Most Queer

My gay boy co-worker, who is a sweetie pie, is my co-worker who knows the most about my failed transition. Probably everything he knows everyone knows, because while he is about the sweetest guy ever, he also is a big talker.

He said something the other day about the two of us being “the two most queer people here.” There are a ton of gay men who work where I work, but I still got bumped to the front of the queer line.

I used to be so into calling myself queer. Not bi, “queer.” So politically enlightened I just didn’t feel right saying bi,  it didn’t accurately describe the utopian vision I was engaged in building, so you know, it just didn’t fit me.

Holy shit, did I not know shit. But I thought I really knew shit.

A comedian friend tried to sell me on calling myself “reverse-queer” when I first moved back. Because I left Ohio a queer trans dude and came back a straight girl. Like I went all the around. I queered myself out. I went so queer there was no queer left to go and I had to come all the back.

When I first moved back this lady, who I’m pretty sure was trying to get it, was sending me invites to this monthly “queer ladies” meetup she was doing. After the third event, I wrote her and straight up said, “I’m not actually attracted to women anymore since I took testosterone, and that’s sad and confusing for me, so could you stop sending me these invites?” And she was like, “Thank you for sharing such a personal story with me. Just to let you know the group is open to women who are queer in all kinds of ways, not just sexuality.”

I was like, I have no idea what this woman is talking about.

I don’t think I understand what queer is about anymore. The idea that you would “queer” something used to be very attractive to me. Like, you’re not just living in a house, you’re queering living in a house. You’re not just drinking a coffee, you’re queering drinking a coffee. You’re doing something normal but somehow you’re making it transgressive, which has some inherent value to it, transgressing everywhere, everything, all the time.

I’m transgressive even though I’m a straight lady who wears blush and eyeliner. Because I got to straightness and eyeliner in a backwards way. But it’s still transgressive of me, even though it makes people tip me more.

I have lost my handle on the value of transgression. Transgression is valuable because….because group norms are bad. Is the idea that more group norms are bad for people than good for people? So you trangress a group norm and people are like SHIT OUR MINDS ARE BLOWN THESE NORMS ARE SOME BULLSHIT MELT THE GUNS DOWN.

But actually some group norms are pretty awesome for everyone, and some are really bad for everyone. Like it’s a really good thing the group norm is you’re nice to  babies. That’s a really great norm, so hopefully the next generation isn’t totally screwed up. Then the group norm that rich people get to do whatever they want to poor people, including gunning them down with drones, that’s really bad for everybody. That is definitely not good for the people getting shot or the people doing the shooting or the rest of us, to deal with the aftermath of that murder.

The problem is I was really into proudly telling everyone my business before, like that was somehow this good deed I was doing the world. Like, oh I must represent my fellow queer people by telling everyone all about all the details of every sexual encounter I’ve ever had. Like this somehow was an act of resistance like…I don’t know, getting rid of drones.

Ooooofff that’s an embarrassing person I was. OOOOOF. OOOOOF. Hard to lay claim to being that person. But LORD I was that person.

I guess I’m still that person, what with this blog? I guess I’m still putting all my business out there. But like, I don’t know how to make sense of my life without writing it out. Literally I get confused some days, it all seems so trippy, some people who I went to middle school with will come into the restaurant and I’ll remember that this time last year I had just put my notice in at the trans clinic, and I was on anxiety meds, and I was disassociating and having freak outs like….every day? No, no, more like twice a week really. Most days I was going to work, coming back to Oakland, running around the lake, and then praying a rosary and specifically praying not to have a freakout and please get me out of this situation Mother Mary who forgives the stupid screwed up idiots of this world.  I was definitely praying and crying a lot while I prayed. And this is actually exactly what I was praying and crying for. I got it. I’m not dead. I’m not at that clinic.

The fact that I’m back home working at a restaurant with people I really like, and my hair is sort of grown out, and hopefully most people wouldn’t guess I took T (oh please let this be the case) is a total miracle. I’m very, very lucky to be here. I’m very, very lucky everything got in the way of me getting my boobs off.

A lot of times I feel like what I got it through my head in California that people are killing other people every damn day, sometimes through drones, sometimes through cops, sometimes through criminals, mostly through making sure people can’t have homes or food. You need a roof over your head and food every day, and rich people are very interested in making sure that’s not something we can count on.

And it’s like I came back to Ohio and everyone is still living in that world I was living in, where progress is a thing people believe in and transgressing boundaries is part of progress. Like this isn’t life and death. Like it isn’t a kill or be killed kind of place we’re hanging out in.

I had the idea back then calling myself queer was somehow a move of solidarity with all the people being slaughtered out there? Like oh I am also a downtrodden person, I am a queer. But you don’t have a gun aimed at you till you have a gun aimed at you, and once you’re in front of that gun you might stop wanting to put yourself out there as downtrodden. You might not want a weird haircut or punky clothing. You might want to kind of blend in and act happy about how you’re not currently in front of a gun.

Being a straight girl is fucking weird, and I have some serious doubts about whether I am a straight girl who will actually ever have a relationship again. But being a straight girl with a roof over my head and food I know is going to be regularly in my life for awhile is the BUSINESS. It’s so wonderful to not be close to homelessness or foodlessness. It felt really touch and go for a minute there.

I don’t think I’m any kind of queer, like a new version of queer. I think I’m straight. I don’t think it has a transgressive meaning when I put on eyeliner. I think I’m just privileged. (Also I got fucked with a bunch, can we hold those two ideas to be true at the same time, a privileged girl who got fucked with a bunch?)  I think I have more safety and security in my life than the vast majority of people in this world. I think I’m lucky. I think I need to push myself to do more to extend that good luck to other people.

I wonder if I identified as “straight but not narrow” if people would think I was a swinger and I could be like no losers not a swinger just used to be trans.

What’s wrong with me I even want to shock people  like that? Why does the idea of saying that to someone and watching their face register it make me laugh?

I guess that queer girl is still in there somewhere. Being a fucking asshole.

 

 

 

5 thoughts on “Most Queer”

  1. I’m old enough to remember when the shift happened from gay, lesbian and bisexual to the umbrella “queer” in the mid/late 80s. It occurred on the heels of and concurrently with AIDS and initially had a lot to do with AIDS activism and also queer punk culture (think Homocore). I really don’t know if it was by design but the new terminology served as a unifier of diverse same-sex attracted communities in the interest of what was at the time deemed to be primarily a gay men’s concern. The desperation was palpable because the government and the population at-large really did not give two shits if every last gay man in the US died. The prevailing notion was that AIDS was an act of the god or of Nature. In the lesbian world what ended up happening was that a lot of energy that would have normally gone to women’s venues and activism was syphoned and re-channeled towards AIDS activism, often (and retrospectively, mostly) to the detriment of the L in LGB. What the new word did was create the illusion of siblinghood between men and women who had moments before despised each other. It painted our different cultures and interests with a broad roller that centered gay men’s concerns over those of lesbians. Lesbians for the most part colluded and did activism and nursing on behalf of gay men even though our interests were often very different. The word “queer” very specifically meant someone who was attracted to their own sex – not gender, that came later. That is the backdrop to the short lived, traditional usage of that word. The generation before mine (think 50s and 60s) saw the meaning of the word change from ‘something odd or strange’ to ‘something homo’. I remember as a child being confused as to whether the words weird and queer meant the same thing. I tested this out once by referring to myself as the latter only to have the response register on my interlocutor’s face.

    So now the meaning has changed and is changing once again and ironically it’s tilting back towards the older meaning at least in part. Looks like my generation of idiots made being queer such a cool and special thing (which L and G actually is), that many came to want a part of it. So what happens if you are not same-sex attracted but still want to be cool and special? Well don’t worry, you can still be queer. Even if you are 99.99 % straight 99.99% of the time. And since by the act of dilution there is mundaneness in numbers, lo! it quits being special. The bar for queer is set as low as the bar for lesbian is set high. So an autogynephile, cross dressing, straight male is now in the same category, technically/queerly speaking, as a gold-star lesbian. This wouldn’t be relevant except that it is. The same force at work that denies straight girls of THEIR autonomy and agency (and self-knowingness!) opens the door wide to all the oppressive factors that convince young dykes that they must really be guys. That’s why butch lesbians who under 40 who are willing to admit it are a rarity.

    So you are right that you are not queer sans same-sex attraction as a defining factor. If you for a minute think that means you aren’t special in your own right I’ve some prime real estate for sale at just the right price for you! So celebrate diversity, REAL diversity, including your own, something queer and trans, being as they are forces of homogeneity, can never do. You have a right to your experience and you have a right to have it honored.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. “Embarrassing person”?

    I don’t even need to tell you about what kind of “idiots” we were, we who took the same kind of journeys you did, only growing up in the 60s and 70s. Trying to find a way out of the insanity our elders had created, and creating our own kind of insanities. The results of our folly are all over the media every time someone starts going on about “boomers”. ugh. Forgive yourself, as we forgave ourselves. Sometimes the simplest truths just have to be learned the hard way. And it may be that a few millimeters of embiggenment happen to the cultural discourse as a result of these strange travels.

    Thank you for your truthful writing.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Gay men are some of the most virulent bigots towards all of us born sans penis. As a trans man with a cis bi boyfriend, we both have seen and heard bigotry that, had it been directed towards any group other than the penisless, would be considered hate speech. Any theories as to why the younger gay men especially are so vicious? At one queer night I saw a group where the gay men picked apart their female friends’ looks to near tears, and then all of them started in on the “four ugly fat dykes who shouldn’t be at OUR bar”. The drag queen performers were deemed “fabulous”. They then started in on “fish who pretend they’re boys, the crazy bitches” and my bf and I left, me shaking with anger.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, can I ever relate. Different locales, same story. I moved from a seemingly backward, backwoods area to a progressive one. Did I ever think I was clever for doing that. Now I scratch my head and wonder why I was so eager to move to a place that costs three times as much to live as my “backward” origins. What good is living among the sophisticates if I’m constantly worried about making rent? And how progressive can this place be if so many people are teetering on, or outright experiencing, homelessness? I’m also finding that alleged progressives have their own unbending prejudices…such as toward persons from my birthplace. Now my old hometown isn’t looking so bad…or backward.

    Liked by 2 people

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