Ok, so you figured out you are gay, queer, bisexual…You can check the other box. So what does any of this mean??? There is always the running joke of the gay handbook outlining the elusive gay agenda and the proper names for ppl who do this and if they do this then there are requirements of behaviour or you just aren’t the good kind of gay. It’s not easy to navigate through this maze of subculture. And despite how your peers may act, none of the members on the outside of heteronormative cis society have all the answers, as a matter of fact most of us are still struggling to understand the questions. It’s time we stop using words like “heteronormative” “cis” “trans” e etc in a manner that is alienating some and allowing others to sit on the queen’ s throne!!!
when i was growing up the word lesbian held certain connotations…lesbians had mullets. lesbians favorite color was plaid. lesbians loved flannel. lesbians wore flannel year around just cutting the sleeves off in summer. lesbians worked on cars. lesbians were angry. there is so much more, but you see where i am going. i would not even allow myself to consider being a lesbian simply bc i did not at all fit that description. it was all i knew. then in my late twenties i met a lady who was a lesbian who was so feminine. me being the person that i am, would talk to her all the time about misconceptions held by the general public. she is a very dear friend to me, and we still talk all the time. even though i had a bit of education and a dose of reality, i wasn’t in the market for a huge shift in my life. then almost four years ago my daddy died. something in that experience, in that mourning process slapped me in the face, although i had experienced death (actually that year the count was really high) it was always removed somewhat, my granny who beat the hell outta my sister and i, my step mom who was jealous of me, a few friends died of overdoses…but my dad dying, that was an earthquake to my reality. from the time i was a very tiny girl i was a daddy’s girl. i went everywhere with him-to bars, to ballgames, even to his mistresses’ houses. i saw my dad as this unmovable force of nature. i saw him as the biggest, baddest man in all the world! when i grew up, i realized this wasn’t the case, and for the most part i took him off that pedestal and got real-he was a person, fallible, mortal. i thought i thought that…but him dying was a huge shock! it did something to me. it taught me the lesson that we are not guaranteed anything-we are not guaranteed time, comfort, dreams, health, love. if you come across something soak it up the best you can bc it might be gone with the wind. i was ready for a shift in my life.
there was a huge process that i went through, and alot of changes were made, not only inside me but in the ppl around me and my circumstances and environment. i considered myself bisexual for the first part of my introduction into gayness, but i think i just couldn’t let go of my prejudices even when they were prejudices against myself. i had to hold onto that little bit of “normal” for a while. somewhere along the way, i came to the realization that i didn’t really wanna smooch boys anymore, and i really wanted to smooch girls a whole bunch. and although i could look at boys and say “yeah, he’s handsome” it was like a straight girl referring to another girl, it was the recognition that yes that person is not repulsive and i can appreciate their beauty, in the same manner as i can appreciate the beauty of a sunset-but bottom line was it wasn’t sexual. (actually when i look back over my life, and all that i did and felt being sexually attracted to someone wasn’t at all the primary motivator in my choosing who to sleep with or get involved with. for some of my relationships it was a power trip, for some it was to feed my ego and many times it was to fulfill some weird sense of obligation. for the last cismale i was with him because i do love him so much, he’s my best friend, the smartest person i know, and although a big slob, he’s wonderful! my exhusband lives in our house. he’s a part of our family and i would not be able to turn my back on him. we belong in each other’s lives but it just isn’t a sexual thing-it’s a unique love and intimacy) this lead me to the conclusion that i am not straight, or bisexual, i am in fact a lesbian. i am in a long term quite committed relationship with my beautiful partner who is such a wonderful compassionate woman. that is my life, and at this point i am comfortable in that. but i was not ok at first…i did need that damned fictional handbook!!!!!
gay culture is very much different from straight culture, although the slogans “i am not just gay!” “we are just like everyone else!” “the only difference is who we sleep with!” are chanted mantras, and while all these are somewhat true, they are small pieces to a very large puzzle. while being gay is becoming more and more acceptable, socially the culture of the sexually/gender diverse is not talked about until a person trust they are safe to say “i need to talk to you. please sit down……” that conversation in itself is difficult, scary and often times avoided like the bubonic plague, and that is the reality in the most accepting and progressive communities. it is a hard pill to swallow, even admitting to yourself that you are not among the majority in some aspects of your life. to come out is to place yourself in serious harms way-emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. you are never ever sure what the reaction is going to be, even the reaction of your gay friends and family. there are many reasons that have lead to our mainstream society being quite homo-abhorrent, the biggest of which is a misunderstanding of religious texts. this does not mean that all religiously affiliated ppls are homophobic, nor are all homophobes religious. the whole deal boils down to the social standards we have built and where they originated-the truth is most of what we see as moral and acceptable is based on the dogma found in the abrahamic-religions; judaism, islam and christianity. again i have to reiterate that this is just where the standards for “morality” and social acceptability come from, not a representation or a concept that all members of these religious communities uphold; there are many christians who are not homophobic, there are just as many non-christians that go on gay hunts for fun. the majority of ppl identify as straight, it’s what we teach consistently: how to live life as a straight person/what normal looks like. there fore many ppl will use the term “hetero-normative” when describing the the mainstream philosophies, bc heterosexual is normal and any divergent from that is not.
there are many terms used to indicate other than heterosexual “normal” behavior. for the most part, and this is not to include slurs or derogatory, rhetorical bullshit spewed by idiots, the term “lgbtqa” (any combination of these letters, the more we understand the more we tend to add to the mix-sometimes it is referred to as alphabet soup) is used-lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, asexual/ally. most ppl tend to be rather comfortable with the lgb part; lesbian=girl-bodied/girl-identifying girl who is interested in pretty much only smooching other girls; gay=(for the most part) boy-bodied/boy-identifying boy who is interested pretty much in only smooching other boys, bisexual=boys who smooch boys and girls, and girls who smooch girls and boys. these are kinda black and white, for the most part ppl identify with one and stick to it (we will come back to that further in this story) the a should also be inserted here….asexual=a person who is not really interested in sexing anyone. lgb are sexual orientations/preferences.
so we are left with t and q. this is where you need to set aside all of that stuff you learned about in anatomy and philology bc what you learned is not the whole deal, lucille. we are taught that gender is determined by our genetic code. that when the daddy sperm reaches the mommy egg and they hang out a sequence of chemicals are produced and that determines pretty much the entire aspect of the living thing. in that same science class we are told that the lady chemical (chromosome) is an “x” and the man chromosome is a “y” shape, and that a fetus needs a combination of the two in order for gender to be formed at approximately 4-5 months after the egg and sperm shake hands. in other words, we have been taught that the genetic coding for a girl is “xx” and the genetic coding for a boy is “xy” and this coding happens at conception but the gender is evident until 4-5 months after conception. this has been law. it has been the concrete evidence that all creation is based on. the only problem is it’s not the end of the story, and the scientific community has known this tidbit of top secret info for sometime now. there are ppl who are born with the “xy” chromosome who are women, there are ppl born with the “xx” chromosome who are men-and this is not just how the person identifies, the genetic structure is actually physically different. when you look at Y you can’t help but notice the fact that it is an X without the little right sided tail. there are ppl who have a tiny little protein tail or have a tail with a tiny little itty bitty piece missing. this in itself will affect all aspects of the person. one tiny quirky protein! amazing! but that is not the end of the really cool super smart stuff they forgot to teach you. there are ppl born who are born with the chromosome pattern “XXX” or “XYX” and even “YXY” !!! there are some people with this “intersex” genetic pattern who show obvious physical differences-there are ppl everyday who are born with either two sets of genitalia or no genitalia, or two partially formed genitalia-keep adding and subtracting forms of physical genitals the possibilities are endless!! and on top of all the physical possibilities and probabilities that can be seen by the human eye and on a litmus “normal person” test, we throw a whole bunch into the mix through our environment and emotions and neurological reactions. under these circumstances, these genetic and environmental factors taken into consideration the idea of absolute female and absolute male is the acceptation and not the rule. calm down-you are not a freak bc you only have one set of genitalia, there are many more out there just like you….maybe you can form a support group. it’s ok we accept you for who you are. you maybe sitting back saying “this is bullshit! damn crazy lesbian with her faux facts and figures! there ain’t nothin good about a boy in a dress or a girl welder! that just ain’t right!!!!!!” a long long time ago a concept was formed and somehow through social insanity was adopted as truth- dichotomy. dichotomy is the idea of two choices being absolutely and fundamentally opposed to each other. especially in western culture dichotomy is a big deal!!! you can’t have one without the other..day/night, dry/wet, good/bad, boy/girl…. dichotomy is a nasty little idea, and it is the cause of hatred all over. it is the theory in which all fear and hatred is born. to be one is to not be the other and in that one is better than the other-always, and this always, no matter what, is the spark to lighting the forest fire of destruction to humanity. dichotomy rules that when you are a boy (a human born with an obvious penis and testicles and no ovary, uterus or vagina) you do and say and act a certain way: little boys are made of worms and nails and puppy dog tails, and when you are a girl (a person born without an obvious penis or testicles and with an ovary, uterus and vagina) you do and say and act a certain way: little girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice. and this is what bullshit is made of! boys are to love football or other physically demanding activities, should have callouses, should wear overalls and baseball caps, arm wrestle and chew tobacco. a boy has to be as testosterone filled as possible-we don’t want none of that pansy boy, shake it off rub some dirt on it, pull yourself up by the boot straps and be a man! girls must love dolls, wear frilly pink panties, want to cook, be soft and curvy, want nothing more than to be a mommy, and clean-girls are supposed to be clean! boys are to sex girls and girls are to sex boys unless the boy tells the girl he would really like it if she would sex another girl in which case she must submit bc there is nothing more powerful than the desire of her man! so dichotomy puts us in absolute categories: either male or female in turn either good or bad. when these barriers of gender are bent, when a boy feels inside that he is a girl therefore when a boy is a girl and presents and identifies as female the term transwoman is used, when a girl is a boy, he (yes, he! you don’t know what is going on in those genes/jeans) is a transman. the ppl who are not the gender they were assigned at birth are called transgender ppl. looking back over the science of gender, we can see that there is alot of leeway for what is normal and what is not. and just because a person is born with an obvious penis and testicles does not at all mean that the person is male. so put that in your pipe and smoke it! when a person is assigned female at the moment of their birth and she (yes, she! you don’t know what’s going on in those genes/jeans) identifies as a female the term ciswoman is used, and the same is true of a male identified male bodied person, he is a cisman.
breathe and chill bc you are gonna need that extra brain energy for the rest. go get yourself a cuppa joe and smoke em if ya gotta em cause you ain’t seen nothin yet!
ok so far our choices of identity are pretty solid. in the sexual orientation corner we have: gay (lesbians included!!!), straight and bisexual; in the gender corner, we have transgender and cisgender. it’s will be a close one, bob! and the winner is the QUEER!!!!! this is highly improbable and not comfortable at all. i want off this ride now! sorry folks we are already in the air! queer is the category that refuses to be a category. it is the pesky rainbow of difference. the queer person is a person who will not sit in a box it is the boy who is a boy at 3 pm and a girl at 3:10 and then for the remaining time is neutral. yes, gender neutral. queer is a female bodied, gender neutral person who wants to sex kinda just the other person bc of who the other person is. they will not make a choice!!!! the male bodied person who is male identified on friday nights and dated a male identified female bodied person who is now wanting to smooch a male identified male bodied person. this goes around and around and around! queers say “i don’t give a damn what is going on in those genes! i think you are totally cool and awesome and you make me feel all bubbly inside so will you smooch me under the mistletoe?” queer takes dichotomy and throws it in the trash where it belongs. the queer is the buddah of gender and sexual orientation, the queer is all and nothing at the same time. the queer is the cool cat who really breaks the rules bc they are unfair not to just be a badass. the next time you meet a person who says “i prefer the gender pronoun ‘they/we/x/y” etc, with all the respect possible have a damn conversation with them! ask questions! listen to what they say!
we have all been born and bred and have ideas on what is good and bad and different, everyone in the world has some conditioning or another. the fact that we have these ideas is not where the problem lies. we get into really hairy situations when we discuss the validity of the others in comparison to the validity we give ourselves. having preconceived notions, and i really hate to say this, is normal. there is not a single person who is without ownership of a stereotype or 8,000,0000. seriously there is no way to escape that, even when the stereotype is that the ones going against the grains, the ones living in the fringes are the ones who are right, we are still singling the ones out and comparing them to something else-stereotyping. every single animal has this mechanism. but due to the significant neurological developments the human species claims to have, we are the most arrogant and judgmental of those who are different than how we ourselves are-prejudices. to notice differences is natural, normal and despite what you have been told it is perfectly acceptable! the problem comes when we cannot think past these stereotypes and look at ppl on an individual level. when we cannot see past our preconceived notions in order to see the person before you. when one is normal and one is not normal, no matter what the standard is, one is inside and one is out. again the dichotomy refuses to allow room for the individual. when i talk about my community, referring to the lgbtqa community, i am not saying that my little nook is better or more brilliant than every other little nook in the universe. also, i have many little nooks that i fall into making me a brilliant human being. everyone has their own little nooks, their own personalities, likes and dislikes, hair color and skin tone and sexual orientation and gender identity and their concepts of each allowing for billions of brilliant human beings. each a different gem than the next. that seems simple, right? it seems like something we heard a long long time ago. one of the first “lessons”, rules of behavior that i learned was to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. i personally am not too keen on others looking at me and lumping me in with a group of 30 something women who smoooch women who have kids and brown hair. see that is not all i am-i am much much more and i am completely different than jane who married sally who begot corbin and joshua and levi. see sally likes to go to the mall and i like to stay at home. we are completely different than each other on many planes. the beauty is that it’s all right! it’s all acceptable and there is no one way to do something. sally is a cool chick who drives a mustang and bakes delicious bread. i am a punkrock nerd who has been a junkie and has socially awkward reactions to stimuli-and i make a mean mean pork roast.
many people judge what they see in gay culture against what they see in straight culture. there are so many people who say to me things like “why do gay guys have to act all, you know, gay?” “why is it that there is a gay pride but if there was a straight pride everyone would call it bigotry?” “why do all lesbians not shave their armpits and wear carhart?” we have painted a picture of an acceptable way to be and when we judge others by the standard that all things should be this in different sizes, we are still locking alot out. so when we say things like “o i hate drag queens! they are such bitches!!!!” we are classifying in relation to the behavior we think is “ok” for a man who has an alternative female persona that comes out on friday nights and dances to cher. and even more uncool is when we take that same person and hold them up to a standard that they can never be-to say the gay man is not masculine enough to be considered male and not feminine enough to identify as female. when we say things like “every girl needs a gay-boy best friend to tell them how good they look and go shopping with!!!!” is judging-even though in this situation it is the judgement that to have a gay male in your life is a positive thing-the expectation of the gay male is that he will be completely willing and able to go to the mall, read vanity fair and curl your hair all while looking “FABULOUS!!!!!!” themselves. and i hate to break it to ya, that just ain’t what is really going down in the world! while we would love to think that the lesbian down the street can change a tire or bbq a steak on a hot engine, the fact is that being gay does not give you special abilities and super powers. a gay guy is a guy who is gay, he is not a super guy or a girl in a boys body but he might be on friday! a bisexual woman is not a slut who can’t make a decision, she is simply a girl who likes both genders. while we are on the subject of preconceived notions and comparisons the issue of dress code has to be addressed!!! so many times those who are not comfortable with the lgbtqa culture for whatever reason will ask the seasoned veterans about our dress code. i should amend that statement: there are people who are uncomfortable with the way some other people dress in relation to the way another groups dresses-ie blonde boys in booty shorts and polkadotted halter tops or girls with short hair and big biceps. “is there a reason they do that?” well, here we go adding individuals to groups holding those groups up and saying if they are good or bad in relation to what we see as normal: a male is not supposed to swish his hips, curl his hair or love justin whatshisnamewiththebrownhair, all boys who do that are gay, all gay boys do that. well well well, that is so far from factual. some members of our community do like sparklie shorts and justin whoever-but so do many members of the straight community. we are comparing apples to steak and painting people into corners by comparing them to other ppl. standards change, the meter of right and wrong and good and bad-the mercury of dichotomy is always moving. it’s ok just ok and calm down. we have no handbook, we have no agenda, we are not stabbing ppl with our gay rings or spread the gaypox everywhere. we do not have good gays and bad gays anymore than there are good straights and bad straights.
don’t worry allies i didn’t forget about you!!!! there are so many citizens of our communities that are not gay or trans. there are a large amount of people, critical members of our culture, who are straight. there are men who smooch women who think it is ok for a men to smooch a man and they will fight just as hard for the rights of the sexually and gender variant as those who are gender and sexually variant will! our family members, our friends, our children, our neighbors-when someone outside of a group, especially a minority group stands up and demands equality bc it is right and just, when it has no actual effect on their life directly, when they are putting themselves on the line for the rights and safety and security of others…..that is more than going the distance. our allies are critical. thank you! we need you! we need your voice in the choir! allies are just as likely to be caught in a beating or backlash as a gay or trans person is. if you have someone in your life that loves you for who you are the way you are without boundries-you are lucky! no matter what you have more than most!