Merry Queer Christmas and Happy Various Other Celebrations, depending on your belief system! This post comes to you at the tail end of a wonderful Christmas day involving honey-baked ham, my amazing family, being given a Dean Spade book by my partner’s parents, and watching the Merchant-Ivory version of Maurice an unnecessary amount of times.
Ah, Queer Christmas. You go home and there are all these people who you know from childhood, some of whom are relatives, and they are like, “I think Glee is not a problematic show! Are you sure the word tranny is a slur? Hey, is that your testosterone? Do you like, mix that into coffee to get it in you? Is your special friend doing well?” (Two of those sentences have actually been said to me in the past two days; I invite you to guess which. My special friend, by the way, is doing great.)
And sometimes if you’re trans people fuck up your pronouns, or call you by your old name, which can be extremely triggering and painful. Of course, it can get a lot worse than just pronoun fuckups or name slip ups, whether you’re a trans queer or a cis queer. If you’re in that situation at the moment and you’d like someone to talk to, contact me and I will try to make you feel better. Not kidding. Email me. I am not a mental health professional but I am a pretty nice kid I guess.
If you’ve chosen to make your own home in a more politically radical environment, it can also be a huge culture shock. Like, I always forget that outside of my circle of fabulous radical queers, some people don’t find the yellowface in the Sherlock Holmes movie problematic, and they sometimes think that “heteronormative” isn’t “a real word.” And if you’re me, which not many people are, there are suddenly paparazzi following you around, doing really dehumanizing things! For example, recently my family and I went out to dinner and a paparazzo got all up on us as we were walking to our car. The next morning an article came out purporting to know what we’d talked about at dinner. Some reporter literally made up an account of our dinner conversation! Out of whole cloth! (There was also a picture of me really needing a haircut and looking shellshocked.) So yeah. Queer Christmas: stressful, especially if people are trying to take your picture because they are interested in the confluence of your gender identity and your parentage.
Obviously, though, let’s be real, Christmas is great. Our Lady J just wrote a great post about this in which she talks about finding unexpected allies in conservative places, and that’s something I really believe in. (There’s an unfinished post still sitting on my hard drive, actually, that started out being about how to be an effective cisgender ally and became a soppy dissertation on how wonderful a cis ally my grandma is. Maybe you guys will see it someday. My grandma is fucking amazing.) I am not hating on Christmas! I would never do that; I fucking love Christmas. I love It’s a Wonderful Life, and I love ugly sweaters, and I love the story of Christ’s birth even though I am not actually a Christian, and I am really into this whole thing where people give me stuff.
I’m also really into Audre Lorde, as you may know, and specifically the parts in her essays where she talks about incorporating anti-oppression work into one’s daily life. Lorde believed that in order to liberate ourselves and others, we have to reexamine how we walk in the world with everyone, not just people who we’re in explicitly political discourse with. Our partners, our parents, our children, our aunts and uncles–everybody. She believed that there was a way to reinscribe everything in life so that we could use it to make a better world. I think Christmas is ripe for that kind of redefinition, and in a tiny way I have tried to do that this year. Queer Christmas! Continue reading ‘Queer Christmas & How I Had One’