homophobia

Un-rant Pulse lowered

I’m still angry – it is my body protesting

My Pulse still races with a frustration and despair I cannot name or that words fail to capture

It’s interesting how the world suddenly sees diversity and attempts to explain it away, so many lenses refracting light, colours strong and bright, rainbows lost in the white, no longer in-sight

Not one family member or straight friend checking in – asking – wondering about my well-being, invisible in front of them

Who I am, outwardly concealing a truth that dare not speak its own name, let me remind those who do not get it:

It is a crime to be me in parts of the world, I can be legally put to death, I can be arrested, tortured or sent to a conversion camp. In the past I could have been institutionalised, had shock therapy, deemed mentally unwell

I can be me at a price – always a price – always – but I like me and I refuse to be afraid, but I am wary, cautious, alert, my heightened sensitivity a gift one I would never give up

This event was not bullying, harassment or some bad taste joke to get a few laughs or mock – it is not a misunderstanding. It was an act of genocide

It is what it is – it should not be denied and yet the media continue to side step into the shadows that ignorance casts

But light is always moving, and so is my grief and the patterns of my thinking shift to supporting my community – everywhere.

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Pulse Racing

DISCLAIMER: A momentary unfiltered rant – for the sake of my sanity:

More shocking headlines from the USA – which I think by default is now the capital of the world, at least in the eyes of the media.

Another mass shooting, 50 dead, 53 injured in Orlando at Pulse night club. But let’s be clear from the start, this was not a random night club. It was a LGBTQI+ social venue. Guns – course they bloody kill people, if you can buy an assault rifle next to your corn flakes no questions asked, that’s sick – why is there any need for debate around this anymore, constitution or not.

This guy could have been Christian but he is Muslim – so we are in for the rainbow flag being torn to shreds over gun laws, religious fanaticism and mental instability. People will stand in solidarity for a moment then go back to separation. This guy invaded a place of sanctuary, a place where regardless of the music and price of the drinks you can pee where you like and flirt with someone of the same, opposite or unknown sex.

The shooting is a reminder that being on the rainbow spectrum means you can be killed for existing – to be deemed fit for annihilation for simply being in the world. The gun man seen as delivering Gods justice by some. Stop already with trying to make sense of this Jeannie – it is utterly sense-less. For once I just want religion to face facts – your fear toting version of God sucks. And people wonder why young LGBTQI+ people suffer from anxiety…coz some people want to hurt them or kill them! Surrounded by rejection or the possibility of losing your life…hmmmm…hows that working out for your mental health?

Then there will be the other violence – the one that says ‘be grateful you live in NZ’, there is no hate here. Yes NZ you are so inclusive your schools can’t figure out what to do with transgender students – just pretend they don’t exist, or prove their existence through the violence of medical diagnosis. Yes the violence of sanctioned invisibility by inclusion, be gay just don’t don’t be too gay. Being angry will be seen as reactionary, we must ‘love’ in response to the hate – well F-that for the moment, I’m sick of white light washing the rainbow. Getting out my own guns to let my middle finger do the talking.

I’m done – and going to pray to a higher power to beam me off this gorgeous planet with psychopathic care takers. And please don’t think changing your FB filter to rainbow helps – deal with your own shit – that helps.

Flagging change

If I was an entrepreneur I would be thinking seriously about getting into the flag industry. From the passionate to the privileged, patriotic to political there is a growing movement toward marking territory along lines of separation in the present that flow into the past and future of which all happen now with real effects that can be felt in persecution, disavowal, and fear. There is a new flag on the block and it’s got nothing to do with NZ trying to decide how to resignify our place such that the rest of the world finally knows we are not the east island of Australia.

The Russians are all in a flap about family values and have decided they need to help people pick a side. This flag is meant to be a counter to the increasing profile of the rainbow one used as a visible representation of the invisibility of those falling outside heteronormativity. The idea of ‘straight pride’ being captured by a flag with a family on it reveals other invisibility. Clearly unless you have three ‘able bodied’ children of clear gender expression (based on clothing and marginal hair length differences) and two parents you are not a good model of heterosexuality. They might have gone with a simpler version that both mirrors and contrasts the rainbow. A simple black and white with no shades of grey, although they might want to refrain from using any symbols – been a bit of confusion with regard to black and white flags recently. Alternatively Russians themselves could fly all sorts of family flags without deviating from a man and woman being the parents. Mixed race couples, people with varying body shapes and functional uniqueness, and the obligatory alternative numbers of children that could make for a family unit – including 0.

South Carolina could consider adopting its state flag for public display, how many people know what it looks like? It’s one that might help cast off the shackles of mixed meaning because regardless of now the past lives and replays certain acts and scenes if given the chance under particular signs that have been etched in the fabric of time itself. We need to remember that rallying under a banner has been an effective propaganda technique for centuries and symbols can be turned from one meaning to another just ask any Hindu about the Svastika.

So to Russia with love – being heterosexual is not a crime in any country, you cannot be sent to jail, killed or denied basic human rights simply for being straight. Pride is only possible against a background of shame, the blood of those lost to hate crimes might make a good backdrop for your new flag – red…somehow I think that has other connotations.

Back to the drawing board.

Shouting-silence ‘just’ be-cause

I wrote recently about the diversity inquiry group and how humour works to disarm fear and create rupture points in cyclical self-perpetuating dualisms. Yesterday DIVINQ took on the Day Of Silence (DOS) with some curious effects emerging, most unexpectedly media interest. We took an alternative stance of being loud and overt about taking a stance about diversity and fear of difference in connection with bullying of LGBTIQ* young people (*lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, questioning).

The questions we were raising were only made possible because the DOS exists and I respect the initiative and what it stands for. I understand the intention of bringing awareness to issues through public action. But I’ve noticed a bit of a trend in schools hoping to develop social justice consciousness amongst students and I’m not convinced they necessarily create the change or move beyond the immediacy of the action on that day. Typically the gusto and energy swirls around a small number of passionate individuals. There is planning, ribbon cutting, poster making, assemblies, concerts, banner waving, and all other explosions of coming together. It feels good to take part in something powerful and joining the ‘in crowd’ of the moment is easy to do. In fact not it’s a little like Derek Sivers analogy of the first follower – once there is enough momentum you stand out for not joining in.

But what about the day after? And the day after that? What silence and shouting both do is make a statement – it draws attention. The uncomfortable difficult and ongoing work however needs a lot more than spontaneous combustion of injustice and emotive flashpoints such as ‘bullying’ ‘suicide’ ‘depression’. Worse than that, we can end up representing groups only in those terms of ‘victim’ ‘survivor’ ‘marginalised’ and inadvertently trap identity in these ‘cages of causes’.

DIVINQ is an ongoing conversation, not just a day of action so I hope if the media wish to lend a genuine voice to conversations about bullying that they put their own sensational agenda aside and engage in dialogue with schools or communities in a way that fully respects the context and commitment to the work people are doing.

Swimming lessons for life

Swimming has been a big part of my life since I was a kid. I grew up beside a river and could bomb above my weight receiving much mana from the locals. I’d like to see a push for it’s inclusion in the Olympic or Commonwealth games – fit right in with the diving schedule but maybe speedos could be optional. I’ve been hanging out at the pools for the last two weeks watching children learning to swim and observing tenacious, creative and patient instructors guide each one toward another level of skill acquisition. It is a beautiful thing to see goggled faces smiling and truly enjoying the process – and that was the instructors!

We are a small nation surrounded by a heck of a lot of water just ask Scott Donaldson. Not everyone likes swimming but what I’ve been particularly impressed with is the emphasis on survival and safety that has come through. Creating the next Olympic medallist isn’t the aim and nor should it be – these are 6-9 year olds. Even the great Michael Phelps who probably owns half the worlds gold by now, didn’t start swimming until he was 7.  I have a teaching background (there I said it – I’ve outed myself – stolen Ian Thorpe’s thunder) and with a passion in this area. Watching others explain concepts of biomechanics and physics is sometimes like watching reality TV, it’s cringe worthy but things work out in the end (usually). Which got me thinking about what good teaching really is at the end of the day. Because while I was muttering internally, correcting this brilliant young instructor (ego alert) with her explanation of gravity and body position – I observed absolute understanding and complete and utter ‘ahaaa’ moments wash over small faces. More important it translated into action – it was embodied – it worked! So did it matter that the explanation was inaccurate according to Newtons Laws of motion? Seeing the joy and sense of accomplishment radiate from the pool I’d say no. It might matter if those ideas are carried through to another context, sometimes simplifying can come at a cost. But one worth paying because knowledge is only valuable if it can be applied. And children get used to adults telling ‘half-truths’ they find ways to inform us of our gaps as they grow. I’d be interested to listen in on another lesson with older children to see what concepts might be adjusted, reworded or if any young minds find a way to question the instructors about there being ‘no gravity’ in the pool.

Perhaps that is why I feel strongly about the Maori concept of Ako and how it reflects what I believe to be a more authentic and balanced approach to teaching and learning;

“where the educator is also learning from the student and where educators’ practices are informed by the latest research and are both deliberate and reflective. Ako is grounded in the principle of reciprocity and also recognises that the learner and whānau cannot be separated.

Ka Hikitia, 2008, p.20

Learning from each other requires a significant shift but one I see technology will necessitate – to borrow from Darwin (just this once) adaptation is the key to survival. But there is another possibility in here and I would like to go back to Ian Thorpe. How might Ako relate here? Well I would suggest it might come in with supporting concepts such as Whanaungatanga , Awhi and Aroha. Some will know the literal translations of these into English but many wont – however it is not the literal meaning that is important it is the quality of connection that is invoked in these terms – an energetic and deeply spiritual honouring of being. Tamariki is frequently translated as ‘children’ – that is accurate, but in Maori Tamariki is the combination of two concepts – the central sun (Divine Spark) and a being of senior or sophisticated status in a small form – let that sit over your mind for a second or two to allow the significance to filter through. Growing up wrestling with his sexuality I suppose I wonder about the emphasis on his swimming performance at the cost of nurturing, supporting, encouraging and acknowledging his emerging identity as a gay man, no doubt coaches, mentors and others will have been aware. His Divine Spark was suffocated but thankfully not stuffed out.

So I’ll finish by throwing out a challenge. Let’s ensure that learning to swim isn’t simply about addressing our appalling drowning statistics because there are many other ways to sink below the surface of life.

 

‘Lifestyle’ what does this mean?

There is a growing awareness that whenever people say ‘I’m not racist but’ that we have exactly that, perhaps best captured in this cartoon by Natalie Nourigat. That probably goes for sexism, and other ‘ism’s or ‘ists’ or ‘phobias’ basically any fear of otherness. I’m not sure if anyone else has noticed but there is kind of a double layer of marginalisation in talking about homophobia.

I was reading through a piece on racism by Jeff Yang (where I initially saw the cartoon) and was intrigued by a statement he’d made:

“The common thread here is that we have reached a point in our culture where it is generally (but not universally) acknowledged that making disparaging remarks about people of other races, cultures, heritages or lifestyles is unacceptable.”

I get race, culture, heritage (just), but ‘lifestyle?’ At a guess I would say this refers to sexual orientation or possibly functionality because quite frankly we have yet to genuinely integrate our physical structures with those who’s bodies function in unique ways. So I’m a bit confused why we cant just say sexuality or sexual orientation or functionality. For now I’d like to stick to the assumption that what is referred to is sexual identity in some way. Saying ‘lifestyle’ whilst not directly disparaging is indirectly homophobic. When sexual orientation/sexuality/gender identity are lumped under ‘lifestyle’ it avoids the realities of discrimination and hate people experience for being who they are – not where they shop, what tea they drink or how they get to work – that is lifestyle.

Lets ditch the laziness with language that softens and avoids the uncomfortable truth that we have a people who do not identify themselves as heterosexual or male and female.

Bi for now.

Racing ahead without looking behind

Down here in NZ where the oval ball rules, we have not escaped the global phenomenon of more spherical ball games including basketball. Why we have our very own Stephen Adams playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder – and all of a sudden I love basketball. That’s just how we roll sometimes, we connect personally with our fellow nest flyers…walkers (silly me forgot we are the land of flightless birds), and adopt them. It’s like living in a very large extended family. We can of course double our chances with the Adams family – sister Valerie is quite a good athlete herself. Olympic Gold, World Champ, Commonwealth Champ – yeah she puts that heavy round thing out there!

You don’t need to follow sport anymore – it follows you! Sport is a business and whilst we want children and young people to be active and enjoy the positive aspects of sport, in the end it is about generating profit. The relationships between marketing and promoting brands and sport is about as in your face as a ball in the face. What happened over the last week with the ‘racism scandal’ and the Los Angeles Clippers will be picked up as an issue around human rights, racism, justice and rightly so. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has ‘cut out the tumour’ excising as much removal powers as possible by cutting ties with Clippers owner Donald Sterling. But what will be the follow up treatment and overall recovery regime for the NBA?

While this decision has been lauded by most and is probably the right one, it is hardly a brave decision. It doesn’t require any party involved to deal with the fall out or be genuinely accountable. Legal teams are probably rubbing their hands together gleefully. Silver will be the ‘good guy’ cleaning things up and taking a hard line, Sterling the ‘bad guy’ and merchandise, new branding will probably be created to ride the wave of unity while the ground swell of public awareness is firmly fixed on the NBA. Sponsors will be running to advertisers to ensure they don’t drop in too late. Rest assured it will be ‘business as usual.’

What to learn and take from this? Money talks. Everything is for sale. That is the sad truth. This was never really about exposing racism – someone cashed in with that tape. If it does generate conversations about any form of discrimination in sport or generally, then great, but these will be fleeting and more about political point scoring.

I will be keeping an eye on proceedings but so long as my boy Stephen is playing well and representing the silver fern I will ride my own wave of national pride vicariously and cross my fingers he gets the respect he deserves as a player because of how he plays. I’m also hoping coaches with a homophobic streak get a bit of a wake up call. A note to Mr Silver then – you might want to look into that to.

Animal Instincts

I am of the David Attenborough generation of natural history documentaries. My ‘education’ of the natural world, the idea of instincts and virtually all things seemed to be infused with some version of Darwinian evolutionary certainty. Learning about the ‘birds and bees’ was just birds and bees because we got to see how Mammals did reproduction and it wasn’t ANYTHING like pollination or egg laying.

We love a good comparison to the animal world, especially if it makes us (humans) look good. Far from being a realistic or even ‘natural’ version of the animal world my sense is that all documentaries aim to construct a preferred version of things. Think I might have just felt some of you do a sharp intake of breath as science is objective and neutral right? I am critical of all things claiming a single version of the truth, history is written by the winners – and most historians accept this idea to varying degrees. Less so is the idea that the story of the natural world might also be somewhat ‘made up.’

My angle on this is really how we have used the animal world to justify, reinforce and solidify particular ideas about ourselves as a species. We have selected evidence of our superior abilities and relegated the animal world to some object of curiosity that reassures us we are ‘better than them.’ It is interesting to note however how often ‘mating for life’ is celebrated, even marching long distances to find food and reunite with loved ones after suffering over many months apart. No prizes really for guessing what relationship is honoured here as ideal and monumentally over represented. We are not Penguins people!

Up until now we have been at the mercy of documentary makers who are human and will have something they ‘want to show.’ Not all of this has been intentionally deceptive but it has limited our understanding of the complexities and diversity of all life, including our own. Welcome the age of the internet and the plethora of cameras capturing this. The awkward bit is the alternative evidence that animals might not be so ‘animalistic’ and humans could actually be the ones ‘lacking’ genuine compassion, empathy and intelligence. These images are ‘shocking’ to us because of the monocular perspective presented by traditional documentaries.

Here are a few to dive into if you haven’t already come across them via Facebook or another medium (this is a one of the few ‘likes’ I have for FB):

1: National Geographic Camera Man and Leopard Seal trying to save ‘useless human by feeding him penguins.’
http://www.pakalertpress.com/2014/04/19/pics-this-terrified-diver-prepares-to-die-as-a-predator-approaches-when-suddenly/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+pakalert+%28Pak+Alert+Press%29

2: Dolphins recognising themselves – very existentially challenging

Good to know vanity has crossed species as well.

3: Understanding loss – love – grief (have your tissues handy)

4: Joy and Gratitude – skip to 6 minutes if you get over the ‘beast in speedos.’

5: Unusual animal partnerships that ‘defy’ nature

6: Recreational pursuits – don’t stone the Crows – give them a lid and they will surf!

6: For ‘big’ cat lovers – some serious kitty love and a genuine message about habitat loss (14 minutes but well worth it).

You might have seen better examples, the list is endless and they all have one thing in common, defying our assumptions about the natural world and what might transcend the boundaries of predator and prey. Some of the commentaries are direct about the wondering this provokes and I agree and hope science can embrace some of these challenges without dismissing them as peculiar, simple ‘imprinting’ or deviations from the norm.

Alas, science has its own version of ‘survival of the fittest’ its called publish or perish. Whilst other areas such as physics appear to have embraced uncertainty – quite literally (Heisenberg), the natural world of biology has remained relatively unscrutinised and almost wrapped in a protective academic bubble. There are many in the field of biology willing to stick their necks out but they do so at great risk from within the establishment, much like other strong social institutions. The tide will eventually turn and I just hope many of them can cling on long enough. Again, perhaps publishing online and via alternative avenues will enable more radical ideas such as plasma life forms to be made available. It literally could be ‘life Jim but not as we know it.’ Life definitely might be stranger than science fiction.
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn4174-plasma-blobs-hint-at-new-form-of-life.html#.U1gse6iN3_0

As evidence comes to light there have been monumental shifts towards accepting the animal world as more or less equals. I find it painfully ironic that one of the countries leading the way has been India. They have declared Dolphins ‘non human sentient beings’
http://themindunleashed.org/2014/02/india-declares-dolphins-non-human-persons-dolphin-shows-banned.html

At the same time they decided to ‘recriminalise’ homosexual relationships, no death penalty just life in prison – the national ethics committee decided not killing people for being gay was ‘humane’ – thank you George Orwell we now have the Ministry Of Love for real. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ministry_of_Love
As for what has been happening in India, do bother to take a look.
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Supreme-Court-makes-homosexuality-a-crime-again/articleshow/27230690.cms
But this has serious implications for our Cetacean friends. What about all those gay dolphins then who are not allowed to be held in captivity anymore? Ethical conundrum there.

Perhaps it comes down to something incredibly simple, yet profoundly important. Animals do not hide their emotions, they are authentic beings. They show us exactly how they feel and they express something few human beings do – unconditional love. We have relegated emotions to things that get in the way or need suppressing, something I believe has not advanced humanity as a species. Animals are beings of pure connection unclouded by ego or narcissism and perhaps reflect a ‘higher’ state of consciousness.

So lets not ‘do it like they do on the discovery channel’ and acknowledge animals are conscious sentient beings that we must stop exploiting for our own gratification. And please, can we get over using avian and insect reproduction processes to cover our ridiculously self imposed shame about sex!

Free the birds and the bees please!

What to do with the ball – kick it or pass it?

It’s that time of year. The detailed planning and preparation has begun. Research into the competition, ruthless conditioning and contingencies accounted for. You might be forgiven for thinking I was talking about the winter sport season of rugby and netball if you’re from Australia or New Zealand. It is school Ball season or Prom if that term is more familiar. A tradition New Zealand schools have tried to drag into the 21st century with mixed results.

I had a ‘small town’ experience of the ball. It was held in the school hall with a few decorations splashed around, mirror ball, local band, and formal dancing expected. I wonder how many ACC claims from that era reflect broken toes and sprained ankles from attempts at waltzing.

New Zealand is currently in the throws of serious ‘cultural angst’ about our young people and how they are growing up. A lot of this centres around sex and alcohol. Throw in an event that is a virtual ‘dress rehearsal’ for adult relationships and hey presto Cinderella is outa that ball dress at midnight, into the party bus carriage and Prince Charming doesn’t care what shoes she is wearing! Her fairy godmother has also organised an after-ball function so the magic can go on.

What is the Ball? Some call it a ‘right of passage’ into adulthood. I agree but it is a certain representation of adulthood that is ‘righted’ so I’m giving that definition the quintessential Kiwi ‘Yeah…Na…’ and providing an alternative – but you might want to take a deep breath first. I will call it what it is, a socially sanctioned, ritualistic normalising of heterosexuality and clear gender identity, wrapped up in large dose of nostalgia and parental voyeurism…and breath.

That doesn’t sound quite so romantic now does it. I’ll be somewhat unapologetic about that because we really need to ask why we are hanging onto the Ball as a significant and important function schools perform. I think we have drifted along for some time with this one hoping it will morph and evolve naturally with the times. Well that has been about as smooth as a first driving lesson…and other ‘firsts’…enough said.

Lets ‘quick step’ through some of the questions I want to pose so we can stop being side tracked by the well worn dialogue around alcohol use and sex which seem to dominate commentaries in this area.
Who is the ball for? I’m going to suggest that although we proclaim the Ball is for young people, I believe parents are just as invested if not more. Recently, when there have been suggestions of phasing it out, a lot of the outcry and desperate pleas to continue have come from adults, especially parents. It could be that the Ball acts like an anchoring experience, an intergenerational touch stone, that allows parents to join with their children at a time when they start to feel pushed out and excluded. They have something to offer and share in the experience whilst taking their own trip down memory lane.

What is the main difference? I’ll tentatively put this out there and hope it makes sense, but I feel there has been a change in sense of ‘intimacy.’ I’m surprising myself mentioning this, but notions of intimacy have all but evaporated like cheap aftershave. It’s perhaps easier to explain by looking at some of the changes that have taken place. I apologise in advance for mixed metaphor’s and cliché’s.

1: What happens before the Ball – or ‘Pre Ball’ This used to be the realm of the ‘Lions Den’ for young men, where they would arrive to pick up their date. The visual and verbal dressing down given ensured the ‘law of the jungle’ was spelt out and the unspoken was ‘don’t you dare even think about doing anything to my precious daughter.’ You could say it’s like ‘walking down the isle’ as poor anxious boy waited for his date to emerge in her dress, a princess in all her splendour, to be greeted and marked with a corsage.
You might be wondering ‘how is that intimate?’ The ‘couple’ is acknowledged as significant and meaningful, the light is shone on ‘them’ and whether you agree or not, it weaves a story of responsibility and expectation around respect. Intimacy develops through carefully crafted situations that allow for specific interactions and Ball/Prom protocols have certainly delivered on this aspect in times gone by.
Taking a date has become more optional, sometimes partners do not even know each other, but simply ‘match up’ through friends because the underlying ‘couple experience’ is still there. I’ve seen this awkward set up and hope we can move on from the pressure to take a date. Groups of young people sometimes choose to go together which seems to at least on the surface to counter the ‘take a member of the opposite sex’ theme. So we are stuck in a kind of ‘limbo’ (not the dance unfortunately) with a tension in expectations. The interpersonal and social location of the ‘couple’ has enabled the outward rituals to be more important than the connections to people. Teens are ‘tied’ and ‘frocked’ up and sent stepping through the social norms to ensure there is some ongoing familiarity providing reassurance that everything is ‘normal.’

2: At the Ball – Learning to formal dance was something many of us went through. Clumsy and embarrassing as it might have been for many, classical ballroom steps and routines guided young people through physical closeness and being in another’s personal space with permission. Young people could safely hold each other and feel how they felt in the comfort of ‘shared discomfort’ and co-ordinated stumbling around in circles. Why is this important? Navigating physical closeness is like learning to drive in a safe environment before taking to the open road or race track. Without this we are effectively bypassing and devaluing a whole spectrum of intimacy. With formal dancing relegated to ‘uncool’ getting physically close to someone is an ‘all or nothing’ experience.

3: After the Ball – the advent of the ‘don’t talk about The After-ball’ generation signals a shift in the relationship schools have with their community. In effect the intimacy associated with being part of a ‘school event’ is countered by the polarity of the ‘After Ball’. For a start, this has become it’s own event, and an expectation. The clandestine planning and secrecy warrants some scrutiny I feel. You know something isn’t quite right when schools are having the Police in to ‘lecture’ students and letters are going home to parents to discourage organising After Ball’s.

What has stayed the same? Gender expectations and the inevitable pressure to fall into line and play the correct part for the ‘parts that you have.’ When people refer to ‘Tradition’ and even ‘traditional couples’ the weight of heteronormativity becomes explicit. I’m heartened however to see schools grapple with this and adjust accordingly.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/21/greenville-high-school-prom_n_4826861.html
But change hasn’t come easy. Some New Zealand schools persisted for a time with requiring ‘declarations of sexual orientation’ if students wanted to bring a same sex partner. Justifications for this range from avoiding gender imbalance to worrying if there was formal dancing then other dates might be poached – oh the horror! Having to ‘out yourself’ by taking a letter home for your parents to sign does nothing to celebrate and embrace diversity. In fact it does the complete opposite. Bi-sexual and intersex students would perhaps have the biggest dilemma. The day someone brings ‘one of each’ gender with androgynous attire will signal an epic shift in genuine acceptance of diversity.

Ultimately I believe ‘dropping the ball’ could help us decide what game we are actually playing and whether the rules really fit for 21st century concepts of identity and diversity. It could be a real game changer.

Jane left Tarzan for another Jane

How to get instant publicity if you are a female celebrity, don’t just end your marriage but announce you are ‘interested in trying women.’ So when Miranda Kerr joined the tribe of women ‘outing themselves as bi-curious’ I started to wonder ‘why all the attention?’
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/31/miranda-kerr-men-and-women-explore-_n_5062456.html

I’m not entirely convinced this is an authentic embracing of bi-sexuality. Nor am I celebrating the seeming ‘acceptance’ of this in the media, and here is why.

Miranda seems to be taking to bi-sexuality like a sport – a performance aspect. She laments that if she isn’t having enough sex her body gets out of shape, particularly her arms and abbs. Heard of push ups and crunches Miranda? ‘Personal trainer’ certainly takes on a whole new meaning if that is the case. Ok so she did the article for GQ Magazine which explains the audience clear enough, and that is my concern. Women are encouraged to ‘explore’ same sex attraction but for the pleasure of men. By declaring that she ‘still needs a man’ the idea of being with a woman is not about genuine sexual attraction but as an extension of heterosexuality.

Therefore, I can’t see her lining up with a rainbow flag any time soon. Crossing the line of acknowledging this is ‘who I am’ not just ‘something I do to spice up my sex life’ requires a commitment to speaking openly and sincerely about complex notions of sexuality, intimacy, love and identity. I’d be more excited if her ex husband Orlando Bloom announced bi-curiosity. Funny how that doesn’t seem to be as popular in the public arena.

There might be research into the ‘fluidity’ of sexual attraction and sexuality and gender differences but the LGBT community need this kind of heteronormative hijacking like the disabled community need Oscar Pistorius as a pin up boy.

When it comes to all things sexual and the ‘who, whats, wheres whys and hows of it’ we seem to take steps toward broadening our concepts of diversity but then try and contain them in other limiting normative expressions of relationships such as marriage. ‘Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage’…because that sounds really natural, comfortable and equal.

I’m not holding my breath for a remake of Tarzan with a plot twist that could go something like this:
“Tarzan, I’m sorry but while you were great for reproducing and protecting me from wild animals, I think I want to try women, and no you can’t watch.”

With all that vine swinging, she is bound to have great arms.