The Joy of Seeing Another Queer Person in Public

Recently while strolling through Tumblr I found this post:

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I didn’t realize this was such a universal queer experience! Seeing other visibly LGBTQIA+ people in public is really exciting, especially when you live in an area that doesn’t have many openly queer people, like where I live. Sure, representation in the media isn’t that great for the LGBTQIA+ community, but more importantly the representation in daily life isn’t very good either for many of us. I know zero queer adults personally. I know of two couples, who go to my church and live in the city that I live in a suburb of. There are no LGBTQIA+ families in my neighborhood that I know of, or even my city. I also know of less than 10 LGBTQIA+ identified kids who went to my high school. There are probably more queer people than I realize in my city, but essentially the numbers are small and there isn’t much of a “community” here.

I feel a sense of connection with other queer people that feels very familial, which is one reason why seeing them randomly in public is exciting. Whenever I am in a city, especially one that’s progressive, like Austin where my sister lives, I am flabbergasted by all the queer people. Like, you can just go into a store or a restaurant and see another openly LGBTQIA+ person, which 9 times out of 10 isn’t the case where I live. It’s hard to learn what it’s like to live as a queer adult when there aren’t any for you to look up to.

Autostraddle, a website that creates content mainly for queer women, has a column called Queer IRL which features photo journals of queer people in different life situations. These photo journals mean a lot to me, and have helped me to feel less alone. The photographs are submitted by readers and the writer of the column is Laneia. Visibility is something we all need, and it can be very lonely and isolating when you don’t have it.

(Top Left: “Queer in the Bedroom” Ft. Kayla , Bottom Left: “Queers and Pets” Ft. Alex and Kiki, Right: “Queers on Holiday” Ft. Jessica)

I hope the excitement of seeing other queer people in public never goes away for me, because as simple as the experience is, it brings me joy.

 

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The Fetishization of Gay Men by Straight Women

The perpetrators of the phenomena of fetishizing gay men seem to be mainly straight women.  They become overly invested in male/male romances, both real and fictional. They over sexualize and fetishize their relationships, and treat them like objects. Quite frankly, the treat them the same way many straight men treat women. They paint them as characters for their own enjoyment instead of real human beings, or well-rounded fictional characters. These are also the same women who “Just LOOOOVE gay men!!!” They see them as an experience and often infantilize their relationships.

Many straight women write m/m novels and fan-fiction. These characters tend to be the embodiment of a stereotype, and don’t got through much character development. Unless you count going from saying, “YASS” to “YASS KWEEN!!” as development. Their writing also has no experience behind it. The coming out stories are incredibly inaccurate, feel very uninformed, and are again seen as “super cute.” The struggles queer men face are often erased, and replaced with yet another sex scene.

The stories these women write are not for queer men, they are for self-satisfaction and other women who also enjoy fetishizing queer men. This is not what being an ally is. Allies don’t create uninformed, falsified queer media for their own enjoyment. Being an ally also isn’t an identity, you don’t get to become a part of the community for simply not being homophobic. Appropriating queer culture and then producing uninformed work for a profit is a huge slap in the face to people who are actually a part of the community. Perpetuating stereotypes and writing stories you have no authority to write does not help the LGBTQIA+ community at all.

Gay men are often stereotyped to be feminine, and so society lumps them into the same group as women. They’re seen as “just one of the girls,” and are there to compliment straight women and make them feel better about themselves. Gay men are not women, and yet the characters that straight women write and label as “gay men” are often portrayed as if they are a straight woman. Queer stories are vital to the progression of our community, but these stories aren’t the right ones. Sometimes as an ally it’s better to do nothing at all, if the opposite action is appropriation and fetishization. LGBTQIA+ people deserve authentic and diverse stories written by people who understand them and their struggles, which is something a straight woman could never do.

 

*** Obviously there are straight women in the LGBTQIA+ community, but I’m specifically talking about straight women who do not identify as being LGBTQIA+ at all (aren’t trans, asexual, aromantic, or any other queer romantic identity, etc.)***

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Homophobic Bakery

The Supreme Court ruling in the Masterpiece Bakery vs. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case is deeply upsetting to me both as a gay person and as a Christian. Seeing our government side with homophobia and hate is disgusting, and a huge step backwards. It makes we wonder what else might happen to the LGBTQIA+ community under the Trump administration. This is not the first attack on queer rights during his Presidency – trans rights have been attacked multiple times before, and clear messages from his administration, like refusing to acknowledge Pride Month speak volumes.

The bakery won the case off of the claim that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission was hostile towards religion. I’m so tired of seeing people constantly try to use their religion as a justification of their bigotry, the fact that they won this case is mind-boggling. Christians are very rarely the victims, no matter how big their victim complex is. As a Christian, one of the most saddening things about this case is that it continues to perpetuate the lies that God hates gay people, and that God would condone ostracizing someone for any reason. This are not the messages the Bible teaches, no matter how many hateful white people tell you otherwise.

In the United States, you have the right to believe and say what you want to. However, you do not have the right to discriminate against other people. We also are supposed to have a separation of Church and State. You cannot impose your religious beliefs onto other people or make laws based on religious ideologies. Religion is never an excuse for bigotry and discrimination, and there is not place for religion in our government. The actions of people like the owners of the Masterpiece bakery are the reason so many LGBTQIA+ people feel unwelcome in Churches.

The LGBTQIA+ community is resilient and has continuously fought back against discrimination and inequality, this isn’t a new fight. We should be able to live in a world where you don’t have to question whether or not someone will deny you service based on your sexuality or gender, but unfortunately we aren’t there yet.

Pride Month 2018

June is LGBTQIA+ pride month, and just like last year, all of my posts this month will be LGBTQIA+ related!

Pride Month is a time to celebrate being a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, remember the history of our civil rights movements and celebrate our accomplishments, as well as organizing to continue to fight for the rights of LGBTQIA+ people everywhere. Many cities hold their pride parade this month as well as other events, but some places, like where I live, hold their events at different times throughout the year. Either way, June is a great time to celebrate being LGBTQIA+ and have fun!

I have a lot of ideas about the posts I’m going to do this month, but I’d love to hear what you want to see from me! I’m really excited for this month, and all the festivities that come along with it.

Happy Pride Everyone!

 

 

Day of Silence 2018

TW: Brief mention of suicide and mental health

GLSEN’s Day of Silence “is a student-led national event where folks take a vow of silence to highlight the silencing and erasure of LGBTQ people at school.” The Day of Silence was created by a group of students at the University of Virginia in 1996.

“Nearly 4 in 5 LGBTQ students don’t see positive LGBTQ representation in their curriculum, nearly 9 in 10 experience verbal harassment, and almost a third miss school for feeling unsafe or uncomfortable. The Day of Silence is a national movement to highlight the silencing and erasure of LGBTQ students in school, which demands that school leaders take action to be more inclusive.”

I have never had a teacher speak about LGBTQ+ rights, or even acknowledge that someone they were talking about was a part of the LGBTQIA+ community in my entire life. I never learned about the Stonewall Riots in school, or the AIDs epidemic. I never read a history book that acknowledged our presence. Queer history is so important, and yet it is completely silenced in our education system. This is just one of many issues that leads to silencing and erasure in schools.

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“Safe Schools For All”

In my high school we had a GSA, but I never got up the nerve to go. Just a few weeks after I had come out to my family, an “advertisement” was played on the school announcements  for the GSA. Afterward, the boy who sat next to me laughed and said, “It’s so sad that we actually have one of those.” I felt gutted. Other kids laughed and they continued to make homophobic remarks. Was this a direct attack on me? No, they had no idea I was gay. Did it make me feel ashamed, outraged, and embarrassed? Absolutely.

I wish I could say that I stood up for myself and my community, but I did not. I was kind of scared and hurt, especially since it was all so new to me. Their laughter and bigotry made me feel as if I couldn’t speak up. However, I have had it so much easier than many LGBTQIA+ students; I’ve never been bullied or directly discriminated against. Hearing people say awful things, whether they realize it’s about you or not, is still hurtful.

Far too many LGBTQIA+ students suffer from mental health problems as a result of the bullying and general intolerance at their schools. We lose so many amazing kids to suicide, because of the abuse they face. Marriage equality didn’t end homophobia or transphobia, and it certainly didn’t make the United States treat LGBTQIA+ citizens as complete equals. We still have a long way to go, and we need protection of LGBTQIA+ students.

Femme Struggles

Being a femme lesbian has it’s perks… and it’s down falls.

  1. People often tell you that you “don’t look gay”
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Me when people say “but you don’t look gay”

AKA people don’t realize you’re gay, bi, pan, queer, etc! This makes it especially hard when you’re trying to connect with other LGBTQIA+ people. When you are femme, most people will assume you’re straight, and sometimes try to invalidate your identity because of the way you look. Plus, what does “looking gay” even mean?

2. Other queer women don’t realize you’re queer too

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If you’re more introverted like me then this is a problem. I’m probably not going to make the first move, but if the other girl doesn’t realize I’m gay then she won’t either. Since society generally accepts straight women being super friendly to one another, and sees things like frequent compliments as normal (as oppose to friendships between two men), it can be hard for queer women to realize when another girl is flirting with them versus just being nice.

3. Every time you “come out” people are shocked

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This may not be the case for every femme lesbian, but it certainly is for me. I always get the, “No way! Reeeaally???” response from everyone I tell. When you don’t fit the stereotype, it doesn’t even cross peoples minds that you would be anything other than straight.

4. You have to come out all the time

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Because people never assume you’re queer, you have to tell them for them to know. Yes, generally assuming other peoples sexualities isn’t good, but it would be nice if just one time someone actually figured out I was gay without me having to explicitly say the words “I’m Gay.”

 

These are all things I’ve noticed from my experience, but other queer women may have different experiences.  If you are a femme LGBTQIA+ woman, do any of these things happen to you? What’s the most annoying thing you deal with because you’re femme?

No I Don’t Care That You Know Other Queer People

“By the way my coworker’s best friend’s sister is gay.”

“… oh, um that’s cool.”

This is a conversation that takes place constantly. If someone knows I’m gay, they always love to tell me when they meet other queer people; as if we’re unicorns. Don’t get me wrong, there are nothing but good intentions behind it, it’s just a little weird. Would you tell me if you met another woman, or some else who had blue eyes? Probably not.

This is different from the typical, “oh you’re gay, do you know my friend Sam, he’s gay too?” situation. People don’t think you know them, they just want to let you know they know other queer people. My older sister is the main culprit of this in my life. She lives in a major city, so of course she knows/is friends with/ runs into a lot of queer people, and she lets me know. Every. Single. Time. Maybe I’m a huge jerk for not caring, but honestly it’s just not that interesting to me. I consume a lot of queer media, so I constantly see other LGBTQIA+ people. Plus, I’m in college, so I see a decent amount of visibly queer people in my day to day life.

Being able to see visibly queer people is so so important, and I do get excited when I see other people people just living their normal lives. I feel a sense of familiarity and kinship with other people in the LGBTQIA+ community. Someone telling me about how their barista is gay though, isn’t really something I care to know. What is the correct response to “Oh! I was meaning to tell you my waiter the other day is gay.” ? Do you want me to jump up and down and beg you for more details? I usually go with, “that’s cool” or “oh wow” which both come out sounding incredibly unenthusiastic, no matter how much I try and pretend to care.

I never confront anyone about this, because I know they are just trying to be nice. It in no way makes me mad, or even annoyed, I just find it incredibly odd and kinda funny. Does this happen to you? If so, how do you respond? I feel like this definitely isn’t just something I deal with!