Revel & Riot

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Walt Whitman is one of the greatest poets recognized for both his ability to capture the many unique experiences of the American as well as for his intimate poems describing homosexual relationships. He is from an era of American history in which great wordsmiths were revered with respect. Whitman’s poems opened up the opportunity for other poets and writers to come out. Through the early to mid 20th century a sexual revolution was slowly rocking through the US, and its effects translated into more poems and writings. The great queer poet, Allen Ginsberg who wrote through the 1950s and 60s, was heavily influenced by Whitman.

In recent years and as LGBTQ people have been gaining civil rights, there’s been a shift in the forms of activism and literature put out by LGBTQ people. To some of the older generations who suffered a very different form of discrimination than what is present today, the younger generation has become complacent and has begun to view sexuality and gender as unimportant.

Revel&Riot is a website that counters this argument. This website features many resources and information for LGBTQ people and allies. On their homepage they describe themselves as:

Revel & Riot is a non-profit organization working for LGBTQ rights, awareness and equality.
We use the t-shirt to spread that message – a personal and common-place canvas – the perfect medium
to express identity, pride, solidarity, to spark a conversation and to make a profound political statement.

The name Revel & Riot is inspired by the complexities of being LGBTQ in the world today.
While we fight for our rights, for our lives and against all forms of oppression,
love and pride provide the inspiration.

Our funding comes entirely from the sale of our products and donations,
so we thank you for wearing the message of equality proudly, and for supporting our cause!

It also contains a news feed for what’s been happening recently in the lives of LGBTQ people around the world.

The purpose of Revel & Riot is two fold. Revel news articles “celebrate love and art” and support an artistic movement still heavily prevalent in the LGBTQ movement. Gender and sexuality do matter to this generation and the artwork, music, literature and love that can be found under the Revel section of the News tab reminds us of that. The Riot part brings out the activist in us. Through the Riot section of the News tab we can read stories of injustices, homophobia and transphobia that happen in our communities and around the world. This news is meant to motivate us to organize and take action against this discrimination. People can subscribe to the Revel & Riot mailing list and receive updates on current events affecting the LGBTQ population.

The website also provides a list of resources and organizations that they support. The resources give information on topics related to LGBTQ lives to help give people the knowledge of what things are and what they can do to become activists. There is a list of LGBTQ community organizations found through the resources tab that are organized by region. Organizations from the various states of the United States as well as the territories of Canada are listed and can also be divided into what sort of issues they handle (i.e. transgender, People of Color, religion, Sex Ed). We can Revel in the support and love given by resources in our areas, but we can also be empowered by them to Riot and fight for positive change.

There’s is an Action tab that is in the works, but may also prove as a useful resource for LGBTQ activism.

Revel & Right has free downloadable art/posters and they also spread their art through t-shirts and other objects with slogans like “Life Goes By Too Quickly” and “It’s All Fun and Gay Until Someone Loses Their Rights.”

Revel & Riot is an example of the modern LGBTQ art and activist movement that is helping to press forward with the LGBTQ Rights agenda. Though it may seem like our great poets and activists are gone or aging, they have left behind a legacy that will continue in a modernized version of activism.

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Allen Ginsberg Poetry

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Allen Ginsberg is remembered as perhaps the most influential queer poets of his time. Writing during the post World War II era and having led a full life which included drugs and a brief period of time in a mental institution, Ginsberg has all the makings of an intimate wordsmith full of experience.

Ginsberg was a prolific writer and many of his poems can be found here.

Among his multi-faceted works are included several poems directly speaking about sex. One of his more graphic poems, “Please Master,” describes a scene between a Master and sex slave of the BDSM world. BDSM refers to a kink community that can incorporate any or all of the following; Bondage, Discipline, Domination, Submission, Sadism, and Masochism.

Check out the full poem here.

Alternatively, listen to Allen Ginsberg reading his poem via this video.

To read this poem is to become the sex slave, as the poem is written in in first person by the submissive partner. Over and over again as we read we beckon for the Master to give us permission. At first the poem starts out gentle, like foreplay; “can I touch your cheek… can I kneel at your feet.” Then we ask the Master for clothes to be removed; “can I have your thighs bare to my eyes…can I take off my clothes below your chair.” As the sexual act progresses we ask the Master for permission to “…pass my face to your balls…” and “…to lick your thick shaft…” The act has progressed to oral sex, however we beckon the Master for more, eventually culminating in anal sex until the Master comes. As the poem continues the requests of the Master become more graphic, “more violent.” The rigid “Please Master can I…” structure becomes a little less rigid and the sentences become longer. This feels a little more wild like the sexual act itself would feel.

The poem is such a beautiful description of a BDSM sexual scene between two men. There is “tenderness” in the act as their is in the poem describing the “sweat fuck.” Despite a very clear power dynamic in this poem and in BDSM, we read the pleasure that the submissive partner receives; “please master make me go moan on the table.” The submissive position that Ginsberg is describing is not one of oppression or degradation. It is one of pleasure giving and pleasure receiving. It is one of having power and giving it to the Master by asking for permission. It is one of conversation and openness (something that BDSM communities assert in every sexual encounter).

A major point being emphasized here is the power and pleasure received by a man who gives himself fully to his male partner. This is much like the anonymously written essay “Cocksucker” which was published in the Boston gay magazine, Fag Rag, in 1971. This essay opens with the discussion of how men who get fellatio are thought of as more masculine, but men who give fellatio are thought of negatively because “who would want to suck the cock of someone who had sucked the cock of every male in the room?” However, to be the submissive partner is not something that should be frowned upon or thought of negatively. It is the submissive partner in this poem who tells the Master what to do and sets up the entire scene to be pleasurable for both parties; and in a sexual act, is that not the very essence of power?

Another fantastically sexual poem by Allen Ginsberg is “Sphincter” which you can read here.

In this poem Ginsberg talks about his anal rectum, just as one might assume given the title. At the beginning of the poem, Ginsberg reflects on how over the past 60 years his sphincter has served him well. He hasn’t experienced any major medical complications, and it has been very receptive to pleasurable insertables.

This poem touches briefly on a more somber topic of queer sexuality; the AIDS epidemic. Ginsberg says in his poem that he will have to start using condoms to protect himself:

Now AIDS makes it shy, but still
eager to serve –
out with the dumps, in with the condom’d
orgasmic friend

As the poem comes to a close he looks towards the future hoping to still have an active, healthy sex life into his old age. He recognizes however that age can create changes to his sex life as he begins to experience aches and pains, yet he “Hope the old hole stays young/ till death, relax.”

Again with Sphincter as with Please Master, Ginsberg writes about empowerment through submission to other men. In Sphincter he speaks of his body part as “eager, receptive to phallus,” and he says he is “unashamed wide open for joy.”

Through both poems readers gain a sense of power through pleasure. Tearing down the fallacy that a man being receptive and submissive to another man in sex is a strong message being incorporated into these two erotic poems.

If you like all of this, check out the Allen Ginsberg Project.

Raising My Rainbow

“Look Mommy, my bear’s fingernails match my fingernails,” he squeals in giddy delight, kicking his feet, which dangle down from his booster seat, his pink polka-dot Minnie Mouse socks peeking out from his mint green tennis shoes.”

Lori Duron is a mommy blogger, and her first published book, “Raising my Rainbow,” is about raising her son who is “gender creative,” or transgender. She and her military husband have two sons; one who is “all boy” (encompassing the many stereotypes of masculinity) and another who “neither all pink nor all blue.”

“He’s a muddled mess or rainbow creation.”

Duron writes about all the hardships and wonderful experiences that her “rainbow” son C.J. goes through in a world that doesn’t understand gender performativity and certainly doesn’t understand gender nonconforming children.

Written and published only a few years ago (late 2013) the memoir is not Duron’s only source of conversation surrounding her son. Indeed Duron has is one of the many moms following a new trend that has risen with the age of the internet.

Book Cover

Book Cover

For five years she been blogging with blog post titles like “If Homosexuality Could be Detected During Pregnancy Would You Want to Know?”, “California Department of Education Lies, Does Not Investigate LGBTQ Bullying,” and “My Son as Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods,” she has covered a wide variety of topics concerning her two children, their sexualities, her community and various LGBTQ issues surrounding her.

You can read Duron’s blog and/or order her book here.

This book is a memoir that brings to light an important subject that many parents in the 21st century are not prepared for and often try to ignore; childhood gender expression and sexuality.

Lori and C.J.

Lori and C.J.

C.J.

C.J.

Adults find it very difficult to think of children as having a sexuality, and we often refer to them as innocent. Paradoxically, as Kathryn Stockton points out in the introduction of her book “The Queer Child,”  we also choose to assume that all children will grow-up to be straight. We have allocated a certain status of existence to children such that the concept of a gay child can only be thought of after the child has realized they are not straight. Stockton says,

“Children grow sideways as well as up – or so I will say – in part because they cannot, according to our concepts advance to adulthood until we say it’s time,”

We often say that children will lose their childish ways and eventually grow to become sexual subjects, but we only allow this to happen after they become adults. Because of this, we struggle to conceptualize the gay child in the present. Queer people are often asked, “when did you know you were gay?” We don’t allow a gay child to exist because by our understanding of a child, it has no sexuality.

Duron’s “Raising My Rainbow” focuses on her very young child as being transgender, but even she tends to avoid the concept that her child is sexual in any way. At the beginning of her book she even describes how she originally assumed that C.J. was just going through a phase (something she now regrets thinking). Despite this, her book still discusses a topic that many parents are now facing today. This is hopefully part of a movement towards a society that embellishes and thrives on childhood (and adulthood) individuality including the vast, beautiful differences of childhood sexuality and gender.

Stockton, Kathryn B. “Growing Sideways, or Why Children Appear to Get Queerer in the Twentieth Century.” Introduction. The Queer Child. N.p.: Duke UP, 2009. 1-57. Print.