It’s also disrespectful and privileged

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Photo by Joao Cruz on Unsplash

The comments section is a place where many fools are forged in irony. The irony, in this case, is men accidentally reinforcing the arguments womxn-written articles are making, rather than taking them apart (as hoped).

These comments tend to echo each other. They use similar starting points that aren’t well thought out and rely on a perceived sense of logic, rather than a functional structure. One dysfunctional argument I have seen appearing again and again in article comments is the Substitute Argument. And I’m tired of it.

The Substitute Argument involves taking a segment of the article and changing the subject it references in order to argue a new conclusion. Here are two recent examples quoted from the comment section of Octavia Morrison’s article published in Sexography (2020), ‘Can I Say Anything Related to Men Without Having to Apologise for It?’. …


The Fixed Foundational, the Token Shelf, the Halfway There, and more!

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Photo by Joe Ciciarelli on Unsplash

Bookstores are important resources for all communities. In particular, the LGBTQ+ community benefits from the safe and welcoming environment bookstores offer. Because of this relationship, bookstores have historically been instrumental in local activism and the organisation of rights movements.

Stores such as Gay’s The Word, in London, and the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop, in New York were a few of the first Queer bookstores that emerged in the 60s and 70s . In progressive fashion, hundreds of Queer bookstores have followed suit in the last 50 years by opening their doors across the world. …


We cannot let our Queer be a doorway into racist engagements

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Photo by Eliott Reyna on Unsplash

It goes like this. The bigot will pick something about you they are willing to compromise on to seem like a decent person. It could be that you are female presenting, or you are possibly a migrant, or a tourist, or you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community. The bigot will then use one of these ‘traits’ as bait for a conversational doorway:

“You know, I’m all for gender quotas”, “So how long have you been here?”, “I’ve always wanted to visit where you’re from”, “Gosh it’s a real shame there won’t be Pride this year.”

Only for there to be a racist follow…


A Queer story

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Photo by Julian Bialowas on Unsplash

My dad sends a picture to both of us, in a group message: a swan he saw on the way to work, at the inner-city park with a church on the corner. The swan is sitting with its three grey cygnets. Despite it being the start of winter, the swan and its little ones are fine; kept warm by mum’s black feathers.

“Black feathers,” you say, and lean across the coffee table to show me your copy of the picture. You take the phone back and look again, narrowing your eyes, “I keep forgetting they’re black.”

“They’re literally on the state flag,” I say, and laugh. It makes you frown in that way where you half-roll your eyes. …


COVID-19 is highlighting problematic church-state relationships

An image of many hands raised in the dark, with light touching their fingertips. They are worshiping, or perhaps begging.
An image of many hands raised in the dark, with light touching their fingertips. They are worshiping, or perhaps begging.
Photo by Edwin Andrade on Unsplash

Last week the Twitter account, HillsongAU, that calls itself a “parody” Hillsong Church account (though the account links to genuine Hillsong ticket sales, church donations, and petitions), posted a tweet that read:

Hey guys, Hillsong Church here. Did you really think (@)ScottMorrisonMP would let #HillsongConference be cancelled? Come on! Scomo & Hillsong, together have worked hard to ensure that #BreatheAgain 2020 WILL move forward. #PoliticallyBlessed

The tweet is referring to a recent controversy surrounding Australia’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison. …


Clothes are genderless

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Photo by Denys Argyriou on Unsplash

It starts when we are young. From toys to clothes, the false split of gender is pushed upon us by retail and media. This product binary exists because capitalism (and conservatism) believes a “divided” market is a more profitable market. Only in the last decade has this practice been increasingly criticised.

During high school and university, I worked a casual job at a chain department store. While working there, I ended up coming out to myself, and to my family and friends. I decided to express myself more androgynously. …


For the betterment of your readers and your work

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IMAGE: originally posted by ‘tomatomagica’ (tumblr, 2019)

Inclusive Language has been a filter in professional editing check-lists for decades. It’s a staple of effective communication and is an important part of many countries’ anti-discrimination laws. In addition to fighting linguistic discrimination, Inclusive Language directly strengthens the author-reader relationship, and is an important tool for all writing.

Inclusive Language might be a concept you know well, or have never heard of before. It might be something you already practice in your writing without knowing, or something you might need to work on. …


I’m glad there will be no parades this year

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Photo by Delia Giandeini on Unsplash

Cities all over the world are cancelling their planned Pride parades for 2020. In America, June celebrations are off. In Belgium, the May plans are scrapped. In Canada, the June/July marches are quashed. In a fluke, Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand managed to sneak in Sydney Mardi Gras and Auckland Pride respectively, back in February 2020 before all of this — but they seem to be the exception. Even in my own state of Western Australia, it’s unknown if we’ll get to hold our usual Pride events in November this year.

Of course, many people are going to miss these celebrations, the coming together of community, the show of support from allies in the crowd. Some countries and cities are being optimistic about hosting Pride later in the year, or holding events online. Belgium, for example, is hoping to shift their march plans to August, if all goes well. The problem is, not much is going well for the world — and that includes LGBT+ people, who have a largely, unheard lament within the unfolding tragedy. …


A queer movie review of Alice Wu’s new film

(Warning: This review contains minor spoilers of the film.)

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IMAGE: The Half of It, Dir Alice Wu, Netflix (2020)

For a movie whose Netflix premise vaguely reads like another take on Twelfth Night, Alice Wu’s second major film, The Half of It, steers clear of visual paraphrasing and instead takes a clear snapshot of what it looks like to grow up as a queer immigrant in small-town, regional America.

The film stars Leah Lewis as Ellie Chu, an intelligent-but-friendless high schooler, who is strapped for cash while supporting her grieving father, Edwin (Collin Chou), in their small town of Squahamish. The story follows Ellie through a circumstantial journey as she’s commissioned by classmate Paul (Daniel Diemer) to write romantic letters to a girl in their school, Aster (Alexxis Lemire), on his behalf. …


Choice vs realisation: what we don’t often talk about

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Photo by Daniel Apodaca on Unsplash

While brains are very clever, sometimes they can function too well and end up manufacturing a problem for us where there shouldn’t have been one. A problem created by mixing the brain’s determination to survive with the odd societal biases of the communities we grow up in. Biases like homophobia. The problem manifests as a repository of mental incidents, hidden like a wall safe by the brain in queer children, in queer adults. A vault many of us discover inside ourselves, on route in life, which we must then decide what to do with.

The queer vault contains many incidental elements — memories, thoughts, fantasies, impulses, obsessions, inquiries, contradictions —invested from the earliest times of childhood awareness all the way to the current, older consciousness. Similarly, some people are aware of the vault from a young age, while others discover it at a later point in their life. I was aware of my vault as a child, I knew because I was continually securing things in it, though I didn’t consciously know why. No-one had gifted me with the identity language necessary for the self-awareness of what I was doing — hiding parts of myself away for my own survival. It wasn’t till I started university that I re-examined the vault with an educated, older mind and realised it, and everything I’d hidden within it, was queer. …

About

Zoey Milford

Queer, Kiwi-Aussie writer and poet. BA in Creative Industries, avid chaser of representation, keen on coastlines and cats.

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