Mar 272011
 

Yesterday was busy busy busy. I was running from morning to night between tabling at the Rainbow Book Fair (only LGBTQ book fair in the United States) during the day to keynoting The Loft’s annual gala dinner in the evening.  It was a great day filled with books, community, and really great conversations.  However there were a couple really femmephobic interactions with people at the book fair, and though they certainly didn’t ruin my day in the slightest, I have continued to think about them.

 

In the early afternoon my partner ran to grab us lunch and I stayed behind at the booth talking about Kicked Out, and the other books my publisher has produced.  There was a pretty steady stream of people who would stop for a few minutes, ask some questions, pick up flyers, and occasionally buy a book—all very basic stuff.  At one point a woman stopped by and was looking at things on the table, and she asked me a question but I hadn’t quite understood. I thought she was asking the price of a book, she was actually making a comment about it being a nice day. Very minor communication error. Right? Not to her.  She looked me up and down and responded that clearly they (I assume my publisher) had only hired me for my pretty face, and not a charming personality.

 

I was stunned.

 

All I could think to say was that I wasn’t hired at all and was an author (pointing at the book in front of me).  She again looked me hard up and down and said really? You’re Sassafras? With a sarcastic and distrustful tone in her voice.  Thankfully by this point some other folks had come to the table and I was able to engage with them and eventually she went away.

 

Kestryl returned with lunch, and while eating I was relaying the story of what had happened when another woman came over to the table. She was involved with one of the numerous lesbian presses that were at the fair, we chatted about business for a couple of seconds.  I thought she was going to move onto another booth, but instead she looked at me and said, “There are great things happening all over your body.”  Stunned again, I think I just sat there in silence until she walked away. I assume she was talking about my tattoos, and I like public flirtation as much as the next person, but that was really not the vibe or energy that had been happening in our previous brief interaction (she was so far from my type it’s not even funny).  Later I was walking around the different booths and while looking at material at Ms. Inappropriate-Sexual-Comment’s publishing house she mentioned to the woman sitting next to her “that’s the woman I was telling you about.” Her friend/business partner replied “oh wow you’re right, she really does have the whole package, just look at her.”    I laughed it off and walked away.

 

It was gross.  Quite frankly, I expect more from lesbians. I expect more from queers in general.

 

I was wearing a red dress, a really really good red dress. I have a lot of tattoos. I’m not a subtle person visible or otherwise, but none of that should have mattered.  The nonconsensual objectification was just overwhelming. I know that femmephobia is alive and well within queer community, and yet I still found it surprising within the context of  queer literary space to be reduced to my appearance, and to have my credentials questioned because of how I looked.

 

 

Mar 222011
 

tonight my partner and I are curled up on the couch, the dog is between us and the cats are periodically visiting. It's my second week at my new job, and my late evening. Ze went to a lecture afterwork. I got home first, took a bath, made dinner and then we curled up on the couch to eat and catch up on the internet.  A couple minutes ago ze turned to me and showed me a poem that had come up on a google reader feed.  Regardless of the intention of the poet, to hir (and now me) there was a beautiful butch/femme quality to it.

New Age

via Linebreak by J. P. Dancing Bear on 3/22/11
As surely as architects fall in love
with angles and lines     I come to you

adjusting my buttons and lapel     fascinated
by the hover of your dress

as though you floated into the room
a jellyfish     a single bulb

She's not on the same field     of play
they'd all whispered to me

yet I lean forward     closer to you
and away from my secured counsel

As you speak     whole cities blossom
within my chest     a new age

out of the slow bone and flesh existence
and here ideas are     rivering through

As surely as highways pulse between
major metropolises     sex is a subtext

I imagine sliding down each ravine
and ripple     within your dress

the touch of your hand     changes
an avenue of traffic lights     to green lust

With you I dream of new equations
how y might multiply     with x

a new proof     effervescing beneath our
formalities     I don't care who's watching

I come to you wanting to build structures
together     not to gaze dumbly into your eyes

 

 

 

Mar 162011
 

Last week, the PoMo Freakshow Troubled Teen Tour took me back to Portland to perform 348.  It’s sort of a full-circle story: when I was an undergrad student at Lewis & Clark College, I studied theatre and helped plan the Gender Studies Symposium.  Now, years later, I returned as an invited guest of the Symposium, to perform a new piece.  It had been long enough that the only familiar faces were professors, long enough that no one mistook me for a student as I made my way around the campus.

There was a talkback after my performance of 348, and one of the most interesting things that came up was that one audience member–an older gentleman who seemed out of place in the primarily college-aged crowd– had encountered the institution described in 348 decades ago.  He had worked as a psychiatrist for a school district, and had been sent to the facility to evaluate some students there.  He seemed overcome as he thought back, recounting the experience: “they seemed very secretive, never let me see anything other than one room for interviews.  I thought it seemed strange.  I wished there was something I could do.”

A parent with a “challenging” teenager was in the audience as well.  She had considered sending her daughter to a facility.  She announced, during the talk back, that she felt firm in her decision not to.  I was glad to know my performance had such an impact, for at least one individual.  That was the moment that the Troubled Teen Tour felt like a complete success.

Mar 162011
 

I woke up this morning to the most excellent news that Kicked Out has been named a finalist in the 23rd annual Lambda Literary Awards !!!!
I’ve already emailed all the contributors to share the news with them, and am sitting here stunned, thrilled, and incredibly honored that Kicked Out has received this kind of recognition.  It is to me a testament to the love and tears that each and everyone one of the contributors put into this book.
Current Finalists

I woke up this morning to the most excellent news that Kicked Out has been named a finalist in the 23rd annual Lambda Literary Awards !!!!Current Finalists 

Mar 152011
 

I’ve been back in Brooklyn for just over 24 hours now, and my head is still spinning with all the incredible memories and moments connected to the Troubled Teen Tour. On Saturday night co-sponsored by SMYRC and Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls several Kicked Out contributors and I officially released the book in Portland at  In Other Words (IOW) Feminist Bookstore.  As a queer youth IOW nurtured my voice.  It’s where I got my start as a zinester running a monthly open mic for 2+ years, and IOW gave me my first writing award. On Saturday, In Other Words was packed, we easily had over 70 people in the audience, and before the evening was over they completely sold out of copies of Kicked Out!!!

I grew up in Oregon, and came of age at SMYRC, Portland’s queer youth center.   It was there that I first realized there were other homeless queer kids, and the relationships and experiences I had there were instrumental in building me as an activist, and helping me to conceptualize of the dream of a book like Kicked Out.

Saturday’s event included readings from Kicked Out contributors from around the North West,

including folks who came in from Seattle and Eugene. I always say that there was nothing typical about the creation of Kicked Out– for the 2.5 years we were in production the contributors and I became very close.  We worked together so intimately, that sometimes I forget that many of the contributors and I have not ever been able to meet in person. This trip I got to spend more time with a contributor I’d met only once, and another who I’d never met before!!!

Being able to meet folks who I worked so closely with, and then  having staff of the youth center I grew up in,  old friends/chosen family that have been in my life since my homeless youth days in the audience, let alone having all this happen in IOW was exciting, and extremely emotional. there was something really special about brining Kicked Out to the closest thing to a ‘home town’ that I have.   I spent a lot of time in Portland thinking about the queer kid I was nearly a decade ago, and how lucky I am to be where I am today.  I feel so honored and blessed to have had the opportunity to share  Kicked Out with those members of that community  who are still with us, and to in my own way honor those who didn’t make it.

Mar 052011
 

Freaks, geeks, outcasts, queers, and anyone else who didn’t fit in will finally feel included at PoMo Freakshow’s ‘Troubled Teen Tour.’ Featuring former ‘troubled teens’ Kestryl Cael and Sassafras Lowrey, the Troubled Teen Tour offers performances, readings and workshops that explore how our country fails teens who do not conform.

I’m so excited that our  ’Troubled Teen Tour’ to Portland Oregon is only a few days away!  Kestryl Cael and I will be doing events around PDX Thursday-Saturday at Portland State University, the 30th Annual Lewis & Clark Gender Studies Symposium, and In Other Words.

Events:

“Nobody loves you. Now what? Queer youth homelessness and creating chosen family”  lecture at Portland State on Thursday March 10th at 7pm

“Nobody loves you. Now what? Queer youth homelessness and creating chosen family”  lecture at Lewis & Clark’s Gender Studies Symposium on Friday March 11th at 11:30am

Kestryl will be performing hir one queer show 348 at the Lewis & Clark’s Gender Studies Symposium on Friday March 11th at 3:30pm

Kicked Out’s Portland Release! At In Other Words Bookstore on Saturday March 12th at 6pm featuring readings by contributors from around the North West facebook event page here

Blogs and books, and zines! Oh my! Explorations in Queer Writing Careers at Portland State University on Sunday March 13th at 12:30pm

Being originally from Oregon, I’m so excited about heading back to PDX for these events!  We were included in the NW News in Brief in Just Out this week, and were interviewed on KBOO radio – you can hear the show here

Stay tuned for blogs, vlogs, tweets and all manner of other updates when the tour gets underway later this week!

xoxo

Mar 042011
 
I found this online and though it would be fun to share here
***Disclaimer - obviously this is describing a very particular sort of femme, it happens to a sort of femme that I am in many ways, but I fully recognize that it is not representative of all or even most femmes.
Tell-tale Signs a Queer Femme is Queer:

She is WAY over-dressed

She has swagger

She tells loud stories and funny jokes and tries not to let anyone around her feel uncomfortable

If you make eye contact with her she does not break it, in fact she smiles back at you

If you talk to her she’s flirtatious

She owns a pair of cat-eye glasses

She has visible tattoos

She uses ambiguous pronouns to talk about her exes

She has extensive knowledge of women’s history, feminist art, and is involved with political issues of all sorts

She looks straight but all her friends are big dykes

If she tells you she’s gay don’t question it, SHE IS!!!

Ways to get a Femme Girlfriend:

Buy her zine, follow her twitter, shop at her vintage store online or in real life, read her blog, go to the dance party she djs, just generally learn what she is into and support it.

Tell her friends you think she is hot (she is then guaranteed to know within 5mins).

Make eyes at her

Be chivalrous

Look cute

Ask her on a date

Be charming

Be interested

Be good at what you do and impress her

Compliment her

Validate her queerness, tell her you knew she wasn’t straight all along.

Be amazing in bed…be mean in bed…leave marks.

DO NOT BE INTIMIDATED. We can smell fear.

 

The original post is here.