day #3 in seattle. i’m exhausted. not sure if i am motivated enough to write about the move, so you should all follow me on instagram to get an idea of what mara and i have been up to and lots of pictures of kingsley. my username is pitseleh09.
also there are SO MANY QUEER FOLKS HERE and this is great but everyone looks so cool and i don’t know how to make new friends without the confines of a college campus so if anyone out there is a cool queer person from seattle please say hello.
by Mia McKenzie
It’s almost pride weekend in San Francisco. Preparations are being made for any number of festive activities. Marches, parades, parties. Right now, countless dykes are painting signs that read, “Dykes united will never be divided,” and such. Countless drag queens are deciding which wigs to don for the big day. Glitter is sold out everywhere.
I’ve gotten Facebook invites to more events than I can keep track of. There is something pride-related to get into every hour of the day from five on Friday to Sunday at two a.m. It’s all very exciting. I guess.
This whole “pride” thing…I don’t get it. I mean, don’t get me wrong, when I was younger, when I was first out, when the newness of gayness in public made the idea of parades and pride festivals really tantalizing, I was into it. I attended pride parades in many of the cities I lived in, including Philly and Denver. But after a while, it got…you know…old. And not just old. It got…pointless.
I needed pride parades when I was just coming out, I guess. I needed just to know that other “gays and lesbians” existed. And I guess I needed to spend a Sunday with all of them once a year? But very quickly what I needed, as a young, queer person, changed. Today what I need has nothing whatsoever to do with parades. Nothing whatsoever to do with Bud Light sponsorship.
What I need, and what most of the folks in my community need, is access to education, and health care, and food that isn’t slowly killing us. We need for our tax dollars to not be spent killing other brown people all over the world. We need the police to stop using our black bodies for target practice. We need…shit, we need a lot of things. And very few of them involve hot pants and feathered floats.
I know what some of y’all are going to say. “It’s a parade! It’s fun! I like it! Why do you hate everything?” To you, I say, Please stop hearing only what you want to hear. Thanks.
I don’t hate parades. And I find glitter to be all kinds of wonderful. And, yeah, wear those hot pants, guuuurl! AND ALSO, I have a brain and a sense of justice and a heart that connects to the suffering of other human beings. K?
I just wish some of this “pride” energy (and a LOT of this Pride money) was being spent demanding justice for Brandi Martell. And Cece McDonald. I wish all the people who care about after-parties cared about Rekia Boyd. (I realize that some people care about these things simultaneously. Most people, however, do not. Please don’t talk to me about how you know five people who do, and how that makes my argument null and void. Thanks again.)
I do not identify as “gay” or “lesbian”. The reasons are myriad, and it comes down to the fact that my association with gays and lesbians is with marriage equality and Subarus and we are just like straight people once you get past all the butt-fucking. I identify as queer because that term, for me, is about the ways in which I do not want to conform, the ways in which the idea of being “just like straight people” makes me want to watch paint dry, or something else that sounds equally interesting. More than that, though, being queer, for me, is about understanding the intersections. About being able to see how sexuality and gender and race and class and a whole bunch of other things are all tools used to keep the same machine in tip-top shape. And you know what? I have never heard anybody talking about that type of shit on a stage after a pride parade.
So, I’m opting out. (This is not me telling you that you should opt out. This is me saying that I am.)
Because, despite what today’s LGBT mega-organizations want you to think, Stonewall was a RIOT, y’all. Not a parade.
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Mia McKenzie is a writer and a smart, scrappy Philadelphian with a deep love of vegan pomegranate ice cream and fake fur collars. She is a black feminist and a freaking queer, facts that are often reflected in her writings, which have won her some awards and grants, such as the Astraea Foundation’s Writers Fund Award and the Leeway Foundation’s Transformation Award. She just finished a novel and has a short story forthcoming in The Kenyon Review. She is a nerd, and the creator of Black Girl Dangerous, a revolutionary blog.
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on new years eve mara and i went over to a friend’s house for a burn party where we wrote down all the things that we wanted to leave behind in 2011 and threw them in the wood stove.
besides bad habits (throwing the cat, not being assertive with what i want, etc.) i honestly couldn’t think of any major things that i wanted to leave behind in 2011.
from the beginning - spending last new years at my friend leia’s house in corvallis - until the very end, spending this new years with mara in amherst/northampton.
last winter, i was extremely hesitant about returning to school at umass. i wanted nothing more than to stay in portland and was incredibly jealous of everyone i knew that was able to do that. i had just begun to make some great friends in the fall, but wasn’t sure what would happen in the spring. mara and i also had some history that i wanted to leave behind me.
when i got to school, i jumped into things headfirst from the very beginning. i got to know the friends that i had even better and met countless more. i had some ridiculous nights with my roommates. i spent over a week drunk. i got stranded at mt. holyoke college and nearly froze at 2 am. for better or for worse, i had some hookups and did some pretty shitty things to someone who didn’t really deserve it. i finally felt like i had settled in - both at school with my friends, and who i was as a person. i have never felt so loved for who i am as i did in 2011.
i went to new york city for spring break and had one of the most amazing weekends of my life. i’m pretty sure that i fell in love at the metropolitan museum of art, telling mara everything i’d learned about post-impressionism in art history. i knew for sure that i had fallen in love a few weeks later, after walks through the woods, crying after watching into the wild, going to various feminist readings and lots of learning and laughing. and every day it just gets better.
when 2011 began, i had no idea that it would hold so much for me. i had no idea i’d find such amazing friends, have so many adventures, fall in love with massachusetts, fall in love with a beautiful girl and make plans for the future. i had no idea that i would have nothing that i wanted to leave behind in 2011. i guess i can only hope that 2012 continues all of that. i’m excited for the new year.
Me: Okay so if orientation is a choice, choose to be gay, right now.
Me: Why not?
Him: Because I don’t find men attractive
Me: So CHOOSE to find them attractive
Him: ……. I can’t.
Me: Sorry, WHAT was that? You CAN’T????
we need to get beyond this argument that being gay is not a choice, because guess what? for some people it IS a choice. I do know women that have chosen to be lesbian because they feel safer with women than with men (one of these women went through A LOT of trauma as a child). We can argue all day and night that we deserve equal rights because we didn’t choose to be this way, but the real thing is that that shouldn’t matter.
this is AMERICA. you should be able to choose to be in a same sex relationship just as you should be able to choose to be asexual, heterosexual, or single. By stating that its “not a choice” we’ll forever be butting heads with the religious and explaining ourselves forever. the basic fact is, however, that we shouldn’t have to explain ourselves. our personal lives are just that and it doesn’t matter who we love, we just want equal rights. end of story.
amen. biological determinism sucks. my life shouldn’t have to be proven scientifically or any other way. stating that being gay is not a choice will not only lead people to forever question that and try to prove you wrong, but it also excludes tons of people.
as for me, i don’t really care if my loving a woman was nature vs. nurture. i spent a lot of time worrying about this when i was first coming out; I worried that i was being influenced by listening to tegan and sara and the people that i was friends with who were mostly lesbian/queer/trans. i was scared to come out because what if i wasn’t really gay? what if i was just subconsciously becoming gay because of all these other influences? was i really as gay as the girls who figured out that they liked other girls when they were 3 and i didn’t until i was 18? and then i decided “so fucking what” because i shouldn’t have to prove my gayness and why i like girls. saying that people can only be biologically gay ignores and invalidates tons of peoples’ experiences where that may not be the case and makes them feel like that they will never be gay enough or make them forever question whether they have the elusive “gay gene.” it’s stupid. people should be able to do what they want. it IS a choice. we are all autonomous people.
thinking about at least starting a trip to europe there this summer, depending on airfare. i’m not really that concerned because i’ve travelled in much more conservative countries (singapore and malaysia especially) but mara and i would be going together to it’s sort of a good thing to know.
this supercute lezcat couple just came into sbucks with the three cutest. children. ever. both little girls had pixie hair cuts and i melted. i want to be that cute and have such a cute family and be a lezcat and live in a place where it’s totally not a big deal and people only look at me and my partner because of how cute our family is.
omg. cannot. contain. excitement.
booked the room at the hostel and i cannot wait to escape to the city for a couple days.
mara and i just need to find things to do on wednesday because neither of us have the money to shop and we saw everything that we wanted to at the met in march. plus i’m a little museum’d out after my trip to DC. and mara’s from new york so she’s seen most of the “things to see” in the city.
also, if anyone knows of any good lesbian-friendly/centric bars in brooklyn, that would be fabulous.