If your parents discard you,
You are mine.
If your friends disown you,
you are so mine.
If you disavow yourself,
I will hold a candle for you and hug you in my heart,
keeping you as mine.
Even if you don’t know you’re mine,
You belong to me
to this community of love that has healed me and who will heal so many others
calling us its own.
I know how it feels to be a target
as we do
and I know the sadness of hiding
because I’ve been there too
but remember this –
when you’re ready to come out
to proclaim yourself
I will be there
And so will we.
For I and we are the same now
one arm to lend you support
one shoulder to weep on.
I love you.
We love you.
No gun or plowing of cars will keep our love from any of you.
You are one us now, an I and a we
For you are mine……..
And I am yours.
So there’s not much new on the boy front. I still feel overwhelmed when I think of it, but I talked to my therapist about it and she told me how the stories we tell ourselves can overwhelm us or lift our spirits. So I’m trying to think of each element of this story separately: That my romantic night that I’ve planned for him is a simple romantic gesture that doesn’t have to mean that we’ll be together forever (hell, we’ve only with each other there 5 months so far); that I am excited for him and for his transition; that even though I love him I don’t have to commit my life to him because we’re still getting to know each other. I feel physically relieved as I type some of these things, even as I feel a the pressure on because I’m thinking about it again. So there’s that.
Then there’s last night. I didn’t watch the Tony’s but I heard on NPR that Fun Home won for best musical. At first I was uninterested because the (very) little that I read of Fun Home was a bit of a downer; but then again, I’ve always had a crush on Alison Bechdel (super hottie!) and Mo from DTWOF and wanted to catch a glimpse of what the actress portraying her looked like. So I checked out this:
and oohmyygod wow. I was taken back to the time right before I began coming out at about age 25. I remember seeing the butch janitor at my mom’s school when she, my niece, and I were getting her room ready for her first year of teaching. She came, no, swaggered in, and I couldn’t stop looking at her. I thought maybe she recognized me too. I didn’t know what to say to her, and despite her butchness (I didn’t know what to expect), I think she was a little quiet. Shy, like me. When little Alison in the song sings, “Can you feel my heart saying hi?” I lose it every time. That’s how it is sometimes, huh? It was then, and was when I first went to the Castro with my mom (again, lol) and one gay boy my age just looked at me. He had dark hair and was wearing an orangish polo and gave me a friendly, non-invasive gaze, recognizing me. He didn’t look away. I’ll never forget it…..it put me at peace and filled me with such anticipation and wonder.
Anyway, I’ve seen this behavior again and again in the gay community. People quietly acknowledging each other, listening to the newbies like they were little puppies discovering the world, not wanting to guide them but just let them be curious and playful as hell and scared as they are. One of the things I love about my community, even though as I’ve become slightly more involved since then I haven’t seen it (I’m around families and allies and out youth more these days).
Another thing about that play that captures us well is the divide that gay men and lesbians/butches/faab transfolk sometimes have. We sometimes have different tastes, and sometimes it feels like we’re from entirely different worlds. When Alison’s dad, who’s secretly gay, tells her to put her barrette back in her hair from the Tony Awards performance, (which can be seen here: http://www.justjared.com/2015/06/07/fun-home-cast-performs-at-the-tony-awards-2015-watch-now/ it reminded me of the disconnect I’ve felt with gay men sometimes. They celebrate our/by butchness and, yes, hit on us, but they also sometimes have the glittery taste that it has taken me awhile to embrace, even though I love it now. Or when I’m talking to my gay professor and when there should be an instant bond with us, but there isn’t. I’m just another student, and gel much better with my straight male professor and my female-identified hippie one. It’s just all interesting.
We tend to talk about ourselves as community, but it’s important to remember that we’re sometimes from different worlds and we all have different tastes and personalities. Just like family: none of us get along all the time, and there’s inevitably politics and misunderstanding, but, hopefully, we’re there for each other when we need it most.
So my friend, the life coach Margaret Baker Street, interviewed me for her podcast Coming Out Alive. It’s on queer history. You can access it at the link above, or below:
Gene Kelly’s smiling. Aww, look at him.
So I’m trying something new. Happy thoughts. I’ve been doing the whole shoegazing thing for a few weeks, and, well, I’m getting a little embarrassed about, especially when I share it to my other (yes, I have another! it’s a duplicate!) blog.
So I would like ideas for happy posts. Or at least pleasant ones.
Ideas? Comment! Below!
I’m listening to Rufus sing, “One more notch I scratch
To keep me thinkin’ of you
One more notch does the maker make
Upon my face so blue.”
And it makes me whimper. I know that not all Christians think that way, but maybe I think that way.
My dog notices. His ears go up and I got to him, singing, “Jesus loves the little bubbies.” (His nickname is bubby).
This quells my impulse to cry.
I think I need something more in my life than the mundane world of coffee, work (at-home work for me), friends, family, etc.
I need something spiritual that lasts longer than a song.
While singing to Bubby I summon Tommy Gnosis’ aka Stephen Trask’s “We are Freaks.”
After rambling off all of the kinds of “Freaks” that he knows and sees, he says, “That’s the way God planned us. That’s the way God planned us.” It gives me chills every time. Sometimes more than chills. Sometimes tears.
I grew up a spiritual kid. I don’t remember much about my childhood spirituality, but I do remember sensing an emotional change in the crowd sometimes, wondering if that was the Holy Spirit moving among us.
It drove me to an interest in an Oversoul, as well as to ethnomusicology later in life (and by this I mean my early 20’s, hehe).
I went to an American Baptist church in Stockton that was relatively conservative but, thankfully, never delved into politics in sermons or Sunday school lessons. It was stricktly verboten. And I feel like you’ll knock me for saying that word, but that was the strength of the spell that kept teachers from sharing their political opinions with their pupils. To illustrate, I remember attending a lecture/rant on creationism during a Wednesday night youth summit, and most people popping their heads in, snickering, and popping them out. We were not a political bunch. Even if the ‘science’ of creationism fascinated me at the time.
I got chills when he talked about being a better person, feeling the Holy Spirit move.
But that changed as I got older. My best friend started to get picked on for my boyish ways.
The way I stood. The way I wore my hair. I was generally their misfit and they would rather tell it to her than to my face.
I drifted out of the youth groups, and hated going to church because the pews were filled with the kids who used to be my friends.
My youth pastor came over to me one day as I was standing on the curb, now which I realize to be the farthest possible place away from the youth group while still part of the youth quadrant, and asked me, “Do you still read your bible?” “Yeah, all the time!” I said, smiling.
Later that day it dawned on me that I didn’t believe in Adam and Eve.
I got into agnosticism….and Walt Whitman: ” I CELEBRATE myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.”
I found Hedwig and the Angry Inch through Rufus’ cover of the Origin of Love (meh, I prefer the original), and play it every Sunday.
It’s my mass, my Pentecost, my Lent (Ash Wednesday! Ash on Hedwig and Tommy’s forehead!), my holy rite.
Easter and Christmas I assign to pagan rituals, and they hold more meaning for me in their primeval love between life and death, birth and rebirth, the return of a Sun King to the world (Chrismas), earth and sex and Spring for Easter.
I think that’ll still be the case, whatever I morph into.
I still get chills from listening to Allen Ginsberg. He’s a personal hero of mine, a little bit of a dead celebrity still alive in my heart, and on screen. “The trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we’ll both be lonely,” have some of the most exquisite pauses that I’ve heard/read ever. Including music.
It’s a good alternative spirituality.
But right now, I need more.
I don’t believe in Jesus or the stories about him. I don’t care, really.
“Locked out of heaven.”
That’s what I think when I associate gays and mainstream religion.
An estrangement from God, whatever form or entity that is.
Which is weird, because I still pray.
I think queers who are part of mainstream religions – Mennonites, Baptists, Methodists – are some of the most radical idea-having people around.
Jesus loves you, this I know. For the Bible tells me so…….includes you. Me.
Everyone the other religious people have told us – or maybe it’s just the ones who yell the loudest – have told no. You can’t be in our heaven, unless you change. You’re a sinner right now, and you’ll continue to be one, unrepentant and shunned, unless you change.
Or maybe it was the mean girls, manifesting their Girl Power – just the athletes, just the ones who bridged the line between girlish and boyish traits without actually crossing over it – without accepting the ones who were different. The ones who were like me.
Maybe that’s what I have. An adolescent estrangement from the powers who kicked me in the face (metaphorically) that day, when Jackie tried to teach me how to stand right, stand up straight, or loll like those other girls in the mezzanine. Odd how they fraternized with the influential men and women. Like meets like.
Anyway, I need to get over my childhood wounds.
Do I still believe in God? God knows. All I know is that maybe I need to do something about it.
I love her, but she quietly goads me about being gay.
I live with her because of the PTSD thing, and I was on the phone with my best friend last night, and we were joking about how gay I was.
“No, Pride is in June. What’s wrong with you? I’m gayer than you are.”
“I know that the Pride Center holds our Pride not in June but in August. That makes me super gay!”
This comes from my mom.
She’s teasing me, but it hurts.
“That was mom. She’s saying Im’ not gay.”
I wish my best friend had said, “I’m sorry hunny.” She knows my mom, and loves her probably about as much as I love her, in her own way. We’re her second family and she goes on vacations with us.
And mom? I wish I could tell her (again) that that’s hurtful.
When I was coming out I, it was hard. At one point my family in Redding was making fun of me – the guys, one guy in particular who didn’t know how to accept my obviously dykey layered haircut – and I went for a run to clear my head.
But it was Redding and at night, which means that thieves and rapists were apparently out looking for girls to rob and rape, not to mention kill.
Plus, I was queer. Queer bait.
Which means that the fam had a minor meltdown after I snuck out the front door. I just didn’t want to cry in front of them.
After I thought I had cleared my head and come up with some choice comebacks to my cousin who had been making fun of me, I came in, melted down, and was surrounded by my two girl cousins who gave me lots of love.
My younger cousin showed me her wedding pics. Or tried to. The computer wouldn’t turn on.
My older one said, “I wish I were gay. Guys are buttholes! My husband Mike was so mean to me. So mean!”
I remembered all of the torture I had gone through from girls in high school but didn’t say anything to counter it. Because, you know, she was right in her own way. Mike had been an asshole. From what I gathered from my fam in Stockton, he had called her stupid (this for a self-made entrepreneur who owned two stores. Stupid indeed!), and spent most of his free time in the the garage playing with his toys.
Yes, I’m being sarcastic here. He deserves it.
Anyway, I after I blurted out I’m gay, which had a metallic twang to it even then, I said that mom didn’t accept it.
She had cried and cried. And thought it was a choice. She couldn’t see that I was happy (and still am, to a degree. There’s nothing like living as, or close to, your authentic self).
Rachel, my older cousin’s, response was, shrugging her shoulders in an exaggerated way, “Who cares?” Big smile.
I laughed and smiled through my tears. It was true. I was happy and most people loved and accepted me.
But it’s like, now, rejection. Family rejection when she “teases” me that I’m not gay.
I guess the answer to this is to go into my happy place, which *is* filled with rainbows, unicorns, and a k.d. lang soundtrack.
That’s what I did whenever somebody said stuff to me in the first years coming out – counter with all of myself. Quote Allen Ginsberg (“You want me to be a saint. There must be some other way of settling this argument.”) Force the gay out in the front and make them take it.
I need to treat my mom the same way I treated the guy who said, “We don’t let *fat* people into the country,” and my response was, “Oh, but you let in gays (he was gay) and minorities?”
Maybe you had to be there.
Anyway, stand up to mom. In your own, comic funny way.
It’s hard because I have filial piety. My parents raised me Chinese. It’s not okay to talk back to your older relatives, particularly your mother. It feels weird to even think about sending a comeback at her.
But then again, I did come out.
That put her through enough, but she can take it.
And at some point, I need to call my mom on the disrespect that she’s showing me. In a similarly comical but deep way.
That will at least remind you of the goodness of who you are.
afternote: I’ve spent so much time lately blabbing about trans* this and trans* that, she’s more comfortable talking about trans* stuff generally than about me being gay, or genderqueer
“What does a not-girl, not-boy transition to?”
I can so relate to this post.
I remember first hearing the word t*y being used by transguys on YouTube. “I’m a trannyfag,” was the most frequently occurring one. I used it on a guy a little after that, and was swiftly kicked in the butt. He most certainly did not like being called a *, and how dare you use that word in the first place? He hated that word.
It’s weird, though, how language changes the context of things. Being normalized by guys on their vlogs, I thought it would be fine for me to use it.
Now I realize that it’s not mine to use. While other people identify me as trans*, I don’t identify myself as such.
Because for me, being trans* is something that does require more than a social transition, a change of names and/or pronouns. Or even driver’s license.
It’s the need to change your body in a way that requires pharmaceutical use. (Not always, though. There are plenty of folks who don’t transition biochemically but keep their trans* identities, their names, their true pronouns).
s.e. smith makes the point that the word t*y doesn’t belong to me: it’s not mine to use, ever. Even with explicit permission, in my opinion. Those reclaiming it are trans* women, who’ve been called that while just doing daily things, as well as while being raped, being killed.
Not my term.
The closest term that resonates with me in the same way is “it.” I was called that once by my brother’s neighbors who had just moved in. Sitting on the hood of my brother’s car with my nephew. Whenever I hear that slur, I wonder if the person using it has gender issues that manifest themselves in the form of a slur: self-hatred inculcates a particularly violent kind of acting out.
But yes, transitioning. What do you transition to if you don’t identify with male or female parts? If you’re in flux so much that doing something permanent feels particularly drastic, as it does to me?
Reminds me of a series of photos that Antony, of Antony and the Johnsons (http://www.antonyandthejohnsons.com/samples/samples.html), did a few years ago. A fellow genderqueer,ze/she (not sure of her pronouns) covered her body in white paint and eliminated all gender markers. It scared the crap out of me at first, but there was a feeling that I was like that too. That I wanted to experiment with genderlessness.
So I dressed like a boy and, yeah, got called names. But what freedom! Feeling that I was finally in the role that I was finally supposed to be in.