Professional Jellyfish

Posts tagged something to think about

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What is interesting, is that the Frida Kahlo venerated by American feminists is a very different Frida Kahlo to the one people learn about in Mexico, in the Chicano community. In her country, she is recognized as an important artist and a key figure in revolutionary politics of early 20th century Mexico. Her communist affiliations are made very clear. Her relationship with Trotsky is underscored. All her political activities with Diego Rivera are constantly emphasized. The connection between her art and her politics is always made. When Chicana artists became interested in Frida Kahlo in the ‘70s and started organizing homages, they made the connection between her artistic project and theirs because they too were searching for an aesthetic compliment to a political view that was radical and emancipatory. But when the Euro-American feminists latch onto Frida Kahlo in the early ‘80s and when the American mainstream caught on to her, she was transformed into a figure of suffering. I am very critical of that form of appropriation.
Coco Fusco on her Amerindians piece from 1992 with Guillermo Gómez-Peña (via tofunkey)

(Source:, via megii-of-mysteri-ousstranger)

Filed under history art interesting something to think about

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Anonymous asked: that ask about the nonbinary gender petition u reblogged was rly verbose and sort of? went right over my head ?? if it isnt too much trouble would u mind explaining why its not a good idea to support it







I can totally do that to help you!

Basically, if the government legally recognised nonbinary genders, it would mean a lot more gatekeeping and restrictions for trans people, especially trans people of color.

How do you know you’re really a woman? You must just be a nonbinary camab person, you don’t present in the way you should by our guidelines. Are you sure you’re REALLY nonbinary? You’ll need to fill out these forms and see these doctors to prove it. And you can only get access to these things if you’re in an area that has these particular offices/if you have enough money- so not in the inner cities or in predominantly black communities. Gotta go to the ‘burbs to file for being nonbinary, not to mention have all the money for processing fees.

In addition, it helps support the whole “keeping people filed away” thing that the government does. Another way to keep tabs on queer people and people of color. It allows for regulation of identities, which has always been a super imperalist/white colonialist thing to do! 

So, to sum THAT summary up: The nonbinary petition seems like a REALLY GOOD IDEA on paper, but in the end, it’ll just cause more unfair restrictions and rules for trans women and QPoC, as well as make the government even more present in everyday life for these groups. 

I personally have not reblogged or supported the petition because nonbinary people continue to frame this issue in a western centric way and continue to not mention how nonbinary people in countries like Pakistan and Nepal have been legally recognized. It’s racist and colonialist to erase the fact nonbinary genders have been recognized in non-western countries, and the fate the face is DUE to colonialism. A lot of the activism white cafab nonbinary people do is like this: erasing the gender variant people abroad. So I don’t like their approach—it’s something i’ve become more aware of as a white cafab non binary person myself

but, and maybe I’m missing something here because I am privileged, I don’t see how that the legal option of registering as non binary is inherently bad thing as long is it’s not requiremed and I fail to see how it even could be a requirement that’s enforced—that’s not what’s happened with trans people filing as binary genders. like it’s honestly triggering and psychologically trying for people in every institution i am in to misgender me day in and day out and that legal recognition would help me function in society.

Like the whole argument “gotta got to the burbs and file” “money for processing fees” would make sense if it was a requirement to file, but I fail to see how it would be or even could be. As far as I can tell the idea is to give people the option to file if they want to and/or are able to.

I also don’t understand why the legal right for nonbinary people to be recognized as their gender if they so choose is so up for debate, but no trans people (that I know of) question the legal right for someone to file as a different binary gender than what they were assigned. Because many of the same issues fall out of that; i.e. those binary trans people are in the government’s files, trans people who aren’t legally recognized may be seen as less legitimate, you have to pay money and jump through legal hoops to be recognized as your gender in certain institutions, etc etc - like all the problems you list about that are already an issue because gender is on file period. and yet few people in the trans community I know of act like the legal right to register as a binary gender other than what you were assigned is inherently normative or harmful. Also, despite the pitfalls of legally registering, a lot of trans people DO benefit from that legal right to register as a different binary gender because they don’t have to be constantly misgendered and triggered and have the law to back up them up on their gender which is what non binary people are seeking. Also, if they want to live stealth/not out to people they also can by being legally recognized as their gender. Nonbinary people might not be able to be stealth, but if we wish we could conceal our assigned genders—which is something we legally cannot do at this time (unless we register as the “opposite” binary gender). I think trans people are smart enough to figure out whether filing is in their interest or not. That’s how it has worked with binary genders, and I don’t see why it wouldn’t work the same way with non binary genders.

Also, as nonbinary genders become more well known, yeah, psychologists will probably pull that policing shit, they already pull that shit on trans people as it is, whether it’s legally recognized or not. What also happens a lot is nonbinary people pretending to be binary to even have access to hormones or surgery. So I don’t really see how making it legally recognized would change that issue much. Unless you’re saying that the legal option of nonbinary genders would inherently make it harder for a binary person to legally acquire the right to be recognized as binary… But I think you need more evidence to support that claim because I’m not seeing it.

I don’t know. I’m white and cafab so it’s very possible I’m missing something and want to hear from other people on this (esp trans ppl who are camab and/or of color) but a lot of this just doesn’t seem accurate—especially since other countries have passed laws like this, and I’ve yet to see evidence that things like this have happened. I’m also annoyed that people ignore the fact that the legal recognition isn’t just about being “acknowledged” by the “normative society.” It’s about not being constantly misgendered all the time, which can be triggering, much like why binary trans people want the right to change their legal gender.

Let me just point out that in countries where changing your legal gender is possible, this is considered a logical and unavoidable step for binary trans people, to the point where it is either de jure or de facto mandatory to change your legal gender to classify as “trans enough” for legal protections or medical care.

It’s totally plausible that this would extend to nonbinary legal identity, particularly with how legal recognition is being painted as the main major struggle of nonbinary people (which just goes to show how dominated advocacy is by afab people, who tend to have few problems accessing medical procedures as nonbinary, while amab nonbinary people’s main preoccupation is access to medical services and legal protections that are denied us because in the eyes of the authorities a genderqueer afab person is trans, but a genderqueer amab person is a disturbed pervert crossdresser). It is totally plausible that nonbinary people, particularly camab nonbinary people, would be forced to change legal gender as proof we are “trans enough” to receive medical treatment and legal protections, thus coercing us into the untolerably dangerous state of being constantly outed every time we engage in a formal legal interaction. Like, there’s a really good reason that the push for the ability to change binary gender included clear stipulations that the change be confidential, that it not be evident from public record that someone is a trans woman as opposed to a cis woman. No such luck for trans nonbinary people. There’s no privileged identity with an “X” on their ID that you can pretend to be when you don’t feel safe. Everyone’s going to assume you’re trans (even if technically the option might be open to intersex and other extra-binary identities as well), and trying to pass as binary will be fraud if in a legal context. Good luck with that.

I understand it is triggering to have the wrong gender on your documentation. I understand it is triggering to have to check one of two boxes that don’t apply to you. But the solution to that isn’t to institute a third box which basically says “I’m trans, come at me”, except maybe if you’re white middle-class afab and the most transphobia you face is people thinking your gender is “silly” or “imaginary” and rolling their eyes at you (which hurts, don’t get me wrong, but is a qualitatively different concern from knowing you might get stabbed if the word “trans” is associated with you by the wrong people).

If an extra gender option is supported by intersex people or by PoC whose traditional identities clash with the imposed Western binary, then I will support it as an ally of those communities, but I dislike it coming from the trans nonbinary community. Because it would likely hurt people, but also because even if it doesn’t it ignores far more pressing problems, especially for amab people, as far as access to resources and protections goes, in favour of treating a letter on your passport as the alpha and omega of nonbinary struggles.

Rally a movement around the idea of extending anti-discrimination laws regarding gender identity to explicitly include nonbinary identities, because they are often interpreted as solely referring to binary trans people.

Around allocating a part of trans visibility and protection programs to nonbinary people.

Around implementing gender-neutral bathrooms, a measure that would strongly improve the safety of particularly amab nonbinary people.

Around reforming the standards of care for medical transition aids towards informed consent that is inclusive of nonbinary identities, especially for amab people, who suffer the brunt of gatekeeping (just try asking for estrogen while wearing ambiguous or masculine clothes. You’ll get laughed out of most clinics).

But around legal gender? Come on. If your biggest problem as a trans person is not having the right legal gender, well, I’m not gonna say I don’t feel your pain in that regard, but it means you’re pretty privileged compared to other trans people and maybe you should hold and give us a leg up and a place in the conversation before marching on.

Oh also thank you very much for taking the time to explain all this to me, it was definitely really nice of you and you didn’t have to do it at all and it’s helped me understand a lot more

No worries. I’m glad people are taking the time to listen to the concerns of different parts of the community, and I feel that in general the initial excitement amongst the white afab corner has quite amicably given way to a more nuanced view as conversations have had time to happen, which I am grateful for.

I don’t fully oppose the petition and I have not campaigned against it save for expressing these reservations when the subject has been brought up, because ultimately it is in practice at most just going to be a way to stimulate broader awareness of nonbinary identities, but definitely moving forward the nonbinary advocacy vanguard would do well to take up the multiple pressing concerns of the more marginalised sectors of the community.

Totally! I think you’re right that people are starting to listen more and be a bit more nuanced instead of rah rah sis boom genderqu**r bah

That’s a good point, that maybe strongly opposing the petition isn’t necessary, but we need to have these conversations. And because you brought this up I wish this attempt to stimulate that awareness could have been framed around different issue(s) instead of this one.

Filed under gender and society societal perceptions of norms handy dandy info something to think about

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Today I want to talk about Polyamory because it’s something that gets brushed over and ignored quite a lot. It is also often misunderstood and seen as identical to patriarchal polygamy, and many polyamorous individuals are shamed for it.

Let’s start with what Polyamory IS. A polyamorous individual practices, desires, or accepts having more than one intimate relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved. This is NOT the same as someone who cheats on their partner. It is also distinct from swinging which emphasizes sex with others as recreational only.

Polyamory is also not the same as having commitment issues. Polyamerous individuals are fully committed to all of their partners, or to a single partner while still holding feelings for other people.

Polyamorous individuals are legitimately in love with more than one person. To them, love is not a limited commodity - in other words, they are capable of wholeheartedly loving multiple people at once. They also go against the idea that love is “scarce” and that a person can only have “one true love.” [Source] To a polyamorous person, love is abundant and unrestricted in this way.

Polyamory is in essence on the opposite end of the spectrum from aromanticism, and while how a polyamorous individual chooses to act on their feelings is within their own control, they are no more capable of not being polyamorous emotionally than an aromantic individual is capable of forcing themselves to have romantic feelings. Romantic orientation is a real thing, no more controllable than sexual orientation.

Again, it must be stressed that romantic orientation toward multiple people and cheating do not go hand in hand. Cheating is an act of breaching the trust in a relationship. Polyamory is cheating only when it’s non-consensual or multiple relationships exist without the knowledge of one or more significant others.

Kinds of Polyamorous Relationships Include:

-Polyfidelity: multiple romantic relationships with sexual contact restricted to only specific partners in the group

-Sub-Relationships: distinctions are made between primary and secondary relationships (e.g. most open marriages)

-Triad Relationships: three people who are romantically involved

-Quad Relationships: usually a relationship between a couple and another cuple

-Polygamyin which one person marries several spouses (who may or may not be married to, or have romantic relationships with, one another)

-Mono/Poly Relationshipswhere one partner is monogamous but agrees to the other having outside relationships

-Open Relationshipswhere participants may have sexual liaisons with others not within their core group of partners. Note that some open relationships may be open only sexually, while exclusive emotionally, or even vice-versa

In all of these examples, note once again that informed consent is key in all polyamorous relationship forms.

Polyamorous groups have attempted to define a set of values for polyamorous relationships. These stress that fidelity is faithfulness to the promises and agreements made about a relationship (a secret sexual relationship that violates those accords would be seen as a breach of fidelity); emphasize respect, trust, and honesty for all partners; polyamorists often advocate explicitly negotiating with all involved to establish the terms of their relationships, and often emphasize that this should be an ongoing process of honest communication and respectpoly relationships often involve establishing specific boundaries, or “ground rules” (for instance, consultation about new relationships); gender equality is also a common value as many polyamorists do not believe in different relationship “rules” based on gender, a point of contrast with some forms of religious non-monogamy which are often patriarchically based; and finally, most polyamorous individuals and their partners place value on non-possessiveness, viewing excessive restrictions on other deep relationships as less than desirable, as such restrictions can be used to replace trust with a framework of ownership and control. [Source]

Like other sexual minorities and members of the LGBTQIAP community, polyamorous people face discrimination, misunderstanding, hatred, and contempt on a regular basis.

I suspect no one will reblog this because people don’t seem to give a shit about anyone besides the LG in LGBTQIAP. But these people exist and they matter and they are seriously discriminated against.

Having marriages with multiple partners is illegal in most places and polyamorous people are near-constantly called “sluts” and generally shamed for their feelings.

Having multiple consensual relationships doesn’t harm anyone. It doesn’t somehow ruin the sanctity of your monogamous relationship or marriage.

There’s also a huge historical precedent for polyamory.

In China, “traditional culture does not prohibit or explicitly encourage polygyny (one man, multiple women)” and “polyandry, the practice of one woman having multiple husbands, is traditionally considered by the majority Han as immoral,” however, “amongst other Chinese ethnicities polyandry existed and exists especially in mountainous areas.” [Source]

North American Tribal marriage practices vary from tribe to tribe, but the majority of tribes practice some form of polygyny. All sexual practices can be found throughout the tribes, including polygny, polyandry, wife-swapping, premarital sex, extramarital sex, and monogamy, however it is rare that monogamy is the sole sexual practice found in any given tribe." [Source]

And when I studied Viking Age Scandinavia for my history thesis, I came across many instances of polyamorous relationships which were totally acceptable until the adoption of Christianity (and even persisted for some time after it, infuriating Church leaders).

If you’re interested in polyamorous relationships, Robert Heinlein’s 1961 book “Stranger in a Strange Land" is a highly influential work that depicts plural partnerships.


(via gingerbreadcat)

Filed under love these are a few of my favorite things something to think about

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The Pink Choice

Even though many people seem to be open about homosexuality, it turned out to be untrue when I showed people photos of homosexual couples in intimate moments. Most of them found the photos disgusting and unacceptable. This reaction was a source of inspiration to me. My goal was to make photos about homosexuals that incite feelings of romantic love that is natural and beautiful. I chose to capture casual daily activities of the couples that can be familiar to anyone. By doing so, I hope to make the audience become interested, then gradually empathize with homosexual people.

Many projects/artworks on homosexuality in Vietnam tend to focus on either deviances (especially in movies, with images of homosexuals portrayed in ridiculous clothing and make-up, mincing, shrewish or rude manners…) or symbolic images. In photography, homosexuals are not presented as themselves in pictures. And if they are, they’re usually photographed from behind or with masks on. These all foster weird and absurd images of homosexuals rather then present more understanding perspectives. In turn, homosexuals become even more intimidated and isolated.

The Pink Choice has a different approach as it seeks out personal stories using direct language: documentary photography to capture real moments and real people.

Moreover, stories about homosexuality in Vietnam and also in the world usually end in tragedy, especially in movies. On one hand, this tragic style of storytelling can make audience become more sympathetic and understanding of the difficulties that homosexuals experience. On the other hand, the drama of homosexuals can also cause misunderstandings that lives of homosexuals are vulnerable and regretful, and that the choice to “come out” is an incredible effort against the community’s way of life. The point is, in real life, there are many homosexual people who live happily with their identity. There are homosexual couples who love, nurture and build a happy family life together.

The Pink Choice is a series of photos about the love of homosexual couples which focus on living spaces, the affectionate touches, and more importantly, the synchronized rhythm of lovers sharing life together. Viewers may not feel the personalities of the subjects in the photos, but hopefully they can feel the warmth of their love and caring. In way, I wanted to show what I see of homosexual people and not how they see themselves.

Photographer: Maika Elan

Maika is respresented by MoST. If you’d like to find out more about them you should click here.

(via bokekkomi)

Filed under something to think about

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Most upsetting thing I’ve learned this semester: African Americans took thirty years to establish Seneca Village, NYC as an autonomous village with churches, homes, organizations where they could have freedom and exert political control. The village was destroyed by white backlash culminating in the creation of Central Park on that site to, which successfully erased it from the city’s history.






The fucking tears in my eyes right now.

oh yeah, i used to talk about this my first semester at school since i was learning about it

fucking decimated the place

what…the fuck…

(via megii-of-mysteri-ousstranger)

Filed under history racism something to think about

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We can’t keep raising generations of kids of color on the notion that there’s only room for them to be bad guys or doomed sidekicks or another generation of white kids thinking they’re closer to God because of how they look. We can’t keep promoting hetero/cis-normative sexist and racist ideas in our literature. That is the default setting. If you aren’t consciously working against it, you are working for it. Neutrality is not an option, and the luxury of thinking it is has to go.
Daniel José Older, “12 Fundamentals Of Writing ‘The Other’ (And The Self)” (via larmoyante)

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Filed under these comments are golden writing something to think about societal perceptions of norms