“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.
This is a story about the family that I lost and found and almost found at various The Cheesecake Factory restaurants across America.
“This is the root of the problem with fat shamers such as Kelsey. They are not worried about the health of others, they are angry that they must worry and we do not. They are people who fear becoming fat, have been fat or feel fat right now and can’t stand that there are fat people in the world that seem carefree. Don’t you know you are disgusting!!?!?!? You’re supposed to be unhappy being fat!! That’s why I work so hard to stay thin; because fat people should be unhappy!!! WHY CAN’T I HAVE MORE MCDONALDS??? The reason I know this is because I was one of these people for a very long time.”
“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.”
“Satisfactory social responses are often more obvious to nonautistic individuals. My behavior can be misinterpreted as ludicrous excuses or just being a jerk, when I’m simply lacking social knowledge.”
“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.”
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.”
“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?”
“Our fear of being dismissed or not believed is so strong that sometimes we need to wait for an unequivocally misogynistic event to talk about it all, just so we can be sure that those around us are at least starting off from a place of understanding that yes, this happens. There’s a hope that when the danger to women’s lives was so recently demonstrated, there will be more receptivity in listening to our experiences of how that danger functions and is allowed to prosper.”
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.”