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Tue Jan 24, 2012, 08:43 AM

Opinions on this post/jury decision - LGBT related

Last edited Tue Jan 24, 2012, 10:17 AM - Edit history (1)

I'm asking the question in this group, because I would like opinions from folks with a better than average likelihood of understanding the nuances of this question than the broader population that inhabits H&M.

Just got done with jury duty on this post: http://www.democraticunderground.com/1002211197

Folks.. we're DOWN TO THE FINAL FOUR CONTESTANTS. Can you taste the Excrement?... Er, Excitement?

ALERTER'S COMMENTS:

I think that depicting any person as being in "drag", crossdressing or otherwise gender variant for purpose of demeaning them is demeaning to LGBT DU members and further perpetuates LGBT stereotypes.

You served on a randomly-selected Jury of DU members which reviewed this post. The review was completed at Tue Jan 24, 2012, 08:19 AM, and the Jury voted 2-4 to LEAVE IT.

Juror #1 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: Just WTF is wrong with people, this post is fine. We do not need a nanny state
Juror #2 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: Oh FFS!!
Juror #3 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: I think the person who made the alert misinterprets the intent of the post.
Juror #4 voted to HIDE IT and said: Definitely using gender non-conformity as an insult. Although, as I think about it, it isn't entirely clear whether the alerter is alerting because of the Santorum or Gingrich images. It is the Gingrich image that I find inappropriate, more because it uses Susan Boyle's failure to conform to standards of feminine beauty to ding Gingrich - and it wouldn't "work" without playing on the "Ewwww" factor that was so offensive from a sexism standpoint when Susan Boyle first became publicly known.
Juror #5 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: I appreciate the person being upset. But you can just reply with your feelings about the post without blocking it.
Juror #6 voted to HIDE IT and said: My first impression was to leave it alone, but changed my mind when I read the comments.


I was juror #4.

The decision wasn't as clear to me as the "mAnn" Coulter garbage - because that nonsense was triggered by a perception by some that she was masculine. I haven't heard any such suggestions about Gingrich (that he is feminine, or a cross dresser, or anything else that would automatically trigger trans thoughts in connection to him). So it seemed to me more a slam at Susan Boyle because her appearance isn't traditionally feminine - which is also a message that women who don't look traditionally feminine need to stay in their place.

And - rereading the comments, it occurs to me that it isn't even entirely clear that the alerter recognized Susan Boyle.

As for the church lady - that one didn't even cross my mind until I read the alerter's comments . . . and I'm still puzzling that one out.

any thoughts?

11 replies, 1215 views

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Response to Ms. Toad (Original post)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 08:54 AM

1. "Drag" is not purely a reference to cross-dressing.

 

Originally, in Polari (the gay slang of the UK, also common among entertainers, from the Victorian Era until after the decriminalization of homosexual acts) "drag" simply meant "clothing." "Bona drag," for example, meant "good clothes."

It expanded to mean any fancy, unusual, or over-the-top clothing worn as a costume. Thus its association with cross-dressing performers.

It's also notable that there is a line between "drag performers" and the transgendered, transgender-identifying, or those that wear the opposite sex's clothing on a regular basis. When used in regard to them, "drag" is an insult. Especially because "drag" is camp and ridiculous while most clothing worn by the transgender or transvestites (to use a potentially outdated term in what I hope is an inoffensive way) is not.

Honestly, I think the Republican candidates HAVE been in drag, putting on obvious fake fronts to make them appear something they all are not. So I think the reference is not offensive toward LGBT, was not intended to be offensive toward LGBT, and not a big problem.

I would have a lot more problem saying a notable transgender person like Calpernia Addams or Sophia Lamar is "in drag" than the Republicans.

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Response to Pab Sungenis (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 09:46 AM

2. Did you go to the thread?

The post didn't say the republicans were in drag (and I don't think that was the OPs intent). That was the alerter's take on it.

The post had an image of Susan Boyle labeled Newt Gingrich. (And the "church lady" labeled Santorum).

It is the former that concerned me - and not so much because of any implication about being in drag. The image wasn't a man in drag; it was a woman who people have ridiculed for not conforming to traditional standards of female beauty. To use her to insult Gingrich (or caricature Gingrich) is insulting her (at least) - and perhaps by extension other individuals who do not conform to traditional gender norms.

And as for not intending to offend people within the LGBT community (who are more likely, on average, not to conform to traditional gender norms), that is the same excuse used far too successfully to let mAnn Coulter "jokes" stand for far too long.

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Response to Ms. Toad (Original post)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 09:57 AM

3. Link not working, so I can't put the comment in context.

Was it deleted?

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Response to closeupready (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 10:16 AM

4. Interesting...let me investigate...

(It wasn't by an unknown, although I noticed after I got done with jury duty that it was by someone whose OP I would not have clicked on...surprised and pleased I didn't even notice it at the time.)

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Response to Ms. Toad (Reply #4)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 10:18 AM

5. Ok. Link fixed.

The link attached itself to the first word following the link. Fixed now.

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Response to Ms. Toad (Original post)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 10:27 AM

6. Okay, thanks - I can't view images through this connection, so I'll have to take a look later.

And let you know. Cheers.

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Response to Ms. Toad (Original post)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 10:41 AM

7. I think the OP is much more of an in insult to women than to transgender people.

I doubt that the OP was even thinking of Newt or Santorum being in drag. The intent seems to be to compare Newt to a woman who is considered to be a little odd and unattractive. What does Susan Boyles have to do with the U.S. Republican primaries? Nothing whatsoever. Comparing Newt to Susan Boyles is just a cheap shot at a woman who doesn't conform to popular ideas of beauty and behavior for women. The OP was petty and nasty, but not because of anything to do with transgender people.

It really makes me mad, because what harm has Susan Boyles one anyone? She's just trying to make a living like an other decent person. New Gingrich is scum. He is fortunate to be compared to Susan Boyles. She has a million times more talent and personality then he'll ever dream of. Whiny, weasely little failure of a man - how dare some DUer come along and drag Susan Boyles into this? (I'm not even a fan. It just makes me mad to see a woman picked on like this. Reminds me of junior high where the "odd" people got bullied.)

Maybe if the alerter had pointed out the sexism inherent in the OP the jury would have decided differently, but I doubt it. Much of DU is similarly clueless when it comes to sexist language.

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Response to yardwork (Reply #7)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 11:53 AM

9. That was my sense, as well - more sexism than LGBT issues

aside from the connection people have made about Susan Boyle being somewhat gender non-conforming (although the actually language used discussing her is not that gentle) - and that is an issue that effects our community.

The only connection I could make to drag or cross dressing was the Santorum/"Church lady" character. I hadn't particularly thought that it was a male playing a female role until I saw the language of the alert - and then I started to wonder if I was being dense about that particular caricature. I think it is harmless, but I'm willing to be educated.

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Response to Ms. Toad (Reply #9)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 01:59 PM

10. The Church Lady character seems far afield of transgender insensitivity to me, but maybe I'm wrong.

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Response to yardwork (Reply #10)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 02:15 PM

11. We agree on that, too -

I just couldn't get to the alerter's concern about drag or cross dressing from the Newt/Susan Boyle image...

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Response to Ms. Toad (Original post)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 11:51 AM

8. I agree with the alert....

I was offended by the post....and have been offended by the OP'er in the past on DU2...there are smarter ways to trash a GOP candidate.

Posts like that are specifically designed to create a controversy and Juror #5 said to reply to the OP with their feelings....this would of played into the intent of the post...to stir up an argument about sexism and transphobic taunting...the person was correct to alert....the fact that this is being discussed further plays into the intent....personally I don't play these games....it is a form of manipulation and division inducing...ignoring the OPer and not replying was my answer to that post.

There is NO meaningful dialogue that comes from a post like that. It is simply designed to take up first page space....a tactic used to disrupt forums.

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