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« BlogHer: Bringing the Sex and the Fluff, and Oh, Yeah, the Shoes | Main | The Best Gay TV You'll (Probably) Never See »

03 August 2006

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Melinda (Sour Duck)

Nice follow-up post. I'm hoping that because people are blogging what they really think, the organizers have a chance to take this feedback on-board. I know if I were a conference organizer, I'd want to read everyone's honest thoughts about the event.

Best,

Melinda

Maria Niles

The panelist descriptions were self-written so any identification is of their choosing, not of the organizers of the conference. I, for instance, did not identify my race (rather I hinted at it) despite the relevance to my panel. I wanted to deal with that identification in the space of the session. Also, looking over the panelists bios I see several women who identify themselves as lesbian, queer and decidedly not-heteronormative (Susie Bright for example) notably, Nina Smith of Queer Cents and Sitting Pretty who proposed and led the Room of Your Own session on Transforming Your Life Through Blogging.

That you didn't see or find this information lets me know that having the conference materials primarily online, while cool in concept and supportive of tree preservation, was perhaps less effective in terms of making information readily found, especially given the wi-fi problems.

Thanks for your continuing insight and perspective - I know the co-founders are listening.

Denise

I was on the outreach panel. I am a lesbian. Why in the heck would Blogher have identified me as a lesbian for that panel? I don't blog outreach for lesbians. It's ridiculous and if they had tried to say "lesbian blogger, Denise Tanton..." I'd have laughed in their faces and told them to cut out the BS.

Ridiculous. I'm a lot of things besides a lesbian and I don't want to be introduced in every aspect of my life as "the lesbian." If that's your cup of tea, so be it, but it isn't mine and it isn't the way the lesbians I know live their lives

I'm not sure which demographic you found missing in the panels at Blogher. We had women of various colors, we had moms, we had childfree, we had lesbians, we had bisexuals. We had educators and artists and geeks and cutters and disordered eaters. The only thing I'm not sure about was religion - that's the only thing I saw missing at Blogher, the spirituality group(s) but I didn't wander around asking people their religious affiliation, so maybe we had all of our bases covered there as well.

I assume you knew, before you went to Blogher, what the panels would be like (you realize there was only one mommyblogger panel, right?) and who was going to be on the panel. If you did, then why didn't you comment before the event and give the organizers a chance to address this? If you didn't, then why didn't you?

I don't get it, I really don't.

Blogher isn't about politics or making some leftwing social statement. It's about women, of all types - and all types of women WERE there. I'm sorry you didn't find what you were looking for, maybe another time or another place.

Flippy

So when I go next year, you think I should be identifying as a "Cultural-Not-Religious-Jew/Lesbian/Ex-Athlete/Decaf-Drinker" and not as just Flippy? I don't hide that I'm gay, but why would I need it to identify myself at BlogHer? I'm a lesbian with a blog, not a lesbian blogger.

You say that you want BlogHer to not be hetero-normative nor queer-identified, but your whole entry is about the exact opposite. My specific complaint is that none, not ONE, of the presenters at BlogHer was identified as a lesbian in the panel descriptions, and that the panel on blogging and identity didn't include any panelist who identified as lesbian, nor did anyone (but me, from the audience) make mention of sexual identity. How many panelists listed "heterosexual" in their description of themselves?

Belinda

I have no comment really relavent to this particular post; just wanted to let you know that I'd found you through BlogHer, and came to see if you were "THE" Christie Keith--and you ARE! And I am excited like a little girl! I first discovered you, what, 10 years ago? More? On WellPet-L. And, well, you rock. I adore your sighthounds, have benefited from your canine diet advice countless times, and have marvelled at your contained outdoor cat habitat. I have sent more people to your website when they asked me questions about raw diet and/or natural rearing than I can count, and have certainly availed myself of the information contained on just about every page of it.

Was I aware that you were a lesbian? Nope. Does my now being aware of that fact increase OR diminish your awesomeness (seriously, I am not 12 years old, I'm just gushing a bit) in my eyes? Nope, not at all.

You're going on my blogroll ASAP, and I am so glad I found you here.

Melissa Gira

Count me as another queer panelist who didn't put that into her bio. It's an issue of insider/outsider roles for me. For example, being a sex worker in SF, and leading with the ID of sex worker on the panel and in my bio, I never thought I'd have to add that I was queer, when nearly all of the sex workers I know are queer or dyke identified. All lessons in how the world looks at you -- even the GLBT world -- when outside my own little wading pool of identity.

I do want to comment on self-identification/outing as a strategy to challenge heteronormativity. I hear some folks, GLBT and not, expressing frustration with this, and I think I'm getting that on two wavelengths at once. One, which is the, "Why do I have to be the token?", ie: why do I have to out myself and risk being 'the lesbian.' Two, is this idea that if GLBTQ folks are leading with GLBTQ identities, then that 'everyone' will feel as if they have to lead with some identity, too, or else risk feeling... left out? I don't know.

What I'm thinking now is that the concern voiced on both vectors is still anxieties provoked by heteronormativity. It's the assumed het-ness that makes any of this an issue. I'm not even super-prone to assuming anything about anyone's sexual orientiation & identity -- I live in the city of blended, mashed-up sexual identity -- but I did notice at BlogHer that my desperate highschool gaydar was back on, hunting the crowd for cues and signals that there were 'other' folks 'like me' around. That's a survival mechanism that folks who have never id'd as GLBTQ didn't have to wrestle with. (Though I heard lots of other anxieties, and a lot of them had to do with femininity and gender presentation and relating one's sense of success to that.)

I don't know -- I don't think a lesbian panel will address this, either. That's not enough. There needs to be some more holistic, structual adjustment within. I don't know what that looks like, as there's queer women involved in the BlogHer org on many levels. One would think we already have a decent amount of institutional power there. So why did things comes out so straight-seeming anyway? I'm still working on that one.

Christie Keith

Melissa, I think you have probably addressed most clearly what I felt, and also put your finger on what the issue is as I see it.

There's truthfully no way to raise this issue without triggering the cascade of blame and defensiveness. I felt it too. That's just human nature. But that doesn't mean there isn't an underlying issue, and one that does need, on some level, to be addressed.

When you said you found yourself scanning with your gaydar... that was EXACTLY IT. And there were actually a hellalot of queer women there.

The sex bloggers were my favorites, though, because that's just the kind of girl I am. ;)

Leigh-Ann

I did notice at BlogHer that my desperate highschool gaydar was back on, hunting the crowd for cues and signals that there were 'other' folks 'like me' around.

Maybe that comes from going to Blogher and not being familiar with a lot of the people in attendance? I'm sure that if I'd gone, I would have just been looking for faces I recognized from blogs I've read, and not worried about "gaydar".

Flippy

The only time I've ever cared if my "gaydar" was working was if I wanted to date someone. Otherwise, I don't care if someone identifies as gay, straight, bi, whatever. The people I wanted to see at blogher (I paid to go, but couldn't because I didn't know how well I'd be healed from my back surgery) were just people, not straight people or g/b/t/? people. Could someone explain to me why we need to find someone like us in a group? And hey, where were all the Jews? My other people.

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