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The Nature of Being

rethinking the facts of life

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Homophobia

Queer Animals: Two Male Lions

After my first post where I had a short look at Nemo’s father’s transsexuality, I would like to write about a pair of Lions which were pictured during sexual activities. The special thing in this story is, that both of them were male. The series of photos were taken by Nicole Cambré in Botswana in March 2016 during a Safari.

Lions

On the one hand Cambré’s pictures gave many gay people a lift. Something nice that they can show to homophobic people who are claiming that homosexuality is unnatural. On the other hand a large amount of articles appeared which stress the arguments why the two lions are probably not gay at all. I will focus on these speculations and theories that were brought in to defend heteronormativity, which is build on the assumption that sexuality is only meant to reproduce and that therefore homosexuality can not exist in nature. The first thing that comes into people’s mind is, that one of the lions is actually a maned lioness. But unfortunately for all conservatives in addition to the photographs there is also a video win which you can see the „male parts“ of both of the lions. As far as lions are concerned it is very simple to identify the gender, that this is not the case with all species might be one of the reasons why same sex behaviour has not been seen by science for such a long time. When a scientist saw two animals mating he or she automatically assumed that they were male and female. Another classical theory is that a male only mounts another male to show and reinforce his dominance. Craig Packer director of the Lion Research Center at the University of Minnesota explanes this behaviour that way. I think it’s very interisting, that he still describes the mounting of the lions as „affectionate“. This discription leaves me with the question, why it than is not a sexual act. Moreover there are videos which show two lions mounting each other, that is to say one time the one lion is on top of the other and the other time vice versa. That seems to be a clear falsification of that thesis. 
Last but not least we have the claim that they are only doing it because of the lack of a lioness. Here it is assumed that once an available lioness appears, they will let go of each other and focus on the lioness. In this special case there was one lioness living in the same area. That the two males showed no interest in her lead the photographer to the assumption that this lioness must have been pregnat and therefore not available. This shows how heteronormativity is read into animals by deducing in a circle. Males do only have sex with males if there is no available female, therefore any female in the area must be not available, here we have two males having sex and one female which after these premises cannot be available, therefore we have to conclude that the two males are only dealing with each other because there is no female. This is just one of the tautologies on which heteronormativity its naturalisation is based on.
References

http://www.livescience.com/54491-male-lions-in-botswana-not-gay.html

http://www.snopes.com/gay-lions-mating/

#WeDeserveBetter

Everyone wants a happily ever after that they can relate to right? Most young girls watch old Disney movies and think that waiting for their Prince Charming is their only option. Some young boys even think it is their duty to try and save every girl whom they believe are damsels in distress and need someone to save them. Unfortunately for the young boys and girls who are apart of the LGBT community ,or as I like to call them family, like myself, we do  not want that for our future. However, due to society’s standards created by predominantly privileged cis white males, we have been led to believe that any love that is not between a man and a woman is somehow an abomination and or fantasized and sexualized. That the love we share with our same sex is not natural despite there being scientific evidence that same sex attraction is as natural as heterosexual attraction. There are even homosexual relationships in animals. In some cases, female lionesses who identify as both gender or look similar to a male of their species can lead their pride because despite contrary belief, it is possible to survive with only one gender in a group.

Recently there has been a lot of controversy over ,the 100, a tv show which used to be one of the highest rated series of the year. The Director, Jason Rothenberg, used the promise of a non mistreated/mishandled LGBT couple romance, in this situation the main character Clarke being LGBT and falling in love with another woman Commander Lexa, in order to win the LGBT audiences ratings and views but then brutally removing one or both of the characters after ratings are high. This act has been named queerbaiting. So, after the show was ranked #1 on the most watched and popular tv series, the aforementioned couple ,both strong and respected leaders amongst their people, accepted their feelings for one another. Directly after spending their first night together as a couple, the partner was shot by a poisoned arrow meant for the other. Not only was the arrow a misfire but it was shot by the right hand advisor of the one that was shot. Now after this happened and the controversy began the Director claimed that this was done to add to the “shock factor” of the show.

The question that is being asked is would anyone call another lesbian character on a tv show being killed off a shock? Would the young lesbian and bi community think that was a good shock for a story they looked to for their promised happily ever after? One they could finally have that did not end in horrible and or tragic heartbreak? I certainly did not. After this fated day our epic Commander Lexa was taken from us, the LGBT community was outraged, flooded twitter with #Lexadesrvedbetter, #Wedeservebetter, #LGBTcharactersdeservebetter etc, and began to expose this director for the monster he is. A misogynist who mistreats his minority cast and ,even though his main character is a female, constantly creates male roles to dominate the strong roles of the females. Now I have only mentioned J. Rothenberg once or twice, I have made this whole blog post apart of the minority. Why is that one may ask? Because ,at least in America, society has taught cis white males that they are at the top and anyone beneath them are disposable.

Well the community took a stand and said we are not disposable. So what have we done? We have started a campaign for the Trevor project which is non-profit organization founded in 1998 and the leading national organization focused on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning and other queer youth. Within mere weeks of the fated episode the Lexas death we have raised over $30,000. The message is clear, we will not back down, we will support our youth and ourselves and we are a force to be reckoned with #LGBTcharactersdeservebetter.

Sources:

http://nypost.com/2015/12/28/gender-fluid-lioness-is-the-queen-of-her-pride/

http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/death-100-prompts-30000-donation-furious-fans-trevor-project/#gs.X37aZKQ

http://www.autostraddle.com/all-65-dead-lesbian-and-bisexual-characters-on-tv-and-how-they-died-312315/

 

The history of homophobia in hip hop – Part 1

Homophobia in hip hop – An issue well present but rarely discussed. Everybody knows about these ugly terms many rappers use in their lyrics but as it seems there has never been a serious discussion about it. Most people just say it is a stylistic device not meant to villainize homosexual people. But that is not a good justification. Sociology made me think about the problem and also made me question the music I love.

There should be no room for homophobia in our society – But there still is. Everywhere. Especially in Hip Hop. So I believe it is time to have a closer look at the issue.

To fully understand homophobia in German Hip-Hop we need to find out where homophobia in Hip Hop evolved from.

For that, first we will have a quick look at the history of Hip Hop.

A consistent history of Hip Hop has never been written. Most sources locate the origin of Hip Hop at the block parties of 1970s New York, especially those in the Bronx. At these parties DJs played popular music and started to isolate percussive beats from songs and used two turntables to extend the breaks. “Kool DJ Herc” might be the most popular DJ from these times and often is referred to as the “founding father of hip hop”.

As sampling technologies and drum machines became more affordable for the general public hip hop gained in popularity. Rapping got introduced into hip hop and evolved from simple rhymes to more complex techniques and in the 1980s rappers faced social issues of young African Americans in their lyrics. In the 1990s gangsta rap arose and gained mainstream success. Drugs, violence and misogyny found their way into hip hop but social issues still took their place in the lyrics.

Hip-Hop early developed as a mean to express the bad life circumstances in black US-American ghettos. Rappers described their lives in ghettos, their poor life chances, police brutality, high crime rates – More general: What it is like being part of a suppressed minority. This contradiction is why I always wondered about the omnipresence of homophobia in hip-hop.

To give you an early example of Hip-Hop’s role to point out adversities have a listen to these two classic examples:

Lyrics: The Message

Lyrics: Lord Knows

Even in “The Message” you can find homophobic terms. But it is remarkable that 2Pac is one of the few rappers who did not make use of homophobia (or can anybody proof me wrong?).

In the next post I will try to outline where particularly homophobia in hip hop evolved from and how it found its way into German hip hop. I will also introduce you to some hip hop tracks which can be characterized by homophobia to give you an idea of the issue. Some of the artists will be covered in the following posts and you might be surprised which developments in their reflection of homophobia in hip hop can be found.

 

Homophobia in german Hip Hop

Hi, my name is Hauke. I am a student of sociology and criminology in Tübingen. My blogposts will be focused on homophobia in german hip hop. Homophobic terms of all forms have always been a well used stylistic device in rap music and still are. Although I am really into hip hop I always felt bothered by this and would like to get a deeper insight and a better understanding of the topic.

I will have a look on different artists, which forms of homophobia you can encounter, statements and what others who dealt with this topic found out. I will also look for reactions/statements by others. Based on this I hope to deliver a good commented overview on the issue.

 

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