My friend Katherine has lovely and important words, and has very graciously agreed to share some of them here. I feel so honored to publish her thoughts and to share them with all of you! I will pass along your comments, but you can also visit Katherine and her wonderful words over on her blog, A Collection of Lights. Thank you, Katherine!
My name is Katherine, and I’m kind of gay. Gay as in delighted, mind you, and in the sense that I fuck women. (Well, one woman.) I’m queer. Queer like I’m odd, ever so slightly strange, and I fuck women. (One woman.) I’m a lesbian in the sense that it’s an easy label to peel off and stick on, just as any label might be. I wouldn’t say I’m particularly bothered about the label. Well, that’s sort of a lie. I’m a little bothered by it, but theoretically it doesn’t matter.
Before I came out, I had to come in – into myself, that is. There were years of slight self denial, sure, but I wasn’t lying when I told people I was straight. Okay, maybe I should have questioned the frequency with which I had to deny the queer aspects of my personhood. Perhaps there were clues. But at the tender age of nineteen, when I found a woman making my heart flutter and a stammer trip up my tongue, I was probably the most surprised person of anyone I knew.
And despite the rampant heterosexism in our society which is compounding directly into the newfound difficulties I am facing, finally I can truly say that I am happy. Five months ago, I met the most wonderful woman. There is nothing I regret–being with her is one of the single greatest experiences I have had in my lifetime. But with this and the somewhat new discovery that I am queer comes a sort of strange navigation. Is it okay to hold hands? What will my boss think if I tell her that my partner is a woman? What will my peers think? What will my mother think? The questions don’t end.
In the state of Texas, I cannot get married to the person I love. I cannot foster children with the person I love. I cannot adopt children with the person I love. My university and place of work are supportive, but I could – in another position, another place – be taunted and terminated for sharing who I am with other people. Institutional, symbolic, and individual oppressions intersect. They are all out to get me. Governmental and social institutions reward heterosexuality.
And okay, marriage is a construct, but I’d like to be rewarded for the love I have someday. My love matters.
Being queer is as normal to me as getting up in the morning (new, frustrating, ultimately rewarding), yet in order to be taken seriously – in order for change to be made – I must be an activist. Activism is great, but it’s frustrating to me that I must make who I love something political. Granted, our society has made me a political figure already. This time? It’s going to be on my terms.
This is all to say, I don’t have a huge amount of experience as a queer human being, but I do have the somewhat unique perspective of someone who identified as heterosexual until fairly recently… I have supported queer equality for quite some time, but life as an actual goddamn queer is very different. And lately, a lot has pissed me off. You’re welcome in advance.
If your only defense of common and garden, everyday feminism is “we’re not all lesbians!”, fuck you.
If you try to console queer individuals by telling them of this one time, in a separate life, you–or someone you know–knew a gay person who was really cool despite their crippling gayness, fuck you. (You know, I knew a straight person once. He was pretty cool!)
If you ask a queer lady if/how scissoring works, fuck you.
If you heckle a queer person and their partner, fuck you. (If you heckle anyone, fuck you.)
If you refer to a queer person’s partner as their roommate despite correction, fuck you.
If you have the audacity to find yourself feeling discriminated against for being straight, fuck you.
If you ask queer ladies who the “man” is in their relationship, fuck you.
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