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Hello, sweet pepper jam biscuits!
Welcome to Friday Open Thread, your virtual queer retreat from a long week in the cisheteropatriarchy. We’ve got hot chocolate and perfectly brewed coffee and every type of tea made in the world, including your fav! We’ve got huge, soft, comfy chairs and bean bag body pillows and seating at the very perfect height and firmness for your specific human body. Delightful! We’ve got all your fav movies and shows queued up (even the rare hard-to-find ones) in stereo surround sound and also quiet meditation rooms overlooking the sea and also, somehow, a 24-hour open bar and dance party in the desert. Come in, hang out! I’ve been waiting for you, babe!
2019 has been a lot for me so far—so many ups and downs—and also feels full of potential. Twice in the past 24 hours, I’ve had someone come up to me and tell me I’m a role model to them. It’s a weird thing, being told that someone wants to be like you. As you can imagine, I overprocess the shit out of it whenever someone compliments me or says they want my life. Cuz, like, I’m just a very normal person with my own hangups and I don’t know if anyone should be like me. My life is far from perfect! I’m a mess, is what I’m saying! Also, you should be like you and live your life!
It got me thinking, though, about how important it is to have inspiration models, to have representation, to meet people who give you hope for your future. So instead of CRUSHING THEIR DREAMS about the gritty realities of the nonprofit industrial complex and my general sense of constant exhaustion and not-enough-ness, I told these people what I think I’d like to hear from my role models.
I’m really flattered! You’re already doing super amazing work! I’m so glad we connected! Let’s stay in touch!
The first time I remember seeing a gay person on T.V., I think it was…Ellen. On the show Ellen. Or maybe it was Melissa Etheridge? I don’t know. Those two blond white lesbians who both came out in the early-mid-90’s kind of blur together for me. I remember thinking it was interesting, but not being old enough (I was a preteen) to really grasp what was going on let alone my own sexuality.
The first queer inspiration model I really took to was Margaret Cho. I watched her show for its exactly one season run when I was little. She was the only Korean person I’d ever seen on T.V. and also was a Loud Korean Girl, which I didn’t even know was a thing yet. I’d only been exposed to stereotypical versions of quiet, demure Asian women. Something about Cho’s whole persona was confrontational and powerful and sexual in a way that was 100% for herself. I later became obsessed with her standup in high school, both before and after she officially came out. For sure, Margaret Cho was one of my very first inspiration models for being a queer, fat, Korean.
Speaking of, remember when Margaret Cho poignently annotated her tribute song to her inspiration model, Anna Nicole, for this very website?
My first queer inspiration model in real life was probably, ridiculously, this person I worked at McDonald’s with circa 1998-2000. I come from a small town, so I’ll just call her Tracy. She was the first butch woman I’d ever met and also the first out bisexual. I didn’t know women could look like that and look that good doing it. I didn’t know I could blush like that when talking to a woman. When it came to Tracy, I didn’t want to be her, like I kind of always wanted to be Margaret Cho. I wanted to kiss her. I saw in Tracy a future where I was totally comfortable with my sexuality and with everyone knowing about it. We did kiss, many years later, under the hazy lights reflected in the 80’s-style mirror walls at a tiny gay dive bar in Erie, PA, where we both randomly showed up (neither of us lived there) on a weekday night. The kiss itself wasn’t nearly as good as I thought it might be, but it was part of a week that marked a new era in my bisexual, queer life.
How about you, beautiful people? Do you remember the first LGBTQ inspiration models or role models in your life? How did you find them? Or they, you? Why do you still remember them today? How did they shape who you became or are becoming? I’m curious!
Feel free to share all your pics and news and life updates and thirst traps here, too! I want to be inspired by you! I’m here all day for it!
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