It’s LGBTQ Pride Month

lgbtq pride 2016

All people deserve to live with dignity and respect, free from fear and violence, and protected against discrimination, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.

– Barack Obama in his Presidential Proclamation for LGBT Pride Month 2015

June is LGBTQ Pride Month. Celebrate with us!

Visit The Philosopher’s Eye Blog each Monday this month to read think pieces from Wiley authors and LGBTQ advocates. You’ll also get unlocked access to journal articles and book excerpts that examine the ethical, social, and philosophical issues faced by the LGBTQ community.

Join us as we continue the necessary conversation on LGBTQ rights, awareness, and support.

Happy Reading,

The Wiley Blackwell Philosophy Team

 

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Ageing into Lesbian-Feminism – An Excerpt from a Life

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It was 1969, I was just 12 years old, and Stonewall had not yet happened. My best friend Linda and I hung out at the local schoolyard wearing army jackets with male names emblazoned on the pocket. She was not just my friend, though I had no name for what we were.

When I smacked a boy upside the head who tried to grab my breasts, the home economics teacher said if I couldn’t stop acting like that no boy would ever marry me. I had no vision of what life could be without marrying a boy and gay marriage was still an oxymoron; I decided that marriage was a trap that I would never willingly step into. I mostly still think that.

I discovered feminism with an insatiable hunger. I read every book, bought every woman’s music album and joined consciousness raising groups, and coming out groups.

Today my female students often insist they are not feminists. My feminism is quaint to them, not the radical edge of human transformation, but nostalgia from a bygone generation. In their eyes I am a woman who still thinks that gender matters. Of course they believe in equal rights and equal pay for equal work. Of course they think that “girls” should go to college and become doctors. Their definition of feminism is: a woman who hates men. I try to explain that it was actually men who hated women, and we rebelled, us feminists. I tell them that all they have in their lives today is the fruits of a movement that women planted with our own hands, the soil was our very bodies. Gender, I insist, still matters.

The lesbian-feminist community that reared me does not exist anymore. The small coffee houses, the sense of commonality are relics of another day. Partially the movement that was, has been absorbed into the larger LGBTQQI-alphabet soup movement for queer civil rights. Partially it became transformed into academic women’s studies programs. Partially it has been co-opted, sold out to the dazzle of consumer capitalism and the lure of romantic security, represented by gay business and gay marriage. A friend smiles and says, “We really thought we could change the world,” and I remind her: we did. We changed the world.

I work for transgender rights and argue queer theory, and insist that it is feminism which was the mother of these freedoms. I give credit to women’s liberation for not only changing my world, but for changing the whole world, for starting a dialogue about rethinking gender that continues on today. Like all important tasks, dismembering patriarchy is the work of my many lifetimes.

I am nearly a crone now — more than half a century on this blessed planet, and I’m still doing my work. I still devour feminist books, but I do not allow feminism to devour me. I am critical of some of what has been done in the name of feminism, but I will not let other women define feminism for me, or dictate which acts of mine are feminist and which are colonized. I keep insisting that feminism is not a dirty word, but is a movement that has made possible all that has come since.

I embrace the queer youth of today, and I know they can do what they are doing precisely because we did the work of feminism. I plan to get old, grow my facial hair, get another tattoo, and wear bright red lipstick. Feminism has given me the freedom to be fully myself.

By Arlene Istar Lev LCSW, CASAC

Arlene Istar Lev is a social worker, family therapist, activist, and mother. She is the Founder of Choices Counseling and Consulting (www.choicesconsulting.com), and The Institute for Gender, Relationships, Identity and Sexuality (TIGRIS – www.tigrisinstitute.com). She can be reached at 518-438-2222 or Arlene@choicesconsulting.com.

We encourage you to read more on LGBT and family/child ethics with our special collection here on the blog and to comment below.

Queering Philosophy—How can queer theory inform and transform the practice of philosophy?

Linda Martin Alcoff - LecturerWithin philosophy, queer theory remains marginal and mostly invisible. Often it is relegated to the philosophical sidelines as “activism, not philosophy,” as a special personal concern of demographic minorities that remain underrepresented in the profession. However, as Linda Alcoff argued in her Presidential Address to the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association in 2012 (text: http://www.alcoff.com/articles/presidential-adress-apa-eastern-2012; video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Ud2yh6dV2I), the problem of demography is not coincidental to the issue of bodies of knowledge, canonical archives and questions, and preferred methods of inquiry. The goal then has to be not to establish queer theory as a recognized subfield in philosophy, but to elaborate how the questions and methods of queer thought can more generally inform and transform the practice of philosophy and its standards for knowledge production.

Even if we accept this goal, it is far from clear how exactly we might pursue it and put it into practice. We need a large toolbox of inroads and strategies. What strategies do you propose?

One starting point, to my mind, needs to be to reject the rhetorical gesture that renders queerness as something that “is studied only out of personal interest” or something studied “objectively” from a distance. This gesture positions the “ideal” philosophical authorial voice at a distance to queerness, taking shelter in an implied straightness and consequently leaving heteronormativity intact at a deeper level. My point here is not about requiring the personal self-identification of an article’s or book’s author. It is instead about questioning the institution of the academic authorial voice, namely, how the implied perception of an author’s gender, sexuality, age, race, institutional and geographic context shape how much authority is attributed to them proleptically.

Marginalized minority voices tend to have to render proof of their academic competence and must first refute the suspicion of being “purely personally politically motivated” rather than writing “proper research.” The standard of “proper” academic writing turns out not to be as neutral and universal, as we often like to assume, but rather a male, white, European, and heteronormative “voice” of knowledge and competence. This is the case even though the actual bodies inhabiting that academic voice can look preciously little like a straight white European man. The point is that queerness and queer method are irreducible to individual bodies and desires. Queerness and queer method pertain just as much, if not even more, to structures, practices, and institutions.

Rather than observing and studying the queerness of others elsewhere, we need to subject the straightness of our institutions and institutional privilege to critique. We need to ask how to develop a structural, institutional queerness that is not reducible to personal identity or preferences. We might ask how not to write about queerness, but how to write as a queer we.

Annika Thiem
Villanova University
Local Board Member of Hypatia

World, City, Queer

World, City, Queer” is a collection of papers edited by Natalie Oswin (McGill University, Canada).

While scholars have become increasingly attuned to the geographies of LGBT in/tolerance across the world’s countries, the ways in which the global and national dimensions of LGBT politics are tied to the world’s cities have received limited attention. This is a particularly important omission since we are seeing sexual difference increasingly marshalled as a symbol of “progress” and “modernity” for the purposes of fostering national and urban competitiveness in various contexts. The symposium puts work on sexuality and the city into conversation with debates on global urbanism to provide a framework for understanding the “worlding” of queerness that focuses on the relationships between globalization, urbanization and sexual politics.

Last year Natalie and Bobby Benedicto (McGill University, Canada) received an International Workshop Award from the Antipode Foundation (http://antipodefoundation.org/international-workshop-awards/201314-recipients/iwa-1314-oswin/), enabling them to continue this conversation.


00664812Antipode Special Issue: World, City, Queer

World, City, Queer
Natalie Oswin (McGill University)

Queer Worldings: The Messy Art of Being Global in Manila and New York
Martin F. Manalansan IV (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

The Queer Afterlife of the Postcolonial City: (Trans)gender Performance and the War of Beautification
Bobby Benedicto (McGill University)

Welcoming the World? Hospitality, Homonationalism, and the London 2012 Olympics
Phil Hubbard (University of Kent) and Eleanor Wilkinson (University of Leeds)

Pinkwashing, Homonationalism, and Israel-Palestine: The Conceits of Queer Theory and the Politics of the Ordinary
Jason Ritchie (Florida International University)

Queering Critiques of Neoliberalism in India: Urbanism and Inequality in the Era of Transnational “LGBTQ” Rights
Svati P. Shah (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)

Buenos Aires Beyond (Homo)Sexualized Urban Entrepreneurialism: The Geographies of Queered Tango
J. Miguel Kanai (University of Miami)

Limits of Dissent, Perils of Activism: Spaces of Resistance and the New Security Logic (pages 671–688)
Merav Amir and Hagar Kotef

Economic Crisis, (Creative) Destruction, and the Current Urban Condition (pages 689–707)
Ståle Holgersen

Class Meets Land: The Social Mobilization of Land as Catalyst for Urban Change (pages 708–729)
Maria Kaika and Luca Ruggiero

The Crumbling Fortress: Territory, Access, and Subjectivity Production in Waza National Park, Northern Cameroon (pages 730–747)
Alice B. Kelly

The Elusive Inclusive: Black Food Geographies and Racialized Food Spaces (pages 748–769)
Margaret Marietta Ramírez

Rêve Général Illimité? The Role of Creative Protest in Transforming the Dynamics of Space and Time During the 2012 Quebec Student Strike (pages 770–791)
Jennifer Beth Spiegel

Wasted Life: Labour, Liveliness, and the Production of Value (pages 792–811)
Anna Stanley

Food Co-ops and the Paradox of Exclusivity (pages 812–828)
Andrew Zitcer