If my timeline is like anyone else’s, right now it’s a hot mess of breaking news, political opinion, denial, and a few people desperately posting cat pictures in a bid to save their sanity. (Seriously, if you’re on Twitter get following Cute Emergency, Everything Goats, Baby Animal Pics, and even Paint Mixtures—you’ll thank me when they appear in your timeline.) Continue reading →
I’ve started posts about the new political regime a dozen times and stopped. Partly because I didn’t have much to say others haven’t said far more eloquently already, partly because once I get going I’ll just rant until I can’t stop. Partly because I’m afraid.
The day after the inauguration, America saw its single largest political demonstration since the civil war. Millions of women across all seven continents went out and they marched. It was an incredibly moving, powerful, and unifying sight. Continue reading →
Back in November, a couple of days after the election, I was asked to take part in a spotlight series on Wrote Podcast about American politics under a Trump regime. I happily agreed (parts one and two are online now) and it’s going to be a monthly thing we do for the foreseeable future. Remember the Weasley’s Potterwatch pirate radio station? It’s like that but with angry queers. Continue reading →
No, I’m not being dramatic. The Supreme Court legalised same-sex marriage in June 2015, but as early as April 2015, assuming that result, over 100 different pieces of anti-LGBT legislation had been introduced in 29 state legislatures [x]. Since SSM became law, that slew of bills became a flood, and many of them are being passed into law. Continue reading →
Last week, a much abused and beleaguered equal rights ordinance failed to win public support in Houston. There’s plenty of background to HERO here, explaining how it seeks to protect LGBT individuals in a state which offers them no legal rights of employment, medical treatment, or housing. Without such protection, your landlord can evict you for being gay; your boss can fire you; you can’t use the appropriate restrooms if the wrong box is ticked on your birth certificate. Continue reading →
Yesterday was a bad day for you, wasn’t it? Heh.
I spoke to many people yesterday, more than one dismayed at the Supreme Court ruling. And I did what I always do when confronted with people like you, I tried to engage in a calm debate, and dispelled some of the more outlandish myths you’ve been sold. No, you’re not going to lose your house in a lawsuit if you play piano in church ever again. No, your priest won’t have to resign. No, a thunderbolt from heaven is not going to wipe out the United States.
And every time I end those conversations, here on my blog, on Facebook or Twitter or anywhere else, generally I’m thanked for remaining reasonable, for respecting your religion or opinion, and for allowing you to say to my face that you think I’m a lesser human being than you are.
And every time, I feel a little bit dirtier. A little bit more disgusted with myself for indulging you.
Because it’s about time I fulfilled my destiny.
Anyone who knows me, knows I love books. I was the child reading by torchlight under the covers when I was supposed to be asleep, I was the kid who took a personal library on camping trips and car journeys. I did two degrees in literature and listen to audiobooks in the car. I have been known to sit outside my destination with the engine running for many many minutes, until my friends send out search parties to find me, because “I’m just finishing this chapter.” I’m also a history geek, a data-sponge. I have the sort of mind which remembers that the fastest human ever recorded lived in Australia 17,000 years ago and could sprint through wet mud quicker than Usain Bolt can run the 100m, but can’t remember whether or not I turned the oven off.
If I could only read one type of book ever again, it would either be historical or non-fiction. Whether we’re talking Bronte and Renault, or Ellmann and Wildeblood, I don’t care. I’m as happy reading Wuthering Heights as I am Richard Ellmann’s lyrical biography of Oscar Wilde. One of my all-time favourite books is Peter Wildeblood’s Against the Law. Wildeblood is a name largely lost today, although if I ruled the world, there would be statues of him in every town square. He was the first man in modern history to stand up and state before a court and before the press that he was gay (actually, he used the word “invert”). This was in 1954, and it cost him eighteen months of his life.
My patience is wearing thin. I am done with the “reasonable” debate about the rights I “deserve,” if falling in love somehow makes me “less” than other people, if I’m safe to be around children. I’m done debating if my landlord has the right to evict me, if my boss has the right to fire me, if I have the right to be upset about people debating my rights.
I don’t care what your religion says, how grossed-out you are, how upset if someone calls you a homophobe. Fuck “reasonable,” “measured” debates. My life is not a problem other people have to solve.
Fuck the “same as you” arguments which pander to the fear of, and simultaneous fascination with, queer sex, fuck the way people try to “normalise” queerfolk. We were never abnormal to begin with.
Fuck wondering what jobs I’m capable of, what I’m safe to be allowed to do. I don’t need community rehabilitation, because I am part of the community already. We are legion. So fuck trying to keep us in the closet by threatening our livelihoods if we dare come out.
Fuck whitewashing us from history, from society, from the school and the street and the workplace. You have always lived alongside queerfolk, you have shared classrooms and changing rooms and office space and gym memberships with us your whole life. We are not shadowy strangers “out there,” we are here, beside you. Doing no harm.
Fuck the people who want us criminalised, who want us rounded up and gassed, who want us stripped of our rights to live and love, to lobby and assemble, to say fuck you to begin with. Fuck the president who let a plague go unchecked, and the people who hide behind false idols and fraudulent studies to strip us of our humanity.
Fuck those who say we can change, who prey on the fears of parents to torture and emotionally abuse their queer kids. Fuck every parent who has ever disowned a child. Fuck the families who come out of the woodwork after a death in order to loot the estate. Fuck the law which makes that possible.
Fuck the courts who hear the animus, fuck the “gay means stay” approach, fuck every pompous old man who feels uncomfortable acknowledging our existence. We will not go away, for we have nowhere else to go.
Fuck the mother scared of raising a “sissy,” who won’t let her son near anything pink or her daughter near blue, the father who tells his boy to “man up” and teaches his girl to be scared of men, the teacher who steers girls towards textiles and boys towards woodwork, the coach who calls a kid a “pussy” if he shows he’s hurt. Fuck gender normativity.
Fuck pink and blue, boys and girls, gay and straight. Fuck meaningless binaries and two-faced allies, every person who’s watched gay porn and turned against us in the privacy of the voting booth. Fuck delaying and denying our rights, fetishising our bodies, othering our lives, loves, desires. Fuck treating gay bars like zoo exhibits, gay men like predators, fuck the semantics of fear and loathing.
Fuck the closet, the word “partner,” fuck turning our marriages into business arrangements, forcing us to bind ourselves with powers of attorney and living wills and thousand-dollar pieces of paper to protect ourselves from our own flesh and blood when our hearts are no longer beating. Fuck smothering us, hiding us, pushing us away. We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it.
At the beginning of June, opponents of Houston’s recently passed Equal Rights Ordinance submitted a petition containing 50,000 signatures demanding a repeal of the bill. The ordinance bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as sex, race, color, ethnicity, nationality, age, religion, disability, pregnancy and genetic information, as well as family, marital or military status. It applies to businesses that serve the public, private employers, housing, city employment and city contracting, but religious institutions are exempt. Apparently, there are 50,000 people in the Houston area (assuming all the signatures are valid) who think that not being allowed to discriminate is a bad thing.
What the hell is wrong with them?