Rosie Waterland and LGBTQ+ writers

Contributor to the Mamamia Women’s Network, comedian and author, Rosie Waterland, came out as bisexual on Facebook last Tuesday. Of course, she has the support of the Mamamia staff, including founder, Mia Freedman, which is great. According to a snapshot of her Facebook post, the response to Waterland’s coming out has been positive.

I think this is great. In the past, I’ve ummed and ahhed about taking my blogging to the next level, but a part of me hasn’t felt… normal enough. I know it sounds stupid, but it’s true. American women’s site, Ravishly frequently feature articles from members of the LGBTQ+ community, which is great, but here, not so much. Until now. And for that, I’m grateful.

It should be said that Mamamia isn’t the only publication to have an openly LGBTQ+ contributor. Josh Manuatu has writteen for The Spectator Australia and Catherine Mcgregor has written for Sydney’s ‘The Daily Telegraph’. It’s still great to see Mamamia have and embrace an LGBTQ+ columnist that has articles published frequently on the site.

 

This shouldn’t matter. I know, I know, but when you are under – represented – due to sexuality, race, disability or gender – sometimes, you can’t help but wonder whether you can fit in that industry. Also, it’s great to have allies speak out in the media in support the LGBTQ+ community, and throughout this year, I’ve emphasised the importance of allies and how we shouldn’t take their love and support for granted. But getting representation in the media from someone LGBTQ+ is something else. It’s a face, a person, an idenitity, that represents (to an extent), what LGBTQ+ rights issues are all about. Now, whether Waterland opens up further about her experiences as bisexual, that’s up to her. She doesn’t have to say anything else, if she doesn’t want to. I think her initial ‘coming out’ on such a public forum is enough.

 

So, where do we go from here? I hope that it gets even easier for LGBTQ+ writers to contribute to the media – as themselves. I’m hopeful. Kudos to Mamamia and good on Rosie Waterland for coming out. As herself.

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Asexuality Resources

In the wake of Asexuality Awareness Week and a comment someone posted on one of my blog posts, I thought I’d create a non – extensive resources list on where people can go to find information on asexuality. Here goes:

Websites/ Forums

Asexuality Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) – a forum and information resource on asexuality – includes FAQ for both those who suspect they are asexual and those who have asexual friends/ family/ partners

Asexual Archive – a collections of posts/ articles that offers information about asexuality and support for members of the asexual community

Books (available both in hardback and electronic)

The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality – Julie Sondra Decker (2013) – this book on asexuality is also available in iTunes, (I know because I’ve got it). This book is very good. It goes through what asexuality is, research conducted by Canadian researcher Anthony Bogaert, social and legal issues faced by asexual people in the U.S. as of 2013 (things may have changed since then). Overall, it’s a good book. It’s simple to understand, but also quite extensive.

Understanding Asexuality – Anthony Bogaert – I’ve never actually read this book, but giving it’s by one of the original researchers into asexuality, I can’t see how it can be that bad. More updated information may be available that isn’t included in this book.

Articles/ News Items

The media is starting to catch up when it comes to the existence of asexuality. I’ve seen and read a number of news items over the years that have talked about asexuality and most of them have been quite good.

Ravishly – What IS asexuality anyway? 27/10/2016

Debunking 5 Common Everyday Feminism: Debunking 5 common myths about asexuality – October 19, 2014

Everyday Feminism: Getting real about what it means to be asexual – October 1, 2016

Mamamia – This is what it’s like to live a life with no sex – 20 October 2014 I remember when I first read this, I think I nearly cried and I’ve had respect for Mamamia’s founder and publisher Mia Freedman ever since. Written by the former blogger and asexual advocate Johanna Qualmann.

I remember watching this on SBS, again in 2014. Very good clip. No sarcasm or impoliteness from the hosts of the show (which can happen).

 

Some magazines have also done articles on asexuality, including the late Cleo (again, by Qualmann), and “Australia’s Women’s Weekly”, I think back in 2014. That was a big year for asexuality awareness! For that, I’m grateful.

 

What other good items/ articles/ shows, etc have done a good job exposing asexuality? Feel free to drop links in the comment section below. 

Short open letter to Mia Freedman – you can’t speak for all the LGBTQ+ community

 

Dear Mia,

You are a great LGBTQ+ ally. Thank you for all that you’ve done to support and raise awareness on the LGBTQ+ comunity, including publishing articles on asexuality. I really do appreciate your voice to increasing asexuality visibility. You’re passion for justice for the LGBTQ+ community is much appreciated, I’m sure.

However, your comment on Liberal Senator Josh Manuatu was out of line. You, or anyone else, has no right to dictate yo how LGBTQ+ individuals feel about issues like same – sex marriage, adoption, or political persuasion. We are all indibiduals, just like all straight people don’t share all the same values and political ideology.

 

Manuatu isn’t alone as someone who is gay, but opposes same – sex marriage. In the lead up to the Irish referrendum, openly gay people opposed same – sex marriage, mainly because they believed that marriage there to raise children in a traditional nuclear family. In a protest that occurred in France to the lead up of same – sex marriage in May, 2013, people who were openly vocally opposed same – sex marriage for the same reasons. I have also heard that here, in Australia, gay peoplesay they’re againsr same – sex marriage, but feel like they can’t be open about their views in fear of a backlash from the wider LGBTQ+ community. This is unacceptable, just as unacceptable itvwould be to bully and ostracise an LGBTQ+ person who felt like they need the right to marriage.

Mia, you are a valuable voice in supporting the wider LGBTQ+ community. The way you’ve allowed LGBTQ+ people to tell their stories and continual advocacy for the LGBTQ+ is to be commended. It really does. However, the way you attacked Manuatu on Twitter is not the way to advocate for LGBTQ+ people. Please keep that in mind next time. And keep on speaking up.

 

Love and respect,

 

 

S.

Do you identify as LGBTQ+ and oppose same – sex marriage and/ or adoption? Feel free to leave comments below.

 

 

 

No, Mamamia, Sam Frost Doesn’t “Need” to Have Sex On The Bachelorette

I read this post about former Bachelor (Australia) contestant and current “Bachelorette” Sam Frost. The columnist wrote some… ahem… delicate advice:

Two words. F*** ’em.

Just so you know, the censor was my own. Now, what Jessie Mills is going on about is the importance of chemistry and making sure it’s there before tying the knot. But seriously, as a feminist site, I hate the way that Mills has essentially pushed her views so brashly. I get that (for most people) chemistry is an important part of a relationship for most people, but it’s not Mills’ place, or anyone else to demand that Frost have sex with the men that she meets on the show. Leave that up to her and her dates/ future husband/ husband, etc.

 

I have read arguments that sex before marriage can be beneficial because you know whether you both connect together on that level. There’s no judgement here. This isn’t about whether Sam Frost has or doesn’t have sex. I couldn’t care less. What I’m saying is that I don’t think it’s up to anyone else to say whether someone should or shouldn’t (unless for legal reasons, obviously).

Feminism is all about choice, right? Well, to all the feminists out there, give people the right NOT to have sex as well as permission of those to have it if they want it. But please, don’t tell someone they “need” to have sex.

Why Is Virginity Such A Big Deal (Or More Specifically Losing It Or Not)?

Earlier today, I was reading a blog post on Mamamia about a woman who was 28 and ‘accidentally’ a virgin.  She identified as straight (she specifically said she didn’t identify as asexual or gay). When I was reading the article, I thought to myself, why is it such a big deal? Why does this woman feel so much pressure and shame about the fact she hadn’t gone ‘all the way’ with a guy? Have we as a society gone too far the other way, in that people are, or at least feel shamed for not having sex?

These questions that ran through my head made me wonder if that ‘s one of the reasons why we still as a society have a fair way to go in fully accepting people who are asexual. Not only that, but this pressure is, obviously putting undue pressure on non – aces as well. Why do we value each other, and even ourselves on whether or not we’ve lost the ‘V – card’?

Last year, a story went global about a 58 – year – old man who hadn’t lost his virginity after being first published in ‘Science of Us’, then retold in the ‘New York Times’ and ‘Mamammia’. From what I read, his sex – life (or the non – existence of it) wasn’t his only problem. He seemed severely depressed and had issues from childhood it seemed like he hadn’t laid to rest. Yet, the title of these articles focused on the fact that he was a virgin. Click bait maybe?

On the last point, I think when talking about issues like this, I think it’s important to make sure we have to look at the full picture, not just focus on the fact on whether someone is a virgin or not. We shouldn’t pathologise people for not having sex yet(whether by choice or not). We should just accept the fact that people are different in many areas, when we lose our virginity, how and when we start dating, etc, etc. Can we just accept that?

I was heartened that most of the comments at the bottom of the post were supportive and saying that it shouldn’t matter. Some even said they’d lost their virginity in their late 20’s. So, there was support and empathy out there. Just a pity it’s deemed an issue at all.

 

What do you think? Is there too much emphasis on losing virginity?

Under Pressure

I am sick to death of the pressure put on people when it comes to being ‘sexual’ or ‘attractive’. It’s everywhere! I just read on The Mamamia blog about a dating site for ‘beautiful people’ being encouraged to ‘adopt’ an ‘ugly’ person then ‘helping’ them become more attractive (make – overs, plastic surgery, etc).

I’m sorry, but I find this total crap! I get people get attracted to others because of certain characteristics, including looks, usually through no fault of their own. Even I can’t help really acknowledging that someone is attractive. The reason why I hate this is the fact that it’s so elitist, (let’s face it, only some people would be able to fit the profile they’re looking for).

Secondly, this ‘adopt an ugly person’ idea sounds purely exploitive of people’s insecurities. Isn’t only going to further stigmatise people already marginalised in society?

 

As a woman, I am sick to death of being  ‘reminded’, if you like, that I’m never good enough. Either I don’t look right, I’m subhuman because I’m asexual or other reasons, I’m just over it.

It’s time that we start accepting people for who they are. The pressure on people needs to come down. How else are we suppose to battle eating disorders or bullying if we marginalise and bully people? I’ve just had it!

 

What do you think about this?

Gay, Lesbian or Bi Bachelor/ Bachelorette?

Last Thursday, I read a post on Mamamia (“It’s Time For a Gay bachelor. Or Bachelorette” – Kate Leavete Thursday, September 4 2014). Now, for the record, I don’t watch The Bachelor at all. Doesn’t interest me at all, frankly. However, I’ve felt compelled to talk out this article.

Now, I know why this conversation has started up, the issue of LGBT equality. I get that. I have some qualms though.

First, one of the commenters said about having a bisexual one and make it one big ‘orgy ‘. Now she was probably being tongue – in – cheek, and I don’t want to condemn her for it. However, I fear that that’s exactly what will end up happening.

Also, another commenter said that they’ll end up just all falling for each other. So they can’t just fall for one person?

I think shows like “The Bachelor” are ridiculously staged. And I don’t think that it paints relationships in a good light because I find the contestants (of at least some of them), too two – faced. Frankly, I don’t think it paints relationships well at all.I get why this conversation has come up; LGBT equality as well as more recognition in the media. However, I worry about the representation. Will it just enforce negative stereotypes? I have strongly argued that the LGBT (especially bisexuals), have become fetishised in the media. It’s almost become the ‘rage’, if you like. That’s not what sexual orientation (or gender identity off that matter), is about. It’s a part of what makes up people. It’s not just something that can be switched off on a whim ( I don’t think it can anyway).

I think that most LGBT+ just want to be accepted and feel safe in being who they are. I don’t think that they want their identities (of a part of it anyway).

So, what about an asexual bachelor/ bachelorette? Nah, leave it as it is. Probably won’t watch it anyway.

What do you think?