From the Archives. (September 2006) In an article I wrote for our local indy rag some years ago, I talked about the fact that, even though my ex and I were together for ten years and declared our commitment to each other in a public ceremony, my family of origin continued to list me as single on their family trees.
They were cordial if a bit uncomfortable when I brought Mud to our family gatherings and usually included those awkward how’s your er um how's Mud doing? questions in conversations when she wasn’t there, but consistently refused to acknowledge the significance of our relationship in any formal way.
In other words, their actions attempted to make real people around them invisible in order to ensure their own comfort.
It is no coincidence that the Judeo-Christian god granted Adam the right to name things.
And yes. You are right. Ding ding ding! I AM writing about the power wielded by people who are allowed to name things and define reality. Again.
Because inquiring minds want to elucidate the fact that our dominant society insists that a huge facet of the lives of one in ten of us be rendered invisible.
(And let's don't forget that their insistence is not limited to queers. They also want poor people and black people and AIDS babies and leather afficionados and the homeless to vanish for their continued comfort.)
How threatening would it be to their carefully manufactured worlds if our official documents reflected the actual data??
Did you know that 4 corporations publish nearly every textbook used in our public schools system and that these publishers hold hearings in which groups of, say, so-called Intelligent Design advocates are allowed to fill the entire hearing room and then insist on their opinions being printed as facts? Yes, all too often, this group’s turnout and volume dictate what schoolchildren are taught as reality.
It's no surprise that organized Christofascist groups are the primary ones showing up either. No big surprise that fundies pays speechwriters big bucks to change the names of things in order to make the wrong seem right and idiocy seem intelligent and pesky principles seem obsolete.
I guess, given these dysfunctions, it should be no surprise that the Governator is intent on redefining reality for his state too.
Yep, I read today that California has been legally bound to offer an inclusive curriculum in their public schools since the seventies. The result is that men and women excel in equal numbers in textbooks (i.e., if Barbie says Math is hard, then Ken does too).
Then, this year, the legislature took this law a step further and approved a bill requiring state textbooks to "accurately portray in an age-appropriate manner the cultural, racial, gender and sexual orientation diversity of our society."
Finally! Lesbians will be depicted as something other than pathetic man-hating spinsters who drown in the wells of loneliness that are the fairy-tale fate of unmarried women (when, near as I can tell, the actual fate of far too many women is to hide in women's shelters from the violent men in their lives who wish to control their every move).
The governator viewed this bill as too threatening and vowed to veto it, so as a compromise, the legislature amended it to say only that textbooks will not reflect adversely on people based on their sexual orientation.
That’s STILL too much reality for the governator though, so he vetoed this version too.
Good thing this man is in a position of authority and gets to name things, eh?