Tag Archives: queer identity

I am afraid, or, 2017: Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here

I am afraid on the basis of all of my identities. That fear is not just of Trump himself, but of unchecked Republican control of the executive and legislative branches of our government, and likely soon the top level of the judicial branch as well.

As a black person, I’m afraid that Republican power will continue to deny that my and my people’s lives matter. That there will be no push from the federal government to hold police who kill unarmed black men and women accountable. That we will continue incarcerating absurd proportions of black and brown communities. That the fact that a businessman who was openly supported by the KKK was elected will give racists and white supremacists a larger platform, a stronger foothold, or even just make them more likely to take action in support of their beliefs.

As a woman, particularly as a sexually active woman of childbearing age who does not want to become a mother now or ever, I am worried about what full Republican leadership at the federal level means for reproductive rights. I have an IUD right now, that was made possible by the stipulation in Obamacare that requires all insurance companies to cover the cost of all forms of birth control. If (it pains me too much to say when) Obamacare is repealed, I will be required to pay for the medically necessary removal of my current IUD in 2018 and for the cost of inserting a new one, which can be upwards of $1000, if I choose to stick with this birth control option that has worked very well for me. If I choose to go with a lower cost, but also easier to misuse option, like the pill, I am scared that I’ll mess up and forget to take it one day, or forget to bring it with me on a trip, and then be faced with a potential unwanted pregnancy under an anti-abortion federal government. I am afraid of catcallers and other predatory men feeling emboldened by a president who has bragged about grabbing women by the pussy.

As a queer person, I am afraid that Trump himself doesn’t care about us, as he has released no policy plans for LGBT rights or HIV/AIDS. But I know how anti-LGBT the Republican party generally is: 2016 has seen pushback on marriage equality and adoption rights for same-sex couples, bathroom bills that have devastating consequences beyond just where we pee, endorsements of gay conversion therapy for minors, and a resurgence of “religious freedom” bills designed to allow businesses the ‘right’ to refuse to serve us. Trans women, especially trans women of color, are being killed every week in this country, and I have no hope that they will be protected under our new president-elect’s leadership. In fact, as the people who oppose QTPOCs very existence see how strong their numbers are, it’s hard to do anything other than expect the violence to get worse.

And speaking of the twisting of “religious freedom,” as a non-Christian, I am worried that a conservative majority in all branches of the federal government de facto pushes church and state closer together. I have extended family members who are Muslim (of the black power, Nation of Islam variety, but that didn’t matter to folks who abused and discriminated against them post-9/11). I am afraid for their safety in the red states of Georgia and Florida under a Trump administration.

As the daughter and granddaughter and niece and sister of people who have worked in the casino industry, literally for Trump himself and/or for people like him, I am worried that Republican control means even further erosion of what little safety net is there for our senior citizens who didn’t work fancy desk jobs with 401ks or pensions and now depend on Social Security and Medicare to literally feed, clothe, house, and care for themselves. I am afraid of what will happen to my father and my grandmother. I am worried that people who don’t make living wages will lose the scraps of support they are currently able to receive from programs like SNAP, TANF, and Medicaid, and won’t be able to literally feed, clothe, house, and care for their children. I am afraid that this administration will do nothing but widen the gap between the rich and the poor in this country, and further marginalize the voices of those being trampled upon.

As the daughter of a woman who has held down a full-time teaching job through multiple rounds of chemotherapy in order to keep her healthcare coverage, I am afraid that people will literally die as a result of this election. Obama was able to bring health insurance (albeit imperfect) to hundreds of thousands of people who did not have it before, and made it so that people couldn’t be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions. I am afraid that if my mom gets too sick to work, a post-Obamacare America will be one in which she cannot be insured, and my family will have to watch a disease she beat once before overcome her because we can’t afford the treatments.

I feel America’s distaste for people like me, a distaste that ranges from a lack of empathy to a straight-up hatred, writ large this morning, feel it in my bones and in my spirit more heavily than I’ve ever felt it before. This place was built by us, but not for us, and is about to be run by people who aggressively don’t support us. I feel unsafe and unwanted here on the deepest of levels. If I joke or even more genuinely consider fleeing, don’t tell me it’s my responsibility to fight through and fix this. I didn’t break it. I don’t know how to heal the divide between rural America and urban America, between white America and diverse America, between people who legitimately support Trump’s platform and ideas and people like me. I don’t know if it can be healed. I am not hopeful this morning.

For as long as I’ve known that I wasn’t straight, I didn’t think I was allowed to claim a spot in the queer community. Partly because I had come out so late in life, and partly because I was married to a cis (albeit, queer himself) guy. I felt that by identifying as bi (or queer, or pansexual) and not having had sexual or romantic experience with women, I was being dishonest—with myself and with others.

Because on the surface, me and my life can very easily pass as hetero. I’m in a long-term committed relationship with a dude. My sexual history is comprised almost entirely of the opposite sex. I’m super femme. I don’t have an alternative and / or multi-colored hairstyle.

Bi-erasure is very real, & I’ve often felt like I contribute to my own invisibility.

Sometimes I’d get curious about whether living a more out and “queer lifestyle”—whatever that meant—would help assuage my feelings of disconnect. But mostly, I’ve felt strangely separated and disallowed from non-straight circles because my sexual identity didn’t seem to qualify within the explicit confines of queerness.

Which bred self-doubt. Which spurred spiraling inner denial. Which exacerbated my otherness.

–Ev’Yan Whitney, “I Went to Queer Summer Camp and Came Back More Gay” | Sex Love & Liberation

This is so me sometimes. Every year I think about going to Pride things and I don’t because thoughts like this get the best of me. It feels like I’m taking up space that I shouldn’t claim, because my life doesn’t/hasn’t ever/might not ever revolve around queer relationships or queer desire.

LGBT pride does not mean being proud of having been born lesbian, gay, bisexual, or trans.

It means being proud of having survived.

It means being proud of living in a homophobic, biphobic, transphobic society — a society that commonly treats us with contempt at best and violent hatred at worst — and still getting on with our lives. It means being proud of flourishing, in a society that commonly thinks we’re broken. It means being proud of being happy, in a society that commonly thinks we should be miserable. It means being proud of being good and compassionate, in a society that commonly thinks we’re wicked. It means being proud of fighting for our rights and the rights of others like us, in a society that commonly thinks we should lie down and let ourselves get walked on — or that thinks we should be grateful for crumbs and not ask for more. It means being proud of retaining our dignity, in a society that commonly treats us as laughing-stocks. It means being proud of loving our sexuality and our bodies, in a society that commonly thinks our sexuality and our bodies are disgusting. It means being proud of staying alive, in a society that commonly beats us down and wants us dead.

It is not easy to do any of this. Despite the many advances LGBT people have made over the decades, we still live in a society that commonly thinks we should be ashamed simply for existing. It is incredibly difficult to listen to people denigrate us, taunt us, humiliate us, bully us, shame us, from the earliest days of our childhood until the day we die — and still flourish, still be happy, still be compassionate, still fight for our rights, still retain our dignity, still love our bodies and our sexualities and our selves, still survive.

It is not easy to do any of this. It takes work.

When LGBT people talk about LGBT pride, when we attend LGBT Pride celebrations, when we say we’re proud to be gay or lesbian or bisexual or trans, this is what we’re talking about. It is a hugely important aspect of LGBT history and culture. And when people mock it and denigrate it in public, many of us take it rather personally. Experience has taught us that when people treat the concept of LGBT pride with hostility and contempt, they tend to treat us — our history, our culture, our struggles for equality and rights — with hostility and contempt.

Peter Boghossian, and What Gay Pride Actually Means

(via QueerIntersectional)

For many of us, the label “queer” symbolizes an acknowledgement that through our existence and everyday survival we embody sustained and multi-sited resistance to systems that seek to normalize our sexuality, exploit our labor, and constrain our visibility.

–Cathy J. Cohen, “The Radical Potential of Queer Politics”

(via Queering the Game of Life)

If you are queer, or trans, or have mental illness, or all of the above, you probably know something about the perils of presenting yourself as you really are. Dan-Savage-style coming-out narratives notwithstanding, many of us who are placed socially in these ways find that we cannot be completely authentic in all aspects of our lives. I definitely want to express myself, but I have to balance that against other needs, like being able to make a living in a capitalist society. If I dressed the way I’d prefer to, if I talked more openly about the times when my depression and anxiety prevent me from getting work done, I might find it harder to fit in, to stay attached to a professional group, to stay employed, than I already do. So instead, I wear T-shirts and cargo pants, and I let people think (at times) that I’m merely disorganized or not that committed to what I do.
In my opinion, it takes a lot of privilege to assume either that greater authenticity leads to greater happiness, or that the only reason you would leave who you are at the door when you step or roll into work is the formal, organizational structure of the place where you work.

Structure and Justice | Geek Feminism Blog

(via QueerIntersectional)