexualised (as all "primitives" are) and women who are fickle enough to fall under their Svengalli spell.

This is the society my baby niece has been born into.

Unfortunately, the voices of opposition which are not considered legitimate because they are part of the Reform Movement which has no standing whatsoever when it comes to Israeli Jewish thought.

Here's to 2011.

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.

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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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