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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Queer Isn't It? Part One

These are the author's notes from my novel, Whisper In My Ear, for your perusal and consideration. Though a work of fiction, the characters confronted issues I found deeply personal and rarely presented in public platform.

Comments welcome and encouraged. Thank you.

The author's notes:

Even though we see all forms of sexual expression in the media and on the internet, there is still some taboo about actually having sex, forming sexual unions and especially how relationships look. In the United States, we are still hoping to establish the standard of legitimate relationships as occurring between one man and one woman – literally XX and XY genetically. The reality is that the world has survived with all forms of coupling and people live, grow, have families and build communities in any and all combinations.

Within the queer community one would expect a sense of acceptance, hope and understanding of those outside of the mainstream, but queer itself is rather watered down and undefined. So to resolve the muddle we have factions. We are separated again by gender identity, gender preference, race, religion, color, sexual proclivities, sexual expressions, sexual preferences, and more.  It would seem that with all this choice we would be able to find someplace to fit in, to belong, but I challenge that those are just tiny boxes that rather than include, exclude.

You can’t come in if you used to do this, or that. Once you get in, you can’t even think about doing these things. Well you can think about it, but don’t tell anyone. And if you do tell and it’s the wrong person no one will like you anymore and you may as well get out. No, we don’t put people out, but we don’t want people who do, think, or feel differently than we think you should do, think, of feel in our box.

That is not a new story. It can be applied to any club, religion, church, cult, click, or country. One of the innate longings of human beings is to belong. We seek out people like ourselves to socialize, build community, and feel safe. But belonging need not become a trap. Somehow we need to open the doors and accept the breath of human experience. Notice that while it is nice inside this space we call safe we are missing out on a whole world. There are people who are completely different from us and they are interesting. Sometimes the people inside the box with us would be more interesting if they could share their true feelings and ideas.

How beautiful is the varied garden with trees, bushes, shrubs and bulbs? How varied is the view as we watch the annuals bloom and the perennials return? What is the point of living in a limited world? Do we really feel safe? And what happens when the person with the different idea is you?

Having lived inside the lesbian experience for over twenty years, I encountered many forms of separatism and ostracism. In the beginning I spent time with women who identified as womanist, or womon, or wymin. Their distinction was to not be one joined with man. They took on titles as sybil, priestess, or goddess. They locked their doors and their hearts to men. They were not necessarily lesbians; nor particularly interested in sex – mostly not at all, it seemed. 

The problem for me was I had come out as lesbian in my thirties. I had been married. I had a son. And I liked sex. While my attraction to women was not new (it had lived unexpressed in thought, word, or deed) the lifestyle was. I had lived a rather strict religious existence and was firmly taught to control my thought, never allowing progression in a direction unfitting the beliefs. So, I didn’t, much. The day came when my attraction was toward a particular woman, who I believed was or might be a lesbian. She lived with other women, dressed like the lesbians seemed to dress and shaved her head. She was sweet and friendly and cuddly. To me, she seemed a perfect opening choice. However, she redirected my fancy and said she was my friend and would support me as I figured it out. I figured out a small bit and fell in love. 

That first relationship was and still is a bright star in my heart/mind. It was when I first heard the word queer used as an empowering rather than derogatory word. We were in love, LOVE! We held hands in public. Danced and hugged without fear. We believed we were setting the standard; changing the world. When people saw me they knew I had found my calling. When it ended, I thought I would die. Rather dramatic, I know, but that’s how it is with new love. 

Apparently I didn’t die and went on to have even more powerful loving experiences. While I was figuring things out, sorting my way through a new process and community, and having had no sexual partner for six years, seven months, and four days, I met a man. He was warm, gentle, open, accepting, loving and kind. He was also persistent, sensual, and interested in getting together. So I did. Repeatedly, and often. And at times I didn’t have a grrlfriend, or had grrlfriends who didn’t have sex. Before I ever made a single move, I told him I was a lesbian, but had not figured out how to find the ones that had sex. He said he completely understood. He loved women too. There was no attachment and no commitment. Just a moment in time.

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