Tuesday, January 28, 2014

how far we've come by E

At my new school, I joined the equivalent of the gay/straight alliance. At a recent meeting we were challenged to get in touch with our roots and read books about the history of the Gay Rights Movement.  Being a poor college student, but intrigued, I downloaded a bunch of samples from books like Making Gay History and A Queer History of the United States.

I really enjoyed these samples and both of the books I've named are now on my "Book to Purchase When I Have Money" list.  And even though these samples were only 10% of the book, they did offer me one really good insight: we have come a long way.

Lately my home-state of Utah has been battling against recognizing same sex marriage and it has been incredibly disheartening.  Moving to Wyoming has put me back in the closet as it were, because I am now faced with the "do I, don't I," question of coming out to my roommate and the new people that I meet.  Hearing anti-gay sentiment from people that I meet, reading about it in the newspaper... it makes me wonder if this is a battle worth fighting, if this is the mountain I want to die on.  I ask myself, "Will being homosexual ever be okay with the majority of people? Will my relationship with a woman ever be federally recognized, and state-transferable?"  I bitch and I moan about how much farther we have to go.  But then I read those samples.

Did you know that in the '50's, if you were even SUSPECTED of being gay, you couldn't get a teaching license in the state of California? Or that sending anything that mentioned anything remotely homosexual, like relationship advice, through the mail was a federal offense?  That men would go to lesbian bars, sexually assault the women and when accused would say "But they are gay, you can't rape a gay woman"?  That you could go to an asylum if it was confirmed that you were gay?  Being gay was considered a treatable, mental illness until the '70's.  Now that is disheartening.

Comparing these things- where we are now and where we were 60 years ago- we are in the last few miles of an ultramarathon that has been hundreds of miles long.

In therapy, one of the things I have been told a lot is that reframing is a good thing.  That is, rather than looking at the situation and thinking, "but look at all that is left to do", look at a situation and think, "look at all I have done".  We may have a ways left to go, but look how far we've come.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

dichotomy and why it sucks by E

When someone walks on both sides of the road, like I do, you have the capacity to be attracted to both men and women.  For this reason, though it may not be possible to choose to fall in love with someone of the same sex, it is possible to choose, however hard, to be in a homosexual relationship.  And lots of people see this as CHOOSING to be gay.  But I am not gay, I'm pansexual. Being in a relationship with a woman doesn't make me a gay anymore than dating a man makes me straight.

People like me, the bi-pan-queer crowd, tend to get pounded by both Kinsey 6's and 0's, being told to "just pick a side".  It was pointed out to me that my existence as someone who is attracted to both "debunks" the theory that people are born gay, that people can't choose.  Because if someone can be attracted to both, then they should just choose to conform to society and be "straight".

So the question right now is: do I attempt to shirk my attraction to women and be "straight" or do I shirk my attraction to men and be "gay"?  Or do I find other bi-pan-queer people and rock my duality?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

back in the closet by E

As previously discussed (here) I am not heterosexual, but rather I like girls AND boys. I came out to my family and all of my Facebook friends last June and it was great! I could post and say anything I wanted to without people thinking "isn't she, is she??" and I could be myself.  Well, I've moved to Wyoming for school and am rooming with a girl I just met face-to-face for the first time yesterday. I am back in the closet.

Because of the hetero-centricity of American society, a non-hetero person has to come out to every new person they meet.  So meeting new people puts me back into the closet and that's a place I don't want to be.  But by coming out, even though I'm relieving the pressure on myself, I may be causing the other person distress.  Like this new roommate. I could come out to her and it could go well and there could be no issue.  Or I could come out to her and she could see me saying "hun" or "darlin" to her as me coming on to her.  She could be afraid to use the same bathroom or dishes as me.

Coming out to someone challenges their perception of their self.  They suddenly look at themselves and wonder if they ever did anything that might be construed at flirting, and they wonder if you've ever come onto them. And I can't handle doing that, and trying to deal with that in my roommate.

So...this is Wyoming. They don't exactly take to non-hetero ways of thinking- actually any non-conservative, white bread way of thinking. So what are people gonna think of my liberal, green party, non-hetero, irreverent way of thinking. And talking. And acting.

I'm so worried that I won't be able to make friends that are my type of people.  The loud, out-spoken types that like to laugh and have fun but know about social justice and fight for those who don't have it.

Should I risk the connections that I could have those I have to be around- my roommate, my teammates- for the possible ones I might make?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

I think I'm pan.... by E

On the Kinsey Scale of Sexuality a 0 is 100%, no-questions-asked hetero and a 6 is 100%, no-questions-asked homo while everything else in between is considered bi.  But what Kinsey didn't know, or didn't take into account, is that nothing is ever that cut and dry, even into three different slices.

There is an arrangement of letters that represents all non-hetero persons: LGBTQQIP2SA.  This means: lesbian, gay, bi, trans, questioning, queer, intersex, pansex, two spirited, and asex.  There are lots of things that Kinsey.

Because I like girls AND boys, but identify as a girl, I have been bouncing back and forth between the B and the P; am I bisexual or am I pansexual.  I've asked my other non-hetero friends what they think about both of those words and this is what I've got: bi is liking a boy or a girl; pan is like people, regardless of gender.  Well I think I just answered my own question (yea me!) in a post on Facebook about how much I hate trying to explain to people that I like girls and boys:
"I just wanna grump about something: explaining to people that I like girls AND boys.  My sister makes "you keep switching teams" quibs and my brother's go to line is, "I'm confused, are you a lesbian or not?" And I want to yell at him, "HOW THE FUCK DO YOU THINK I FEEL?!!!" and then slam a door in his face.  Why is it so hard to explain to people that I'm not a 0 or a 6, that I'm somewhere in the middle?! I get so annoyed with it!! I like people, I like sex, I like connecting with someone, why does the gender matter?! gah!!"
That last line: "I like people, I like sex, I like connecting with someone, why does gender matter?!" answered my own question about me.  I like people regaurdless of gender. I am attracted to people because of their individual traits.  I like boys and girls for different reasons and I like different people for different reasons.

To quote Pink: I'm not a slut, I just love love

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Revolution Will Be Dirty, Fabulous and Live on the Air

My activism has taken many forms, I’ve been a street fighter, a journalist, a speech maker, just about anything you can imagine. But I never thought I’d take my fight to the airwaves as I have over the last several months.

I’m the co-host of a weekly show called The Rainbow Asylum, along with Arizona activist Mike Shipley (aka Head Nurse Mikester). We started the show back in September after I was a guest on Mike’s weekly political talk show Outright Arizona. The both of us had such a blast on the air that I suggested we do our own show.

But it had to be something different, Outright AZ, the radio network Mike had his show on, was mainly political shows, all of them with a libertarian bent and a few focused on LGBT issues. Mike and I were both serious political junkies and insanely driven activists, we needed a break from the constant work we were both engaged in.

So that’s how it started, a weekly break from the insanity that consumes most serious political addicts (and hence the name “The Rainbow Asylum”). But we had to go further than that; Mike and I are both cultural radicals, often scorning mainstream gay culture. We had to attempt to reinvent it.

We went for it, Mike adopted the stage persona of Head Nurse Mikester and became a sharp tongued androgynous king bitch, liberally lashing celebrities, politicians and yes, even yours truly. I became the Soundmaster, spinning gems from the queercore underground, including mainstays like Sister George, the Tom Robinson Band, and Pansy Division, but also digging deeper and airing bands like Maris the Great & the Faggots of Death, Le Sexoflex, Hunx & His Punx, the Strong Boys, and Closet Burner.

Slowly, but surely we started to get somewhere with it, people dug our crass humor, the records we were playing, and our first weekly bit “Slut of the Week”, where we pick a celebrity that’s being particularly asinine and officially end their careers. Most of our targets have been musicians or actors, but we have taken a few political swipes, such as when we declared the entire US Congress as “Slut of the Week” over the government shutdown.

Our first break happened with our Halloween show, we had Maris the Great on as our guest and he was insane, discussing his habit of eating the brains of his lovers, the danger that mere mortals face in his presence and during our “Slut of the Week” bit, he ate the brains of our chosen loser. People tuned in to hear the King of the Gay Undead growl with two weird activists.

Shortly after Maris was on, we expanded our show to an hour and a half and added a new cast member, Sandra Furr. I knew Sandra back when I was in college and knew she would be perfect for the show. With her sharp drag persona, she started doing a bit called “Sandra Furr’s Concrete Carpet” where she would dig up a queer artist who was more pop than what I normally played and highlight one of their songs.

We were growing and quickly becoming the highest rated show on the network, we had our own on-air personalities and were getting a fairly regular cast of callers, who would dial in to make crass jokes, tell us they loved the show, or tell embarrassing stories about either me or Mikester.

But even though what we were doing was meant to be non-political, it was revolutionary in its own right. Mike and I both came out of the underground music scenes, we were used to digging for our own culture and identities and with the mainstreaming of American gay culture, a lot of that raw, dirty edge was rapidly disappearing in a haze of Top Forty pop radio and drag queen reality shows.

So we set out to tear it down and rebuild it in our own image and encourage our brothers and sisters to rediscover their own queer cultural roots and find what was going on that The Advocate wasn’t talking about.

And I think so far we’re succeeding…

Tune into the Rainbow Asylum, Sunday Nights at 10:00 PM EST (9:00 Central, 8:00 AZ) on the Outright Arizona Network at BlogTalkRadio: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/outrightaz

Find the Rainbow Asylum on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RainbowAsylum