Category Archives: Queer Kitty

A clunky unedited book review!

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Sacred Band, by Joseph D. Carriker jr.
 
Where to begin? I am emotionally compromised, that’s where.
 
My favourite thing about this novel is the characters. I’ve been thinking about how best to describe them, but then, describing people has never been my strong suit. I describe characters well enough, using the labels assigned to them: troubled, gentle, loving, queer, trans, motherly, a person of colour, powerful, traumatised.
I struggle with describing the powers at play in this book because they’re not characters. They’re people. They’re alive and delightfully complex, each one more than their assigned archetype, each one richly developed with backstories that are not laid bare and tossed in your face for easy consumption. They tell you as much as any person would, and in ways that people do: in action, in small talk, in expression and emotion. Their defining traits aren’t tossed and jumbled into a single paragraph early in the chapter. They’re complicated in the ways I am complicated, or you are, or the ways the people you love are. They’re messy. They grieve. They get scared. They can be irrational and clingy. They can project their insecurities onto others. They also love and feel in a very, very real way, and that is the core of what makes Sacred Band so brilliant. A superhero is a symbol, a representation of a concept, and it’s important that you understand the face beneath the mask before you can begin to grasp the hero. These people are heroes, and not because of the (overly tight) outfits.
 
My second favourite thing about this book is the sheer diversity of cast. Gender, sexuality, race, and background mix and merge to bring people from various walks of life- with respectful appreciation of the reality of their existence- into eachother’s company. Each has different strengths and different obstacles. Sometimes they chafe, sometimes they soothe. Difficult situations are dealt with in unexpected ways, and I’m not just talking about the fight scenes. A friend of mine uses the phrase ‘A balm to my soul’ and that’s exactly what this story has been for me. Familiar struggles (especially the queer kind) played out on these pages are mysteriously lacking in mass-produced media, and although that issue is slowly improving, the representation of queer culture in these pages is so much more satisfying to me than the token gay characters popping up in our standard superhero fare. Here queerness is written the way most of us experience it. It’s every day life. It has events that mark our history, and sometimes they can define our personal narrative, but for the most part it’s just part of who we are. For the characters in Sacred Band, it’s just part of who they are, but within that, they give voice and power to the inherent rage against inequality and oppression common in the queer community.
We’ve all heard about those who are not so lucky as to be born into a safe environment. Those who have been disowned, discarded, abused and tortured and even killed for who they are. The fact that the novel begins in Ukraine and mentions the unrest in Russia hits a nerve. The villains in Sacred Band are real. We’ve all felt their touch, one way or another. From those who fought hard in defence of DADT to those who beat frightened transfolk and post the videos to youtube, we know these villains. The pain and anger in Sacred Band is all too real.
This novel gifts us with the superheroes that Hollywood pretends could never be: the queer, the underfoot, the outcasts, doing what they always have. What we always have. Fighting for our own, for the lives of those like us.
 
When I first settled down to read, I had no idea how sorely I needed that.
So yeah, I’m emotionally compromised. Read the fucking book. It’s worth it.
 
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Protestation versus Education

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The following is simply a comment I posted in response to this video, posted by a friend of mine on Facebook. I say a few things I feel very strongly about and I figure I should probably keep this blog alive, so in the spirit of trying to start living again, here you go.

Small hints of truth wrapped up in a lot of needless sensationalism.
I can see where you are and how you think, sweets, but this video is not something you want to say sums up your view, because then your view is heavily biased, selective of information, and incapable of change or adaptation.
The thing is, most people do understand the great machine we’re a part of. Most people do grasp these things. The problem is that people don’t like change, and they don’t like a lack of security, and they don’t know how to manage without a world that has been hundreds of years in the making.

Also no, a world without pharmacology would not be better. A world without global trade would not be better. A world without global communication and technology would not be better.
Instead of eradication, you must think in terms of adaptation and gentle change. The aggression in this video, the patronising voice of so many of the people who believe in it… It will get you, and them, nowhere.

You’ll find that if you educate people in how to survive outside of ‘the system’ they will tend to move towards doing so. People don’t like being trapped but they do love the safety provided. If you want change, educate. Teach. Teach skills as hobbies. Teach advanced skills for those who want to take it further. Don’t yell about how broken the system is, everyone already knows that and the people who don’t are the people who don’t want it to change.
So teach. Instead of this video, share TED talks about survivalism. Share pop culture like Naked and Afraid. Show people what cool things you can do with a pocket knife, or how you can make ink from mushrooms, or how to make their own soap. Educate them in how penicillin is made, and what plants work best in their climate. SHOW them the world they could be living in and they’ll do all the work themselves….
All you have to do is provide the start for an autodidact and ask them to teach what they know to others.

Change is happening. It’s just slow, and you can’t push hard. A little information, a little hope, and that’s all you need.

I plan to write more on this.

Maybe I’ll explain soap making, or how my gardening is going. Perhaps I’ll post my plans for my ideal home, or what new things I’ve learned. No doubt, mental illness and autism will show up from time to time. I talk a lot about these things, why not here?

I still write. I’m still writing. I just want to add a little variation to this blog, make it more… blog-like.

SO there you go.

Yield

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At first I am unsettled when she grasps that mop of copper curls and tugs it from her head. What I had thought was her hair had been a wig- Instead she sports a full head of soft, mouse-brown hair, unevenly cut and shaggy towards the ends. Her lips as she swipes the lipstick from them are not bloody red but ashen pink, and her long neon nails come off with a click to reveal chewed stubs. I sit awkwardly alone in her living room as she excuses herself to shower, studying the mismatched pillows and threadbare throw rugs until she returns plain looking but no less intense. Soap removed much of her magic, yet she remains enthralling still, scrubbed clean and softly perfumed. Gone is the dizzy party girl. The woman who stands before me now, wrapped in a silk dressing gown with dripping hair tossed about her shoulders, has a different kind of presence. She is quiet, and strong. She seems to make the room fold about her, instead of simply inhabiting it, and she looks at me as if she knows what I am seeing.

I swallow.

She makes us tea, and we sit and drink in silence, observing each other. Her possessive gaze unsettles me and I avoid eye contact, peering about myself at her tiny, lavish house. The glasses are small and intricate. “My father bought them in Azerbaijan,” She whispers, reverentially, as she peers into the depths of hers. “I have never been, but I am told their tea is legendary.”

I nod silently in agreement, as if Azerbaijani tea is something I know much about. She doesn’t seem to notice, or perhaps she simply doesn’t care. The tea is bittersweet.

When the cups are empty we leave them to cool on the table top, reflecting the faux-firelight in gold and cherry-red.  I lean forward to admire them but she wastes no time, catching hold of my shoulders and planting kisses beneath my throat. We fall wordlessly against each other, stripping, exploring, kissing and gasping. We make love on the floor for hours, catching our breaths on orgasms, writhing and rolling, feline in our ministrations. Her tongue is pointed; my fingers are wet. When we are exhausted we curl around each other and stare, still silent, preserving the sanctity of what we had just done.

I am hypnotised by her. Hours could pass; Days, weeks, months could pass, and I would lie there, unknowing, uncaring, lost in her. I can’t read her face, her eyes half-lidded but attentive. After a moment she shifts, burrowing her face against my knee.

Kisses punctuate her ascent along my leg and she pushes me gently until I unfold beneath her, stretched sanguine. She breathes against my breasts; her hair tickles my sides.

“I want to paint you.” Lifting her head, those heated green eyes catching mine and holding them, she murmurs with inescapable authority. “I am going to paint you.”

Far from the fire she leads me, into the cooler parts of the house, along winding limb-like hallways and past coloured doors with mismatched handles.

I am shivering when she topples me into the studio with more kisses, impatient kisses, and closes the door.

Awkward!

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Am I the only queer girl who didn’t experience dread and fear the moment I realised I liked other girls?

I’ve been through my fair share of bullying and all that other bullshit, but it never, ever made me feel like I was ‘other’. My family was wholly accepting, though I can’t say that coming out/being outed didn’t come with its collection of “it’s just a phase” and “it will make you miserable” lectures from certain family members.

I read these stories from gay girls around the planet and hear how they suffer and experience all that outcast misery… And I never felt any of that, even when what I experienced matches what they experienced. Is it a different outlook? Am I somehow more emotionally stable? Was I just in a better environment or headspace?

 

The worst thing for me, I think, being queer… Is that I feel I don’t deserve to be, because I never suffered for it. How messed up is that? I feel like I should be straight because my life being queer has been easier than my life before I came out.

Am I hardcore, gold-star lesbian? No.

Am I bi? No.

I’m just queer. I’m as homogay as every other queer kid I’ve met. A different variation sometimes, but no less infected with teh ghey.

My struggle with being queer is not that I feel I don’t belong in society. I’m aware that I’m different to others in some way, but I’m different to everyone in some way. You like boys? That’s cool. I like chicken and you’re a vegan? That’s cool too. You have blue eyes, and I have green. You’re left handed and I’m right handed. Our freckles are not perfectly aligned!
Differences. There is no person on this earth who is identical to another person on this earth. Even twins have differing personalities.
My issues with being queer stem from the concept that I’m not truly queer unless I’ve felt wrong at some point, and I never have. I know I’m exactly what I am supposed to be… and that is what makes me feel wrong.

 

Bit of a catch 22, I think.

 

(Post Script: I just wanna say that in no way do I think GLBT people should suffer. The fact that everyone I know with a queer streak has experienced something heartbreaking is distressing and entirely wrong. No one should be harassed for their sexual or gender orientation… I’m just commenting on the fact it’s become a sort of initiation into the ranks, y’know? Without meaning to giggle at obvious trauma, it’s a sort of bonding conversation piece. “Oh hi, you’re queer too? Lets share coming out stories and talk about all the horrible things that happened to us.”)

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Her skin tastes like salt.

My tongue points behind my lips and as I bend my head to place another delicate kiss along the sharp edge of her hip, that dainty place between thigh and belly, I can taste her; clammy and smooth and salted like a fish. Her legs twitch slightly under my hands and the faintest of giggles erupts from her cherry-flushed lips. She sighs with relief. I smile. My fingers pull a cup of ocean up along her ankle, right up her calf to her knee, letting it slip back into the vast abyss in tiny transparent rivulets.

Under the stars she shimmers, all bald head and gracefully bony body, a delicious nakedness that has nothing to do with our current nudity. Out here beneath the night sky her bad girl façade is gone, leaving the meat of her, the brilliant and fragile beauty that enchanted me so completely. Something in what we had done calmed her, allowed her a moment freedom from the defensive shell she’d carried with her all this time.

I’m still alive! Tidbit.

Adventures in Queerdom

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So perhaps I am finding my feet on this rainbow-brick-road that I have discovered myself wandering, dancing awkwardly, unfamiliar with this new beat. I haven’t been sure, but I’m finding myself steadier and steadier these days. My feet aren’t shaken on their helter-skelter travels.

The girl.
A first in my exploration of fearlessness.

She was cute, rectangular glasses, blue neckerchief. Her hands were soft and cold and brushed mine like an electric shock. It made me giddy and silly and I babbled something about being obsessive compulsive about organizing things. She laughed and said I could obsessive-compulsively organize her table anytime. I think I swooned. I fled.

Jai teased me and flicked a game cover at my head, chastising my shyness. He pointed out the neckerchief. He repeated her words as he had heard them, tinged with his arrogant certainty.

It was the neckerchief that convinced me that maybe all would not be lost if maybe… This once… I grabbed my girl-love-lust and ran with it. One must be fearless, no? Fearlessness in all things, not just adversity and the unknown.

We (Jai and I) went for dinner. I wrote my number and a brief apologetic compliment on a scrap of a receipt. My fingers were slippery with avocado and sweet onion sauce.
I fought down the feelings of terror and nausea, uncomfortably aware of the fact that what I was doing was not only something I could never see myself doing, let alone do with a (socially acceptable) male, and certainly never with a girl…

But with Jai’s hand in the small of my back and his laughter in my ear, I made my way to her work and stood there, furiously blushing, enveloped in awkward silence. She was busy.

I handed her workmate the note.
I fled from the store.
I watched Jai peer over shelves and customers for a few minutes before he returned to my side.

“She’s looking around,” He said with his trademark cocky grin. “and she’s smiling.”

I got her message this evening, after I got home and was able to charge my exhausted phone.

She wants to meet for coffee.

I feel fearless.

Lover, Lover Lover

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I want so badly to be in love again.

I’ve decided to stay single (well, to stop pursuing relationships) until valentine’s day next year. I need to work on me, I need a break. I need to know who I am before I can know another person.

I don’t like this. I’m determined not to settle for someone out of loneliness or the desire to be part of someone’s life. I want to fall in love. I want to chase someone because I desperately, intensely need them. I want to find a lover who rocks my world and a who wants me like I want them. I don’t want to do this trial-and-error dating stuff, it feels like it cheapens the concept of love.

I’m such a romantic. I believe in true love.

I don’t know if there’s someone out there who fits into my complicated and picky view of love, but I have to hope they exist. True love has to exist. Romance has to exist. I need it to.

 

Wish me luck.

My Opinion

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Wow, I’m all up in the ranting and yelling about big political issues these days. I’ll no doubt get back to posting my writing when November comes, don’t worry.
Now, this is just my opinion. Opinion can be changed through debate, so if you don’t like what I have to say, by all means formulate a polite and intelligent argument and post it in the comments. I’d love to hear your point of view.

Today, I’m going to talk about a Queensland MP who is complaining about the gay communities’ “Heterophobia.”

There are a lot of very angry comments on that article, and honestly, I don’t blame them. There were a few things in there that annoyed me, and I’m in a pretty mellow mood today.
I mean, the paragraph or so at the end about “Homosexuality can be grown out of”… I don’t even… just, ARGH!
But thankfully that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the man who thinks his religious beliefs are under attack by people who just want to be equal.

Heterophobia exists. It exists just as much as homophobia does. It could be a side-affect of being loathed and hated for so long, it’s natural that you’d start to hate the person who hates you. It could be jealousy over being an outsider, looking at all the joys of the insider’s life and not being able to have that. It could be a dislike of a different lifestyle. I’m sure there are as many reasons as homo/heterophobes.
Do I think this counts as heterophobia? Well…. No.

Let me explain.

I’m not a christian. I don’t think I could really understand the fervor with which the people in organised religion can follow their god. I have my own faiths and beliefs, but they are far from clear-cut with rules and laws, let alone a big book of words. What I have seen of the christian community is that each of them love their god more than most other things in their life. That’s a whole lot of love. If I were christian, you can bet that I’d be distraught that the world wouldn’t let my relationship with my significant other be recognised in the eyes of the most important being in my life. They want their love recognised by their god, and I don’t blame them. Family is one thing, deity is another.

That said, the whole ‘marriage is between a man and a woman’ thing trips me up.
Religion depends on how seriously you stick to it. If you follow it to the letter, then sadly, you need to follow that rule too. If you don’t, then don’t. Stand up for what you believe in, by all means. Mr. Messenger seems to have great faith in the book, and thus, great faith in the rules. If I take everything he says in that article at face value, supposing he’s honest, it’s just unfortunate. The rules of his faith can’t be bent for other people, they were laid out by god. I understand where he’s coming from. He must do and say what he believes is right, and in this case, his religion wins out. His relationship with his god wins out. I get that.
Personally, I don’t like it, but I do understand.

Now, if we are just talking about legal and social recognition, I like the concept of civil unions. It doesn’t help the religious, but it does help the rest of us who just want to be permanently and officially tied to their loved one. It’s a long way from equal yet, I’m not disputing that, but the concept of ‘equal but different’ has never really caused me any problems. I think civil unions should be available to everyone else as well; a way to legally bind a relationship outside of a religious context. Honestly, I think it could apply to any relationship structure- gay, straight, religious, atheist, monogamous, polyamorous, whatever. I’m a firm believer in the “Love is Love” quote, and if people want to be legally recognised as forever bound to another human being (or human beings, if the case may be) then I believe they should be permitted to. It’s not a gay rights issue, it’s a human rights issue.

I’m aware this puts me at odds with a lot of people, but I don’t mind. I’ve never really been the type to stick to a side just to avoid an argument.

The gay community is rich, and full, and beautiful. It’s developed under pressure, and like most things that have been through the rough, it’s come out gleaming and fabulous. I think complete absorption into society would gradually dissolve it, dull the shine. If it were a choice between being equal and being a rich, bright community, then obviously I’d pick the equal choice… But I hope that will never be necessary.

I’m aware that to hundreds of other people, ‘seperate but equal’ is a horrific thought. I’m aware that there are people out there who are struggling every day with their faith and their identity. I don’t speak for them, and I wouldn’t dare to even attempt to assume how difficult these things must be for them. All I can do is speak for myself, so I am.

Love is the most glorious, amazing, wonderful thing in this world. It should be celebrated, admired, adored, worshipped, and experienced by everyone, at least once. It should never be loathed or feared.
All people are equal, regardless of what they believe or who they want to spend their lives with. All people deserve the same rights.
Does it really matter what we end up calling it?

I hope one day these things can be fixed.