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Eight questions Palestinian queers are tired of hearing  →

queertheoryissexy:

1. Doesn’t Israel provide Palestinian queers with a safe haven?

Of course it does: the apartheid wall has sparkly pink doors lining it, ready to admit those who strike a fabulous pose. In fact, Israel built the wall to keep Palestinian homophobes out and to protect Palestinian queers who seek refuge in it.

But seriously: “Israel” creates refugees; it does not shelter refugees. There has never been a case of a Palestinian — a descendant of a family or families who were forcibly displaced, sometimes massacred, often thrown in jail without charge — magically transcending the living legacy of this history to find him or herself granted asylum in “Israel” — the state that committed these atrocities.

If some people manage to cross the wall and end up in Tel Aviv, they are considered “illegal.” They end up working and living in horrible conditions, trying to avoid being arrested.

2. Aren’t all Palestinians homophobic?

Are all Americans homophobic? Of course not. Unfortunately, Western representations of Palestinians, particularly lesbian, gay, transgender or queer Palestinians, tend to ignore diversity in Palestinian society.

That being said, Palestinians are living under a decades-long military occupation. The occupation amplifies the diverse forms of oppression that are experienced in every society.

However, homophobia is not the way we contextualize our struggle. This is a notion comes from specific type of activism in the global north.

How can we single out homophobia from a complex oppressive system (patriarchy) that oppresses women, and gender non-conforming people?

3. How do you deal with your main enemy, Islam?

Oh, we have a main enemy now? If we had to single out a main enemy that would be occupation, not religion — Islam or otherwise.

More fundamentalist forms of religion are presently enjoying a global resurgence, including in many Western societies.

We don’t view religion as our main exceptional challenge. Still, increased religious sentiment, regardless of which religion, almost always creates obstacles for those interested in promoting respect for gender and sexual diversity.

Palestinian nationalism has a long history of respect for secularism. This provides a set of cultural values useful in advocating for LGBTQ Palestinians.

Furthermore, religion is often an important part of Palestinian LGBTQ people’s identities. We respect all of our communities’ identities and make space for diversity.

4. Are there any out Palestinians?

I’m glad you asked that question. We have great Palestinian gay carpenters who build such amazing closets for queers with all the Western comforts you can dream of — we never want to leave.

Once again the notion of coming out — or the politics of visibility — is a strategy that has been adopted by some LGBT activists in the global north, due to specific circumstances. Imposing this strategy on the rest of the world, without understanding context, is a colonial project.

Ask us instead what social change strategies apply to our context, and whether the notion of coming out even makes sense.

5. Why are there no Israelis in al-Qaws?

Colonialism is not about bad people being mean to others (“bad” Israelis don’t steal queer Palestinians’ lunch money). Being super “good” doesn’t magically dissolve systems of oppression.

Our organization works within Palestinian society, across borders imposed by the occupation. The challenges that LGBTQ Israelis face are nothing like the ones faced by Palestinians.

We are talking about two different societies with different cultures and histories; the fact that they are currently occupying our land doesn’t make us one society.

Moreover, being queer does not eliminate the power dynamic between the colonized and colonizer despite the best of intentions.

We resist the “global, pink, happy, gay family” sentiment. Palestinian-only organizing is essential to decolonizing and improving Palestinian society.

6. I saw this film about gay Palestinians (Invisible Men/Bubble/Out In The Dark, etc.) and I feel I learned a lot about your struggle

You mean the films that were made by privileged Israeli or Jewish filmmakers portraying white Israelis as saviors and Palestinians as victims that needed saving?

These films strip the voice and agency of Palestinian queers, portraying them as victims that need saving from their own society.

Moreover, these films rely on racist tropes of Arab men as volatile and dangerous. These films are simply pinkwashing propaganda, funded by the Israeli government, with a poignant oppressed/oppressor love story the glitter on top.

If you want to learn about the reality of our community and our struggle, try listening to what queer Palestinians have to say, at the Al-Qaws or Palestinian Queers for BDS websites.

7. Isn’t fighting for gay rights a more pressing issue than pinkwashing?

Mainstream LGBT groups in the North would have us believe that queers live in a separate world, only connected to their societies as victims of homophobia.

But you cannot have queer liberation while apartheid, patriarchy, capitalism and other oppressions exist. It’s important to target the connections of these oppressive forces.

Furthermore, pinkwashing is a strategy used by the Brand Israel campaign to garner the support of queers in other parts of the world. It is simply an attempt to make the Zionist project more appealing to queer people.

This is another iteration of a familiar and toxic colonial fantasy — that the colonizer can provide something important and necessary that the colonized cannot possibly provide for themselves.

Pinkwashing strips away our voices, history and agency, telling the world that Israel knows what is best for us. By targeting pinkwashing we are reclaiming our agency, history, voices and bodies, telling the world what we want and how to support us.

8. Why do you use terms from “the West” like LGBT or queer to describe your struggle? How do you answer that critique?

Though we have occasionally been branded as tokenized, complicit with Israel, naïve and Westernized (by those based in the West), our activists bring decades of experience and on-the-ground analysis of cultural imperialism and Orientalism.

This has provided the raw material for many an itinerant academic. However, the work of those in the Ivory Tower is rarely, if ever, accountable to those working in the field nor does it acknowledge its power (derived from the same colonial economy) on activists.

We are accountable to our local communities and the values developed over years of organizing.

Language is a strategy, but it does not eclipse the totality of who we are and what we do. The words that have gained global currency — LGBTQ — are used with great caution in our grassroots movements. Simply because such words emerged from a particular context and political moment does not mean they carry that same political content when deployed in our context.

The language that we use is always revisited and expanded through our work. Language catalyzes discussions and pushes us to think more critically, but no word whether in English or Arabic can do the work. Only a movement can.

(Source: sexistentialisms)

shadesofnerdness:


The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch 
published: May 1, 1980
““Elizabeth was a beautiful princess. She lived in a castle and had expensive princess clothes. She was going to marry a prince named Ronald.
Unfortunately, a dragon smashed her castle, burned all her clothes with his fiery breath, and carried off Prince Ronald.
Elizabeth decided to chase the dragon and get Ronald back. She looked everywhere for something to wear, but the only thing she could find that was not burnt was a paper bag. So she put on the paper bag and followed the dragon. He was easy to follow, because he left a trail of burnt forests and horses’ bones.
Finally, Elizabeth came to a cave with a large door that had a huge knocker on it. She took hold of the knocker and banged on the door. The dragon stuck his nose out of the door and said, “Well, a princess! I love to eat princesses, but I have already eaten a whole castle today. I am a very busy dragon. Come back tomorrow.” He slammed the door so fast that Elizabeth almost got her nose caught.
Elizabeth grabbed the knocker and banged on the door again. The dragon stuck his nose out of the door and said, “Go away. I love to eat princesses, but I have already eaten a whole castle today. I am a very busy dragon. Come back tomorrow.” “Wait,” shouted Elizabeth. “Is it true that you are the smartest and fiercest dragon in the whole world?” “Yes,” said the dragon.
“Is it true,” said Elizabeth, “that you can burn up ten forests with your fiery breath?” “Oh, yes,” said the dragon, and he took a huge, deep breath and breathed out so much fire that he burnt up fifty forests.
“Fantastic,” said Elizabeth, and the dragon took another huge breath and breathed out so much fire that he burnt up one hundred forests. “Magnificent,” said Elizabeth, and the dragon took another huge breath, but this time nothing came out. The dragon didn’t even have enough fire left to cook a meatball.
Elizabeth said, “Dragon, is it true that you can fly around the world in just ten seconds?” “Why, yes,” said the dragon, and jumped up and flew all the way around the world in just ten seconds. He was very tired when he got back, but Elizabeth shouted, “Fantastic, do it again!”
So the dragon jumped up and flew around the whole world in just twenty seconds. When he got back he was too tired to talk, and he lay down and went straight to sleep.
Elizabeth whispered, very softly, “Hey, dragon.” The dragon didn’t move at all. She lifted up the dragon’s ear and put her head right inside. She shouted as loud as she could, “Hey dragon!” The dragon was so tired he didn’t even move.
Elizabeth walked right over the dragon and opened the door to the cave. There was Prince Ronald. He looked at her and said, “Elizabeth, you are a mess! You smell like ashes, your hair is all tangled and you are wearing a dirty old paper bag. Come back when you are dressed like a real princess.”
“Ronald,” said Elizabeth, “your clothes are really pretty and your hair is very neat. You look like a real prince, but you are a bum.”
They didn’t get married after all.””

"This story is a success because it is real. There are no princes but there are a lot of bums, and you don’t want to marry one." 
-Robert Munch 
15,977 notes Reblog

shadesofnerdness:

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch 

published: May 1, 1980

““Elizabeth was a beautiful princess. She lived in a castle and had expensive princess clothes. She was going to marry a prince named Ronald.

Unfortunately, a dragon smashed her castle, burned all her clothes with his fiery breath, and carried off Prince Ronald.

Elizabeth decided to chase the dragon and get Ronald back. She looked everywhere for something to wear, but the only thing she could find that was not burnt was a paper bag. So she put on the paper bag and followed the dragon. He was easy to follow, because he left a trail of burnt forests and horses’ bones.

Finally, Elizabeth came to a cave with a large door that had a huge knocker on it. She took hold of the knocker and banged on the door. The dragon stuck his nose out of the door and said, “Well, a princess! I love to eat princesses, but I have already eaten a whole castle today. I am a very busy dragon. Come back tomorrow.” He slammed the door so fast that Elizabeth almost got her nose caught.

Elizabeth grabbed the knocker and banged on the door again. The dragon stuck his nose out of the door and said, “Go away. I love to eat princesses, but I have already eaten a whole castle today. I am a very busy dragon. Come back tomorrow.” “Wait,” shouted Elizabeth. “Is it true that you are the smartest and fiercest dragon in the whole world?” “Yes,” said the dragon.

“Is it true,” said Elizabeth, “that you can burn up ten forests with your fiery breath?” “Oh, yes,” said the dragon, and he took a huge, deep breath and breathed out so much fire that he burnt up fifty forests.

“Fantastic,” said Elizabeth, and the dragon took another huge breath and breathed out so much fire that he burnt up one hundred forests. “Magnificent,” said Elizabeth, and the dragon took another huge breath, but this time nothing came out. The dragon didn’t even have enough fire left to cook a meatball.

Elizabeth said, “Dragon, is it true that you can fly around the world in just ten seconds?” “Why, yes,” said the dragon, and jumped up and flew all the way around the world in just ten seconds. He was very tired when he got back, but Elizabeth shouted, “Fantastic, do it again!”

So the dragon jumped up and flew around the whole world in just twenty seconds. When he got back he was too tired to talk, and he lay down and went straight to sleep.

Elizabeth whispered, very softly, “Hey, dragon.” The dragon didn’t move at all. She lifted up the dragon’s ear and put her head right inside. She shouted as loud as she could, “Hey dragon!” The dragon was so tired he didn’t even move.

Elizabeth walked right over the dragon and opened the door to the cave. There was Prince Ronald. He looked at her and said, “Elizabeth, you are a mess! You smell like ashes, your hair is all tangled and you are wearing a dirty old paper bag. Come back when you are dressed like a real princess.”

“Ronald,” said Elizabeth, “your clothes are really pretty and your hair is very neat. You look like a real prince, but you are a bum.”

They didn’t get married after all.””

"This story is a success because it is real. There are no princes but there are a lot of bums, and you don’t want to marry one."

-Robert Munch 

metalgender:

Less characters being portrayed as being violent because they are neuroatypical

More characters being portrayed as being violent cause they have entire social institutions backing them up / supporting them

(Source: annalevys)

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