cimorene: (is this thing on?)
Two separate coworkers to whom I came out in conversation in the last month at the Red Cross have subsequently, the next day, gone out of their way to be nice to me. My theory is that this is a socially competent person's gesture to show they're not homophobic and regret the awkwardness.

I posted about them both on Tumblr at the time:

  1. A 40s/50s mideastern immigrant, one of those guys who's friendly to literally every human being he ever encounters and makes friends in the space of 5-10 seconds and basically everyone describes him as 'a good guy' stopped me when I said "My wife -"

    with "Wife? Really? WIFE?" and then stared at me in confusion for a while, unsure if I said 'wife' on purpose or due to error, and ultimately asked me, but not without apologizing first, "Your wife... a man?"

    "No, my wife is a woman," I said cheerfully, and then he apologized again and said "Good, good!"

    The next day he came to find me in the morning and opened with "I just wanted to talk to you for a bit," and we exchanged extra-polite and extra-bonhomous smalltalk for 5 minutes or so.


  2. A few days later, speaking English with a Finnish young man who is addicted to gaming and attributes his English skills to that, I dropped a casual "My wife" again.

    "You have a wife? You have a WIFE! Nice! That explains a lot actually!" he said.

    I think he was a little surprised that this reaction made me dissolve in laughter. "Explains what?" I said, and he gave an up-and-down gesture at my entire person, finishing with a flourish at my head. "My hair?" I said, laughing even harder.

    The next day he popped out of nowhere when I was working at my station and not on break or anything, asked if I was allergic to chocolate (no), then handed me a candybar with, "Do you want this? It's 'on me'" (with audible ironic quotes, haha), and then breezed away again while I called after him, "Thanks!"


A few thoughts about this.

In the first place, it's quite effective. As funny as these moments were at the time - nice but funny! - of course both dudes have correctly divined that you do always have a little bit of that worry when you have to come out, no matter how many times you've done it, or how friendly the person otherwise seemed. So it's a good socially adept solution, and indirect even if it is fairly obvious.

Secondly, the frequency with which these coming-out conversations hit that awkward note. Mostly one can put this down to heteronormativity and heteronormative assumptions, probably. In the second case, I guess my presentation is slightly butcher than I realized, maybe? Not that that offends me. I've had plenty of coming-out conversations, including in Finnish, including ones with casually dropping 'my wife' in conversation like the above, that have gone smoothly, or completely without comment. Those are usually with women, though, maybe?

And finally, I could stand to receive more "Sorry-If-I-Kinda-Flubbed-Your-Coming-Out-Moment" chocolate ("Sorry-If-I-Offended-You-With-My-Gender-Comments" chocolate?). Like, for a moment that size, a chocolate bar combined with no repeat performance seems like a perfectly good tradeoff, and who doesn't like free chocolate? It would be great if that was just the widely socially-accepted fee. And the super-friendly conversation was equally acceptable, if not equally chocolatey. I mean, flattery is always nice, and friendly conversation is always welcome when your coworkers across the aisle insist on turning down the radio so low that you're forced to pretty much work in silence most of the time. (You probably have to have those extra-special like God-Tier friendliness skills to pull off that method successfully, though.)
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (this is awkward)
I was recently introduced to the Philo Vance detective stories of S.S. Van Dine by an article about how T.S. Eliot (I think?) was a fan of detective fiction. I was surprised to learn that these stories, written pseudonymously by literary critic and NYC cultural avant-garde elite W.H. Wright, were all bestsellers at the time of publication, but have since faded so far from modern cultural awareness that I'd never heard of them in spite of having been close to several big-time golden age detective fiction fans. (If you read them, you'd probably also begin to feel you understand why they haven't stood the test of time as well as ACD, Christie, and Sayers, but I haven't quite applied myself to articulating my speculation yet.)

These novels feature a genius sleuth and a narrator-biographer sidekick, are set when they were written, in the 1920s-30s, and in some ways seem to bridge gaps between the above-mentioned writers, and to exist in conversation with them, in a fandomy, remixy way. (I also detect playful dialogue flourishes reminiscent of PG Wodehouse, although I have to note regretfully that the narrator is never Jeevesy.) But... gayer? I mean, of course, that foundation is unquestionably there in the rest of the genre, but here an overwhelming homosociality of the main cast combines with a definite coded gayness for the sleuth.

Sleuth Philo Vance, fundamentally a mixture made of largely Sherlock Holmes and Lord Peter Wimsey (maybe a dash of The Murders in the Rue Morgue, not least because of how his narrating biographer is handled), is coded gay in that early-20th-century asexual way. It's introduced with a pointed comment about a green carnation in the first scene with dialogue in the first novel, but never becomes actually relevant to the plot. He would read as asexual otherwise, but it isn't belabored or emphasized in contrast to anyone else, the way ACD did with Holmes, or Christie did with Poirot; it's just that sexuality would have been a complete non-issue if not for the green carnation remark and later, subtler hints. (Although spoiler ))

And though I don't discern any coding in their characters, his entire cast of regulars - or trio of backup singers, you might say - are also bachelors, evidently leading existences free of any assumptions of heterosexuality and heteronormativity. The author-narrator, S.S. Van Dine, referred to casually as "Van" by Vance, is his live-in man of business or secretary or personal assistant, a lawyer by trade whom he picked up when they were together at Princeton, but who is now devoted full-time to his correspondence, financial affairs, and art collections.

Their connection to the world of police is through district attorney Markham and homicide detective Sergeant Heath. Markham is typically present with the narrator and Vance, either at home or dining out, for what seems like one meal in three and a portion of every day, even when they are at leisure, and the readers are treated to the narrator waxing poetic about the dynamics of Markham and Vance's relationship, history, feelings for each other, and the nature of their banter, which he seems to find mysterious or ineffable at times.

Heath is a friendly and respectful subordinate of Markham's and shares with him the role of unimaginative policemen who want to pursue the wrong suspect or clue and have to have everything explained to them by the genius, but they're also both friendly with Vance. Heath doesn't hang around with them in his off-hours, but he's still what one might call a Bachelor's Bachelor.

The upshot is a highly homosocial cast that I think would make a great candidate for an update into a modern queer female foursome. (They wouldn't really need to be solving mysteries: as mysteries go these are not remotely realistic anyway.) (Yes, this was one of those shower thoughts that starts with "Wouldn't I like X better if all the characters were female?" I don't know why I have this conversation with myself so much, because the answer is always yes, but imagining it is always fun anyway I guess.)

Just picture this:

1. The sybaritic gastronome genius classical translator, art historian and collector, unarmed fighter and dog breeder, a sharp-dressing perfectionist diva who makes a point of delivering all her genius statements as if she couldn't care less, when in fact she feels a deep empathy for everyone that she covers up with coolness. A huge vocabulary, excitable tangents about art, history, and cool science stuff that sounds like it comes from an encyclopedia, a tendency to occasionally quote literature in a foreign language and then pretend not to hear when people try to ask her wtf she's talking about.

2. The narrator of the books is so transparent you often forget he's there, so it's hard to tease out a characterization. But that mystique could be played with interestingly, like maybe the character could be a long-distance bff who is in communication via texts and Skype.

3. The genius's older, tolerant friend who is serious to a fault and acts like putting up with the tangents and flights of fancy is a chore, but secretly finds them charming, and also will always melt at any direct request. Responsible, busy, on time, could be conquering the entire world one-handed off-screen. Is getting gray hairs. Always protests that she's busy, but then the genius is like "But this new restaurant has KILLER (esoteric dish) that I want to feed you," and she's like, "Okay." Says things like, "It sounds like you can handle things," and then goes along anyway just because the genius wanted an audience for her brilliance. Obediently provides the appropriate straight-man line whenever needed, and also instantly and commandingly takes charge of any situation and/or group of people with sheer force of charisma.

4. Brash, confident, likable lady who is presentable but insists on dressing comfortably and less formally. Has been doing her job competently a while and knows everybody in the field, and is friendly with them. Great at delegation. Stubborn, never afraid of an exhausting, difficult or tedious task, patient. Has a fairly optimistic outlook and is fond of one-liners and snarky asides. Prone to getting fired with frustrated righteous anger; yells about it until requested to please tone it down because her vigor is exhausting. Literally always falls for (practical) jokes: will fall for anything. Has probably been flicked on the nose after looking down when asked "What's that on your shirt" hundreds, if not thousands of times.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (Default)
Hating to make phonecalls makes it extra awkward, of course, but eventually I called the card cancelling service, the regional lost and found (they didn't have it), and the social security agency for a replacement card. Then I registered my ID and SS card lost with the police's online form in case of identity theft.

That left:

  • Grocery store membership card. This took me and [personal profile] waxjism BOTH over an hour last week attempting to figure out how to request a new one.


  • Other bonus cards, infrequently used: you don't actually need them; you can just give your name at the register. Less plastic to carry around and hunt for in the wallet: sounds good to me.


  • Replacement ID card: Unlike in the past, when you had to print or pick up the paper forms, fill them out, and bring them with exact change in cash and physical copies of approved ID photos to the police in person, you can do most of this online now. You fill out the forms electronically and pay with a direct bank transfer, and the photographer emails the photos directly to the police, but you still have to go to the photographer in person (to take the pictures) and the police in person (to give your signature), so I haven't actually got around to this yet. (I also am trying to get [personal profile] waxjism to replace her 20-year-old oversized driver's licence which doesn't fit in her wallet without stretching the zipper out of shape in the same trip but this requires dragging her around on her day off). On the plus side though, you can also make an electronic reservation for a timeslot at the police station to do your paperwork, so you don't have to go there and sit in the waiting room for several hours (it's happened before).


  • (Because of this dawdling, though, I had to take my passport to the post office to sign for a registered package the other day, haha.)

  • The raw food handling certification: I don't have an immediate plan to apply for work in a kitchen so this isn't exactly URGENT, which is good because it requires me to cold-text a total stranger. I'm working up to it by putting it in my calendar with an alarm repeatedly, so that when the alarm sounds and I cancel it and re-set it for a later date ("I don't have the mental integrity for this today") I feel a little prick of guilt.


I also finally have permanent residency status in Finland!

The physical permit expires in 5 years, but the right to reside does not require new applications any longer.

I should have received this after four uninterrupted years' residence as a family member (I only acquired family member status after living here on a student visa 3 years, because that's what same-sex couples had to do - cohabit 3 years - in order to acquire the right to Finnish registered partnership and the common law partnership status. Gender-neutral marriage passed here recently, but to my knowledge the laws haven't been implemented, so this may still be the case.) So that meant 4(spouse)+3(student)=7 years after I moved here, but I hadn't adopted electronic calendars yet at the previous permit renewal, which was THREE YEARS before the final Permanent Resident Status would have kicked in... and my application was a month late, which meant I was no longer eligible, and got sent back for four more years of waiting (and another hefty processing fee). That penalty period ended last November, and I got a fancy new Resident Card yesterday!

The police have been downsized, though, and effective at the new year, foreign national permits are no longer processed in Turku. All of them for the southwest region of Finland have been concentrated in our suburb, Raisio, the one that's 20 minutes by car and where our Ikea is located (that means that a bunch of offices were closed besides the Turku one). Meanwhile, Raisio's permit-processing offices (they used to do IDs and many types of licences) have also been closed, and Raisio residents who are natural Finns have to come to Turku for their permit needs. That all happened over the new year, and I'd never been to downtown Raisio before. It took two bus rides and then wading through four parking lots in calf-high snow. I discovered they only have one service window open there, next to about six shuttered ones in their lobby (Alien Affairs in Turku usually had 2 or 3). Luckily the lines were not long yet, so I didn't have to wait long before making another two bus trips and a lot of frantic snow-wading to get back home with my toes numb (it was -15°).

In relation to the downsizing, I asked the desk worker, "So before the 5 years are up I have to come back?" and she laughed,

"Well, who knows what the permit will look like or who will be processing it in five years! We might not even have a police office!" Touché, desk worker, touché.
cimorene: (is this thing on?)
... Presented as an Illustration of My Emotions and Viewing Habits Regarding Evil and Dead Lesbians


  • The Sittaford Mystery ★ ★ ★ Neither evil nor dead, but arguably platonic Read more... )


  • The Body in the Library ★ ★ Evil (and being dragged to the gallows), which is annoying but doesn't stop me watching. Read more... )


  • A Murder Is Announced ★ Dead (not evil), which is where I draw the line. Now that I know, I won't watch. Read more... )



There's also Nemesis, but although I am fond of saying that ITV added incestuous dead lesbian nuns, it wouldn't make the above list because Read more... )

I will not boycott further rewatches of stories that happen to include evil or dead gay men in this manner, although there isn't a Christie adaptation that I can think of that includes the death of a gay man (there's off-screen, pre-episode gay partner death related to the plot in "The Moving Finger", but the character is never seen onscreen, he's just discreetly mourned by his surviving partner). But if it came up in passing in another crime show, for example, I wouldn't avoid the episode if I were otherwise inclined to rewatch.

In general, though, if I know in advance that the entire plot is about evil gay (or lesbian) people I will watch it, and if it's about dead gay men I will watch it, but if I know in advance that it is about dead lesbians I won't. Basically the line is anyone involved in a f/f relationship should survive.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (Default)
Just a few hours ago: Finnish Parliament approves same-sex marriage

This law comes from a citizens' initiative (a petition) and makes Finland the last Nordic country to recognize same-sex marriages, to many people's embarrassment.

Wax and I call each other 'my wife', but we got married in Iowa and went through the usual process for getting approval of a foreign marriage, that is, submitted paperwork to a judge, who issued the decision that our Iowan marriage's "closest equivalent" was the Finnish registered partnership (which didn't actually convey all the legal benefits, just most of them).

The article says that the details won't be ironed out before 2015, so I wonder if our status will undergo an automatic conversion then, or we'll have to do something. Of course even if it's automatic, Wax and I already went through a lot more trouble and expense than, say, my Thai classmate who met her Finnish husband via an online dating site and got married after one short visit each.

If a Finnish citizen is engaged married (or in a registered partnership with) a non-EU citizen, their fiancé(e) spouse can get a family member visa - they can work and receive Finnish social services, and don't need proof of income (ETA: though [personal profile] pierydys and her husband had to prove cohabitation when she moved here as a fiancée, so although it is possible to get a fiancé(e) visa it's got a lot of requirements and counts as a special case).

On the other hand, we lesbians could only get a Finnish registered partnership, or a family member's visa, if we could prove we had already lived together for two years (though that isn't the case anymore apparently). In order to meet this requirement, one of us had to get permission to live in the other's country for that time. Getting a green card is literally like winning the lottery, so it was a lot easier for that to be me.

I applied directly to a Finnish university, which required reading up for an entrance exam that I flew to Finland to take at my parents' expense, and once I was accepted I got a student visa, but that required me to submit proof that I had €6000 in a Finnish bank account at the beginning of each school year. (Also students can't take jobs beyond a certain number of hours and don't get social security, though their healthcare is covered by the student union.)

After two years, I was automatically eligible for a family member visa because the government had a record of our cohabiting and considered us common-law married. So our Iowan marriage, years after that, didn't change anything in our daily lives, although we would have had the opportunity to change our names or something I think.

But the barriers to our relationship were costly and complicated, and we wouldn't have managed it without some €12000+ from my parents (a gay tax that would be good to refund to them given the current economic crisis), a ton of paperwork, and support from [personal profile] waxjism's brother, mother, and even her brother's best friend and sister-in-law's sister, both of whom gave me places to crash when [personal profile] waxjism was still living with her homophobic granny for economic reasons and I was banned from the house.

I can think of three gay Finnish celebrities who are married to foreigners, but I don't know a single other gay couple that's half foreign... and, as the Finnish teachers I've seen in the past couple of years will tell you, the majority of immigrants in Finnish language classes are here because of love: married either to Finns, or to spouses who are working here. That's a lot of immigrants and a looooooooooooooot of heterosexual relationships with Finns.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (crack)
I posted a critique of a highly dubious news headline on Tumblr here.

The headline that set me off was this tweet:


@pinknews: "STUDY: Straight women judge emotions and thoughts better than lesbian women"

In a nutshell, their sample was only 67 straight women and 43 lesbians. All the straight women were psychology undergrads from their university with a mean age of 19, while the gay test subjects were recruited via fliers in cafes/the internet and the top of their age range was over 30.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (kinky!)
This post is going around Tumblr:

“We’ve certainly made some hints to the possibility of Stiles being bisexual.”

Jeff Davis (x)

original post


And my wife [personal profile] waxjism commented

#when I was a teenager #no one on TV was like me #I didn’t even know bisexuality was a thing #outside of crappy porn


#and that's why it took me #until I was 23 #to know how it was possible #to not be gay and not be straight



My parents had some gay and trans friends when I was an infant and there were a handful of gay and lesbian people in my Unitarian Universalist church over the years when I was a kid - friendly acquaintances but not actually family friends, at least until I was teenaged and got to know my dad's work bff who was gay (he wasn't a dinner party friend because his partner lived 5 hrs' drive away in Atlanta and he spent all his weekends there). ANYWAY, I never knew our queer acquaintances very well (and always was a bit starstruck and curious but too shy to like seek them out and talk to them especially), and I always kind of felt that queer people in general were a lot cooler than me so I always felt a bit let down that I was not as cool as them, and I vaguely felt that if I were that cool surely I would have known about it. I can't actually remember a time before I knew about bisexuality either.

So anyway, I was really lucky in terms of knowing about queer people and knowing some of them. But gay people still were Other to me because they're so fucking invisible and so othered in culture/media that the overwhelming message that "these people are other" was actually able to drown out the completely contradictory facts in my brain (of identifying with them quite strongly obviously myself, hence the curiosity and sort of wistful admiration or whatever)(and also of actually knowing them personally and uh, knowing they were ordinary, non-other people)! Maybe if I'd seen them (us?) in the media more I would have figured it out before age 19? I'm not really sure. But hey, even if not, it still would have been nice.

My liberal parents did their best, but to be exposed to anything gay or bi in the media you would usually pretty much have to go hunting for it. They own thousands of sff books that overflow their whole house, but after decades of voracious reading they came up with a list of probably fewer than 10 gay-protagonist sff books when I asked them a few years ago. Partly this might be them not necessarily remembering the titles/authors for all the ones they've read, not having had a particular interest until ten years ago.

I kind of wanted to write a conclusion but then my brain sort of wandered off. Hopefully tomorrow this will still look like everything I wanted to say.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (WHAT?)
We were talking about travel and I wanted to say I went to a wee island in Nagu yesterday but I had to start with 'brother-in-law' which is a word that doesn't exist in Finnish, so:

ME: My wife's -
TEACHER: No.
ME: Yes.
TEACHER: No, not wife - husband.
ME: No, my wife.
TEACHER: Ah. - Not in Finland. In Finland it's not possible.
ME: ... Yes, it is wife.
TEACHER: Are you married?
ME: Yes.
TEACHER: In Finland it's not possible for - [I guess she was going to tell me that gay marriage is illegal, which I guess I as a gay person would just be completely ignorant of? It's amazing how often straight people think gay people might not know these things]
ME, on the verge of trembling with anger: Yes, we traveled to America and in America, in Iowa, got married where it is ... legal. [I didn't know the Finnish word for legal].
TEACHER: Oh, okay, I see, blah blah [at this point it was like a complex speech in Finnish and I didn't know all the words and I was too pissed off to track but something something thought I didn't know because something something Finland but now she gets it. This speech was vaguely apologetic but she didn't actually say anything that I recognize as an apology, but then the only Finnish word I've learned for that is 'excuse me' which is probably not the appropriate one anyway.]


But anyway, so I really like this teacher, or at least I did - no, I guess I still do and that's partly why I'm so upset - but anyway, I'm pretty sure this is another person who's completely unaware that what they're doing could be identity policing - they're just correcting you! Helpfully! In case you weren't aware of where the glaring gaps in your basic civil rights are, they want to make sure that you are reminded and not accidentally laying implicit claim to them!

I was so angry that for the remaining 20 minutes of class I just sort of shut down and I couldn't even track what was going on around me and what people were saying. I just sat there angrily drawing in my sketchbook, ranting and raving inside my head and concentrating on not making weird facial expressions.

Then on the bus Farjana and Gigi made me feel better, although I'm not sure they realized I was upset, but they were definitely explicitly acknowledging my relationship AND being super friendly about it so I felt touched.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (gay socks)
I saw that The Advocate has a Twitter, and foolishly thought "Perhaps I can get lgbt NEWS focused on actual events, politics, and social justice, instead of the ubiquitous focus on the entertainment industry and celebrity gossip!"

Their latest tweet is "WATCH: Rosie says Lindsay Lohan is 'Not Capable' of Portraying Elizabeth Taylor!"

Oh. Well, I guess not then.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (cim'n'wax)
Other than this incident I really liked the social worker I talked with today, and I wasn't actively offended at the time so much as irritated, but it was one of the thousand papercuts that you eventually die of (or in the case of being a possibly-persecuted minority, maybe just get really fed up with and snap one day and turn into a towering rage beast).

If I say "My wife" in passing to you, regardless of absolutely anything and everything else you can think of (for example: Finland doesn't have gay marriage, just registered partnership, so the actual government doesn't recognize my marriage, but that's a rage blackout for another day)...

don't later say "your partner" to me.

(For one thing: you don't know my circumstances. Maybe we got legally married in Iowa! Which we did. Maybe we got married by jumping over a broom at an informal ceremony officiated by a Unitarian minister, but didn't do any of the paperwork! We didn't. But for another thing, even if you knew my circumstances, if I consider the person I'm in a relationship with to be my wife and that person agrees with the designation, and we aren't in a court of law or a social security office and you aren't a notary or government official, then it's not your business to question my terminology.)

See also: if President Obama identifies as black, he's black even if his mother was white1.




1. Bonus extra special note to Robin McKinley: FYI, being biracial, which isn't how the President chooses to identify, is still not the same as being "a white guy with a tan". And also, how dark you think his skin is has no bearing on his racial identity, but I do wonder if you also consider all black people with various forms of albinism to be white.

See also: why I can't enjoy Robin McKinley's books anymore, including several of my childhood favorites, so thanks for that.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (batman)
These were thoughts I was having that didn't really fit on Twitter. I was all baffled and frustrated until I remembered I have a blog specifically for longer thoughts.

Anyway, this post is not a review, and not spoilery, because I haven't actually seen the new X movie (I don't watch Holocaust stuff; it's a thing), and that's not really my point anyway. But this morning I read the much-linked E! online movie review, Magneto and Professor X Had Sex at the Movies This Summer—Did You See It?. (That is a review. And it is spoilery.)

Basically the review contends that:

  1. X-men has always been an allegory for American race relations and civil rights, with Xavier representing Martin Luther King, Jr and Magneto representing Malcolm X (not going into a debate, but suffice to say I'd include the Black Panthers on Magneto's side of the allegory);
  2. and

  3. the new movie deliberately shifts the allegory to the struggle for gay rights instead.


I think she's right about the movie and its intentionality. She's also probably right that Xavier's "idealistic" position aligns with wanting to live in the closet, although obviously not exactly since he doesn't want to explicitly keep the X-men's powers a secret, while Erik's cape and helmet do certainly argue for her comparison to drag.

The thing is, the movie's set in the 1960s, when closeting was a not-unreasonable life choice, but it's speaking to today's civil rights struggle. And today the argument that out and proud would be harmful to the gay agenda our cause is a bit ludicrous.

I've seen state after state legalize gay marriage in the last 10 years; I'm out and I've gotten gay married in the state where my mom spent ½ her childhood. In a world where polling shows more than half of Americans support gay marriage and nobody but the Pentagon and McCain supports Don't Ask Don't Tell, the administration has just gone to bat against DOMA, and it was Republicans who pushed through New York's new gender-neutral marriage laws, the idea that we need to sit down and shut up and put away our Rupaul's Drag Race and our pride parades and prove we're just like them to get equality is not just obsolete; it's offensive. And Professor X is nothing but one giant tone argument.

So today Magneto's out-and-proud looks a lot more reasonable than Charles's quiet collaboration (admittedly 'kill them all' never looks reasonable, but 'full equality now or fuck you' probably shouldn't really be equated to 'kill them all'). Today, it's the Charleses in the Finnish government who were willing to sit down and coalitionize with the Christian Democrats at the price of promising no new rights for gay people who have dirty hands and I hope guilty consciences. They're the ones I couldn't see my conscience clear to working with or living with, not the Eriks who throw glitter on Newt Gingrich at book signings.

Which rather makes me even less sympathetic to Charles's position than I already was thanks to a) his enormous privilege, b) his douchiness, c) his moral flexibility combined with sanctimoniousness, and d) the fact that in the past movies Magneto's position was always the one aligned with observable reality and events.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (batman)
Part of the process of making our Iowa marriage legal in Finland involved my parents accepting delivery of a certificate and mailing it on to us.

It came today, and in the envelope were:

  • The certified copy of the marriage certificate

  • The Apostille certificate to go with it, signed by the Iowa Secretary of State (his name is Michael A. Mauro, if you wanted to know, and his signature is very nice and legible, in blue felt-tip)

  • No letters or notes from my parents of any kind

  • A fortune cookie fortune, included with no explanation, which is in Engrish on one side and wildly-incorrect Spanish on the other.




XD I love my parents.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (google)
  • After a year of procrastination, I still haven't gotten our paperwork in order to have our Iowa marriage recognized in Finland. This was actually the whole reason we got married in Iowa - because Finland has registered partnership, but not marriage, and this pisses us off because 1. separate but equal is not equal and 2. they're not equal anyway; it doesn't come with quite all the legal benefits. The point of the whole exercise is that after doing it elsewhere, we get to petition to be legally recognized as married to a Finnish judge of some sort and make our voice heard. Given past precedent, they probably aren't going to recognize it as a marriage (Wax looked at some forums, and Vermont marriages have historical precedent of being declared to be legally only a registered partnership under Finnish law - assholes).

    The main reason for the procrastination, though, is that the process is both expensive and fiddly. You need an Apostille form PAY ATTENTION TO THIS IF YOU ARE AN EXPATRIATE GETTING MARRIED ON A FLYING VISIT BACK TO YOUR NATIVE LAND OKAY THIS IS IMPORTANT! I wish someone had told me this. )


  • Our pet shampoo is malodorous! I've been bathing my dog in it because it's supposed to help with dandruff and dry skin, which he occasionally seems to have a mild case of, but it's really not a pleasant smell. More of a stench. Even though I have taken to putting my own berry-scented conditioner on him afterwards, the smell is penetrating. Any suggestions?

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    Do you have any suggestions for what I could wash my dry-skinned dog in that doesn't stink?



  • While vacuuming yesterday I found a lollipop under the couch with a wrapper that says "BON BON BUM junior". Which begs the question: is this lollipop intended for people with bums as delicious as bon bons, or for people who have bums whose size is attributed to bon bon consumption? Or both? We may never know, especially because neither one of us is brave enough to actually eat an under-couch lollipop of unknown provenance, even though it's still in the wrapper.


  • Wax and I have given up our yearning for the now-discontinued Marimekko pink cheetah wall panel and our new ambition is to adorn the area above our couch with panels of each of these, Marimekko "Karkuteillä" in orange and blue:



cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (peaceful)
So, this conversation happened today with one of my oldest (though no longer closest) friends, as soon as I got online this morning and before I even had a chance to eat my breakfast:


X: so, remember when I told you i say stuff like "that's gay"?
X: welp. I have a friend in SF and somehow we got on the topic and of course I got a speech about how I shouldn't say that.
Cim: You shouldn't
X: well yes. i know how you feel about it.
X: but also I happened to counter with the notion that it was hypocritical of her since she probably does the same thing cept with some other topic like jews or something.
X: so today she made a jew joke in front of her best friend who's a jew
Cim: ...people still make jew jokes??
X: yeah lol. they've been friends a while so it's like fair game. he makes asian jokes, she makes jew jokes.
X: anyway, she happened to do it and some other girl happened to be jewish, which was the point of my story :D
Cim: Is that the end of your story? I didn't really wake up today planning to be helplessly enraged and reminded that I'm lacking civil rights all over the world.
X: :/
Cim: Gay jokes not as funny to gay people in the middle of losing battles over marriage and DADT. Protip
Cim: So nice to be told being offended over it isn't valid by straight people, btw!
X: ...
X: that wasn't my point


Oh my fucking Gaga, that wasn't your point?

Obviously I possess the reading comprehension skills to get your "point". You thought it was oh-so-cute and ironic to catch out someone who, like me, dislikes gay hate speech accidentally offending someone with hipster racism. It's you who's missing my point, which is that when you make a point of exercising your privilege to say offensive things to someone across the privilege barrier when you know that they find those things to be offensive, that is by definition offensive.

Like, surely even a privilege denying dude (and this is a dude of color btw!) should realize that there can't be any way to champion the use of "gay" as a slur which isn't offensive to someone who is on the record as being offended by that usage? Because the mere fact that you're slapping me in the face every time you say it and I can't do anything about it is bad enough, but if you acknowledge that you already know how I feel about the issue, then you're basically saying "I could have the courtesy to not talk about X in front of you since I know you're offended by ablist language/not amused by rape jokes/gay, but I choose not to do so! You're not upset that I deny your marginalization, are you?"

Yeah.

And then I got on Dreamwidth and saw this! ontd_political: Governments remove sexual orientation from UN anti-discrimination resolution (includes itemized list of the 79 nations who voted to remove homosexuality from the list - including China, Cuba, Haiti, South Africa, and Russia - and the 17 who abstained - including Colombia, Fiji, Singapore, the Philippines, and Thailand).
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (godlike)
In Finland, where civil partnerships exist but do not convey benefits equivalent to marriage, the question of legalizing gay marriage has been under debate for some little while and is on the agenda of the governing Center-Green coalition. The side debate concerns the state Evangelical Lutheran church of Finland, which currently has an anti-gay marriage stance, and whether such a law would require it to voluntarily relinquish its current right to perform legally binding marriage ceremonies. This tiny article appeared at the bottom of page 4 in today's HBL (Finland-Swedish newspaper):

One in three priests wants to wed gay couples



About one third of priests in the Evangelical Lutheran church in Finland could imagine themselves marrying gay couples, according to a survey done by Radio Dei. Female priests are more positive towards the idea than male priests.

More than half of respondents are unwilling to wed gay couples.


It's interesting because, while that "More than half are willing to stand up and declare themselves for legal inequality and lending themselves personally to suppressing your, yes, YOUR, Cim's, civil rights" - of course that's still upsetting, but given the tenor of debate and the way it is generally posed as a civil vs. religious question, I was definitely surprised that as many as a third of priests are actually for it.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (holmes)
I think I saw this article half a week ago, but I'm still spitting-nails mad that the Moff thinks society is so wonderfully accepting and non-disapproving nowadays that he has to make it clear that Holmes is DEFINITELY straight, not gay, and in conclusion cousins not attracted to Watson even if he somehow was. Oh really. That's so nice of you. Thank you, Moffat. I'm glad to know that in your view, everybody in this modern world except you (and Benedict Cumberbatch, of course) is completely non-judgmental of the gays!

It's so much worse, somehow, when they are evidently in some way trying. Moffat, for instance, appears from this quote to have given genuine thought to the Holmes/Watson relationship and to the appearance of Gay, and, while earnestly believing that he and society are joyously enlightened, concluded that Holmes and Watson couldn't be that kind of guys. He probably doesn't have the faintest inkling that there's anything wrong (or incongruous) in his protestations. A bit like Whedon's constant, earnest, annoyingly unconscious misogynyfails. (Cumberbatch's remarks, on the other hand, make it instantly clear that he's too clueless to even enter the Gay 101 lecture hall, being instead still lost in the Gender Essentialism Orientation Scavenger Hunt, located outside in the Girlyman Manlygirl Quadrangle.)

I'm still looking forward, though, with some mixed feelings, to the forthcoming episodes1. As Holmes fanfiction it's very good, and Cumberbatch's performance really impressed me, prompting mental comparison to Brett's (not that I'd place them on the same level) without seeming derivative. A time-period AU is one of the most delicate and easily-fucked-up forms of derivative work, in my view: the task of capturing the essence of characterization while stripping away most or all of the verbal expressions the characters use is beyond most fan writers. Time period or characterization usually falters, and in the end most of these AUs stand or fall according to how well they're able to distract you from that weak point. I was expecting something that would be fun enough to cover the inevitable gap. Instead I got some strikingly good characterization. Of course, the crime-solving-related plots were incredibly silly and contained some giant holes, but frankly, if they made sense it would be far less like ACD.



1. My personal 'hate the creator, hate the fanwork' function only cuts off all ability to enjoy when the creator has been an unmitigated asshole in such a way that no possible fanwank could explain their behavior as being in good faith.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (she's so refined)
I actually enjoyed myself at Wax's paternal grandmother's family reunion this afternoon, in spite of the fact that (1) it was rainy and (2) like 15° C/50s F and (3) outside in a tent. Said granny1 is one of 14 siblings and grew up in Pargas, the 45-min-distant town where I attend my classroom assistant courses and where we plan to eventually settle. I bundled up, and it wasn't too cold, and the atmosphere was also quite relaxed and friendly. But the unfortunate blot on a good day was that this also happened... and I don't really know what to do with it. I'm pissed off, yeah, and righteously so, I feel, and also hurt. But at the same time, I feel a bit helpless (and don't intend to do anything about it at this time, at least).

WAX'S DAD'S COUSIN: So who are all of these [waving at Wax & me, sister-in-law & nieces & nephews]? How are they related?
WAX'S MOM: They're all mine! This is my daughter, Wax, and these four are my grandchildren - Brother Metal's kids - and this [pointing to sister-in-law] is my daughter-in-law.


No introduction for me.

The thing is, I know she doesn't consider me not a part of the family; she organized the "Welcome to the Family" party that I got after our elopement last fall. (Though now I'm a little less sure about whether she regards my marriage as legitimate.) She's not a homophobe and has always been perfectly welcoming, and I even know that she likes me, though we kind of rub each other the wrong way and we have to grit our teeth a lot, but we try. (I'm given to understand that this is not unusual for mothers-in-law. IDK, I'd never seen it in person before.)

Wax's theory is extreme social awkwardness and being ashamed in case the people she was talking to would get offended. (I can't say it's not plausible.) But the thing is... it still pisses me off.

The pronoun game pisses me off. Euphemisms piss me off. Pussyfooting pisses me off. "Wax's friend" pisses me off. "And this is Cim... she's, uh, from America" pisses me off. If I were happy to keep playing the pronoun game at parties, I wouldn't have gotten married. We did it in Iowa precisely because we (shockingly!) feel strongly about the importance of our marriage being recognized as legitimate: because in Iowa they have marriage, but in Finland we only have "registered partnership." So if the two brothers' het marriages produce daughers-in-law but Wax's marriage produces just an untitled English-speaking appendage, then, yeah, I have a problem.

From a stranger who might not even know that we're married, I'm willing to swallow "Wax's... friend" without correction. But from someone who knows that we're married and has heard us refer to each other as "wife" in two languages, there's no excuse.

That kind of awkward stumble, that panicked "What do I call them?" hesitation in mid-sentence has happened to pretty much every gay person ever, I'm sure. The thing is, while for you-the-stumbler it's infrequent, and you weren't prepared, and that's the whole source of the problem - for us gay people, it happens a lot, and the repetition gets kind of painful. It frequently comes with the best of intentions, and we're all very accustomed to dealing with it, albeit probably in different ways and with differing success. But it's hurtful.

So if you want to be a loving/supportive/not-a-dick parent/family member/friend, then it's your responsibility to get over the awkwardness. Suck it up. Cut that shit out. Stop giving the impression that you're ashamed, because it is just as hurtful even if you're really not. If you genuinely don't know how to introduce someone because you don't want to offend them, just ask them, "How would you prefer I introduce you?" If it's because you don't want to offend someone else, then please realize that it's not your business to euphemize/pussyfoot/pronoun game for them, because their being out or not isn't your decision. It's theirs. And if you're uncomfortable with having a gay child/relative/friend - even if it's just in public - you should work on getting over it and keep your issues to yourself instead of making it their problem by getting all gross and weird about it. Your child/relative/friend doesn't have the resources to spend on educating you (they might try anyway, but believe me, having to help someone accept them/respect them/treat them with common decency is the last thing they need).



1. Yes, the one who was my Enemy, but a detente has been forcibly imposed by Wax's favorite aunt and I am now allowed in her house. She just doesn't talk to me, or more than monosyllabically to Wax in my presence.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (drama)
Like, what happens on stage or on the tour bus or whatever, that's honestly just how girls are. And you don't have to be a full blown lesbian to appreciate it; it's just how friends rock. A lot of guys know this and a lot of guys don't, but yeah, we just kiss each other for fun. Just because, and that is what happens, and we do. I almost don't have any friends that are females that I have not made out with. I have boy relationships, but I don't even really like boys; it's all about the ladies. You don't even need to be dating one; all you really need is a good lady friend, and life is good. I think the best question I ever heard from a journalist was after the show in San Francisco, and I did the interview right after the show, and this girl asked, 'So, did you gay up the show especially for San Francisco, or is it always that gay?' It's pretty much always that gay; it is a very gay show.


Usually everything that Emilie Autumn says in interviews makes me say FUCK YES, but while I appreciate her pro-gay stance, I'm really irritated that she "do[esn't] even really like boys; it's all about the ladies" and considers making out with girls a staple pastime, yet somehow that's not "be[ing] a full blown lesbian"? Okay, I'll grant her the "full-blown" since it is actually being a bisexual (although 'full-blown' still seems to imply that being a bisexual is being somehow less gay, or partly gay, when in fact it's having both het- and homo- attractions, and not somehow less of either), but:

  • Just because you're a touch-happy bisexual who only connects emotionally with women doesn't mean that all women are.


  • In fact, I suppose the idea that all women are "bisexual underneath" isn't disprovable (I know there is some scientific support for the suggestion), but just the existence of asexuals and people who don't like touching, or for whom physicality is connected to intimacy, means that in fact "we just kiss each other for fun" does not apply to all or most girls.




This whole statement just rubs me the wrong way; it reads like yet another round of We're Not Gay, We Just Love Each Other/Do Gay Stuff. On the other hand, she goes on to say some good things about gayness relating to the fact that apparently, that stage kiss I posted before is part of a nightly lesbian wedding between two of her performers that is now a permanent part of the stage show. Read more... )
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (lesbian)

Continued from last week!

the belles of st trinians

an actress picspam featuring the stars of St Trinian's (clockwise from TL):

Juno Temple, Paloma Faith, Lena Headey, Talulah Riley, Mischa Barton, Gemma Arterton, Caterina Murino, Lily Cole, & Tamsin Egerton (in the center)

The Final Part: Mischa Barton, Caterina Murino, and Lena Headey

This week's picspam features The O.C. star Mischa Barton (a guest star in the film, playing a recently graduated former Head Girl); Casino Royale Bond Girl Caterina Murino (she's the other one he sleeps with besides Eva Green - the ambassador's wife) as the Spanish teacher whom we first meet coaching her class with "Esos no son mis maletas!"; and the kick-ass, the sublime, the smoldering Lena Headey - in fandom no less beloved for her awesome portrayal of Sarah Connor in the just-cancelled Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles than for her classic turn as a lesbian florist falling for Piper Perabo in romantic comedy Imagine Me & You - as the geeky new English teacher who talks everyone into doing Quiz Bowl and favors Tamsin Egerton's Chelsea with a stirring pep-talk at the film's dramatic climax.

100+ images )
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (princess)
Continued from last week!

the belles of st trinians

an actress picspam featuring the stars of St Trinian's (clockwise from TL):

Juno Temple, Paloma Faith, Lena Headey, Talulah Riley, Mischa Barton, Gemma Arterton, Caterina Murino, Lily Cole, & Tamsin Egerton (in the center)

Part 2: Supermodel Lily Cole, Singer/Scene Queen Paloma Faith & Actresses Juno Temple and Tamsin Egerton
with minute guest appearances from Amara Karan, Antonia Bernath, and Kathryn Drysdale, who seem to have some sort of inexplicable aversion to being photographed! (Seriously, you can find more pictures of me on the internet I bet. Under my real name!)

Supermodel Lily Cole has been in the public eye since she was a wee teenie, but it was only after St Trinian's that she started having an acting career as well. A couple of these images are stills from Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus. Paloma Faith is a burlesque performer, musician, and generally awesome alternative model-type person, so there are many pictures of her as well.

100+ )

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