Thursday, January 14, 2010

Is There Another Holocaust On the Horizon

Lee Wind just posted recently about a new law the Ugandan government is planning to pass. Basically, the law states that homosexuality (and lesbianism) is illegal, and the penalty for being such is death. HERE is his actual post.

Although this is Uganda and not the United States, it is still frightening. As Lee points out in his post, this fear-mongering is exactly how Hitler and his people came to power. It's how the Bush Administration was able to remove so many civil rights for everyone in this this country, and how the ultra-conservatives are still attempting to manipulate and control us.

The fact that we already have these (powerful) elements in our own society is what makes this Uganda thing so frightening. They were instrumental in helping the Ugandans come up with this atrocity. And they're here! In the United States.

They haven't achieved this level of insanity here - yet. But with this action their intent has become clear. It may seem like complete science fiction to believe they could create death camps such as Auschwitz and Buchenwald here in America, but I expect that's what it seemed like to Germany in the 1920s and early 30s.

We have to be aware of how these enemies of humanity operate. And we must try and block them. America is so filled with fear and hatred now it is a very scary place to live.

Read Lee Wind's post. I believe he links to the original New York Times article.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Being Who We Want to Be

Hello. It's been more than a month since my last post so I would not be surprised if nobody reads this.

A lot of what I write now deals with males and females behaving in a-typical male and female ways. Or, I should say, what the social perception of male and female ways are.

Apart from writing about lesbians, I also put women in dominant roles, both on the "good guys" side and the bad. Men can be subordinate to women and women to men. But in my stories I don't really mention that that is so. The reader can clearly figure that out for herself as Emily, director of the company, is a woman, and Brad, some junior executive, is a man.

I try to treat my characters' roles naturally. Nobody in the story is surprised that Vanessa is a great warrior, or that Gary likes to cook and take care of the house. Nobody gets teased about what they're doing because their job is opposite their gender.

I've read many stories like that and I find that makes those stories so much better. Stories that need to point out how normal something is just do the opposite: they reinforce how UN-natural the writer sees it. To be honest, I do not consciously assign roles to female and male characters - except my main character and main antagonist.

To be honest, I think most people, whatever their visible and vocal declarations are, prefer that as well. What is more, I think, given a chance, people would like to experiment with things like that.

I have heard many people criticize those who get operations to change their gender. Yet I wonder how many of those who make these criticisms do the same thing in the cyber world? I've been doing a little reading on this topic (very little, compared to what is available). All of these chat rooms, make-believe worlds, Twitter and Facebook accounts, and even Blogger, are filled with men and women pretending to be the opposite sex.

I have done it. I have joined a couple of "worlds" online in which one chooses an Avatar and moves about, interacting with others around the real world in this created cyber world. I have been women. I have been men. I have been dark-skinned and light. I have been blonde and brunette. I have been gay and I have been straight.

Why do people do this? Why have I done it?

From what I have read the reasons are probably as varied as there are people doing it, although curiosity seems to be the most frequent reason given. For those of us who have always been the same gender, there is a natural curiosity about what it would be like to be the other. Women see the advantages of being a man much more clearly than men. And in reverse, men see the advantages of being a woman. I think both have more difficulty seeing the disadvantages of the other side.

Apparently, most gender changing is done by men. But that is not to say there aren't plenty of women doing it, too. Perhaps more than is realized.

Apart from curiosity, there are a couple of practical reasons for a woman to choose a male Avatar - particularly in competitive games. One woman wrote to say that she had joined an online community game which allowed for players to form teams. She wanted to lead her own team, but found few players willing to join a team led by a woman. (Sexism exists even in the cyber world.) So she created a new Avatar and found plenty of able and strong characters willing to submit to her authority and leadership. Meanwhile, a man wrote that he was having difficulty advancing his character in an online game community he had joined. So he switched. Suddenly, he found "male" characters falling all over themselves to him him/her out.

What I found comforting was that the instances of "perversion" being a motivating factor seem to be low. It exists, just like in the real world. But mostly it is people experimenting in a way which is - mostly - harmless. I say mostly because there are risks.

I read how a man (real world and game world) had got to know a female game character. Their relationship blossomed to the point where the man began to believe he was falling in love for real. He began to pressure the female character to let him call her  for real. That was when the female character had to admit she was really an old man in the real world. Quite a shock.

But that exmemplifies something I have believed for some time now: true love is not based on gender. It is based on two people connecting in such a way that they wish to bond together. For some people (men and women), this is far more likely to happen with a woman than a man. For others (again, men and women) it will be with men. We call the women who fall in love with women, lesbians. Men we call, gay. But perhaps the day will come when we simply call them lovers. Husband and wife. Marriage partners.

For myself, I find when I feel a need to be sexy, slinky, and greatly desired, I will put on my female Avatar. I have yet to find a site that creates unattractive and poorly proportioned characters. When I want to "be in charge", I will put on my male Avatar.

Am I being sexist? Yes. I guess I am. But to me, that is one of the beautiful things about pretending. I can be anything I want. They're all just characters I can put on and take off like a sweater. Some fit tigher than others. And some are more comfortable. But woman or man, none of them are really me. Any more than the characters my characters interact with are real. That's probably the saddest thing about pretending. It isn't real.