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May I have the honour of the next, er, waltz?

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Dec 07, 2005

There's been some lamentable confusion among the Blogvolk as to the nature of Boston College's controversial GLBT sock-hop. Enquiring minds want to know: Who leads?

To help bring clarity to this vexed issue, your Uncle Di refers you to an article titled "Using Students as Discussion Leaders on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Issues in First-Year Courses," which appeared -- I'm not making this up, folks -- in the Journal of Legal Education, Vol 49, Number 4, December 1999, pp. 535-544 (the swimsuit issue). The first paragraph provides a lucid explanation of pertinent terminology. I quote verbatim:

One of the authors, Nyquist, is a nongay white biologically male law teacher. Ruiz is a heteroqueer evolved male (the now-antiquated term is 'transsexual') Hispanic law student.(1) Smith is a gay white biologically male law student. Both Ruiz and Smith are active in the Les-Bi-Gay-Trans Caucus at the New England School of Law and have been involved in LBGT issues for many years.

This territory is sexually Abelian. That means LBGT^NESL = GLBT^BC. Footnote #1 explains further:

Ruiz prefers the term 'evolved male' to 'transsexual' as a description of his gender. He is a biological female who is in the process of aligning his body with his male gender identity. 'Heteroqueer' refers to Ruiz' sexual orientation; 'heterosexual' is too simple a term for his situation. 'Hetero' refers to Ruiz' attraction to women and 'queer' to his evolved-male status.

Well, they are training to be lawyers, after all. But we should reach beyond the lexico-sexual refinements to grasp the personal equation. Footnote 22 (p. 540) is illuminating in this regard:

When Ruiz first arrived at the school, Nyquist and Smith identified him as a lesbian. In our initial planning session for the class, Ruiz corrected us: 'A lesbian is a biological woman who identifies herself as a woman and is sexually attracted to women. Although I have a woman's body and am attracted to women, I identify my gender as male. ... The term I prefer, 'evolved male,' implies not only a physical transition, but also a personal journey, psychological growth, and a physical emergence. The term also serves to distinguish evolved males from biological males.

Clear, I hope? We've obviously come a long way from the ballrooms of Jane Austen. You might condense the information above into a crib card to help you navigate the shallows at the next college-sponsored dance you attend. When the heteroqueer evolved male invites the cross-dressing bisexual nestorian to dance, who leads? The one who paid less for his haircut.

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