UndercoverQueer


Now that I’m blogging elsewhere…
August 8, 2014, 1:30 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Wow, it’s been awhile since I’ve even logged in here. Looking at this blog makes me wish a little bit that I’d kept this up; it’s not so bad for a novice! A lot has changed for me in the last few years, however, and I’m currently trying to blog with a bit of a different focus. If you ever liked anything I wrote here, I hope you’d be interested in following my new writing venture: http://lagumommy.blogspot.com/

Much love. Thanks for the interest. 



Retrograde
March 15, 2012, 8:49 pm
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So – in case you were wondering, this blog has been pretty much abandoned for the past year. And it may continue to be. As much as I enjoy my rare updates here, I’m not much good at communicating in what I view as a soulless and particularly impersonal forum.

So – in what seems like a great big backward step – I’m making a zine based on this blog and on future topics I’d like to explore. Maybe via the blog and the zine, or possibly just the zine. We’ll see how it goes.

The first issues is going to be ready at the end of  April, and as zines go, it’s a fairly hefty one! It will be 28 half-size pages and feature a lot of random musings and some artwork by moi, and will be available for $2 or $3 (again, I’m undecided). I’m not sure if it will be available via distros, but you will be able to get it at a few physical places in Spokane and Seattle, WA, or through ye olde postal service.

For more info or to  order the first issue, email me: kemisk_dy@hotmail.com. You can even write if you like: PO Box 1582 Spokane WA 99210. I also plan to publish work from contributors in the future, so if you have a piece that you feel would be perfect, send it my way.

Here’s to more future words.



Word Power
April 22, 2011, 6:59 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

So many of the debates about derogatory word usage seem to be centered on social history, on semantics, individual rights and what I consider defunct moral codes. One idea rarely seems to be presented, however. What about an individual’s personal history with a pejorative?

For instance, my partner’s experience with the word “faggot.” Last summer, someone repeatedly prank called him over the period of a month, threatening him because he was a “faggot.” Ultimately, nothing came of these calls; the mysterious caller gave up, and we were unable to trace the phone number.

Some of my partner’s friends, however, couldn’t understand his frustration and hurt. Some of them even called him the “word police,” saying he should let such an incident roll off his back. These friends also didn’t know that for years, Mikhael was taunted and called a “faggot” by schoolmates, co-workers and even his grandfather. These friends may not be aware that Mikhael struggled with his sexual attractions for years, feeling guilty and alone. These particular white males did not understand that being taunted and threatened because of who you are is a frightening and isolating experience.

Nine months later, Mikhael says he feels less vulnerable to such insults because he is secure in the knowledge of who he is – a mixed race queer male-bodied person – and confident in his ability to ignore such treatment in the future. Other folks we know, however, haven’t been able to reach this feeling of security. It’s a natural human reaction to feel deeply unsettled when strangers hurl insults, especially since they’re sometimes followed by physical violence. It’s natural to feel unsafe, unwelcome and disliked.

Or take, for instance, the polarizing term “slut.” This handle has been applied to me a lot  since my late teenage years. Dating multiple people, dating multiple people of different genders, doing sex work, dancing in burlesque shows, even talking frankly about my sexual practices – all of these seemed to receive criticism and much of it was delivered in the form of that ephithet “slut.” Does it bother me? Not really. Maybe I’ve heard it so many times that it’s ceased to lose it’s meaning. For years, I’ve shrugged it off and laughed it away.

My experience is not my friend’s experience. One of my best friends grew up in an emotionally abusive fundamentalist household, where she was frequently branded “slut”  – for offenses such as wearing mascara and admitting she thought a boy was cute. Even after breaking free of this oppressive lifestyle, my friend cannot stomach this word. As an adult, the word has been viciously applied to her a number of times by both her own family and her social circle (as it inevitably seems to be to everyone who has the nerve to fulfill themselves sexually). These experiences have been deeply hurtful to her,  reminding her of the desperation and powerlessness that accompanied her years in her parent’s home. At one low point, she even questioned her own hard-won identity, wondering to me if her bigoted fundamentalist family was right in their accusations that she was inherently sinful and delusional.

I think it’s possible to talk for years to certain people about not using derogatory words, and it will make no difference. People need to have a reason for change, even if they don’t have the impetus, before that change is made. So should we all grow thicker skins, make ourselves immune to name-calling? They’re just words, after all.

Or should we do what seems to require even more courage,  and reveal our personal history with words? Should we consider the ramifications of a word before we use it against someone? Should we start being confrontational: “That really bothers me, and here’s why”?  Yes, further abuse and ridicule might be directed toward us. But the act of verbalizing our hurt – and our awareness of others’ – is going to change more minds than simply ignoring it, than simply allowing it to continue uncommented.



Kicking Ass and Taking Names

It’s National Coming Out Day, and although I don’t normally celebrate any special days, official or unofficial, I wanted to share a song that has been incredibly important to the development of my attitudes toward my own queerness, as well as queerness in general.

Fagatron is a queercore band from Arizona, and their feisty attitude was something I immediately gravitated toward. That attitude has been something I’ve been feeling a lot lately, particularly during discussions with acquaintances about an upcoming visit to our community from the Westboro Baptist Church, which is infamous for its rabid anti-queer picketing.

I’ve also been talking a lot about the It Gets Better project, which I think is an amazing and noteworthy effort (see one of those videos below). While I appreciate the perspective and effort put into these videos, and while I feel this encouragement is something many – if not all – queer youth desperately need, the videos leave me somewhat disappointed. Rather than encouraging direct response and confrontation – which, granted, isn’t condoned by most parents or any school districts – they reinforce a passive stance toward bigoted aggressors. Standing up against bullies is scary, particularly when you don’t have a support network. But recognizing that it’s okay to fight back, that you are not the one at fault for defending yourself, and that no one should have to bow their heads and meekly endure a horrendous high school experience simply because they want to keep peace is an option that’s not recognized in any mainstream effort to reach out to queer youth. Taking matters into your own hands and defending your personhood simply isn’t mentioned.

So, here’s the song. Here’s some information about local counter-protests to the WBC crew on October 21 (and yeah, we’re taking them seriously, because in spite of the fact that they’re totally bat shit crazy there’s a significant and powerful chunk of the American public that agrees with the ideas they’re expressing). And here is a little piece written by my partner in further explanation of our combative attitude.

http://www.porkchopsandapplesauce.org/fagatron.mp3

Mikhael’s rant!
I back anyone who wants to hold a sign, stand at a protest, blow kisses, throw rocks, throw fists or shoot guns at these people. Whether you use “peaceful” protest or desire a much stronger and more effective way of eliminating these people, I support you. I do however think you are a fucking imbecile or just incredibly naive to think that ignoring the WBC is going to solve this issue or make them “go away.” Your moralism and obvious distance from their attacks personally makes it easy for you to believe in some sort of higher ground, but in the struggle to exist and exist freely and equally, there is no moralism. There’s only a desire to exist and that means doing any and every possible thing to do so. Telling anyone what they should or shouldn’t DO is the position and the words of someone who is not involved in that struggle or has been brainwashed by those who are not. Your choice to do nothing is your choice, as it was for everyone who chose to ignore the first Israeli settlers who started kicking Palestinians off their lands and the synagogues that supported it, or any number of other situtations. You might think the WBC won’t gain any power like that, but you have to understand that the many religious fundamentalists, Christian and otherwise, that occupy the U.S. already believe that homosexuality is a sin and disgusting. The main reason the WBC is really disliked is because they hate America and soldiers. You are blind to character of the majority and their inability to think for themselves. You have too much faith in people, and you will find my lack of faith appalling. I hate to break it to you, but I’d rather kill a bigot than take your shit seriously. Even Ghandi beat his wife. Your ideas are ignorant, ineffective and naive.



Beginnings
September 10, 2010, 12:48 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

What I meant to say was something
other than my hand against her
braceleted wrist…

-Frankie Paino

It was women who first sexually excited me, not men at all. Even as a very small child, I was both puzzled and thrilled by the idea of the female, of something enclosed and kept hidden. I wanted to know why it was women didn’t take their shirts off in mixed company, and why my grandmother considered it inappropriate to wear skirts above a certain length. I glimpsed real, naked breasts occasionally, but the nudes in my encyclopedia set were what enthralled me. I thought the female form was beautiful and perfect, and I looked at it with a longing that as an eight-year-old I didn’t fully understand. Women’s bodies featured curves and crevices that men’s bodies simply didn’t have. I wanted to look at these bodies more often. There seemed to be no good reason to hide anything.

Freud might have had something misogynistic and vaguely perverse to say about my longings. But – then and now – these desires made sense to me. My eyes sought out soft curves and firm, rounded outlines. It’s those particular physical features that first attracted me, and even when I became older and began to evaluate others on the basis of their characters, rather than their first physical impressions, those features excited me most.

My first female partner was a girl who became my best friend, who functioned more as an older sister than a lover. Although I’d had sex with males before I met her, I’d never experienced any closeness, any sort of returned affection. With her, all that changed. I did not question my sexuality so much as whether she would remain my friend after we first fumbled into each other’s underwear, lying chest to chest and half-drunk at night in a public park. She remained my friend, through many more encounters drunk and sober, and I still thought of myself as straight, although I never used the word. When I left the city and she decided to stay with a new boyfriend, I felt that I had lost not only my best friend, but something I felt I would never find again. I couldn’t name it.

Next post: how I learned the term “bi,” and how to discard it.



Resurfacing
July 2, 2010, 4:38 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

Action creates
a taste
for itself

-Kay Ryan

I’ve taken an unexpected hiatus from posting here, and I apologize. I’ve been busy with many things – inside my head and out of it – and lately I’ve found myself unwilling to take the words from my mind and fix them to the page.I’ve been mulling over possible entries, but I haven’t quite had the energy to gather them into the form of a post.

Originally, this blog was meant to explore non-traditional relationships from a personal, non-academic viewpoint. However, I have only my relationships to write about; I can’t venture to speak for others. And in the last month, I’ve been feeling a great deal of self-doubt. I found myself wondering if I really was qualified to talk about queer issues. After all, I’m in a committed relationship with a male. I can’t deny my past experiences and my current feelings and the dynamic with which I approach my partnership, but I found myself wondering: is all this really relevant to the queer experience? Do I have anything to offer?

But after experiencing some second-hand vitriol when conservative Christian relatives of mine discovered this blog, I’m beginning to reconsider my reservations. I wanted to create the blog as a method of making noise, of sounding off about something I care about. I wanted to talk about a way of living that makes multiple people from diverse backgrounds uncomfortable. I wanted to say, “Here I am. This is me. What do you want to know about it?”

And so that’s what I’ll continue doing, hopefully with more regularity. Along the way, I’ll try to tell you about the organic farming and the zine library and the ladies skillshare events and the ritual drone band and the hardcore shows and the babysitting and the ice cream making and the community radio programs and the burlesque and all the rest of it that’s keeping me so occupied of late. I’ll try to tell you what I think about each of these things and why I do them; how my partner and I have become the people we are and what brought us here.

Most of all, I’ll try to make you understand us, or at least get a taste of what our lives look like. I’m eager to not just explain, but to describe, to give you something to recognize and respond to. Like anyone, much of myself – my motivations, my attractions, my personhood – lies below the surface. I want to expose myself to your view. I am not an abstraction, nor a statistic – I am myself. I am a human being with foibles and desires and doubts. And this is my story.



Sissy Bounce

As a girl who spent a few years in the South, I’m familiar with bounce music – a style of rap that originated in New Orleans and that utilizes a few samples and a call-and-response lyrical style. Basically, it’s hypersexual dance music that incorporates energetic chants.

But recently I learned a bit more about sissy bounce – music made by openly queer male rappers. Excited, I began posting multiple videos on my partner’s Facebook page. These performers are rapping sexually explicit lyrics about eating dick and crossdressing, but they also reference what it’s like to grow up poor and gay in the South.

At the same time, each of these sissy bounce musicians have maintained and developed their identities as out, proud and flamboyant queers – there’s little attempt at assimilation into the mainstream, hetero-normative world of music. From Sissy Nobby and Katey Red, who are transsexual females, to Vockah Redu, an openly bi male, sissy bounce is about being whoever you are, and having a hell of a lot of fun with it. Their shows are crazy, sweaty dancefests, and in spite of the amount of flesh shown – and unlike some bounce parties – safe for ladies, queens and others who just want to get down without being taken advantage of.

One of the first sissy bounce hits:

Sissy Nobby and DIY video:

Sissy bounce superstar Big Freedia in NYC:

Vockah Redu on Valentine’s Day:

Tell me what you think!