Can I write about the people in my life without using them or stealing their agency?
So, there’s a dirty little secret about writing, particularly personal essays:
When you chronicle your experiences, and the people with whom you have shared or created those experiences, you are in many ways reducing those people to something less than human. To some degree, they become props, fodder, puppets that you can move across the stage of your own memory.
I used to have a friend who called me the Queer Stalker. In my closet years, I desperately consumed any and all pop culture I could find that had any queer in it at all. But one lovely byproduct of living an out life this year has been: I no longer love everything with lesbian content by default! And now that I think about it, I’ve got a few issues with some of the shows and content I clung to so hard back in the day. Let’s explore, shall we?
I never hated other queer people. But I was scared shitless, and that fear was a mean old voice inside my head.
Work craziness is eating up all my spare time this week. I’ll be back with regular posts next week; in the meantime, here’s something I wrote a couple of years ago, just as I was starting with my LGBT therapist, back when I was scared as could be. Oh my, how things can change!
I go to a party at a ranch out past the orchards. There are lesbians everywhere. The hosts (I don’t know them personally) are a married lesbian couple. Their property is beyond kitsch. It illustrates their love in ways that are almost too obvious. Like the giant iron sculpture, a heart, with “she said yes” etched onto it. There is a DJ. A single beat seems to thread the songs. As darkness falls, people start to dance. I watch them from my seat, hand on my beer, mosquitoes flocking to the meat of my left ankle like it’s Mecca.
A queer news roundup with only good news. Because that’s what Friday calls for.
It’s Friday. It’s been kind of a rough week. So I think it’s time to do a happy dance. Let’s shake off all of the bullshit and get happy for the weekend. Here’s some of the best (and some of the silliest) queer news from the week.
Michael Sam and Vito Cammisano are engaged, months after that adorable kiss sent conservatives into a hilarious tailspin (that link is a poem “inspired by Dr. Seuss” in which the esteemed author rhymed gayness and anus. It is GOLD). Anyway, congratulations, fellas! I don’t follow football but I am always 100% a fan of love.
At the same time, it feels strange to write about the Pretty Little Liars winter premiere, or Kristen Stewart’s new “gal pal,” when everyone is talking about yesterday’s events in Paris. And it feels strange to leave a record of my life experience on the internet, with a whole part of that experience missing, simply because I don’t know how to write about certain things in a meaningful way.
Hari Kondabolu takes on Matthew Mcconaughey to brighten up our day.
It’s Wednesday! Two and a half days in an intense work week down, two and a half to go. Let’s do this!
I posted personal essays the past couple of days, so today is supposed to be a day for something light, and fun, and funny. But it’s been a sad week or two in LGBT news, and I’m still feeling all serious and twitchy.
We are all born knowing who we are. But far too often, the first bullies to teach us that we must keep parts of ourselves hidden are the adults we trust.
In pre-Kindergarten, I was that girl who loved to dance.
Lots of children move to music. It’s a natural human impulse. But tell that to my vile teacher, Mrs. Black. She ruled her pre-K classroom with an iron fist.
From day one, Mrs. Black and I had differing opinions. She thought that four and five year-olds should clean up the classroom by the count of five; to me, this seemed downright draconian. She sent home a note in my lunchbox, suggesting that I might have learning differences because I did not yet tie my shoes; as my mother explained to her, this was because no other lefty had ever shown me how. And I was already reading and writing, for god’s sake. How many accomplishments must a four year old have under her belt?
How do you tell a perfectly nice girl that it’s not going to happen? Definitely not the way I did it.
She was so pretty. Her blonde hair curled gently against her shoulders. Her glasses framed her green eyes nicely. She was thin as a whisper, kind of twitchy and serious, adorably self-conscious when she made a joke. Her eyes lit up when she spoke about her work. We flirted gently, then more urgently as the night progressed. We sat in the restaurant nearly until it closed, talking and laughing, touching hands.
Outside the restaurant, I leaned in and we kissed.
It was…well. Imagine a kiss where you’re getting all of the mechanics right, all of the movements are perfectly choreographed, but with all the sensuality of going to the dentist. Imagine a kiss that makes you feel…nothing.