Pride

World Pride

A friend of mine posted on Facebook that she was going to NYC to watch the Pride Parade and show her support and wanted to know if anyone wanted to go with her. I jumped at the chance and asked to bring a friend. So, on …

Pride and Fear

Photo by Pond 5 Stock Photos

I’ve tried to write this piece on Pride about a dozen times. When I first started to write it, I thought it would be easy to just describe the road to the Pride I feel and how I have become more comfortable with expressing who I am, openly and honestly.

But as I started writing, I came to a startling realization: I still struggle with the idea of Pride and that it is so much more complex than just proclaiming who I am and living as that person. Pride isn’t just a feeling, it is an action and a process that I have to work at every single day. I am confronted daily with the choice to stand up proud or to shrivel into the background, passing as a straight woman when I am neither.

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.

SheitleStock

This piece was first debuted as part of The TMI Project: RUPCO.  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, New York in the fall. It will include an adapted version of “Sheitlestock.” You can learn more about Que Será, Será and support its development here


TRANSCRIPT:

It’s 1999 in NYC. I’m on my way to an annual celebration I look forward to all year long: a party especially for Orthodox Jewish women who are attracted to other women, sponsored by the Ortho-Dykes, and playfully named “SheitleStock,” after the “sheitle,” the wig that married Orthodox Jewish women wear to cover up their real hair.  

Although I was raised fairly secular, every year I anticipate being with a whole roomful of “Ortho-Dykes” sneaking secretly away from their cloistered homes, downtown, to a great big rented room, where the lights are low and the music blasting.  This is supposed to be my first time “packing” in public. Packing a dildo, that is. Tonight I’m feeling good in my male body. And convincing too, in my genuine faded-green Air force flight-suit with a neck-to-crotch zipper pulled down to show off my naked hairy chest. Plus I have my scruffy moustache, both created by gluing on my just-trimmed pubic hairs — totally realistic.

Translucence

murky storm clouds

 drifting over a pride parade

 

muted conversations

 beneath a firework display

 

flirty interactions

 on tentative replay

 

a kiss on the cheek

 instead of being brave

 

blush strokes upon skin

 before truth fades away

 

Pansexuality in Schitt’s Creek: A Win for Represenation

How is everyone’s beautiful day/night/evening/morning/afternoon/twilight going? Wonderful! Well, mine is just fantastic, thank you for asking. Why is it so fantastic you may ask? Oh haha ta hee ha. Let me tell you. Because of a very special TV show called “Schitt’s Creek.”

Gay Dating in a Straight World: John Boughton’s Guide to The Gay Dating Game

Let me introduce to you, the safest & best dating app there is for men in the LGBTQIA+ community.

Welcome back ya cuties! Today on Gay Dating in a Straight World (GDSW), we’re going to stick with the theme of dating apps and talk about a very special one. It’s exclusively for gay, queer, bisexual, pansexual, asexual & trans men. It’s name? Chappy.

Coming Out For Someone Else

Don’t

That’s the short answer. Of course, it isn’t as simple as that. Being a member of the LGBTQIA+ community and living a thrilling, freeing gay life every day, you start to pick up some skills. One of those is picking out your fellow brothers and sisters before you’ve even met them. What I’m talking about is a “gaydar.” It’s a popular phrase, coined somewhere in the 1990s, but some say it was first heard in the show “Futurama.” I tried to do some research, but it was all very limited. So if you find out where it comes from, let me know. But back to this article! A gaydar is a tool one possesses in sensing someone else’s sexuality. I’m sure if you’re reading this blog, you know exactly what I’m talking about. But if you don’t – it might be time to get out of the house more often – but I’ll do you a favor this time and help you out a little bit.

Little Gay Comix: #3 – Reminder

Take care of yourselves, friends!

Chechnya’s menacing persecution over homosexuality

A blatant disregard for human rights has run rampant in Chechen society. Homophobia is deeply embedded in Chechnya’s culture. To be gay in Chechnya is dangerous. These people fear for their lives, living in secrecy, having no safe haven. When someone is outed, they are sometimes murdered by their friends and family. This hatred runs so powerfully, leaving many hopeless, finding that their only option is to escape.

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has made the claim that no gay people exist in Chechnya so there is no need for government intervention. He seeks to make gay people invisible, forcing them to live a lie out of fear or to escape. An investigation done by Novoya Gazeta newspaper uncovered the dark truth about Chechen government: gay people have been tortured, even killed due to who they are. Kadyrov’s spokesperson commented that, “Even if such people existed in Chechnya, our law enforcement agencies would not need to bother with them, because their own relatives would simply send them to a place from which they would never return.” Whether this is death, imprisonment, or being forced to leave the country is unclear. That could be the most terrifying aspect of this regime: the fate of queer people is unknown.

Lately, things have taken a terrifying turn for the worse. Novoya Gazeta has also claimed that detention camps have been set up for gay men. In these camps, they are either killed or forced to leave the country.

It’s easy to forget about the suffering of those in Chechnya. Chechens live in such a vastly different society that it makes it hard for us to identify with them. We live in a world so cruel to queer people that sometimes, we need to disconnect from that suffering. It’s a heavy burden to carry all the time. But I think it’s times like these where we need to recognize our privilege and our role in bringing change. The US has denied about 40 visas of gay chechens living in hiding. There has been little media coverage on the topic. Once again, the suffering of queer people is being swept under the rug.

I wish I had a potential solution or was able to offer hope but I do not. I am one person and I feel powerless. However, I know something needs to be done and this story needs to be heard. We can’t keep living in a world that treats the LGBTQ community like we are invisible.