On Pride, Intersectionality and Allies, or I Love Y’all But Don’t Take All the Damn Spots on the Float

On Pride, Intersectionality and Allies, or I Love Y’all But Don’t Take All the Damn Spots on the Float

Pride events are gearing up, and I have a lot to say about a few things that have been on my mind lately.

Even people entrenched in the LGBTQIA+ community may not know that the first Pride was celebrated to commemorate the one year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots which occurred in 1969.

The Stonewall Inn in New York City was a popular bar where the poorest and most marginalized people in the queer community congregated, including butch lesbians, drag queens and transgender individuals, effeminate gay men, homeless youth, and queer sex workers.

In the 1960s, homosexuality was still illegal and it was also required that an individual wore at least three items of clothing that matched their gender assigned to them at birth.

Police raids were common, but since the Stonewall was run by the mafia who profited off their clientele, they generally paid off the police.

In June of 1969, the two hundred-some patrons of the Stonewall Inn were raided by police. Their IDs were checked and recorded and some police took customers dressed as women to the bathroom to “verify their sex.” There was inappropriate handling of queer women by police.  And they had collectively had enough.

A butch woman in handcuffs looked at bystanders and yelled, “Why don’t you guys do something?” And the crowd became an angry mob, breaking out into a full blown riot.

Michael Fader, present that night, recounted:

 “We all had a collective feeling like we’d had enough of this kind of shit. It wasn’t anything tangible anybody said to anyone else, it was just kind of like everything over the years had come to a head on that one particular night in the one particular place, and it was not an organized demonstration… Everyone in the crowd felt that we were never going to go back. It was like the last straw. It was time to reclaim something that had always been taken from us…. All kinds of people, all different reasons, but mostly it was total outrage, anger, sorrow, everything combined, and everything just kind of ran its course. It was the police who were doing most of the destruction. We were really trying to get back in and break free. And we felt that we had freedom at last, or freedom to at least show that we demanded freedom. We weren’t going to be walking meekly in the night and letting them shove us around—it’s like standing your ground for the first time and in a really strong way, and that’s what caught the police by surprise. There was something in the air, freedom a long time overdue, and we’re going to fight for it. It took different forms, but the bottom line was, we weren’t going to go away. And we didn’t.”

We should never forget that queer trans women of color who were also sex workers like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera were at the front lines of the resistance against being arrested for being LGBTQ+.

These are the women that are still being forgotten and overlooked in the queer community, nearly 50 years later.  These are the types of women who are still murdered at an alarming rate, and whose murders are still defensible by “gay/trans panic” in 48 states to this day.

Pride isn’t about “marketable gayness (read: attractive, fit, white cisgender men),” as much as many Pride celebrations would have you believe.  The first one was held the year after the Stonewall Riots occurred as a remembrance of the events and sacrifices these people on the margins made.

As I’ve written about before, intersectionality is extremely important to me.  People can be black and gay or trans and have disabilities, or any combination of marginalized identities.

Intersectionality is acknowledging that people can belong to more than one group, and that we must advocate for all of them.

If your Pride doesn’t have space for trans people, for people of color, for sex workers, for people on the asexual spectrum, for bisexual and pansexual people in straight-presenting relationships, non-binary and gender nonconforming people, intersex people, femme and butch, people who are differently-abled, and people of all body types, you’re completely missing the mark.

These people in the margins of society fought for us that night in June 1969, so we should still be advocating for them.  Just because same-sex marriage is legalized, that doesn’t mean that equality for all has been reached.  We’re not done yet.  Not by a long shot.

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Last year, the city of Philadelphia released their design for a new, more inclusive Pride flag with black and brown stripes to symbolize People of Color 

The next order of business is regarding allies.

I’m grateful for allies.  Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today with LGBTQIA+ rights.

But there’s definitely a good way and a bad way to do it.

Some of the incidences regarding bad allyship which stick out most in my mind happened to my ex wife at her place of work when we were together.

She worked for an extremely inclusive company that was outspoken about LGBTQ+ rights, which was wonderful.  It was because of this that I was able to be on her health insurance plan before marriage was a legal option for us.  She appeared in a video they put out regarding their support of marriage equality soon after we got engaged, and she exclaimed “She said yes! Now we need the state of Illinois to say yes.”

In preparation for Chicago Pride, there was a sign-up sheet for people to ride the float, and it filled up in record time.  She was too late, and ultimately, out of the twenty people who rode the float, only three identified as LGBTQ+.  Three.  She was extremely upset but no “allies” offered their spot up to queer people.

News flash:  if you’re taking up space and visibility that should be given to a queer person, you’re not a real ally.

In a similar vein, the previous year, her company had a bunch of Pride shirts made and was handing them out for free, but by the time she had gotten to them, they were all gone. She, an out lesbian since age nine, was left without a Pride shirt as she watched all of her straight coworkers walking around with them.

Even five years later, remembering how she felt in these situations still makes my blood boil.

But they were vivid, excellent object lessons about what not to do as an ally.

“You may think you are an ally, but you are wrong. You cannot be an ally. You can only act in allying ways, or you can avoid doing so. There is a big problem in progressive circles; often, you see people prioritize being seen as an ally more than acting like one. This is only possible when we misconstrue the word “ally” into an identity.”–Timothy Murphy, in an article on Huffington Post called “Ally is Action, Not an Identity.”

My ex’s coworkers were performative “allies”  who had no substance when it came to centering the queer people in the situations where they were supposed to be celebrated.

There was a viral video released for Pride last year featuring dancers performing while a queer “alphabet” flashed across the screen with words from the community from A-Z.  It was beautifully done.  Except there was a major issue.  The first word that was displayed was “A: Ally.”   But that’s not what it stands for in “LGBTQIA”—it stands for Asexual/Aromantic.   And it obviously caused a fervor because it was symbolic of this constant issue queer people face, with our identities being erased and people outside our community still managed to make it into something about them that was definitely Not. About. Them. (Read more about it/see it here)

So what are some good things you can do as an ally?  And what are some things that the queer community wished you knew?

 IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU.   Like I’ve mentioned above, acknowledge that it’s not about you. Stand back, shut your mouth, listen and learn.  Center those in the queer community and don’t get pissed off if you’re corrected.  You’re a guest in queer spaces and you aren’t owed anything.

KEEP YOUR FEELINGS IN CHECK.  Did the sentences above seem kind of rude or mean?   A true ally acknowledges all those things and doesn’t ask “but what about me?”  If you want to have the spotlight, there are another 11 months out of the year just for you and pretty much every other space, pop culture item, etc.  Don’t be the equivalent of the “all lives matter” people.  Yeah, they do, but that’s not what this is about!

DON’T VIEW US AS A SPECTACLE.  Sure, attending a Pride parade can be fun, but don’t treat it like you’re going to the zoo.   Our existences should not be considered a novelty!

KNOW THE HISTORY OF PRIDE.  Thanks to my little primer above, you know this now, but I’d also highly recommend artist Mike Funk’s comic that depicts the events of Stonewall 1969. Sure, it’s become a celebration and a party, but it came from someplace pretty intense.

BE AWARE OF PRONOUNS.  Are they a butch lesbian or a trans man or non-binary?  Don’t assume you know what they use…it’s okay to ask!  And actually, it’s really cool if you introduce yourself by saying “Hey, my name is ______ and my pronouns are she/her/hers” even if you’re cisgender and you think it’s pretty clear.  By offering this up, you’re normalizing the sharing of pronouns and it makes it less awkward for others to broach the subject.   And if you can’t ask them, it’s fine to use “they” until told otherwise.  It’s the safest default.  If you mess up, don’t make a big deal about it.  Just use the correct ones in the future and move on.

REMEMBER THAT NOT ALL LGBTQIA+ PEOPLE ARE VISIBLE.   There are bisexual and pansexual people in straight-presenting relationships.  They’re still valid members of the queer community.   People who identify as asexual (have a lack of sexual desire towards anyone, to varying degrees and with varying desires for romantic partners…it’s a spectrum) are also welcome.   And don’t assume anyone’s sexuality.  I’m actually guilty of this myself (even though I’m pansexual I’ve got that whole bi/pan erasure deep within me) when I’m sometimes caught off guard by someone who looks quite queer who also has heterosexual relationships.  I bet I actually surprise a lot of people in this way myself.

REMEMBER THAT GENDER IDENTITY AND SEXUALITY ARE SEPARATE MATTERS.   There are lesbian trans women.  There are gay trans men. There are bisexual/pansexual non-binary people.  And there are people in varied gender identities that consider themselves to be straight.

ADVOCATE FOR THE QUEER COMMUNITY ALL YEAR LONG.  Be politically active and vocal about our rights, and put your money where your mouth is if you’re able.  Research LGBTQ+ owned businesses and spend your money there.   Consider donating to charities like The True Colors Fund, which supports homeless queer youth.  At least 40% of young homeless people are LGBTQ+ and need all the help they can get.

EDUCATE YOURSELF.   There’s this thing called Google, and you can use it to find answers to questions instead of burdening someone in the LGBTQIA+ community to answer it for the thousandth time.   It’s exhausting to be continually educating others.  And then, when other people have questions about LGBTQIA+ issues and you know the answers, help to educate others.  It’s a lot of work and can get frustrating to always be answering the same questions, so lighten our load and take some of that upon yourself.  But remember to never speak for us and always defer to us when applicable!  Keep up to date on the best terminology (it’s always changing, I know, but we all try to do our best!)

PLEASE BE AWARE OF WHAT WORDS ARE SLURS.  Thankfully, I think people have mostly become more aware of what’s really uncool to say, but never use those slang terms for gay men and women  (you know the ones) and the t-word for trans people is a total no-go, no matter what RuPaul says.

BE CONSCIOUS OF YOUR PRIVILEGE.  If you’re straight and cisgender, you’ve probably never been concerned about your safety when holding hands with your partner.  You’ve never had to be scared to simply use the bathroom.  You’ve probably never had a random guy on the train tell you that you’ve just not had the right dick yet to make you straight and follow you home.  Sometimes we get defensive because we’re used to these situations.  And if you witness anything dangerous going on because of these situations, stand up for us.  Offer to join us when going to the bathroom if we’re scared to do so alone.

Whew.  I know that this was a lot of really strong feelings but I’m kind of that sort of person.   Forgive us if we lash out.  We just deal with a lot of stuff and are kind of sick of it.  Ya know…like what happened with Stonewall.

Happy Pride!  And thank you to all those folx who have come before us so we’re able to use this as a celebration.

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On My Queer Identity While I’m Dating A Dude, or: Hey There, I’m Still Queer Anyway

On My Queer Identity While I’m Dating A Dude, or: Hey There, I’m Still Queer Anyway

The last time I blogged about this subject, it was rather hypothetical.  About eight months out of my marriage to a woman, I discussed my queer identity and my fears about beginning to date again.

For the first 25 years of my life, I had publicly identified as straight.  There was a whole lot going on under the surface there, and I had begun to realize my queerness a couple years before.  I had been an outspoken ally for the LGBTQ+ community in college when I began to realize that perhaps it wasn’t actually a sin to be gay and people couldn’t choose to be homosexual, but the process of coming out to myself was a longer one.

But, at the time, I was dating The Guy I Thought I Was Going To Marry, so I figured I dodged that dreaded “Coming Out” bullet and life would be just peachy.

That obviously didn’t work out, and I met my next boyfriend on OKCupid, who also happened to be trans.  The one-two punch of coming out to my parents as not-straight (I claimed the identity “pansexual” as I found “bisexual” too limiting, though I know it means different things to different people) and dating a trans guy was pretty mind-boggling to them, though my boyfriend was “stealth” and not openly trans so we were still a visibly straight couple to the public.  That relationship was quite short-lived, but it was my first foray into queerness.   I had begun to embrace my queer identity and it was a huge part of my life.

And then I met the woman I would marry.  The plight of a bisexual, pansexual, or queer woman embarking upon a same-sex relationship is a tricky one.  Well, technically, it’s tricky any way you look at it.

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This Bi/Michigan shirt is so appropriate I can’t handle it. Also, this is the last time I had hair longer than 3/8″.

A lot of lesbians are skeptical of people like me.  And I was terrified of how I would be viewed.  Was I just a “straight girl experimenting?”  There was a common sentiment that, once I got bored of what a woman had to offer, I would wander back over to men.  That old, tired “promiscuous bisexual” trope.  Or there was the assumption that I was just too scared to “commit” to being a lesbian.

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TOO REAL

My ex had primarily dated bi and pansexual women in the past, so, thankfully, she was a little more nuanced in her understanding, but she was well aware of the baggage that was carried within the community, and heard it all from her friends and family.  But it was not without some self doubt that I, too, would eventually leave her for a man.  Most of her exes had married cis-men, after all.

Ironically, in the end, it was she who wanted to end our brief marriage, but she told me “Nothing would hurt me more than if your next serious relationship would be with a man.”

That’s a way to set someone like me up with even more baggage, I’m tellin’ ya.

But ultimately, I didn’t give that too much consideration.  I didn’t owe her anything, and she knew that I was attracted to people, no matter what they had between their legs.  “Hearts, not parts.”

I took some time after our divorce to figure myself out and heal.   And then, I decided it was time to consider dating again, even if only to meet people in the area after I had moved halfway across the country.

I had met my last two partners through OKCupid, and had found it to be the ideal way for me to vet potential dates while being an introvert.  So I re-activated my OKCupid account and also signed up for the dumpster-fire that is Tinder (which had been introduced since I was last single.)

I checked the “Looking for men and women” boxes, and was pretty dismayed with my options for the area.  I had recently moved to a small university town that’s about an hour+ away from various larger cities.  Being in my early thirties, that put me in that awkward window of being too old for most students, too young for most professors, and squarely in the age group for the “townies” who had never had the motivation to leave the area.  I know that’s a bit harsh, but really, that’s not my target demographic.  As a shaved-headed liberal vaguely-gendequeer individual who works in the arts, I wasn’t interested in seeing the fish and deer that these people had caught.

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“LEMME STICK MY NUB IN YOUR BUTT.”  You can’t make this shit up.

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Yeahhhh…not really my type.

And, it turned out, that the majority of the women-looking-for-women on the sites were 40 year olds, recently divorced, with kids, and disillusioned by men, wanting to take a dip into the lady-pond for the first time.  Also really not what I was looking for.   Even less so, if we’re being honest.   (Is that hypocritical?  Perhaps.)  And, while I was also interested in gender nonconforming individuals, that’s not really much of a thing around these parts.

I kind of gave up on the whole women thing (though not before I actually matched with my current boyfriend’s ex wife on Tinder, which is a long story…)

I was quickly reminded that most men are trash, and remembered why I liked the idea of dating women.  Ugh.

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My ex wife and I would often look at each other after hearing dating tales of woe from our friends and tell each other, “I’m so glad I never have to deal with that shit ever again.”

And now, here I was.  I was reminded why so many people stay together for longer than they should because it’s easier than being alone or dating.

I also wondered how my shaved head would go over with straight guys.  It’s a very particular look and I learned (through much unsolicited feedback) that it was definitely not many dudes’ jam.  But I didn’t worry about that, because I wasn’t interested in the guys who weren’t into my lack of hair.  I quickly learned that there were also plenty that were totally into it.

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Verbally beating the shit out of idiot guys on OKCupid became a cathartic pastime of mine.  Yeah, I’m a bit of a misandrist.

And then there’s the perils of being snagged as a “unicorn” for a threesome, which is all many people think queer women are good for.

Even if I were down for a threesome, it wouldn’t be with Nascar fans.

I ended up finding a couple cool guys and went on a whirlwind few months of dates.  My coworkers were confounded with how I could be dating three guys named Dan at the same time.  (Yes.  I’m serious.  That happened.  As well as declining advances from at least two more Dans and a female Dani.  What a wild experience.)

But, dammit, one of those Dans threw a monkey wrench into my plans of casual dating and non-monogamy, and I ended up falling for him even though it was truly terrible timing.  He was even fresher out of a marriage than I was.  But there was no denying that what we had was good, and I didn’t want to be with anyone else.  Turns out I was way more monogamous at heart than I thought.

It was interesting to be with a man again.  It had been years, and I had forgotten how things could be different.  Based on the one I was with, there were degrees to which it was different.  I had briefly dated a very tall, burly guy.  (He was also, incidentally, the first person I dated after my ex wife.)  It was such a change being in public with him versus my ex.  I felt so…traditional.  So average.  It was comfortable in some ways, but so expected.  He was a great guy but there was something about that pairing that felt so damn straight I didn’t know how to wrap my mind around it.  I know that sounds like such a strange thing to say because, well, it was, but there’s this sensation of being out in the world in a couple that’s…political…if it’s based in queerness.  That’s something I had gotten so used to.

When I was with my ex wife, we lived in Chicago so it wasn’t usually given much thought and we were never harassed too much, but I was still always aware when we held hands or kissed in public that we were still being subversive.

With this guy, I we could be just any old couple.  Well, my shaved head was the one thing that gave me away a little bit.  My last bastion of being subversive in this partnership.

I still don’t know if I’m able to accurately communicate it, but something didn’t feel quite right.

Which I guess was for the best, because I only lived in his area for two months out of the year so it wasn’t an ideal situation anyway.

I dated a few more guys. One was shorter than me, a furry little cuddly bear, which was an interesting dynamic.  One got way too needy way too fast and needed to go ASAP.

And then there was Beautiful Dan (that’s what I called him when I talked about him to my coworkers, because we needed ways to differentiate my suitors.)

He was the only guy on OKCupid I ever messaged first.  His profile said, “Straight, man, androgynous, gender nonconforming.”  Which, for this area, made me extremely excited.  Had I really found another weirdo like myself?   He mentioned how abominable he found displays of machismo and didn’t see the point in gender norms and roles, so he ignored them.   He may have used the phrase “emotionally crippled mini-hulks” in regards to typical masculinity.

*SWOON.*

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His profile photo was like catnip to me.  COME TO ME, GHOSTLY BEAUTIFUL BOY

He was singing me the song of my people.

And, as evidenced by his nickname, he was gorgeous to boot.  He felt as comfortable rocking some eyeliner and tight jeans as he did working in his well-appointed wood shop.  And he was the devoted cat dad to two Adorable Kitty Lumps.

What was this beautiful freak of a human doing in this town?  I had no idea, but I had to meet him, even if it meant we just ended up as friends.  Maybe he knew where more weirdos were.  Maybe there was an underground network of androgynous mutants in the area and I just had no idea.

So we met up for coffee one evening and, a year and a half later, we’re still together.  I think he’s pretty swell, and he appears to be fine with keeping me around.  We’re going to Europe together this July so he’s committed to staying with me at least until then, right?

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Turns out that I’m super into guys who don’t give a fuck about gender roles.  Turns out, gender roles aren’t always helpful and toxic masculinity is detrimental to people of all gender identities.

When I was with my ex-wife, she was threatened by my more “masculine” traits.  She resented the fact that I could assemble IKEA furniture better than she could, or if I was able to open a pickle jar that she couldn’t.

It’s funny to realize that my same-sex relationship was actually still more traditionally gendered than my current partnership is.  I think about my gender less in my current relationship, because I’m able to just…be.  I feel like I was more performatively androgynous with my ex in a way I can’t quite pinpoint.  I don’t know if there was some weird underlying rivalry of trying to “out-butch” one another or what, but it was weird and not cool.

My boyfriend has shoulder-length plum colored hair and delicate features and eyelashes many women would kill for, and wears clothes from the womens’ section because he’s so freaking tiny and likes them better.  But he’s wiry and strong and builds amazing furniture and is a brilliant computer programmer.  He’s been expressing himself this way for over a decade now and is used to the strange looks he gets from time to time, and I admire how sure he is of himself and his presentation.  He doesn’t consider himself to be trans, which throws people off sometimes.

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He designed and built and carved this stunning baby cage AKA crib for his friends and I show the photos off every chance I get because I’m so proud

At least 50% of the time when we’re out to dinner or at the theatre, we’re greeted as “ladies.”  In my straight relationship, we’re read as a lesbian couple, which amuses me and doesn’t bother him except for the secondhand embarrassment he feels when the server realizes their mistake.

Sometimes we wonder if people are trying to be progressive in assuming his pronouns are female, which is cool, if misguided.

All that being said, my super straight relationship validates my super queerness in a way I never thought possible.

He has told me that some people have fetishized the way he looks, that some people are into him solely because he’s an attractive androgynous person.  They want their very own Bowie.  And I completely understand how that could be the case.  Some people are really into the concept of androgynous people in a way that negates the rest of their personality, kind of similar to how some people fetishize trans people or people of different ethnicities.

When he first told me that, I was concerned because I didn’t want him to feel like that’s what I was doing.  I appreciate how comfortable he is in his fluidity and think he’s an extremely attractive individual, but I am into all aspects of him.  And it’s not like I’ve only dated people like him before…I’ve never dated anyone like him before, actually.  He assured me that’s not what he thinks my motives are, thank goodness.  But it gave me pause to fully examine what I find so wonderful about him.

We complement each other.  That’s what I realized.  There is no weird gender rivalry going on the way there was with my ex, and, like I said earlier, and we are both comfortable being ourselves to the full extent.  I think that’s the sign of a successful partnership.

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Also we pose for photoshoots in cemeteries because we’re Just That Goth

It’s also really amusing that my boyfriend and I have the exact same taste in girls.  Like, to a creepy extent.  Which means I’m my taste in girls.  That’s not narcissistic at all, right?

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Related:  I also tell him he’s lucky he’s smaller than I am because he’d make a beautiful skinsuit.  That’s love.

And, after being in this relationship for a while, I haven’t received any disparaging comments negating my queerness.  No comments about “turning straight again” or talking about how I “used to be a lesbian.”  Not to my face, at least.

Then again, I also don’t really shut up about my queer identity, so it’s not like people could forget either.  Maybe that’s the whole secret to maintaining it.  I’m loud, proud, queer and here.  It’s not going anywhere.

On Educating On Important Issues, or I’m Trying To Figure Out How To Not Alienate People By Being Too Passionate And Stuff

On Educating On Important Issues, or I’m Trying To Figure Out How To Not Alienate People By Being Too Passionate And Stuff

I’m the first to admit I’m an acquired taste.

When you first meet me, I’m painfully shy and have a difficult time carrying a conversation (especially if I don’t find you particularly interesting…shhhhhh…)

And once I warm up, I’m a passionate flailing-muppet-arm word-vomity mess.  Without a filter.  I overshare.  I’m brutally open and honest to a fault.  Some may even call me abrasive or obnoxious.

Especially when you get me going on issues I’m passionate about.

This has been something that has become painfully clear to me over this past year on my path to a deeper sense of self awareness.

And so, here I am, with a whole lot to say about things that directly affect me and the people I care about, trying to figure out how to speak about them and gently educate people who may not be aware of them and/or strongly disagree with them.

There’s a fine line to walk and, over the past election season especially, I have witnessed all sorts of variations of communication and debate.

Continue reading “On Educating On Important Issues, or I’m Trying To Figure Out How To Not Alienate People By Being Too Passionate And Stuff”

On My Struggle With In-Activism Post-Election, or How I’m Trying To Look After My Mental Health

On My Struggle With In-Activism Post-Election, or How I’m Trying To Look After My Mental Health
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This ridiculous Google Chrome extension is my one consolation nowadays

I spent the whole day after Election Day 2016 crying at work.

I was devastated.  I was terrified.  I felt betrayed by my country and began playing witch-hunt games in my mind.

Who in this room right now voted for HIM?  

Am I safe?  

Who wants me dead?  

Who wants to take away my rights?  

Who wants to subject me to conversion therapy?  

I was on a downward spiral.  Partly numb, partly in utter disbelief, and partly just struggling to stay afloat.

Friends were jumping on social media, speaking out, going to protests and rallies, calling senators and representatives.

And I was immobilized.

Continue reading “On My Struggle With In-Activism Post-Election, or How I’m Trying To Look After My Mental Health”

The Election, Or How To Be An Advocate and Ally Without Alienating People

The Election, Or How To Be An Advocate and Ally Without Alienating People
This ill-fitting blazer was the closest thing to a pantsuit this “Nasty Woman” wore to vote!

CW: Trans murder rate, murders of POC, this damn election

I don’t even know where to start. It’s not hyperbolic when I tell you that I am deeply grieving for My America right now. The America that was just beginning to acknowledge people like me as worthy of rights like marriage, adoption, protection from being fired because of my identity, and other things that so many people take for granted.

I could fill this page with empassioned wailings about how concerned I am for the safety of myself as a queer woman and my other LGBQ friends, my trans friends, my friends who are people of color, Muslim, immigrants, disabled, lower income, single mothers, people with uteruses, women…

Yes, these concerns exist and are so visceral I feel it seething out of my body, feel myself getting hives, unable to eat, bawling all day at work, and feeling like a tightly coiled spring.

Continue reading “The Election, Or How To Be An Advocate and Ally Without Alienating People”

On Gay Clubs or How Our Safe Space Has Been So Very Violated Today

On Gay Clubs or How Our Safe Space Has Been So Very Violated Today

*Disclaimer:  I wrote this with information I knew at the time.  Details may be shifting, but this was what was known upon time of publishing.*

I woke up this morning knowing I wanted to write a blog post, but had no idea what it would be.  And then I opened Facebook.
Shooting at Orlando Gay a Nightclub Kills 50,” read the headline of an article dozens of my friends have shared. 

Shit. 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3637414/Everyone-running-Gunman-bursts-gay-nightclub-Florida-shoots-20-people-taking-hostages.html

June is Pride Month, a time of celebration for my community. And then this happens. It is being called the largest mass shooting in modern history. Andthough there is some debate over whether it was related to ISIS, it was also a hate crime, plain and simple. 

Continue reading “On Gay Clubs or How Our Safe Space Has Been So Very Violated Today”

On Transgender Issues or Yesterday I Helped Pay For A Stranger’s Cremation Because No One Else Would

On Transgender Issues or Yesterday I Helped Pay For A Stranger’s Cremation Because No One Else Would

CW: violence against transgender individuals, trans suicide rates

This country is becoming more terrifying by the day. 

Especially for a community I care about deeply and tertiarily am a part of: the trans community. 

I will begin by adding a disclaimer: I try my hardest to keep up with the changing appropriate terminology, but please let me know if anything I say is wrong. I also cannot speak for members of this community, other than one of a vaguely genderqueer but mostly female identified person like myself.  

Seven years ago, I was completely uninformed about this topic. I knew it was a thing, but didn’t understand it at all. And I will admit that I probably cracked some jokes on behalf of transpeople at some point, for which I am eternally ashamed.  

But as I became more entrenched in “researching” the LGBT community as I begin to identify my own pansexuality/queerness, I educated myself about transgender issues.  

I began to develop the inklings of understanding about what it must be like to know from your earliest memories who you are, but be told you are irrevocably someone different.  

Continue reading “On Transgender Issues or Yesterday I Helped Pay For A Stranger’s Cremation Because No One Else Would”