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}
{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 }
{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/}
{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/}
{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

 

———–

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.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

COM|PASSionate EVENTS

Happy Friday COM|PASSionate REVOLUTIONARIES!

How goes the start of summer for everyone?? Here in Southern California we’ve been oscillating between the summer sun, June gloom, and the much needed breaks for drizzle that aren’t nearly enough to quench our ever present drought.

It’s been sweltering and sweaty and altogether lovely.

{Image Credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/3307399702158577/}
{Image Credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/3307399702158577/}

We’re committing to enjoy ALL of it.

There are so many fun things happening this summer we fear we might float away into adventure dreamland so we’re doing our best to stay rooted, grounded, and centered in gratitude and presence. Here are some things we’re excited about this week and in the upcoming months!

{Image Credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/3307399701933641/}
{Image Credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/3307399701933641/}

EVENTS

Get out, take care of yourself and heal in community!

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Don’t forget there’s lots of upcoming ways to get involved!

  • Gender Spectrum is coming up in July! “Gender Spectrum provides education, training and support to help create a gender sensitive and inclusive environment for all children and teens.” They run an annual conference in Berkeley, CA for youth, families and professionals! Go check them out! Registration is now open! They are also looking for volunteers!
  • You’ve done plenty of volunteering and advocacy this year! How about you do something for your queer kinky unicorn heart and run away to Amorous Revolt? Amorous Revolt is queer kinky camping, “To celebrate our bold love, our brilliant spirits, our playful (and sometimes serious) sex, our creative relationships, our radical interdependence, our perfect bodies, and our unstoppable power and agency.”
  • Hey younger COM|PASSionate REVOLUTIONARIES looking for something fun to do this summer?? How about Brave Trails— a leadership summer camp for LGBTQ Youth & Allies?! Folks that are our age or older– we know what you’re thinking– where was this camp when we were in high school?? Well, you can still go help out by being a camp counselor or leading a workshop! Go check them out!
  • All of these internet shenanigans too much? Need to digitally detox? How about checking out Camp Grounded: Summer Camp for Adults! CA camp is over but you can still take a road trip to hit the North Carolina camp in August!

RECOMMENDATIONS

 

We want to give an extra shout out to Brave Trails this week! An LGBTQ Youth and Allies Leadership Summer Camp so close to our own neck of the woods?! We can’t help but be a little smitten!

Folks that would like to support by leading a workshop- the due date for proposals is Monday 6/15/15! They’re also still in need of cabin counselors!

{Image Credit: http://www.bravetrails.org/}
{Image Credit: http://www.bravetrails.org/}

Braving trails,

COM|PASSionate REVOLT ❤

———-

*Events are put on by the CR Community/CR Community members. Other events are by friends of the CR Community or of interest to the CR Community. Feeling a little nervous about getting out and involved? Email us and if we can we’ll make some introductions so you have a friendly face to say “Hi” to when you get there!

**Most of these events will be local to Southern CA (unless we notice an event that sets us off into road trip dreamland.) If you want to do a COM|PASSionate event round-up for your local area let us know!

***Are you an individual, meet-up or community group that has some COM|PASSionate events of your own? Email us for details on how to submit your event to our calendar!

compassionaterevolt@gmail.com

———-

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.

MHM 12: Activism + Self-Care

Happy Monday REVOLUTIONARIES!

MHMBanner

We hope you all are well. We had a fun AND busy weekend! Most notably, we got to hang with our COM|PASSionate REVOLT family (our favorite dream worker and tarot-ist, Kaeti Gugiu,) catch Sister Spit hosted by the Long Beach Center and check out the drag show at Hamburger Mary’s new location (not that new- we’re just getting old and don’t get out as much as we used to.)

We giggled a lot, saw some great drag, ran into some familiar faces and got to give hugs to some new friends. All in all a lovely night of community witnessing and reflection. As often happens when you’re at a non-work related social (but community) event, hanging with folks that work in community (not at the event,) the talk turned to “the work.” It came up over the course of the night in several different scenarios and incarnations and it got us to thinking about the healing but also, at times, insidious way “the work” itself becomes tied to our own healing, survival and flourishing.

It’s an interesting dilemma that those of us that are the most passionate (often because of personally driven volition) are often getting paid the least or not at all for the work we are doing. Whether or not we have paid positions we are also often doing other unpaid work or activism in the community and when we take time off we often fall into commiserating about the depleting nature of the work/activism/community navigation. We talk about how much more work needs to be done or how ineffective the structures are we’re working within. One action may feel like it’s gaining movement while another seems to be falling behind. We’re tired but another group that collaborated with us earlier in the year is having an event. Our advocacy group is in between big events but our partner is having a shitty time at work/with family/the sometimes uphill battle of everyday life. We organized an event that went well and didn’t realize how much it would trigger for us personally. An event doesn’t go well and (because our identities are personally invested) we feel the weight of failure, not just in the eyes of others but in the fear of a present and future that continues to not hold and nurture us. While we’re all doing our best to give our all to causes that need support, it’s a slippery feedback loop– a cycle that doesn’t lend itself well to breaks, self-care or, in actuality, sustainability and success of our movements.

You know the directions they give on airplanes before you take off. They show you the little air mask and remind you to secure yours first before you help anyone around you?? It’s because you can’t help anyone around you if you’re passed out!

That’s something more of us need to institute into the work we do with our communities. Aftershock, by Patrice Jones, is a guide for activists and allies confronting trauma in a violent world.

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

We think this is a great start to understanding the effects and care we need to take of ourselves when working in our communities– after all, if we pass out from exhaustion the work doesn’t get done anyways.

We also think it’s relevant to feel into the kind of change that best suits your individual personality, talents and person. Sure we can try to add temperance and self-care to our lives by decreasing the work we do in the world but the truth is many of us are intimately invested in the work we’re doing. We don’t want to stop because we want the world to be better for ourselves as much as we want the world to be better for others!

So, for example, if you’re someone that gets an adrenaline rush from loud group protests go for it! Maybe you’d rather be involved in a letter writing campaign behind the scenes? Do you have natural charm and put people at ease so they can hear a new point of view? A lot of grassroots campaigns could use folks going door to door to connect. Maybe you’re an artist? Can you design a shirt raising awareness/funds for a group you’re involved with? Web designer? There are lots of small groups and non-profits that can’t hire a big firm to build a website or do a bit of upkeep. Are you using your voice in blogging community? Drop us a line! Let us know if you’d be interested in being part of the COM|PASSionate REVOLUTION! The possibilities are endless.

We sometimes get stuck as seeing “activism” in only one light that benefits the sun energized, loud, confrontational group movements. Are these important? Absolutely! Would we, being the humans that “cry as much as some people pee” and have a lot of feelings be in any form of conscious state if we engaged in too many of these?? Not so much.

We often fail to question why these masculine forms of movement are valued higher than the quiet powerful ways feminine water energy has continuously and unrelentingly turned mountains in beaches one patient grain of sand at a time.

So, we know it would be silly of us to ask you, REVOLUTIONARIES, to stop making the world a better place by your presence, sacrifices and compassion. We do, however, encourage you to take the time to check in with what is the best, most fueling, most sustainable way for you to contribute.

We implore you put on your mask before helping those around you.

Until next time. Put your mask on.

In COM|PASSionate REVOLUTION,

Skye + Traci

 As always you can reach us at…

compassionaterevolt@gmail.com

www.compassionaterevolt.com

www.compassionaterevolt.wordpress.com

COM|PASSionate REVOLT FB

———-

Skye is a youth worker, educator, activist and white transmasculine human. Traci is a therapist, yoga teacher, educator and queer vegan femme-inist of color. They reside, practice, navigate, process, survive and flourish in the Southern California area.

 

 

 

MHM Ep9: Membership Cards

Happy Monday REVOLUTIONARIES!

Today on the Mental Health Mash-Up we’re thinking about “Membership Cards.” How we get them, who gives them, when “membership expires,” how we’re accountable to the spaces to which we’re allowed entry and, of course, how this affects our mental health.

MHMBanner

We often joke about “Membership Cards.” It’s a way to humorously commiserate about the struggle of the marginalized as if there was some secret exclusive queer country club where we could gather to drink organic fair trade coffee and discuss oppression without the privileged rif raf getting in and mucking up the place. The truth of the matter is though, we need those spaces, not for their exclusionary value but for their safety and healing.

So what’s the problem? Gather unicorns, gather!

Well, there are a few challenges we’ve noticed. For one unicorns are a diverse group- we come in different colors, shapes, bodies, sizes, with varying abilities of flight and magick. The “Queer” community cuts across all other demographics of race, ethnicity, gender, physical/mental ability, age and socioeconomic statuses. Some of us are athletes, intellectuals and self-proclaimed geeks! Some of us crave the nightlife, a blaring dance track and fancy cocktails while others of us want nothing more than to hunker down with some hot tea, a good book or our favorite Netflix series on a Friday night.

So, okay, start a meet-up group to check out the newest clubs, get folks together for a hike, organize a book club, plan a movie night and stop whining.

Okay, okay, we could do that and know that folks do! {As a sidenote, if you’re trying to get out and meet folks we totally recommend doing a quick search on Meetup for folks interested in similar activities. Of course you won’t know if it’s a good fit until you go but it totally takes a ton of the social pressure off that everyone is going with the intention of meeting new people!} Here comes the next challenge. Do our memberships, especially for those of us that fall in the middle of the spectrum or have some fluidity in our identities, depend on how they currently function in our lives? Sure, we can hope that folks can check their biphobia at the door if someone happens to have an other gendered partner at any particular moment but how about if your group’s activity is a monthly “ladies” night where everyone gathers to dance, hang and meet who everyone else is dating? The LGBTQ community often gathers in gender segregated “safe” spaces (and we’re not even at how this affects intersex|genderqueer|agender|bigender folks yet.) While we’re on that subject what happens when we’ve built community in one identity and find that our identity starts to shift? How does it affect all of our interactions? Even if no one is drawing a hard line to keep us out, how comfortable is it to change the safety of a space with your presence or to bring in someone who changes the safety of a space when you yourself are acutely aware of how necessary safe space is?

It gets confusing.

And, yet, anyone with multiple identities (read: ALL OF US) will tell you that different parts of our identities need to be attended to, reflected and nurtured at different times. Many of us with multiple marginalized identities will also attest to the fact that finding these spaces can be an uphill battle and compartmentalizing the healing around them can be exhausting! So when our identities shift we’re often stuck in the grief of losing these memberships while also conflicted with wanting to protect space we know was so important to us.

Is there a way to access these spaces while still honoring them in our present form?

How are we accountable to the privilege of the new memberships we hold while still honoring that the memberships we held over the course of our life journey might still need some of our attention?

Here are some thoughts on how to manage changing memberships:

  1. Take a moment to reflect. You know how marginalized communities are always talking about “holding space?” Hold some space for yourself and the process that you’re going through so that you can get a clear picture of what you need and where you might be able to access it without impeding on anyone else’s needs/space. We were really moved with this article on space holding around a different type of transition, but we think that it holds a lot of resonance for the complicated and emotional work of holding space for ourselves in the fluidity of queer identity.
  2. Get accountable! Take some time to notice as your membership changes and be honest and open about what you observe. Then if the same behavior that was once acceptable is problematic take steps to do something about it. Honor your current and past memberships by realizing the new intersections of privilege and oppression you find yourself at. So for example, you’re a newly passing transman? Does that mean you’re only allowed to access communities that hold an assumption of a cis-male experience? No! Your journey is (and will continue to be different) but know that you no longer have an all access pass to female space and that your interactions with women are informed by your male identity. We’ve recently been in conversation with folks about this article on Rethinking Masculinity as a Newly Masculine Presenting Person and really dig the reflections and the tips.
  3. Accept if your membership level changes! Sometimes when our memberships fluctuate (via ourselves or our partners) it’s just about conscious, respectful navigation. So for example, you’re a queer female identified person dating a fabulous feminist man? Great! Take your new love interest out on the town and enjoy that new queer art gallery opening on reflections of femininity and power, but accept that you might have to forego the small group women’s only discussion space afterwards if you want to hang with your honey all night. Sometimes you might also have to accept that membership may change from identified community member to ally. For example, you’ve been a feminist female identified activist fighting for women’s safety on your college campus but over the course of the past year have started to align with your transmasculine identity. You identify as male, use male pronouns and are recognized as male out in the world. Should you stop supporting the issue of safety on your campus? Hell, no! We need strong feminist men and safety is important for all genders! However, maybe take a supportive role to your female co-organizers for the next rally on keeping the gym safe for female students and take a leadership role in the discussion group on how men can create a safer campus. It might be difficult to see your membership changing but allies are important and if you can accept this role respectfully you can still be a part of the communities that are important to you. We really like Everyday Feminism‘s article on 30 Ways to be a Better Ally.

Memberships are a complicated issue- especially in the context of queer community. Unlike gathering around race our memberships can sometimes shift depending on our ascribed, attributed or functional identities. It can be a lot of work to keep all your cards updated but it’s totally worth it- there are so many glittery unicorn filled intersectional discussions, social gatherings and movements that need your participation and support! It might be troublesome but it makes us more conscious, honoring humans, that can engage in safe and authentic interactions with one another. So go forth and mingle in identity appropriate circles, we believe in you.

In COM|PASSionate REVOLUTION,

Skye + Traci

———-

Skye is a youth worker, educator, activist and white transmasculine human. Traci is a therapist, yoga teacher, educator and queer vegan femme-inist of color. They reside, practice, navigate, process, survive and flourish in the Southern California area.

 

MHM Ep. 3: Disclosure

Good morning REVOLUTIONARIES!

We hope that you’ve all been safe and well this past week! On today’s podcast we’re talking about the complexities and intracies of disclosure and how we can make it more affirming for those of us doing the disclosure.

MHMBanner

You can listen here:

or on LibSyn!

We’ll start with a word to our allies and the 3 C’s of being safe places for folks to disclose to:

  1. Be Conscious- Check your privilege, know this is difficult and know that you don’t have the right to this information.
  2. Be Considerate- Can you help everyone navigate physical environment safely, are you a safe person generally and are you using affirming and non-normative language?
  3. Get Consent- If someone has disclosed to you, they have disclosed to YOU only. Be respectful and honor this information.

We’ll also discuss planning the best structure for our disclosure, getting clear on our needs, getting clear on the space we have to educate others and how to communicate everything clearly and succinctly.

Here are some of the links that we mention in our podcast:

Thanks so much for listening! We hope that this was helpful and we’d love to hear your thoughts, experiences and resources as well!

In COM|PASSionate REVOLUTION,

Skye + Traci

———

You can reach us at compassionaterevolt@gmail.com

www.compassionaterevolt.com

www.compassionaterevolt.wordpress.com

COM|PASSionate REVOLT FB