Understanding Oppression Media Challenge: Day 4 - LGBTQ+ Oppression
The Understanding Oppression: 5-Day Media Challenge is designed to provide resources to help educate, interrogate and dismantle different forms of oppression. Day 4 of the challenge focuses on LGBTQ+ Oppression.
Day 4: LBGTQ+ Oppression
Topic 1 - Fetishizing Queerness
Article: “Stop Fetishizing Queer Women of Color like Me” by Olivia Zayas Ryan, Campus Ambassador for GLAAD
In this piece, Olivia Zayas Ryan looks at the ways in which sexual harassment and sexual violence are simultaneously normalized and exacerbated on college campuses – particularly for queer women of color. As she notes, 46% of bisexual+ (bi, pansexual, fluid) women have experienced sexual assault, and 71% of bisexual+ women have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking and intimate partner violence. When the experiences of queer women of color are erased, hyper-sexualized, and fetishized, this normalizes the sexual harassment they subsequently experience – thus leading to higher rates of violence.
Article: “Bisexuality is more than just a PornHub category” by Isabella Simonetti, The Daily Pennsylvanian
The preoccupation of and fetishizing of queer women, particularly bisexual women, is the result of bi-erasure. The concept of bi-erasure examines the ways in which society denies bisexuality (often denying queerness) and subsequently attributing the experiences of queerness to sexual experimentation or sexual confusion that will pass. This is often illustrated in pornographic tropes, and PornHub revealed, for example, that “lesbian” is among the most searched topics on its site.
Know when your own assumptions and behaviors contribute to the erasure of queer people. Challenge yourself and others to recognize erasure and do better in the future!
Topic 2 - Trans Identities and Issues
Video: What Does “Two Spirit” Mean?
SUNY Brockport exists on the ancestral lands of the Seneca, and it is important for conversations of LGBTQIA+ liberation through a lens of decolonization. For example, the concept of trans people is often framed through Western-European pedagogies, but we know that trans identities were recognized by indigenous populations in the Americas for centuries before the arrival of European colonialists. This video talks about the history and meaning of the phrase “Two Spirit” and its use among the various tribal nations of North America.
Article: “Fatal Violence Against the Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Community in 2020” – Human Rights Campaign
In 2020, at least 44 trans people were murdered – the majority of whom were Black and Latinx trans women. It is important to note that this number is potentially higher because the murder of trans people often goes unreported or is misreported. The Human Rights Campaign has been tracking violence against trans people since 2013, and, sadly, the organization found that 2020 was the most violent year in their records.
SUNY Brockport respects the right of our students to live authentically. For this reason, the institution has in place a Name Change process so that trans students can live authentically. After completing this process, a student’s name will appear correctly on their Eagle One ID cards, Blackboard, Banner, and other college systems.
Topic 3 – Queer Liberation v. Queer Assimilation
As a queer man, Darren Stehle’s podcast seeks to radically reject the concept of queer assimilation in favor of queer liberation. Rather than trying to mold queer identities to what is accepted by a homogenous majority, Stehle favors the idea of humanity and improved equal rights through the celebration of difference.
Article: “Normal as a Political Weapon: On Queer Assimilation and Pride Season” by RM Barton, Wussy Mag
With large-scale brands like Target creating hyper-visible and consumable pride products and merchandise, the mainstreaming of LGBTQIA+ identities seems to be reaching a high point. However, Barton argues that queer liberation involves a more transgressive rejection of being “socially acceptable.” Instead, queer liberation still means solidarity with the most marginalized within our communities that don’t easily fit into consumer branding for LGBTQIA+ assimilation. Queer anti-assimilations also reject axes of oppression like heteronormativity and cis-supremacy as means of upholding the same forms of “othering” experienced by members of the community for decades.
Actively understand the ways in which your identities may be privileged, especially compared to others, and then use that privilege to advocate for social equity for the most marginalized people.
Topic 4 – LGBTQIA+ Youth Statistics
- LGBTQIA+ youth who experience family rejection are 8.4x more likely to attempt suicide than their cisgender/heterosexual peers.
- LGBTQIA+ who experience family rejection are 5.9x more likely to experience anxiety and depression compared to their cisgender/heterosexual peers.
- 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQIA+; 60% of homeless LGBTQIA+ youth attempt suicide.
Topic 5 – Trans Day of Visibility
Event: Exposing the Seams: Professional Dress and the Disciplining of Non-Binary Trans Bodies
Presented by: Dr. G. Patterson, Kent State University
March 31, 2021 | 6:30pm
This program explores the ways in which clothing is an essential part of social-transition for trans people while simultaneously can be used to uphold gender binaries and police non-binary people’s gender expression.