Apr 27, 2010


There comes a time in every person's life where they discover a flaw in themselves. As humans, we discover superficial flaws all the time: too fat, too skinny, one eye is larger than the other, one breast is smaller than the other, etc. The internal flaws are hard to discover, and even harder to admit to, unless low self esteem is in play.

I have always been fairly confident in myself, even while admitting to myself that I have several ugly internal tendencies. Over the years, I have come to terms with the ugly sides of my personality, but showing them to others remains hard for me to do. I am cynical, I am jaded; I picked up a book in Target today called "100 reasons every daughter needs a father" and wanted to write the author because I never had a father and I'm just fine. (The urge to rip the book into pieces obviously says that while I'm not psycho because of it, I still carry a penny of daddy issues in my pocket.)

There are ugly tendencies I wish I could change, or get rid of, but there is one thing I am selfish about, and I wouldn't change it for the world.

After first:girl, my mind was jumbled about. I had an affair with a boy that felt dirty and unsatisfying, and then went out partying, looking for people I could connect with so that I didn't feel so alone. When first:girl and I stopped talking, I felt like I had been thrown into a churning ocean with no way to float or scream for help. A few short months passed, and a new girl came into my life.

An:girl was cute, in her own way, a little loud, funny, a soccer player. She was a little rough around the edges, but she was bi-curious, and I looked at her like a drowning man looks at a life raft. We hung out, talked, laughed, but she was young. An wasn't much younger than myself, but girls were a new concept to her. I had had time to begin to adjust, begin to find myself, and she clung to me, taking who I was as the ideal lesbian figure.

I just wasn't emotionally ready for that. I wanted to be with someone older than myself. Someone who would ground me, who would look at me and say, "Go change. You don't look like yourself, you're imitating Tegan Quin." I wanted someone to guide me through sex, to understand that sometimes it doesn't end in orgasms, and it's okay if it doesn't. With An, I felt as though I were carrying two worlds on my shoulders, my world, and hers.

I didn't want to stumble through this tangled web of do-be-do-be-do complexes, stereotypes, and uncertainties with a young girl. I wanted someone who would walk alongside me on my path, and maybe knock a tree branch out of the way or pull me out of the way when a wolf attacks. I still want someone like that. I'm older now, and know more about myself (I can occasionally pull my guide out of harm's way as well), but I am still new enough that I want someone who has been through this a couple of times.

So, I broke it off with her. Abruptly, and without any real explanation as I could not put what I was feeling into words that had enough worth for her to hear. I handled it badly, and I was selfish. I put my own emotional needs first, an ugly, awful thing to do. I could have handled it better, but even now I believe it was the right thing to do.

I've shown you one of my selfish priorities, and have justified it for myself, and for you as well. I write with a bias to portray myself in a better light, another ugly habit I cannot break. It is human nature. And with this justification, the ugly seems more beautiful inside my head.

Apr 7, 2010


Constance is now a household name for those active in LGBTQ cultures. We look to her as part of a larger movement, we look to her as a bearer of LGBTQ rights in the next generation, we look to her as a girl who has been wronged for just being herself. We are all trying to do the right thing for her, as she has done the right thing for herself and the LGBTQ rights movement.

She has been wronged. She was wronged by small minded people who belittled her views, her beliefs, her sense of being. She was wronged by a bunch of whinging teenagers who are ego-centric and wanted their special night. Those whinging teenagers did what they felt was justified. The kids didn't say that Constance couldn't bring a date of the same sex, those were the school officials. Those same officials canceled the prom for everyone, devastating the teenagers who were raised to believe Prom is the best night of one's high school days. So the kids threw their own prom, and felt justified in doing so. I can understand that, from a psychological perspective.

I honestly think that except for a select few, the kids didn't invite Constance because she was the reason their prom was canceled, not because she was gay. Call me idealistic or naive, but these kids have gone to school with Constance for years, and I'm sure most know her well enough to look past her sexuality and regard her as a person. And Constance is, above all, one of the most loving, tolerant teenagers that I have ever heard of.

This is why, when I heard about the "Constance quit yer cryin'" Facebook page, I was shocked and appalled. I decided to head over there and check it out. Instead of posts from the kids of the school, I found a huge backlash from the LGBTQ community. There were countless posts saying "You homophobic, bible thumpin', rednecks, with IQs of 98, don't have the right to judge anyone!" among the few and far between posts of "Don't stoop to their level and call them names because that won't do anyone any good."

This was horrifying for me. The amount of hate spewed onto the wall of that Facebook page overwhelmed me. I could see the blood oozing from the old battle wounds of LGBTQ people, which had been ripped open and gouged anew by the hateful act done to Constance. It became clear that this hate crime (because really, that's what it is) was a personal assault against everyone in the queer community.

However, I was upset with the way people jumped in the fray to backlash against these teenagers. Hate begets hate; tolerance begets tolerance. By flaming those teenagers, we are reaffirming the belief that LGBTQ people are hateful, sinful, mean, and angry. We are doing nothing to change the views of the people who do not accept us. Constance's own quote about this was taken up as a battle cry. She wrote:

"ok i think that if people that are supporting what i am doing really support me they need to stop sending messages to people at my school because some of them are mature and stay out of it some of them support me and then there are the other people who are against me but since you dont know who is who please stop doing that because its not their fault. thanks."

"thanks everyone and you know i dont agree with what the school did obviously but i never wanted my classmates to have to suffer from it and many of them dont get that and want to blame me for everything and think i am doing this all for a faulty reason but i just want the negativity to stop because i try to be respectful and positive i find it to be more effective. please tell all your friends so as to get the word out."

This was immediately followed by posts saying that Constance was afraid that the students would take it out on her, and that caused for, wouldn't you know it, more hate towards the students. Well, Constance is a teenager in high school, dealing with peer pressure and being accepted. If you look at everything she says, every action she takes, you will realize that she is the type of person who wants everyone to like her. On top of that, she wants everyone to accept diverse sexualities. A good view of LGBTQ sexualities starts with the queer community taking the high road, not cussing out some 14 year old who didn't have anything to do with the original decision not to let Constance take her date to prom.

"Kill them with Kindness" was the phrase I grew up with. If someone didn't like me, I made them like me. I baked them cookies, I shared my lunch, I drew them pictures in my sloppy 5 year old way. In high school I was nice to everyone, helped everyone. As a community, if we want to change minds, we need to (figuratively) help little old ladies cross the road.

We have had names thrown at us like daggers, names which summed up who we were into a disparaging phrase or hateful word. Aren't we proving just how small minded we are to blame their bigotry on Christianity (which has a huge queer tolerant following) or "redneck towns" (my brother is a 'hick' and he has no problem with LGBTQ people) or any other generalization?

The fabulous Jesse James wrote something that struck me to the bone:
"Every day I get up and for some reason or another, in some moment or a few, I have to fight a little, stand up a bit at least, JUST TO BE ME.I’ll call Violet sweetie in the grocery store and when that guy stares at me, well, I’ve spent years now practicing how to be brave enough to stare back and not to let myself look away until after he does...We wake up, we brush our teeth and then we put on some combination and specific variety of armor that let’s us walk out the front door without dying, so that we can take the blows if and when they come. "
I fight every day by letting all those disparaging comments slide off of me, and I pull myself together, put on a bright smile, and charm that person like crazy. I am the girl who brings tulips to the lady on the corner that thinks I'm going to hell, I am the girl who brings a crying child back to its mother in the store. Every day I fight in my own way, and it is just as draining as fighting a full blown war. However, everyone I know says, "Oh, isn't she a darling girl? She's so thoughtful and compassionate." Occasionally there is a "It's such a shame that she's...that way," tacked on at the end. But everyone likes me, and I believe that's the first step.

Maybe the way people jump to violence, name calling, and cussing upsets me so much because I feel like it undoes the daily progress I make. I am trying to change minds, one at a time, until I can change my neighborhood, my town, my state, my world; every time there is a blurb on the news about a violent LGBTQ response to something, I have to start all over again.

If you want to make a real difference (I took this information from the wonderful Dorothy) write a letter or sign the petition:


Itawamba County Schools Superintendent Teresa McNeece:

662-862-2159 ext. 14

Itawamba Agricultural High School principal Trae Wiygul


One more way to speak out. Sign the HRC petition to say "I stand with Constance McMillen.”

Apr 5, 2010

Lesbian/ Bisexual

There was a post done over at Sasha's Card Carrying Lesbian entitled "Bi-sexual Lesbians...An Oxymoron?" which brought up some fun things for me. There were several comments which brought to light how prominent Biphobia is in LGT circles, and I personally think that is a little strange. We, as members of the queer community come across a lot of prejudice, and I feel awful subjecting someone else to discrimination because of their sexuality.

This is my hastily typed post after I first read the article:

"I think that there is always a chance for the right person to come along in a gender that is unexpected for the individual, no matter if the person is gay, straight, or any other sexuality.

I don’t date men in hopes that one of them will be right for me. I date women with that hope. However, if I fell in love with my best male friend without trying, I would probably try out a relationship with him. I think that closing yourself off completely to the opposite or same gender is just reinforcing the gender binary. All the movies where the straight girl falls for the lesbian gives hope that love transcends sexuality, and that can happen in any direction, in my opinion."

However, looking back on it, I half-lied. While I believe sexuality is somewhat fluid, I'm not the true definition of bisexual, and it would take a potential soul mate for me to venture into seeking a relationship with a person of the other gender. If I found myself inexplicably in love with a man I'm not saying that I would close myself off and dismiss a possible relationship with him, however, I don't think that I could ever have a lasting relationship with a heteronormative man, even if I was in love with him.

I take such comfort in my own personal ability to perform outside the gender binary that I feel, right now, as if being in a heterosexual relationship would cause me to feel trapped in a heteronormative female role.

There are so many freedoms in lesbian relationships that seem awkward and ill fitting in heteronormative relationships. I love to pay for her dinner, tuck her stray hair into place, open her doors, tell her she's beautiful, etc... What I am poorly trying to convey with awful, cliche examples is that there is an understanding in lesbian cultures that these sorts of gestures help to reinforce a certain identity for an individual, or a mood for that particular evening.

When a woman curls into me and buries her head in my shoulder, she is giving me her vulnerability and simultaneously reaffirming my own identity as a strong, nurturing individual. When she kneels down on the elevator floor and slips off my heels, carrying them for me as she wraps a stable arm around my waist, she is enabling my vulnerable side, providing me with someone to lean on; she is showing me that it is okay to acknowledge a side of myself which I am less than comfortable with.

There is a dynamic in my lesbian relationships that allows our identities to flow, transferring the weight between the two of us. I want to be in a relationship where I feel butch because of how she treats me, or how I feel femme because of her chivalry, and how I play into her. I don't feel like I can have that sort of dynamic with a man, and that dynamic is a huge part of who I am, sexually and emotionally. That power play is one of the things I feel is crucial to my being.

Being with a woman feels less lopsided to me; it feels more equal. In past relationships with men I was constantly playing the damsel in distress, which made me feel so weak that I would close myself of completely and be stone cold, until I was afraid I couldn't feel anymore and cycled back to the damsel in distress. This was an unhealthy emotional environment for me, and it never felt equal.

There are always exceptions, but for the most part the heteronormative male seeks to stay within the gender binary, rather than stepping into a foreign dynamic. While the heteronormative male is becoming increasingly more open to options other than the gender binary, I am still not as comfortable being myself (taking and giving power as I see fit) with men.

I have felt more comfortable with a few bisexual men, and I feel like they understand what I need more than the straight male who has never stepped foot inside LGBTQ territory. So while I feel that I could potentially fall in love with anyone, I also feel like I need to date inside the LGBTQ world because LGBTQ people seem to be the only ones who really understand what I need, and possibly share in that same need.

(I do realize that by writing this post, I am, in fact, reinforcing the gender binary for myself, making me a hypocrite in my own words. Unfortunately, as much as I try to erase the gender binary for myself, it's very hard to get rid of all that the gender binary encompasses and the impact it had on me while I was growing up.)

(I also did not mention my intense physical attraction toward women and lack thereof toward men because I try to write about more than just that physical attraction and focus on the emotional needs.)

Apr 3, 2010

Lavendar Lens/ Part 2

I received a comment to my original Lavender Lens post and figured I should respond to it in part 2. This is the comment I received:

"My impression is that the standard word for a three-person relationship is "triad."

I feel like the losing-ground-for-gay-marriage argument is a dangerous one. If there's a majority shift away from monogamous relationships, wouldn't that indicate a problem with prioritizing marriage, and therefore prioritizing the recognition of monogamous queer relationships over multipartner relationships? Monogamous gay politics often takes a worrying "us first" attitude towards polyamorous lifestyles, just as cis gay politics sometimes does toward trans folks.

The marriage debate in general tends to do this -- many of the rights associated with marriage are things that people in nonmonogamous relationships want and deserve, and even that single people want and deserve. People sometimes neglect the need to challenge why it makes sense to be restricting these rights to people in particular kinds of relationships in the first place, in the process of trying to expand the category of relationships to which they're restricted -- and by doing so, they can leave out not only poly people but asexuals and single people."

Here's where this gets tricky. Let me just state here that I've never been part of a polyamorous relationship, so my views are relatively young and sheltered, and I am more than willing to listen to others' views and opinions to help enlighten myself on this topic.

When discussing the multi-partner relationships I had originally assumed there is a level of fidelity involved. I thought that, though there are more than two people in the relationship, sexual interactions would be pretty limited to the people in the relationship, somewhat like a group marriage. A group marriage has no main husband or wife with whom the others interact (polygamy), but rather everyone interacts equally(polyamory). I had imagined this scenario with love and lasting affection.

That is my ideal multi-partner relationship. A group marriage situation, where everyone is equal, individual, and safe. I feel like if I were in a relationship with two or three people and those individuals were having sex outside the relationship, I wouldn't be able to handle it. I would feel "cheated on" because that person is having sex outside the relationship we have established with however many people.

Is there a level of required fidelity in these types of situations?
As of right now I don't know.

This is part of the reason why I'm reluctant to get into a marriage debate here. At what point can you give everyone equal rights to marriage without spreading the umbrella so far that people can cheat the government? Marriage is to bind. Marriage is to become family. Marriage is to show that you are the most important thing in each others' lives. So while I see a group marriage situation as one that definitely qualifies for the right to bind to each other, I'm not sure how like that example most polyamorous relationships are.

To be realistic, American mainstream society is more comfortable with gay monogamous relationships than they are of polygamy or polyamory. The Mormon sects who promote polygyny (which means one husband with multiple wives) have created a bad public image of having multi-partner relationships that fall under many catagories. To gain equal rights, I feel like gay marriage has to come first. It has to be a stable stepping stone before mainstream society will even think about the possibility of legalizing group marriage.

Expect more pros and cons as I mentally think this through, day after day.

To be continued...

Apr 2, 2010

Train/ Part 2

After a long day in the city, I was more than ready for the train ride home. I would have loved to take a nice nap, however, two things kept me awake. One, I did not want to fall asleep and pass my destination, and two, I was so excited about being on a train that I didn't want to miss a minute of it.

Unfortunately, the fluorescent lights were on throughout the train, so I was not able to look out the window and see anything in the dark night. I didn't sit next to anyone, so it was a fairly quiet trip home. However, the person announcing our stops was getting tired and wasn't really giving fair warning, so I became nervous that I was going to miss my stop. (The train does NOT stop for long. You have one minute to get on or off and then that sucker leaves whether you're in the right place or not.)

He gave a warning call for my station, so I made my way downstairs to the doors. It turns out he gave advance warning on ours, because there was a huge group of us waiting downstairs for a good 5-10 minutes before we arrived at the depot. There was a pretty woman waiting next to me, with black hair and several piercings. She was very laid back, and had an easy smile. She didn't shy away from eye contact and it felt like we had several conversations without speaking a word. I would bet my right arm that she was queer.

There was this awful elderly woman next to us who complained about everything. "This is unsanitary. We're waiting too long. Public transportation is filled with germs." And I'm pretty sure we all wanted to say "So why are you on it, then?" but we politely refrained from saying anything. The girl and I did share a look, a smile, a stifled laugh.

It was a connection. Just another nameless connection with another girl who I will probably never see again. Her smile bloomed across her face effortlessly, and she winked at me as we disembarked. I smiled in return. There was a jostling of the crowd, and I lost her in the darkness as we both made our way home in the night.

I smiled even as I thought of my empty bed. Even though I have no one to sleep next to, I have the ability to take five minutes and make a connection with a stranger. In one moment, I had a shared thought, an unspoken conversation with a human being who did not exist to me before that moment. That seems like a good reason to smile.

Train/Part 1

The other day, I had the opportunity to take the train! I somehow grew up with the notion that no one on the west coast takes the train, so this was to be my first experience with trains. I had thought they were practically obsolete until I arrived at the train station only to be jostled by families, college kids, business travelers, and everyone with either a book, an iPod, or both.

I boarded the train and prepared for my two hour trip by choosing a seat at a table next to a pretty blond with a book in hand. Conversation was awkward at first, far less graceful than the smooth motion of the train. (I thought trains were supposed to be rickety and loud, not smooth and quiet. I could hardly tell when we slowed to a stop and took off again.)

I took a trip down to the cafe on the first level and grabbed a coffee just as we were passing the cliffs down to the ocean. I stopped at the doors and watched the ocean fly by through the huge windows. The silver sky blended softly towards the dark, swirling ocean: beautiful in its ferocity, stunning in shades of gray.

I made my way back up the staircase to my seat across from the shy blond. After offering a banana, she began to open up. She was from Washington, originally came to California to go to school and ended up staying. We talked about how I want to move to Washington, and the beautiful scenery of both our states. She takes the train often, and since it was my first time, she talked me through the experience. We shared a few laughs and it was easy to see that whatever social barrier she usually carried, she was beginning to relax. The conversation moved fluidly for quite some time and I was happy to be sitting near her.

Eventually we fell into a comfortable silence, staring at the ocean. I was reading a book as well, but noticed when she pulled out a notepad and began to compose a song from notes inside her head. She used all string instruments, cellos, violins, violas, harps, etc. It was wonderful to watch, though I hope I was subtle about it as she did seem very shy.

We both got off at the same destination, and I saw her several times afterward, strolling about the city. Each time we would laugh at each other and wave, a common bond formed over a simple train ride. It wasn't until I got home that I realized we never asked for each others' names.


I thought I had written up a draft for a new post the other day (which apparently I didn't), and instead stumbled upon a draft I had written up after the last time I saw first:girl. I saved the draft instead of publishing it because I was hurting, and I didn't want your first impressions of first:girl to be biased. I want to start from the beginning with her.

To do that, I have to talk about M2 and Patty, so that you can see the position I was in when I met first:girl. I want it all to make sense and go in chronological order. However, it's been a long time since first:girl and I stopped talking, and I still have a hard time writing about her.

It'll be posted. Eventually. I'm going to make that a goal. Talk about first:girl. Before June. In June, we enter each others' lives again, so I better be ready to deal with her by then.