LGBTQ Books for Kids

The always awesome Bear Bergman started Flamingo Rampant a while back, which is a micro press that publishes beautiful LGBTQ books for kids.

Here’s a bunch of them.

Right now they’re raining money to publish the next set of books and they need your help. Donate if you can, or buy books.

These are a great, great gift for any LGBTQ child or family that you know.

This Year’s Fun Home Lecture

There’s a little message to all of the LGBTQ+ people at the beginning of this one, around 2:47-5:30 or so.

RIP Lady Chablis

Heartbreaking news from Monica Roberts: The Lady Chablis, aka The Doll, aka Brenda Dale Knox, had died at the young age of 59. She became famous by playing herself in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, after which she wrote her amazing autobiography Hiding My Candy.

When I first started teaching Trans Lives as a class, there was a huge lack of work by or about trans women of color. Ditto for those who transition out of drag identities. Hers was both: an important book that talked about her upbringing, about the South, about race, about what it meant to become a woman after working as a professional drag queen. Its entire sensibility differed from all the other narratives by white trans women (and men) – it brought a sense of humor, a stunning fighting instinct, and so much dignity in the face of too much difficulty.

This woman has long been a heroine of mine, and I’m sad to see that she’s died younger than she might have. Still, I’m sure she was always surprised that a million things along the way didn’t kill her, either.

Thank you, Lady Chablis, for all the pleasure and beauty and glamour you brought so many. You will be missed.

Gay Crossdresser

Every once in a while I get an email from someone who is in the middle of reading MHB for the first time, and they either want to tell me their whole story or feel under represented in some ways. Recently, this was the case with Corey, who wanted people to know that (1) gay crossdressers exist, and (2) a little bit more about their experience.

In Corey’s own words:

Being a homosexual man, who believes he is really a woman, it should therefore follow that I am a heterosexual female. Even when I would go to gay bars in my late teens (errr…I mean after I was 21!) I wasn’t attracted to anyone, really. I never got “picked up” or “cruised.” (Yuck.)

I am very lucky I found my husband when I was 21. No, he wasn’t nor isn’t anyone’s ideal of masculinity, yet he also isn’t flamboyant. (Think Niles Crane, and you get the idea.) He and I have been together for just over 25 years. He’s amazing. He works hard. He’s the funniest person I’ve met. He’s good-looking. He’s all the things a husband should ideally be. I’m a lucky man.

But therein lies my problem. He and I have not had sexual contact with each other in 11 years. It’s like both of our libidos died at the same time. But all that time, I was still crossdressing whenever I could. He knew about this. I told him before he moved in with me that I liked women’s lingerie. Exactly as you describe, at first he thought it was fun and a bit taboo.

As the years went by, I could see his acceptance turn to mild tolerance. Then, came the stony silences. At this time, I had rotated out my boxers and briefs for panties, until the drawer looked like a display at Victoria’s Secret. He knew I wore panties underneath my male clothing. He hated that. He was always worried that someone would see. Eventually, I purged my drawer and returned to boxer briefs.

But a weird thing happened about 16 months ago. My libido came to life! With that change, my desire for women’s clothing and lingerie skyrocketed. I acquired all new panties, pantyhose (like your husband, I do not wear stockings). Now I am wearing bras, and camisoles, too. I used to consider myself an “underdresser.” Now, I want to be more open. I’ll purposely wear a plain white women’s Old Navy oxford with a dark blue satin camisole underneath. I’ll walk around downtown Chicago and unbutton my blouse down to my waist, revealing the blue satin underneath. I get mani/pedis with soft pink polish. I cut and dyed my hair in a more androgynous look.

Then it hit me. I’m transgender. All my life, I’ve been the wrong sex. Finally, everything made sense. It explains what I’ve been feeling. Crossdressing was never simply a sexual thrill. It has always just felt right, as the cliché goes. I’ve been doing it since I was 5, and that’s only as far back as I can remember.

Yet, the huge problem remains. I love my husband with all my heart. But I know that he’s simply not attracted to me sexually. It sounds harsh, but it actually goes the other way, too. I’m not attracted to him. Why is this? The best answer I can come up with is that I’m attracted to straight men. My husband is gay. He’s attracted to homosexual men. I’m a heterosexual girl.

Does any of this make sense? Where can I go, other than my therapist, to get answers? I believe there’s a solution, and that involves an open relationship. On one hand, that might solve everything. On the other hand, it scares me to death.

Yes, most crossdressers are hetero males. But just like the general population, there’s a percentage of those males who are gay. And of those, there’s a fraction that I believe I fit in with; gay men who are really women who want a man who isn’t gay. My husband doesn’t want to have sex with a man who believes he is a woman, and dresses the part. He wants to be with a man.

So…what is the answer? I haven’t figured it out. I do know that surgery and ‘coming out’ AGAIN is not what I want to do. I want to keep my parts the way they are.

And I know this is an unusual case. But maybe…maybe it’ll help CDs or spouses realize, “Hey. It could be worse.”

That’s intended as a joke. With the help of people like Helen Boyd, I know I can make it through this.

#BlocktheBeast: Nico Hines Should Be Fired

Straight and married journalist Nico Hines decided to use Grindr to attract same sex attracted Olympiads and publish the results.

But same sex contact is illegal in 74 countries and punishable by death in 16 — and that doesn’t even include the non-governmental violence and threats to safety these athletes could face.

So I’m joining the chorus of voices calling on The Daily Beast’s editors to remove the article (not append it and add a note, as they have already done) and to fire the journalist.

This is careless, irresponsible, unethical (generally, but also specifically as journalism), potentially deadly, and honestly, US-centric in a way that makes me ill.

#weareorlando

If you’re waking up today and wondering why you can’t stop crying, that’s the shock of it wearing off. Now comes the sadness, the grief, and somewhere in there, the fear will happen too.

For straight people everywhere: please try to make some room for your LGBTQ colleagues, friends, and family. We are all a wreck, some of us barely keeping it together. I hate to say this, but we really don’t want to hear your opinions right now. We know this is about gun control and Islamophobia and all the rest, too, but this minute? It’s hard to be reminded in such a brutal, violent way that some people hate us very, very much, and that we live in a world, still, that debates our very existence, our rights, our humanity.

And maybe if young men didn’t grow up so steeped in homophobia promulgated to the left and to the right, every single damn minute, there wouldn’t be this much violence against us.

Also, fuck you to every politician who is telling people to pray but do nothing otherwise, to every talking head who has tolerated a conversation about who should pee where, to anyone who doesn’t shut down jokes about us.

Oh, right, and then there’s the anger.

Take care of yourself, readers. Reach out if you’re hurting too much. Hang out with animals. Step away from the computer. Listen to music. Do what you need to do to give yourself time for all of the emotions.

And then, hey, let’s go after gun control laws the same way we went after marriage.

Orlando

Yesterday I saw students graduate who have been out and proud for most of their young lives; others are still shy around their families of origin but also full of pride in their own queer selves; some I did a small tutorial with this past Spring on pre Stonewall identity where we learned how important bars have always been – as safe space, as community, as political rallying cry. I am happy to know they are armed with that little piece of history that might help make some sense of this. I say that as if there is any to be made.

Another student who is a deep thinker, big hearted and logical, wrote to ask if I thought maybe at least this violence would be pivotal.

I had to say I didn’t know. I do know that somewhere a parent has just called their queer kid to tell them they love them for the very first time in a long time. I also know there are people whose hate burns so hot that they are happy one of these shooters finally found “a worthy target”.

I know that that hate, and that love, may appear in equal measure.

For those of us who live and work and love on the trans end of things, this news is not as shocking as it should be. We are too used to violence, fatigued by it.

I do know that the love and art and community we will create around this wound will knock our socks off; it’s how gay people live; it’s how we have lived through so much. As Solomon Georgio tweeted: the gay agenda has always been “enjoy every moment you can before a hateful person takes it away” and that is only more true today.

Take some joy in some small thing. Cry. Keep finding beauty and joy in places others don’t look. Find each other, at vigils and rallies and, yes, in bars. Dance. Give someone else safe harbor, a hug, a thought.

I keep thinking about Esqualita and the abuelitas who would come to see their queer grand kids walk and I know there is no consoling them and there shouldn’t be. We should live in a world where they are safer.

Love to all of you today. I am so, so tired of crying.

 

 

“Calm Down or Suck It Up.”

Here’s a really great piece on bathrooms, Title VII and Title IX, and the “Dear Colleague” letter the DOE published. It explains clearly what the issues are, such as:

So is the Obama administration making a rule that trans people must be permitted to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity, or is it interpreting an existing rule?

With respect to Title IX, the DOE issued a “Dear Colleague” letter—which it says is simply a guidance document, not a new rule. The regulations permitting separate bathrooms for boys and girls were unclear about where trans students fit, and the administration decided to let them decide for themselves based on their gender identity.

and they answer other questions such as:

  • What is Title VII?
  • What is Title IX?
  • But why do they think “sex” includes gender identity?
  • But didn’t these agencies just decide that “sex” in Title VII and Title IX includes gender identity? Can they do that? Isn’t that something Congress should do?

But it’s the advice at the end that made me laugh:

You’re now well-equipped to argue, with the law as your weapon, that the Obama administration did a good and legal thing when it decided to recognize the dignity of trans students, and you can tell everyone who is gripped by the bathroom panic to either calm down or suck it up.

Indeed.

Marginalized Minorities: Bathroom Backlash and Same Sex Marriage

This is a brief talk I wrote to give in China. I had an awesome translator – a colleague named Brigid Vance – and we got at maybe 10% of what’s here. The language is meant to be simple because I was speaking to a group who either had no or very little English and was also trying to take it easy on my translator.

That said, in the light of the ongoing bathroom laws, it might be helpful for those who are wondering how bathrooms became the place of contention, and maybe it answers a little bit of why.

Not that understanding will help you feel less angry. Nothing should. Stay angry. Keep fighting.

Marginalized Minority Backlash and the LGBTQ*

I want to talk today about the ways that minority groups have diverse needs even within group, specifically about how some types of marginalization may not be obvious or identifiable while trying to provide services to them. That is, different populations within a marginalized community may not access or use those services equally. I will talk specifically about how marginalized communities may not only not benefit equally, but will as well contend with significant backlash due to the change in the group’s status as a whole, and how that backlash is likely to target the most discriminated against group in order to undermine the group’s rights as a whole.

In the United States, there have been significant gains for the LGBTQ population. Gay and lesbian people can now marry, serve in the US military, and in many places, adopt children. Crimes against them are now monitored and recorded in a way that they have never been before, and extra penalties are added to sentences if a crime against them was motivated by hate, or specifically, by homophobia – which is the specific fear/hatred of gay and lesbian people. For some people, these gains have happened very quickly, when it has taken decades of work by gay and lesbian activists to make this happen, which was, in turn, motivated by life and death issues such as the AIDS crisis, high rates of discrimination in employment, substance abuse, depression and suicide. Nationally, then, gays and lesbians have more rights and acceptance than they ever have in US history, but there are many more people than only gays and lesbians in the movement on their behalf.

The term LGBTQ* (or +) is used to indicate the many identities that make up the “gay” movement. The letters stand for lesbian, gay. Bisexual, trans, and queer people, but those are only the first few. Other times may include people who are agender (no gender) or androgynous, crossdressers, drag queens, drag kings, and those who are in some other way GNC (Gender Non Conforming). The diversity is diverse. It includes anyone who is discriminated against due to their sexual orientation (who they have sex with) and many people who are discriminated against due to their gender identity (who they are) or gender expression (what they look and act like).

This group as a whole is very small – estimates vary from 5 – 12% of the population, but the subgroups within are even smaller. Some are only 1-2% of the population, and in US politics, minorities often need to make alliances with similar others in order to make any political headway. Often, the governing idea is that the LGBTQ+ population is made up of all the people who other groups of people dislike for their gender and/or sexuality.

The US was one of the last Western nations to make marriage between people of the same sex legal, but it has now joined a growing number of countries which recognizes not only same sex attraction but the need to legally recognize those relationships. It is a very significant victory which solidifies the rights of gay and lesbian people as well as their children’s rights; in fact, the Obergefell v Hodges ruling underscores the rights of the children of gays and lesbians – by previous marriage, adoption, or reproductive technology – in its decision. Marriage, however, does not solve many problems for many other sexual and gender minorities; instead, it benefits those who are already in better shape than others. Continue reading “Marginalized Minorities: Bathroom Backlash and Same Sex Marriage”

Masculine Women! Feminine Men!

I’m teaching a fun tutorial on pre Stonewall LGBTQ identities, and this old favorite showed up in an article about the queer identities in the ‘pansy craze’ of the 1920s. (There’s a great little track called “B.D. Woman’s Blues” by Louise Bogan – the “B.D.” stands for bull-dagger, if you’re wondering.)

Tim Hanna for Mayor

The Wisconsin primary is Tuesday, and you’re not going to get out of me who I’m voting for, because frankly, I think either Sanders or Clinton will serve this country well. I’m saving my energy for getting whoever gets the nod into office.

Because the opposition is hateful – every single one of the Republican nominees is ridiculous, divisive, and hate-minded.

But locally is a different issue: our incumbent mayor Tim Hanna, who is far from perfect, has been challenged by an ambitious newcomer, Josh Dukelow. I know both of them, and I like and respect both of them personally.

But as an LGBTQ+ person, Tim Hanna has already proved himself a supporter of my rights as a citizen and my rights to choose my family. He’s supported a diversity coordinator position, domestic partnership rights (when we still needed them, before marriage became legal on the federal level), and trans rights, and he has been transparent and upfront about supporting those rights.

Dukelow, however, wants to make the diversity coordinator position regional, which I think is a mistake. Right now Appleton has some of the strongest laws protecting us in the region, and our diversity coordinator already works with local governments on their issues.

Moreso, he hasn’t actually said he supports and will defend LGBTQ+ rights unequivocally. He also supported a family values candidate for school board.

But the important thing is this: as LGBTQ+ people in Wisconsin in a presidential election year, we know a few things:

  1. That Governor Walker is not our friend.
  2. That his nominee for State Supreme Court, Bradley, called us degenerates.
  3. That we don’t know who will become president, no matter how much I want this country to find its sanity and actually elect a competent person, which this year, means a Democrat.
  4. That it worries me that my city mayor may be the only elected representative between me and my rights, because with Walker in charge, and potentially one of these hateful Republicans as president, it will come down to whether our local representatives have the wherewithal to make sure we are valued, treated equally, and treated with respect.

All of which leads me to conclude I must, absolutely, vote for Tim Hanna again: because he has said it, he has done it, and I have no doubt that he will continue to do so despite the political climate otherwise.

Dukelow just hasn’t. I think he has some good ideas and I look forward to a day when he is ready enough to be mayor that he will absolutely, without question or hesitation, support my rights even in the face of opposition or the loss of votes. I hope he will court us in some future election for mayor, and that he might serve some other office and prove, due to his actions and not just his words, that I am valued and equal.

He hasn’t, yet. Tim Hanna has — which is why Tim Hanna is getting my vote for Mayor of Appleton.

Guest Author: Finn Enke

TFP FinnA very good piece about bathroom legislation, NC, and why public accommodations are not just about us.  Enke’s book , Transfeminist Perspectives, is one of my favorites of recent years. 

In 2015, 21 different anti-trans bills were put before legislatures in over 12 states. In the first 3 months of 2016, politicians have brought us another 44 bills in still more states. Most of these bills focus on public facilities that are sex segregated; most criminalize transgender and nonbinary people for using public facilities; most suggest that these bills are necessary for the “safety” and “privacy” of “the public;” most include a definition of “sex” as that determined by birth assignment and confirmed by birth certificate, and chromosomes. Many focus on public schools. In their rhetorical conflation of transgender with perversion and predation, and in their legitimation of excessive surveillance, they disproportionately impact people who are already most targeted: trans and queer people of color, trans women generally, and nonbinary people.

Whether or not they pass, these bills produce a climate of fear and suspicion, and they have already contributed to an increase in violence in and around bathrooms.

As a white transgender person who doesn’t “pass” well in either bathroom, I am more nervous than ever every time I need to use a public restroom (roughly 1,500 times a year).

These bills don’t originate from public concern or from any documented problem, and protests against them show that many people aren’t buying it. After all, trans people have been around forever, and there is no record of any trans person harassing anyone in a bathroom, ever. Plus, the bills themselves are staggering in their fantasies that sex could simply be flashed at the door with the wave of a birth certificate. Most people know that these bills don’t make bathrooms safe and only marginalize trans people, even making it impossible for us to use any bathroom.

We know we are political fodder. The GOP made a sudden “issue” out of our access to public facilities in order to galvanize a crumbling party. It wouldn’t be the first time the GOP has created a political platform around vilifying already-marginal communities. As John Ehrlichman explained in 1994, Nixon advisors designed the war on drugs in order to derail the Civil Rights Movement and the Viet Nam Antiwar Movement. In the midst of the Cold War, the GOP also consolidated itself around anti-abortion platforms. And from the 1990s on, the GOP turned gay marriage into the fuel behind their campaigns rather than addressing economic and environmental crises.

But even more specifically, the rhetoric surrounding these bills relies on a very old trope of white women needing protection against sinister intruders. In Wisconsin during a 9 hour public hearing about its bathroom bill, we heard from quite a few men who didn’t want their daughter or granddaughter to be vulnerable to men preying on girls in the locker room. One said, for example, “we don’t allow exhibitionists and child molesters to hang out outside of school buildings, so how can we even be talking about letting them into girl’s locker rooms?”

North Carolina State Senator David Brock shared a similar concern in response to the state paying $42,000 for an emergency session to pass SB2 which criminalizes trans people for using public facilities: “you know, $42,000 is not going to cover the medical expenses when a pervert walks into a bathroom and my little girls are in there.”

Or we can look at the campaigns against Houston Proposition 1 during 2015. Prop 1 was an Equal Rights Ordinance barring discrimination in housing and employment on the basis of gender identity as well as sex, race, disability and other protected statuses. These are rights that should already be guaranteed under the Civil Rights Act of 1963 and elaborated by Title IX and the American with Disabilities Act. Refusing to affirm these rights, those who opposed the bill claimed that the bill would allow men into women’s bathrooms. They created TV ads depicting large dark men intruding on white girls in bathroom stalls. They rhetorically turned a housing and employment nondiscrimination ordinance into a “bathroom bill,” and they succeeded; Prop One failed to pass.

And let’s not forget that the North Carolina bill also contains unchallenged sections that discriminate against workers and veterans. Against the more graphic iconography of predatory men in women’s bathrooms, the rights and workers and veterans are easily lost from view.

This is not the first time that demands for equality across race, sex and gender have been resisted with the claim that public accommodations will become spaces of unregulated danger against innocence. The face of the intruder may change slightly, but across centuries, the victim is ever and always a young white girl.

It’s also not the first time we have seen white women used in the service of sexist and racist and transphobic violence. Feminist historians have conclusively shown that the 19th and 20th c. trope of protecting young white womanhood was foremost about securing white masculinity, domesticity, and white supremacy.

Though they cause real violences, these bathroom bills are not primarily about transgender people or bathrooms. Nor have lawmakers, for all their concern about young girls being molested in bathrooms, shown similar concern about the most common forms of sexual violence and assault against girls and women (across race) that take place outside of bathrooms.

As mean as these bathroom bills are, something much larger is also at stake.  The North Carolina bill is designed primarily to strip the right of local municipalities to set their own anti-discrimination and protection laws.

We have lost all semblance of constitutional, democratic process.

These anti-trans tactics work because they succeed in directing fear away from the corporate demolition of democracy; they succeed by making people believe that the reason they are struggling and vulnerable is because some other group of people is dangerous and taking away something “we” worked hard to earn.

How, then, can we best address the fact that these bills increase everyone’s vulnerability and directly make the world less safe for people of color, people who are known or perceived to be trans, nonbinary, queer, or gender non-conforming?

While politicians vie for corporate favors at the expense of their constituents, and as more and more people struggle to maintain jobs, health, and life, we can still refuse to perpetuate hatred. Our only hope may be to refuse the rhetoric that pits people against each other. As politicians and corporations dismantle democracy, it is more crucial than ever to organize across race and class and ability, across queer and feminist and trans and straight; and to be brilliant in our resistance to cooptation.

Trumped.

A gay male student of mine posted this to Facebook today. Trump’s rally was happening in downtown Appleton, just blocks from our campus. I thought it summarized really well what it’s like to be one of the kinds of people Trump hates, and all of this goes double/triple/ad infinitum for those who are of color, immigrants, etc.

This morning I had to keep the Trump rally in mind, even though I have the privilege of passing if I stay quiet, tone down any effeminate qualities I might exhibit on a daily basis. I kept in mind that going downtown near where the rally would be is unsafe and ill-advised today, but since I hadn’t planned to be downtown, it was a distant threat for me. However, upon getting to class this morning, things became very personal and uncomfortable for me even before the lecture started.

A few guys to my left were talking about the Trump rally and I ended up overhearing that they had gotten tickets for it. Curiously and perhaps stupidly, I listened in to what they were talking about. From what I understood, they didn’t necessarily support Trump or his proposed policies, but rather they just wanted to be there to see people get beat up and fights breaking out. Of course, as someone who was already keeping in mind the danger of downtown, I now felt uncomfortable in class, something I did not expect.

For anybody who does not fit the model of citizen Trump endorses and privileges, a world under Trump is not only insane, it’s dangerous and terrifying. As I noted this morning, you don’t just have to worry about policies: you have to worry about the even larger mass of people who just wish ill on someone else, just for their amusement and power over them. The guys in class probably didn’t wish ill on me for being gay or for my often very liberal views, but by hoping for violence at the Trump rally, they indirectly are wishing violence upon me. People who support Trump or people who just want to see the violence out in the world are indirectly supporting an environment in which many people who don’t fit Trump’s view of “a great America” have to fear daily harassment or assault, possibly for reasons they can’t even control.

This is not something that is easy to think about. However, if you are privileged enough to only have to consider this kind of violence because you’re reading this, please understand that for some people, this fear and terror is a reality every day already, but even more so if Trump ascends to power. All I ask is that you consider this.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Fun Home Lecture

fun home

A few days ago I gave a lecture on Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel Fun Home for the first year students at Lawrence, and while I dme and oscaron’t have a video, I do have this audio, so if you’re interested in some of the LGBTQ history that’s tucked away in the book, or in the basics of queer theory, do give it a listen.

WI Trans Bathroom Bill – Contact Your Legislators

AB 469 is back on the schedule, dammit. This is the bill that wants to undo local ordinances that will overturn local ordinances that allow trans students to use the correct bathroom.

It’s been scheduled for a hearing next Thursday, November 19th.

Sign the petition/contact your lawmakers here.

With just over a week before the hearing, please take a minute right now – and it really only takes a minute – to contact your lawmakers and let them know you oppose this harmful, unnecessary proposal.

It is our responsibility to care for and protect all Wisconsin students. Instead, this bill treats a group of young people with suspicion and fear, adding to existing and harmful stigma.

There are myriad serious issues facing our state and our communities. Our lawmakers in Madison should be focused on bills that will improve the lives of Wisconsinites.

Last week, hundreds of you took a moment to email your lawmakers; that’s a great start, but we can’t let up now.

Email your lawmakers right now, with just a few easy steps. Click here to get started.

When lawmakers meet on this bill next week, it is essential that they know where we stand – and we stand in strong opposition to this bill and any other that will lead to discrimination against the LGBT community.

Houston, We Have a Problem

An amazing non discrimination ordinance in Houston was just struck down due to a paid-for campaign that focused, once again, on fear mongering: that somehow laws that allow trans people to use public bathrooms are going to result in sexual assault (of cis women) in those bathrooms.

So let me quote Red Durkin here for some clarification:

If a man wants to get away with sexual assault in America, he doesn’t have to put on a dress and sneak into the women’s restroom. He just has to join a frat or a band or professional/semi-professional sports team or the police department or get promoted to manager at Wendy’s or own his own business or go to a bar, stand on the street corner, go into a grocery store, star in a movie or sitcom, go to school with a woman, work with a woman, go on a date with a woman, live next door to a woman, deny the charges after the fact or, generally speaking, do anything EXCEPT disguise the fact that he’s a man in America.

And, I’ll add, there is no evidence whatsoever that any man who wanted to commit sexual assault did so by wearing women’s clothes and using the ladies’ room, and none, either, that any trans woman or crossdresser or GNC person has.

Sorry, Houston. I’m sure you’ll come back bigger and better and stronger as a result. In the meantime, because trans men who have not changed gender markers on their ID are now legally required to use women’s rooms, there’s a call for them to do so.

In the meantime, public hearings on a similar law in Wisconsin have been postponed.

National Coming Out Day: For Those Not Out

The always awesome S. Bear Bergman put this up for National Coming Out
Day, and I immediately loved it, and shared it, like you do.

What surprised me was that a few people responded thinking it was sarcastic, not heartfelt. Bear said no one had interpreted that way before.

So it occurs to me that there is a subset of my readers, in particular, who take National Coming Out Day particularly hard: the crossdressers, surely, and even some (stealth) trans men and women. As groups, for the most part, they aren’t always or even often out. Sometimes they’re making sure to stay employed because of dependents. Sometimes a partner or spouse doesn’t want them to be. Sometimes it’s just easier for them not to, because they’re not the kind of people who want to explain shit all the time. (As I’ve always joked, I wrote my books so I could enjoy parties again.)

And recently I’ve been thinking about the alarming number of younger out folks who have committed suicide, and somewhat maternally wonder if maybe everyone shouldn’t be, or at the very least shouldn’t feel like they *have* to be. I still think there’s a huge difference between gays and lesbians vs. trans outness, but also, I now live in a place where the repercussions of being out are far more drastic than they might be elsewhere.

So maybe let’s remember that: all of us choose not just when and how we come out, but IF we do, and even why we might not. As per usual, let’s give ourselves some room for diversity of situation, judgment, and choices.

Love to you all whether or not you’re out. Pride doesn’t require us all to be the same.