The Camp Vamp: Katrina Fox

Commentary on GLBTIQ issues, social justice and some of life's quirks.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Using both hands

I’m so ensconced in gay world that I forget that straight people often have no inkling of GLBT culture, history or attributes, as was evidenced on Saturday night at the Animal Lib NSW annual dinner, when I painstakingly explained the term ‘femme’ emblazoned on my T-shirt to a woman who thought it referred to the French spelling of ‘woman’.

Thank goodness for researchers who study us, then release their findings to scientific journals which are then picked up by the mainstream media to help educate the public. Like the one by Canadian professor Michael Peters and his colleagues at the University of Guelph in Toronto, who found that ambidextrous people (those who can write and do other things equally well with both hands) are more likely to be bisexual.

The study involved 255,000 people. Among men, only 4 cent of right-handers and 4.5 per cent of left-handers reported that they were bisexual but 9.2 per cent of the ambidextrous said they were bisexual. Among women, 6.2 per cent of right-handers and 6.3 per cent of left-handers reported they were bisexual, compared with 15.6 per cent among the more ambidextrous.

So if there’s a high rate of bisexuality among the ambidextrous, how much ambidexterity is there among bisexuals? I don’t know 255,000 people, but I did a quick survey among the bi folk I know in Sydney. The first reply I got back seemed to verify the theory. Jade, who’s also a transwoman, can write with both hands and used her ambidextrous leanings to help her in sport. “Growing up as a boy and playing sport, when I played football I kicked the ball with my right foot but handpassed with my left hand; the same with playing cricket: bowling with my right hand and batting left-handed,” she said. Gabrielle can also write “drum, throw balls and other objects, massage, and best of all make love” equally well with both hands. Thinking I was on to something, I eagerly awaited the next reply. It was Glenn, who said: “I’m not ambidextrous; however, I am pretty skilled at wanking a cock in one hand and rubbing a pussy with the other hand, all at the same time.” (Now, that sounds an awful lot more useful than being able to write with both hands.)

To give my little survey a bit of academic flavour, I included the experience of my girlfriend Tracie. I know she’s not ambidextrous through years of struggling to read her handwriting that is often so illegible she may as well have written it with her left foot. “No, I can’t write with both hands but I’m very good at extracting orgasms from both sexes,” she proffered helpfully, before listing other things she can do equally well with both hands. “Holding a dildo very well with both hands, and spanking comes naturally with both hands as does wielding whips, chains and an electric drill.”

Hmm… I could really get into this research lark. Anyone know where I can get a grant so I can expand on my pilot study?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Christmas uncheer

Christmas. I’m already over it. I lay one of the reasons behind this at the feet of the David Jones store on Market Street in the city, whose incessant playing of ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’ makes me crazy. And you don’t even have to be inside the store to hear it – it’s blaring out from across the road in Hyde Park – so even those of us who can’t stand large department stores find ourselves, completely against our will, mumbling the wretched tune, especially the line, ‘Five golden rings’ (Freudian analysis anyone?) while walking back to the office at lunchtime.

Then there’s the Sally Army volunteers with their little portable stands, which read ‘Jesus is the Reason for the Season’, that make me cringe. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s the rhyme or I just don’t like people who wear bonnets. I guess I now have some inkling into the mind of the homophobe as s/he lumps us all into a generalised mass upon which to dump his/her disapproval. Homophobia, bonnetophobia – it’s all the same. Except I do believe bonnet-wearers are entitled to equal rights and financial benefits and, even though they annoy the hell out of me, I firmly support their right to wear bonnets and would sign a petition or online poll to that effect, so I guess I’m better than the average homophobe. Phew.

I probably sound like a right misery guts, but while I love flashing lights, sparkly reindeer and glittery tinsel as much as the next drag queen or high-femme lesbian, I possess an uncanny ability to see beyond the razzle dazzle to the rotten underbelly of Christmas and what it stands for: an excuse for even more mass consumerism of useless items that only serves to make the department stores, not loved ones, richer (a nice phone call or email on Christmas Eve could do that and is far less stressful than being jostled and shoved in the manic crowds doing last-minute “Christmas shopping”).But then I hear about little seasonal things that people have done which bring a smile to my face and a warm glow to my heart. Like the Santa who was sacked from London’s poshest store, Harrods, for making “lewd” and “inappropriate” comments to adults in the Father Christmas World grotto. The store is frequented by royalty and having one of its green shiny carrier bags is seen as a status symbol. I will confess to succumbing to the need to validate myself through brandishing the ‘label’ of an overpriced department store nearly 20 years ago by buying an item from Harrods. Being a cheap bitch it was only a packet of bin-liners from the food hall section. They cost about four pounds, ten times what I’d have paid in Sainsbury’s, but I got the carrier bag.

Nowadays I’m so over it that anyone, such as 'Bad Santa', who pisses off the management of a store that sells a pack of six “luxury” crackers for $5,034 is all right by me. Merry bloody Christmas.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

All together now

In his interview with me in last week’s SX, veteran activist and writer Larry Kramer said he believed gay people were better than straights in many ways. Non-assimilationists (let’s call them NAs for short) will agree; the more politically correct (the PCs) will cry ‘no, we’re all the same’. Who’s right?The PCs’ argument has certainly been bolstered this week, with various news stories confirming that we queers are just as bad as our heterosexual counterparts. For example, we discriminate in the workplace. NBC4 reports that a straight former Los Angeles police officer is suing the LAPD, alleging gays were given better employment opportunities. Meanwhile over in Minneapolis fire department, lesbian fire chief Bonnie Bleskachek has been fired from her job for giving preferential treatment to lesbians or those who socialise with them. The things you have to do for promotion nowadays, eh? But who knows, maybe poor Bonnie was just trying to do her bit for assimilation by forcing the straights to hang out with the dykes.

But can we really socialise successfully? The question of mixed venues has the queer community divided. Certain mainstream gay clubs around Oxford Street, especially on a Saturday night, have been “taken over” by straights who are rude and homophobic, some allege. But venture a little further down Bourke Street into Surry Hills and you’ll find the most unlikely venue to appeal to gays and straights alike. It’s called the Russian Coachmen restaurant and it was chosen by the publisher as the place for the SX Christmas party on Saturday night. The floorshow involved pretty showgirls and a violinist called Nikolai, and throughout the evening a Russian man who sounded like Animal from The Muppets sang karaoke songs in various languages along with another pretty girl who belted out disco numbers, keeping the very mixed bunch of patrons happy. An older woman in a white ra-ra dress and strange haircut kept us entertained by dancing and flirting with every straight man except her husband/partner. It was as if we’d crashed a 1980s straight Russian wedding and it was oddly glorious.

It took the restaurant staff a while to cotton on to the fact they’d been invaded by a group of bum-bandits and muff-divers, but my insistence that one of the showgirls partner with me and not a man, sexing it up on the dancefloor next to a gorgeous slender blonde in denim peddle-pushers to ‘I Turn to You’ by Mel C, and a bunch of queens mincing out for a ciggie break and strutting their stuff to ‘I Will Survive’, and the penny finally dropped. They didn’t actually use the G or even the H word, but karaoke girl referred to us over the mic affectionately as the ‘Oxford Street’ table. Bless. There were no dirty looks, no one spat at us or stabbed us. We all did our thing and everyone was happy. Even the NAs among us had a great time. I don’t know if we’re any better than straights, but um … we definitely dance differently.