Monday, June 26, 2017

Via The NewYorker: Kids Attend Drag Queen Story Hour


A new reading series at the Brooklyn Public Library introduces elements of gender bending and camp to little ones. 

On a recent Saturday morning, about two dozen small children and their parents gathered in the Park Slope branch of the Brooklyn Public Library for a new reading series. There were pregnant women with tattoos, breast-feeding moms, and a little girl in pink ballerina gear climbing on the laps of her two dads. Many of the kids, who ranged in age from newborn to five years old, wore tiny T-shirts showcasing their parents’ favorite bands (Nirvana, David Bowie) or political views (one read, “The Future Is Female”).

The event was hosted by Michelle Tea, a writer from Los Angeles, who started attending library story hours after becoming a mom. “Story time rises or falls on the charisma of the storyteller,” she said. “Some seemed to have a personality disorder or didn’t even like children.” She’d brought her partner, Dashiell Lippman, and their two-year-old son, Atticus, who had a haircut that resembled David Beckham’s. “He is pretty butch—we call him Fratticus,” Tea said. “I’m always pushing a tutu on him, but he’s, like, ‘No.’ ”

Tea’s solution, called Drag Queen Story Hour, introduces elements of gender bending and camp. “I have long thought that drag queens need to be the performers at children’s parties, rather than magicians or clowns,” she said. “Drag has become more mainstream. Kids might have seen one on a billboard or on TV.”

Rachel Aimee was at the library because she had seen a Facebook post about the series. “I work at the Feminist Press and thought, Maybe we could present it,” she said. “The thing that first struck me was it’s all about dressing up and being pretty without the baggage of gender coding. As a parent, I’ve been looking for something like that.”

“Yeah, it’s just fun and glitter,” said Tea, who was wearing animal-print palazzo pants and had a red heart tattoo on each of her fingers.

Having a six-year-old daughter has made Aimee question some of her feminist beliefs. “She got really into watching ‘Barbie: Life in the Dream House,’ ” Aimee said. “How could I tell her not to watch it? It has a thousand girls and only, like, two boys in it. I would be teaching her that shows about girls are bad.”

At eleven o’clock, Tea made her way to the front of the room. “Do you all know what a drag queen is?” she asked the children. “Drag queens are amazing. They get to do fun things like dance and sing and travel and play dress-up with their drag-queen friends. And they’re all feminists.” The parents chuckled politely.

The drag queen Lil Miss Hot Mess came out, wearing a white sequinned tunic dress and matching heels, bright-pink tights, and a curly auburn wig. (She has performed at Bushwig, a drag festival, and at SFMOMA.) She declined to give her birth name but said that she is a graduate student in media studies at N.Y.U. She put on black owlish reading glasses, sat on a folding chair, and addressed her audience: “Can everyone say, ‘When I grow up, I want to be a drag queen’?”

The children just stared.

She would be reading from “Tatterhood,” a collection of feminist folktales, which had originally been published by the Feminist Press, in the nineteen-seventies. The title story, from Norway, features a feisty goat-riding heroine who fights off angry trolls with a spoon.



 

Via Organizing for Action


Organizing for Action

On October 10th, 2015, I married my partner, Stephen. We'd met in Washington, D.C., bonded over our shared Boston background, and traveled all across the U.S. together.

So naturally our wedding was in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Two years earlier, I'd accepted President Obama's invitation to become the Ambassador to Denmark. Stephen and I had gradually settled into our new city. We'd learned of its proud history as the world's first nation to recognize same-sex marriages.

And so we stood at Copenhagen City Hall, the spot of the very first same-sex marriages -- 26 years earlier -- and said our vows. It made it even more special that the U.S. had legalized same-sex marriage nationwide just four months earlier.

In that moment, though, what I felt had nothing to do with politics. It was personal -- the same little moments and feelings that everyone experiences on their wedding day: Love. Friendship. Family. All of the good things. All of the happy words.

To deny anyone the happiness we felt that day is inconceivable. And as I look at the progress we've made, I know how important it is to keep fighting.

Since our wedding day, we've been overwhelmed by the good happening in communities around the country. The people in the LGBTQ community who bravely share their story. The people who listen to them.

The marches.

Our marches have always been more than celebrations. They're how we defend our hard-won advances -- and how we clear a path for the issues that we still need to tackle. As this administration threatens our progress, that's never been more true.

That energy is where my pride comes from. Because if there's one thing that has been true for every single progressive issue in our country, it's that sweeping change -- the kind we look back on and say, "Well, this was inevitable" -- really isn't. It comes from us.

So I say to everyone, both LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ: Show up this month. Be loud. Be proud. And don't forget the work we still have to do. Stand with OFA now:

Add your voice

Thanks,

Rufus

Rufus Gifford
Former United States Ambassador to Denmark

Via Ram Dass

When I go out into the woods, and I look at trees, I say, “Oh, look at that one, oh look at that one, oh how interesting!” I don’t ask why an Elm isn’t an Oak… I just appreciate them for what they are.

Somehow it’s different when I get near humans, I somehow feel that it’s a whole different category, and I move into my judging mode, saying, “If that person was more like that person, things would be better.”

Now I don’t elevate human relationships that much. I see them as just more of the interaction with the phenomenal world, and another person is a set of phenomena manifested, and I see that I'm getting upset because somebody is a certain way, I take that upset and ask, “Why am I upset?” I realize that a part of my upset is because I have a model that I am holding of how the world should be other than the way it is.

I have the choice of either trying to change the world to adhere to my model, or let go of my model to be with the world.

-- Ram Dass --

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 06/26/17

“When you see yourself feeling pleasure and feeding on scenes of violence, try to observe who in you is enjoying this. If you can, close your eyes and stay silent for one minute. You will see that there is a suffering self feeding on negative emotions like anger, fear and revenge. In this case, if you want to decondition the mind and reprogram past patterns; if you want to divorce your vital energy from suffering so that your pleasure may be positively oriented, stop feeding this cruelty and turn off the television or computer.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma: The Pure Land Is in This Life

I don’t envision a single thing that, when undeveloped, leads to such great harm as the mind . . . . I don’t envision a single thing that, when developed, leads to such great benefit as the mind.

—The Buddha, “The Single Thing