Queer Love in Trump’s America

Before I delve too deep into this, I want to get something off of my chest. To quote Game of Thrones (because I’m a giant nerd), when it comes to being queer, I have been a sweet child of summer. My gay awaking didn’t happen until after Obama was elected. I didn’t have to suffer or face discrimination in the high school George W. Bush years. For the most part I’ve had it fairly easy. I was coming into my queer identity as Prop 8 was passed, but Marriage Equality had become a mainstream topic. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was repealed, hospital visitation rights were slowly being recognized. It felt like I was living in a Queer Renaissance. It wasn’t sunshine and rainbows the whole time, but it mostly felt almost mainstream to be queer in America.

And then in November, my rose color sunglasses were ripped off my face. In the back of my mind I knew that the gay utopia I was imagining was a farce, but it was still jarring having it ripped away so suddenly and violently. Since the election, so many women (shout out to Twitter) have taught me the lesson of how our existence is resistance. Existing in a world is powerful when people in power would rather see my destruction than my survival.

My fiance and I have always said ‘I love you’ to each other everyday, but after the election it’s felt different. That the words have absorbed extra power within it’s syllables. Every time I utter those three words to her it feels like I’m simultaneously shoving a middle finger in the air at everyone who dares to question and rally against our existence.  

I will rage back at them with all of my fury.

I can exist, I can love my fiance, and I can be unabashedly queer. Sometimes that means wearing my rainbow scarf, or hanging my pride pins up at my office. As a reminder that I’m here and I’m queer. Obviously there are other things to be done besides existing and loving each other. There are going to be many battles to fight. But when I’m worn out and over ridden by all of the things going wrong, I know that there is at least one thing I can do that day that makes a difference.


Love is a powerful tool. Saying I love you is an act of rebellion.


Stop Killing Fictional Queer Women

Dear Straight Writers,

The title really says it all. Stop. Killing. Female. Queers. In. Your. Stories. It’s lazy and overdone. Women who are attracted to women are extremely tired of seeing the death trope in books, TV shows, and movies. You aren’t allowed to be hailed as “groundbreaking” when you included a lesbian couple to only string people along – only for it to end in death. Killing a queer character isn’t shocking or edgy. It’s boring, contrite, and damaging.

‘The 100’ became a show in which my girlfriend and I became extremely excited to watch. It felt like it was too good to be true- a well thought out sci-fi/ dystopic story where two ladies are in love with each other. The show actually explores the relationship in a deep and meaningful way, and neither character is persecuted for their sexuality. It was fantastic. It was beautiful. It was downright amazing. We finally felt like were getting a taste of what straight people experience on a regular basis: two people in love with each other without judgment or persecution.

Then… this past Thursday’s episode aired. It felt like someone had dangled happiness, hope, and equality in front of our faces for a couple of years… pushing us to support the show and keep the ratings up, just to have it so lazily stripped away. Clark and Lexa were finally able to be together at least for a shot while – then Lexa is killed. Not in a badass warrior way, in a dumb manner that made it obvious that no one on the show thought that there was another way to write out, or temporarily write out, a lesbian character.

It’s irresponsible to create a world where queer girls and women feel like they can dive into happiness and hope, and then crush us inside of it. We don’t get happy stories. I can count on one hand long lasting, positive TV representation in the last few years; two of these shows are cartoons. We rely on positive narratives to validate our identities in a world that usually refuses to see us. It’s awful that we have to hunt for quality, positive material to consume.

I really don’t know what I think is worse – the void where quality lesbian content should reside, or the cesspool where ‘ground-breaking’ writers throw another edgy story about lesbians dying? Do you realize how this narrative is so abhorrently toxic? Queer girls and women have had to grow up watching and reading  people tell us that our kind of love and our kind of story isn’t worth putting thought into. And if some thought has been put into it,they tell us that our identity will almost certainly lead to heartache and/or death.  It’s not that these stories exist, many heart wrenching heterosexual stories get the same treatement. But they also get the thrillers and mysteries, cut romantic comedies, stories where they are accepted and no one questions who they are, what they do, or who they love. If you are having trouble thinking of creative things your lesbian characters can do besides die, check out this article on Autostraddle. It gives you many jumping off points. If people are saying that Ryan Murphy’s representation of lesbians is better than yours I hate to tell you that you are doing something wrong.

I’m simultaneously tired and enraged. The moment people start patting your back for inclusion and equality is the moment you have a responsibility to the queer fandom it supports. You could argue that this isn’t fair. One show has to bear the burden to fairly represent queer ladies without the death trope? In a perfect world where I can ride around on a unicorn there would be plenty of positive queer content for me to choose from. So if a gay lady dies in one show it wouldn’t be soul-crushing. Unfortunately for all of us we don’t to get to live in this world. We live in a world where straight people get to dictate how I’m represented if I’m represented at all.

Straight writers, if you are unable to think outside the lesbian death-trope box, just stop writing about us. You are doing more harm than good. Please take the time to understand that our stories our more than tragic endings. Please give us the chance to be seen for who we are and what we are made of. If you aren’t willing to do that, kindly step aside and let queer writers express themselves in a way that reflects our many multifaceted and diverse narratives. Let us tell stories in which no one is persecuted, killed, or tragically dies of cancer.

We are more that your lazy and short-sighted narratives. It’s time to step out of the heteronormative box and let us tell the stories ourselves.

You’re Not Welcome Here

I’ve been trying to write this post for the better part of the month, but every time I tried I felt like I was being over sensitive and mean. I’m always grateful for the help that our allies have given in the fight for marriage equality and equal rights. But, when straight people start to complain about not being welcome in queer spaces, I wish that they would all go away.

Let me back up a bit. A month ago I was at a party hosted by a former professor and her wife. A lot of former students go, and not coincidentally these students are mostly part of the LGBT community. Naturally all of us migrated toward each other and hung out on the porch.

Afterwards, a straight colleague of mine mentioned that one of the lesbians in the circle joked that her and her new husband weren’t welcome in the group. She was very offended by this, and I really didn’t know how to respond so I kind of shrugged it off and said she was probably kidding. Which she most likely was, but my colleague was having none of my reasoning.

I just didn’t feel bad for her at all. She was jokingly ‘kicked out’ of a space full of queers, when the LGBT community is regularly pushed out of homes, jobs, and businesses. Not being welcome in places and getting pushed out of heterosexual spaces is a common event for queer people.

Also, the LGBT community needs queer only spaces. “Straight only” spaces are everywhere. You can see it walking down the street with a couple holding hands, or at a restaurant exchanging kisses. I don’t get to feel comfortable in public showing any signs of affection toward my girlfriend.  I don’t get the privilege of people assuming that my girlfriend and I are a couple. I don’t know when it’s safe to introduce my girlfriend as my girlfriend, but she has the opportunity to introduce people to her husband all of the time.

So, I honestly don’t care if straight people don’t feel welcome in queer spaces. Because they shouldn’t have to, and I don’t want them too. This is where I start feeling like an asshole. I preach inclusion but at the same time want to kick people out. But in reality straight people don’t need to be included in queer specific spaces, they’re included everywhere else. It’s like asking why there isn’t a straight pride parade. There are straight pride parades every day, just look around you. Straight people get to live open without assumptions or fear because of their sexuality.

Like I said, I’m grateful for the true allies that continue to fight for equal rights for the LGBT community. But that doesn’t give you a free pass into queer spaces, and you don’t get to complain when you aren’t welcome.

Queer, Online, and Safe

Online spaces have fascinated me for a long time. Humans using technology to create a virtual space to interact with each other in a way that wouldn’t be possible without the internet.

There are many people who argue that the increased usage of the internet and technology is killing imagination, innovation, and social interaction.

I would like to call bullshit on this notion.

The idea of the internet itself exhibits imagination. We can’t touch, smell, or hold the internet, but yet creativity flourishes through vines, Youtube, and fan-art. We can collaborate with people half-way around the world. Innovation is happening every day, through new apps, fan-fiction, online fund-raising campaigns, and so much more.

I really want to focus on the social interaction aspect of technology and the internet.

I’m extremely tired of people saying that Millenials are depriving themselves of social interaction because we are all attached to our computers and smart phones. What people are ignoring is that some virtual spaces are in fact healthier and richer than any physical space that a person can access.

I went to Catholic school, and obviously conversations about sex and sexual health didn’t exist. There wasn’t a space to explore, learn, and ask questions. And then I found the internet. Obviously there is some terrible and false information that exists online, but it was no more false and terrible than the information I was receiving in ‘the real world’. I was able to search and explore at my own pace. There were sights that gave advice to teenage girls, run by women. It was like Seventeen magazine, only it solely focused on what the community and users wanted to talk about.

When I came out to myself at college, I was in a more supportive and open environment, but I really didn’t know that many LGBT people, especially women who I felt comfortable talking to about my queerness. What it meant to be queer, relationship advice, and sexual and general health. The internet had spaces like Autostraddle and Tumblr where I could once again explore how I could shape my queer identity, learn about myself, and learn about LGBT history that I never had access to before.

I was luckily enough to grow up in a fairly supportive environment, and I still needed those virtual spaces. Think of the 13 year old in the rural south who is figuring out she’s a lesbian and doesn’t know any out LGBT individuals. Would she be better off without the internet, living in the ‘real world’ where she has no access to a support network and community?

People are creating in ways they never could before in all of human history. People are sharing their stories and experiences that never had a voice before. Connections are being made worldwide, which are expanding worldviews and spreading information and ideas.

There are obviously downsides to the internet, but there are downsides to every new innovation. It is important to be critical of new technology and how it is being used. That being said, criticizing a medium should not involve completely ignoring all of the good it creates.

Online spaces are crucial for us to expand and grow. Without them, finding like-minded people and people who challenge us might difficult to impossible to find. And that can be a lonely existence. The connection formed online can be some of the most important ones we make. No one has the right to say that interacting with people in your town is more real that a  heart-felt conversation with a friend who lives hundreds of miles away.

The internet lets us shape and create a world that is not defined by physical boundaries, that lets us explore new ideas and talk with people that we never had access to before.

It’s human, and it’s beautiful.

The Queer Identity and International Aid Work

When I voiced my concern to a colleague about being gay and traveling abroad, I was basically told I shouldn’t make everything about my sexuality. I really struggled with this… was I applying my international work and travel through an unnecessary queer lens?

Luckily one of my mentors in all things LGBT ( and one of the loveliest woman I know, hands down) guided me to the crux of the issue- it wasn’t about applying my lesbian-ness all over the place; the true issue is that I am afraid of stripping my identity in order to be successful at my job and in my long term career.

When I think about identity, my head honestly starts to spin. I only came out 5 years ago. My queer circle hasn’t expanded much in those years, the large majority of my friends are heterosexual. Do I “act” and “look” more gay than 5 years ago? Probably. Some ‘friends’ have given me crap for it, but I see nothing wrong with buying into different identities and changing how you want to present your identity. If I never changed, I’d still be wearing Hot Topic shirts and thinking that Dashboard Confessional got their lyrics from my diary.


People change, identities change. I really hope that I’m not the same kind of gay 10 years from now. Everyone grows, everyone evolves (cue Pokemon reference..?)

My identity never comes into question in my domestic work, and luckily hasn’t caused conflict or disturbance internationally. I know everyone has their “work” self, their “family” self, etc. But straight people get to be straight in all of these scenarios if they choose to.

I don’t want to tattoo ‘Lesbian’ on my forehead , but at the same time, I don’t want to worry about if my hair looks too gay, if I shouldn’t wear plaid of my marriage equality ring. Or purposely not talk about my amazing girlfriend.

I am a gay woman. Yes I have other identities, but this one is pretty central to who I am. Because I want it be, and at least for now, that works.