Posts Tagged ‘queer’

How to Build Community.

February 2, 2010

Currently, I am living in the middle of the bible belt in Southern California. There isn’t really any place to go to meet people – as alternative/counterculture doesn’t really exist out here. I’ve been trying to change that. I’ve been working on organizing a handful of groups to find like-minded people. I started a veggie group, a queer group, and am also working on trying to form a chapter of Amnesty International.

How do you organize without having a central place to organize? The answer is the internet. The internet is a great tool for connecting with people. One of my favorite websites to network is meetup.com. I’ve had mix results with meetup.com – I’ve had some groups that no one showed up and had other groups that people did. I think my biggest problem was trying to organize in New York City. There is so much going on there, that it’s hard to connect. I’ve had more success out here just because there isn’t anything else around.

Another way to connect with people on the internet is forums. Forums are a great way to find people who share a common interest with you. I go to a couple of forums and have made some great internet pals. Some I am hoping to meet in person eventually.

I had a meetup on Saturday for the LGBT group and about five people came. It was a good first meeting. Everyone was a little nervous. Or at least I was, I was shaking a little bit. I am hoping the people will come to another meeting so we can get a core group going. It was nice to meet some other queers!

I am trying to get active again after a few months of inactivity. I still have no idea where to move to that would be a place I’d like. So, for now, I’ll try to make the best out of what I go. We’ll see what happens.

Movie Reviews + What Music I’ve been listening to. + Being Queer and Straightedge

January 25, 2010

I saw the movie last night, “Imagine Me and You” and it was really cute. It was a lesbian romantic comedy. Some of the lines from the film were hilarious. “How are we ever going to have grandchildren?” “The turkey baster was invented for a reason.” Haha.

I also recently watched “Food, Inc.”. I think it’s a really important movie and everyone should watch it to be informed about where their food is coming from. It was more focused on the meat industry but it isn’t veggie propaganda. It just shows how the meat industry is. It lifts the veil of what they don’t want you to know.

It’s been awhile since I’ve mentioned anything about music. I’ve been listening to Mischief Brew – which isn’t usually the type of music I’m into – but it’s pretty awesome folk punk. I also bought Refused, The Shape of Punk to Come, and it’s a pretty solid album. I have also been listening to Fagatron which is awesome queercore.

Apart from that, I’ve been thinking about what it means to be straightedge and queer. The center focus of the queer scene is bars. People go to bars to drink. I don’t drink and people usually take it as a personal offense that I don’t. I don’t go around advertising the fact but when someone asks what I’m drinking, I’m not going to lie. I do get to parties early and leave when people start getting too drunk for my taste. I don’t like being around drunks. I just don’t feel comfortable.

It’s almost like being straightedge is anti-queer. Or maybe, just maybe, the queer scene has it wrong. That it shouldn’t be about supporting evil corporations and poisoning your body. I’ve tried a handful of times to build a queer scene without the booze but it just hasn’t worked. I don’t know if it’s because people lack the confidence to be their true selves without intoxication or if there’s just no interest in being sober. I’ve never need substances to have a “good time.” I don’t understand the appeal, but that’s just me.

I have never met another straightedge vegan queer who wasn’t drug-free without a history of past abuse. I am not really all that interested in people who abuse substances or eat meat for dating. I guess that’s the difference between being drug-free and straightedge: is the dislike of substances. Being drug-free is abstaining, but being straightedge is avoiding all association. I am for the legalization of marijuana because it’s not my choice to make other people’s choices for them. But, I don’t want to be around it. That is my choice.

Queer Zine – Call for Submissions

January 19, 2010

I went looking for the underground – the place were queer punks, anarchists, and free thinkers hide. A place free from hierarchies and oppression. A place where people could be themselves and be accepted. I found the underground but I didn’t find what I was looking for. But, somehow along the way, I became what I was seeking. I am the revolution. I can’t be the only one. I want to find the others.

*****

In a world treated like a machine; where everything is a commodity to be bought and sold, there lives a human who dreams of something more: community, solidarity, and connection. Can what they seek be found in such a world?

*****

Basically, my idea for the zine is two-folds: writing of an ideal underground that doesn’t exist quite yet almost like the groundwork for such a place; a manifesto of sorts, and the journey of a person to find if such a place exists. Part fact, part fiction, and queer as queer can be.

*****

So, what do I want from you? Poems, vegan recipes, drawings, gay shame theme material. Not looking to have it be anything beyond PG-13. I haven’t set the idea in stone yet – so it’s all just brewing. I have some jewelry designs I need to finish up this week before I start working on the zine. I haven’t decided how I am going to publish it yet – I might even make it a small book/pamphlet – maybe color if you have color works. We’ll see what comes of it.

I just read two issues of J.D’s last night from QZAP and I am fairly confident I can do an awesome job of putting together something that’s radical, queer, punk, and interesting.

Contact me for more details. You can leave a comment here or email me – kale.and.glitter (at) gmail (dot) com.

Thanks! Hope to hear from someone. Don’t be shy. This could be an awesome project. 🙂

A Personal Ad

January 5, 2010

So, I’ve been single my entire life, 26 years and counting. I haven’t meet anyone worth my time. I’ve been out and queer for about four years now. I’ve been looking everywhere for someone to date to no avail. I figured, if I haven’t met someone in a quarter of a century – I am probably never going to meet anyone.

I’ve tried everything: internet dating, speed dating, going to bars/clubs, joining clubs, starting clubs, going to shows, and putting on shows. I don’t know, it just seems like the people I want to meet don’t exist anywhere. There is only a handful of queer punks to begin with and to find one that’s straightedge, vegan, and monogamous is never going to happen.

Everyone keeps on feeding me the same lines, “It’d happen when you least expect it.” “It’d happened when you stop looking for it.” But it’s just not. I feel like I am missing out on part of the human experience of having a connection with someone. I want a partner in life but I feel like I’ll never have one. I am one of the sweetest people around – not nice out of weakness – nice because I know better. I would go anywhere in the world to have a community but there doesn’t seem to be people to build that community with. I don’t know how to put myself out there more than I already have.

I am tired of 1’s, 2’s, and 3’s. I have been feeling very bored with the world and the people in it. I haven’t met any colorful people or anyone who’s been able to hold my interest for more than week in years. I’ve gone on lots of first dates – never a second.

I didn’t even look for someone to date for a long time because I was really broken. I didn’t want to burden anyone with my open wounds so I didn’t look for anyone to share it with. I didn’t think it would be fair. Now, I spent lots of time working on myself, getting to know myself, and healing myself. I felt like I done all this work to make myself as awesome as I can be and I want to share it with someone but there’s no one awesome for me to share it with.

I want an intellectual equal but I have yet to meet anyone who is. I have met people who have more education than me and talk in big words almost as big as their ego. It doesn’t impress me. I have never met anyone as smart as me though. I met lots of people who talk big about love and compassion but don’t live it. I meet lots of people who dress like me and pretend to be like me but they aren’t. I have never meet another anarcho-pacifist straightedge peace punk. They aren’t at shows. They aren’t at the radical feminist bookstores. I have no idea where to look.

I suppose that’s why I started this journal to try to connect with like-minded people. I wish someone was looking for me as much as I am looking for them. I had a hit the other day by someone who googled “transgender” + “anarchist” + “vegetarian” and I was really disappointed that they didn’t say hello. I don’t write just to be heard – I want to hear you too.

I am a very sensitive, kind, and loving creature. I have a real big heart. I don’t play games and I say it how I see it. Most people can’t handle it. I have a hard time relating to people because I really do care and most people don’t. It’s almost a curse to be a 5 in a land of 3’s. My life would be a lot easier if I didn’t care, was stupid, and mean. I’d have lots of people to date just like me if I liked team sports, group think, eating flesh, and had imaginary friends. But, that isn’t me.

I am not a cookie cutter person from a cookie cutter system. I am a beautiful lotus flower that risen from the murkiest of muddy waters. Some people can’t see beyond the mohawk, piercings, and tattoos. The punk t-shirts, heavy boots, and work pants. I like dressing loud and being punk because punk is the only subculture to have stopped a war. My dress is my armor to the world – because my heart is really on my sleeve. I don’t put up a front – I am always me.

I want wonderful and amazing people to be friends with and play with. I have a handful scattered around the world but I could always use more. Good people are really rare. I wish I could find someone good to give my heart to.

Identity Conflicts

January 3, 2010

What do you do when your perceived notion of self conflicts with your true self? You thought you knew yourself well and something comes out of left field that completely shatters that theory. Do you evolve or hide? What does it say about you how you react?

For me, an identity conflicted year was when I was 22. I just realized I was a queerling and I always thought myself to be straight. It was part of how I defined myself. It completely shook my foundation. I already establish my identity as what was “me” and “not me.” I thought I had a nice neat package to present to the world when that presentation was wrong. So, faced with this, I accepted that I was a queerling, after a year of being confused by what I was feeling. I suppose I didn’t want to admit it to myself. It wasn’t the fact that I cared whether I was queer or not, it was more the fact that I had “defined” myself and the definition didn’t fit. I am happier for redefining myself and accepting myself for who I am.

Some people don’t accept themselves when they have realizations about their person that they might not like. I think this is the more painful route to take because they are always denying themself from being who they really are. It becomes a matter of keeping up appearances and putting skeletons in the closet. It becomes about acting and being an image rather than being you.

What do you have to lose by being yourself? What do you stand to gain? By denying yourself being yourself, you lose true connections. Everything is fake because it is all an act. Whereas, if you are yourself without holding back, you have freedom to be you. Your connections are real – since there is no inhibitions on your part.

I’ve only been drunk once in my life and I learned from that experience that I wanted to be as free sober as I was drunk. I didn’t want to be dependent on a substance to show my true colors or blame it when something was improper. I wanted to be me – all the time.

I used to play the game with keeping up appearances to be what I thought people wanted me to be and not being myself. I just got to the point I couldn’t handle such fakery anymore. I stopped playing the game. I lost some, gain more, and now I am much happier for it. I can wake up in the morning and face myself for who I am – not who I want to be – I am my ideal self.

It takes a lot of working on yourself to get to the ideal state. But, really, what is more important in this world than working on making yourself the best you can be? So often people settle for an image that is being sold to them rather than figuring things out for themselves. It’s a harder path to take but in the end is much more fulfilling.

What does “Queer” mean to you?

December 29, 2009

Being “queer” is different than being “gay” or “lesbian.” “Gay” or “lesbian” is a sexual orientation. Queer is more a sociological lifestyle rather than a sexuality (or gender identity). With the mainstream trying to make money off the “gay” and “lesbian” identities they use the word “queer” for marketing value such as “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” or “Queer as Folks” but not really addressing what it’s like to be queer.

For me, being queer is about rejecting heteronormalitivity and mainstream values. It’s not about being a sheep and following into line. It’s about thinking for yourself and being independent. It’s about rejecting societal and cultural norms. It’s about living life as you want to live it rather than being told how to live it. It’s about questioning everything – even yourself to come up with the solution that works best for you.

A current example of my rejection of heteronormalitivity and mainstream culture: my stepsister is downstairs on the couch cuddling her boyfriend while watching a show that makes fun of people. I don’t see how watching a show that makes fun of my fellow human beings to be entertaining since it’s laughing at their expense and not with them. They are so conditioned that they don’t even see that there’s anything wrong with chosen form of entertainment as I hear laughter trailing upstairs. I found something gravely wrong with the mainstream culture and what other people find permissible. I don’t find the misfortune of other’s to be funny. They do it for the sense of fitting in, to be cool, and possibly their minds are just that fucked.

Being queer is about not being fucked up like mainstream society. It’s about being vocal while the masses are silent. It’s about seeing and addressing the problems we face. It’s about having the best parties. 😉 It’s about swimming against the stream rather than going with the flow. For me, part of being queer is how I present myself to the world. I am rather butch, wear a frog bra, have tattoos, piercings, and a mohawk. I don’t “pass” at all. For some people, my mere appearance is a confrontation because I don’t follow gender stereotypes. I get stares, sneers, sometimes verbal assaulted, and once physically assaulted. Violence never solves anything. You can bash my face in but you can’t touch my mind. I won’t stop being queer just because you don’t approve.

I once saw a poster that said, “Not Gay as in Happy, But Queer as in Fuck You.” Queer is about being in your face and getting your hands dirty to change things. It’s not about being political correct. You can also be straight and queer. It’s a mindset and a way of being. It can also be a sexual orientation for those who defy the binary. It’s many things to many people. What does queer mean to you?

Punk Rock 101: A Vegetarian Queer Punk’s Guide to New York City

December 11, 2009

There aren’t many queer punks in NYC. I was one of maybe 10. The days of Meow Mix and riot grrrl are long gone. Most of NYC’s lesbian scene is lipstick lesbians modeling their life after the L-Word or hipsters who talk a lot and drink PBR but don’t do much. There’s a lot of segregation in the queer scene in NYC – depending on the color of your skin and economic class determines which parties you’d go to. I didn’t like that. I wish all the queers would unite and work together to fight against being oppressed. I tried to change it by putting on a couple of concerts trying to invite everyone to come but it didn’t really work.

Anyways, NYC is really big and corporate. That’s why I left but there are a handful of places that are DIY (do-it-yourself) or worth checking out.

First place on my guide is Abc No Rio. Abc No Rio is in the Lower East Side at 156 Rivington Street.  It has a mix of everyone.  There are punk shows every Saturday at 3pm.  There’s also a zine library, a dark room, a silkscreen studio, and a computer lab all open to the public (hours of opening vary – check out their website for details).

A couple of blocks away at 152 Ludlow Street is the Cake Shop which has live music, sells vegan, and non-vegan treats. The Cake Shop is also home of the ONLY Queer Punk Party QxBXRx which happens once a month hosted by one of the boys from Limp Wrist. It’s usually mostly boys with a handful of girls but it’s a good scene – good social scene not a cruising scene. There’s usually a few queer bands that play and it’s a fun time.

Around the corner from the Cake Shop is Bluestockings Bookstore. It is located at 172 Allen Street between Stanton and Rivington. It’s an activist center, a fair trade cafe (not much food – more drinks), and bookstore. There’s all sorts of books there from activism, anarchy, queer theory, queer literature, women’s studies, and anything else alternative you can think of. They also host events almost every night, so check out their calendar.

About 8 blocks away and an avenue or two over from Bluestockings is St. Mark’s Place (2nd – 3rd Avenue on 8th street is the main strip) which was home to all things radical in the past. It’s has a few cool stores like Trash and Vaudeville which has anything punk you can dream of. There’s also Search and Destroy which has lots of military surplus clothing. There’s also lots of little stores on the street selling all sorts of things – it’s a cool place to check out. While you there, stop by Mamouns Falafel at 22 St. Mark’s Place for really good and cheap eats. If pizza is more your thing, 2 Bros Pizza is just a few doors down and has dollar pizza.

If you head on over to the West Village, the best punk record store in the city is Generation Records located at 210 Thompson Street. They have all the punk you could want and then some. There’s also a couple of cool chess shops on the street which might be worth checking out.

That’s about it for punk places to visit. However, there’s a handful of other neat places that I think is worth mentioning. In the West Village, there’s Red Bamboo and VP2 which are amazing vegetarian restaurants owned by the same people. You should definitely save room for the vegan cakes made by Vegan Treats which are driven into the City every Tuesday. Atlas Cafe in the East Village also has cakes by Vegan Treats but for some reason they never taste as good as Red Bamboo’s. Atlas Cafe has some great faux meat sandwiches. I also recommend Quantum Leap which has two locations – one in the West Village and one in the East. They have the best veggie burgers I’d ever had.

Bonus: Where to get Tattoo’ed/Pierced in NYC

If you want awesome tattoos, your going to have to pay for them but it’s worth it. It’s a lifetime investment. I got my ink done at NY Adorned. My artist has since moved to Austin or I would recommend her. I get compliments on my tattoos all the time – and they are some of the best I have seen. However, the guy who worked the front at NY Adorned was really rude but all the artists are amazing so pay no attention to him. If you want to get pierced, I’d go to Daredevil Tattoo which is also home of LeRoi Jewelry which specializes in all things piercings. Daredevil also does some amazing tattoos so I would check them out. I’ve also been told Invisible does awesome tattoos. There’s a couple of other good places that I can’t remember their names, but that should be enough to get you started.

Update: Bars

I don’t really like bars or hang out at them due to being straightedge – but there’s a few bars where you might run into some punks or queers or if you are really lucky queer punks.

Manitoba’s – Owned by a lead singer of a punk band. I went here once and it was very hetero and normal so I wasn’t impressed but maybe you just need to caught it on the right night. It’s located at 99 Avenue B between 6th and 7th street.

Double Down Saloon – I’ve been here a few times and hung out with some punks. Not very queer but I did run into a queer girl. Awesome jukebox with lots of punk. It’s located at 14 Avenue A.

Mars Bar – Located at 25 E 1st St – it’s totally a punk rock dive bar. I’ve never been inside – I stopped out front of it while some of my friends talked to some punks inside. I heard from the reviews that it’s really dirty, but a little dirt never scared off a punk, right?

I never ran into any punks here except for myself but my favorite lesbian bar in New York City is The Cubby Hole located at 281 West 12th Street. It’s really tiny and it gets really crowded but the crowd is usually pretty diverse – boys and girls. Everyone was really friendly when I went.

Bar Bonus: Brooklyn

I sometimes would venture out to Brooklyn and go to The Metropolitan which on Wednesday Nights is full of hipster dykes. It wasn’t really punk rock but the age crowd is 20-30’s usually when sometimes the Cubby Hole is 30-beyond. Also, a party worth mentioning is Choice Cunts ran by the Gaysha which is a monthly “raw party for rare queers”. Sometimes it only has like 20-30 people at the party other times it can have 300 – it’s a real hit or miss but it’s worth checking out if you’re around. It’s mostly girls but there’s sometimes a handful of gay boys. It’s about as alternative as the queer scene gets in Brooklyn.

Butch seeks Butch: Why is it so Taboo? (Repost from Deleted Blog)

December 11, 2009

I was googling butch seeks butch and boi seeks boi out of curiosity and there wasn’t much to be found.  Sometimes I feel like the only genderqueer butch boi who wants another butch.  I mean there is plenty of butch seeks femme but just none for the bois.  I feel like I have a nonexistent dating pool.  I’ve been single for 26 years and I’ll probably be single for life.  I would like a girlfriend that I am attracted to both physically and mentally but finding someone like that is really problematic.  First off, there’s not that many lesbians to begin with.  I don’t know why there are so many gay males maybe because we live in a patriarchal society and it promotes men so it makes sense for men to love men.  It goes against everything that society tries to condition us to be a women who loves women.  But there aren’t that many lesbians and most lesbians tend to go femme.  I have nothing against femme – I know all about femme visibility and I am an ally to the cause but it’s harder being out all the time and visible queer.  I’ve been punched in the face before for being gay which sucked more than anything.  In NYC of all places in 2009 – how ridiculous is that?  I thought the world would be beyond such nonsense.  Anyways, finding smart people is hard.  We all know that.  The world is full of dummies.  And if you are already dealing with a small dating pool to begin with – it becomes even smaller looking for someone smart.  Plus, add looking for someone vegetarian and a boi – that’s near impossible.

Anyways, I don’t know why Butch seeks Butch is so taboo.  For gay men, since there are plenty of them, there’s a whole bear community for masculine men who like other masculine men.  They even have their own flag for their community.  There’s nothing like that for the lesbian counterpart.  It might just be there’s not enough of us but why is it okay for men and not for women?  Double standards again?  I remember being sad when reading Stone Butch Blues when they specifically said in the book butch on butch is taboo.  It’s the mentality now.  I get such a hard time when I hit on other butches.  I get treated like an alien and ignored.  It happens all the time when the rare occasion I find a butch.  It’s a real blow to one’s self confidence to be treated so poorly.  It should be taken as a compliment being hit on – by anyone.  It’s nice to know you are attractive.  If you don’t like the person who’s hitting on you, don’t be mean to them.  Say “Thank you, not interested.”  Then again, I learn that if they are a jerk to me, they weren’t worth my original attempt and are just a pretty face with an ugly inside.

I am a sweet kid who looks like a bad ass and I get lots of shit for that because everyone thinks a million and one things about me that aren’t true.  It’s also hard being genderqueer.  At least with being ftm or mtf – you have a gender identity – you might be the wrong gender but there’s a gender for you.  For me, there is no gender.  I am just genderfucked.  Not male and not female and just stuck being something I am not without any options.  I feel so out of place in a world with males and females and not much room for a this or that.

Gender Binary, Sexism, and Sexuality.

December 4, 2009

The gender binary is a form of oppression and hierarchy. Male and female stereotypes and roles put so much stress on our kind. Things like “Boys don’t cry” or if a girl sleeps around she’s a slut and if it was a man, he’s a stud. Girls are supposed to wear dresses and boys are supposed to wear pants. What madman came up with the idea of dividing humanity along the lines of what’s in one’s pants? What I want is equality which isn’t the same thing as sameness. Men and women will always be different but we can also be equal. I am in the middle of reading a book Sexism in America: Alive, Well, and Ruining Our Future and there is so much overlooked. Just even classic television shows like “Father Knows Best” encourages the model that he male knows best and the woman is inferior. Even recently with the scandalous performance of Adam Lambert with the double standard that it’s okay for some girl on girl action on prime time Television and not guy on guy. Girls can be bicurious but men have to be straight and narrow. We need this to stop this sort of thinking.

I was talking with a friend last night how the label “bisexual” enforces the idea that there are only two sexes. Then again, if the person is only attracted to cis-males and cis-females this works but that is often not the case. It doesn’t really cover all aspects of human sexuality. Then again, why do we need to worry about labels? You can like what you like and just be yourself.

However, in this imperfect world labels are helpful for sorting things and giving meaning. They have their use. I usually identify as “queer” since it is all encompassing. I am against gay and lesbian assimilation like the Steford Gays who want to be the cookie cutter American family with 2.5 kids. I know some people are afraid of the word “queer” due to it’s past and it isn’t PC. That’s the thing though, being gay doesn’t have to be PC – we aren’t going for heteronormalitivity. I am more worried about the issues of homeless youth LGBT (gays make up 10% of the population but 40% of the homeless) than having gay marriage. Gay marriage would be nice for those who want it but it’s mostly a concern of the white middle class. People aren’t worrying about gay marriage if they can’t get their medicine. Universal health care should be more of a queer issue than gay marriage because we wouldn’t need partners benefits if everyone had health care.

Again, equality isn’t the same as sameness. I am proud to be queer and different then 90% of the people. I used to joke with my friends that if 90% of the population was queer and only 10% straight – we wouldn’t have the overpopulation problem. But we do because those breeders want to keep on breeding when there are so many children in need of a good home already.