sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Yooooo so latest gender update! Is that I have been experimenting with pronouns irl and have realized that they/them pronouns make me a lot happier than she/her. So please use they/them for me going forward. Thanks!

(for ppl who know me irl: please continue to use she/her for me in front of people who don't know I'm agender, because I am not ready to be out to everyone.)
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
I've been intending to read this book for just about forever, I think? I mean, Alison Bechdel is so well known in feminist/queer sorts of circles. But it was just a sort of vague intention, until I came across a bootleg of the Fun Home musical (which I watched because there is literally no other way I am at all likely to be able to see this musical, more's the pity) and it was SO GOOD and then I really definitely needed to read this book.

And it was also SO GOOD. Different from the musical in some respects, of course, since it is inevitable that using a different medium to tell a story will have different results, but it feels the same. It's clear the Fun Home musical people did a remarkable job translating this narrative into a different format.

I was riveted by this book. I read it over the course of two lunchtimes at work, and at the end of the first I had SUCH trouble putting the book down! I felt a lot of affinity for Bechdel, even while her life and identity don't actually have a lot in common with mine. But there's still something there.

I'm not really sure how to talk about this book? In part because it's so different from the sorts of things I usually read - it's nonfiction, a memoir, a comic, with nonlinear narrative structure. But Bechdel uses the tools of her art (narrative and pictorial) with strength and great ability, and it all really works together to create a wonderful whole.

Highly recommended.

(in completely irrelevant thoughts about this book, Alison is a BECHDEL from PENNSYLVANIA and basically I am extremely curious whether she has Mennonite ancestry because I mean really.)
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
I was really excited to start this book! But from the very beginning I was disappointed, and it never managed to live up to what I hoped from it.

I mean, it starts by saying that it hopes to act as an introduction for both what queer is and what theology is, and I'm not exactly in need of 101 level discussion of either of those things. So it's possible that this book would have more to offer to someone who is a beginner on these subjects, since a lot of the book is a) defining terms, and b) acting as a lit review of previous relevant works on the subject of queer theology.

BUT even so I disagree with some of his beginner elements?? Read more... )
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
The thing that's surprised me most since figuring out I'm agender is discovering how many constraints on gender presentation I've always felt - and still feel, much to my dismay! THANKS SOCIETY FOR THE BRAINWASHING I GUESS.

For years I've had people tell me (mostly admiringly?) that I dress very me, that I don't pay attention to what I "ought" to wear, but wear what I want. And I always thought that was true!'s not true. I've experimented widely, yes, but always within the bounds of certain rules I had no idea I was working so hard to follow.

For example: a few months ago I decided to switch to wearing button-down shirts on my top half, mostly mens-styled shirts. I've always loved that look, but before my breast-reduction surgery there was no hope of such shirts fitting so I never bothered trying. But it struck me suddenly that now I COULD, so I did. And I discovered this vast and intense feeling that I'm not allowed to wear clothing that doesn't accentuate my feminine shape. That wearing these men's shirts make me look slovenly and unkempt because they're baggy or whatever. The mirror tells me otherwise! The mirror tells me I look great! And I love wearing these shirts! But my feelings are all NOOOOOOOO HDU.

And yesterday I went to get my hair cut. Usually my mom cuts my hair, because that's free and salons are EXPENSIVE. Mom's entire haircutting education is having cut mine and my sister's hair since we were tiny children, so although she's competent enough at what she knows, she doesn't know anything fancy. So she gives me a pretty straightforward cut that mostly just says "short". But she's out of the country right now and I needed a haircut so I went to a professional, and described the haircut that I actually want that Mom's not capable of giving me. And I got it, and I look great, it's exactly the cut I've been low-key hankering after for years and I love it - and then I proceeded to spend yesterday evening in an emotional meltdown because this haircut is too masculine and I'm not allowed.

So this is something I'm working on: giving myself permission to present myself the way I actually want to. But it's hard! And I hope I don't discover other "not allowed" areas in my continued experimentation, because it's really not fun.
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Butch is a Noun, by S Bear Bergman

Huh. I wasn't expecting to bounce quite so hard off this one. Bergman is clearly a good writer, and with interesting things to say, and I enjoyed reading about hir experiences of gender, but I did not click with anything ze said at all. I guess it's how clearly ze connects with having a gender. Ivan Coyote and Rae Spoon felt much more relatable to me in their book Gender Failure.

And also how Bergman connects gender with behaviour/actions, like how to hir, being butch is strongly associated with being gentlemanly, which I find kind of offputting actually? idk, maybe that's a generation thing. The whole thing with pulling out chairs for femmes and always walking on the outside of a sidewalk and all that, it just really rubs me the wrong way.

At any rate, I continue to appreciate reading books about gender outside the gender binary. I've got a third one sitting by my bed to read at some point (....along with at least a dozen other books, whoops).

Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity, by Steve Silberman

REALLY good book covering the history of autism. Features a lot of child harm (physical and emotional abuse as well as murder!), but does a great job of covering how autism has been seen in popular understandings and who/what has shaped that. I think the ending is a little too optimistic, given the amount of crap that is still done and believed, but it is pointing in a helpful direction at least.
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
I had a lot of feels, reading this book. I'm not good at feelings so I have no idea WHAT my feels were but I definitely had them. I spent a reasonable portion of the book in tears, but I think in a good way? It's just so - ....reading an entire book by and about two people whose identities don't fit in the gender binary was a really affirming experience, I think. It's like, my experience doesn't exactly line up with either of these two people but it's SO MUCH CLOSER than any other published works I've read in my life. Also Rae and Ivan are both very good writers/storytellers so it was a very good book as well as being a very personally-relevant book. I liked it a LOT.
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
You know that thing where when you don't have a thing it's really hard to realize that you don't have it? I struggled a lot with this when first coming to terms with being asexual, and then with being aromantic. GUESS WHAT, I have something new to add to the list. Turns out I'm agender too!

I'm not exactly unfamiliar with the idea of gender identities outside the binary, and yet it still took me a ridiculous number of years to realize that I'm not actually cis. Like, I just assumed that the things I felt on the subject of gender were within the usual spectrum of what it's like to identify with the gender you were assigned at birth? Haha, not so much! Somehow I forgot to take into account that NOT HAVING A GENDER was an option, idek how. Because now it feels really obvious that that's me.

I'm still in the process of figuring out what this means for me. You can maybe expect more thoughts about gender at some later date, or maybe not. We'll find out!

At any rate you can keep using the pronouns she/her/hers for me for the time being at least, because none of the available pronoun options really sit comfortably with me so I might as well just stick with what's familiar.
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Saw a movie today! Cure for Love! It's about ex-gay ministries and also ex-ex-gay people. Very interesting! It was super weird though to watch all these people talk about how desperately they wanted to not experience these intense desires but that they couldn't make themselves not -- and I was just full of DOES NOT COMPUTE because I have no idea what experiencing that sort of desire (towards anyone!) feels like. Also I really liked when this one dude called himself, in a sort of joking-not-joking way, "bisexual homo-emotional".

Saw a movie yesterday too! Iron Man 3! I've seen a million billion posts about it go by on my DW rlist already and they said everything already so I don't really feel the need? It was a fun movie and I enjoyed it.
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
I picked this book up because I heard it belongs to the regrettably-rare BOOKS WRITTEN IN THE PAST ABOUT QUEER PEOPLE WHO GET HAPPY ENDINGS!!!!! category. Which is a pretty excellent category which I am ALWAYS happy to learn of further books to add to!

My (spoilery) thoughts about this book in particular. )


Jun. 11th, 2012 05:07 pm
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Yeah, so there's a lot of books I've read in the last little while when I haven't been posting regularly, so there's a bunch to report back on! Some I have more, uh, extensive thoughts than others. I'll start with a compilation post for a number of the books for which I had less to say. But after posting this I am taking my beloved computer off to the repair shop to get a serious overheating problem looked at, so my presence may be erratic until the repairs are complete! (depends on how often Mara needs her computer, how often I go to the library, and how often I decide that the frustrations of internet via iPod are worth facing :P)

The Nearest Exit May Be Behind You, by S Bear Bergman )

Tooth and Claw, by Jo Walton )

Magician's Ward, by Patricia C. Wrede )

H.M.S. Surprise, by Patrick O'Brian )

Dragonbreath, Dragonbreath: Attack of the Ninja Frogs, and Dragonbreath: The Curse of the Were-Wiener, by Ursula Vernon )

Drystone Walling Techniques and Traditions, by The Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain )
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
UGH SOCIAL AWKWARDNESS why do you have to be a thing even on the internet?

You may have noticed that I...haven't been posting much lately -- like, once in the last WEEK. Usually I post a wee bit more frequently than that! Also I have not been replying to anyone else's posts. Sorry 'bout that.

Both these things are DESPITE THE FACT THAT I AM ACTUALLY AROUND. *headdesk*

OKAY WHATEVER I am just going to pretend I am not socially awkward ~at all~ and move on with my life and post stuff.

Like for example! Something I intended to post about a week ago and never got around to!

So hey, turns out having a sunday school class discussion about sexuality in one's Mennonite church (where you're not out) is kind of harrowing! Thanks, I really needed to have homosexuality compared to kleptomania (you just have these wrongful urges and to be a good person you need to not act on them!). And I totally needed to hear the old familiar BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN rant about committed queer couples raising families. These made my day, lemme tell you. *sigh* At least there were some clueless-but-well-meaning people there too? I accidentally gave a mini-speech about the difference between being intersex and identifying as a different gender than the one you were assigned-at-birth, and also one about how if a single woman (whose husband has died -- which I specified, for maximum acceptable-to-conservatives threshold) can raise kids fine without a biologically-related male role-model in the immediate family why can't two women? And for the rest of the 45 minutes I did a lot of sitting and listening and feeling my heart racing. Eegh.

This week was supposed to be a continuation of the discussion but because of a variety of reasons the class took place in a different room in the church than normal and half the people couldn't find it. And then the conversation was very...vague and not actually ABOUT anything? And didn't go anywhere useful or interesting at all. It didn't even go anywhere unuseful and frustrating. It was just...a complete waste of a sunday school class. Which was frustrating because last week the leader of the class had said that this week we'd be looking directly at the scriptures that talk about this stuff and discussing interpretation! And then we DIDN'T.

And then last week me and a bunch of friends rewatched A Study In Pink together, and I've been reading people's reactions to the new Sherlock Holmes movie (which I haven't seen so there'll be no spoilers here) and it's making me all depressed again about how media-creators feel free to put in epic epic subtext to the point where it's barely sub, because it attracts a certain demographic, but OH NO WE COULD NEVER MAKE ANY OF THESE DUOS ACTUALLY GAY (OR BI. OR ACE. OR, Y'KNOW, CANONICALLY QUEER). Because I love the subtext, don't get me wrong! It spawns so many delicious fics! But GODDAMN IT MAINSTREAM MEDIA THERE ARE A HELL OF A LOT OF QUEER PEOPLE IN EXISTENCE AND I WANT YOU TO GODDAMN ACKNOWLEDGE IT IN SUCH A WAY THAT HOMOPHOBIC PEOPLE CAN'T JUST IGNORE IT AND READ IT AS ~FRIENDSHIP~ OKAY? OKAY.




Sep. 20th, 2011 10:29 am
sophia_sol: the SGA team sitting together at a table (SGA: team: purple togetherness)
Don't Ask Don't Tell officially ended today, feels almost unreal to me. I spent so long hanging out in SGA fandom, where DADT was this huge thing hanging over everything and it felt kind of like it would always exist. People would occasionally write fic about the ending of DADT, but it always felt like a fantasy -- just as unlikely as, say, a person ending up with wings.

And now it's over.

Really actually over.

I mean, I have issues with the military, don't get me wrong, but in the context of this? That doesn't matter. Because this isn't about war and killing, this is about how a thing that's as important to the US as their military is finally changing its policy in a less homophobic direction. And that is something worth celebrating.

It kind of makes me wish I'd ever managed to figure out how to write for SGA so I could write end-of-DADT fic. I hope SGA fandom is full of fics like that today.

And whether it is or not, I can still link you to one written a couple years ago which remains awesome: With Appreciation, by [ profile] facetofcathy
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Today I read a book, and now I am going to talk about it at extreme length. This post comes in twdo parts: The nonspoilery part, and the extremely spoilery part. I will cut the second part, in case you are interested in reading the book and don't want to get spoiled.

Part one: no spoilers

Oh right, I should tell you what the book is. The book is called Sprout, and it is by Dale Peck.

Today I was out on errands and ended up with a bit of time to kill, so I wandered into the nearby independent bookstore, and discovered it has a whole little section on queer stuff! So that was awesome and made me happy. And then the bottom shelf was picture books with queer themes -- things like And Tango Makes Three, and Heather Has Two Mommies, and other classics I keep hearing about but have never read, so I promptly read through all of them, and it made me grin like a doofus.

And then there was a novel sitting on the shelf that the picture books were on, and it looked intriguing, so I picked it up. (okay, so I was immediately attracted by the person with short green hair on the cover. I like interesting hair, okay?)

And ended up reading the whole thing perched on a chair in the corner of the store. Oops.

The book -- Sprout -- is very good. I really enjoyed reading it. The use of language is self-conscious but still somehow beautiful, and I really liked the main character (also called Sprout) and was very engaged in his life.

It is, as you might guess from what part of the bookstore I picked it up in, a book about being gay.

(and as an awesome bonus for me, it took place in one of the Mennonite areas of the US, a part of Kansas, and so here and there there'd be references to super-menno names and I'd just grin in recognition.)

And it's really hard to talk about this book without spoilers because the book is basically about secrets, and what secrets Sprout is and isn't keeping, so I'll end the spoiler-free part with the following: Awesome book (albeit with a caveat I discuss in the next section), you should totally read it, the end.

So! Part two: spoilers! That turn into a discussion of the similarities and differences between the genre expectations of lit versus fanfic! )


Jul. 4th, 2011 09:31 am
sophia_sol: Ace of hearts leaning against stack of books (Ace)
PRIDE PARADE. IN TORONTO. I WENT TO IT YESTERDAY. SLdijfkhsdlkjfskdlfhk IT WAS AWESOME AND I AM SO GLAD I WENT. Okay and now I will do my best to stop capslocking so that this is actually readable.

And the rest of this is cut on account of the tl;dr )
sophia_sol: Blair Sandburg, with text that says "this is my Serious Academic face" (TS: Blair: Serious Acaface)
Remember how yonks ago I promised I'd share with you my final essay from my course on Queer Theory, the one that I wrote about fandom? I told you I would post it after the new year? Yeah, um, a month and a half it is in all its glory. I have not edited the content at all from the when I submitted it. Um, sorry about all the footnotes; they're a lot more readable when they go at the end of the page instead of the end of the entire essay!

Also, I realized belatedly that the polite thing to do would have been to ask the authors of the fics and posts I cite whether it would be okay for me to do so. So, um, I'm very sorry to anyone who discovers this and is offended by my use of their writing. There's not much I can do after the fact except to apologize and say that at least the only audience for my essay was my relatively fandom-friendly prof?

Anyways, I hope at least someone finds this interesting. I had fun doing it. (though I could not make myself reread it, even for posting it here - I can hardly ever bear to reread my essays. I only skimmed enough to put in the necessary formatting...)

In Your Media Queering Your Characters )
sophia_sol: Blair Sandburg, with text that says "this is my Serious Academic face" (TS: Blair: Serious Acaface)
HAHAHAH, I knew it was there somewhere! While working on my Queer Theory essay there's a thought that I've been chasing down that I knew had to be relevant, and I finally worked it out. To Judith Butler, drag is a demonstration of the way that gender is performative, and imitative, and that there's no such thing as an original and essential gender. Drag imitates, but it is not imitating a pre-existing gender, it imitates something for which there is no original.

AND! Slash does the same thing for sexuality! Slash is not about imitating the homosexual man's experiences; it is imitative, but of itself, of a sexuality that has no original.


Now I just need to expand on this point a little more....

I <3 Fandom

Dec. 5th, 2010 11:21 pm
sophia_sol: Blair Sandburg, with text that says "this is my Serious Academic face" (TS: Blair: Serious Acaface)
Writing my essay on fandom for my Queer Theory course feels strangely like procrastination. :D

Also, it is letting me indulge in my adoration of footnotes, because I need SO MANY FOOTNOTES to explain the many bits of jargon needed to talk about fandom.

And now I need to shut up and go back to essay writing because although READING stuff online totally counts as research, this doesn't.
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Oh god, I just watched the most depressing movie of my entire life. THANKS, QUEER THEORY CLASS. The movie: Boys Don't Cry. It's based on the true story of a trans man in poverty-stricken rural United States, and spoilers follow this cut )

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