Compulsory Heterosexuality Isn’t Cool, DC Comics

I have been a fan of the DC characters since I was a kid. Before Christopher Nolan got his hands on Batman, I watched the animated series and pretended to be a super hero myself. I started reading comics in high school, and I’ve followed some of the characters in all of their media incarnations for years. However, DC comics has a long history of problematic story-telling choices, and their comics often perpetuate all sorts of oppression. And, unfortunately, ever since the new 52 reboot, I find myself uninterested in buying basically any of the new DC series because of the constant marginalisation of minority characters (see the attempted killing off of the Green Lantern, John Stewart, one of the most recognisable Black super heroes in the DC line-up. And the retconning/rewriting of Oracle, Barbara Gordon/Batgirl’s super hero identity she took on after she became disabled. And the murder of Alan Scott’s boyfriend. And the redesign of Harley Quinn. And the list continues).

Harley Quinn Redesign

How do you update one of the most recognisable DC villains of all time? You change everything about her and subtract a good portion of her clothing. Skin tight body suits aren’t sexy enough, you see?

However, despite my continued disappointment, I keep tabs on the comics because I do truly love many of the characters, and if the books get better, I am ready to jump back on board. Editorial might be bad now, but there is hope, right? Regrettably, DC keeps stomping on my dreams of something better, and today’s rant involves some major changes to the book, Birds of Prey.

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Quick Hits: Where I’ve disappeared, Suggested Reading and Reteaching Gender and Sexuality

I. Where did I go and some suggested reading from other amazing people

    So, it’s been over a month since I posted. As it turns out, taking seven courses at a time is a BAD idea. Someone should tell this to the people who designed first year law school and require this rather nasty course load. In any case, my time at law school has been… interesting. I have a lot of thoughts to share about being a social justice activist in such a conservative institution and how law school is designed to be all but insurmountable to all but the most privileged, but this will all have to wait until I manage to get through exams and when my brain feels less like a melted pile of goo.

    Until then, I have been collecting some really great articles and posts online that have helped me recover from law zombism, and that I wanted to share. There is a new page alongside my Blogroll and Profile that I will update whenever I have a new batch of thought-provoking writing from others that I think everyone needs to read. I hope everyone enjoys and finds some great new writers to frequent!

    II. Put This on the Map: Reteaching Gender and Sexuality

      http://www.putthisonthemap.org/

      This is a brilliant, amazing, fantastic group that everyone should love and watch. All though I have appreciated the “It gets better” videos that have been made, I also think that this video really sums up where we as a society should be going. It demands action, rather than passivity, and will stand silent in the face of ignorance, bigotry and hate. I am looking forward to seeing their documentary and any other work that they produce.

      Expectations, Human Compassion and Reality: Just Who Should Save Sexual Minorities Around the World?

      And now for something that has nothing to do with the Canadian census! I would like to highlight another Globe and Mail article that makes me want to bash my head against things. This time it is the editorial entitled Refugee Sponsorship: Canada’s Queer Community Needs to Help Persecuted Sexual Minorities.

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      I am Queer

      Dear world,

      I am not straight. Yes, I know that I live with a man in a romantic relationship and I even have an engagement ring on my finger. That does not mean that I am straight.

      I know I dress conservatively and choose feminine clothing most of the time. I like heels occasionally and I prefer skirts over pants. Yet none of this tells you anything about me. Not my gender, not my sexuality, not anything concrete.

      Just because I don’t hang out with artsy people does not mean I am straight either. Being queer is not correlated with a particular love of musicals or avant-garde galleries. Being queer does not necessitate that I have studied a humanities or fine arts field. I don’t like guitar circles and I don’t watch the L Word. I can’t paint and I haven’t written poetry since I was a teen. I don’t wear rainbows (much) either.

      I am still not straight.

      I am queer, regardless of who I date. I identify as pansexual. I am attracted to people, not gender.

      Yes, I have only dated men, but that is due to my own fears and opportunities, not my sexuality. Just because I have not been involved with a girl does not mean that I am not queer. Also, I do not need to be with a girl just to prove that I am queer. I simply am.

      I am queer.

      When people look at me they see a straight person. That is the default view of the world unless something triggers suspicion. I look too straight for that. My queerness is silenced and invisible.

      But why do we believe sexual identity is something we must see? There are so many ways a person can feel, act and live their sexual identity. To package the world up in a box of normal denies this variety and labels it deviance. Some of us pass and this is a privilege. We don’t have to explain ourselves. We can be queer without question for we are straight to the world.

      I hate this. Barriers and divisions are all that are born of such thoughts. We force the annihilation of everything beyond ordinary. We deny ourselves, all of us to some extent. Oftentimes, if you look like me, you are not given a choice. You are simply constructed, set like concrete into a neat definition of what you are supposed to be.

      So please, stop saying that we are all heterosexuals here. Stop your assumptions and your proclamations of unity. Queer people are not a different species. Look at me. Am I so different? Am I other? Because I often feel that way even when I pass for straight. Especially when I pass for straight.

      Dear world,

      I am queer. I want to be allowed to be queer. I want to have the privilege to be queer even if that means that in our imperfect world I am giving up privilege.

      I simply want to be.

      I am queer.