Spaces: County Hall meetings

This one’s for you, Edith.

Yesterday was a big day in queer life for me. Edith Windsor, a lesbian and human rights activist who was instrumental in the fight for marriage equality, passed away (may she rest in power). In a more local sense, also yesterday, in St. Joseph County, Indiana, a human rights ordinance was passed that allows people who are discriminated based on their sexual orientation or gender identity to sue locally.

I heard about Edith’s passing on Twitter, and as I read her story, I cried. I celebrated marriage equality when I learned of it years ago, but because it didn’t then affect me, I didn’t feel a personal connection to it. After reading about the way she personally fought for the rights of same sex couples for so many years and about the way she loved and lived so intensely, I was moved and inspired and so proud. She’s a hero and an icon and I’m so glad that she lived and fought so intensely. I am so grateful for her and her work.

Yesterday I was also able to be present in a County Hall meeting regarding St. Joseph’s recent policy changes which added protections to prevent discrimination against individuals based on sexual orientation and gender identity. However, the county previously had no way of handling any related lawsuits which meant that people would have to travel to Indianapolis, which is a burden. But, thanks in part to the hard work of some of my friends on Student Government at Notre Dame (which is located in St. Joseph county) who spoke in favor of the human rights ordinance at the county hall meeting last night, the South Bend will now handle all of the lawsuits. I was there when the measure was voted on and I am so amazed at and thankful for everyone who helped to pass it. I also wore a rainbow shirt to the county hall and I felt super welcome so that was also a win for the day.

This one’s for you Edith.

suggested listening: “Rainbow” // Kesha

Life Updates!

Yikes! It’s been about three weeks since my last blog, and honestly I don’t know what to say other than without Prides constantly, life is much less colorful. I am currently finishing up some paperwork for my internship at TREES, Inc. and have officially moved into my dorm at ND (my room is affectionately known as the Gay Cave and is mostly rainbows). I am super excited about an Instagram sponsorship that I am currently working out. Life is good, especially when you’re finally excited to be out at your Catholic university.

More soon, I promise. xx

Spaces: Fort Wayne Pride 2017

“it was empowering”

On July 22 I attended the Pride in Fort Wayne, Indiana representing TREES, Inc. I wore my uniform tee shirt with the name of the organization and rainbow everything else: including a headband, bracelets, necklaces, and a fanny pack. For extra effect, I fastened my “baby dyke” pin on my shirt just to make sure that my sexuality was clear.

I love Prides. I hope I’ve made that abundantly clear. And I especially loved this Pride because I was only hit on by ladies(!!!). It was amazing. For the first time, I felt totally free from the male gaze and so many societal gender and beauty expectations. It was incredible. For the first time, my abundance of rainbows at a Pride event (and possibly my new septum ring) actually stopped men from talking and flirting with me. I felt so affirmed and invincible.

That day, I put in a solid eight hours of set up, tabling, and take down. It was muggy and hot and miserable, but because I finally understood why it’s so important to be in spaces where your non-heteronormative identity is seen and respected, I was happier than I’d ever been. I felt officially visible and it was empowering. Even through the heat, I don’t think I ever stopped smiling.

Disney Princesses Ranked by Queerness

“Sigh.”

I grew up loving Disney princess movies and I’m also fairly certain they were my first subconscious realization of my gayness (looking at you, Jasmine). So here is the definitive ranking of queerness of the Disney princesses recognized by Disney on official princess merch. Of course you cannot tell if a person is queer from presentation alone, but this list is also based on relationship, actions, personality etc. (And it’s just for fun!) So let’s get started. First off is:

 

11. Snow White

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In my Intro to Gender Studies course, I offered my idea for queering a fairy tale by saying you could assume Snow White is a lesbian who stays with seven polyamorous gay men (until she meets Prince Ferdinand). In the movie, she seems pretty straight because she sings about being saved by a Prince before she even really knew any men. She also wears a bow in her hair, and if my one year of softball taught me anything, it’s that only girls who don’t wear bows are lesbians.

10. Aurora (Sleeping Beauty)

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This girl had like, three moms for awhile, so that might be a little gay. She did end up with Prince Philip though so I’d say the gayest she gets is when she took a nap because all of the queer girls I know take naps.

9. Ariel

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Ariel also fantasizes about human men before she meets any. Maybe her movie is all about being transgender, but I doubt it as any more than a euphemism because she’s definitely a girl mermaid who falls in love with a boy human. AND she sacrifices a major part of herself to do so! That’s so not girl code, homegirl. Sigh.

8. Cinderella

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She ends up with Prince Charming, but she doesn’t dream endlessly of nameless princes. She made the best of a bad situation and I respect her for that. Cinderella also probably had some crazy muscles too so she could definitely snag a lady if she wanted, she just happened to marry a guy who was wealthy first. I respect the game.

5. Jasmine, Rapunzel, Tiana (tie)

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Listen, I want Jasmine to be more queer. I do. But she, like Rapunzel and Tiana, didn’t really want a man or need a man, but got a man anyway. They just wanted to see the world and accomplish their goals, but instead they accidentally fell in love with the men who fell in love with them. I can’t blame them. They were wooed. They get bonus points for being strong, motivated, independent women. Probably all queer women believe in being strong and independent.

4. Belle

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Ah, Belle. She does not outrank the previous because she fell in love with a beast (even though “beauty and the beast” is a really great nickname for a hard femme and hard butch in a relationship). She outranks the previous because she was brave enough to sacrifice her own life for her father’s. She’s also probably read some poems by Sapphos or something similar (#ladyloveliterature). Plus, the whole theme of her movie is that looks don’t matter when love is involved, which is definitely something I reminded my parents of when I came out. Beast totally could’ve been a lady.

 

3. Pocahontas

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You know how after you figure out you’re queer and you think about who you were as a child and what you did and suddenly everything makes sense? Well I watched Pocahontas more than once a week as a kid because I was definitely in love with her. Pocahontas is cool and athletic and pretty and has influenced my type more than any other single factor. She does confess her love for John Smith after Kocoum is killed, though, which isn’t super queer. I like to imagine that after John leaves, she and Nakoma nuture their budding friendship-turned-romance but maybe that’s just me.  Pocahontas still ranks high because she refuses to succumb to gender norms (also she’s probably a little gay or at least more open to same-sex attraction).

2. Merida

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Merida is literally such a dyke. Of-freaking-course she is. Merida is the girl you think is hot but you also sort of want to be a little. She’s a strong, independent, smart, adventurous and funny (sigh). I also don’t think she eats any red meat which scores her major lez points because like, none of the queer girls I know eat red meat (why is this, can someone please explain???). Plus, she literally rejects wearing restrictive, femme clothing. She loves animals and dressed as a guy and shot for (and won!!!) her own hand in marriage because, like some others, she didn’t want to marry a random dude. Merida wins here because she successfully doesn’t. I’m convinced Disney didn’t add any more ladies her age for her to be friends with in the movie because she so would’ve wooed them with just a little lesbian eye contact.

1. Mulan

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Mulan’s at the top of this list because duh. The movie about Mulan is pretty gay: I mean, Li Shang definitely falls in love with masculine-presenting Mulan (Ping) whom he totally thinks is a guy. That’s literally the definition of gay. Also, Mulan is pretty queer to even be masc-presenting. We can debate if she’s a transgender person or drag king, but it’s getting off of canon. She definitely rejects gender norms, doesn’t have any qualms with being masc of center or androgynous and cultivating a relationship with a man when doing so. She marches to the beat of her own drum and she’s such a badass for it. Mulan forever.

 

Come on Disney, banish the heteronormativity and throw us some lady love stories now. #GayElsaForever

Spaces: Being Queer in Nonqueer Spaces

“I’m not used to seeing queer people in spaces that aren’t specifically for us”

A few nights ago, at dinner, I was sitting with my friend’s mother at the bar of a restaurant waiting for our table to be ready. (This was a popular establishment and we had been given an hour wait time.) At some point as we chatted, the man seated next to me asked us if we would like his leftover chips and queso. Gesturing to himself and the person next to him, he said “we” didn’t double dip or do anything weird to it. I was hungry and I am a trustworthy person so I said yes and thanked him.

He laughed and told me not to worry about him hitting on me or anything because he was gay. He leaned back and introduced me to his partner. I laughed and said I was gay too. We wished each other a happy belated Pride month and swapped a few stories. It was great.

I’m not used to seeing queer people in spaces that aren’t specifically for us. I’ve grown accustomed to seeing others at Prides because basically everyone is queer, but I still become giddy when I see two girls holding hands while walking on the quad at Notre Dame, a same-sex couple buying groceries, or even just when I see pride flags displayed. I am constantly (and pleasantly) surprised to see the normalization of the LGBTQ+ community. This visibility is a clear sign of our acceptance. It also causes us to be more accepted because the world becomes more used to it as a normalcy instead of a quirk. (#RepresentationIsImportant)

Yesterday, I spent about six hours at the South Bend farmer’s market tabling for TREES, Inc. Unlike the Prides I have worked before, it was not a specifically queer event. I didn’t just talk to young kids wearing pride flags like capes and their parents and others who were in and loved my community. I talked to older millenials on health kicks, baby boomers from agricultural backgrounds, families with little babies, etc. No one was outwardly presenting in a million rainbows, but everyone was accepting. People thanked us for the work we do and donated to the organization. It was incredible. I wore a button that said “Pretty, Gay, and Pretty gay” and it was the first time I was in a nonqueer space that I felt totally safe in. Granted, South Bend is pretty liberal (we have a gay mayor!) but this was still huge for me.

I’m not saying that these experiences have changed the world for me, but it is really inspiring to see that you can be safe while being out. Of course, I am a white, straight-passing lesbian and I can only speak to that experience, but hopefully in my being out and outspoken, I can help normalize queerness and make the world a safer place for others.

I’ve learned a lot about being queer in the two and a half months since I’ve been out. I’ve gone on dates, started a blog, and worn more rainbows in a month than most people wear in their lives. I’ve learned that coming out and being out is liberating but can also be exhausting. I’ve struggled with unlearning internalized homophobia. I’m making a lot of headway, but I’m still learning that at the end of the day, we shouldn’t be forced to confine our queerness to Prides.

What I Wore Wednesday

“hello, gorgeous”

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Hello, gorgeous. Can you hear the summertime from this dress?! It’s so pretty and easy and delicate and classy and fun. Easily my new favorite. I wore this to a beautiful mass in a monastery/ hotel/ golf course with a friend of mine (the same friend who bought me the dress) (thanks love). Of course I took pictures.

dress bananarepublic.com ||| shoes calvinklein.us

Thoughts: on this blog

“maybe falling completely in love with yourself is the secret to happiness”

Hot take: a lot of what we do as humans is so that we can feel like or convince ourselves and others that we matter. We tell people we’re named after celebrities or saints, we read classic literature to feel connected and important, we make art, we go to school, we travel. Of course I’m not immune to that, as even this blog is my scream into the abyss that I am an important human.

And maybe that’s just a part of the human experience! Like maybe there’s something to the idea that we do things because we recognize that we’re only here for a short time and we want our stay to be meaningful and beautiful! Maybe that’s poetic!

What I’ve been trying to do in my daily life (especially post-the-beginning-of-Cheeky Femme) is try to recognize that the only person whom I should worry about is me. Yes, it’s a super-cheesy-high-school-assembly line, but maybe falling completely in love with yourself is the secret to happiness. It can’t hurt to try!

So I’ve been trying to be more honest and open with myself. I’ve stopped trying to drown out my thoughts when I’m alone. I tweet things that I think are funny and important and I post pictures on Instagram that I think I look cute in. I’ve tried to stop being so hard on myself. It’s so refreshing to think that the only person you have to please is yourself, especially if you can convince yourself that you love yourself, because you’re so easy to please! (Confusing? Only in sentence form. Abridged version: if you love yourself and live an authentic life you’ll love everything about yourself! It’s like if you were totally in love with someone else except it’s better because it’s you.)

So step one on how to fall in love with your self: do something special for yourself. Go walk in a park or out to dinner or paint something, alone. Don’t cheat by listening to loud music or checking social media the whole time. Learn how to live in your own headspace. Be comfortable by yourself.

Peace and love y’all. Good luck.