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Queeries Closing Announcement

It is with a heavy heart that I announce that as of this month Queeries Blog will no longer be producing new content.

Queeries was a passion project of mine and after long consideration and a tough discussion between myself and assistant editor Colleen E. Smith, we realized we cannot sustain running the blog anymore. Queeries has always been on a volunteer basis for both ourselves and all of our artists and as funds and time has run low and more pressing action happens across the world, we realized it was time to disband.

It has been an absolute honor to host such a myriad of LGBTQIA+ talent for the past two years. The many writers and artists that have bared their souls on the pages of Queeries all have done tremendous work pro-bono, providing their work for the sake of sharing it with all of you. In the past two years we’ve shipped out zines across the country (and even to France!) that supported LGBTQIA+ causes, interviews with incredible drag talent, hosting everything from interviews with drag performers and collectives to podcasts to poetry to queer video game reviews to comics to fiction to personal memoirs. Simply put – the past two years have been a testament to the range and overflowing talent of LGBQTIA+ artists.

It has always been Queeries’ mission to uplift the voices of LGBTQIA+ artists by giving them a platform to freely share and host their work. In that spirit, all work previously uploaded will remain viewable on the website until June 2021. I highly recommend checking out our back catalogue of work. If any of our writers move you, I urge you to support them by following their social media links to their individual platforms. Each and every contributor continues to do amazing work.

Forever and always queerly yours,
Raine Grayson
Founder of Queeries Blog

Natalie

Gilbert Bécaud – Nathalie

 

“Hey, life is not so heavy,” whispered the pleasant feminine voice in my ears above the noisy music. I turned my head and stared at her mutely, my heart speeds up its beatings. “Smile a tad,” she flashed her white teeth. My lips stretched a little, but I felt no joy, as I would probably should. It was the first time since my operation at my top body part that I went out to display myself in public and it was not easy. Although the initial pains and difficulties were behind me, but there was still a long way in front of me at the path I have delineated to myself since I came to the decision to unite my body and mind.

And now, a dizzying woman stood in front of me, her eyes inviting me to meet life. I did not dare till now. Hopes and participations filled what I couldn’t call life. Not yet. I was just in the middle of the process of adjusting my body to the woman in me.

“Fancy dancing?” Her hand grasps mine and she drags me after her to the dancing floor. I do fancy, but I’m not sure my legs are capable to do so. Determinedly, she puts my hands on her waist and wraps hers around my nape. The music blows my ears up and both of us move coordinatingly. Her face reaches the décolletage of my dress, her lips fluttering-rubbing the cloth. My nipples react. How could they not… Waves of heat spread in my body.

“Come.” Again, she drags me with her, this time to the floor above. The clicks of our heels are swallowed up by the carpet covering the stairs. She stops for a minute, let go of my hand and removes her shoes. “Surely, the person who invented the heels was not in our favour, us women”, she explicates. I nod agreeably, not daring to do the same, even if I’m not at all comfortably. I never was. The need to be more of a woman than the average one, still urges in me. The need to prove I really am a woman. To whom, really? I know who I am, why do I need to convince others? Well, it is obvious – like each of us, I need approval to my existence. Nobody lives in a bubble.

A bubble. Low music welcomes us, a relief to the ears that experienced the blast at the floor underneath. Sittings are scattered in the dim hall. Shadows budge on the walls. Whisperings. I notice lying bodies, twisting. Desire is in the air.

She drops on a sofa in the corner. I stand rooted in my place; my ogle gaze is pinned to the wall, above her head. Invitingly, she pats on the seat beside her and I force my legs to fold in.

A waitress puts a jar of orange juice and two glasses in front of us. She pours us with a steady hand and leaves. I concentrate in my drink and sip it slowly, trying to calm down the tremble that shakes my soul. My limbs are stiff. I hear her putting her glass and feel her hand patting my arm. I turn to her. Meeting her eyes. So soft. Melting.

“You are so sexy,” she says to me, her voice hoarse. I can’t find my tongue. It was been swallowed in her mouth with a kiss that dazzles my head. Her hands take mine and tighten them to her. I sense her full breast pressed to my palms. A woman. I want to sink into her. Her mouth leaves mine; my fingers direct her lips to my breasts, shaped by a master surgeon. The sensation is amazing. Above and beyond everything I fantasized during the suffering and yearning years. Wow, this woman really wants me! And I want her… But… Again, this familiar but. The fear of the look in her eyes… The surprise… The reluctant… Perhaps even repulsion… What do I need it for? No! I firmly say to myself, pushing away her good intentions. Perhaps someday I’ll find enough courage in me to go all the way. I’m cutting myself off her and stand up. Lucky, I tightened it properly, since the streaming blood in me might revile…

“What’s wrong?” Her wondering eyes sending sparkles at me. It blinds me. I can’t. Not yet. It’s too soon for me. “Hey,” her arms wrap around me, “where are you running to?” Her warm touch settles my fear a little, but the need to bunker inside of me, is stronger. I glance at her a slanted hesitant gaze and turn to flee for my life.

The cool night’s air restores my breath a little. October in Paris. The Eiffel Tower flickers in the distance. Should I take a cab or walk? The shoes are not suitable, but the walking could do me good.

“Running is not helpful,” she again. “I know very well what you are going through. I was also in the place you are in now.” Her eyes cling to mine, not letting me lower them. Her hand on my shoulder is so hot, almost burning the skin. “The anxiety, the hesitations, the fear of the actual transform. And it does not disappear. Just like the scars. A permanent reminder… But the wisdom is to accept and know how to live with it. And the emphasis is on live.”

Excitement flashes my cheeks with crimson. Wow! A woman like me. Who wants me! Who will accept me as I am! “You… I mean… Have you gone through all of it? Everything?” I find my voice for the first time this evening.

A smile rises on her lips, she directs her firm, steady gaze towards me. “Would you like to find out?” Her voice is teasing.

I-do-want-want-want… A yearning is going wild in me. I-do-want-want-want… I let her lead me after her. I-do-want-want-want…

Hallucinating words

London Leaves / A – Sarah’le

Calm waves at the seashore
Calm waves at the seashore

Novella in several parts (I’ll post the rest in the coming weeks)

A

Sarah’le

 

The Rabba chanted the holy words, accompanied by the rest of the JGLG[1] members attending the ceremony of Kabalat Shabbat[2]. I love to be here, among friends. It’s better than being alone with my four walls. Two years passed since I told her I can’t cope anymore with her insane bloody attitude to life, to people, to herself and especially to me. Enough is enough, I told myself. I love you, I told her, but this is not how I imagined my life with my spouse. I want more. I need to be loved, to feel I am loved, and of course also to love back, to let out all these feelings that I have in me to give to the right woman. I love you, but I don’t think you are the right woman for me. No, you are not for me.

She was surprised at my rebellion, as I always was so obedient and never before had the courage to express my feelings. I couldn’t do that. I don’t know why I was scared to tell her off before, but I guess that there comes a time when enough is enough. ENOUGH IS really ENOUGH. Before she had the chance to respond, I collected myself and left her behind me. I thought I did…

She was standing there, across the room, leaning against the wall, looking somewhat lost. My heart started humming. Strange. My heart goes out for a stranger I have never met before. Without being able to think about it, my legs moved forward and I found myself standing in front of her, sending a claiming smile to the woman of my dreams. “My love”, I wanted to say, “come, let me take you with me to the Garden of Eden, let me wrap you with my love, let me…” However, I didn’t say any of this, just a polite hello came through my craving lips.

She beamed, her grin inviting. “Hi”, she answered, her calm voice reminding me of fallen leaves in a warm autumn, somewhere far away from here. Hidden yearnings started bubbling deep down, in places I thought I would never feel again. Not since Estelle… Oy vey, that woman doesn’t leave me in peace! She haunts me and still has a hold on me. I can’t be free of her, as if she had imposed a dark spell on me. When will I be free?

The lovely woman in front of me gazed at me. “I hope that you were in a good place, even if here is also nice”, she said playfully, flashing another smile.

“Oh, yes, oh, so sorry”, I hurried to apologize. “I didn’t mean to…” What didn’t I mean? I don’t know. She made my head spin, causing me dizziness. The background noises faded away, as I was caught in her mesmerized flaming gaze. I’m sure the Rabba and the others continue to praise the Lord for creating Shabbat for us to rest and enjoy, but I was praising my guardian angel for creating this lovely woman I was sure they did it especially for me.

“It’s OK, no need to apologize.” Her accent was not local. Polish perhaps? Czech? Is she from one of the former USSR’s countries?

“I’m Sarah”, I introduced myself.

“Jazmin”, she answered curtly. Not a woman of many words, I guess.

“I hope that you won’t find it rude, but your accent seems to me to be east European. May I ask where are you from?”

She straightened her compact limbs and answered: “I’m from Israel, the Jews’ homeland.”

“Oh, how nice!” Oh, an Israeli… how nice… Her accent is not typical Israeli though. I’ve met a few before, but was never involved with any of them. None captured my heart. Now this nice woman… I wonder how long she is here for. She wasn’t here last time. “Did you see the city already?”

“No, I haven’t managed to do that, as I just came here last Sunday.”

“Oh, I see. Would you like to get together and have a coffee someday?” Yes-yes-yes!!! Please, say yes!

Her smile, like the rainbow after a downpour, showed in her lovely blue eyes. “Yes, I would love to, very much.”

She said yes!!! An unrestrained urge drove me to take her in my arms and burst into a stormy Hora dance[3]. Well, I’m Aussie (not to mention Jewish…), so I don’t suffer from the dry restrained self-control the English are known for. My ancestors poured into my veins a need to be gay even in darkest times. I have been in a dark time since I left Estelle, as she didn’t leave me be and I was foolish enough to be persuaded by her seducing alluring words that she poured into my ears over the phone, when she felt alone and needed someone to abuse, and I was handy. Last time, was only a month ago. I went to her place again, yet again hoping we would reconcile, settle things and live happily ever after. The minute I walked through her door and lay my eyes on her, I knew I made a fatal mistake, as usual. Am I dumb? Am I so pathetic? Why do I allow this? She had a long face, as her grave sourpuss gaze faced me acrimoniously. I was familiar with this expression, which portended her forecoming behavior. It was foredooming we weren’t going to have peace. Again, she was going to enjoy herself in her twisted way and I was going to go through hell. Why didn’t I turn around and leave on the spot? I really don’t know. Maybe because I am optimistic in my nature, I always hope for the best, never consider the opposite. Or maybe I am just dumb. I’d rather think about myself as innocent. At the age of 56 plus a few months, I’m still naïve, childlike even. I was hoping her sour appearance would evaporate in a few minutes and we will talk things over and live happily ever after. It didn’t happen.

I was about to reach for the woman of my dreams, when a tall, pale, ugly-looking woman, appeared from nowhere, clinched to Jazmin, then wrapped her gaunt skinny arms around her, as if declaring her ownership. What an ugly woman! This is the ugliest woman I’ve ever seen in my entire life, and I’ve seen quite a lot. Too many, as far as I’m concerned. Her tiny eyes, submerged in her faded face, they examined me inquisitively, absorbing my organs one by one. I was sure she X-rayed every bone in my body with her piercing gaze.

Still measuring me, without turning her head, she asked demandingly: “Hey, who are you talking to?” She widened her lips to what appeared to be a smile. My mother used to call this gesture “zuzing mit di tzain[4]“. One could feel her effort to maintain calm.

“This is Sarah,” answered the love of my life, wriggling away from the witch of London. “Sarah, this is P.”

P? What kind of name is P? Why P? Paula Abdul she is not – of this, I am pretty sure. As opposed to the talented singer, she has a harsh, raucous, unpleasant tone of voice, I doubt if she can carry a note. I cleaned my ears very thoroughly before I came here and I will have to do it again when I come home. Her obnoxious, annoying, grating, irksome voice stained their purity. Not to mention her eyes, those two acrimonious blades, going over my whole body, tainting it.

“Hello”, I said politely. “P stands for…” Not for princess as well, as she was wearing these tattered, worn-out ragged schmates[5] called “sport-elegant couture”.

“Her parents called her Paula, but nobody calls her that. She is P.” Jazmin volunteered the explanation, as the woman in question didn’t bother to answer.

Nu, P for pish, I couldn’t resist, Pee. Like in wee-wee… The Pishwoman. Witty, wow! I’m so sharp! The thought planted in her mind, as she felt the need to go and relieve herself of the few warming teacups she had during the evening. Secretly, Sarah examined the belittled woman with contempt. The nickname seems to suit her.

The woman didn’t bother to move her hand in order to shake mine, so I kept my hand to myself and didn’t reach her either. I excused myself, sending a quick smile to the one I wanted and went to release my body of its fluids. Alas, the woman of my dreams was already spoken for. My rotten mazel[6] again. But what could I expect? She looks so nice, it is only natural someone grabbed her. I wonder what Jazmin is doing with her. That P person looks horrible, so not suitable to my dear Jazmin. However, what do I know? I also had my fair share of meeting and being with crazy lesbians. Maybe P is what Jazmin needs. Who knows what is in the heart? My cup of tea is not necessarily the same as the others.

[1] Jewish Gay and Lesbian Group

[2]  The ceremony of lighting Sabbath candles

[3] Israeli folk dance

[4] Yiddish: gnashing a smile

[5] Yiddish: rags

[6] Yiddish: luck

Dear Rachel,

Dear Rachel,

 

Oh love, if only you knew what you know now. If I could give you a glimpse into the future, I promise you life would be so much better. You would breathe easier. You would make smarter choices. You would know that everything, everything, is going to be okay. You would know that you would grow up to be a creative, talented, confident person and that you dream big and work hard to achieve all of your dreams. 

You would know that your parents never ever stop loving you and eventually, not only do they help pay for your wedding to the woman of your dreams, but they show up too. I know you still believe that if someone asked you right now if your parents would be at your wedding, your first answer would be no. I’m here to tell you that they are. I have pictures to prove it.

Right now, you’re still working towards achieving your dreams, but you’re working hard. If you have a chance to go to school, just do it. It sucks and it’s hard and your math classes won’t be easy, but one of the things you wish you had right now was a degree. Don’t worry though. You’re doing just fine without one.

And remember that woman of your dreams I was telling you about? She’s amazing. Her name is Britany and my god she checks every box off your list. Let me let you in on a little secret though. There’s one box she doesn’t check and it’s the reason you two work so well. I’ll give you a hint: she’s not younger than you. Trust me though. It’s a good thing. You two were made for each other. It’s not always perfect or pretty but the fact that you two have made it through what you have made it through is a huge thing.

And let me tell you something, my sweet Rachel. You will not love your name forever. And that is okay. You don’t like the nicknames everyone is giving you now because they are too girly, too feminine. And you know that your name isn’t the right one either, but it’s your name so you stick with it. But I promise you, someone finally gives you a nickname that sticks. You hold onto it and it becomes you. It makes you stand up a little straighter and lift your chin a little higher. Because the moment someone calls you Ray for the first time, something shifts in you and you allow yourself to sink into the person you are a little bit more and your happiness grows each and every time someone uses it.

But I want to talk to you today about that piece inside of you that you have buried away so deep that you don’t even realize it’s there. That little voice in the back of your head telling you that something is wrong. You know it. You know something isn’t right, but you don’t have the word yet. And when you hear it for the first time, you ignore it. I know. It isn’t the only time you ignore it. You ignore it the second time, and the third time and the hundredth time. You ignore it because gender is a scary thing for you.

I get it, dear Rachel. Gender is still a scary thing for you. Right now, as you write this to yourself, you think how confused you are. You don’t fully understand it. You don’t have all the answers to all your questions. You don’t have all the answers to everyone else’s questions. You are afraid to tell people because you’re now coming out again, all over again. Coming out as gay was one thing. Coming out as non-binary is completely different and even more terrifying.

Maybe it’s because you’ve been through this process. You’ve felt the backlash. You’ve lost people you loved. You’ve been hurt and you don’t want to be hurt again. But let me tell you something, Rachel. It’s going to be okay. The ones who love you? They don’t care. They support you 110%. They do their best to use the right pronouns. They go to the bathroom with you. They stand up for you when people make comments or give you weird looks. You’re not alone in this. You’re never alone in this.

Rachel, you were born in a female presenting body, but you have never fully felt female. You have felt your body betray you over and over and over. When your chest grew. When your period started. Each betrayal hurt more and more and yet here you are, standing strong and learning to love yourself again.

Rachel, you are non-binary. And that’s okay. You don’t fit into a box, you never have. You are still an amazing person, who loves with all their heart, who dreams big (and I mean big), who has the cutest dog in the world, and who is still learning to accept the skin that they’re in. You’re not a boy, you know that. You’ve never wanted to be a boy and you still don’t want to be one. But you’re not a girl either. And it’s okay. You are you. You are exactly who you are and no one can take that away from you. Your wife has been using they/them pronouns for a while now and every time you hear her use them, your heart swells.

Life may be more difficult now. You may get more weird looks. You may lose a few people in your life. You may have people question you with questions you don’t know the answer to. But this is who you are and you have finally accepted that as a fact. It is time to live your true and authentic self.

Rachel, life is going to be okay. Keep your head up and keep moving forward. You’re going to be okay. I promise you. How can I make that promise? Well, because I am you.

 

Love always,

Ray

Love. Or some shit.

Today is Valentines day. I figured I would write about love or some shit. I could talk about how much I love my wife and how amazing she is and how she deserves so much more than chocolate and flowers. I could write about how this year, gifts just isn’t really an option due to finances. I can talk about how I learned about the biggest way I could show her I love her is through all the little things in life. I could tell you all about my relationship and how it works and our love.


Have a cute photo of us anyway though

But I’m not going to. 

 

Instead, I’m going to talk about what I hope my relationship someday becomes. I’m going to talk about the GOAT of relationships in my life. I’m going to talk about my grandparents. My grandparents, who in our family were lovingly referred to as Ganny and Papa, had a relationship that I have always strived to obtain. They were old school. Papa was the provider. Ganny was the matriarch. Papa would fix things and build things and bbq. Ganny baked and sewed and knitted. But growing up, they were perfect. 


This was them. All the time.

I had them up on a high pedestal: they always held hands. They kissed just because. Papa gardened and he would always bring in a flower or two for Ganny. Ganny would always make sure Papa’s stains came out of his nice shirts. She would make him dinners she knew he would enjoy. She would patch up his clothes so it always seemed like he never needed new ones. 

 

But one of my favorite things about their relationship was their valentines day tradition. Every year, Papa would hand make Ganny a valentine. It would be heart shaped usually but sometimes it was out of paper. Or wood. Or felt. And he would always write some cheesy valentine line on it. 

 

“Now you have my heart. Happy Valentines Day.” 

“I wood be nothing without you. Happy Valentines Day.”

“My love grows for you each and every day. Happy Valentines Day”

 

I loved coming over around Valentines day because Ganny would display the valentine Papa made for her on their mantle and I loved seeing what Papa would come up with every year. Ganny would always tell the story of how he presented it with pride while Papa sat in his spot on the couch with a humble smile on his face. Every once in a while he’d pipe in with a detail Ganny may or may not have known. I lived for these stories from them. They always made me extremely happy. 

 

I lost Ganny in 2016. Papa passed away last year. I could tell how lonely Papa had gotten once Ganny had passed. My mom and I would go over once a week for dinner and I loved our dinners, but it never felt like enough. I always felt bad leaving at the end of the night. You could tell he missed his wife.


I hope my marriage lasts just like theirs. Strong and fully in love.

This year is the first year they will be back together again for Valentines day and I know Papa is making Ganny something amazing wherever they are. It will be handmade and cheesy and full of love and it will be wonderful.

 

They weren’t perfect people, but they loved with their entire hearts. They taught me that love is the greatest gift you have to give and when executed correctly, it is fun and silly and meaningful and isn’t something one overthinks and is never harmful and is always amazing. But most importantly, they taught me that sometimes, the best gifts are the simple ones made with love.

You vs. God vs. Me.

If I was God I would drown the world too.
But first I would pick up my people like dolls
and carve gills into the thin skin of their necks,
and call it preparation, call it guidance, call it love.
It hurts like hell, but now you can breathe, my child,
stop gasping, please, I did this for you.
God lived in my room, in the corner,
seated on the particle board desk,
pressed like weeds between the thin sheets of
the new and old testaments.
God may have wept as He watched,
but He watched my muscles twist beneath his,
and suddenly God was out of miracles,
suddenly God became man.

Does God give His hardest battles to His strongest soldiers
or to His worst disciples?

When you crashed your car your mother
sat you down and pled with you,
Baby, God is warning you, so please listen,
please think about what He’s trying to teach you, my child, my love.
Of course God wanted us dead.
You, His youth group leader in training,
Me, your brief queen hissing heresy every time I said I love you.
I wept for you and watched as you learned to call yourself
a dyke before you would ever say the word lesbian.
I didn’t listen to the warnings He gave you,
just as much mine as they were yours, like all of your pain became.
And He took you from me, from yourself, quickly.
And then He took me too.

You said you were afraid of dying.
You were afraid of the hell that yearned to catch up to us,
like we weren’t already living the hot punishment
of a boiled-over love.

In the wake of disaster,
I can see how maybe we really were wrong.
We should have listened, heeded the call.
Or maybe we were never
Me vs. Your Family,
Us vs. Your God.
It was You vs. Yourself.
And you could have won.

If the world began flooding around us,
I would have swam to you everytime,
I would have carved our necks,
I would have learned to fly
helicopters to the tops of mountains,
I would have sent a final avalanche
and we’d leave the stratosphere in a homemade spaceship.

God cannot find us if we hide,
if we just keep refilling the gas tank,
if we reread Leviticus,
and cross out the parts that we don’t like.

Trans Empathy – Or, You misgendered me & I thanked you.

Today, my boss apologizes for misgendering me and I thank her.

I work in a very grey office out of a very grey cubicle in a big grey building where a little grey headset streams to me a constant flood of angry patrons who every day find a new way to assume my womanhood based on my voice. My boss, who is by all accounts a very nice woman, is usually very good about my pronouns. I know that every time she talks to or about me I would be able to breathe for a moment – something I do very rarely on the job.

For some reason, however, she misgendered me last week.

I felt as though my one tie to reality in a place where I constantly feel unreal had betrayed me. Office atmospheres are deceiving – they turn everything into the mundane.  It is easy to seem like you are not crushed because everybody behind a computer screen and a cubicle is always some level of crushed. Pain simply fades into the white noise of the place.

I knew this and I couldn’t stand it. I had to make sure she knew this mattered to me. I needed to know I could look hold onto this tiny anchor of sanity to which my boss was the tether.

I sent an email. This was a big deal for me. The last time I tried to assert my pronouns in a work setting, I was assaulted and then fired.

Queeries comes back tomorrow!

Bright eyed and ready for the new year, Queeries returns with new content starting tomorrow!

A lot has happened in the world since we last wrote for you.

Like, a lot a lot.

Let’s make some art about it.

Check back every Monday and Friday for new work! 


And keep in mind we’re still selling the second Volume of Queeries Zine – “SAFE” to benefit Trans Lifeline! Pick up a digital or print copy at a pay-what-you-can price here! The zine will only be on sale until we release our new seasonal zine come March, so purchase it to while you still can and start your collection today!

We’re on Break!

Image Caption: Black and rainbow text on a rainbow background that reads “We’re taking a short break. See you all on January 15th! Hope your holidays are merry and gay from all of us at Queeries Blog.

I am Too Tired

I am too tired to write

I am too tired to fight

For my existence,

My seat at the table.

You say I’m only allowed

If I follow your rules:

To be quiet

To be nice