Thursday, October 13, 2011
From my pubescent fantasy of Shakira gyrating in the mud to a recurring dream of Billie Piper as a naughty teacher, I have definitely always had a Sapphic-shaped space in my heart. Even so, it never occurred to me until recently that “coming out” might be something that I should do.
From middle school to the present, I’ve toyed with the labels bicurious, bisexual, and—currently—queer. I’ve come to terms with this, however, in the context of an opposite-sex relationship. My boyfriend of four years has been there for every label change, for every tearful late-night phone call where I thought I was going to go to hell for liking girls, and he’s always had the same sweet reply: I still love you.
And I still love him.
He’s wonderful and sexy and sweet and even though I now identify as queer, I don’t see myself with another woman any time soon. Which raises the question: should I come out of the proverbial closet to my family and friends?
A handful of people know how I identify, but beyond a tight circle of family and friends, I don’t know what to do. I don’t know who to tell.
I hear about people throwing parties, giving announcements, celebrating their sexualities to the fullest extent in regards to coming out. But when I think of doing this sort of thing, I’m terrified: if the majority of my family ever found out about my sexuality, I’m pretty sure they’d hit the floor in prayer so hard and fast that they’d leave bruises on their knees.
Should I even come out, given the background of my family combined with my relationship status? I am happily in love with my boyfriend and don’t see my relationship with him ending any time soon.
I don’t know if I should tell my family or my wider circle of friends that I’m queer. I also don’t know how much longer I can keep my sexuality (mostly) to myself.
I realize this is a common issue. But, even so, there should be a handbook for this.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
In any case, I've recently gotten back to my femme roots. I've picked up certain rituals of American femininity which I'd dropped in the past three years, but with a newfound confidence learned in the queer community. I'm now confident that I can be read as strong, queer, AND feminine. Specifically, I've learned that performing femininity need not say anything about the ways in which I fit (and don't fit) into modern gender schema.
I'm overwhelmed with femme happiness. I've gotten off on this tangent about performance, but what I basically want to do is just list a few of the really femme-y things that make me happy, and that I've missed.
|This is pretty much what I look like.|
Sure, there's a lot I don't miss about being completely femme. Five-inch stiletto heels, for example. Lip gloss. Uncomfortably short skirts. And there's no way I'm going back to using ladies' shampoo/conditioner. Not when men's two-in-one is so much easier.
But these are just some of the many femme things that make me happy. And I just wanted to share the happiness with all of you! What are some of your favorite rituals of gender performance?
...and could that last sentence have been any geekier?
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Why should they not alike in all parts touch?
Hand to strange hand, lip to lip none denies;
Why should they breast to breast, or thighs to thighs?
Likeness begets such strange self flattery,
That touching myself, all seems done to thee.
Myself I embrace, and mine own hands I kiss,
And amorously thank myself for this.
Me, in my glass, I call thee; but alas,
When I would kiss, tears dim mine eyes, and glass.
Monday, September 19, 2011
Restrooms are no place for a queer, or a perceived queer. Apparently, a heteronormative female is uncomfortable with a lesbian or transgender person entering the facilities. This is the place where she defecates and urinates into a porcelain bowl, washes her hands, and applies make-up. Rumors say that a grunting woman on a toilet tickles our fancy. I don’t know where they get this information. I don’t find myself standing on my tippy-toes to see every Martha Stewart fan pulling down their granny panties and letting one rip. I do find myself, however, being screamed at and threatened when I’m just trying to take a piss.
Unfortunately, there is also a lack of compassion for the environment. Toilets in public may be found clogged with used toilet paper and tampons. Sinks are full of hair and dirt. Spots of pee and puddles of water cover the tile. I would rather take a squat behind a dumpster and pee there. That would be much more sanitary.
Everybody poops, but not everyone has a place to poop. Awww.
On the flip side of the toilet paper, we can find relief in what public restrooms have to offer. Relief. Just walk in, ignore the wide-eyed women and screaming mothers, enter a stall, and pee. Curl your toes at that idea! If they call the manager, who cares? If you’ve got an I.D. to prove that you have a vagina, they have nothing on you. Behold, if you are further harassed, you can do the American thing and sue the queer-phobia out of those ignoramuses. It might make national news; therefore you’d be a martyr for the queer community and receive a lump sum of cash. Everybody poops, everybody wins!
I have never experienced this myself, but a public restroom is a popular place for hookups. Just dial that number on the side of the stall and Pat McButch will meet you there in no time, strapped up and ready to go. There’s an app for this, too. Type in your location and you will have people lining up at the door to get it on at the poop chair. If you use this app, comment below.
The choice is yours: to pee or not to pee. I choose not to pee. What about you? Let us know if you pee and why!
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Let's talk about sex, baby. Let's talk about you and me. Let's talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be. Let's talk about sex. Let's talk about sex for now to the people at home or in the crowd. It keeps coming up anyhow. Don't decoy, avoid, or make void the topic because that is not going to stop it. Now we talk about sex on the radio and video shows. Many will know, anything goes. Let's tell it how it is, and how it could be, how it was, and of course, how it should be. Those who think it's dirty have a choice- pick up the needle, press pause, or turn the radio off. Will that stop us? I doubt it.
Hot to trot, make any man's eyes pop. She use what she got to get whatever she don't got. Fellas drool like fools, but then again they're only human; the chick was a hit because her body was boomin'. Gold, pearls, rubies, crazy diamond- nothin' she ever wore was ever common. Her dates- heads of state, men of taste, lawyers, doctors. No one was too great for her to get with or even mess with. The Prez she says was next on her list. And believe me, you, it's as good as true. There ain't a man alive that she couldn't get next to. She had it all in the bag so she should have been glad; but she was mad and sad and feelin' bad, thinkin' about the things that she never had- no love, just sex, followed next with a check and a note “that last night was dope.”
Let's talk about sex, baby
My mom nor dad has ever had “the Talk” with me. I have never been seated in a room and given an extended metaphor that was passed down from the frail generation that came up with comparing this intricate process to the “birds and the bees.” I have never been told that true love waits and that if a guy is worth it, he will wait for sex until we are married. I have never had generalizations and tidbits of Christianity shoved on my finger in the form of a promise ring. I have never been told the wonders of sex and the joys of finally being able to love someone completely and physically.
Instead I have been told to not worry about guys- they will come. I have been told that I need to support myself. I have been told that my priorities are my school, my family, and my career. I have been told that boys are not worth it.
From these slivers of wisdom, I have formed my own twisted view of what it means to talk about sex. My parents’ experiences were only based out of moments of passion and molded their scars over their hearts which peered through and terrified them when they tried to talk to us.
Their relationship was one of passionate embraces and bursts of lust. Out of their lustful ashes, my sisters and I were birthed. We are all just a little burnt.
Thinkin' about the things that she never had- no love, just sex
To be honest, I haven’t had either. I have never loved anyone fully and as a result, I have never had sex. I want to make love with someone I love and not just have sex. It may be the burn I got as a baby that reactivates itself every time I get in these situations. It is a weird sensation that ends in a brief pause and a sudden jerking away from whomever. I am always paralyzed by the sensation…
And there you have it, my biggest cock-block- fear. People react differently to fear and I just happen to let it overtake my romantic prospects. My bad? But each encounter helped me to see the situation clearly, to really evaluate what I wanted from them and what I wanted to give up. I never loved them but kept them for stories, for nostalgia, for experience. I am not cold-hearted just bruised. I am the one losing, I know; but, these things come when we least expect it right?
Sometimes I have the urge to give into my animal instincts- to be in a drunken state and start dancing with whomever wants to dance with me, to dance long enough to turn slightly and kiss them, to start a huge make-out session on the dance floor that leads to someone’s room, and to let be what will be. What stops me is my mind, the walk of shame, the feeling of insecurity that comes after, the explanation at the brunch table of where I was last night, the lack of love. If I have never had sex, I don’t know what I am missing and I don’t have the urge for that part of physicality- but I do.
Come on, how many guys you know make love?
Making love is an intricate process that, from my experience, very few get to really have. It involves confidence, faith, and trust. However, it is unfair to say that all guys don’t know how to make love. I can name a few guys I have met in my life that would make love and not just have sex. It is not to say that they wouldn’t fill the other moments with cheap thrills or tequila-breathed kisses and shivers but they are capable of embracing the anchored love with returned love. I wish I could fall in love with these men or at least experience their love. These men who have been taught correctly what love entails and who have learned how to treat people well deserve to be given congratulations.
To all others, I don’t want to settle for someone who cannot take responsibility for any of his actions and be honest. If you don’t love me, fine; but please be honest with me and be honest with yourself and your emotions. I know love doesn’t come from having sex x amount of times; I know that love is something that takes time; I know that love is probably something that you won’t have for me nor I for you after our consuming encounter. But please let us be honest with each other. Honesty is the first step to taking responsibility and to making love. There are times to be delusional and to believe whatever you want to believe; use those times wisely because eventually you have to come back to reality. Be open with your consent and your expectations.
To those who know how to love, thank you.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
The summer before my junior year of high school, my co-counselor at this camp for foreign Chinese students told me that I would make an excellent stripper. As a slightly more mature twenty-year old thinking back, I suppose I should have questioned his motives behind the statement, but as a naïve sixteen-year old who had just learned the definition of confidence, I was overfilled with pride that he considered me cool and outgoing enough to pull off the perfectly respectable career choice of professional stripping. For some reason, over the years, his proclamation had always stuck with me, while his name, his appearance, his voice, his personality—everything else—have all slipped my mind. Originally, I thought that I remembered it because that was the first and only time someone had told me I would be a good stripper; thus, it was worth documenting in my memory bank. But when I thought more about it (yes, I spent time sitting down and analyzing this), I realized that perhaps, something about this statement had really struck a cord with me. And perhaps that something is related with my distaste for wearing clothing.
Really, all of this dislike for having cloth covering my body has been with me since my wee bit toddler years. In fact, my first memory is of a three-year old me starring in a spontaneous strip show in front of my grandpa and his mahjong buddies. I had decided that day that clothes were cumbersome and wholly unnecessary, despite my grandma’s best efforts to convince me that I looked fantastic in a red tank top and white leggings with pink polka dots. At my first chance, I squirmed away from her and snuck into the room where my grandpa was playing mahjong. Free at last! I tore off all my clothes and flung them away from me, relishing in the sudden breeze that tickled at my tummy. I wondered: Why didn’t everyone do this?
Apparently, my grandpa did not share my love for the nude, because he picked me up, slung me over his shoulder, and brought me to my grandma, who was waiting with a dress. She shackled me with the blue-gray short-sleeved dress, tight at the neck but flowy at the bottom. The sleeves bit into my skin (I felt), preventing me from moving my arms freely. She smiled at me, as if putting the dress on me solved all my problems. Obviously, that was not the case, since I immediately ran away and tried to break free of my new prison. The dress was longer than my arms could extend, and I could not get it off. I wiggled. I jiggled. Hell, I performed an entire dance routine, but it refused to come off my neck.
I finally gave up and collapsed on the ground crying with my dress flipped inside out over my head, at which point my grandma decided that it was naptime. Naptime was great because I did get to sleep naked. Problem solved…for that day.
In the process of growing up, I always preferred wearing the least amount of clothing possible (especially when at home and alone), even through those awkward years when body parts don’t fit together correctly (I just avoided mirrors). Even now, one of my favorite (secret) pastimes is hosting a one-person underwear-only dance party to my current favorite Youtube playlist.
I am not saying that I don’t like clothes. I’ve gotten over that silliness. I mean, clothes make a person look fabulous and hide all the “yucky” bits of the body, and like many people, I very much enjoy (read: love) shopping for clothes. Still, there is just something so liberating about letting my bare skin rub against the air. I don’t mean liberating in the sense where I feel like I’m freeing myself from societal pressures or customs, which is what I presume the naked runs/naked parties are more or less about. I mean liberating in a purely physical, even animalistic sense: I’m casting away these extra, unnecessary weights on my body and running around free and wild. It is as if I opened my sense of touch to the max, where every molecule of skin on my body is participating in the feeling of touching—whether it be my back flinching at the cool and glossy paint on a wall or my stomach and thighs nestling in a plush carpet. It is electrifying and sometimes almost frightening to feel a texture never before touched.
I like clothes. I like the idea of clothes. But no matter how beautiful or comfortable the shirt, the skirt, the dress, the pants, they cannot capture the pure joy of bare skin.
|note: not a picture of men's jeans|
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
I know that the media often displays feminism as a crazed phase, or even a mental illness. It is talked about as if it is a disease, something your children can catch in college. It’s a state of mind where a woman aborts her husband and family, sleeps with and/or schemes with other female conspirators, and is never caught without a megaphone. This is the stereotype, and (living in the ever so infamously red state of Arizona) I see this portrayal more often than not.
Growing up with constant brainwashing like this is quite a challenge, especially for someone who is queer. I was born in a female’s body with a man’s mind that is attracted to women, so that really set me up for an interesting life, right? My point is that feminism to me might be something unique.
I dwell in a body that is not mine. I do not like to have boobs nor a vagina. This is certainly not because I do not appreciate boobs and vagina. Let’s make that clear. They are simply not mine and they do not belong on me. In my mind’s eye I see myself as a short stalky guy with muscle definition, some fluffy body hair, and a tan to die for. Really, think about yourself as a female identified person with a penis between your legs and hair on your flat chest. How is that working out for you? It is not a hate thing, simply a gender identity thing.
I have been told that my thought process is more along the lines of male. I also have some physical male traits. I desire to do many “male” things, according to society. This is not a choice, rather a biological setting that creates a physical, emotional, and mental tension in my life. This tension causes me to ponder gender itself, how it relates to every individual on Mother Nature’s earth, and how it relates to our complex society.
Despite my contradictions, I am undoubtedly a feminist. I believe in equality (socially, economically, politically, etc) for all genders. I believe in a woman’s right to choose. I believe in a woman’s right to whatever relationship a woman desires (monogamy, polygamy, hetero, homo). I believe a woman can be involved in whatever dynamic she chooses (top, bottom, or both). I believe in a woman’s right to choose her path, and walk along that path safely without some chauvinistic pig to stand in her way.
My advocacy for women and queers, I believe, stems from a long battle of masculinity and femininity within myself. I began life labeled as a stereotypical girl. I was taught by chauvinists to be quiet, passive, gentle, and beautiful regardless of any pain it might bring me. As one reaches each milestone in life, life may call to be the opposite of one or all of these things. Make-up and dresses were also forced upon me (quite physically sometimes), and though I would protest for a moment, I would rebound to be what I was taught to be.
At one point in my life, this caused me to move into the completely opposite direction. Thus conjuring my “tomboy stage.” I did everything I could to portray myself as masculine. I began to wear boy’s clothes, cut my hair short, and eventually confess my crushes on other girls. Though I did not understand this at the time, this was the most natural thing I could do for myself. Unfortunately, I went too far. This masculinity that I was experimenting with turned to anger. I could not fathom to look at myself anymore. I had become cold, turned off emotionally to everything. No sensitivity. Not even for myself.
In my first year of college, it dawned on me that I am transgender. I figured out what I really was, and that there was a name for it. An amazing artist came to my school to tell his story of what being transgender was like, and I immediately identified with him. I noticed that though he had a beard, sounded, and looked just like a biological man, he was also sensitive and kind. He carried himself with confidence and strength. He was love and war wrapped in one. A wounded soldier who had survived his battles. He had emerged as a greater person. He had peace and balance in his life because he accepted who he is. He found a balance of masculinity and femininity and discovered his own gender. He accepted equality and individuality.
I am now along that similar path. Still battling to balance my gender, but still acknowledging my biological sex and what that means in relation to my mental and emotional health. Am I an entirely different gender between man and woman? Possibley. But does being just a man or just a woman mean that one or the other is wrong? No.
To me, feminism is about coming to terms with your own individual gender, struggling with it, and emerging as a more equal and loving person because of it. It is about acknowledging your own sensitivity and becoming stronger as a consequence of fairness.
Go off, ponder your gender and how it relates to the world around you and to feminism. Tell me, what makes you a feminist?
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Monday, September 5, 2011
I had medium-long hair for a long time. I had a boy-cut when I was in elementary school (and refusing to wear anything but boy-clothes), but since then I’ve kept my hair at least shoulder-length. I decided last year that I wanted to finally try something approximating a pixie cut. After sifting through hundreds of haircuts online, I found the perfect one. I took the picture to my hairdresser and BOOM, all my hair was on the floor.
I LOVED it. There was no more hair on my neck, and I didn’t have to use a blowdryer. Plus, I got to explore a whole new section of the hair products aisle, populated by spiking gel, mousse, and hairspray specifically for short hair. I finally felt like I looked right. This would require much more self-analysis to explain, but my fashion sense changed too. After I cut my hair off, I went back to dressing like I had in high school—dresses, eye makeup, and all that nonsense I had done away with in the past year.
But. There was a sticking problem. This haircut definitely gave me queer visibility in a way my old hair hadn’t. But I couldn’t help but wonder if it gave me too much. I didn’t expect that cutting my hair would change the way EVERYONE looked at me. I found myself being approached by other queer women much more often, while straight boys didn’t look twice in my direction. As a gal with interest in all genders, I was a bit disappointed. More importantly, I felt myself being put in an identity box by people who wouldn’t have bothered categorizing when I had long hair.
A post-haircut, lesbian-identified new friend said to me, casually, about another girl, “I think she plays for our team!” I felt like protesting, “but I’m not on a team…” I almost wish I’d known that a short haircut apparently serves as a team uniform. I wouldn’t take back the haircut even if I could, but at least I’d have known what I was getting into.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
In case you don't want to read the entire article, here are some highlights:
"Before you shed a tear for Yale or its feminists, consider the role that both have played in saturating the campus with vulgar sexuality. In an effort to foster "dialogue" and "acceptance" of every possible sexual choice or act, they've drenched students, faculty and administrators in images and vocabulary of graphic sexuality."
Really, Meghan Clyne? Vulgar sexuality? The incidents cited in our attempts to hypersexualize all of Yale include hosting drag workshops during Trans Week and discussions about intercourse and its relations to patriarchy. OH GOD PEOPLE WEARING DRAG! OH GOD PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT SEX! VULGARVULGARVULGAR. This just seems ridiculous to me. And frankly, it's incredibly offensive. Heteronormative reactions like Clyne's are prohibitive to constructive dialogue and completely criminalize alternative sexualities. I don't personally see how drag workshops are a legitimate provocation for the "We Love Yale Sluts" incident. But what do I know? I'm just a little girl feminist. I don't know anything.
"When every taboo around sex is systematically eradicated, aren't cries of "We Love Yale Sluts" inevitable?"
Inevitable? Yes, please, please, PLEASE tell me that eradicating heteronormative, discriminatory, exclusive practices of sexuality is a cause for misogynistic chanting. Please, please, PLEASE demonize any form of public sexuality that isn't "inoffensive" to your poor eyes. I truly, TRULY do not understand how having discussions of masturbation or demonstrations of the use of condoms makes that incident okay. I also don't understand why we would want to keep taboos about sex that are clearly outdated, unhelpful, and offensive. You think that the administration should "insist on the basic norms that govern life outside the academic bubble"? Those norms are excluding of a large portion of the Yale student body. They cause problems throughout the United States for queer, feminist, and sex-positive people regardless of gender. The institution should work to eradicate harmful norms, not reinforce them.
And, perhaps the most ridiculous claim of all: "The people who truly must suffer in Yale's climate are those who disagree with the Women's Center's agenda."
The Women's Center. Is not. A majority. They are not the loudest voice on campus. And these incidents of harassment being protested by the Title IX plaintiffs are real incidents that occurred regardless of the Women's Center's attempts at advocacy. Sexual culture at Yale is not dictated by the Women's Center. In fact, my experience has been that--outside of the LGBTQ Co-Op events--sexual culture is far more dominated by hegemonic, heteronormative ideas of sexual interaction. Who in that culture is suffering because of the Women's Center? Should we feel bad for the members of Yale's campus who "suffer" because sexual harassment is becoming an increasingly public and less tolerated issue? NO.
Honestly. I want an answer from this lady. Who's really suffering? The members of campus culture who follow the norms of Yale sexual interaction? They seem to be fitting in just fine to me.
What does everyone else think? Am I overreacting? Or are Meghan Clyne's accusations of "sexual exhibitionism/vulgar sexuality" completely out of line?
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Friday, April 1, 2011
C'mon, ladies. It's going to be AWESOME. You can't miss this :)
Monday, March 28, 2011
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Saturday, March 26, 2011
The cinematography and soundtrack alone are reasons to see this film, but the performances are equally compelling. Blunt is especially seductive, and the screen loves her. One of my favorite scenes is after the girls take mushrooms and crash some type of geriatric ball, and they start dancing together. It's eerie and a little psychedelic, but also intense and intimate. The story is not about being gay as much as it is about love and the self-serving function it can have. It's a bit melancholy so I'd suggest saving it for the upcoming rainy spring days/nights.