In this edition: Abe mansplains imperial inheritance law TO THE FREAKIN UNITED NATIONS, translating Ancillary Justice into Japanese, the importance of queer friendship, bi+ health month, and more!
Queer in Japan
“‘I want to be a girl’: Model Sato Kayo and her mother’s struggle.” Journal M. Asashi Shimbun. 8 Feb. 2016.
This is a nice news article about model Sato Kayo coming out as trans to her mother as a child. Also notable is the language used, particularly “assigned male at birth”: 男性として生を受け、女性として生きたいと悩み続けた日々、いつも支えてくれたのは母でした。”In the days in which Sato, who was assigned male [at birth], continued to worry about wanting to live as a girl, the person who always supported her was her mother.”
J.J. Donoghue. “Kyoto monk on a mission opens his doors to diversity.” The Japan Times. 16 March 2016.
One of his most noteworthy updates: Couples of any faith and sexuality are welcome to be married in the serene environment of the temple. Since 2011 he’s officiated at 13 same-sex marriage ceremonies. The majority of these have been for foreign couples, but he’s also married two Japanese couples, which were extra-special occasions, he admits. The marriage ceremonies are held in rooms bordered by ornate gold screens that open out on to the Garden of Boulders, a postcard-perfect garden modeled on the islands of Ise Bay in Mie Prefecture.
The same-sex ceremonies, however, have no legal standing. Kawakami considers his temple’s symbolic gesture a small step, but one he acknowledges has had a big effect in the media and online.
Nina Wallace. “5 bad ass Japanese American women activists you probably didn’t learn about in history class.” Densho. 15 March 2016.
Since history tends to sideline the central role so many women played in the major social movements of the 20th century, here’s a little herstory lesson about five women warriors whose incarceration during World War II inspired them to fight back–some more widely known than others, all supremely talented and fierce activists who nuh care if them hurt hurt hurting your stereotypes about quiet, submissive Asian women.
“Abe slams U.N. panel viewing Japan imperial law as discriminatory.” Kyodo News. 14 March 2016.
The Jim Halpert Thousand Yard Stare Award For Bad History of the month(s) goes to PM Abe:
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday accused a U.N. panel of wrongly judging Japan’s imperial law as discriminatory to women after it sought to call for the amendment of the law that limits the emperor’s heir to male offspring in the male line.
“It is obvious that (the law) does not intend to discriminate against women,” said Abe in speaking at an upper house committee meeting, adding that the U.N. panel’s move was “totally inappropriate.”
Gender in Translation
If you speak Japanese and enjoyed Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice, check out some of the commentary on the Japanese translation. (Leckie frequently reblogs and answers comments about the other translations, too!)
Bi+ Health Month
It’s always bi month here at The Lobster Dance, but there are tons of great resources on intersectional bi+ youth health on Bi Resource Center.
Stephanie Farnsworth. “Biggest myth about bisexuality? That LGBTQ+ orgs give a damn.” The Queerness. 2 Dec. 2015.
It’s gatekeeping journalism. It’s trying to pacify bisexual people who have pointed out that these great LGBTQ+ institutions have completely failed them, even though bisexual people are the ones who really make up the numbers in the community, not that you’d ever think it given how many times the term ‘bisexual’ is ever even uttered. It’s not good enough to throw us one article that’s been done to death already when people are suffering and dying as a result of biphobia. This year isn’t the year bisexual rights were acknowledged, this is the year organisations learnt how to spin it to make it look like they give a damn while in reality they do nothing.
These articles all fail to acknowledge the culture of violence that these ridiculous myths have created but they also ignore the chronic issues facing bisexual people.
Kieran Shiach. “‘Eighty Days’ And ‘I Like Your Headband’ Awarded Prism Comics 2016 Queer Press Award.” Comics Alliance. 28 March 2016.
And a couple pieces on the importance of queer friendship and queer representation:
havingbeenbreathedout. “On queer friendship, fandom, and negative capability.” March 2016.
What I don’t want is yet more media or discourse around media—queer or straight—that reinforces this idea of the bright-line conversion narrative between an inferior friendship state and a fundamentally distinct and/or inherently superior romance state. And what I would love, what I personally crave, are more depictions of explicitly queer relationships that fall outside or vacillate uneasily between standard ticky-boxes—as do so many of the real queer relationships I have experienced or witnessed.
Maree. “There’s Always Abby: The Radical Queer Friendship at the Center of ‘Carol.’”Autostraddle. 17 March 2016.
Because we need our queer friends. We need the people who give us the space and safety to explore whatever it is we need to explore, without judgement or explanation. And we need those same people, who have been there, who have grappled with it all too, to remind us firmly and tenderly of any precipice they think we might be standing on — romantic or otherwise. We need people who also understand the singular experience of walking through the world as a queer woman. Carol and Abby are in this thing together. They share a perspective, a history, a struggle. They share a context.