Freaks Rising

In a procrastinatory moment earlier today, I stumbled on Pablo Das’s article in the Lion’s Roar calling out Western Buddhism on its complacency and lack of urgency in the face of extreme danger for those of us targeted by the upcoming national administration.

“Western Buddhists,” he says, “during times like this we need more from you than standard-issue statements admonishing us to ‘sit with our fear and sadness.’ We’re already experts! We need safety. We need to know you see us. We need to know you can receive the enormity of what we are carrying. And we need protection.”

I’m saddened, but not in the least surprised that the Western Buddhist community leaves a lot to be desired in truly seeing queer bodies and queer spirituality. A while back, I got burned but good by another liberal, smug, “welcoming” spiritual community. That fUUcked up experience made me quite wary of organized anything spiritual, so I will probably just keep meditating and reading on my own, but if Pablo Das taught classes here instead of LA, I might give it a shot with him.

Yesterday, I had lunch with the young gay librarian who leads our local Queer Book Group. I think he wanted a little tea and sympathy, as he is running up against a similar white, cis, straight, bland, smiling, liberal wall with the library administration who thinks they’re all that because they allowed us to put in gender neutral restrooms. They’re currently telling staff: don’t wear safety pins, that’s political, don’t do a display about Black Power and Black Lives Matter, that’s political; that sort of thing. When the QBG posters were routinely getting torn down, the administration didn’t know what to do. Our hero began glittering them and that seems to have deterred the perp. “A brilliant queer solution!” crowed Tex, when I told her about it.

Right now, I’m listening to the Damned singing “Life Goes On” and thinking about the phrase that popped into my head the day of the election: Freaks Rising.

I’ve lived in the suburbs for over 20 years, and I know we’re here.

Earlier this week, I ran into a lesbian neighbor who told me in no uncertain terms that she thinks the next art exhibit at a local queer-owned gallery needs to have the word “cunt” in it. She’s a freak and she’s rising.

When Tex and I were at the National Day of Mourning, we got a text from a local queer who waxed extremely nasty about Thanksgiving and its disgusting history. They’re a freak, and they’re rising.

Our librarian is a freak, and he’s rising.

I am a freak, and I’m rising.

Here in the suburbs, there are freaks in the post office, freaks at the Senior Center, freaks in the schools, freaks next door. We’ve been flying under the radar, isolated, overlooked, our power ignored, but that time is over. It is time to rise.

Rise, and find each other. Rise and interrupt business as usual. Rise and redirect the flow of energy. Rise and fuck shit up.

Rise and the neighborhood will never be the same again.