lgbt

As the gates open

God grabs a trumpet and plays taps,

and together we mourn the years

I wasted, wondering

if I would ever get to go inside.

The air here is

so crisp, so clean.

I relish in the feeling of finally

breathing easy.

The Mobius Strip Of Trans Elders – We’ve Always Got Someone To Learn From

To be trans is to constantly be learning from those around you. I want to talk about how we all become each other’s “elders” in the trans community.

The view from my hometown (Kingston, NY) LGBT center. Photo by Todd Martin.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the cyclical nature of transgender community support.

When I came out, I didn’t know a lot of trans folks. I knew plenty of gay folk of all varieties. We played a lot with gender presentation, whether it was for drag shows, theatre, cosplay, or simply having fun with bowties and make-up on a Wednesday night. I felt very at home in my understanding of queerness in relation to my sexuality and to the commonly understood (read: stereotypical) relationships between sexuality and gender presentation…but my knowledge of actual trans people were limited to a rousing one.

Until I started going to my local support group.

I attended a very small group hosted, as they always are, by my local LGBTQ center. Most days there were only a handful of people in attendance. The small community made there felt like a local hand-me-down – a traveling gift between the trans folk in the area. As we quietly found each other we started to come out to one another and, in turn, were subsequently bequeathed the date and times the group met. …

A Chorus of Female Voices

This piece was first debuted as part of The TMI Project: MHI in Ulster County.  Visit The TMI Project’s website to learn more .


Que Será, Será, is Zelda’s (aka Judith Z. Miller’s) humorous, sobering, hopeful multimedia one-person revelatory performance that chronicles her personal story of the joys and challenges of navigating non-binary Queerness from childhood during the 1950’s to adulthood. Zelda is the recipient of an Arts Mid-Hudson Individual Artist Commission to develop the show to premiere in Kingston, NY at the Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center on December 7 & 8 as a workshop production. It will include an adapted version of “A Chorus of Female Voices” as well as the previously published “Sheitlestock”. You can learn more about Que Será, Será and support its development here.


TRANSCRIPT:

I’m 8 years old. My parents take me to see the movie “Some Like it Hot” starring Marilyn Monroe. It’s a fancy theatre with plush red seats. We’re in the very front row of the balcony, high over the orchestra.  

A thick shiny brass railing protects us from falling onto the people seated below. Marilyn is singing ​“I’m through with love, I’ll never fall again,” ​and as she​ ​breathes in deeply through her pouted lips to enunciate her words, I can see the details of her full breasts through her tight-fitting, completely sheer gown. I’m standing up, gripping the bar, leaning all the way over the top as far as I can, trying to climb​ into​ the movie — to immerse myself between Marilyn Monroe’s breasts.  

The Filling And Breaking Of My Heart At The 2019 Queer Liberation March

I joined in at the Queer Liberation March this year, attending the protest instead of NYC WorldPride. My heart, at the same time, was filled to the brim and…as I walked home, broken once again.

My friend, my fiancé, and myself at the Queer Liberation March. Photo by Aidan Doyle, taken from a thoughtful and amazing article in them: “Queer Liberation March 2019” – which you can visit to read and view Doyle’s other brilliant photos of the March.

Pride month has long left us. Happily richer, the corporations have since painted over the rainbows they were sporting, leaving the queer community with the same guarded white walls we’re used to having thrown up in our face.

However, the love, power, passion, and anger of the LGBTQIA+ community lives on.

This year, my fiancé and I attended the Queer Liberation march. We both have a bit of a sordid history with Pride parades, but knew we wanted to be in New York City in commemoration of the 50thanniversary of the Stonewall Riots.  We weren’t sure how we were going to show up to honor our community’s history in a way that felt right.

…Then the Queer Liberation March popped up. Meant to be a people’s march to reclaim Pride, it was a counter-march to the Parade that sported no corporate floats or police presence.  What other way is there to honor Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson, Miss Major, Stormé DeLarverie, Larry Kramer, the Mattachine Society, the Daughters of Bilitis, Frank Kameny, the Gay Liberation Front, Et All? What other way is there to commemorate an anti-police riot that lasted days after our rights had been violated so deeply and so unwaveringly?

There isn’t.

You march.

We met up with a friend in Bryant Park to join the March at its mid-way point. The energy just in the park itself was electric. Throngs of people dressed in both black, pink, and gold (the colors of the march) as well as bright, fantastic outfits. It felt like every single person in the park had a purpose – and in a lot of ways, perhaps that is true. Each and every person who showed up to the Queer Liberation March made a purposeful decision to attend the March instead of the Parade. Therefore, each person’s body became a powerful statement against the corporatization and pink-washing of Pride. Each person purposefully became a part of a new wave of the continued street presence of Queer protest and riots. By making the choice to be here, just a few blocks away from there, they became a part of a grand testament to the strength and resilience of queer activism. No one was there because it was “fun”. No one was there because it was something to do. No one was there because they were being paid to be there. Everybody was there because they knew they needed to be.

After Sappho

This is an “after” poem in response to Sappho’s “He is more than a hero”.

Woman with wax tablets and stylus (so-called “Sappho”)

 

The man sits beside you,
a protective playful arm
draped over what can only be
mine when the stage lights turn off;
both our hero and the villain.

I sit still on the opposite couch,
holding a pillow embroidered God is Good!
only moving to accept each plate of cake or fruit
your mother offers from the kitchen,
praying the sugar on top is not salt.

Onto the stage she comes- again-
with the unnecessary second tray
of sweet plantains, hoping to catch us
holding hands or sacrificing babies-
whatever it is people like us do.

Then stage right, Prince Charming stands up.
His part played so perfectly, even I am fooled,
when his lips pucker out to meet yours
for the grand finale,
and my throat tries to swallow my tongue.

The curtain closes on the image of
your mother, smiling from the kitchen.

If he stays, death isn’t far from me.
If he goes, death isn’t far from you.

 

V.

that black girl is going to Howard
after she sat and waited
and waited and sat
traveled to Minnesota
where they told her to wait and sit some more
even went to the dry places that rains with sweat
where they told her “no“
but wanting it so badly
needing to get what she needed
she resumed her sitting and waiting
she even thought about running back to the palace and settling upon a random thrown
but with faith she sat and waited
and she got it cause she waited

for it to find her

she’s off to Howard
because she gots to go
cause she sat and listened
cause we need her
and we don’t just need her anywhere
because she waited
and was not moved so easily
she saved it

her destiny that is

for what she and where she
was supposed to be
that black girl hailing from the palace of Queens
is going to Howard with fellow queens and kings
there she goes
smile and wave

smile and waive

 

IV.

you ever wake up
too tired
too sleepy
too exhausted
to brush your teeth

but you do it anyway
out of fear
of what people might think

sorta like the straight people
that see gays and trans folks
being beat and say

 absolutely nothing

or a cold dreary day
where no rain or snow falls
and everyone calls that day

beautiful

like those who ask

why do we hurt the ones whom we love 

while in the process of hurting them

RoyalTea: Jota/Emjay Mercury

Howdy folx and welcome back to RoyalTea: the only drag interview segment that puts the lotion in the basket.  This week, we got to wrangle with the sexiest duo to ever grace one body – Jota / Emjay Mercury, a performer who puts puts the “cheese” in Machismo.  Jota is a Bay Area Based Xicanx performer who’s performed across international stages.  He wasn’t always wooing the ladies and crooning the night away though…

 

XV.

maybe
after the coffee house

when I’m finished drinking
my double shots of espresso

with one pump of vanilla
and warm coconut milk

maybe

I’ll be tired of being alone
and I’ll come home to you

and you’ll still be waiting
because you know

that learning me means
knowing being alone is important

but it is also my own downfall
you’ll trust that I’ll catch myself

maybe

I might come home a little before you
and wait to see you smile at me

500 Words on Pride

Image result for gay pride

First of all, it’s complicated. Second of all, it shouldn’t be.

This year—just like last year, and the year before, and probably several years before that—there has been at least one attempt, proliferated across social media, to host a “straight pride parade.” Most people’s first instinct is to laugh, not necessarily due to the nuanced absurdity of the situation, but because it’s just so incongruous with what we’re used to. “Straight people don’t need pride” is a common sentiment. And that’s true, but not for the reasons that everybody thinks.

Pride—at least, the LGBT pride that we celebrate every June—does not exist in a vacuum. Many people are proud of many facets of their identity: I’m proud to be a good student, proud to be a Minnesotan (seriously, it’s nice up here), proud to be a responsible person whom others can depend upon to get things done. Let’s indulgently refer to these traits as “virtues.” I’m proud of my virtues—as is everyone—because they make me a better person.

And this is where people get confused. Sexuality and gender identity are never virtues. They’re integral parts of our identity, nothing we have to work towards, nothing we actively cultivate. They exist, and that’s all. There’s no reason to be proud of being straight or of being LGBT, because neither of these are accomplishments.

Except that’s not exactly true.

Through no choice of our own, inherent and unchangeable aspects of the LGBT community’s personhood are combatted at every turn. In some parts of the world, this means that our existence is punishable by death. In the most progressive of areas, our right to marry is constantly in question. We are often unable to receive appropriate medical attention, especially if we are transgender. We are denied access to employment, to bathrooms, to interactions with young children. We are censored from TV, books, and music. We are beaten, degraded, robbed, tortured, mocked, raped, and killed simply for being ourselves.

I didn’t choose this. I don’t know a single human who would. I wish that my transfeminine friends could pass through a TSA security check without being flagged for an unexpected object between their legs. I wish that my girlfriend could wear a flannel jacket on the bus to work without being sneered and spat and cussed at. I wish that I could play online games without being called “a faggot who deserves to be lynched” due to my non cis-passing voice.

But these things happen anyway. For the foreseeable future, they will continue to do so. And we’re fighting as hard as we can, but nothing changes overnight.

In the meantime, we have pride. Pride in not only who we are, but in what we’ve done—pride in the virtue of our resilience. Each year, we aren’t using this month to flaunt our sex lives or paint everything rainbow, whatever corporations might have you think. We are using it to celebrate our survival. And since queerness comes with such a tremendous burden in today’s world, celebration of our traits and our achievements are one and the same. Meaning that our identities are, after all, virtues of a sort.

So, sure, be proud of your heterosexuality, if it really matters that much to you. I wouldn’t say I’m proud of having brown eyes—happy with it, sure, but not proud. What I am proud of is myself and all of my LGBT siblings for existing as ourselves, and loving who we love in spite of the threat it poses to us. I’m proud of us for surviving another year. Here’s to many more.