Part I: The History of Queerness, Childhood, and Family
Angel White (any/all)
TW: Discussions of ageism, child abuse, classism, homophobia, misogyny, racism, transphobia, reclaimed use of f-slur
Growing Up Queer
Growing up as a queer child, I had a bad relationship with my parents. While they outwardly preached respect for all people (including queer people), this never seemed to apply to their own household. It scared me from coming out for a long time and, when I finally did, it didn’t go well. I didn’t get support from my family, and it still isn’t a subject that my family is willing to discuss. But now I’m an “adult” and am in college. I have more free time, a (somewhat) queer-friendly environment, and live far away from my parents. This new freedom and acceptance has been necessary for me to, well, be me. And while I’m thankful for it now, I find it very troubling that I only gained this by achieving an arbitrary age and education requirement. Why wasn’t I able to achieve this freedom before? It wasn’t like it would have mattered less in high school, or before that, or that I was somehow less deserving of being treated like a person. Clearly, something has gone horribly wrong here.
Blake Byle (he/they)
Following Dobbs v. Jackson (2022) decision, which overturned Roe v. Wade (1973), a study conducted by Gallup Inc. shows that public opinion of the Supreme Court has drastically dropped. In tandem with this drop in public opinion, questions pertaining to the legitimacy of the Court have been put forth into the vanguard. The imperative we face is this: how can an unelected Court- a Court in which five Justices (Kavanaugh, Gorsuch, Barret, Roberts, and Alito) have been appointed by Presidents who lost the popular vote (Donald J. Trump and George H.W. Bush)- overturn almost fifty years of precedent; and, what is the impact of this decision?
The Parental Rights in Education bill, infamously known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, offically passed in the state of Florida under the government of Ron DeSantis. This bill would prohibit the teaching of sexual orientation in classrooms from kindergarten to third grade. This would also allow parents who disagree with their child’s curriculum to sue the school district with the justification that schools, teachers, and principals could not withhold information about gender issues from the children’s parents. As a consequence of the bill’s passing, many more similar to it are in the works throughout the US: including Tennessee, Kansas, and Indiana. In reality, however, this bill does not increase the role of parents in education; rather, it destroys the possibility of a safe space for young children to learn about complex topics such as sexual orientation and gender identity. Therefore, this issue transcends the classroom and could lead to an upwelling of internalized homophobia or self hatred among young, vulnerable children.
5/3/2022 0 Comments
Elessar Younglove (They/She/Fae)
Nonbinary identity is an essential aspect of gender. Incorporating them into the media furthers a culture of inclusion. Culturally, nonbinary people exist as two-spirit, agender, gender fluid, genderqueer, gender-nonconforming, and third sex, among the many other labels we use to describe ourselves. These are more common in non-Western cultures, but specifically Two Spirit people, Fa’afafine, Hijra, to name just a few. Existing as neither male nor female, outside of the binary, is not something of the past and it is certainly not new. Society’s understanding of gender is evolving and its inclusion of nonbinary people is essential to that understanding.
Blake Byle (He/Him/His)
In the late 80s and early 90s feminist political theorists like Wendy Brown, Susan Okin and Catharine McKinnon published theoretical works on issues pertaining to women’s opression under the current system of government. They argued that the state perpetuates a masculinist prerogative through ambiguous yet entwined modalities. However, their analyses are limited because they are framed through a binary lens: masculinist system vs. women. The solution to this problem is through applying a more intersectional frame that relates the masculinist system to hetero-nonconforming subjects.
Anita Rao (she/her)
Who belongs in the outdoors? To some, a traditional outdoorsman may come to mind. He is physically fit, conquering nature with every fishing trip and embodying peak masculinity as he connects with the Earth. He may be clad in flannel, camo, or a fur hat, but probably all of the above. Philosophies of man and solitude, pushing yourself to your physical limits, and going off the beaten trail surround him. This archetypal outdoorsmen clearly does not encompass everyone who appreciates nature. Furthermore, a physically taxing and isolated outdoor experience may not be safe or possible for many people. Still, outdoor recreation has long excluded those who are not wealthy, white, and able-bodied men from reaping all the benefits nature has to offer.
Grey Weinstein, they/he
I was fifteen when I first came across the word “asexual” on the internet and felt the world shift beneath my feet. So many things that had been bothering me— the way I felt repulsed by the mere mention of sex when all my classmates seemed fascinated by the topic, the way I couldn’t relate when I heard my friends talk about their crushes, the way I moved through the world feeling broken and damaged and too scared to tell anyone— suddenly clicked into place like pieces of a puzzle. If I hadn’t stumbled across that phrase, on Twitter of all places, I might have gone on hating myself for years.
By Elessar Younglove
I recently spoke with a friend of mine experiencing dysphoria. My friend is kind and creative. She loves to read poetry. If I’m lucky, she loves to share it. But recently, she hasn’t felt like sharing anything.
“I can’t help but hear a manly voice when I talk,” she told me.
My grandparents’ house has a rarely-used attic, cluttered with old and mostly forgotten items. Leaning against one wall, spotted with a thin layer of dust, is a large print of my grandfather in his college years. You see, my grandpa went to Princeton University before women were admitted, which meant his theater department was all male. And of course, someone had to play the female roles. Which is how this attic ended up being graced by a photograph, several feet tall, of my grandfather in drag. Chest hair bristles out from under the hem of his leotard, his tutu and tights slightly askew-- as I noted the first time I saw the picture at age 12, he doesn’t make a very pretty ballerina.
Elessar Younglove (they/she)
I am sitting in therapy, explaining why I haven’t come out to my parents. “It’s like when you knock over a vase,” I say. “You’ve broken something. It’s shattered over the floor and you can’t fix it.” I’m well aware of how damaging this metaphor is, but the only thing that stops is the steadiness of my voice when I wipe my eyes. “But if no one ever finds out it's broken, they can’t be mad at you. I don’t want to tell my parents about the broken vase. I don’t have anything to lighten the load like, ‘Hey, I’m bisexual but at least I aced my exam.’ I need to ease the blow of the broken glass. So, until then I’ll just… stay in the closet.”