Isn’t it Queer: Early Signs You Would Eventually Become… Yourself

Banner

I am a slut for words.I have a bizarre kinky affection for Audre Lorde and Shakespeare.  Finding a word that describes a feeling you’ve had but could never describe, is liking finding out vegan milkshakes exist.

{Image Credit: http://bit.ly/1JY0zkQ}
{Image Credit: http://bit.ly/1JY0zkQ}

Today I was inspired by:

énouement

n. the bittersweetness of having arrived here in the future, where you can finally get the answers to how things turn out in the real world—who your baby sister would become, what your friends would end up doing, where your choices would lead you, exactly when you’d lose the people you took for granted—which is priceless intel that you instinctively want to share with anybody who hadn’t already made the journey, as if there was some part of you who had volunteered to stay behind, who was still stationed at a forgotten outpost somewhere in the past, still eagerly awaiting news from the front. {http://www.dictionaryofobscuresorrows.com/}

This word moves me because I have often flirted with the sorrow of not being able to let my 16-year-old-self, know that there is so much more to the world than the isolation and humiliation of public high school (see “monochopsis”). If I had known that the glorious, chaotic, noisy world of city life, queer community, kink, polyamory, and art existed, and with such vibrancy, I can’t even imagine what I would have been capable of then. Which brings me to one of my favorite topics: early signs you should have seen, that you would become yourself.

One of my favorite questions to ask the amazing humans that I work with at the dungeon is, “Growing up, did you see any signs that you would become kinky?” Their answers are never less than fantastic. One dominatrix told me the story of her taking turns “kidnapping” her siblings and tying them up to chairs and blindfolding them. Who knew that she would one day get paid to do that to people? One of the submissives described to me a game she played in highschool with friends that involved competitively smacking each other on the face as punishment for losing the game they called, “rock-paper-scissors-slap.” Just little hints that they would perhaps one day become proud purveyors of kink and sadomasochism.

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

This question is also fun to adapt to queer communities and alternative lifestyle communities. I often ask, “Did you ever see early indicators that you would be queer or gay?” or “Did you have polyamorous habits as a kid?”  At a party of non-monogamous individuals, I listened to one individual describe that at their preschool they had managed to acquire two boy-friends and one girl-friend and that the little radical collective would gather in the sandbox and make each other mud-cakes to celebrate their group love. They said laughing, “I should have known at that point that I was going to try non-monogamy, and I am still baffled that it took me so long to figure out that I liked men.”

{Image Credit: http://bit.ly/1NvHc37}
{Image Credit: http://bit.ly/1NvHc37}

I personally like to laugh at myself, as I answer the question, “Were there early signs that I would identify as genderqueer?” I recall making my college boyfriend dress me in his clothes, brown corduroy trousers, a black band t-shirt and a charcoal grey newspaper boy cap. I looked up at him in the mirror and said, “Oh my god, this is so hot! I make such a sexy boy!” I laughed semi-maniacally and I believe his response was a confused shrug and a chuckle, “sure…um…yeah.” That night I threw on my favorite tight black dress and red lipstick and went to ladies night at Hamburger Mary’s, and thought bitterly, “why do I have to pick.” The beautiful little red flags of gender deviance were flying but I wasn’t ready to wave those bad boys with pride.

Isn’t it queer that there are so many red flag moments, we remain blind to until we are older? Of course now that we identify as who we are, have been through what we have been through, and have a grasp on our identity (or are on the journey to getting that grip),  it’s obvious what those experiences meant. You have to laugh at the fact that  there is no way to go back in time and whisper in your own naive ear, “Bitch you are gay!!!” or some other such revelatory fact. What were your red flags that you would become who are you are today? What moments in your current life do you think might one day be seen as those same beautifully ironic red flags?

With that said, this enouement, that we feel, this sulky regret that we cannot forewarn our past selves of our impending future, can be bittersweet. It can be even sweeter if we remind ourselves that even being able to recognize that we are in progress as a human, or that we have made such substantial leaps forward in developing our identity, shows incredible resilience and emotional fortitude. In the days when we were young (whether your young moment happened when you were four or forty-three), you were absolutely doing the very best you could- to be yourself- with the tools you had available at the time.

Sitting on the precipice of your new life, looking back at a landscape of awkward teenage moments, misunderstandings of self and times you sold yourself short, you can show yourself gratitude for all the learning and growing you had to do to realize those moments were just that. So goddamn it thank yourself!!! And maybe, the next time you find yourself questioning a conventional norm while discovering your preferences, let those flags fly!!! Because you are stars and nothing less, even on your seething days.

Happy Pride my loves!

-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 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 Episode 6: More Than a Single Story

MHMBanner

Good Morning REVOLUTIONARIES!

We hope everyone had a lovely V-Day and you all showered yourselves with lots and lots of love and self-care!

On today’s Mental Health Mash-Up we talk about the complications of one dimensionality, how our stories serve us and how single stories/labels/identities limit us.

I AM MORE THAN A SINGLE STORY

You can listen here or visit us at Libsyn!

Here are links to some things we mention in the podcast:

We hope you enjoy and we’d love to hear your thoughts!

 As always you can reach us at…

compassionaterevolt@gmail.com

www.compassionaterevolt.com

www.compassionaterevolt.wordpress.com

COM|PASSionate REVOLT FB

 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 5: Visibility

Good Morning REVOLUTIONARIES! Happy Monday!

MHMBanner

Today’s Mental Health Mash-Up Ep5 is about Visibility. Skye and Traci will discuss the changing nature of queer/trans visibility in the media, the way we are in control and not in control of our visibility and the choices we make about our visibility that may or may not feel good to our bodies, brains, hearts and spirits.

As always you can listen here:

or visit our Lib Syn Page.

{Image Credit: http://bit.ly/1i7wwdG}
{Image Credit: http://bit.ly/1i7wwdG}

Here are links to events/info we reference in the podcast today:

We hope you enjoy and we’d love to hear your thoughts!

You can reach us at compassionaterevolt@gmail.com

www.compassionaterevolt.com

www.compassionaterevolt.wordpress.com

COM|PASSionate REVOLT FB

In COM|PASSionate REVOLUTION,

Skye (He, Him, His|They, Them, Theirs) + Traci (She, Her, Hers|They, Them, Theirs)

———-

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. 

———-

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 4: Energy + Advocacy

Happy Monday Everyone! We hope everyone had a wonderful Super Bowl weekend! Not football fans either? Well, we hope you had good snacks. We’re mostly in it for the vegan tofuffalo wings (perhaps some COM|PASSionate food blogging should be in the works.)

Today’s Mental Health Mash-Up will be in blog format (we’re also dreaming up some videos, prezi’s and other magic to come.) We’d like to welcome anyone popping over from LibSyn! “Hey, friends! This here’s the main blog– we hope you podcast listeners stick around and check out some of what the other folks are doing around these parts!”

MHMBanner

In this “episode” of the Mental Health Mash-Up we would like to talk a little about community energy and advocacy as well as, of course, how this plays into our mental health and self-care. Last week this post from Non-Profit With Balls (they’re awesome by the way- check them out) on Trickle Down Community Engagement came through our feeds. This concept isn’t a new one to a lot of us in the COM|PASSionate REVOLT community and was really more of an “Amen, Vu, Amen, thanks for saying this in a way that we wanted to laugh as much as cry,” moment! It really struck a chord with us and got us thinking about the sustainability of the work, how we’re being compensated for it (financial and otherwise) and how we take care of ourselves while we’re doing it.

On the last episode of Mental Health Mash-Up: Disclosure, we encouraged folks to take a moment to check in with how much educating they were willing to do along with what information they were trying to relay. We implored you all to remember that  it is NOT your job to educate others on your identity– even if your identity is something they may not be familiar with. We also discussed the very relevant possibility that in some cases, if one has the energy and desire, a little educating of those around you can go a long way in making your journey smoother.

It’s a bind. We know.

And  it doesn’t just happen on the personal level with those we choose to tell in “perfectly” (read comical, awkward, ridiculous, etc) orchestrated “Coming Out” performances. It takes us off guard and happens when we’re asked to talk to a friend of a friend, a kid of a friend, a sibling/cousin/roommate, etc going through a similar journey. It happens when we’re asked to educate our colleagues or speak to a group about our lived experiences. How many of us have become accidental activists in this way, when asked to lay out our struggle, even though we haven’t fully figured out yet to some group, because we were the only one’s that had any information about being {insert identity journey here.}

It’s not all bad. A lot of us have found it to be a really affirming and passion fueled part of our lives. Story, experience, knowledge and wisdom gained sharing are central pieces of what we’re doing here on COM|PASSSionate REVOLT because we believe it to be healing– to ourselves and others. And lived experience storytelling and resource sharing has long been a piece of the LGBTQ civil rights movement’s gains in strength and visibility.

It’s an admirable thing to share your story AND it’s not your job.

It’s imperative to our individual and community’s mental health that we each find our own balance of if and how much of this we are able to do.

It’s AS important to say, “No, I don’t have the space/time/energy/etc” or “Yes, I do have experience speaking on this topic here is my workshop rate, dates I’m available and other sliding scale/trade based ways you can compensate me for my expertise” as it is to say, “Hell, yes, I have some free time and I’d love to come talk to other folks about how awesome our community is and how they can be more awesome to us!”

This check-in with ourselves in the arc of our lives, the space of our year and our moment to moment present is a way that we can honor ourselves as complicated, fabulous, 3 dimensional beings traversing this complicated, fabulous, 3 dimensional life journey!

So, in conclusion, thank you for reading all you queer educators, lived experience panelists, non-profits of one, vegan tofuffalo fans and folks that have accidentally found us through a series of serendipitous link clicks and hours of internet surfing.

We sincerely appreciate rolling through this rough and tumble journey of life with you as our community!

Please, take us for a ride in your back pocket as you wander, skip and cartwheel through this big beautiful and sometimes chaotic world!

And if you need a little extra support or guidance in how to say “No, I need to take care of myself” check out Non-Profit With Balls’ very inspirational Contact Page.

Until next week,

In revolutionary COM|PASSion,

Skye + Traci

———

You can reach us at compassionaterevolt@gmail.com

www.compassionaterevolt.com

www.compassionaterevolt.wordpress.com

COM|PASSionate REVOLT FB

MHM Ep. 2: Language + Access

Happy Monday REVOLUTIONARIES!

MHMBanner

Episode 2 of the Mental Health Mashup is now live on LibSyn! You can also listen below:

In this episode Skye + Traci will discuss some of their intentions and perseverations behind the Mental Health Mashup. Specifically, how access to language best serves and/or limits community conversation, education and identity processes.

We hope you enjoy and we’d love to hear your thoughts!

You can reach us at compassionaterevolt@gmail.com

www.compassionaterevolt.com

www.compassionaterevolt.wordpress.com

COM|PASSionate REVOLT FB

In COM|PASSionate REVOLUTION,

Skye + Traci