Resolve.

Was it just me, or did 2012 royally suck? I’m only 23 so I guess I don’t have a plethora of years to speak of BUT honestly 2012 life a bad ex girlfriend I am so so so happy to see you off. Speaking of ex’s, I think it is quite telling that Somebody That I Used to know was one of the biggest songs of the year. It was like everyone was super depressed and just needed to get it out. The Mayans might have been wrong, but in a way the world kind of did end this year.

Google did however manage to do what Google always manages to fucking do, and that is make me feel real feelings.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xY_MUB8adEQ

#thanksalot

I guess being an adult means that year to year your life has the potential to change more then you ever could have imagined when you were younger. From jobs to people to apartments you just start to realize that life is beyond super unstable in so many ways. Is this growing up? Am I growing up? Because I sure as hell refuse to consider myself grown yet. Like seriously I’m stamping my feet.

I feel like our generation needs a manual. We are so off the charts different from our parents and our grandparents that it’s not even funny. I know that every generation goes through that, but think about it, our grandparents grew up without everyone owning cars, phones in the home were a rarity never mind one in the palm of your hand. Tablets? Please they didn’t have computers. Yeah your parents grew up with rock and roll and weed, but they also grew up with open racism and a country that silenced gays. There was still a draft god dammit!

Let’s think about this, if there was a draft today people simply would not show up. Like they would actually probably just throw away their draft cards and head out to the bar. How many people do you know that didn’t fill out their Census? Or file their taxes? I won’t generalize and say that no one under the age of 30 cares, but what I will say is if you live in the tri state area and are under the age of 30 a very large part of you does not give a flying fuck about a bevy of things our parents once deemed extremely important. Folks have always lost faith in their government, there have always been rallies and protests, but up until the Occupy movement I had never seen our generation rally together so seriously. Maybe that suggests that we finally reached a place where we could be happy with our country, that this was finally an amazing place to live. Or maybe it meant that we had reached a level of meh.

Now cool your jets, I’m not saying that you don’t care about anything, I’m just saying that your priorities are probs drastically different then that of which your mom and dad once dreamed. And I think, I think that’s ok. But I do wonder if we hit fast forward to say 20 years from now where we will all be? Maybe this is so relevant to me because I work in blogging nightlife. Two sectors that are definitely dominated by the young and the fun. So when we all aren’t young and fun any longer, well where will be?

In a world of shrinking 401 K’s and pensions, the future just seems like a tunnel. You know you have to walk through it but you have no idea what could be ahead. When I was younger if you had asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I would answer immediately, with some job that fit in a box very nicely. I would not have spit out “Oh I would love to be a jack of all trades.” How many people do you know who “hustle”? Who have jobs that they hate, to make money to pay rent, and then use the rest of the time creating; doing what they really love. People who don’t fit in boxes. People whose parents do not understand what the flying fuck they are doing with their lives.

Honestly I have no idea what I will be doing a year from now. I don’t feel the societal pressure to get married and have children so I don’t feel like my biological clock is ticking. It has honestly taken me until this point to know who I was. To know what gender pronouns I was comfortable with. What kind of girls I am attracted to. Whether or not I can see a future with someone else or if I’d rather date forever. This was the first year of my life where I had my heart broken. It was the first year I did my taxes alone. It was the first time in my life where I let go of my families bull shit and said this is my life and I do not care if you aren’t on board.

I focused on my flaws this year. I simmered in them. I let them boil. I am not perfect (surprise). I have not reached who I want to be emotionally or spiritually yet. And I guess my resolution for 2013 is simply:
Growth. I have nothing to prove to anyone else, but myself in 20 years. I have let fears allow me to settle, to think inside the box, and to not let people penetrate my walls. I can’t snap my fingers and suddenly change what 23 years has made me, nor do I fully want to change that person, but I am at a point where I see where change needs to occur.

I have been walking through my life tunnel for quite some time without a light. In 2012 I finally found a lantern, and I know that I’ll have to change the oil from time to time but at least now I have something. And sometimes a little something, is better then absolutely nothing.

So goodbye 2012. Thank you for the lessons, thank you for being so crappy, it means that making 2013 amazing will be that much more important.

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I Guess We’re All Skanks

Lesbians and queers have you ever thought about how many of your friends you’ve fucked? No seriously, have you ever seriously sat down and thought about how many of the people that you text with everrryyyday, how many of them your texting fingers have been inside of or vice versa? Too graphic? How many of your friends lady bits have touched your lady bits and therefore produced a royal round of gay applause?

It’s scary right? Don’t feel like a major slore, it’s kind of a good thing that all of your friends are so damn good looking right?

You know that little box of “friends” that pops up on your timeline homepage of Facebook. Well at any time at least one of the people in that box is someone I’ve slept with. I have refreshed and refreshed and still the odds have totally not worked in my favor. Now I have over a thousand friends on Facebook and a good chunk of them are men (and lawd knows I’ve never touched a penis) so I feel like Facebook is just trying to rub things in my face. But WHATEVER Zuckerberg I get it you’re just mad because Instagram was way better and spam free before you got all up in its grill. BUT I DIGRESS. Now seriously, that means I’m still friends with like everyone I’ve ever slept with (I mean friends in that Facebook way not in the Stand By Me lets find that dead body way). When I go out I see a collection of ex’s, bad dates, good times, horrifying times, etc and well it just furthers what I already knew: The gay world is too fucking small.That and as a female bodied person, with female emotions, and girl hormones I can’t like, just let people go. Like I can, but then they come back, because remember that one awesome time we had together? You know that ONE time during our entire relationship where I could stand you and you could stand me? That one time, and the fact that I will see you from every party from now until either you drop dead or I get married (bets on what will happen first).

And being that those who I have dated are also emotional girl things, it means that even as “friends” they will at some point make a jab about the past. You know because they are so over your relationship that all of sudden after a few beers it’s totally cool to make a casual sex joke. Or it is TOTALLY ok to talk about one of your embarrassing habits now, because NOW it’s just all good fun. Why? BECAUSE YOU’RE FRIENDS! It is so lovely being friends with people who have seen you drunk and naked and know that you wet the bed that one time. That person who can attest that you’ve fallen asleep while going down on them. It’s all so funny now though, because you’re like bff’s.

Now that you’ve gotten that awkward dating thing out of the way, you can talk about the new people you’re dating that aren’t each other because you two frankly CAN’T STAND ONE ANOTHER! Yay friendship. Ok so I am being a bit dramatic; there are people whom I’ve slept with who I totally love now and consider real true fwiends. But like seriously it is a bit odd to me that at a good chunk of my friends weddings a whole lot of us will have had a roll in the hay. And when family members ask the obligatory how we all know each other question we’ll have to come up with some outrageously dumb lie on the spot. You know kind of like the lie you make up when someone asks “How you two met.” And the answer is OKcupid. “Uhm, we uh, we both ordered PBR at the bar and both laughed at how random of a beer choice that was for two young broke kids in Williamsburg, and uhm yeah we uh started talking from there.” “She uhm, jogged by me and I realized that we were in the same English class in 7th grade, so I uh stopped her and asked her how what she thought of Catcher in the Rye, and then we got coffee, because surprise she was gay.” WHAT?!? We totally DID NOT meet on Okcupid stories are The Best.

So this weekend when you are out at what can only be 3 places (because lesbroqueers are like territorial lions) have fun trying to find someone you have not slept with. Also try not to have a conversation with someone you’ve slept with. As you cross the dance floor to the bathroom let me know if you don’t bump into someone you went on a date with. If you manage to have one entire night out WITHOUT seeing someone that you have not at one point in time locked lips with, well I am calling you a liar right now. Either a liar or a straight person, because lord knows straight people have the privilege (amongst a laundry list of many others but this is clearly the mos important) to sleep with someone and literally NEVER see them again. Will one of you lucky bastards let me know what that feels like? Anyway. Try. I dare you. Heres a hint: you’re going to lose.

Gendgrrr.

I was taking a shower earlier -the place where I do all of my hard thinking what was I thinking about? I was thinking about the anxiety that I feel when I send my resume to potential employers. Should I put a footnote in that I am a gender non conforming person? Should my cover letter also include something about my gender representation? Do employers here in NYC really still fucking care about things like that? (I’m not personally speaking about the corporate world think restaurants, art galleries, small media firms etc). I was thinking about what my gender meant to me. I was thinking how everyone in New York knows that to succeed you have to play the game. You play it well, expect success but if you don’t learn the rules well, this city will eat you up.

One of my friends is going under the knife for what is known conversationally as “peck surgery”. They do not wish to transition through T and do not wish to change their name. They like me, and many others see themselves in more of a grey area as far as gender is concerned. I get that, because I live that, but society has yet to catch up.

It got me thinking: Would life be easier if I were to change my sex from M to F; legally I mean. I present myself in mens clothes, am tall, and am seen by strangers and often by casual acquaintances as a man. Over the course of the past year I have started to only go by Ryley as opposed to my extremely feminine name Nina. But legally I am still a woman. And the reason for that is because I do not feel like I was born in the wrong body. I do not wish to make any adjustments to my physique, I just know mentally that I am neither sex.

It is not only when sending out resumes that I feel the pressures of being gender queer. Before I leave the house I make sure I use the bathroom. I rarely use public restrooms. I can not use women’s bathrooms in spaces that are largely hetero. In theory yes, I should be allowed to, but in practice it just isn’t happening. Women take one look at me and assume I’m a man, men are not allowed in women’s spaces. The end. Lambda Legal has an awesome FAQ sheet for trans people which you can read http://data.lambdalegal.org/publications/downloads/trt_equal-access-to-public-restrooms.pdf. But see, I’m not trans. I don’t want to be a man. And yes while Lambda Legal describes being transgender as an umbrella term I don’t see myself as trans. I also know that in practice no matter how many laws I pull out of my ass, both pedestrians and law enforcement are not exactly kind to gender varient people.

So again I come to this point in my brain, where I question whether or not I should legally change my pronouns.

When may I change my gender on my driver’s license?

You may change your gender on your NY driver’s license by providing a statement from a physician, psychologist or psychiatrist on their letterhead certifying that one gender predominates over the other and that you are either a male or female. (see sample letter at post titled “gender change on New York driver’s license”). There may be a fee imposed by the DMV. – transgenderlegalchangesnys.com

I don’t personally care that a bouncer at a club will forevermore think that I am a guy because my license says M. I do not mind continuing to search for non gender exclusive bathrooms, or frequenting bars/spaces where I know that I won’t be told where to pee. What I do care about is having to use mens lockerooms, because well, I do not have a penis, and I do not want to be in a space with a bunch of naked dudes. Sorry. I’m. Not. Sorry. I have thought about binding my breasts when I go to certain clubs, just in case someone rubs against me and starts to ask questions. I have thought about getting pack to pee devices so that I can pee in urinals. The problem is I do not feel comfortable around men in bar bathrooms. I do what I have to do, but I do it with fear.

Should I have to change my gender? Or should I have constant battles with security and society? I changed my name so that I didn’t have to come out of the closet every time I met someone new. People are allowed to assume whatever they want is or isn’t in my pants. But my anxieties about day to day life have not up and disappeared. It is easier for me to pass as a male then to be known as girl that dresses like a guy. I have brainstormed why that is the case for countless hours, maybe it is different for other people but for me it has proven to be true. When people think I am a straight man, or a gay man, or just an effeminate hipster writer everything is good and gravy. But when I come out as a female bodied person underneath my male ensemble, well all bets are off. Sometimes people are more then ok with it, they shrug it off, or start off with conversations about people in their lives or people they have meet similar to me. But other times conversations abruptly end. Looks that could kill are given; because after all people don’t like being deceived. But am I deceiving? Or am I just living my life the way I want to? Without the restrictions that gender roles have put on so many?

If someone asks about my religious background I will proudly tell about my Jewish parents and grandparents, about my personal experience as Quaker. I won’t hide from my African American background or my white parents. But what I do have a hard time explaining to those who I know are outside of the LGBTQA spectrum is explaining who I was born as and who I am now. Coming out of the closet to strangers can be endlessly frustrating, sexuality is one thing, but it seems gender is on entirely different grounds.

Do not get my wrong, I am extremely happy with who I am. And more importantly I know who I am and who I am not. I am someone who falls somewhere in between when it comes to gender. I am not a man and I am not a woman. We have made huge strides in gay acceptance and gay rights under President Obama, but it was vice president Joe Biden who called for better rights for transgender people. What about those of us who do not want a gender? Where do we fit into the puzzle?

It is a weird place to get to, when one realizes that they are different. That there isn’t an easy way to explain who they are. I cringe when people say she in reference to me, I feel more comfort with he, but I do not want to be a Mr. I just want to be a Ryley.

I’m Not a Faggot

Now I don’t want to be a party pooper. Because everyone knows I LOVE A GOOD PARTY. But when I checked my event invites on Facebook the other day a very ugly word was staring back at me. “Faggot”. It wasn’t an invite to a kill the homos party, it was instead an invite to one of the most rad parties out there. So I scratched my head and was like ok, this is a group of empowered well educated people. And I know that their intent behind this is from a place of knowledge and self love. BUT I really, really, really don’t like slurs. Especially when they are going to be seen by people outside of said community.

In, circles where everyone shares a common minority thread, certain words are tossed around. Some people say its done to take back what has been wrongfully taken from them. Some people argue that words are just words and that it is the nature in which you speak them that gives them their power. Whatever the argument I do think it’s kind of lame to say words that other people have literally died for, in a joking matter. Now, I am a minority of minorities. I am black, Jewish, gay, and a woman. So there are quite a few words I could go about saying. I could make tons of anti feminist jokes, say words like kike and nigger. Because I would be doing it from an empowering place? RIGHT?

When I hear people on the street saying “Yo my nigga.” Nigga this nigga that, I get both angry and offended. It’s not only black people that use the N word. Anyone that has an ear turned into hip hop or rap subsequently thinks they have license to use it. Ah but the N word is for black people to take back right? Well black people aren’t the only ones listening to rap. If a white kid who has never known the racism of the 60’s grows up with black friends who openly say the N word and he listens to music the openly uses it, what is stopping him from using it as well? Is it then fair for his black friends to tell him that he may not use that word? That when it plays in a song he’s rapping along to that he must omit it?

Words all have a funny history. What words originally meant have changed as years have gone by. In England for instance the Brits call cigarettes fags. So a gay experiencing London for the first time might be a tad confused as to why the English love lighting up fags so much. But here in America fag means one thing->; gay. In gay life the word fag gets said by some daily. Quite like the word nigga. Fag and Nigga. But rarely: Faggot or Nigger. I have actually heard people explain to me that nigga is a different word all together than nigger. That they are two different words that mean two different things. Maybe to younger generations that is the case, but all I can think is, great to older generations who grew up hearing and possibly even saying Nigger they are now hearing young black kids call themselves the very words they once used to put blacks down. It’s almost like their racism is still succeeding. They called you a nigger for so long that you now see yourself as one. Congratulations.

Facebook events can be seen by all, well unless they’re made private which this isn’t. It is also at a huge venue – Public Assembly, that is not a gay space. Yes it allows gay events (as it should) but daily their concerts and parties are attended by any and all. So when straight people walk by and see that an event is coming called Year of the Faggot, they then have the license to repeat that word out loud correct? And maybe text a few friends about it. Maybe write a status about it. A whole bunch of straight people will be throwing the word faggot around. Because they will understand it as well, the gays seem to be ok with being called faggots now guess we can too.

In 2013 can I hope to see parties thrown like: Niggers Making Music and Kikes and Dykes? Can black face parties maybe become a thing? Because if a group of black people are ok with black face then it’s totally ok right? (though I don’t think anybody is ok with black face because I think universally everyone can agree dat shit is never funny)

I think creative expression is ridiculously important. And I think that when throwing parties you have to find creative and inventive ideas to keep people interested and to keep them coming back. I have heard LGBTQ people refer to themselves as faggots before and if for them that title makes sense then that is fine. But it is not my title. And I still have a hard time finding respect for that word.

Labels Are For Food And Clothes And Stuff

Can I ask everyone to do me a favor?
Stop. Freaking. Out. About. Labels.

As in stop trying to put yourself in a box. As in be yourself and let that self speak for itself. The fact that you are a queer minded and bodied person means that you can literally be anything gender wise and sexuality wise. To some that is totally comforting because it then gives them the space to be whomever they want, to not have to worry about explaining why they are dating a transgender person or another gender queer individual. But to some being queer is only the beginning of their “who am I” chart. Under that umbrella falls well, a whole lot. A whole lot of gender and a whole lot of sexuality.

A few days ago a good friend of mine posted this status on Facebook:
Can someone be both gender queer and trans?

What followed was a gay gaggle of thoughts ranging from yes of course, to no; why would you want to say that you’re both? The one thing that everyone did seem to agree on was, that at the end of the day whatever it is that you are comfortable calling yourself should be exactly what you do call yourself.

Let us repeat that sentiment:
WHATEVER IT IS THAT YOU ARE COMFORTABLE CALLING YOURSELF IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU SHOULD CALL YOURSELF.

But back to that question.

I classify myself as gender queer. My gender is not defined. I am neither M or F. When I think of my friends who consider themselves trans they are saying so because to them they were born in a body that doesn’t match their brain chemistry. I personally have no qualms with my body I just choose to dress it in a more masculine nature and prefer male pronouns or my name said in their place. To me, my lack of gender preference has nothing I repeat NOTHING to do with my sexuality. It has to do with just that MY GENDER. When someone tells me that they are transgender my only thought is of their gender, not of who they sleep with. So sticking with that same line of thinking, someone saying that they are trans and gender queer confuses me. So being the curious kitten I am I hit the interwebs.

“Transgender is the state of one’s gender identity (self-identification as woman, man, neither or both) not matching one’s assigned sex (identification by others as male, female or intersex based on physical/genetic sex). Transgender does not imply any specific form of sexual orientation; transgender people may identify as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, polysexual, or asexual; some may consider conventional sexual orientation labels inadequate or inapplicable to them. The precise definition for transgender remains in flux, but includes:

1. Of, relating to, or designating a person whose identity does not conform unambiguously to conventional notions of male or female gender roles, but combines or moves between these.
2. People who were assigned a sex, usually at birth and based on their genitals, but who feel that this is a false or incomplete description of themselves.
3.Non-identification with, or non-presentation as, the sex (and assumed gender) one was assigned at birth.”

Wikipedia

So. Is a gender queer person than under the umbrella of a trans person? Or are the two, two different identities?

This. Is. My. Head. Exploding.

I go out a lot and have a lot of different friends who identify as a whole crock pot of things. Through these people I have come to understand how differently everyone sees gender and sexuality. I have noticed that to some a clear label and description is extremely important, while to others the fluidity of being whatever at whatever moment in time is more comforting to them. SO maybe there is no answer to that question. What makes perfect sense to one person makes none to another. But I am here trying to understand it all, because I think it is important. I think that as an LGBTQ culture we are at an all time high of media representation, of government attention, of general acceptance, and I want to make sure that no one feels left out or left behind. What I do want however is for everyone to take a deep breath. You are you. If you put on your clothes in the morning (or in my case the late afternoon JUDGE ME) look in the mirror and say “yes” that is all that matters. Labels are good for explaining yourself to strangers but to those who really matter you will find more often than not that they are only really concerned with the descriptive adjectives that make you, you. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Happy Friday.

Here’s a picture of the first couple legally good and gay married in Washington State.
Washington Gay Marriage

And here is your weekend anthem:

Duh.

A Royal Shame

In case you missed it, a few days ago two radio DJ’s from Australia called the hospital Kate Middleton was staying in and pretended to be Queen Elizabeth the II and Prince Charles. They tricked a nurse into giving them information about Kate’s condition. Hilarious right? After they got the information and a big laugh they let her know it was all a joke. Ha. Ha. The next day, the nurse was found dead; she had committed suicide. Oh the humor.

Now when we were kids we all made crank calls. When done tastefully a good prank is a ok. But a joke is a joke until it becomes bullying. There are lines that simply should not be crossed, and when they are you are responsible for the mess that you make. Now every prank making kid pretty much knows there are two things that you simply do not fuck with, those two being:
1. Calling 911 as a joke
2. Calling in a bomb threat.
Kids know not to do this. Yet two grown individuals and a slew of producers thought it was a good idea to prank the Royal family and an entire hospital? You know why you don’t prank 911? Because by you holding up an operator you are endangering the lives of others. When you call in a bomb threat you are sending police and other emergency forces on a senseless hunt. YOU ARE WASTING PEOPLES TIME, TAX PAYERS MONEY, AND TAKING AWAY FROM THOSE WHO ACTUALLY NEED ASSISTANCE.

Who knows whether or not this nurse was suicidal before this prank, regardless this was clearly the tipping point. Humiliation is the easiest way to make anyone feel like they are worthless. What these two DJ’s did was humiliate an innocent woman, a nurse at that. Someone who has devoted her life to helping and saving others. The complete contrary to the DJ’s at 2DayFM who seemingly can not note the difference between a good idea and a horribly bad one.

In the US when one calls in a bomb threat to a school, regardless of their age or innocence they are risk of being charged with terrorism. Recently with the slew of youth suicides due to online attacks, more and more bullies have been prosecuted for their words. They have been seen as aides to the deaths and have had to pay the price for it. This should absolutely be the case when it comes to these two DJ’s and 2DayFM. Adults should act as such.

The two DJ’s were victims to an absolute whipping on Twitter causing both of them to delete their accounts. They have since been put on suspension until further notice. It is a disgrace that people can not weigh their actions out before they literally ruin someones life. When someone commits suicide it is not just their life that they are ending but the lives of everyone who loves them. You have no idea what someone is going through, please remember that your words can sting and linger more than you think.