Queer Femmes Respond – Out of the Closets: Voices of Gay Liberation edited by Karla Jay and Allen Young

Look out, straights! Gay sisters and brothers are self-realizing, turning it out, turning away from the miserable, inactive liberal path, turning our backs on straight-fronting and that whole adjustment school! With homosexual self-assertion, we are going to wear our gowns all year round, and we are telling it like it is: we are not sick or depraved, we are integrating our personalities, rejecting the pig mentality and shouting, “Off the couches, into the streets!” We will no longer be your group freak and we are going to grab the Man by the crotch and make him howl! Better blatant than latent, baby; gay liberation is revolution for all people, by the people. RIGHT ON!!!

The above pastiche is from the 1972 book, Out of the Closets, a compilation of essays, poems, biographical pieces, interviews, and manifestos. Tonight, my Historical Queer Book Group will be discussing it, and that is one of the ways I’m honoring Juneteenth: paying attention to queer people’s radical history, discussing how things have changed, how things have stayed the same, what we can learn from the gay liberation movement of the 60s and 70s. I gain strength and joy from reading what the queer organizers and activists who came before me have to say, their wisdom, their mistakes, their hope and fervor. I am inspired by so much of what they did, can learn from the issues they were passionate about, some as relevant as always and still being addressed, some that are relevant but have been set aside, some no longer as pressing – all of it food for thought as well as very good and educational company in the current world strife.

May your Juneteenth be filled with inspiration and good company, also! There is no one way to show up and we need all of us with all of our various gifts and abilities. Do what you can, where you can. You are necessary and precious, and we are in this together, working and learning from where we are to add to the healing.

Every Friday, I showcase a queer femme goddess. I want to feature you! Write to me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com and let me shine a spotlight on your beautiful, unique, femme story! If you’ve written a femme story or poem or song, oh, please let me post it!

 New Femme Friday feature starting spring 2020: Queer Femmes Respond. Are you reading more poetry? Are you navigating various technologies in order to see your folx and not be so isolated? Are you still going out to work? Are you able to get out for walks? Who’s home with you? We queer femmes are meeting these unsettling times with queer femme panache, and I want to hear about it! Along the lines of the Corona Letters over at the Sewanee Review, please send in what you’re doing, how you’re staying centered and sane! Write me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com with questions or ideas or a full-on post (with bio, if possible)!

 At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”) As I recover from treatment for breast cancer, however, I’m just going to post whenever I can manage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – The Cornell Lab of Ornithology

In honor of the gorgeous calls we were privileged to hear last night from a couple of screech owls, I want to hold up the Cornell Lab or Ornithology for its beautiful mission: to interpret and conserve the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. If you’re loving the baby robins yelling for worms, the fierce cardinal pairs screaming at your cat who’s just trying to get a little peace and quiet (mm hmm), the flickers sticking their long beaks into ant nests or any other bird wonder wherever you might be, do consider donating to or otherwise supporting the Cornell Lab or your local Audubon or other nature preserve.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology, you get one pingy-dingy! Thank you for your love and care of birds, the incredible amount of information on your website, and for all those amazingly cool bird cameras!

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Eastern_Screech-Owl/sounds

I’m a typewriter whompin’, card catalogue lovin’ white girl from back in the day, and I yearn for a time before the covers of trade paperbacks were all squidgy, so you can imagine that I don’t actually understand what a pingback is. I do know that it can in some way be part of spreading the love, and since that’s what I’m all about at The Total Femme… every Wednesday, I pay homage to the laughter, love, and inspiration to be had elsewhere online.

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”) As recover from treatment for breast cancer, however, I’m just going to post whenever I can manage.

 

 

 

Published in: on June 17, 2020 at 3:04 PM  Comments (2)  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes – Proud

It was a hard weekend. The weather was gorgeous and I am safe and well, but my emotions were running wild. I was dwelling on the past, being hard on myself, tumbling in a river of despair and grief starting with myself and expanding to all the world. Sadly, I’ve spent a lot of time in that raging river, especially when I was younger, before I knew I was queer, when I thought I was completely broken. It’s disturbing and astounding to me how comfortable it can be to immerse myself in that familiar unremitting misery. How stubborn about it I can be.

This past weekend was Pride in Boston. I couldn’t go last year because I was so sick with chemo, so I had really, really been looking forward to going this year, especially to the Dyke March. Everything went online, so I certainly could have participated, but in my shitty mood, I couldn’t be bothered. Then, with the last few drops of healthy and at the very last minute, I managed to get in the car with Tex and go haring off in search of the LexPride car caravan Pride parade in the next town over. We put on our Pride beads, and Tex wore her Provincetown rainbow tank and I rocked my Fierce, Femme & Fabulous hot pink top, a gift from a friend. The parade was winding down when we grabbed a spot at the very end of the line, a rowdy caboose, cranking Le Tigre and the B52s, waving our tiny rainbow flag and shouting, “Happy Pride!” out the window. It was wonderful.

As Tex said, you gotta bring your cute, your joy, and your happy when you go to Pride, and that’s what we did.

Sisters dear, may you bask in the glow of Pride today. May your Pride – our Pride — feed you and comfort you in the midst of frightening and difficult times. Throw on a little gay music and let the rainbow love soothe you and fill you and center you in queer delight, that your spirits are revived and you know who you are and where you are.

Happy Pride!!!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FaSD7RRkTfg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoeavIT6xKg

Every Monday, I offer a Meditation for Queer Femmes in the spirit of my maternal grandmother, Mimi, who was fabulous, kind, and wise and from whom I inherited her Meditations for Women.

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”) As I recover from treatment for breast cancer, however, I’m just going to post whenever I can manage.

 

 

Queer Femmes Respond – The Thick of It

I am not in the thick of it. For the past year, I’ve had one clear goal: heal from breast cancer. Already, my world had been circumscribed, and now this. And yet, all my study as a white woman learning about racism, my organizing work, knowledge, experience, compassion, desire for connection – none of that has disappeared.

Connection is so important right now. As is acknowledging grief. I know that when I pass over grief and explode into anger and a yelling, accusatory, “Let’s fix this right now and also, let’s find someone to blame!” attitude, the results are never satisfactory or long lasting.

So I may not be in the thick of it, but I am present. Where might my voice make a difference? How can I be gentle with myself so that I can stay with this work for the long run and ensure that my deepening understanding is communicated in my art, in everything I do? How can I invite into conversation rather than condemn out of hand potential allies and other white people who are also lost and grieving?

These and other hard and relevant questions occupy me today and will continue to do so, because I am in it for life. With gratitude and love for all of you, for all that you do, I am yours in the struggle.

Every Friday, I showcase a queer femme goddess. I want to feature you! Write to me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com and let me shine a spotlight on your beautiful, unique, femme story! If you’ve written a femme story or poem or song, oh, please let me post it!

 New Femme Friday feature starting spring 2020: Queer Femmes Respond. Are you reading more poetry? Are you navigating various technologies in order to see your folx and not be so isolated? Are you still going out to work? Are you able to get out for walks? Who’s home with you? We queer femmes are meeting these unsettling times with queer femme panache, and I want to hear about it! Along the lines of the Corona Letters over at the Sewanee Review, please send in what you’re doing, how you’re staying centered and sane! Write me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com with questions or ideas or a full-on post (with bio, if possible)!

 At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”) As I recover from treatment for breast cancer, however, I’m just going to post whenever I can manage.

 

 

Published in: on June 12, 2020 at 6:01 PM  Leave a Comment  

Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – Pandemic Password!

I am already yearning for Women’s Week this year and I know you probably are, too, but in the meantime (and we don’t know how long that meantime will be, alas), check out Jennie McNulty’s game show, Pandemic Password, with Vickie Shaw, Roxanna Ward, Karen Williams and Dana Goldberg. I haven’t watched it yet because I’m waiting for when me and Tex can sit down and guffaw together, but you have my permission to dig in immediately!

Jennie, you get one pingy-dingy! Thanks for your big gay sense of humor, for making us laugh, and for spreading the goofy gay love!

https://www.facebook.com/jenniemcnultyfan/videos/175046593549815/

I’m a typewriter whompin’, card catalogue lovin’ white girl from back in the day, and I yearn for a time before the covers of trade paperbacks were all squidgy, so you can imagine that I don’t actually understand what a pingback is. I do know that it can in some way be part of spreading the love, and since that’s what I’m all about at The Total Femme… every Wednesday, I pay homage to the laughter, love, and inspiration to be had elsewhere online.

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”) As I recover from treatment for breast cancer, however, I’m just going to post whenever I can manage.

 

 

Meditations for Queer Femmes — Honor the Gifts

Recently my spouse Tex, who is in hunger relief, forwarded me the newsletter of a local food rescue organization. “Scroll down to see someone we know!” she wrote, and sure enough, there was one of the youth who was in the Homeschoolers Queer Straight Alliance a couple of years ago. She is currently going to be participating in a fund raiser in her role as a winner of Chopped, Jr. I surprised myself by bursting into tears.

I loved being the adult advisor for that QSA. It was such a joy and so much fun that I often discounted the hard work I put in. But just because something comes easily for you doesn’t mean it’s not relevant and important.

This young queer won Chopped, Jr. when she was a member of the QSA, and she donated part of her winnings to the Trevor Project. Another project she started was to raise money for binders which she sent to trans youth in the south who weren’t able to purchase them on their own. She was an enthusiastic and hard working part of other efforts made by the QSA, too, cooking up a lot of goodies and helping decorate for the Drag Prom and queering our QSA table at Town Day. Her family was supportive of her identity, but in the QSA she was able to work with an adult queer (me) as well as other queer youth of all different identities in looking at the atmosphere in town, in the homeschooling community, and in the world, and figuring out what to do to promote education about queers and social justice in general. I helped make that possible.

My bumble bee beloved queer femme sisters, you, too, pollinate and effect change wherever you go. Whatever your gifts, whatever you do, when done in love, it matters. Hold yourself in love, hold your gifts in love. Today, honor your gifts. Today, remember something you’ve done far in the past or just last week that made a difference in someone’s life, or opened up positive possibilities that weren’t there before. Honor that moment. Those are the things that add up, those are the things that pull love into the world and help it grow. We need love to grow.

I am grateful for all that you do. It is an honor to be in your company.

Every Monday, I offer a Meditation for Queer Femmes in the spirit of my maternal grandmother, Mimi, who was fabulous, kind, and wise and from whom I inherited her Meditations for Women.

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”) As I recover from treatment for breast cancer, however, I’m just going to post whenever I can manage.

Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – Southerners On New Ground

I’ve been waking up early and taking my walk as the sun rises over the Boston skyline. In the past week or so, fliers have gone up all around the park, saying things like, “You’ve posted on social media, now what?” and “Wake up!!” One thing I’m doing, and you could do, too, is informing others about organizations that are at the forefront of the justice movement. I shared information about SONG with members of my mostly-white chorus after one member had expressed despair about knowing where to donate — a lot of times, folks just don’t know where to donate money and it helps when someone can recommend an organization they adore. I’m pretty sure I’ve featured SONG on a Wednesday in the past, but please take another look and do what you can to support their profound healing work.

Southerners On New Ground, you get one pingy-dingy! Thank you for everything, everything.

VISION:

SONG envisions a sustainable South that embodies the best of its freedom traditions and works towards the transformation of our economic, social, spiritual, and political relationships. We envision a multi-issue southern justice movement that unites us across class, age, race, ability, gender, immigration status, and sexuality; a movement in which LGBTQ people – poor and working class, immigrant, people of color, rural – take our rightful place as leaders shaping our region’s legacy and future. We are committed to restoring a way of being that recognizes our collective humanity and dependence on the Earth.

https://southernersonnewground.org/

I’m a typewriter whompin’, card catalogue lovin’ white girl from back in the day, and I yearn for a time before the covers of trade paperbacks were all squidgy, so you can imagine that I don’t actually understand what a pingback is. I do know that it can in some way be part of spreading the love, and since that’s what I’m all about at The Total Femme… every Wednesday, I pay homage to the laughter, love, and inspiration to be had elsewhere online.

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”) As I recover from treatment for breast cancer, however, I’m just going to post whenever I can manage.

 

Published in: on June 3, 2020 at 5:06 PM  Comments (2)  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes – Now, Not Now    

Living with mortality has never been easy for we humans; and it’s currently a hundred times weirder. It seems almost impossible to make decisions, large or small, everything seems to weighted. The word “coronertia” came to mind yesterday, making Tex and me laugh, since we often come to the end of the day and can’t remember what we did, let alone if we made any progress at all on any of the many projects we know we’d meant to get to. A couple weeks ago, I started writing everything down, just to prove to myself that I was indeed doing my work, bashing out a chore or two here and there and just generally going about life as best I could. My brain on pandemic is just as fritzy as can be.

Our friend who is a veterinary surgeon tells us that people who acquired puppies during quarantine are freaking out when she tells them the price of spaying or neutering. “But we’re out of work!” they protest, and she wonders why they didn’t think of that before getting a dog. I have sympathy for those folks, though, as impulsively as they may have acted. “Now,” they thought to themselves, “let’s finally go ahead and do it!”

Every day, every moment, we make decisions. We put off something we want, we force ourselves to do something we dislike but feel a responsibility towards, we wibble and wobble about other things. It’s hard enough at the best of times to sort through all of this – which things can wait, which things have come due and are calling our names so loudly our ears are ringing, which things have nothing to do with us and which things we can’t afford to ignore – but during a worldwide pandemic, I think our reasoning has taken a huge hit. “I don’t think I’ve ever busted my ass so hard in order to produce such mediocre work,” a zoom-weary friend complained recently.

You have heard it before, my stressed out and suffering queer femme sisters, but hear it from me today: be gentle with yourselves. If you can’t decide, put it down. If you pray, pray about it. If you don’t, perhaps the answer will come to you in a dream, or after you’ve taken a walk, or stood barefoot on the grass or sipped a cup of fragrant tea or finally allowed yourself to take a nap. Allow for the idea that whatever you’re fretting about, it may already be good enough, done enough, big enough, gorgeous enough, or that it might not look like what you expected but it’s robust and jolly and will get the job done.

When you ask yourselves, for the umpteenth time today, Now? Not now? open your hands and unclench; open your hearts and find that frequency, your own steady pulse, the low, sweet hum of connection to ancestors, family, the river of love that is the sisterhood of queer femmes, the delicious spring, the always possible. You are surrounded and held, by your own dear body, your community, your spirit, the great sweep of things of which you are one dazzling and resplendent spark.

I know you will move forward with grace.

 

Every Monday, I offer a Meditation for Queer Femmes, in the spirit of my maternal grandmother, Mimi, who was fabulous, and from whom I inherited her Meditations for Women.

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”) As recover from treatment for breast cancer, however, I’m just going to post whenever I can manage.

 

 

 

Published in: on May 25, 2020 at 5:04 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – Congratulations, Leah!!

Just learned that Leah Piepzna-Samarashinha won the 2020 Jeanne Córdova Prize!* Congratulations, Leah! Thank you for your generous, fierce, brilliant, queer disabled femme writing. The world is a better place for your presence and your work.

https://www.lambdaliterary.org/2020/05/5-questions-leah-lakshmi-piepzna-samarasinha/

* Lambda Literary’s Jeanne Córdova Prize for Lesbian/Queer Nonfiction, in memory of the beloved activist and author, honors lesbian/queer-identified women and trans/gender non-conforming nonfiction authors. The award will go to a writer committed to nonfiction work that captures the depth and complexity of lesbian/queer life, culture, and/or history. The winner of the prize will have published at least one book and show promise in continuing to produce groundbreaking and challenging work. The award was introduced in 2018 and includes a cash prize of $2,500.

I’m a typewriter whompin’, card catalogue lovin’ white girl from back in the day, and I yearn for a time before the covers of trade paperbacks were all squidgy, so you can imagine that I don’t actually understand what a pingback is. I do know that it can in some way be part of spreading the love, and since that’s what I’m all about at The Total Femme… every Wednesday, I pay homage to the laughter, love, and inspiration to be had elsewhere online.

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”) As I recover from treatment for breast cancer, however, I’m just going to post whenever I can manage.

 

Published in: on May 13, 2020 at 11:44 AM  Comments (2)  
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Meditations for Queer Femmes – Better

Our old dog has recently begun to prefer outings over walks. He and I go to a field or a park, and he sniffs around, eats a little grass, does some rolling, does his business, does some more rolling, and then just hangs out, enjoying being outside. It’s good for him, but kind of static for me, waiting there at the other end of the leash, so the other day, I got a fresh poop bag and started picking up trash. Lots of cigarette butts. That little bit of park looked a lot better after he and had been there that day.

It can be annoying to feel that you have to clean up someone else’s mess, and if I thought too hard about it, I could be pretty upset by my fellow humans who so cavalierly squish out their cigarettes in the nice grass of a public park, but not the other day. Doing a bit of tidying helped me out – the dog got a longer, more satisfying outing because I wasn’t bored and antsy – and it was even kind of meditative.

There are so many little ways we can make things better. It doesn’t have to be the grandest gesture or affect the most people or command the attention of the whole wide world or tire us out and work us to the bone. Sometimes all it takes to make a positive shift is to walk into the room smiling.

Scintillating and frabjous queer femme marvels, today take a moment to know that you have made a difference in the world. You have made a difference by being just exactly who you are with the ideas that you have and the abilities you express.

You have made things better.

Every Monday, I offer a Meditation for Queer Femmes, in the spirit of my maternal grandmother, Mimi, who was fabulous, and from whom I inherited her Meditations for Women.

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”) As recover from treatment for breast cancer, however, I’m just going to post whenever I can manage.

 

 

Published in: on May 11, 2020 at 4:42 PM  Leave a Comment  
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