“At 27, I came out as Korean-American. I was always Korean, of course. I checked the “Asian” box when filling out a form. My ethnicity was written on my face in the shape of my eyes and my small flat nose. But until a few years ago, it wasn’t an identity I felt connected to. There were many identities that came first — poet, bisexual, queer, feminist, activist, organizer, fattie, vegan. Being Korean was a fact, but not an identity.”
“When I was thirteen years old I began starving myself. I did so, in short, because I wanted so desperately to be thin. And by thin, I mainly meant white.”
“Almost immediately Ayries is convulsing, and getting red in the face, and moaning in a way I’ve never heard a lady moan before. Little short bursts of air. She is making spirit fingers in the way I imagine they are meant to be done.”
“We partied during the week and met up between classes, but brunch was where we let our queer identities free in a way that was more natural and less defensive compared to who we were in public.”
“For the first time in my life, a teacher calls me out on sleeping in class when I’ve been awake the whole time. I’m surprised it hasn’t happened earlier, because kids have made fun of my eyes since preschool.”
I got a taste of something I had never known — shopping in the men’s department afforded my body the opportunity to take up the amount of space it actually takes up.
“I used to go to The Pride March every year, starting at age fifteen. I don’t remember exactly how old I was when I started to become disillusioned with it, but I do remember why.”
“Real human change requires space to be honest with yourself, honest with others; a space that doesn’t exist when you’re trapped by necessity behind a fortress of self-protection. As the inmate Poussey in Orange replies when a correctional officer pressures her to speak openly during a group therapy session: “Does it ever occur to you that actually feeling our feelings might make it impossible to survive in here?”
“And so, we raced, each of us more reckless than the other, a bad combination. A mutual friend once said to me; “The problem with the two of you is that there’s no one to say no.” There was no regulatory mechanism. We ignored the scientists who had intimated that all living things, systems, required balance.”
“LANGUAGE MATTERS. In the same way a racial slur brings back a SLEW of painful memories for me and a reminder of the entire history of those words and what they have meant to people and how they have been used to hurt people. I was wrong and it’s important to accept when you’re wrong.”
Around 4:20 a.m. on May 26, an armed gunman pulled up beside us and opened fire on our vehicle… the bullet shattered my phone, took out a chunk of my left wrist, and knocked out a dozen of my teeth.
There are moments when if we can, we want to wear the articles of clothing that bring us close to joy. My suit isn’t that thing, not yet, but it did bring me closer to feeling sane and on top of this thing called adulthood.
“He didn’t feel any pain. He died instantly.” That was how she told me that my father was dead. I was 14.
“Trying to be cool about it, I stood next to a woman with gravitas who immediately turned to me and asked me to be her partner. She told me she’d been dancing tango as a follow for three years and was now learning to lead. And so yours truly, a middle-aged butch dyke, happily took the position of follow to a 20-something lead in an A-line dress.”
“My queerness was exactly the durable and malleable fabric that brought me here to this love. I am so grateful to finally have this powerful Black revolutionary in my life, I am thrilled about the quickly manifesting potential of our combined energy that nurtures creativity both for ourselves, our kin and our community.”
“I am a person with restricted growth (or little person or person with dwarfism), and I am queer… I did not come out as queer until I was in my 30s. People asked me why it took so long… But the deeper answer is that accepting my disabled identity was necessary before I could accept my queer one, and for me this has been a long, hard fought struggle.”
“My friends who hadn’t left town took me to new restaurants and bars they had found during their fledgling adulthood. Strangers lived in what had been my home. The girl I loved in May wasn’t speaking to me. I had a wonderful time, but I learned the city wasn’t mine anymore.”
“I was simply a girl who thought she liked girls at one point in her life, but prayed it away, and now life was good. Right?”
“I began to step back. Not because of low confidence, or a fear of public speaking, or an inferiority complex — all of them were about my story, and my skin, and my inability to find a way to belong in spaces for people of color without first justifying and laboriously explaining both.”
Kelly cut off all her hair and started dating Katie. I started chasing around after a guy who looked like Ellen DeGeneres and trying to make sense of the mess in my brain.