24 August 2009

Sex work and sexuality group blog

Via Caroline at Loserdust (Original post here):

I am in the midst of setting up a group blog for sex workers and allies about, as the title of this post suggests, sex work and sexuality.

I'd like for it to be concerned mainly with the UK and Europe, though I do want to include US bloggers and issues.

I think this has a hell of a lot of potential. Blogging is a fantastic way of getting the message out to people and so often the US dominates discourse, so having a blog to really push the UK and Europe forward will be a very big thing. And I want this to work.

What I need - some folks from the UK and Europe. So, if you are a sex worker or ally from the UK / Europe and you'd like to participate in this, whether you'd like to be a regular contributer, post sporadically or just want to be in on the ride, give me a shout: shepherd[dot]cc[at]gmail[dot]com. I've already got one or two very groovy people, so you'll be in awesome company :)

08 August 2009

Kyriarchy Illustrated: A Dyke-Bashing in Liverpool

"Kyriarchy Illustrated" is an occasional series of posts where I talk about the effects of living in a kyriarchy via my personal experiences.  Find all of the posts so far by clicking on the "kyriarchy illustrated" link at the end of the post.
As a feminist I subscribe to the idea that the oppression of women is not best described by the term patriarchy, or "rule of the fathers", but by kyriarchy. As Arwyn defines it:
“[K]yriarchy” emphasizes that it is the very concept of “master” that rules us; it is the act of creating hierarchies on which we are all placed “higher” or “lower” that oppresses and damages us.
How these hierarchies of oppression intersect is different for everyone as a personal experience illustrates.

When I was in the UK last month, my fiancée (OHAI Ruth) and I went to Liverpool a couple times. The second time we went, we went sightseeing down at the docks and then headed over to visit a gay pub (instead of one of the many gay bars on the same street). As we headed to the pub, from behind us some bloke shouted, "Fucking dykes!". This was the first time I've been bashed for being a dyke and my reactions surprised me.

One of my reactions was pleasure at being correctly gendered as a woman. As a trans woman, I'm used to getting misgendered of course. And, I'm also happy when I get gendered correctly. Even so, I was shocked that even as I was irate at being bashed just for walking down the street being affectionate with the woman I love I was thankful for being affirmed as a woman. Such is the life of being trans in a cis world where one takes validation where one can get it. (A friend of mine pointed out that this happens reaction is also shown in the movie "Better Than Chocolate" where a trans woman replies "Oh thank you!" when hit with the same shout from skinheads)

A simulataneous reaction with the above was that I wanted to shout back, "Actually, only I'm a dyke. She's bi.". Because, while we may be involved in a lesbian relationship, Ruth is definitely bisexual. But, as usual, sexuality is attributed based upon one's current partner and the idea that one can be attracted to more than one gender is not even considered.

Additionally, Ruth told me when I asked her about this incident that she was just happy she wasn't being fat-bashed as she had been earlier in the evening (Yes, the assholes were out in force in Liverpool that evening). It was better for her to be attacked for her sexuality than attacked for her appearance.

So there you have it. Two people are bashed and their reactions to it differ based upon the differing oppressions they experience under kyriarchy. This is why I think any feminism that is to serve all women has to deal with the situations each woman finds herself in.