Here are some tools I employ to protect my sobriety while still allowing me to participate in all of the fun. If you’re concerned about being a sober queer at Pride this year, some of these tools may come in handy.
I realized that one of the hardest parts about accepting my sexual orientation was that I literally did not believe that Black women were lesbians, bisexuals, pansexuals, asexuals or queer. I want to see stories of Black women with happy endings that entwine with my own realities and fantasies. I want to see us Black women no longer the Unmentionables or Untouchables, unafraid of the power and beauty of us loving one another.
Other than partying, what did we like, what were we good at, what defined us? One area that many LGBTQ individuals, including myself, struggled with was redefining what it meant to be queer. But, if being queer was synonymous with getting drunk, then how would I ever be able to define myself as anything other than a drunk?
“I try to remain impartial about most things,” she told us, “except for two: Ronald Reagan and Phyllis Schafly.”
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.
“That being said, I’d like to live in a world someday where people don’t automatically assume my body looks and functions a certain way, that makes room for people like me and my experiences.”
“Go see weirdos and women and everyone living on the fabulous fringes of society doing things, please. I’ll go with you. We can take all our boos, cats, and brujas on a communal date.”
“It was daunting to go in for a custom fitting but I’m a convert, now. I definitely feel way more confident in my choice of size and style.”
“I miss contraband, kumbayahs, and those very few and far between moments where I felt like there was nothing that could stop us.”
“We pass down traditions and knowledge that are unintentionally green or sustainable. We do not call them ‘eco-friendly’ practices, we just do them. I call this passed down knowledge, Abuelita Knowledge because so much of this ‘new age’ practices are the ways in which my grandmas and elders live their lives.”
“It eventually stopped. I don’t know how long it went on for. I’m not sure where I live, but I know it’s not in my body; everything felt like nothing and I didn’t know where that place was.”
But now my body, which had spent so many years letting me down and making decisions without my consent, had gone and done something absolutely right — and done it better. It had done something other people’s bodies, “healthy” bodies, hadn’t been able to.
It’s a boy, until and unless he tells us otherwise, I thought. It’s a boy who will be raised without gender roles. It’s a boy who will be defined by their heart and mind, not by the organs that happen to be between their legs. It’s a boy who will be loved wholly, deeply, and completely by the two women who created him.
“I once had a life where I could go blocks, miles, months without a stranger standing in my way, saying, ‘Hey girl, where you goin’ in such a hurry?’ I want to take my personal space bubble to the shop and have it re-inflated to its original size, but that chapter of my life seems to be done.”
“After three hours of waiting, the director sits us on the couch amongst three or four other couples. We stare deeply into the camera. I hype myself up. Look into the camera like it is a lover, NO, a hamburger! Look at the camera like it is a hamburger.”
My family used to joke that only white people need therapy. Meanwhile, white academics told me that African-Americans merely fabricated ungrounded stigma around psychiatric help. No one ever tells you that the healthcare system is sick.
“Whose sperm is this?” she asked me once. Maybe it was the first time. “It’s mine,” I said. I didn’t know what else to say. I had paid for it. No one else was coming to get it.
“Like Russia itself, my parents’ instincts are torn. My birth country can’t make up its mind whether it wants its culture to be a part of liberal Europe or conservative Asia, my birth parents can’t make up their minds between simply loving their only child and feeling like there is something fundamentally broken about me now.”
“I hated my body and punished it, and it hated me and punished me back. Is that what happened? That’s the thing about getting sick the way I got sick: nailing it down.”
“I did not intend to have any experiences outside the range of what I had previously proven to myself I was comfortable with or could understand. Scully and I both convinced ourselves that this was possible, that it had ever been a possibility.”