Jun. 16th, 2016

highlyeccentric: French vintage postcard - a woman in feminised army uniform of the period (General de l'avenir)
Made as a post to Facebook, because... I suspect many of my friends and relations are unaware how prevalent it is, as a background hum, even in my relatively non-threatening-to-straight-people life.

Earlier today, a friend remarked: “I don’t understand. The way you are reacting, it’s almost like you knew someone in the club.”

Here’s the thing you need to understand about every LGBT person in your family, your work, and your circle of friends:

We’ve spent most of our lives being aware that we are at risk.

When you hear interviewers talking to LGBT folks and they say “It could have been here. It could have been me,” they aren’t exaggerating. I don’t care how long you’ve been out, how far down your road to self acceptance and love you’ve traveled, we are always aware that we are at some level of risk.

From this longer post by [tumblr.com profile] alexdarke.

Look, I don't talk much about homophobic harassment, because to be honest I get so little of it. (I get erasure and the unfun experience of having to explain that bisexuality is not "only half gay", instead.) Unlike this guy, I haven't spent most of my life at risk: I catapulted suddenly into those risks at twenty-one, and figured that's the price I pay for the safe refuge of the queer community and the infinitely promising, hopeful, joyful ways of building a self and a life that offered me. Queerness has been overwhelmingly positive, to me. I came out but more importantly came *in*.

And yet: it happens. I cut my hair and gained so much in terms of self-presentation, the way people read me - and I gained guys swearing "fuck off, dyke" at me on buses if they thought I was looking in the direction of their girlfriend.

When I was dating a woman, we'd be drunk and making out at bus stops - which was tacky, sure, but we didn't just get disgusted looks. We got groups of guys stopping to wolf-whistle, harass us, make jokes about "joining in". (We thought this was hilarious at the time: we were <25 and drunk and thought we were invincible)

Hell, when I was straight, I used to walk down King St hand-in-hand or arm-in-arm with my college friends without batting an eyelid. And as far as I recall, no one ever batted an eyelid at us. Pairs of young femme presumably-straight girls giggling arm in arm. Perfectly normal. I remember distinctly that in 2010, I was doing that again - walking with [personal profile] kayloulee in Surry Hills, not that far from Oxford St, and I was holding her hand for some reason (we weren't dating. We aren't dating. She likes to make sure I don't walk into traffic, though), and realised: we were getting Looks. We didn't look like a pair of straight undergrads, we looked like a baby butch and her girlfriend. I'd accepted Looks as just something *I* had to deal with, but the realisation that I, by being visibly queer, was putting my best friend in danger? That was pretty sobering.

I don't go to nightclubs that much. But every city I move to, I find the gay bar. I know where the gay bar is in Geneva, and the lesbian cafe-bar. I don't go to parties or dance nights, but when I'm lonely I end up there on my own, comforted somehow by the knowledge that these are *my people*, even if I know none of them by name or face.

Addenda from the FB comments:

All of these things are on a continuum with the cocktail of awfulness that apparently lead Omar Maseen to shoot 100-odd people in a nightclub in Florida last weekend. Even if he was, as seems increasingly likely, acting in part out of self-hatred and internal conflict over his sexuality. Perhaps especially if: a man who is chill about his heterosexuality and masculinity is not a man who needs to abuse dykes on buses, or shoot queers in bars.


highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (Default)

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