The Queer Pride Chronicles

June 17, 2014
by Marnie Woodrow
0 comments

You’ve Come (Out) A Long Way, Baby

1.

I fell off a bar stool at Windows on Church after one too many Long Island Iced Teas. Sunburnt and happy and all of 17, my Vive La Difference t-shirt—the one that didn’t mention gays and lesbians—would be worn till it could not be worn anymore. We dodged TV cameras and microphones, not because we were famous in any way, but because she was a teacher and feared being outed at school. There were a few hundred people and part of Church Street, a tiny portion, had been cordoned off. I did not take part in the March even though back then, you could just leap in and be one with the brave stream of people. Tasted good, being out there.

2.

The coming-out conversations with friends that go weirdly and end up as make-out sessions that last for longer than they should. We’re just friends, you will hear later. She is irritated by your femaleness, the curve of your mouth after a night of platonic dancing. The word unrequited should be the tattoo, but somehow, the tattoo never happens. You remain undecorated, an anti-hero of the war on straight girls seeking silent sanctuary. Nauseating reminders in saccharine songs on buses headed south: you are the unwelcome 4 a.m. caller till it all works out for the best and you move away. You get over her; she gets married; you get married, too, because it is now legal to do so.

3.

Raped for being a lesbian at 22, I did not go back into the closet. Instead, I came raging out, hair shorn and feminist phrases flying. A one-woman all-night show of hands-down fury. Later I would learn to box and they would chide me to keep my hands up, keep my hands up. Kapow. But not now. I stayed angry and anesthetized for a decade—or more. Grew my hair back, chopped it off, grew it, let it go silver and granny white. Quit smoking (twice) and drinking (twice) and hung on tight till someone loved me enough to loosen my grip from the ledges. Out, damned spot of trouble.

4.

Come out and stay out, that’s the challenge. You forget how easy life is in welcoming quarters. Fall into happiness and love and lose touch with how hard that first conversation can be. The dry throat and shaking hands should never be far from your memory, but for a time, you forget. Come out to everyone, person by person, workplace by workplace—resist the urge to hide when it is more convenient. Come out because some teenager you have not yet met needs you to always be out, out, out. Quote Mandela—or was it Marianne Williamson, no one ever seems to know the real source—and be big, and quote some more smart people and stay out, right in the light. Re-marry, happily.

5.

Older, no wiser. Out, out a little farther. Unable to keep track of all the right letters in the LGBTTIQQ2SA equation but thrilled by the progress. Stranded alone on islands of belief some mornings, sober, eyes on what is working and what is beautiful, straining to acknowledge the need for constant change and weary at the thought of it. The world pushes in at the windows and you do not close the curtains and all the closets have had the doors removed for sake of ease.

6.

Dyke March in the streets, greyer and gayer than ever. Look how young everyone is! Out before they rot in a dark bar, rejoicing in the streets 45 different ways. Why do we need a parade why do we have to ram it down your throat? Because some have had to dance harder than others to get here. Stay here. Keep dancing, celebrate the curve of your own mouth, hers, remember the lost loves and the exhausting battles and the stamped out nights. Be out for someone you’ve never met in a world not immediately your own—she needs you to, and so does he. Rage as needed but mostly, love.

May 24, 2014
by Emma
1 Comment

Bi invisibility

I try to make it obvious to people. I cut half of my hair short, leaving the other half to fall in curly tendrils around my face. I wear men’s shoes paired with floral printed dresses.

I’m not gay, and I’m not straight. Does that mean I’m somewhere in between or somewhere on the outside?

When people find out, I am rarely taken seriously. To gay women, I am often treated like a fraud. Someone using them to “experiment” with in between boyfriends. To straight men, I am often fetishized and encouraged to hit on other women in front of them.

These misconceptions come from the negative connotations of the bisexual stereotype. Bisexuals are seen as promiscuous, invalid, incapable of monogamy, greedy, and “going through a phase”. I have been bisexual my entire life, and when I found out that made me different I was confused. I thought everyone was bisexual!

I feel as though the negative attitude much of the LGBT movement has with bisexuality is that we are feeding the notion that sexuality is a choice. I never chose to fall in love with the people I do. There are many things that dictate whether or not I am attracted to someone. Their gender just isn’t a factor to me.

Edit Photo - CVS 2014-02-20 23-19-00

March 22, 2014
by Jason Bartlett
0 comments

No Moobs

PLEASE READ:

—-

Sharing my story, hope you share too. 🙂
————–
I’m going to the Community College of Rhode Island and majoring in fine art. I want to be a teacher. I have anxiety, ADHD and depression. I also have dysphoria. Dysphoria is the feeling I get when people use the wrong pronouns/name, looking at myself in the mirror, people calling me names, or looking at me the wrong way for being transgender.
I have been on Testosterone since January 2013. I also got my name changed that year and I am the first person in Rhode Island to get my gender change on my birth cerificate without surgery first, when I was seventeen. However, the one thing that I still desperately need is top-surgery (masectomy) (so I won’t get Cancer and deal with dysphoria). It is all very expensive. $7,805 dollars. I need help to raise this money. I identify as gay. Some people ask me why did I “become” a boy, to like boys. My sexuality has nothing to do with my gender. I always knew I was a boy I just never told anyone. In elementary school I would stand up when they asked the boys to stand. I wanted to play sports and play videogames but I was ostracized.
I can’t even go on the city bus without cringing at the things people call me and I can’t live without my chest binder. Some my family disowned me. It seems wherever I look I can’t pass as myself. I don’t want to prove my happiness, my gender, my pronouns or my name. I want to help all the transgender kids, even by showing them that it is possible, to dream of a day without dysphoria. Nobody should have to go through what I’ve been through.
“Ask and you shall receive.” and “The hardest challenge is to be yourself in a world where everyone is trying to make you be somebody else.” — E. E. Cummings I didn’t choice to be this way. I really don’t want anymore trans people to die from ignorance or suicide. I tried to commit suicide four times. Insurance won’t pay for my surgery, please help me get one step closer. Donate 1$, even that will help. I appreciate what you can do, spread the word. All I want is equality. And of course, no more moobs. Please help, thank you for your support, I couldn’t accomplish this without you! Thank you. You get some of my art for donating 5$, which is totally worth it! Whatever you can afford will help me. Thank you very much! I appreciate you even spreading the word too! Please show your support in this journey to get my masectomy (chest removal)! Whatever you donate is going to be matched by another donor organization called Foster Forward. When I was in school I was bullied. Kids would spit on me, kick me, put my backpack inside out and push me down the stairs. When I told an administrator they told me, “A lady boy half-person like you should expect to be treated that way.” Students and teachers called me an “it” and a “tranny”. So, I withdrew out of high school my first week of junior year and got my GED.

www.gofundme.com/nomoobs
http://about.me/bartlettjason
My Art: http://www.hitrecord.org/users/babyhuey121795/all_records
My Poetry: http://www.hitrecord.org/records/1544057
My Transgender Military Petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/united-states-military-lift-the-ban-on-transgender-people-in-the-military
-Jason

March 7, 2014
by Laura
1 Comment

——–

My very early life was Catholic, it was the typical nuclear family.  That changed though, as things do.   Getting closer to adolescence I was in a liberal family of women, men didn’t figure much into this stage of my life; if they did it was more peripheral then intimate.   Male gayness was openly supported and normalized, but I’d never, ever, heard anyone even comment on lesbianism.

I knew the word, but I don’t know why.  I know that I was familiar with the term because one day after school an older girl who lived with us demonized another girl (who I didn’t know and never would) as a lesbian.  It’s my first openly negative memory of anything like this and it was shocking and left a mark on me.  The older girl was voracious in her hatred; I was unaccustomed.  My mom was big on equality for all, and I’d never even heard anyone speak about another person with that tone.

However, lesbianism in a houseful of female hetero-normative indoctrination was clearly “disgusting” because the idea of female gayness seeped into our house with silent disdain. To grow up in a really liberal house that actively supported equality and human rights and to have this one word excised was it’s own message.  I don’t blame my family, it was just the times—gay men were okay because they were so different and it wasn’t intimate for us.  Gay women were an entirely different matter.

I didn’t even know until I was older that to understand myself as a gay woman in a family of women who are very close is a big fucking deal.  It scared the shit out of me so much that the reality of it wasn’t even something my conscious mind could wrap itself around.  It kept me away from myself for a very long time.

Sexually, my earliest memory of difference was probably in grade three. I was in class with a group of girls that were gathered around a desk oohing over a teen magazine.  I think they were looking at the Bay City Rollers, or maybe Erik Estrada—who I could probably appreciate slightly more—but the images held no interest to me.

The way I remember that moment was of them in a circle responding to images in an appreciative way and me kind of observing the circle of girls and finding the whole thing perplexing.  I liked Cindy or Marsha from the Brady Bunch, but Bay City Rollers—not so much.  What I noticed was difference, but without any negative internalization because it didn’t mean anything to me yet.

Once I entered adolescence things got a bit haywire and nothing about me was usual or followed a predictable path, including my sexuality.  I was so far outside of mainstream that the concept of gay, queer, lesbian, or anything else was a footnote that left no ripple of dismay within me.  But then, I didn’t identify as any of those so there was no consequence to make a ripple.

I got my radicalized education from the streets and moved on from year to year.  Intellectually I was changing, but it took a lot to erode my deep early socialization, and then to make sense of it all.  I was scared.  I often re-remember my early sexuality different then it was.

In my late teens the only out, loud, and proud lesbians I knew were older then me, and politicized (thank-you for that).  They enjoyed challenging my femme self, my girly-girlyness, my obvious lack of understanding.  It wasn’t enough for me to be ‘okay’ with gay—they challenged me to be pro-lesbian, rightfully so.  I wasn’t sexually attracted to them, so I don’t think it had sunk in that I might have to check that box on the identity form.  I still just felt different.

I had fooled around with some of my straight friends, but it was never intimate. It was safe because I knew they were just playing.  Then, in my early twenties I had sex with a close friend.  It was her idea; she was queerious and I was queer, so I agreed.  I have the feeling that she needed to check off her list that she wasn’t gay.  Whereas it hadn’t occurred to me, not in any meaningful way, that I was. Or if I was, what that might mean.

Our reactions to that experience were different.   I felt like I’d just gotten corrective glasses after a lifetime of blurry vision.  And by this, I mean emotional glasses.  Something inside of me straightened out—a crook cricked.

Around this time queer culture was changing and it literally felt like there was a sudden explosion of young gay women that sprung up out of the asphalt and I was attracted to them; I got crushes that I couldn’t deny.   My socialization had been power-washed off by degrees, and I was meeting women that I could relate to, that I was attracted to, and I wasn’t afraid anymore.

I don’t know that I ever actually came out. There were questions and challenges, but they didn’t hold a lot of emotional charge for me. I just started introducing different people to the family and eventually one of them stayed.  There was no one traumatic event or situation that I had to deal with.

That doesn’t mean it’s been easy coming to terms because it hasn’t.  Every single person on the planet feels different and we all have things that are more difficult then others to deal with.  This is one of my areas of difference; I’m relieved that I came up in time to embrace this part of me without terrible consequence.  Hats off to those who struggled before me.

March 2, 2014
by Pete
1 Comment

Gay in the Punk Scene

I got into the Toronto punk scene in the early 80’s and didn’t know anyone else at that time that was gay until 3 years into the scene. I now look back and find it kind of funny how I did not want anyone in my crowd to know I was gay but at the same time, whenever I was at a gay event or around a lot of other gay people.. how I wanted them to know.  So I wanted complete strangers to know the real me, but didn’t want my family, friends or anybody close to me know the real me.  I was one of the lucky ones and once I was out to all, I never lost a friendship or my closeness to any family member. I now look back and see that nobody really cared. The punk scene sure didn’t seem to care. I don’t know if I would do anything differently with coming out when and to who if I could do it all over again. There is a right time and place for pretty much everything and when you are comfortable and know you won’t be putting yourself in danger, that is the time for each person to decide.

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