The (Vegan) Body: On Tatcalling, LGBT+ bodies, glimmers of hope, long ways to go

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I’ve been so glad to see more and more articles and stories on the interwebs about LGBT+ issues in the past weeks. Issues surrounding gender, race, and sexuality are finally being talking about in what I hope is a progressive way. I was glad to see this article in the Guardian about domestic violence in the queer community, an issue that often goes unnoticed perhaps especially with regard to trans folks. Now that marriage equality has been achieved, it’s time to attack some of these other issues: violence especially toward trans folks and queer people of color, workplace discrimination, overturning discriminatory state laws that allow persecution of LGBT+ folks “based on religious freedom,” domestic violence in the queer community, and the white cis male domination of the community in popular culture and media.

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I’m so, so overwhelmingly happy about the SCOTUS decision last week! With that amazing step in the right direction comes a very sad realization for a lot of us–that we have so, so far to go as a species. With this glimmer of hope is the realization that we have a lot of fighting left to do. Hey allies! Don’t forget that! We still need you! I’ve been pretty pleasantly surprised to see the media nodding to this fact, as seen here.

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I loved reading this article. Just yesterday I was tatcalled at least 3 times while out shopping, minding my own business, trying to find a new wallet. The one hole in this article is the occasional genuine interest and awe that some people have toward others’ ink. My Alice in Wonderland half sleeve receives a lot of attention, most often from people who love the book or who are genuinely interested in talking to me about my experience getting a sleeve. I’m happy to talk to those people, and that’s just a good reminder that approach and how you articulate interest in someone’s tattoos really determines not only the dialogue you might or might not have with them but also their comfort level. If I’m out and someone, honestly especially men, call out to me about my tattoos or try to touch them I’m extremely uncomfortable.

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Going through the process of tattooing, planning, and caring for my ink is not an invitation to be touched by strangers which is (as this article suggests) a violation of not only the female body by the male gaze and touch but also of bodily autonomy in general. An issue near and dear to my heart. Again: most tattooed people are happy to talk to you and are probably used to talking to complete strangers about their tattoos. Remember: don’t touch, it feels just like normal skin, be kind, don’t stare, don’t be creepy, and approach a tattooed person respectfully. If you get a vibe that they just want to be left alone, be polite and just back off. Something I’m always struggling with is balancing my needs with being polite to tattoo starers and askers. Any suggestions on how to nicely end conversations you’re not prepared for and aren’t comfortable having from time to time? I’m thinking a simple: “Thank you for the compliments on my ink, but I’m really just trying to get my shopping done.” might be what I start turning to.

 

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One of my favorite columns, the Stella Grey weekly write-up, amuses me to no end. She’s sort of like a grown up Bridget Jones. My guilty summer pleasure, other than an ice cream of course.

IMG_8839A fun post on some amazing books to read this summer. A little appetizer for my huge book list that I hope to publish in the coming weeks.And I’ll get around to doing a podcast round up too. Soon! So soon! Any particular ones you’d like to hear about? I listen to a lot of them so it’ll be a mix of vegan, pop culture, nerdiness, and progressive politics. Let me know if there’s a genre you’d like to know more about.

 

Heart of Summer

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Hello, everyone! Still down here on the edge of the world–Miami. This truly amazing city welcomed me with open arms. Then engulfed me in a bear hug and has yet to let go. I’ll miss it here. I’m head over heels in love with this place.

Just a reminder, take care of your pets this weekend! It’s the day of the year when the most pets are lost and shelters are the busiest! Be safe, and take care of your furry friends during fireworks. I’ll be watching them all up and down the beach from the comfort of my balcony tomorrow night. Update: I’m definitely planning a book review and a podcast round up, so stay tuned! Unfortunately it’s a bit tricky for me to photograph the books I’ve been reading while I’m here. While they’ve accompanied me on this excursion, they’re packed up in the car awaiting the drive North to NC next weekend. I’m hoping to work on said post while I’m up there taking a much needed respite from research, academia, and all things art history related. I love this subject. I love it so much in fact that I need to put it aside for a week or so and return with renewed vigor. I can’t wait.

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I love the 4th of July, perhaps not so secretly. To me it’s the epitome of summer, when I celebrate the season and pay a little homage to the sun, something I don’t do often enough as a very pale witch who often hides from UV rays. I’ll be bumming around the beach tomorrow, watching those aforementioned photographs at night, and celebrating my own version of the summer solstice. In many ways the 4th of July is my solstice–the sun seems at its hottest and all things summer seem to float around with abandon. There’s watermelon, swimming, the sweet smells of honeysuckle and the gardens, of fields. The hum of cicadas. All NC summer things, I might mention. This is the first 4th I’ve spent away from my home state. In one of the wildest places I know no less. A great way to spend my last weekend here.

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Enamored with every building, everywhere I turn. Art deco for days.

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Miami design district a couple of weekends ago after an opening I attended. Pure magic, and maybe one of my favorite parts of the city.

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Typical mornings, evenings, weekends. Every chance I get it’s reading on the balcony.

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Have I somehow absorbed the South Beach diet? Perhaps. I think it’s just the heat of summer working its magic. Lots of fresh foods and salads, a little sorbetto thrown into the mix. Lots of water, lots of walking.

 

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Never have I seen so many types of palm trees in one place. My whole life, I’ve wanted to live some place where there are palm trees, and I’ve wanted to live on an island. These past 6 weeks have given me both of those things. Far more variation in palms here than in the pan handle. Loving them and the endless flowers strewn across sidewalks and falling from trees, bushes, and plants. With stray cats milling about, crushing the petals beneath their tiny feet.

What a Fantastic Week

 

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First experience at Maoz Vegetarian. YUM.

This week. Wow, this past week. So much has happened and it’s all bee so wonderful. SCOTUS! Sitting at work, alone, (Fridays are quiet) I got the news from my best friend.What a great way to get it. I teared up with joy. The overwhelming feeling of happiness, of safety, of security. Of knowing that the U.S. government recognizes me as a valid entity worthy of the same rights.

As my dad said, and this really meant a lot: “The thing is Rach, you were never a second-class citizen to begin with. Don’t forget that. They just got with the program.”

I write a good deal about queer politics and intersectionality here on the blog. Wow, how things come full circle. It feels incredibly validating to have marriage equality recognized by all 50 states. My reaction: enjoy this. Enjoy the moment for the battle is won but the war is not yet over. We still have a long way to go. But for now, savor this. I know I am.

Pretty much sums it up:

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On a personal scale:

First off, I submitted my first piece to an online queer site. If it’s not accepted, I plan to publish it here.

On an even smaller scale: thrilled with my new kicks. Decided to treat myself to a new pair of shoes in light of yesterday’s good news, as a celebration of this week, a celebration of beautiful Miami and how much I love it here. While I’ll be glad to vacation in NC for a couple of weeks soon, I’ll be so sad to leave this place that has so welcomed me into its fold. To leave all of the art deco buildings and palm trees, feral cats, parrots, and coconuts. I feel oddly at home here, and I can’t wait to come back.

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On a similar note: I finished Judy Blume’s new novel, (written for grown ups!) In the Unlikely Event, on Thursday of this week. One of my most favorite podcasts, NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour, gave a heads up a couple of weeks ago that they’d be discussing the book on this week’s (put out yesterday) podcast. Something about it tantalized me. I bought the book on kindle (one of the few novels I’ve purchased electronically!) and read it in just a few days. There’s a bit about Miami Beach there, which was a welcome similarity and strange collision between my life and a fictional (well, sort of fictional) world. This story was also a fantastic segway linking my life to what I just read. The book is a fun summer read, a period piece that really engages multiple levels of conflict, growth, tragedy, and familial structures.

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Favorite Miami view: from the balcony where I’m staying. I often sit out here, reading, writing, reflecting. Summers are always a time of introspection and growth.

In that vein, would anyone be interested in a post about the books I’ve read this summer? My voracity for the written word runs rampant in the wild days of summer, unbound by academia and responsibility, and the multitude of articles I read during the academic year. I’ve blown through quite a few books so far, and I’ve got thoughts and feelings on all of them.

I’m also thinking (put this out on Twitter last week to a positive response) of doing a podcast round up. I mention several podcasts that I listen to throughout my other posts, but I’m toying with the idea of a podcast review. What I listen to, why and maybe a few choice episodes that I’d recommend to folks. Thoughts on either of these?

Some South Beach Eats

Yes! I’m staying on South Beach for the first stint of my Miami stay. On an island. Surrounded by palm trees (some that drop coconuts, quite the surprise for a deciduous tree-lover like me) and about a zillion feral cats who populate the beach. Smothered in SPF 50 constantly, and usually hiding in the shade from the sun. I’ve had some simply glorious foods here! Just a few highlights to share with you all. I haven’t been dining out a lot–that’ll likely come in time. I’ve enjoyed the process of cooking and shopping a bit differently here as I’m outside of my own fully-stocked kitchen. This has given me the chance to try several new foods and products that I haven’t gotten around to yet like some vegan cheeses and (FINALLY!) Beyond Meat’s Beast Sliders!

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First day here, a colleague gave me a mango. A LOCAL mango. I’ve never eaten its equal. It smelled unlike any other mango I’ve ever had before–much richer, fruiter, and deeper. So amazing.

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This is Whole Foods. Well, the entrance is on the other side of the building but I sort of love the giant plant fixture on its roof.

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Pretty standard lunch these days. This bowl contains: quinoa, magic beans, a hefty salad, and sugar snap peas brought down from NC. Topped with a vinaigrette dressing.

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Burrito bowl on the balcony, where I eat most nights.

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There’s this Thai joint not far from my apartment that is ON POINT. As in AMAZING. Their panang curry with steamed tofu and a ginger beer.

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Probably the best summer rolls I’ve EVER had! Beautiful.

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Another burrito bowl. This included my first ever Teese on it! I liked the Teese nacho cheese roll, it was perfect melted on a dish like this!

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LOCAL lychees! Nature’s candy.

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Gluten free whoopie pie for the win. And Netflix.

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Granola bowl with Nancy’s soy yogurt and banana.

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Simply lunch: cukes and tomatoes on rice cakes with hummus.

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Aannnnddd another bean/grain burrito bowlish thing. True heaven.

So, that’s a bit of what I’ve been eating lately. Typical summer fare: light, lots of vegetables and raw, fresh fruit. Had the most wonderful time in downtown Miami yesterday evening and last weekend. More on that to come!