The Way That We Live

This has been a long time coming. The L Word ended in 2009, so it has in fact taken me about 1,000 rewatches to get here, I wish I was exaggerating. The L Word fucked us all up. Whether it was creating grossly inaccurate expectations for living, to grossly inaccurate portrayals of how to relationship. We all walked away from the L Word thinking that we could cheat, lie, do all the drugs, and somehow live in gorgeous duds in LA with girlfriends and best friends who would love us anyway. Which ok, everything in moderation; but The L Word was everything in extreme excess. And yes, that is what t.v is for, except so much of The L Word felt real. It wasn’t so much like watching fantasy, for a young lesbian it was watching what could be. Which is why, it fucked us all so hard. Let’s explore how, character by character, The L Word totally screwed us all.

Bette – Let us start with the matriarch. Bette was The power dyke. Educated, strong willed, cultured, independent, fiercely loyal, and wealthy. In many ways she was a total inspiration, and someone not only to look up to, but aspire to be. But lord was she a tyrannical mess.

Masculinity and Double Standards – As we see often in life and on The L Word, “masculinity” is often used as a free pass to be, for lack of a better word: a jackass. As the main breadwinner in the house for years, and the one who did not carry Angelica, Bette was written as the “man”. Take for example when Tina was caught cheating, the world ended, she was ostracized from her friend group and seen as a confused bisexual who just couldn’t seem to make up her mind about her sexuality. Bette least we all forget was a serial cheater, and was allowed to be just that. She was allowed to throw tantrums when Tina challenged her power or questioned their relationship, but allowed Tina no such space. Granted Tina was far from perfect (we’ll get to that), but if we were to assess the one who had the most strikes in their relationship, in my opinion it would be Bette. Bette’s unwillingness to meet Tina on equal levels is on par with many heteronormative relationship structures. Tina should of course not be pardoned for her cheating, but it should be noted that when Tina strayed, it was for love, while when Bette did, it was for power; she fucked her TA for gods sake. Bette was always allowed the space to excel at work, even when she was fired she ended up on top. With the series ending with the viewer knowing she had a job waiting for her in New York. Bette was always wanted, where as Tina was constantly punished for being a strong femme.

Mixed race – So I really have never understood this aspect of Bette’s character. Mainly because the only time Bette ever felt the need to state that she was mixed, was when she was up against a wall. Being POC was never a full part of Bette’s life. It was a tool she used when all other tools were too weak to help her win an argument. It also linked her to the extremely problematic mess of a character that was Kit. That these two possibly grew up knowing each other seems like the most ridiculous stretch in the history of character plot lines. Kit’s world is one of Black stereotypes; while Bette’s is of higher education and elitism.

Responsibility and Accountability –  Lol. Much like a white male of privilege, Bette never seemed to be held accountable for her actions. I am a firm believer that she killed Jenny. She saw someone who was going to challenge the perfect life she had finally been able to create. A job, a wife, and a child. There was no way she was going to allow anyone, never mind a powerful femme to destroy that. She did what she had to do, and felt no remorse for it, because this is Bette’s world, and the sooner you understand that the easier it will be for all of us.

Jenny – Is apparently the shows main character, which is funny because usually the main character of a show is the most likeable. This is a good place to say that if you are a Jenny apologizer, you will not like one word I have to say about her, and should probably bypass this character assessment cuz like I hate her. Where to begin.

Self Centered – GOD HAVE YOU EVER ENCOUNTERED SOMEONE AS SELF ABSORBED AS JENNY SCHECTER? If you have I am terribly sorry for both you and your therapist. It is safe to say that everyone in Jenny’s life was there for her entertainment. And solely for her entertainment. In essentially every relationship Jenny is in, it is for her benefit or amusement. Funny how she admits her love for Shane, when every other person in her life has finally had enough of her. Jenny needs to be needed. Max was a fun project when they first met. Maura was new, she was different, and she needed guidance, much like all of Jenny’s lovers. Jenny wanted to date those she could sculpt and mold, because honestly if your life was together why the holy fuck would you date her? Nicki was a young and naive actress, trying to figure out her sexuality and where her power in this world lay. Shane, well Shane never grew past being a puppy. And the poor vet she dated. Jesus where to even begin with that storyline – Jenny killed a dog in order to get back at the author of a bad review. She killed. A dog. And then proceeded to string someone along who was feeling vulnerable and unloved in her relationship. Which leads right into her other biggest flaw:

Narcissist – There was literally nothing Jenny would not do to come out on top. From dog murder, to stealing the film of her movie, to screwing over every single one of her “best friends” in the last season. And the thing is, the reason it is so easy for me to outright and fully hate Schecter, is that she shows absolutely no remorse for her actions. None. Her last thought before death was probably: No great artist saw success during their lives. In death, I will become infamous.

Sexual Assault – The L Word handled Jenny’s childhood and sexual abuse, in the most confusing and matter of fact way. While it never specifically victim blamed, it did allude that because of her past Jenny was now this insanely fucked up human. There was no space for conversation, because we were shown her abuse in an almost fairytale like way. Other than flashback scenes, Jenny never addresses what happened to her, and how or why it has shaped the human she is. Much like with so many other important topics, the writers dropped the ball on what could have been an eye opening discussion on what sexual abuse during childhood continues to do to adults. By presenting her abuse in such a fantastical way the viewer never got the seriousness of how powerful and life changing sexual assault is. You instead saw a manic pixie dream girl with no concrete understanding of how much her assault shaped her life.

Shane – Where to even begin. Where oh where to even begin. I personally blame Shane’s character for creating a generation of non dateable humans. The L Word, was all many of us had. No other t.v. show or movie depicted LGBTQ life the way that The L Word did. These people seemed like they could be our friends, they seemed like who we wanted to grow up to be. Shane made a generation of lesbians and trans men into walking fuckable yet detached douche bags.

Past – Shane had a rough childhood. She went through foster care, and the system, and therefore did was she had to do to survive. Shane’s teenage years are probably the most relatable to many LGBTQ youth growing up today. Kicked out of their houses for who they are, and forced to grow up much too fast. Unfortunately Shane came out of all of that a sociopath. An often funny and loveable sociopath, but a sociopath all the same. The writers also never showed how Shane was able to escape the streets. All of a sudden you see a human who is admired by all, with a job, money, and women literally dropping their panties for her.

Relationships – Da worst. God, Shane you are the worst. The actual absolute worst. Shane was always dependant on her looks to get essentially everywhere and anywhere. While fucked up, Molly is the only person who points out that Shane basically has nothing to offer. Now it is of course insanely fucked up not to note that of course Shane lacked a strong educational background due to the fact Shane grew up devoid of the privilege. This is yet another area where the writers could have done so much more. What an amazing space to start the conversation about the lack of resources and education those in foster care have to deal with. So what the viewer is left with, is that someone who grew up tough is given the allowance to be a vacant partner, who is rightfully allowed to leave when things get too tough, because poor Shane.

Style – I blame you for my teenage bangs Shane. I. Blame. You.

Alice – A character that started extremely rough around the edges, led to being one of my favorite characters on the show. While she had her flaws, she was one of the only characters that actually felt human.

Bisexuality – The writers killed sexuality on many different occasions. With many characters, on the show that strayed from being lesbians their other “tastes” where either made fun of, villainized, or treated as phases. Alice was probably the most experimental of all cast members and stuck by her choices, even mistakes, strongly. Her because flaw came from the transphobia she directed towards Max. She speaks out against him being a part of Our Chart, only to then shoot a podcast with him apologizing. The problem is, the way this scene is shot makes the entire thing seem more like comedy than a genuine apology. For those who don’t remember, Alice invites Max to a sit down at The Planet, which she has Shane videotape. While a very serious dialogue is going on between her and Max, a very horny Shane uses the time behind camera to zoom in on various women at The Planet. What the viewer than see’s is a butch lesbian obsessing over female bodies, while a bisexual and a trans man discuss how they fit or don’t fit into lesbian spaces. Their voices are in the distance, why Shane’s antics are front and center, ruining what could have been a groundbreaking conversation.

Carmen – It’s funny, while Carmen will always stand out in my mind, she really wasn’t around for that long, and her character really was not super developed. Yes she was Shane’s partner, and yes for a hot second she was fucking Jenny. But we never really got a taste of who Carmen was. She was a piece of many pieces Shane would devour and dispose of.

Latina – The two (and maybe only) Latin American women on The L Word were stereotypes. Carmen was a beautiful, sassy, and domestic woman. Papi was a working class player. Neither was given much substance, while both were highly sexual, and essentially nothing more than bodies. Interestingly enough, while Papis stay on the show was shorter, I feel like we were given a bigger window into her character. She was introduced as a player, but after meeting Kit saw the possibility of partnership. Carmen always just felt like Shane’s hot girlfriend.

Femme – What the writers lacked in giving Carmen a true personality, they made up for by making her bat shit crazy. Shane is a monumental asshole of a cheating douche bag. Dating her would make you crazy. We got to see Carmen freak out at the thought that the person she wanted to spend the rest of her life with, was actually just loving her until she found someone better. Shane’s actions and Shane’s cheating were never really shown in the correct light. That light being, when you constantly fuck someone over, they usually get sick of you. Instead Carmen chose to go down the path of marriage. Everyone woman that entered Shane’s life set out to “change” her, and after Shane fucked up time and time again, the writers wrote these women to be CRAZY FEMMES. Shane always was presented in a fairly calm manner. Artistic even. While these women suffered at the hands of heteronormative limiting stereotypes.

Tina – Tina kind of makes me think of watching paint dry. She was second fiddle to Bette, and therefore had to be written as the whiny wife. She seemed to always just be waiting around for Bette to get her shit together. She was less patient than the women who entered Shane’s life. Bette was given ultimatums, and made to suffer numerous times.

Kit – Ugh. Why write a Black character if you aren’t willing to WRITE a Black character. Very similar to Max, Kit’s character failed miserably. She remained likeable throughout the entire series, and funny enough was one of the only characters to take Max’s transition seriously and with compassion.

Race – Dynamite! Oh Kit must be entering a scene. If there was 1970’s slang being heard, there most be a Black woman entering the pristinely white world of The L Word, I am not sure on what planet we were supposed to imagine Bette and Kit being sisters, but ok sure. Bette somehow got all of the benefits of being a white passing woman, while Kit struggled with: alcoholism, sexuality, cheating, abortion, menopause, a homophobic son, people constantly trying to ruin her business, falling in love with a drag queen, god what am I missing? While kudos I guess, to the writers for making her a successful businesswoman, all of the snarls for making her seem like an extra from What’s Happening. What’s interesting is Illene Chaiken The L Word’s creator, wrote The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and now writes Empire. She constantly writes Black roles, and for anyone that has watched Empire, writes them really fucking well. How unfortunate that Kit was not given the same treatment.

Max – Max was the FIRST trans person I had ever seen on television. And for years, the only. Too bad The L Word completely and utterly destroyed him. I could probably write an entire novel on how badly Max’s character was written, because honestly there were just so many cringe worthy moments.

Gender and Sexuality – There was never any time taken to talk about the differences between gender and sexuality, which becomes extremely dangerous when you have a trans character who first appears as a lesbian and then starts taking T and becomes attracted to men. And then becomes pregnant?!? It is 100% true that some trans men chose to carry babies, but without any form of background Max’s character becomes a circus act. For most of Max’s early screen time we have to hear Jenny bitch about how hard it is for her to be with someone who is transitioning. Which yes, of course, any huge life change that your partner goes through is going to affect you, but this is Jenny, so all attention and compassion is lost for Max. The viewer is forced to feel bad for her. Which honestly is harder than chewing on a bottle of broken glass under the boat slip in P-Town. While pregnant Max is presented as what I can literally only describe as an angry caveman. The viewer is not drawn to feeling sympathy for him, but instead is looking at a disheveled, angry, and whiny gay man. His relationship with Tom is violent and abusive. Again, as it did many times beforehand The L Word presents men in an unsatisfactory light. Please for a second sit back and tell me if you can name one man in the shows history who is shown in a celebratory manner. I’ll wait.

Work – The writers did address how at risk trans people are, to being fired at their bosses free will. This is probably the only good thing we are shown when it comes to Max. He deals with his boss and douchebag coworkers to his best ability, and leaves admirably. Unfortunately his life then begins to spin out of control.

*You will note that I left out a few characters:

Helena – While I loved Helena, her character is pretty much filler. She’s great and sexy, and has a completely un-relatable life. She is perfect for entertainment value. I like to think that she got rid of Dylan real quick and is back on an island with Dusty.

Ivan – Ivan clearly was on his way to transitioning, but the writers clearly were not ready to write for him. I like to think that he showed up at The Planet one day and whisked Kit away.

Jody – Probably the only person who gave Bette a run for her money. She also showed that someone with a disability was just as capable, fucked up, and brilliant as anyone else.

Dana and Tasha – Are both perfect humans and should only be referred to as such.

The L Word, shaped an entire generation of LGBTQ humans. For better or for worse it has become an intrinsic part of many of us. While flawed in many ways, it does live on as a groundbreaking show that can still be watched with the same esteem and emotion as when it first aired. That emotion mainly being:

Fuck Jenny.

tv_the_l_word30

Monsters

What is a safe space? When you leave your house or the confines of blogs you are familiar with, how can you navigate through life entering spaces that will keep you, uplift you, and ultimately shield you in some way from anything bad happening to you? Be it physical, verbal, or in writing. The truth of the matter is you can’t. You can hope to be surrounded by people with decency and respect. You can hope to be surrounded by people who don’t see you as a target. People who though they might be strangers, would stick their necks out for you, in the event that something went wrong. People who pause before hitting send on a comment, reversing the words they have just written back onto themselves. Asking: Is this ok?

Isn’t that what humanity is?

Last week I was forced to question. I was forced to question safe spaces, feminist spaces, and internet decency. How to make a long story short? I was home in New York visiting friends and family, and had ultimately decided to have the time of my life. Because well, why not? I was homesick for New York, and planned on using my vacation there to visit all of my old dives, my favorite parties, see friends, and for lack of a better word: rage. So Friday night I did what I had done so many Friday nights in the past, I headed down to the west village with a bevy of friends to cut loose, and lose ourselves on the dance floor.

Monster is a west village institution. It is right across the street from the infamous Stonewall Inn. This corner of the west village is an epicenter for gay history and rights. It is my favorite street to walk down during PRIDE, and until last week was one of my favorite places in Manhattan.

For gay and queer people, finding spaces where we can literally just be has no doubt become easier and easier over the years, but that doesn’t mean that we still constantly have our guard up. Gay bars and queer parties are inherently meant to be spaces where the only thing you have to worry about is running into your ex. Monster has proven to be a gay bar that likes to handle it’s patrons like subway rats. Male bouncers, treating lesbians and trans* people like pieces of trash. I have both been a part of and heard countless stories about these men. Until last week these stories were flags they weren’t blockades. I have spent the past week trying to put that night into words. This is what has materialized:

To the girl on the floor at the bar we know well

I don’t know if you know what happened

After your body fell

My friends and I saw you laying there

Alone and asleep

Dancers were dancing around you

The DJ didn’t stop a beat

Amongst my friends we had a doctor

And those trained in CPR

You could have died there and no one would have cared

I guess a free party only gets you so far

We made a circle around you

And breathed life back into you

In the background the venue shook with music

The drinks continued to flow

With their illegal over pours

I asked the DJ to lower the music

So we could get some order

He told me that the music had to stay on

I turned to a bouncer

Who was standing over you looking onward while my friends did what they could do

He put his hands on me

And threw me aside

He did this while

Doing nothing to make sure you would survive

You should know that no staff member check on you

Until the EMT’s came it was your peers who tried to rescue you

You should know that the bar manager was twenty feet away serving drinks

He never stopped for a second to make sure your heart was still beating

He never bent down over you to see if you were in fact still breathing

He let your body shake to the beat

I wonder if you had been a white man

If the staff would have cleared out the dance floor

But upon seeing another black body laid out

They did what white people usually do in these moments

Ignore

You should know that the group of people that tried to save you

Are as diverse as could be

We have been attacked by the bouncers here

Based on who we are and what these men apparently see

Attacked both physically and mentally

They have made it clear that we are not welcome here

And after the other night

Showed us that even our lives are disposable

I do not know your name

There were no friends around to tell it

You fell alone

But please know that we did all that we could do

So that we would not lose you

I have had a heavy heart since that night. How can we make sure that the spaces we are in, the spaces we create as queer people, are spaces where we uphold each other? As I sat reeling from that evening another event was happening in my life. My good friend was throwing a 25th birthday party. One in which she was welcoming 60 queers to a strip club. I won’t use this space to talk about how I personally feel about strip clubs, I will instead present the series of events that ensued. After weeks of hilariously fun posts on the group event wall, we began to get serious about the fact a collective of lesbians and queer individuals would be entering a mostly cis space. A space dominated by cis men at that. Many conversations followed. How would we fit into this space? How would we as feminists act in this space? Was there a right way? There was definitely a wrong way. Let’s be responsible adults and talk about these things. This event wall is a safe space. It is a private, by invitation only space, these are our friends, we get each other. Who knew that our conversations would end up polarized by the public?

My friend throwing the party, decided to make a bullet point list of the conversations we had been having. In hopes of bringing forth both clarification and comfort. After the events that had happened the previous Friday, this space felt uplifting. No one in our party would be that girl. No one would have to deal with aggressive and insensitive security. How you ask? Because my friend went to the club prior to let them know about the diversity of this crowd. Their would be trans* people, there would be girls kissing girls not for sport but because of love, there would be straight men who were feminist. This was a different crowd than who would normally walk through those doors, and we wanted to be safe. Imagine our surprise when our very private conversation ended up on Jezebel:

http://jezebel.com/dont-be-an-idiot-at-the-strip-club-a-strippers-guide-1681793887?utm_campaign=socialflow_jezebel_facebook&utm_source=jezebel_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

Jezebel has always been a place I have seen as an internet safe space. They even did a story on me after I did Barneys Spring Campaign. They were the women warriors of the internet. But just like Monster, they have fallen. They have become bullies, articles feel more like click bait, authors seem more like Regina George’s than Bell Hooks.

When I spoke to the bar manager at Monster he was more concerned with getting back to bartending. This was not managing, it was working for tips.

When I read the comments on Jezebel, the author was more concerned with generating “likes” on her post and making snide remarks. This was not journalism, it was a high school locker room.

I’m not sure if these events collide for you, as much as they do for me in my head. But both occurrences have made me realize that feminism is not inherently good. That feminism is not just a word you can slap on anything an empowered woman says. Because you write for a feminist blog, it does not mean your core is that of a someone who is both strong, and trying to create safe spaces for other women: for all women, no matter their race, class, or birth gender. With that said we must do everything we can not let feminism become a bad word. But how do we do that when some of the loudest “feminists” are actually just bullies that hide behind avatars on blogs?

I realized that just because a bar is historically gay, the people that work for it can not only be transphobic but strongly anti-woman. It is then imperative for the queer community to call out these spaces. It is our responsibility to demand fair treatment, even if that isn’t the popular rally cry. Even if you are then calling out a party you have frequented for years, thrown by one of your friends. Silence will not only destroy you personally, but your lack projection will destroy countless others. We can not speak in absolutes, we have to always leave room for others, you must always leave space otherwise there literally is no room for growth. And what is the point of living if you are not also growing?

*My friend responded to Jezebel on Medium and her words are well worth your time.

https://medium.com/gender-justice-feminism/what-happens-if-you-plan-a-strip-club-birthday-when-youre-a-lesbian-the-idiot-speaks-52121eee099c

Keep this Resolution

When will we start to realize that the youth are the ones who will take us forward? When will we stop and think about the weight of our words, and the ramifications that they have when we as adults preach and push on young minds? Minds that are flourishing and being molded daily. Minds that turn on the news and see uniforms killing their peers. Minds that see news headlines that question a persons very being for being something that does not fit the “norm”.

Today I have finally broken down. 2014 has been a year of civil rights being stricken away from the harmless. Whether at the hands of another, or by the words of another.

We have left another year behind that will aid statistics. Numbers of black youth killed by police, numbers of black trans* women being killed at the hands of bigots. Numbers on numbers that will go into reports, that will go into student papers, into blogs, into newspapers. But these people are not numbers, they are humans.

Maybe this year has hit me especially hard, because I fall into so many of the groups that have been attacked the most, yet seen the least justice. I watched as police were acquitted left at right for killing my brothers. I watched as my transgender family lost more and more members, while the media stayed silent and biased. I heard woman after woman come forward with stories of abuse and rape. I heard voices speak over them. Over all of them. Trying to silence minorities as history has done again and again.

How dare we.

How dare we look at someone who has been victimized, who has seen their humanity ripped from their very soul, and tell them to get over it. Tell them that it gets better. How can we? It doesn’t get better when people remain silent and let these people become statistics.

What is the point of being alive if you do not speak up for the dead? What is the point of breathing if you are using your breathe to spread hate. Or worse nothing at all. Silence is to me as repulsive as racism, homophobia, violence…the list goes on and on. Not the silence of victims, no their silence is understood. The silence of those who have the power to make change – it’s that silence that repulses me. It makes me sick to my stomach.

Youth. You young powerful roots of revolution. You matter. God dammit, do not let anyone tell you that your worth is actually worthless. We are not blessed by geography. We are not all bless by privilege. How can a young black trans* teenager relate to gloss and glimmer of an out person in the media? Do you not remember being young? The influence our peers and our parents played in our lives? Do you remember? That feeling that you were 100% alone in this world? That no one understood you? Now imagine you also felt trapped in the wrong body. Imagine that you were stop and frisked while your white classmates happily swiped their Metrocards.

I can not wrap my head around a parents ability to ostracize their own child. But because I know it to be true. I instead think of how we can make that child know their purpose and their worth to this world. When suicide becomes the path for more people than living does we have a massive problem. When black youth feel like they need guns to protect themselves from cops, we have a massive problem.

Adults, be mentors. Your words? They matter. If they reach one kid, or millions; there is a chance you have saved a life. That life is the most precious thing in the world. We can not continue to go on this way. We can not let another year go by with statistics. We must do the work and have the conversations that amount to change.

This year has truly been a fine example of the amount of work America must do in the future. From race relations, to dealing with mental illness, to LGBTQ rights – highlighting transgender youth and trans* people of color. It isn’t enough to call our country broken. The statement falls flat. Our country is a scale that has not known balance since it’s creation. The scale aided by drug wars, race wars, homophobia, classism, and lack of humanity and understanding for those suffering with mental illness has tipped so far on one side that I fear the hope of nationwide balance may never come. Which is why it is so important for groups to gather, discuss, rally, and make change in their communities. The first steps of revolution come from seeds being planted all over. We must act like bees taking carrying pollen from flower to flower. Eventually as a whole we can cover an entire garden, but first we have to attack our first flower. We have to look at our peers as friends and confidants. We have to learn from our past, and understand how certain systems work. Why they are broken, and make clear resolutions about how to change them. I refuse to watch police officers protest a mayor in 2015. I refuse to watch more young black men killed and left to be statistics. Story after story floods the Internet about LGBTQ youth committing suicide because all of their hope has been taken away. Can you imagine having so much of you taken away, that you would rather not be here at all? To actually be convinced that your life was accidental. To feel like you were a mistake. We have to on all sides EMPOWER our youth. Our young girls, our young black men, our LGBTQ community. If you’ve made it this far in life you owe it to a kid to show them that they can too. For each of us walking there are tens more in the ground. Don’t let another young mind become dust in the wind. Resolve to bring resolve into someone else’s life. Resolve to speak out against inequality. Resolve to make someone else uncomfortable at the expense of making somebody else’s light shine brighter. Resolve to make change. As small as you might think your action is, that action combined with the actions of those around you will be the spark that lights a fire. A fire that will burn everything that once was down, and allow us to build this country as it has never been built before. With love.

The Summer of Gender Love

I’m watching the water jump from the sky and dance on the road and it’s making me think of all of my exs
In particular this one girl
She wasn’t even a girlfriend more like a summer distraction
Someone who could maybe one day be a story about brief and sudden lust that felt like love
She seemed like everything I could ever want for a moment maybe more
Sweet and polite but with all of the sass and Jesus she had a great ass
She had my full on attention
Until every red flag flew from the rafters
That I was actually someone who didn’t meet all of her dating factors
She couldn’t get passed the fact that
While she was a lesbian
I was wearing a pack

She kept saying things like I see you as a she
And I just kept saying look sweetheart you need to see me as me
Didn’t understand why people called me sir
Especially if I was walking down the street with her
They’ll know your a girl because you’re with me
I’m a lesbian
And they’ll get that as soon as we come near
Well bitch
I’m queer
And
I don’t give a fuck how straight society sees me
We got into it one night
As she screamed out that she just didn’t understand
If I cut off my boobs she wouldn’t be able to deal she said
Then you’d be a man
I wanted to cry
I wanted to smack her in the face
I wanted all the whiskey and my mothers smiling face
I am who I am and believe me sweetie I don’t need you
She said well you’re just something I have to get used to
To which I responded what if I was to say: I’m a Jew and dating someone – a gentile like you is something that I have to get used to?
I wish I could have bitten my tongue and not gotten so damn angry
But I don’t need your small town mind when I am more than happy
Being a queer dapper dandy

My gender is a definition of me
But I am not solely defined by my vagina or lack of a dick
There is nothing for you to get used to but my brain and what makes me tick
The person I am inside this frame of a body

But you
You made me feel like an alien
Some species that had to be handled with care
And then I woke up and realized you had never been there – through all our talks and long conversations – all of the blogs of mine you had read
You thought you could change me
And tell me what you see
And make that me
But even God tried that and you my dear are not nearly as crafty

I pray at the alter of gender fucking and confusion
I’m sorry that you confused it all for some Halloween like illusion

So when you bitched and you moaned to me about what a horrible person I am
For not understanding your ignorant downfall and therefore never ever wanting to speak to you again
Realize that I’m so thankful I met you
And why?
You restored my faith in the crazy
In the beautiful non gender conscious gorgeous and empowered folks who I party into the wee hours of the night with in the brightest glitter filled corners of Brooklyn
The queermos who I fall asleep thinking of and can’t get out of my dreams

Why on earth would anyone want to be mainstream

I will take easy before I ever take hard if it means that I get to be me
Me
This
A beautiful anomaly
Because it means through all the shit
This shit
Your shit
His shit
And her shit

That I get

To be happy

Qwear Interview

One of my lovely, amazing, Boston based queers runs a pretty dope fashion blog called Qwear. Which is for all of us gender fucks who are obsessed with fashion. It aims to showcase queer designers, while following seasonal trends. I sat down with Sonny for an interview last week, telling them what life as a gender queer model is like.

Cha cha check it out.

http://qwearfashion.com/post/57517405553/genderqueering-fashion-sit-down-with-ryley-pogensky

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.

The Best You

I want nothing more than to live in a world where people don’t feel like they need to go under serious acts of medical adjustment to become who they want to be. This goes from people getting cosmetic plastic surgery, to people feeling as though they need to remove body parts to fit into societies boxes easier. Sometimes, we are born with something that we look at on our body as a tumor. As something that never was supposed to be there. In instances like that the medical world becomes a god send. For a little girl who was born and grew up thinking of herself as nothing but a boy in the wrong skin, the fact that the modern world of science can make the adjustments that will make them the person that they were always meant to be, that is truly beautiful.

Trends can make people do some very stupid, often permanent adjustments to their bodies. How many times have you seen a ridiculously ugly tattoo or a haircut on someone who should have just left well and good alone? A boob job that simply was way too much, a face lift that looks like absolute hell? We all search for acceptance. To either blend in with a community or to be the highlight of one. We are a generation that is constantly connected. We bond over inside jokes whose origins exist on Tumblrs and blogs. I look around and see myself surrounded by highly educated young folk. Most of us see falling in love and getting married as something our parents did. We instead crave education, we live for a constant influx of knowing. Many of us are on a constant hunt for getting to the core of who we actually are. Of challenging the rules we all grew up being told we had to follow. So why is it that we still find such a hard time with individuality. Why in communities that are supposed to be more understanding and accepting than any other are people ostracized for their sexuality or gender preference?

There are certain letters of the LGBT that are on a much higher podium than the others. I will exclude the G for right now because I’m not highly versed on the life of gay men (go figure). So let us focus on the LB and T. So. The way I see it, the L is quite separate from the B and T. The B has always had to go through some serious shit from the L and T. The gay community treats bisexuals like lepers. For as many “horrible bisexuals” that I’ve met I’ve encountered about ten more “lesbian pieces of shit”. Your sexual orientation doesn’t negate what kind of person you are, that is all on you. If you lack a sense commitment it doesn’t matter who you’re fucking. So moving on. I think because of the serious scrutiny many a bisexual person has had to face many (those who spend more time in the gay world than the straight one) have taken to the much more accepted term: queer. Being bisexual makes you undateable being queer on the other hand shows that you are in touch, that you have taken a gender studies class. That you’re “in”.

On the same side of that coin, trans people have often been the victims of hate from both the hetero and homo community. Straight people who have not been educated about the trans world simply don’t get it. While lesbians don’t accept trans men because they are after all men and a man entering an all feminine space is after all an intruder.

I hear you. I hear you right now after reading that line. You’re saying THAT IS NOT TRUE. I love trans men. And I’m going to say no, YOU love the gender fuck out at the bar who presents as a trans person BUT has absolutely no commitment to actually transitioning. In fact if we revisit that person in 5 years they very well may have grown their hair back and *gasp* may have started wearing women’s clothing again.

Now to say that there aren’t queer female bodied folks out there who do indeed love and date trans men would be a lie. I know many. But. I do also know a bevy of women who date gender queer indiviuals who because it is trendy like to call themselves trans. But well. Aren’t.

It takes an extreme amount of courage for someone to come out to the world as trans. It shows an amazing sense of “this is who I am and whether or not you accept me is not going to make or break me”. That is why it angers me that non trans folk seem to think its cool to say that they are. It isn’t. Actually, it’s kind of disrespectful. Expecially when you take into account all of the shit trans people have to go through day to day. If you dress one way when you go out to the bars knowing it will get you laid and another way when you go to the office. Well. My respect for you has lowered.

So either you’ve gotten to this point and want to high five me or shoot me. I’m sorry if you disagree and I’d like to know how you feel. But this is how I feel. So allow me to continue.

Society has decided to put us all into boxes. Girl. Boy. Gay. Straight. Lesbian. Trans. What society does not allow for are those who may kinda sorta fit into a box but also fit into another. Often if we want to live a life that allows for us to have friends and to fall in line we have to pick a box and roll with it. Of course there are a handful of truly wonderful people who live for constant expression and change. Who thrive on being able to constantly evolve and learn about others transitions. And then there are those who swear their creating change, yet are really just going along with what the majority is doing. And you know what? Sometimes that is a ok, but it’s not ok when you are following a very confused majority.

It has taken me years to figure out that I exist as gender queer. I have read and read and read. I have reached into myself.

Who the fuck am I? I stand naked in front of the mirror now and laugh. All day, everyone has referred to me using male pronouns. I look back at my reflection and what do I see? I see a tattoo’d gender fuck. I have breasts and a pussy. I’ll get dressed, sometimes with a pack, sometimes not. I will go back out into society and those who don’t know me will say: “Have a nice day, sir.” “Kid how old are you?” etc etc. And you know what? 90% of the time, I fucking love it. I am whoever the fuck I want to be at any moment.

We all have the Internet. If I want Xanax, I go online and determine what symptoms I need to tell a psychiatrist and boom. I have Xanax. If I have always been a tomboy, and start hanging out with a bunch of queermos in Brooklyn, girls who are calling themselves trans. I may start to see myself that way as well. I will see how girls respond to me. I will think that being trans is what I have always missed about myself. I will start trying to figure out how I can start going on this drug everyone keeps talking about – T. I will tell my liberal parents and together we will go down the road to my transitioning. The T will kick in and I will start dealing with all of the emotions that go along with it, and then I will realize. Shit. I didn’t want this.

Do you hear what I’m saying? You need to get in touch with you for the good of you to figure out what makes YOU happy. You do not need to use medical tools to be a person who will simply fit in better. YOU are better than that.

Humans grow, as time goes by we have no choice. We will meet a million people, that will impact our lives in a trillion different ways. We will look in the mirror sometimes and want to punch ourselves in the face. We will blame our parents for our genes. We will compare ourselves to our friends, to celebrities, and go to bed hoping for something different; for anything but this. What you have to realize is the same cliche bull shit you have always heard the older generations in our lives say. You are the most beautiful you. Some of us were truly born in the wrong body. Some of us do have certain physical or mental conditions that we will always have to carry with us. There is always a quick way out. There is always space for a rash decision to be made. And you know why? Because to make a rash decision it actually requires no space at all. With my Iphone in my hand I have the capacity to literally do anything. I can buy a plane ticket, I can rent an apartment, I can make a million doctors appointments, I can destroy someone on Twitter or Facebook.
We have so much power, and sometimes I feel like it overwhelms us. Actually, I know it does. You live this life once and you must live it to the fullest. Whatever the fuck that means for you. IF you are living this life while asking yourself constantly: what will _____ think? You my friend are living this life wrong.

You may wake up one morning and want to be a kangaroo only to wake up the next day resounding that you are actually the reincarnation of Biggie Smalls. That is the gorgeous thing about life. For the past few years I have been comfortable dressing as a man. Who is to say that in a year from now I may decide to rock a more feminine ensemble. WHO FUCKING CARES? Society may. But you know what? You shouldn’t. Easier said than done? Absolutely. Possible? You better believe it.

Don’t make any changes that you can’t one day reverse. And if you do make damn sure that 20 years from now you’ll still be just as happy as the day you did it.