Bad Behavior is a two-month deep dive into LGBTQ+ women and non-binary people’s experiences of defiance and/or deviance, of yearning for connection while stuck on the fringes, of the secrets we hold close to our chest, hearts beating still, nervous or maybe even eager for the next chapter.
- Riese Bernard Curator
- Laneia Jones Curator
- Rachel Kincaid Editor
- Yvonne Editor
- Heather Hogan Editor
- Sarah Sarwar Art Director
Welcome to “Bad Behavior,” a two-month series about the ways in which we are not good queers, at least not most of the time.
“We took off on our bikes with the intention of shoplifting all the proper ingredients to make homely ham sandwiches.”
What types of relationship situations or people are you often drawn to even though you know they’re bad for you and will destroy you?
“I craved that isolation, that feeling of utter aching loneliness that I found inside houses where I did not belong.”
“I like to think I’ve put my talking-back skills to great use as an adult who enjoys proving points and getting the last word and being right.”
“I still learned how to make bad things last, make my words sweet when my heart was sour, make anything a weapon, even food.”
“I derailed Bible study tonight and Pastor Daniel ended up delivering a lecture about the danger of Britney Spears; specifically, Crossroads. He said she’s scandalous.”
“No one knows, including me, that my overindulgence and competitive drinking is an attempt to assert the only masculinity I know. Toxic.”
“Life is hard enough, let me have this.”
“I want to cry but I work in events, and I can’t go home until 8pm. Instead I spend the afternoon wondering how much it would hurt if I bit off my finger.”
For centuries, the art of brewing beer belonged to women alone. This is the story of how the church pushed them out the industry they founded and sent them riding piggy-back on demons into the flames of an eternal abyss.
Dementia used to be called madness, I was told.
“My armor was a smile, Santana’s was an insult. And bless her for it.”
Shane McCutcheon self-sabotages, Emily Fields co-depends, Cheryl Blossom is scared to commit — and a team of real live functional adult queer women are here to help.
“I think I’m willing to do this because I’m constantly aware that death awaits us all and I’m more inclined to want to heighten an experience if I can.”
“I wanted her to smile at me that way. I wanted her to say my name. This turned out to be easy.”
“She asks me how it went, I say it went bad. I don’t say much more because she hates hearing about my family like they hate hearing about her. It goes better when I keep it to myself.”
“I never went into it planning to be a monster, and I think that actually always made it worse.”
“As soon as we met Tara and Tony, our lives morphed to make room for them. Instead of drinking Carol’s parents’ liquor on Friday nights, we went to their apartment in Hillcrest to smoke pot from a bong filled with Midori and play with Tara’s snake.”
“It seemed at the time to be exactly what life was about, and only just barely staying alive, curling up in corners of lonely, unclean rooms in shaking fits of sadness too raw to keep inside my head, screaming into my bent knees.”
In the pool hall, my sweetheart and a close friend tease me one night: “unimpressive,” “pure luck,” “you aren’t that good.” They were trying to get my ire up so that an hour later when I told them to stare into each other’s eyes as I fucked my sweetheart’s body, I would mean it with a snarky competitive vengeance, I would mean it with power and control, I would be pushed to take what I want.
Just some of the many ways we ruin our lives after a breakup.
Even now, almost a decade after The L Word’s final season, with LGBTQ+ representation at unprecedented heights, we still hold Jenny Schecter up as our ultimate villain. Her name is a curse, a swear, a shortcut for derision. She is a model of bad behavior.
“She’s a tomboy,” your mother says, frustrated. “I’m sure she’ll grow out of it when she gets interested in boys.” “More dolls,” repeats Mrs. Morris. They plan to doll this little problem out of you.
“Boarding school teaches self-possession repeatedly and thoroughly, because it teaches you how to be in control when you’ve made every effort to be out of it.”
Capitalism! So neat!
“Making love and choosing to be with other queer women of color is an act of love and defiance.”
“It’s about breaking the rules just a little bit.”
“When her body shook I was filled with a fullness that almost made me cry. For me, in that moment, Dan wasn’t even in the room.”
It’s not gonna happen, buddy.
Don’t be a frigid bitch, but don’t be so un-frigid that you murder your husband with sex.
I couldn’t deal with the love-hate whiplash anymore. I may have been patient, but I had my limits.
“My brother would wander toward the TV to watch some movie, and I’d go straight for the computer and open two tabs. In one, YouTube. In the other, fanfiction.net, where I tweaked the character filters so I could read about Santana and Brittany falling in love for the thousandth time.”
Forgiveness may be an attribute of the strong, but we also have the memory of an elephant.
“The first time I left my mom in the county jail, the only person more surprised than her was me.”
I feel nothing and everything when I’m with her and I want that more than I want to protect myself. I know this will hurt me, but pain is part of my life, so I allow it in bursts I think I can control.
“Last week I found one of those butter-coloured strands on my dress, and wondered. Then I realised it was one of my own, greying hairs. Ten years have passed, and she’s straight now, living with the boyfriend I introduced her to nine and a half years ago.”
“I identified as a heterosexually-inclined bisexual when I started giving hand jobs for money, and I left more or less a lesbian. It wasn’t the only factor in that transformation, but boy was it a major one.”