Thursday, 11 September 2014

Confessions Of An Uneducated Queer

Confessions Of An Uneducated Queer

- Zuniga

I am a queer living amongst queer. Hence, am not queer. The queer is the most unqueer thing in this world.

-Sayantan Datta

"I...can't really understand Judith Butler.
I once tried to reference Foucault at a party to make myself sound smart and my friend politely corrected me and said it's pronounced "Fou-KOH". 
The only reason I've ever tried reading either of them is because my friends went to college and they left their books at my house.
As a teenager I sensed that sexuality was a spectrum I didn't have all the words for it
In my twenties I sensed that maybe I was a whore for being attracted to so many points on the spectrum 
For years I operated under three beliefs gifted to me by lovers -
One, I don't get to be gay.
Two, there is no such thing as bisexual. 
Three, I am the straightest woman on the planet. Apparently.
But, that might be true. I've never actually listened to an entire Tegan and Sara song. I've only seen one season of "The L Word".
The only thing they teach you less about than sex in school is this thing called "allyship" 
I first learned the word "binding" from a workshop on gender where Rachel talked about the difficulty of binding double D breasts.
Rachel later transitioned to Ray and dated my sister
In the initial stages my sister and I stumbled all over the pronouns and terms 
We weren't sure if Ray was a transsexual girl or a transgender boy until my friend DC sat us down in an ice cream shop in Seattle and said, "It's time for Trans 101."
That class cost me four dollars and fifty cents and a half hour of my friend's patience.
The first time I heard the term "cisgender" was when my friend Sam S and his boyfriend escorted me and my girlfriend to the most famous lesbian bar in San Francisco and then said "Wow they don't usually allow cisdudes to hang out in there that long."
I was nervous to ask what that meant but when Sam told me that he identified with the gender assigned to him at birth I felt a wave of relief wash over me in the acknowledgment of my own privilege. 
Twelve dollars in whiskey sodas and a loving bearded smirk which led me to learn the term "passing privilege".
When I was dating the girl I worked with at the state capital and I was afraid to tell my coworkers about her, afraid to kiss her with her short hair and her fancy suit and my friend Denise Jolly sat me down and said "Lauren. It is not fair for you to let her take all the shit. Getting to conveniently be straight doesn't help anyone." 
Three dollars in cheesy grits and my friend unapologetically telling me about myself. 
Everything I know about being a good queer I learned from poets. Poets are cheaper than college but not everyone gets to travel the country and get schooled by a poet. 
We do not all have access to the most helpful words
I was afraid to write this because I didn't want to fuck it up 
Writing poems about things you don't really know a lot about can be very problematic
But not writing poems about things you're afraid to fuck up can also be very problematic
The world is problematic - please, fuck it up.
This is for the first time I heard the word "heteronormative" and felt like I was handed a corkscrew after years of opening the bottle with my teeth.
This is for the dyke who works for the gas company who never even heard of Ani Defranco.
This is for not identifying as bisexual but paying respect to everyone who fought to keep the B in LGBT.
This is for the Q. For the Q, for the I, for the A, what's that spell?
Someday I hope we string so many letters together we form a glorious word that takes all of our mouths to pronounce.
This is for my mom who can never get my love's pronouns right, who doesn't get the "gender stuff" but who bought me all the Rita Mae Brown books so that I can be a "good lesbian".
This is for my friend who told me that day that I needed to read "Stone Butch Blues" before they would have another conversation with me.
This is for learning to carry the word "Femme" and then dropping the whole tray on the hard tile.
This is for trying on new words, dusty attic words, sleek spoon words, fuck-up-everybody's-shit-and-look-good-doing-it words.
This is for every straight girl who still has to get drunk to kiss other girls, I get it
Oppression is a loud room - sometimes we can't hear our own pulse.
This is for every straight person here who still thinks they are completely and totally straight.
This is for my ten-year-old daughter who stood up to the other kids when they called her friend "gay", she said, "Mom, they said it like it was a bad thing."
This is for my best friend in high school, Luther B, who was so convinced he was going to hell that he fashioned his life into a loaded pistol
Luther, if you are still alive - please come find me, I wish I had all the smart words back then.
This is for my _______ who learned everything from zines and free books at the info shop. 
For the suburban queers who only have Tumblr to not feel alone in the world.
This is for every Beth-Anne who sneaks each Wednesday into the bookstore the next town to read everything on the two foot LGBT section before going to her Bible study.
This is for the folks who can't read, but still subvert the dominant paradigm on the daily.
This is for all of you for creating a safe space for me to fuck it up.
This is for the queer theorists - thank you."

1 comment:

Your feedback means a lot!