My People! My People! Sister Me!

While I am still in the throes of extreme embarrassment, I write this hasty post: just now at the grocery store, I noticed a cheerful young queer with a huge star tattooed on her elbow. Being in something of a cheerful mood myself, I said to her cheerfully, “You went a lot bigger than I did!” and showed her my own, much more modest star, on my wrist. We fell to chatting, and she showed me her most recent tattoo, then asked if I was going to get another. Did I say, “Yes, but I’m not sure what yet?” and leave it at that? No. I had to go into a whole description of Hot Head Paison, Homicidal Lesbian Terrorist and how I want to get her tattoo because it’s time for a little of that energy, know what I mean, know what I mean?

Tex would say, “Baby, remember, you don’t feel like it, but you’re middle aged and you’re a grown up, and young people are skittery and shy and don’t always understand that grown ups are actually people like themselves…” Plus, I’m usually around young queer people who get me and are, for the most part, fond of me. Anyway, this particular young person, instead of smiling and sistering me, (“sister”: when a queer out in public derives pleasure and joy from recognizing a sister queer and a certain happy look comes into their eyes and their shoulders relax and the two of you are free to engage in friendly queer-flavored banter) shuttered her face and gave me a neutral and vaguely alarmed glance. Dang it!

I’ve been thinking a lot about queer culture. How non-contiguous it is, how most of us, especially in the suburbs, don’t have access to it. There are no queer centers in this area, and we have found that offering queer-only space to queer youth is of interest to only a few, given that queer kids are told that they are “welcome” everywhere. At Queer Mystic, we’re beginning to work on a new model of support for queer youth: fostering queer culture with queers of all ages. Whether they are able to articulate it or not, we believe that queer youth need and benefit from queer culture: understanding queer history, meeting queer adults and elders and hearing their stories, participating in queer cultural events such as concerts, art exhibits, open mics, plays, etc. The more situated in your culture you become, and this is true for everyone, the more you are able to find yourself, the more you can rock your own power.

I am kind of laughing at myself right now, how I keep getting myself in embarrassing situations due to my undimmed expectations that all queers should sister each other, that they want to. I was reminding a straight friend yesterday that I’m really only about 24 in queer age, since that’s as long as I’ve been out, and so my queer sometimes may not seem to line up with my middle-aged face and body. I can be very enthusiastic!!! I hope that, after the shock wears off that a random middle aged lady said “homicidal lesbian terrorist” to her while she was just trying to stock the nut shelves, my young queer friend may come to enjoy the fact that another queer sistered her.

At the same grocery store just now, there was a butch femme couple, maybe 20 years older than me. I smiled and smiled at them, but unlike with the young queer and our tattoos, there was no easy way of making them see me as queer. If I’d been able to, though, I bet they would have sistered me.

Published in: on December 22, 2016 at 11:57 AM  Comments (1)  
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  1. I’d say you’re 27 in my mind.

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