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The Five Bigots You Meet in Queerland

13 Jun

We queer ladies (and gents) have to deal with a lot of crap. It comes from strangers who shout “dyke!” out their car windows, from friends who introduce you as their “lesbian friend,” (as if that were the only notable thing about you), and not-so-well-meaning friends who make drunken assessments of your “true” sexuality.

There are so many of these slights that they warrant categorization. So, without further ado, I give you the Five Basic Types of Bigot, as experienced by your friendly blogger:

1. The Hater

This person is the one who leans out of the car window and shouts, “Ugly dyke!” or “Fucking faggot!” at you whilst you are strolling along admiring the daffodils, holding your girlfriend/boyfriend’s hand. Examples in my life have included:

Haters are easy to ignore when you're a badass.

Haters are easy to ignore when you’re a badass.

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Jerks on the internet, jerks in real life

5 Mar

As you might guess, I spend a fair amount of time on the internet. It’s a pretty great medium for curating Important World News, tasty new recipes, and ridiculous makeup tutorials (little known fact: I’m secretly a drag queen). It also works pretty well for meeting new friends who share my interests, as opposed to the IRL version of meeting new people, which mostly involves proximity. Why leave things to chance when you can find new friends who are pre-approved by the internet as awesome, amirite?

As such, I like to host meetups – which are real-life get-togethers for internet people. I do dance ones, and queer people ones, and feminist people ones, and anything else that sounds interesting. Because, despite my misanthropy, I have this irrepressible urge to meet and become friends with people. I can’t explain it, it’s just the way it is. I organize monthly bar crawls, am doing Portland’s first-ever queer bar takeover this Saturday, and throw an obscene number of parties despite the smallness of my house.

This last Saturday I organized a lesbian bar crawl – it was fun as always, and I got to see some familiar faces as well as meet a bunch of really cool new people (WHY didn’t I get everyone’s phone number?! Oh, right – I was busy taking shots.) The night got off to a rocky start, though, and ended on a sour note.

The beginning: A handful of women (who had been confused by the invitation and shown up an hour early [admittedly my fault]) were quite cold to me and others when we arrived. I thought at first they may have been upset at the timing of our arrival – but they seemed to be having a good time talking to one another. After a bit of awkwardness, as we were gathering up to head off to the next bar, this pack of … ladies… announced loud enough for at least one person to hear that they were leaving because there weren’t enough femmes in attendance.

Leaving. Because. Of. Lack. Of. Femmes. Honestly, I think I probably brought enough femme for everyone (red lipstick, 3-inch heels, crinoline dress, checked stockings, flower headband, hairspray’d updo). But that’s beside the point. Here was a group of people who’d knowingly showed up to make new friends, and then decided to leave because some of the people in the group didn’t look as they prefer. They didn’t even TRY to talk to anyone outside their group, despite my frequent attempts at engaging them. Good riddance, I suppose. But I still just can’t fathom why of all the things there are to do on a Saturday night, you’d choose to go to an event designed for mingling with such a narrow mind. What a pack of bitches. And what a shitty switch from the usual “you can’t be in the lesbian club because you’re too femme” crowd. Frying pan, meet fire.

The evening progressed well after that, and everyone else was nothing but charming and lovely. There was much cider-drinking and cheese-eating and general loudness. Special ladyfriend ran into her straight friend on the way to one of the bars, and we had a straight male ally show up, and everyone welcomed both of them as they would any other nice people. Because that is what normal people do! It doesn’t matter what your gender or orientation or gender presentation is, there is a human being underneath all that shit who is probably funny and interesting and smart in ways that are different from you. Or maybe they’re an asshole. Either way you won’t find out unless you talk to them. Why the hell would anyone give two shits about anything else?

When we got to the last bar we split into two groups as there were so many of us. Unbeknownst to me, as I was busy laughing my ass off, someone on the other end of the room who had been with the original group of crankypants people but stayed behind, was going on a cissexist, transphobic rant. As I innocently ogled pole-dancing pictures on my friend’s phone and arranged people into ridiculous poses for photographs, this was happening. I didn’t find out until the next day when my friend who witnessed the rant, messaged me to tell me she wouldn’t be coming to anymore of this type of get-together. I don’t blame her, I wouldn’t either.

I’m not really sure how to police people’s behavior at something as casual as a bar crawl, especially when I am likely to quickly become too intoxicated to really notice anything but the fact that everyone is suddenly very interesting and hilarious. Until I figure it out, though, meetups may have to be in a holding pattern.

Except this Saturday’s meetup, of course. That’s already scheduled and is an unstoppable steamroller of queerness. If you live in or near Portland, you should come. Unless you hate femmes, not-femmes, trans people, or any other group of people for no good reason. Then you should just stay home and eat moldy waffles.

A love letter to femmes

27 Oct

This is heartfelt, and hilarious, and long, and so worth it:

Here is the transcript:

To all the beautiful, kick ass, fierce and full-bodied femmes out there, I would like to extend my thanks to you.

It is for you that I press my shirts and carefully iron my ties. It is for you that I make sure my underwear and socks match. It is to you that I tip my cowboy hat. It is for you that I polish my big black boots.

I know that sometimes you feel like nobody truly sees you. I want you to know that I see you. I see you on the street, on the bus, in the gym, in the park.

I don’t know why I can tell that you are not straight, but I can. Maybe it is the way you look at me. Please don’t stop looking at me the way you do.

All of my life I have been told that I am ugly, I am less than, I am not a man, I am unwanted. Until you came along, I believed them. Please do not ever stop looking at me the way you do.

I would never say that the world is harder on me than it is you. Sometimes you are invisible. I have no idea what this must feel like, to pass right by your people and not be recognized. To not be seen. I cannot hide, unless I am seen as something I am not. This is not more difficult, it is just different.

I know those shoes are fucking killing your feet. I want you to know how much I appreciate that you are still wearing them. You look hot. I love you in them. They look great with that dress.

If it makes you feel any better at all, the boots I have on right now weigh approximately 12 pounds apiece and they make the soles of my feet burn like diaper rash in a heat wave and it feels like I’m wearing ski boots when I have to walk up stairs. But I wear them for you.

Even still, my new boots are velvet slippers compared to your knee-high five-inch heels. I notice, and I salute you.

I promise, I am not just staring at your tits. I am trying to look you directly in the eyes, but you are almost eight inches taller than me, please see above note regarding your five-inch heels. At the same time, I would like to mention that while I was trying to look you in the eyes, I couldn’t help but notice your lovely new pendant. I am sure it really brings out the colour of your eyes, if I could see them.

I want to thank you for coming out of the closet. Again and again, over and over, for the rest of your life. At school, at work, at your kid’s daycare, at your brother’s wedding, at the doctor’s office. Thank you for sideswiping their stereotypes.

I never get the chance to come out of the closet, because my closet was always made of glass. But you do it for me. You fight homophobia in a way that I never could. Some of them think I am queer because I am undesirable. You prove to them that being queer is your desire.

Thank you for loving me because of who I am and what I look like, not in spite of who I am and what I look like.

Thank you for smelling so good.

Thank you for holding my hand on the sidewalk during the hockey playoffs. I know it is probably small-minded of me to smile wicked at all the drunken dudes in jerseys smoking outside the sports bar in between periods because you are so fucking hot, and you are with me and not them, but I can’t help it. That’s right fellas. You want her but she wants me. How do you like them apples?

Thank you for wearing matching bra and panties. I don’t know why this makes my life seem so perfect, but it really does.

Thank you for being the daughter my mother always wanted. You are so smart and successful and you dress so fine that you almost make up for her having me and my sister for her real children.

Thank you for reaching out in the dark at the movie theatre to grab my hand in the scary parts. It makes me feel like I am strong, that I can take care of you. Even if there is no such thing as vampires, and you do so much yoga that you could probably easily kick my ass.

I want you to know I love your crooked tooth, your stretch marks, the missing part of your finger, your short leg, your third nipple, your lazy eye, your cowlick, your birthmark shaped like Texas. I love it all.

I want you to know that I know it is not always easy to love me. That sometimes my chest is a field full of landmines and where you went last night you can’t go tomorrow. There is no manual, no roadmap, no helpline you can call. My body does not come with instructions, and sometimes even I don’t know what to do with it. This cannot be easy, but still, you touch me anyway.

Thank you for escorting me into the women’s washroom because the floor of the men’s was covered in something unmentionable. Thank you for asking me if I had a tampon in my purse really loud so the lady in the turquoise sweatshirt did a double take before gathering up her daughter and hitting me with a pool noodle. I can’t say for sure whether that is what actually would have happened, but thanks to you I didn’t have to find out.

Thank you for wearing that dress just because you knew it would match my shirt. Together, we are unstoppable. When seen through your eyes, I am beautiful. Turns out I was a swan the whole time.

- by Ivan Coyote, who is awesome

Related posts: Femme invisibility; F-A-G; naval-gazing

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