Isn’t it Queer: The Less Than Peachy Politics of Pronouns (Obnoxious Alliteration Necessary)

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Hedwig's Concerned
Hedwig’s Concerned

Disclaimer: This piece uses a veritable shit ton of “queer-speak” or words used by activists in the queer, trans and genderqueer communities. Note, I am not apologizing but I am excitedly inviting individuals who have yet to read an article of this nature, to embrace the new vocabulary. Please take into account that all of the words developed by queer activists were made with the intention of validating people’s identities, uniting communities and helping individuals to grow and feel safe being themselves. My critique of the use of this new generation of words, is to stimulate conversation and encourage inclusivity and sensitivity. Also, if you have any questions about terms such as genderfluid, trans, or cis, I would like to kindly direct you to google. Enjoy!

Google

I heard by a sour word of mouth recently that there are folks in the LGBTQ-ABCD’s positive community that are less than positive in regards to genderqueer folks choice of pronouns. I was made aware of multiple genderqueer individuals that believe that in order to use they/them pronouns, one has to be androgynous (and also that masculine folks should use he/him and feminine she/her). That sounds to me like a rule made up by cis people. Just sayin. Why so derisive? Why so exclusionary? Why, and according to whom, don’t individuals get to pick their own pronouns? The dude does not abide. It’s another example of people, within their own communities, bullying each other because of their own projected discomfort with people refusing to conform to gender binaries. It’s problematic and does not foster progress toward a dynamic understanding of the gender spectrum.

I also want to acknowledge the more talked about tension between non-binary folks and transmen/transwomen regarding identification presentation. There are ways in which the philosophy of genderlessness, agender, genderfluidity etc. have been interpreted as being threatening to people who identify as transmen or transwomen. They/them pronouns are sometimes seen as threatening or invalidating to his/her already persecuted and marginalized identity. On the other hand, individuals under the non-binary and/or genderqueer umbrella also find it frustrating to be accused of being not “trans” enough because they did not choose to transition from their assigned sex and conditioned gender to “the opposite one”. This is a gender-binary enforcing concept at best, and especially harmful when so many genderqueer individuals struggle with their own transitions. There are challenging emotional aspects of accepting your place on the gender spectrum as well as whether or not you would like to pursue physical transition procedures, such as hormone therapy or surgery.

To summarize for our readers that are less fluent in queer-speak, there will always be debate about fitting into the community “enough.”

Oh, the age old question of enough. “Have they struggled “enough” to be part of our community?” For instance, “are bi-sexuals gay enough?”, “Do non-binary people count as trans?”, “Do you count as a “real” insert race if you are mixed race?”. You can see how well lubricated that downward slope becomes.These questions are often asked by members of marginalized communities in a pattern that mimics patriarchal, white, cis-male tendencies to constantly invalidate the power of one’s peers in order to protect one’s community from further persecution . These questions of “enough” are exclusionary and derisive. Ironically they use a vocabulary (cis, trans, non-binary…) initially intended to offer validation to previously unrecognized alternative identities. The idea that any one individual has to prove their pronoun, experience of culture or race, sexual orientation, or any other major facet of one’s identity, that really should defined by the unique experience of the individual, is ludicrous. An individual’s experience of gender is an absolutely unique facet of their personality and they should be allowed to pick what identifiers suit them. Not to say white people should be allowed to pick their race, that’s not how it works Rachel Dolezal. That’s just appropriation.

This is also Ludacris.
This is also Ludacris.

I bring the fruit cocktail, vocabulary of queer politics to the attention of the reader less because I’m invested in people “getting it right”, and more to encourage people to remember why we are hacking the most colonial language in human history, in the first place. In my humble gay motherfucking opinion, language simultaneously defines and limits our existence. Which gives us the incredible opportunity to create communities that have space within them for everybody on the gender spectrum, by editing and improving the language we were taught. Yes everyone. Cis-gendered female femmes who dream of barbies for days, transmasculine fairies who are only butch on fridays and ain’t nobody can tell what they were assigned at birth, and transwomen who like forest green doc martins and a matching mohawk. Everyone at EVERY point on the gender spectrum should be welcome to identify as they please, and naturally, a good ally for this community would then be defined as someone who can hold space for people without questions of whether they are “enough”.

{Image Credit: (https://www.etsy.com/listing/126430117/respect-gender-pronouns-lgbtq)}
{Image Credit: ETSY Listing}

-To your personal revolts and riots and especially to your learning,

Cory

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Cory is a poet and sex worker 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.

 

 

 

 

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Special Announcement: Trans Pride Orange County Thurs 7/30!

Hey all! Special Announcement for folks hanging out with us under the Orange Curtain!

Trans Pride Orange County is happening this Thursday!

{Image Credit: http://www.lgbtcenteroc.org/event/trans-pride/?instance_id=45701}

Lots of resources and a free glam closet! Donate clothes, get involved, get information! We found out a little late and are not sure if we can physically make it but we’ll be there in spirit!

Can’t make it out? Need more resources? Check out our resources/services pages! Let us know what’s helpful and what we can add!

Happy Pride,

COM|PASSionate REVOLT

 

 

 

Isn’t it Queer?: How to Date Online in the Age of Tinder Queers

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In terms of Okcupid dates, my worst first date stories almost always take the cake, for the simple reason that I date A LOT. I’ve made it a point to take dating seriously, not just because I’d like to invite authentic, healthy connection into my life, but also because it’s like participating in a sociological study. At age 20, I was working in social-justice-arts-collectives, participating as an ally in WOC circles and applying for environmental non-profit jobs and managed to find myself on a first date with an ex-member of the Aryan Brotherhood. The things people leave out of their dating profiles are astounding. Despite my abject horror, my anthropologist heart found the whole fifteen minutes fascinating; he was livid because he had been kicked out of the monstrous gathering when they found out that he was an eighth Honduran. The universe has a brilliant talent for ironic humor. It was my first EVER Okcupid date and he said he was “cuddly,” so I was like, “sure! cuddles are dope.” After six minutes of him railing on “the gays,” “mouthy women,” and “chinks who were too lazy to learn English,” I spent the next nine minutes trying to execute a clean escape without losing any crucial limbs.

{Image Credit: http://bit.ly/1Gf7Ze4}

Thank Gay Baby Jesus that since my incident with my bald, bigoted friend, my ability to screen people for dates has improved substantially, but I still maintain that the best approach to dating, online or otherwise, is with a wide-eyed sense of curiosity about people. Genuinely enjoying the process of dating, regardless of the outcome, allows me enough optimism to be open to the right people. Because the reality is, dating is a shit show, especially when you are looking for queer, pronoun savvy poly folks–but good people are out there. In my quest to build my poly army, I have found dozens of amazing queer identifying poly kinksters, but I know that to continue finding these people I have to play a numbers game. In a homophobic, heteronormative, sexist, racist culture, one has to approach dating with tenacity and a steel plated heart. With that said, I hear endless excuses for why my friends do not pursue dating. “It’s too much work having to read through all those profiles,”  “how am I supposed to find a person who isn’t going to be freaked out that I work at a dungeon,” “I don’t think there is anyone remotely not-racist on this fucking site,” “I’m queerer than the light of day but all I get is douchey comments about my ass from cis-straight men.”{Image Credit: http://bit.ly/1DhWSU3}

{Image Credit: http://bit.ly/1DhWSU3}

Yeah. I hear ya. It’s not simple or easy by any means. It’s not untrue that the internet and local bar are abundant with fuck-heads but in order to surpass fuck-headery to genuine connection, you have to meet with a fuck-head or two. If you think about it statistically, if you are a trans, polyamorous, kinky, person of color and you’ve tried Okcupid or Tinder, that means other beautiful humans such as yourself have too and despite what you may think, there are so many others out there! It’s just a matter of putting yourself out there so you can find them.

I attribute my success in finding good people to several things: improving my screening process, going on excessive amounts of dates, having a brutally honest depiction of myself on my profile, and having a library of knowledge about people’s red flags and how to respond when you see those bad boys flying. Going on dates frequently isn’t about the way you look or how much money you have (although in Los Angeles I acknowledge fully that it’s a factor), if you are an authentic queer (poly/trans/kinky/poc/non-binary) human, you are inherently valuable to some other authentic queer (poly/trans/kinky/poc/non-binary) human, swiping daily will help you find that other authentic human. So send that first message!!! Grow some ovaries or kidneys or something and tell them what you like about them. Sending the first message is more important than eating a healthy breakfast…I guess…if you value your sex life before your health, which you shouldn’t, but I’ve become side-tracked. Anyway… queer dating and shit. I should also mention that freaking out about people not responding to your messages is extremely counter-productive. It’s not really your business why they didn’t respond to you. Maybe they just had their heart broken and your gorgeous fro-hawk reminds them of their ex, or they think your bro hat is stupid, or they think The Shining is a stupid favorite movie. Hold out for the people that see your profile and light up like a glow worm. The more profiles you read and the more messages you send, the more people you will find who respond in just that way. Also, it really helps to have good pictures of yourself. Blurry, grainy pictures–even if you’re literally on the eiffel tower–don’t sell yourself well. At the wrong angle, everyone has a double chin. MySpace the shit out of your Tinder and find your good angles. Tyra Banks actually has some decent advice on that but I can’t stand her, so you are welcome to check that out if you think you can handle it.

In terms of finding red flags, that really comes down to knowing what you are looking for, what kind of people you surround yourself with and why. If it is absolutely a deal breaker for you that a person is a smoker, don’t be afraid to put it in your profile. Why waste time on dates with people you know you won’t be able to tolerate? If you’re a fierce advocate for marginalized communities, ignore messages from people who don’t make any mention of their participation in community activism in their profile.{Image Credit: http://bit.ly/1N2tLre}

{Image Credit: http://bit.ly/1N2tLre}

I have a friend at the dungeon who is KBR, or kinky beyond recognition, and she complained to me that she liked the woman she went on a date with, but she was,“so boring and vanilla.” At which point I asked her, “Did she mention being kinky in her profile? So why did you go on a date with her?” She confessed to fearing that she would never find a partner who not only liked her for who she was, but who had similar interests. So she felt she had to settle in order to find connection or sex.  I think at a certain point we all sell ourselves short because we are afraid that our people are not out there. I’m not suggesting that every one of your hook-ups has to be into the same meditation practices as you or that you can only fuck other vegans. You do you boo. But it is important to remember that your people are out there and they will love you for you who are, kinks and knots and bruises included. The more voraciously you pursue finding your people, the quicker you will. If my ungodly amount of awkward, joyful, inspiring, fear inducing and straight up weird dates has taught me anything, it’s that every single kind of human imaginable exists and they are all looking for love and intimacy.

A bit of healthy introspection goes a long way in these situations. What personality traits do you value in other people? What are your biggest pet peeves? If it absolutely destroys you when people mess up your pronouns, maybe it can be your rule not to message people that don’t mention having an understanding of gender identity in their profile. How do you show love and what kind of love-showing do you respond well to? Then put that shit up for review, tell people exactly who you are and what you are looking for and only respond to people that are looking for things that align with your values.

These things of course, all come with practice. Real talk: I use dating apps on my phone as a way to procrastinate from doing other things I really should be doing. It’s productive in a sick sort of way but it certainly guarantees a more interesting selection of humans to spend my time with. The amazing part of being the unique human that you’ve become, is that you learned everything you know by experience. If you want to cultivate a healthy sex life, jump in gender neutral genitals first. Online dating and/or picking up other humans with the hope of real conversation and possible connection at bars is absolutely a shit show, but if nothing else, it’ll give you great stories.

-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.

 

MHM 16: Contemporary Relationships Wrap-Up

Hey Everyone!

We’re back from Austin! Actually, have been for a couple of weeks- sorry for the delay!

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We wanted to talk a little bit about our trip generally and also share some take-aways from the workshops that we attended. Below are the full titles, speakers names and any other link information we could wrestle up!

We feel so lucky to be able to share these resources with you and Austin treated us so well! Thanks Contemporary Relationships!

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 

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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, survive and flourish in the Southern California area. The Mental Health Mash-Up is their offering of thoughts, process and tips towards mental health and wellness as queer folks navigating the intersections of stigma, oppression and identities.

Isn’t It Queer?: Finding Our People

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Have you ever run headfirst into your people? After unconsciously shielding and censoring your speech for people who you didn’t feel safe around, after dressing yourself down or “less loud” to avoid being asked ignorant questions, or for some of us, wondering if we “pass” with anxious tension, there they are, like a big fucking rainbow cake. Like a gay fairy tale, you walk into a family of incredible humans that accept you in all your queerness and polyness and with all of your kinks AND they are so fucking queer (and poly! and kinky!) you can barely handle it AND these magical bastards think that every word of passionate discussion on gender politics you utter is the sexiest thing they’ve ever heard. WTF. You people exist? You mean you’ve been here the whole time?! Oh Los Angeles how you spurn me! Theatrics aside, the experience reminded me of a conversation I’d had recently with a dear friend.

no

My incredible, life changing, ally, Lyneonme, once described the bittersweet experience of having visited Brooklyn for the first time. She grew up as one of the only black women in her neighborhood and at the schools she attended. She said that it was the first time she felt like she didn’t stand out for just walking down the street, almost baffled that she wasn’t being tokenized, and also one of the first times that she lacked the constant haunting isolation of being the sole black face in a community, as she went about her daily business. This is when she introduced me to the concept of “finding your people” and how important it was for her personal growth, to surround herself with a healthy community of people who identified with experiences she’d had. Her words stayed with me as I visited Oakland on my recent road trip.

Everyday I was introduced to a series of incredible individuals who could discuss gender politics, trans politics, and sex workers rights, and each conversation left me feeling more and more affirmed and confident in my identity and in my life choices. I saw personal style that reflected mine. I met a variety of polyamorous folks and was absolutely enamored with their ability to give each other real constructive feed back and validation during challenging life events. The experience was powerful and transcendent and to be honest, it initially left me bittersweet, like Lyneonme described.

It made me resent Los Angeles for it’s materialism and vanity, and especially for it’s fragmented queer communities. If Oakland has families of poly, kinky, and queer folks, Los Angeles has a series of estranged cousins, who are missing the shit out of one another. Jealous and bitter, check…but once I set aside my catholic (possibly genetic) martyr complex, the experience left me overjoyed that such supportive, inclusive communities existed. It also left me pondering a few questions regarding community building.

If I were to move north in hopes of building a chosen family in the Bay Area, would I be abandoning the growth I am making in Los Angeles by facing adversity? Would I be robbing myself and Los Angeles of the possibility of building community and creating my own chosen family here. Fighting to build a kinky, poly, queer friend circle in L.A. would then provide a space for others who are feeling isolated, to feel affirmed. We all deserve a chance to be held in the arms of a community that provides nurturing and safety, that is obvious. Not to mention, through the process of searching for affirming alternative lifestyle comrades in So-cal, I have built a small family of incredible allies of different backgrounds, who have educated me on the struggles of other marginalized communities. I also know that these allies have supported me and loved me for who I am, in every phase of my growth and when they didn’t have the information they needed to affirm my life choices or gender identity, they had genuine curiosity and open arms to learning that information. I’ve heard great activists say, “You can’t build a movement if you move” and I’ve also heard great activists say, “Surround yourself with your people,” The question remains then, what is the importance of settling into a city and building community and alternately what is the impact of moving? You tell me bold spirit.

-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 they aim to lead by example by bravely living an examined lifestyle.

“The learning process is something you can incite, literally incite, like a riot.”

Audre Lord

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**ATTENTION QUEER,  KINKY, POLY FAMILY** COM|PASSionate REVOLT will be at the Contemporary Relationships Conference in Austin, TX on May 15 + 16, 2015 doing a workshop on Queering Consent: Navigating Consent Outside of the Hetero AND Homo Normative.

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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.

Isn’t it Queer?: The Alchemy of the Spirit

Trigger warning: In today’s Isn’t it Queer? I will be discussing transphobia and gender discrimination. In some of the content, I pull from examples of parents or loved ones who make judgments of gender which may be triggering for some individuals.

There is a painful beauty in the necessity of social deviance and in breaking gender norms in order to become our authentic selves. Many individuals experience years of excruciating gender conditioning, especially when we brave the gender “deviance” necessary to become who we feel we are on the inside; i.e. “You look prettier in a dress,” “I don’t know, you just look too…girly…can’t you wear the baggier jeans honey?” “I don’t know what you are trying to prove by not wearing make-up, it just makes you look like an angry bitch.” The early conditioning, littered with misogyny and gender discrimination, plants seeds of shame and fear in our ideas of self. Members of the trans community also face degrading judgment in the form of outright transphobic statements; “You are my daughter, you can’t be a man,” or “ewww! that is disgusting, what happens to their genitals?”, creating a foundation riddled with fear of isolation from family members, and the very real possibility of not being able to find work and stability because we want our inner gender identity to match our visible exterior.

“When the Japanese mend broken objects they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold, because they believe that when something’s suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful.” – Barbara Bloom

So here is my light bulb moment! We can and are finding ways to take care of ourselves and our communities using art, self care, therapy, yoga, and human connection. We are finding our fissures and breaks and casting them in the gold of our authenticity. All corn aside, we need to celebrate our painful transitions into our real selves as being gorgeous acts of androgynous alchemy. Taking our traumas, processing them, and using the hurt to fuel or drive our passions and pursuits can turn the tables on systematic oppression for our own self empowerment. In further tangential pondering, this artistic thinking can help us reframe concepts such as ‘transitioning,’ to be so much more substantial, and less black and white, than “getting a sex change.” How powerful would it be if we viewed transitioning as being lucky. What other humans get to watch their coming of age, and transition into becoming their authentic selves, physically as well as emotionally? Explicitly said, the function of this reframing is not to invalidate the immense pain of being repudiated by a culture or to play down systematic oppression, but instead the reframe is meant to be a function of empowerment for the individual’s emotional growth. To help us feel healthy and whole, we need healthy and whole perspectives on what it means to be who we are, whether that is trans, bi, gender queer, etc.

These are some artists, performance artists, and photographers that are busy demonstrating the earthy, real beauty of gender fluidity, trans identity, and gender non-conformity. I hope these pieces move you to tears, like they did for me:

Heather Cassils 1
{Collaboration piece from Heather Cassils, preformance artist and photographer by Alejandro Santiago}
Heather Cassils 2
{Collaboration piece from Heather Cassils, preformance artist and photographer by Alejandro Santiago}
Half and Half
{Mo B Dick’s Half and Half. Also check out this incredible queer art tumblr, it’s impressive: https://queercultureproject.wordpress.com/}
{http://www.janamarcus.com/docus/TransPresentation/sld001.htm}
{http://www.janamarcus.com/docus/TransPresentation/sld001.htm}

Jana Marcus’s Transfigurations, is a photography-interview project that aims to illuminate the Trans perspective, using insightful information from the personal anecdotes of trans individuals. These personal accounts are movingly penetrative and offer a more complex depiction of fluidity in the identities and experiences of trans individuals. To view the project visit Jana Marcus’s website: Transfigurations.

{http://www.glaad.org/blog/photographer-jen-rosensteins-transformational-project-features-transgender-subjects}
{http://www.glaad.org/blog/photographer-jen-rosensteins-transformational-project-features-transgender-subjects}
{Patty Chang, Melons (At a Loss) }
{Patty Chang, Melons (At a Loss) }
{http://dusticunningham.com/}
{http://dusticunningham.com/}
{http://dusticunningham.com/}
{http://dusticunningham.com/}
{Genderbent http://dusticunningham.com/}
{Genderbent http://dusticunningham.com/}

So to leave on an alliterative note, the world of trans, gender non-conforming art and activism is alive with variety. New bold spirits brave enough to turn their pain into inspiring testimonials and social commentary, emerge every day.

So my lovely gender warriors, one last question: In what way can your pain power your passion?

-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 they aim to lead by example by bravely living an examined lifestyle.

“The learning process is something you can incite, literally incite, like a riot.”

Audre Lord

e

 

 

MHM 5: Visibility

Good Morning REVOLUTIONARIES! Happy Monday!

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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.