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Pride Challenge: Day 21

Political LGBT issue that is closest to you or affects you most. 

This used to be domestic partnerships/marriage, but with that being the law of the land now, things have changed.

One big LGBT issue is the growing prevalence of so-called “bathroom bills”.  Bills that make it law that you basically must show your birth certificate at the door of the bathroom to be able to use it.  Which is all sorts of problematic.

In no particular order:

1. Gender is not a binary.

2. Carrying around your birth certificate all the time is ridiculous and it massively increases your risk of identity theft if your wallet/purse/bag is stolen, as birth certificates have social security numbers on them.

3. It’s prurient.  Why the fuck does anyone want to know what my bits look like?  It’s perverted to tie bathroom access to what your bits look like or what is on your birth certificate.

4.  What about intersex people or other folks whose genitals somehow don’t match the sex listed on their birth certificate, even if they are cisgender?

5.  Why does it matter what bathroom anyone uses?  As long as you keep your hands and eyes to yourself, it should not matter where you go to pee.  For pete’s sake people.

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Pride Challenge: Day 20

Maureen or Joanne? (Or your favorite LGBTQ show or queer-positive show).

I don’t even have any idea what this is in reference to, so I’m glad that they included that last little bit in the prompt.

Sense8.  Without question.  It’s probably pretty cliched to say that, but it is my current favorite.  I love Queer as Folk (both US and UK) and The L Word, but they each had their problematic aspects or concepts they had difficulty portraying well, and I have become less in love with each of them over time.

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Pride Challenge: Day 19

Butch or Femme?

BS binary.

Personally, I identify as a tomboy femme – slightly femme of center, to the point where high femme/high butch and its accountremont is drag for me.  I occupy the middle and that’s fine by me.

To look at?  Suits.  Anyone in suits.  I love looking at folks in fancy dresses, but…mmmmm…suits.

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Pride Challenge: Day 18

Something about the LGBTQ community you don’t understand or have a question about.

Why the white, cisgender, gay men insist on hogging Pride events.  You had your turn in the spotlight, how about you let go of that, just a little, and let other queer community members step forward?

I know this is changing, but not quickly enough.

To a certain extent, I understand how this came to be.  For these folks, there was only one axis on which they weren’t in the position of privilege – sexual orientation.  These days, sexual orientation matters less if you have the other privileges – at least: race, gender alignment, and sex.  Your sexual orientation matters less to society as a whole if you are not politically active in regards to it, especially if you conform to gender expectations regarding expression and presentation.  These gay men got more power as the stigma around gayness decreased, so they ended up saying screw you to anyone who wasn’t them, and formed modern Pride celebrations in their image.

This is some of what activism has bought the queer community – the ability to fly under the radar if you don’t raise a fuss.  Which is bullshit.  Pride started out as a riot – making a fuss, making ourselves known, putting ourselves in people’s faces so that they can recognize that we are people who are as deserving of equality, de jure and de facto, as anyone else, even if we don’t/can’t conform.  Lacking that, why are we accepting flying under the radar as a second option?

Maybe we aren’t.  I think the trans* community has been slowly picking up the mantle that has been slipping from the fingers of the white, cisgender, gay men, and making it our own, sewing our own colors onto it.

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Pride Challenge: Day 17

Your first experience with an LGBT organization or event (Day of Silence, Pride, etc)

It was probably Day of Silence that came first.  I remember participating in it wholeheartedly my freshman year in college.  I really appreciate(d) the symbolism of it – silence to highlight the silenced.  These days my job requires me to speak more than I can comfortably excuse under the necessary speaking exception, so I no longer participate – it doesn’t feel right, for that reason alone.  I still support the idea behind it 100%.

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Pride Challenge: Day 16

A picture from your first LGBT relationship or of your first LGBT crush

This particular “relationship” ended poorly, but I am not up for outing them in a public forum, by posting a picture.  They don’t have any importance in my life anymore, but I still respect that desire for privacy.

Instead, I’ll tell you about the picture.

There are three of us – for about a year we did an amazing number of social things together.  This picture is me, her, and him.  I am decked out in my typical university attire – jeans and a pullover hoodie (I assume I’m wearing a t-shirt underneath, given the time of year and what I typically did).  We are coming back from some event on campus at night – the flash lights up all our faces, but the background is dark.  I think she and are starting to split at about this point in time – we never quite had the chemistry, but this was my first dip into that pool, so it’s worth something.

This picture still comes up for me occasionally in my Facebook pictures – I look at it, sigh at what happened after that, and pass on.

My first serious girl crush was also during college (I say serious, because I had a fancy for a moment for a gal in high school, but couldn’t quite admit that I  was bi yet) – she was the same year as I was, super smart, and involved with one of the student politics clubs on campus – I want to say environmentalism, socialism, or atheists.  Or maybe a combination of the three over the years.  I had a crush on her for all of my college years and I don’t even know if she was queer – I know she participated in some events through the school’s LGBTQ center, but so did a lot of straight people.  Oddly enough, given my tastes since, my first girl crush was not very femme.  She had dark brown straight hair and pale skin and I admired her dedication to her social justice work.

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Gender Conversation

I had a lovely conversation with Moss while we were out on a date last night regarding gender, which as a fluid thing for me, can be a bit complicated to talk about, partially because it changes on each given day (roughly), our language lacks words to describe it some days, and some days I just don’t know.

He wanted to know more about my relationship with my gender and seemed to be in the place I often am – where do I start with the questions?

But the question that struck me was “why?”.  Probably because “why?” is always my favorite question and is, I’ve found in most cases, the hardest question to answer – possibly because it involves digging into motivations that aren’t always clear.  I love it because it digs in to what makes people tick, which has always been fascinating to me, both from a physiological and psychological perspective.

I digress.

I identify as non-binary trans because it fits right, like “queer” fits right.  I am bisexual and I am genderfluid – these identify facts about me.  Non-binary and queer, in a way, demonstrate my attitude about my identity: I don’t care what people think about them, I am who I am, and anyone who doesn’t like it, can just go hush themselves.  The trans part is difficult for me – I have just recently embraced that part of the non-binary thing – I don’t identify as the gender I was assigned at birth, that’s a basic definition of trans.  Sometime my gender does round or slide to one or the other – more often to female than male, by quite a long shot – but much more often it just hangs nebulously in the middle.  I also do occasionally experience bouts of gender dysphoria – more often when I am depressed and/or restricted in my presentation options.

But why?  I’ve never felt comfortable in boxes.  It took me a long time to learn to color within the lines.  I was a major tomboy growing up.  I was never the good hostess that my mother wanted me to be.  Grace has been a learned skill for me – it’s not an inherent thing, either physically or socially.  I spent most of my time growing up in the outdoors, wandering around, or in my room with a book.  Exploring comes naturally and easily to me, even if the unpredictability can occasionally set off my anxiety.  I am ok with being the weird kid who never quite fit in, but was close enough to normal that I was never shunned.

As an adult I learned to become comfortable with the more feminine aspects of my personality and style that I had rejected early on, for a number of reasons: 

  • Feminine clothing is not often designed for comfort or practicality (dresses with pockets are a major win for me – I wish I could afford more of them),
  • Foundation makes the patchy bits of my skin which are normally pretty unnoticeable super obvious (just don’t wear foundation, you can wear whatever makeup you like), 
  • Femininity is often read as weakness (I still struggle with this one), 
  • Long hair gets in my face and that drives me mad (so cut it)
  • Breasts get in the way – I did not like having them at all until midway through high school (having properly fitting bras and clothing that either accentuates or hides them based on my gender presentation feels is super helpful)
  • Femininity is often read as submissiveness (meeting strong, no-nonsense femmes has really helped with this)

So, here I am.  A genderfluid (non-binary) tomboy femme.  It fits comfortably enough to not be restrictive, but gives me a few labels that help me figure out my place in this world and in the queer community.