October 12th, 2009

broccoli quote from SIKOS 2002

[NCOD] story-telling

[I was going to post last night, but then I got talking to people and opted to go to bed rather than finish this post.]

My facebook status (since yesterday morning) is: "Elizabeth is a bisexual/queer libertarian vegetarian Christian. In case you didn't know. (Happy National Coming Out Day.)"

When I told Althea last Sunday that this Sunday was National Coming Out Day she looked confused and said, "What, like coming out as a Republican?" and I laughed and said that I prefer a more inclusive version that includes lots of our identities but that it's focused on GLBT identity.

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Last night, Laci preached about how coming out meant taking her body seriously and taking other people's bodies seriously and how that pushed her toward radical work for justice, and she talked about protesting the Columbus Day Parade in Denver and etc.

I forget how, exactly, but this got me thinking about all the radical zine stuff I read when I was an adolescent and what stuck and what didn't.  And that related to Coming Out in some way that has apparently escaped me in the last 24 hours.

Laci also talked about being Queer meant being Different and that she thinks that difference is really valuable -- that queer people are not "just like straight people."  Which I know is true for lots of queer people ... but which isn't so true for me.  I talk about how I inhabit a liminal space and how I'm often translating parties to each other.  But what I think of first when I'm talking about that is the political (and theological) divides of liberal vs. conservative, and I also sometimes mean it in interpersonal situations (esp. when I know information that one party doesn't -- and that I shouldn't let that party know that I know -- and I'm trying to finesse an interaction).  I'm an essentialist in some ways and not in others, but one thing that I am personally is an assimilationist.  Which I think is okay.


sineala linked to "Greeting Card Emergency Episode 6: Four Coming-Out Cards."

Near the end, GreetingCardBoy [who's straight] thanks his friends who came out to him, saying that it saved his life, because he was raised in a Christian faith that was "cramped, ugly, and territorial ... against a backdrop of fear of doing the wrong thing, loving the wrong person," and that would have killed him.  (My instinctive response was to hope that he had found a way to follow Jesus in way filled with love and abundance and welcome, but I digress.)  In a dinner conversation last night, Laci said to someone that while straight people have the luxury to decide whether or not to Come Out as Allies, for queer people, Coming Out is a matter of Not Dying.  I silently reacted against this some, because for assimilationist queers (especially us bisexuals who can access so much privilege**) Coming Out isn't a necessity.  (Though yes it is so important for me to be known and understood.)

** "Why is the possibility of 'passing' so insistently viewed as a great privilege ... and not understood as a terrible degradation and denial?" -Evelyn Torton Beck, Nice Jewish Girls

But the ending of this YouTube clip made me think.  About the power of modeling.

My first year at Smith, a housemate was queer and poly and kinky and had no TMI filter.  And so kink and poly feels just par for the course to me -- that these are just other ways of being.  I first really encountered trans people at Smith, and Toby Davis' GenderQueer Monologues The Naked I: Monologues from Beyond the Gender Binary really helped me grok trans (though my libertarian self defaults to "so long as you're not [nonconsensually] harming anyone else, do whatever you want, regardless of whether I 'get it' or not").

I used to talk a lot about being That Girl, demonstrating by my very existence that Those People (Christians, liberals, conservatives, bisexuals, whatever) weren't as scary as you might have thought them to be, and I continue to believe that that is so important.

Uh, that was way more typing than I had really planned to do re: NCOD.  I think I'm done for the night.