Isn't It Queer

Isn't it Queer: The Less Than Peachy Politics of Pronouns (Obnoxious Alliteration Necessary)

Banner Hedwig's Concerned

Disclaimer: This piece uses a veritable shit ton of “queer-speak” or words used by activists in the queer, trans and genderqueer communities. Note, I am not apologizing but I am excitedly inviting individuals who have yet to read an article of this nature, to embrace the new vocabulary. Please take into account that all of the words developed by queer activists were made with the intention of validating people’s identities, uniting communities and helping individuals to grow and feel safe being themselves. My critique of the use of this new generation of words, is to stimulate conversation and encourage inclusivity and sensitivity. Also, if you have any questions about terms such as genderfluid, trans, or cis, I would like to kindly direct you to google. Enjoy!

Google

I heard by a sour word of mouth recently that there are folks in the LGBTQ-ABCD's positive community that are less than positive in regards to genderqueer folks choice of pronouns. I was made aware of multiple genderqueer individuals that believe that in order to use they/them pronouns, one has to be androgynous (and also that masculine folks should use he/him and feminine she/her). That sounds to me like a rule made up by cis people. Just sayin. Why so derisive? Why so exclusionary? Why, and according to whom, don’t individuals get to pick their own pronouns? The dude does not abide. It’s another example of people, within their own communities, bullying each other because of their own projected discomfort with people refusing to conform to gender binaries. It’s problematic and does not foster progress toward a dynamic understanding of the gender spectrum.

I also want to acknowledge the more talked about tension between non-binary folks and transmen/transwomen regarding identification presentation. There are ways in which the philosophy of genderlessness, agender, genderfluidity etc. have been interpreted as being threatening to people who identify as transmen or transwomen. They/them pronouns are sometimes seen as threatening or invalidating to his/her already persecuted and marginalized identity. On the other hand, individuals under the non-binary and/or genderqueer umbrella also find it frustrating to be accused of being not “trans” enough because they did not choose to transition from their assigned sex and conditioned gender to “the opposite one”. This is a gender-binary enforcing concept at best, and especially harmful when so many genderqueer individuals struggle with their own transitions. There are challenging emotional aspects of accepting your place on the gender spectrum as well as whether or not you would like to pursue physical transition procedures, such as hormone therapy or surgery.

To summarize for our readers that are less fluent in queer-speak, there will always be debate about fitting into the community “enough.”

Oh, the age old question of enough. “Have they struggled “enough” to be part of our community?” For instance, “are bi-sexuals gay enough?”, “Do non-binary people count as trans?”, “Do you count as a “real” insert race if you are mixed race?”. You can see how well lubricated that downward slope becomes.These questions are often asked by members of marginalized communities in a pattern that mimics patriarchal, white, cis-male tendencies to constantly invalidate the power of one's peers in order to protect one's community from further persecution . These questions of “enough” are exclusionary and derisive. Ironically they use a vocabulary (cis, trans, non-binary…) initially intended to offer validation to previously unrecognized alternative identities. The idea that any one individual has to prove their pronoun, experience of culture or race, sexual orientation, or any other major facet of one’s identity, that really should defined by the unique experience of the individual, is ludicrous. An individual's experience of gender is an absolutely unique facet of their personality and they should be allowed to pick what identifiers suit them. Not to say white people should be allowed to pick their race, that’s not how it works Rachel Dolezal. That’s just appropriation.

This is also Ludacris.

I bring the fruit cocktail, vocabulary of queer politics to the attention of the reader less because I’m invested in people “getting it right”, and more to encourage people to remember why we are hacking the most colonial language in human history, in the first place. In my humble gay motherfucking opinion, language simultaneously defines and limits our existence. Which gives us the incredible opportunity to create communities that have space within them for everybody on the gender spectrum, by editing and improving the language we were taught. Yes everyone. Cis-gendered female femmes who dream of barbies for days, transmasculine fairies who are only butch on fridays and ain’t nobody can tell what they were assigned at birth, and transwomen who like forest green doc martins and a matching mohawk. Everyone at EVERY point on the gender spectrum should be welcome to identify as they please, and naturally, a good ally for this community would then be defined as someone who can hold space for people without questions of whether they are “enough”.

{Image Credit: (https://www.etsy.com/listing/126430117/respect-gender-pronouns-lgbtq)}

-To your personal revolts and riots and especially to your learning,

Cory

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Cory is a poet and sex worker in the Los Angeles area. They have worked in mental health, education, social justice and fashion blogging and aims to lead by example through bravely living an examined lifestyle.

"The learning process is something you can incite, literally incite, like a riot." -Audre Lorde

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There are photographs in this post that were borrowed lovingly from the internet and do not belong to us. All are linked and credited to the best of our abilities in hopes of attracting more traffic to the photographers and websites who have blessed us with this imagery. The inclusion of a photograph here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the subject’s or artist’s identity or beliefs. If there is a photo included here that belongs to you and you want it removed, please email compassionaterevolt@gmail.com and it will be removed promptly, no questions asked.

 

 

 

 

Isn't It Queer: Deconstruction to Construction

Banner{Image Credit: http://getfleck.com/s/Hfa1FCgAIgAKnknT} {Image Credit: http://getfleck.com/s/Hfa1FCgAIgAKnknT}

Today I’m wet. With optimism, you perv, calm down. This time it’s because of a big-gooey-re-constructionist-wet-dream. I have decided to re-write all of the scripts in my life, and by scripts I mean ideas or constructs of what a person’s role in your life should be, or a way in which “one should handle” a life event. I am doing this with the intention of custom building my community. Why shouldn’t I build my own ideals for who I should surround myself with, what I should spend my time doing, and what my life will look like? Who else here is done with the painfully tepid bullshit of radio-love-song-advice? Yeah, I thought so. In communities of deconstructionist activism- where we dismantle definitions in order to live vibrantly in gender and race non-conformity, it’s important to remember that after deconstruction comes construction, lest we live in the sparkly gay ashes of our accomplishment. We have to fill in the gaps left by our own deconstruction. To build our lives in a way that supports us--whether we are people of color, trans/non-binary, LGBTQ, or non-monogamous--defining love, connection, support, acceptance and relationships for ourselves is the key to building healthy communities.

{Image Credit: {Image Credit: http://getfleck.com/s/Hfa1FCgAIgAKnknT}

I was lucky enough to grow up with a mother who told me (privilege acknowledged) that the love songs on the radio were bullshit. There is no man at the end of the tunnel who will complete you, and dressing in a schoolgirl skirt and doing a choreographed dance does not make you more loveable (thank you Brittney for teaching us all such valuable lessons in dating). My mother and my abundance of sarcasm aside, her lesson incited a constant search for meaning and substance in relationships. It also provoked me asking inflammatory questions of my monogamous partners on a consistent basis. Why do we insist on exclusively dating each other and what purpose does that serve? What are you are providing me in this relationship and what are you getting from this? Why do some lovers insist friends are more important than partners (yes friends, I’m referring to the sacred laws of “bro’s before ho’s” and other such misogynist gems) and others claim partners always take priority over friends? The more I asked these questions, the more I began to deconstruct the idea that love (intimate) relationships needed to be the only source of love, support, and inspiration in a person’s life. Once demolished, I was stuck in love limbo….so what should love look like?

{Image Credit: http://mom-101.blogspot.com/2007/04/barbie-confessions.html }

 

Too often, our politics of deconstruction leave us in the existential funk of "what now?". After institutions are questioned and constructs are debunked, it is not always clear what steps to take in order to build healthy community for ourselves. I always encourage the people in my life to set limits about what they don’t want (i.e. flakey lovers or shit talking friends) but more importantly, to ALWAYS state what they are looking for. Essentially, what my particularly preachy revelation has brought me to, is the idea that we need to put into the universe (or our okcupid profile, or conversations with parents, or our search for friends) what it is we are actually looking for.

 

I am so unbelievably lucky I can hardly contain my wetness (emotionally). In re-writing my scripts, I opened myself to a new definition of friendship and I fell in love with my best friends. We are non-sexual but 100% romantic. They are the people who support me by listening (which is huge for me, given my ongoing emotional battle with feeling invisible), I trust them to be true to their word, to follow through.  They are the people who inspire me, hold me accountable, house me when I am in a hard place, and love me for the person I am (in all my beautiful chaos).

 

These attributes and forms of support are generally what people look for in lovers, and by all means, look for that in lovers! But when it really comes down to it, when you are only open to the script of your lover being your sole predominant support system, you shut down the possibility for a gorgeous romantic endeavor with your friends. And Goddamn it! You can be in love with your friends when you let them be your partners in life! That saccharine, buy them flowers, talk to them on the phone like you didn’t see them yesterday, text them loving sweet nothings when you are away on a trip, crystallized love that brings you such immense, overwhelming joy; that can come from a non-sexual partner.

{Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ben_giles/9206946009/in/photostream/}

Redefine friend! Redefine lover! Better yet, build your friendships and romances how you want them to look, give them titles to suit their roles, rather than relying on outdated titles embedded with limitation. Maybe I want my platonic life partner to be the person I live with, love and create life plans with and I want my lovers to be allies from all over. Maybe I want to participate in my lover's domestic family but I want to travel the world on an annual basis and owning a home isn't practical. Make your life and community look like your wildest dream, and your most satisfying one. We have the potential as a community to create homes and relationships bereft of outdated constructs of love and friendship, so that it can actually start meeting our needs. It all starts with asking, “what do I want?”, “what do I need?” and “how do I make it happen?”

{Image Credit: http://pinterest.com/pin/418482990346057725/}

 

I'm not saying that everyone should abandon monogamy, shave their heads and attend sex parties, although my inner teenage boy thinks it would be dope as hell. I'm instead suggesting that to become more happy, fulfilled individuals we need to start examining more closely the way we love and who we surround ourselves with. Each of us non-monogamous-defining snowflakes is different, our relationships and social networks can and should reflect that. But there I go again, should-ing all over the place. Tell me what you think, what would your custom life look like? In what ways have you reconstructed your life and how is it working for you?

-To your personal revolts and riots and especially to your learning,

Cory

 

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Cory is a poet and novelist in the Los Angeles area. They have worked in mental health, education, social justice and fashion blogging and aims to lead by example through bravely living an examined lifestyle.

"The learning process is something you can incite, literally incite, like a riot." -Audre Lorde

———-

There are photographs in this post that were borrowed lovingly from the internet and do not belong to us. All are linked and credited to the best of our abilities in hopes of attracting more traffic to the photographers and websites who have blessed us with this imagery. The inclusion of a photograph here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the subject’s or artist’s identity or beliefs. If there is a photo included here that belongs to you and you want it removed, please email compassionaterevolt@gmail.com and it will be removed promptly, no questions asked.

 

 

 

 

Isn't it Queer: Early Signs You Would Eventually Become... Yourself

Banner I am a slut for words.I have a bizarre kinky affection for Audre Lorde and Shakespeare.  Finding a word that describes a feeling you've had but could never describe, is liking finding out vegan milkshakes exist.

{Image Credit: http://bit.ly/1JY0zkQ}

Today I was inspired by:

énouement

n. the bittersweetness of having arrived here in the future, where you can finally get the answers to how things turn out in the real world—who your baby sister would become, what your friends would end up doing, where your choices would lead you, exactly when you’d lose the people you took for granted—which is priceless intel that you instinctively want to share with anybody who hadn’t already made the journey, as if there was some part of you who had volunteered to stay behind, who was still stationed at a forgotten outpost somewhere in the past, still eagerly awaiting news from the front. {http://www.dictionaryofobscuresorrows.com/}

This word moves me because I have often flirted with the sorrow of not being able to let my 16-year-old-self, know that there is so much more to the world than the isolation and humiliation of public high school (see “monochopsis”). If I had known that the glorious, chaotic, noisy world of city life, queer community, kink, polyamory, and art existed, and with such vibrancy, I can’t even imagine what I would have been capable of then. Which brings me to one of my favorite topics: early signs you should have seen, that you would become yourself.

One of my favorite questions to ask the amazing humans that I work with at the dungeon is, “Growing up, did you see any signs that you would become kinky?” Their answers are never less than fantastic. One dominatrix told me the story of her taking turns “kidnapping” her siblings and tying them up to chairs and blindfolding them. Who knew that she would one day get paid to do that to people? One of the submissives described to me a game she played in highschool with friends that involved competitively smacking each other on the face as punishment for losing the game they called, “rock-paper-scissors-slap.” Just little hints that they would perhaps one day become proud purveyors of kink and sadomasochism.

{Image Credit: http://bit.ly/1GNXUpG}

This question is also fun to adapt to queer communities and alternative lifestyle communities. I often ask, “Did you ever see early indicators that you would be queer or gay?” or “Did you have polyamorous habits as a kid?”  At a party of non-monogamous individuals, I listened to one individual describe that at their preschool they had managed to acquire two boy-friends and one girl-friend and that the little radical collective would gather in the sandbox and make each other mud-cakes to celebrate their group love. They said laughing, “I should have known at that point that I was going to try non-monogamy, and I am still baffled that it took me so long to figure out that I liked men.”

{Image Credit: http://bit.ly/1NvHc37}

I personally like to laugh at myself, as I answer the question, “Were there early signs that I would identify as genderqueer?” I recall making my college boyfriend dress me in his clothes, brown corduroy trousers, a black band t-shirt and a charcoal grey newspaper boy cap. I looked up at him in the mirror and said, “Oh my god, this is so hot! I make such a sexy boy!” I laughed semi-maniacally and I believe his response was a confused shrug and a chuckle, “sure...um...yeah.” That night I threw on my favorite tight black dress and red lipstick and went to ladies night at Hamburger Mary’s, and thought bitterly, “why do I have to pick.” The beautiful little red flags of gender deviance were flying but I wasn't ready to wave those bad boys with pride.

Isn’t it queer that there are so many red flag moments, we remain blind to until we are older? Of course now that we identify as who we are, have been through what we have been through, and have a grasp on our identity (or are on the journey to getting that grip),  it’s obvious what those experiences meant. You have to laugh at the fact that  there is no way to go back in time and whisper in your own naive ear, “Bitch you are gay!!!” or some other such revelatory fact. What were your red flags that you would become who are you are today? What moments in your current life do you think might one day be seen as those same beautifully ironic red flags?

With that said, this enouement, that we feel, this sulky regret that we cannot forewarn our past selves of our impending future, can be bittersweet. It can be even sweeter if we remind ourselves that even being able to recognize that we are in progress as a human, or that we have made such substantial leaps forward in developing our identity, shows incredible resilience and emotional fortitude. In the days when we were young (whether your young moment happened when you were four or forty-three), you were absolutely doing the very best you could- to be yourself- with the tools you had available at the time.

Sitting on the precipice of your new life, looking back at a landscape of awkward teenage moments, misunderstandings of self and times you sold yourself short, you can show yourself gratitude for all the learning and growing you had to do to realize those moments were just that. So goddamn it thank yourself!!! And maybe, the next time you find yourself questioning a conventional norm while discovering your preferences, let those flags fly!!! Because you are stars and nothing less, even on your seething days.

Happy Pride my loves!

-To your personal revolts and riots and especially to your learning,

Cory

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Cory is a poet and novelist in the Los Angeles area. They have worked in mental health, education, social justice and fashion blogging and aims to lead by example through bravely living an examined lifestyle.

"The learning process is something you can incite, literally incite, like a riot." -Audre Lorde

———-

There are photographs in this post that were borrowed lovingly from the internet and do not belong to us. All are linked and credited to the best of our abilities in hopes of attracting more traffic to the photographers and websites who have blessed us with this imagery. The inclusion of a photograph here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the subject’s or artist’s identity or beliefs. If there is a photo included here that belongs to you and you want it removed, please email compassionaterevolt@gmail.com and it will be removed promptly, no questions asked.

 

Isn't It Queer: The Beauty of Personal Transformation

Banner I start off by drowning my morning in coffee and cigarettes, breakfast of champions, I know. I then proceed to deodorize my person and brave LA traffic to the dojo. I put on a thick black canvass karate uniform and make sure I've taken out all of my piercing jewelry, so that in the process of teaching a child how to poke someone's eyes out, their little baby hairs don't snag on my industrial bar. I put up my slick tuft of hair into a tiny man bun and make sure no red greasy wisps are sticking to the shaved sides of my rowdy head. In this moment I am Cory, confusingly androgynous karate teacher. Add some form of protein and a handful of nuts, and several karate lessons later, I'm de-ninja'ed and back on the road to the dungeon. Upon my arrival I'm greeted by an army of beautiful humans in lingerie. On go the thigh high black stocking, my blunt banged, black bob wig, blush, heels, mascara, faux leather collar, some over-sexualized costume (yes....you can be a sexy clown) and BOOM, I'm Submissive Simone. From Cory to Simone in twenty minutes. That's one hell of a double shift, huh?

I've had several friends ask if it frustrated me that I have to dress in such traditionally feminine attire for work, as an androgynously identifying individual. I always remind them that I've been actively gender-bending and doing "femme" to "butch" and back again since I learned that both presentations were options. Fuck. If it's all socially constructed why would I feel obligated to pick? As a second-grader, I remember being super excited when I misheard the lyrics of the Eve 6 song as, "I want to put my gender, hard in a blender..." What a thrilling concept! Some of us are born to bend, what can I say (that's when I would throw a fuchsia feather boa over my left shoulder and walk away theatrically, WITHOUT tripping on my heels.) Frankly, I find the transition between gender presentations thrilling and empowering. Nothing thrills me more than gender piracy, except for really amazing haircuts, which is tangential.

So gender conformists, outlaws and benders, for your viewing pleasure, I present you with non-binary artists and celebrities and their cornucopia of gender presentations:

Del La Grace Volcano: Herm/Herm's

 

"As a gender variant visual artist I access 'technologies of gender' in order to amplify rather than erase the hermaphroditic traces of my body. I name myself. A gender abolitionist. A part time gender terrorist."

 

{Image Credit: http://bit.ly/1JnnTIV}

{Image Credit: http://bit.ly/1Fq6ut6}

Rain Dove: She/Her, He/Him, They/Them

A model for both male and female lines of clothing.

{Image Credit: http://bit.ly/1dJz8jm}

{Image Credit: http://huff.to/19Ygbq8}

Angel Haze: They/Them

A musical artist who described themselves as being "agender" on twitter.

"Love is boundary less."

{Image Credit: http://bit.ly/1Fq7KfO}

{Image Credit: http://bit.ly/1G2sFdE}

-To your personal revolts and riots and especially to your learning,

Cory

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Cory is a poet and novelist in the Los Angeles area. They have worked in mental health, education, social justice and fashion blogging and aims to lead by example by bravely living an examined lifestyle.

"The learning process is something you can incite, literally incite, like a riot." -Audre Lorde

———-

There are photographs in this post that were borrowed lovingly from the internet and do not belong to us. All are linked and credited to the best of our abilities in hopes of attracting more traffic to the photographers and websites who have blessed us with this imagery. The inclusion of a photograph here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the subject’s or artist’s identity or beliefs. If there is a photo included here that belongs to you and you want it removed, please email compassionaterevolt@gmail.com and it will be removed promptly, no questions asked.