“What Being a Member of the GLBT Community Means to Me”
I’m a rule-breaker. Sort of. Actually, in my non-writing job, I’m more of a rule enforcer. Fasten your seat belt, turn off your phone — I’m a real stickler. Unless you’re cute, in which case I can usually be counted on to let most stuff slide. (Do fasten your seat belt, though, for Heaven’s sake; it’s summertime and the bumps get crazy. You won’t be so cute when the airplane floor and ceiling are finished with you.) The rules I sometimes break are more like Life Rules. You know, the ones They try so hard to enforce: like, you have to a. look a certain way or b. sleep with a certain gender or c. eat more broccoli. Um, a. no I don’t, b. ok, I do, but it’s not the one I’m supposed to, and c. gross.
To be a part of the Queer Community, you have to break a bunch of rules. If you didn’t disappoint your parents or gross out the (closet-case) jocks at your high school, you need to at least terrify a good many of the small-minded people you pass on the street. You want into the Queer Community, you’ve probably been designated as “other” by another, more traditional community before you even come looking for us. And the best part of the Queer Community? You’re gonna be different here, too. For all that we are discussed and legislated and marginalized as One Group by what we’ll call the Dominant Paradigm (because it’s pretentious and fun!), we are (ironically?) a community that stretches the term “heterogenous” to its limits. Not only are we everywhere, but we are everyone. We are old, we are young; we are fat, we are fit; we are macho men and glittery girls, glittery femme boys and macho butch women; we are one of the few communities that pulls members from every corner of the world. Every race, every culture, every social strata produces queers, and I love it. Cast out from — or choosing to reject — more insular communities, we continue to meet challenges within this one. I am perfectly at home in the queer community, but not always comfortable; my worldview is in constant upheaval: Being Queer can look like that? Can act like that? Can have an ass like that? On the surface, I might have little in common with, say, a transgender Latina lesbian, but it is precisely our differences that link us to this large, loud community, and it is in the mind-bending diversity of All That Is Queer that I find the freedom to be Exactly Me. Whoever that is.
A (generous and thoughtful) review of my novel Kiss Me, Straight on Amazon remarks that the book “is about the beautiful thing that occurs when we have community in our lives,” and finding a sense of Home in a changing world is a big part of my forthcoming novella Crazy Like Fox. While many of our ill-wishers would use the threat of separation and isolation to keep questioning Queers toeing the Society line, it is my mission not just as a writer but as a big fat queer in general to inspire people to follow their heart wherever it might take them without fear. A “community” that wouldn’t want you doesn’t deserve you, but this community will shove over and make room for you. We won’t make you turn off your phone, but you might wanna buckle up — the ride gets kinda wild.
(For the Queer Town Abbey Grand Prize Giveaway: My worldview is in constant what?)
Thanks for hopping by! A lucky commenter (who includes his or her email address) will be chosen at random on July 8th to win a signed copy of my debut novel, Kiss Me, Straight, a JMS Books release. And don’t forget to click here to keep hopping!