During my college years I kept a blog and I found posts from that blog on my Facebook profile this morning. Reading through them I realized I used to do so much more critical thinking – it’s spurred me to do more writing here.
Below is the gem I found in the midst of Art History papers and commentary of articles I’d read online. I used to participate in a lot of the GLBT events on our campus and it’s an aspect of my life I sorely miss in Las Vegas. Despite being 6 years old I still feel the same way about being queer.
Today is the National Day of Silence. Visit the website to find out about it, if you didn’t know already.
I’ve been thinking today. I’ve been doing a very good job of staying silent. I talked to my ArtH TA this morning (I forgot, and it was about registration issues) and then participated in class (another oops, but I can defend it since I was commenting on satirical bodily violence and the sacralisation and de-sacralisation of the criminal body). Other than that, I called work to see if they needed me for my call-in shift today. Thankfully, they don’t.
I sent out an email to some friends and relatives, and texted my parents and a few friends to remind them of the event (because I forgot to yesterday) and I urged them to spend at least a little bit of today in voluntary silence out of remembrance of the victims of hate crimes. This year is going much better than last year.I showed my info card to my Latin and Phonetics instructors today. Most of those classes are participation, so I felt kind of stupid not talking for the whole class period, but their responses were pretty darn cool. I showed Sean my card when he handed out our quizzes, and after he read the card, he said something along the lines of “I can dig that.” The look on his face was much better than that, though, like he respected me for my decision. He looks around at us to choose who gets to participate, and after a while, I felt like I kind of wasn’t there, even though he certainly wasn’t ignoring me. Doni and Liz asked to see the card that I showed Sean and they thought the protest was pretty cool. It was frustrating in class, though, because I had questions about my translations (but couldn’t ask them), and I had clarifications to make about things, but I couldn’t make them. Phonetics was pretty cool, even though the point of that class is to speak French. I showed Treece my card and he smiled and gave it back to me. I liked the fact that I was pretty much ignored in that class. It wasn’t a malicious act on Treece’s part. We were reading the play, and the class settled into the rhythm of reciting without me, and I felt like it really mirrored the point of our protest. The girl who sits next to me was confused, so I showed her my card, and she smiled and tried to make class go seamlessly.
The best way I can think of to make this protest mean something is to go out and inflict my silence upon society. I don’t have money to go out to eat, but if I did, I would be out doing things, making people help me, but without being able to speak to them. Ordering food. Maybe going on a silent bike ride with some friends. Go to the mall or take the bus. Something. I know I’ll find something to do.
I was thinking on my way home about how my silence is read, and how I am read in general. Just how queer am I? I was told once that I am “flamingly bisexual” – whatever that means. On occasion I do dress like a dyke, and I have my Spring Pride buttons from 2006 and 2007 on my backpack. I have my red AIDS ribbon. I have my little white “QUEER” button on my backpack, too. That’s about as far as I go to display myself. I have a rather masculine boyfriend, but somehow other queer folk and I manage to spot each other. Mostly everyone else is oblivious, unless I’m specifically declaring my lust for Reese Witherspoon, and I think it’s important for me to participate in this day in order to affirm that I am queer, and what’s important is that there is so much more to me as a person than my queer-ness, which is what makes discrimination and harrassment so stupid and wrong. We all have something in common, and picking on someone for something as stupid as who they fuck is just bogus. I am such a diverse, independent, and capable individual that my sexuality is merely one of the many brilliant elements of my identity. I think it’s great participating today, and people finally realizing that I’m at least allied with the community, if they wouldn’t have suspected it. There’s no better eye-opener.
So much more of my identity is based on things other than my gender and my sexual preferences, though, that I feel uncomfortable doing many other activist things. I’m more than willing to volunteer for things like MBLGTACC and be on panels because there’s work that needs to be done and I believe in the cause, but there are more important things for me to put my energy into. (Sleeping, doing homework, working to pay bills) The queer world is not my life, so I leave it to those who are more invested in it than I am, and I am way more than happy to lend a helping hand. I think this is why I embrace NDOS so much more than any other queer event in the year.
I like to think that NDOS gets to the heart of the queer crisis in the US. NCOW is important to some people, but it only makes sense that once we eliminate hate crimes and discrimination, NCOW will cease to be so necessary. We should not be discriminating based on gender or sexual identity, regardless, and we need to realize that people are comprised of so much more than their genitalia (and their uses/practices). I am so much more than just a vagina that likes to interact with other penises and vaginas (among other things). I believe that my value and merit are based on the quality of my character and my actions, rather than anything else. Not my hair color, not my height, not my gender, not the language I speak, not my sexual preferences, and not the car I drive, among other things.This is highlighted by the story I often relate from when I lived in Virginia. Everyone my grandparents introduced me to thought I was just the nicest, sweetest, brightest girl they’d met. Then at Sunday School (Bible Study?) my grandfather made a remark about gays not being fit to hold positions of power within the church. Long story short, I almost came out right then and there. I didn’t, but while I was talking about our lesson that day on the New Covenant and how God is the only being capable of judgment and humans are supposed to merely forgive and let God handle things, everyone was commenting on how bright and righteous I was. My ass.
I am enjoying being silent in my own little way. As a person who identifies as queer specifically (more than bisexual, since I think the gender implications are heinous), today I feel like I am making a difference. Maybe I’m not doing any more than making some people wonder, or think “hey, I didn’t know,” but that’s enough for me. Me being queer doesn’t change anything else about me. It doesn’t change my ability to write papers, or sell stuffed animals, or ride my bike. Maybe it helps make me a little more human and a little more humble (don’t get mad! it’s possible for straight people too! Being an ally, or in any other way not being anti-GLBTQIAWHATEVER counts!) when dealing with other people who are different from me. We’re all different, but we’re not so different.
Now I go continue my silence.