Homonormativity + Dominant Paradigm

Michael Faris, a friend, fellow Iowan, hero, and gym partner of mine has written an amazing letter – “An Open Letter to My White LGBT Siblings.” The letter was initially published in the Oregon State University student-run newspaper – The Daily Barometer. The comments on the newspaper’s website to Michael’s letter have ranged from the bizarre (saying that Faris is a homophobe is like saying that I hate Star Wars), the ridiculous (one commenter seemed to think that because Michael’s letter was well-written that he must have used a thesaurus…umm Michael’s formal training is in writing, of course his letter is at a high level of articulate awesomeness), and the banal (the trolls brought along their dusty suitcases of unoriginality for most of their comments).

Here’s a brief snippet of the letter. Feel free to travel the info pipes to Michael’s blog for the full read…

And your party, asking folks to dress up like caricatures of Native Americans, is perpetuating the historical representations of racist images created and perpetuated by white society.

I am sure that you would say your party is ironic, that you knew these representations were racist, but you did it out of absurdity. I would reply that you are refusing to deal with your white privilege.

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OSU + discriminatory blood drives

gay men should be allowed to donate blood. the FDA policy that bans gay men from donating blood is homophobic and it needs to be eliminated.

A silent protest against the FDA policy that prohibits gay men from donating blood was held at Oregon State University this week. Several students and faculty members stood in silence in front of the Memorial Union.

It would be wonderful if OSU President Ed Ray would do what San José State University President Don W. Kassing did at the SJSU campus. President Kassing suspended all campus blood drives in protest of the FDA’s homophobic policy citing that the policy violates SJSU’s non-discrimination policy.

Oregon State University’s Institutional Policy on Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action states that OSU as “an institution of higher education and as a community of scholars, is committed to the elimination of discrimination and the provision of equal opportunity in education and employment.”

I hope that part of our institutional commitment to the elimination of discrimination would include prohibiting campus blood drives until the FDA removes their current policy.

Continue reading OSU + discriminatory blood drives

San Jose State bans blood drives

San Jose State University bans campus blood drives

San Jose State University has banned campus blood drives to protest the FDA policy that prohibits gay men from donating blood. I hope this type of campus action takes place nationwide and that the FDA will eliminate this homophobic policy. I am not an ethicist, but I do feel that unjustly harming the dignity of gay men is no less an ethical issue than that of supplying donated blood.

Continue reading San Jose State bans blood drives

Oregon Domestic Partnership Law

A federal court has ruled that Oregon’s domestic partnership law should go into effect, as it was originally scheduled to do on January 2, 2008. via Basic Rights Oregon.

Judge Michael Mosman ruled at 4:25 PM today that opponents of domestic partnership did, indeed, fail to gather the necessary signatures to place the law on the ballot for referendum.

The law takes effect immediately, so county offices will begin to issue domestic partnerships on Monday morning at 9 AM. While domestic partnerships fall short of full marriage rights, they do provide important protections like hospital visitation rights, the ability to make medical decisions for an ailing partner, and estate inheritance.

OSU Drag Show

Sometimes there are moments at OSU that are so amazing that they give you chills to your fingertips. The recent OSU Drag Show took place in a massive tent structure in front of the Memorial Union. (The tent was part of the kickoff event for the OSU Capital Campaign and the coordinators/participants for the Drag Show got to use it the day after the fundraising event.)

I’m not going to tell you her/his name, but this gal/guy, who majors in science, is amazing!!! I cheered until my throat hurt.

Part 1:

Continue reading OSU Drag Show

One more reason

One more reason why I love living in Oregon.


How sweet it is.

Oregon’s Secretary of State confirmed that the second of two anti-gay petitions has failed to qualify for the ballot.

Another petition targeting Oregon’s new domestic partnership law failed as well. Both laws will now take effect at the beginning of the year.

As of January 1, our new anti-discrimination and domestic partnerships laws will go into effect.

And as of January 1, Oregon will be an even better place to live, work and raise a family.

Both of these laws were passed by our legislature and signed by Governor Kulongoski earlier this year. They represent historic achievements in the movement for equality for all Oregonians.

Why I blog…

For the record, I believe that writing about white privilege and patriarchy is a positive thing to do. I feel very positive when I write about these particular barriers to social justice.

I feel that working towards the elimination of racism and sexism is a positive thing. It’s not an easy thing to do. It often hurts. There are comments that make my heart pound as I attempt to digest scattered remnants of thoughts that have been buried beneath piles of words. Sometimes it keeps me awake at night as I try to negotiate how to respond. It hurts to see comments from friends who say that I only talk about negatives. It is challenging.

Continue reading Why I blog…

More on privilege

by Michael Kimmel


To run or walk into a strong headwind is to understand the power of nature. You set your jaw in a squared grimace, your eyes are slits against the wind, and you breathe with a fierce determination. And still you make so little progress.

To walk or run with that same wind at your back is to float, to sail effortlessly, expending virtually no energy. You do not feel the wind; it feels you. You do not feel how it pushes you along; you feel only the effortlessness of your movements. You feel like you could go on forever. It is only when you turn around and face that wind that you realize its strength.

Being white, or male, or heterosexual in this culture is like running with the wind at your back. It feels like just plain running, and we rarely if ever get a chance to see how we are sustained, supported, and even propelled by that wind.

It is time to make that wind visible.

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The Meritocracy Myth

The Meritocracy Myth I’ve been mulling over a few subjects that have been making appearances on my site as of late. The subjects are white privilege and the meritocracy myth a.k.a. “pull yourself up by the bootstraps and inequality vanishes as soon as the laces are tied.”

I’ve written about white privilege and the meritocracy myth before but I feel that I need to add a few more bits of content.

I’d like to thank Dennis at Rhetorical Wasteland for spurring me on to continue to post about the same thing…over and over again.

In addition to D’s encouragement, I received this comment/email today (which actually encouraged me to create this post):

…yes, I am white, and no nothing was given to me. The scholarships I had in college – academic (i.e., merit-based) based, not because they were promised to white people. The grades I earned – because of hard work, not because the professor favored white people. The job I hold now, I earned because of my experience and background, not because I am white.

…And if you do not believe in pulling oneself up by the bootstraps, then perhaps you should more attention to the people who have achieved success in this country by their own hard work.

pull yourself up by your bootstraps

In response to that sentiment, I present the following comic, excerpts and links regarding the meritocracy myth…

Continue reading The Meritocracy Myth

Trojan Evolve

Trojan Evolve

“8 per day…
4 for you.
4 for your partner.
40 each week.
Not enough? Maybe you should go to the library or I don’t know maybe you could study or even take a nap…”

This was part of my Wellness Center spiel during each first year student orientation at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The Wellness Center provided free condoms for UIC students. I think we gave out more than 20,000 in 2003. Trojans, LifeStyles, and Durex were our usual fare. Handing out condoms was just a tiny part of the sexual wellness education that came out of the Wellness Center. However, our free condom program was probably the most publicized piece of our sexual wellness educational efforts.

Continue reading Trojan Evolve