I am a Lesbian

(Basically a quick statement about where the hell I’ve been or been up to for the past few months, lol.)

“Coming out is how you stay alive.” -Sapphire

I’m a lesbian.

There. I can finally say it now, openly and without reserve. I feel liberated. I’ll eventually be commenting much more on this journey, but for now, it’s enough to just be able to say it openly. 

I’m gay.

I’m 35 years old, and it took me to this past year to realize that I’m not bisexual at all, that I am gay. This statement is in no way an invalidation or critique of bisexuality, not at all, and I need to make that absolutely clear- believe me, I know about the biphobia in the community (and in general), and I don’t tolerate it one bit.

It’s just that, for me and in my own journey, I realized that I wasn’t actually attracted to any of the men I’ve been with in my past, that I had dated them only because of societal and personal pressures to conform to heteronormativity. The real love stories in my life, the true attractions I’ve ever had towards another person, were all about other women.

When I realized this, it was like the fucking sky opened up, and I could see clearly for the first time in my life. I also spent a few weeks laughing because I’m *majoring* in Queer Studies, and I had no idea I was actually gay. How on earth could I have been so unaware of this? I STUDY THE GAY THINGS. HOW COULD I NOT KNOW I WAS GAY.

But, see, this is why education is needed because mine has not only helped transform my life, but has made me fall head over heels in love with all the sexualities and genders and identities that are being formed and re-formed. People are discovering who and what they are.

I’m literally going through this evolution with them, and it rocks my fucking world.

I’ve made steps in my personal life to move closer to what I want in my life- now, that after 15 years, I’ve finally figured out exactly what that is- and to involve myself more with this stunningly beautiful community and how their fight for visibility and rights is affecting the world at large.

But, seriously. I’m gay, y’all. I’m a lesbian. I am head over heels in love with women. The sheer joy at knowing that, at knowing who and what the fuck I actually am, is overwhelming. Anyone who has ever had this experience knows exactly what I’m talking about.

I marched in Pride here in Charlotte, NC a weekend ago, and the communal feeling was just… MAN, I get chills thinking about it. Wow. All the sexualities, romantic orientations, races, genders together in once place, no walls, no red tape, just celebration.

Yes, there are problems in the community. Racism, transphobia, sexism, ableism, ace and bi phobias, I know that, I don’t idealize us, but goddammit, we are allowed to celebrate who we are, it’s IMPORTANT that we do, and that’s what I’m doing right now. Each day I get up, I celebrate. It took me a long time to get here, and nothing on this planet will take this from me. 

Not abusive mothers, not homophobic/racist family or society, not the heteronormative structure, not sexism, not straight panic, nothing. I’m coming home, and I’m coming home a fighter. I need y’all, use what I’ve got, here I am. Let’s channel the Lesbian Avengers: light some fires and consume them.
“And of course I am afraid, because the transformation of silence into language and action is an act of self-revelation.” -Audre Lorde

(Keep the Faith! -H)

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The best definition of Queer Studies, ever/Updates

In my Queer Pop Culture class, we had a discussion board thread recently talking about items from pop culture that struck us are interesting or important in terms of queer studies. I shared something that I’d recently stumbled across- the video of Canadian PM Justin Trudeau explaining quantum computing to a reporter during his visit to Waterloo.

The reason I shared this was because his explanation struck me as quite possibly the best definition I’ve ever heard for what exactly Queer Studies is. I’m going to copy/paste my post from the class so I don’t have to retype all this, lol, and the video is below in case anyone wants to watch it.

“This week, I came across something I’d never seen before on Facebook. It’s a section of a video with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau explaining (in a nutshell) quantum computing. I found this entire thing fascinating because I find anything “quantum” fascinating (even though it goes right over my head most of the time), but what really got me was the words he used to explain normal computing vs quantum computing.

“In normal computing, there’s either power going through a wire, or not. It’s a one or a zero. They’re binary systems. What quantum states allow for is much more complex information to be encoded into a single bit. Regular computer bit is either a one or a zero, on or off. A quantum state can be much more complex than that because, as we know, things can be both particle and wave at the same time.”

That, honestly, to me…sums up Queer Studies. In the “old” system, everything is binary. Girl/Boy. Straight/Gay or Lesbian. Good/Bad. White/Other. In the new system, there are several more gender identities, several more sexual identities, several racial identities (where white isn’t the dominant race), and things that were previously seen as “bad” are now being redefined as “good” because we are learning more about them. It also sounds to me like intersectionality: things can be both wave and particle. We can be both gay and black. We can be Latinx and Bisexual. We can be Queer and disabled. We can be gender non-conforming and asexual. “Much more complex information.” Nothing is just one and zero anymore, no “one state” has to exist- several states can exist simultaneously. That, to me, sounds exactly like the goal of Queer Studies… recognizing this, embracing this, and understanding this. It also very much sounds to me like a version of utopia- and everyone is excited about quantum computing because of it’s capabilities, that we’re not so hamstrung by the old binary system anymore. It’s allowing for exponential technological growth, as Queer Studies is allowing for exponential personal growth on a global scale. These are just my opinions of course, but I couldn’t help but think of Munoz’s piece when I saw this video.”

Justin Trudeau on Quantum Computing

I witnessed this actually happening recently (which will be in my forthcoming post about Pride because that experience was hands down one of the most amazing I’ve had in a long, LONG time) a veritable theory in the flesh, the whole “many identities can exist at once” idea. That how we identify and the many ways we do so can and do coexist, and don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

The Munoz piece I’m referring to is Cruising Utopia, which is a *gorgeous* book about the future of Queerdom, and I literally couldn’t recommend it more. He talks about hope being quintessential for the future of “queerness,” which I absolutely agree with. I’ll post about this soon because it really got to me.

Pride piece coming next, and I’ve got pictures. I’m getting ready to release some Hannibal LGBT/ subtext meta coming up on Tumblr (if you’d like to follow any of that, email me and I’ll send you the blog name.) Also have a joint post coming on Maurice with a fellow fan, a post on the amazing subtext in Nightmare on Elm Street 2, still planning on the Let the Right One In subtext post as well.

I’m not done, guys, just busy and a lot of stuff happening and changing- all for the good. I’m still here!

I’m going to be sharing a lot more on here- I come across so much during the day, and I try to bring together huge posts, and I just am over that now, lol. So, if frequent posts annoy you, and you follow me- sorry!

XD (Keep the Faith!)

-H

 

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Signal Boost: Balanbooks Needs Your Help!

Hey all, 

A good friend of mine shared this with me recently, and I thought it’d be a great thing to share here. A few Denver University alumni are trying to open a brick and mortar LGBT+ and Feminist bookstore near the campus. At the moment, they’re operating solely online. I very much stand in support of anyone who helps not only educate about LGBT+/Feminist issues, but who also strives to keep that education accessible to the people who need it most. 

Their website is here, and also contains a link to their Kickstarter fundraiser page. It’s so vitally important that we, as a community, support each other in any way we can. If anyone ever needs me to share a project like this one, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

Keep the Faith, more coming. 🌈 

Heidi

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My Relationship with Queer Pop Culture

I just turned in this reflection to my professor, and I thought I’d share it here.

Forgive my silence lately- school has taken all my time, and what free time I have left, I am doing Hannibal meta work on Tumblr. However, I’ll be here much more now- time to come back to the blog. Orlando scared me to death, but… this is where I belong.

So, here’s the paper. It’s about my relationship with queer pop culture, and how it influenced me each time I’ve had to “come out.”

Very soon, I’ll be coming out again to my friends, my family, and to my community. I think I’ll document that experience. I need to write about it.

**Spoiler alert for season 4 of Orange is the New Black.

-Heidi

Continue reading

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Why passive acceptance is part of the problem (and also #FuckYourPrayers)

A post from a good friend who puts to words something I feel very deeply. I highly recommend reading.

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Personal Statement on the Shooting at Pulse

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Today, 50 of our LGBT+ family were shot dead in a place that was supposed to be a shelter, a safe space, where they could be free to be and express who they are.

Tomorrow, I go to orientation for Time Out Youth Center in Charlotte, NC as my second step towards becoming as involved in the community as they will allow me to be.

I’ve said before that I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time because I’m finally coming back to who I am, to my family, and rediscovering my sexual identity. This is not to say that I was in the closet beforehand; on the contrary, since coming out, I’ve stayed out. But after college, where I was very active in LGBT+ groups, I lost contact with the community, and I ended up marrying a man- my best friend- and we now have a child together.

My sexual identity was, of course, not invalidated by my marrying a man. However, due to the way my life evolved, I’ve led a fairly quiet and domestic existence dominated by straight, white culture, and the issue of my sexual identity rarely came up. In the few times it did, I was very upfront about my pansexuality, and luckily, didn’t run into much homophobia. Well, at least not to my face.

But the last two years have reawakened me in ways I never fathomed, and as a result, my desire to be back with my community, my family, is completely overwhelming. I’ve never not been attracted to or desired women- that’s always been a ubiquitous presence in my life. But my reawakening has set fire to those desires, and women are constantly on my mind as they were in my early 20s.

The most telling change, however, has come from the stark reality smack across the face with the Orlando shooting at the gay club Pulse. Sitting here, writing this, watching all the news broadcasts and reading all the articles, I’m reliving memories of my teen and early 20s years where I experienced gay bashing, discrimination, and bigotry. I was aware that my re-entering the community on an activist level would put me back in direct touch with this unfortunate side of LGBT life, but it didn’t really hit me how dangerous that work can be until today.

I’ve remembered in vivid detail how in danger I used to feel when cornered because of being bisexual (as I identified then), because of having a girlfriend, being involved in LGBT groups or hanging with those friends. I was so scared at times. It’s a feeling a lot of my LGBT brethren have experienced in their lives, and compared to many, my experiences were mild.

Here I am, less than 24 hours away from taking that initial step back into the real world of LGBT issues and activism, and I’m painfully aware now of what I am about to risk. I don’t intend on being a passive member, nor do I intend on standing on the sidelines. All of us, just for being who and what we are, and for taking a visible and vocal stand against hatred, bigotry, and discrimination, will inevitably experience some sort of violence.

I can’t let that fear get to me. It didn’t stop the activists in the 1960s, it didn’t stop the Stonewall Riots from happening, it didn’t stop the first Pride March in 1970. It didn’t stop Vito Russo, or Sylvia Rivera, or the Lesbian Avengers, or Audre Lorde. It didn’t stop Harvey Milk, Dan Savage, Bayard Rustin, or ACT UP. It didn’t stop the community even when they were targeted so many times with horrendous acts of violence like the arsons in the 1970s, the silence of the US government during the (still extant) AIDS crisis, or the recent- sometimes bloody- battles fought for equal rights.

I am scared. I am terrified. I know the kind of climate I’m about to enter, especially here in the south. But, this isn’t about me, this is about all of them, and this is about everyone who is involved now and will be involved in the future. This is about lasting change, and a consistent push for visibility, and holding oppressors accountable for their actions. And I’ve never believed in a cause or a group of people more in my life. All those people who fostered real, actual change did so because they put everything on the line. I need to do the same.

As a white woman who is married to a man, and who has led a very quiet and “respectable” life for the last decade or so, I have experienced more than my share of privilege. It’s a safe existence that doesn’t honor my entire self, and it blatantly ignores the culture and community to whom I very much belong. I can no more stand idly by while these attacks are happening, and these laws are being passed.

I’ve had enough.

The community needs all of us. But, if I’m honest, I need them even more.

Barbara Poma opened the club in 2004 to promote awareness of the of the Orlando area LGBT+ community. The club name, Pulse, was named in honor of her brother who died of AIDS 13 years ago. Pulse is symbolic for his heartbeat.

I think it’s symbolic for all of ours as well. 

-H

(source for picture: CNN.)

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A short post on the Orlando Shooting (More to Come)

The shooting today. I’ll talk about it because I need to talk about it, but I need to get my thoughts in order first, and get my rage in check. I just had to say something here as well as in social media. Feel free to come talk to me on any of those formats if needed- we all need to stick together and support each other. 

My heart is shattered, but it’s nothing compared to what the victims and their families are going through right now.

Everything I am, have…is with my fellow LGBT+ community in Orlando. I love you. 


-H

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Call for Papers – Deadline Extended

Abstract proposals for an interdisciplinary conference regarding NBC’s Hannibal wanted! I’m going to submit a query for the gender and sexuality category… Wish me luck! (This is so cool!)

Feasting on Hannibal: An Interdisciplinary Conference

Feasting on Hannibal: An Interdisciplinary Conference

Screen Studies and the School of Culture and Communication

The Faculty of Arts, The University of Melbourne

November 29-30, 2016

Arts West, The University of Melbourne

Keynote Speakers:

Associate Professor Jane Stadler, The University of Queensland

Professor Angela Ndalianis, The University of Melbourne

Hannibal ‘the Cannibal’ Lecter is one of contemporary popular culture’s most prominent and recognisable models of monstrosity. Initially conceived in the 1981-2006 novel series by Thomas Harris, Hannibal exists at the centre of a sprawling franchise that includes the critically acclaimed film, The Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme, 1991), and most recently Bryan Fuller’s television series Hannibal (2013-2015). The diverse texts that constitute the Hannibal franchise demonstrate the fertile potential of the Hannibal mythology to extend and develop across multiple media, and the complexity of Hannibal himself as a boundary-defying figure of modern monstrosity and the senses. At the centre…

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Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit

LGBT (f/f) book recommendation from someone whose taste I’ve trusted for many years…

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Sexualized Saturdays: The Dead Lesbian Trope Needs To Die

Wonderful post on the “Bury Your Gays” trope in regards to lesbian and bisexual women. Spoiler warning for shows mentioned!

Lady Geek Girl and Friends

korrasami Here is a picture of a couple who lived happily ever after in canon to raise our spirits before delving into the depressing fates of many other queer female characters. (art by Bryan Konietzko)

I spent a lot of time trying to decide on a topic for today’s post. But I could really think only of one topic, although I tried to resist it for a while because it’s too sad and frustrating. In the end, I decided to go with it. And so today I want to join the conversation discussing the queer women that have died on our TV screens this year, the Dead Lesbian trope, and the implications of this continuing trend.

Spoilers for Lost GirlPerson of Interest and The 100 below (and of course, don’t look at any of the links if you don’t want to be spoiled about any character deaths anywhere).

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