We are born to it. It doesn’t begin as a movement, as a march to equal rights. For most of us it begins as children, but it can begin later in life too. It is a knowing within one’s self. Sometimes that knowing takes time to develop in a world that wants to deny our existence. Sometimes that knowing is a raging flower within that knows only bloombloombloom no matter the climate! Often it is just a knowing, and as kids it is often a knowing not fully verbalized, contextualized or understood. It is a raw knowing. A beginning knowing. A queerness growing.
Because we are born to it and because lgbtqia2s is inherently diverse and inclusive, it is not something that can be controlled, not from the inside and not from the outside. And by controlled, I mean eliminated. No matter the effort, no matter the tool or system. Like nature herself, we are eternal. Queer eternal. In fact, we are the uncommon, common thread that holds all cultures, all continents, all people together. Our queer stories are somewhere everywhere in each and every culture and ultimately cannot be denied. Not even by ourselves.
But to be queer in the Americas these last 500 years is to be denied. With the arrival of more and more Eurocentric influence a once valued and respected position of birth has been reviled, punished, demonized, pathologized and still regularly murdered in large numbers. Even the part that is the past is not in the past. The whole of our history weighs upon us, especially those of us indigenous to the Americas. Somewhere in our bones, in our blood, in the dirt we walk on, even the winds that touch our cheek, we remember not so long ago when it wasn’t like this. When we were centered. When we were consulted. When we were a natural part of all that is. When we were valued because we could see differently.
In attempts to diminish so much natural power fear has been used against us. Real fear. Death fear. Pain fear. Shame fear. Long time historical institutional systemic societal fear. As the days after the horrific Orlando shooting unfold I am witnessing the intricate map of fear that has been laid into us as queers and queers of color and ties us together in story and history. I have begun to understand that most nonqueer people don’t know what we live with in the day to day. Not something in the past, not as children, not when we were young (although that is there too). But now, today, on the train, in line at the market, with our families of origin, on the job, at school, online, at interviews, in movies, even children’s movies, nearly all the time, everywhere, sometimes even at home, there is the possibility of the homo/transphobic hit.
I find past hits lining up in my imagination as I remember my friend being followed off the bus and pistol whipped because he was gay, the windows broken out of my friends’ car because they were queer and had a queer positive political sign on their lawn, my partner lying to his friends as a child because he was afraid his father and partner could be killed if they were outed while visiting him in TN, the Christmas my girlfriend’s uncle stayed at a motel because he couldn’t bear to sleep in the same house as us homos, the restaurant that refused to serve me and my girlfriend because we were visibly queer, the people who riddled my property with bullets because we were ‘3 women living alone’ aka’ countrydykes’, my sweet grandma who told me I was going to burn in hell for eternity because I was a lesbian, my mother who disowned me when I came out and my father and brother who stood by her…there’s more. There’s so much more. There’s 500 years and millions of people more. My stories are my own, but they are familiar to all of us.
I’ve been seeing posts online about love and hate, about anger and courage, about not living in fear. But the truth is I am hearing fear around me. I am seeing the traces of fear in the voices of my friends and their posts online. I can hear it in their body stories and see it in my own body. Stomachaches and nausea, racing heart, body aches, short tempers, shaky hands, floaty feeling, crying, distracted, sleeplessness. Our stories and history aligning. Our bodies speaking what we cannot always find words for, but cannot be denied.
So this. Here. I want to acknowledge the fear that has been lit up along the inner lines that weave through both our personal and shared stories and through the colonized history of queers in the Americas.
Yes, we will dance. Yes, we will dress fabulously and we WILL be courageous. We WILL choose love. We will because we are who we are. Queer eternal. Dancing is prayer, flaming is survival. We are fierce flowers blooming through the stormy night. We will march and agitate. We WILL speak OUT! Yes.
But right now? I can barely talk, barely take action. My mouth is heavy. My heart lost. My hips wandering. Even my legs ache.
Must step into the present moment fully and pause, take time to speak with Lavender and Sage growing in the San Francisco sun beside me. Must attend to the fear that has been persistently placed in my hands, in your hands–not just for the years of our own lives, not just from the Orlando massacre, but for 500 years of oppression and violence against indigenous queers of the Americas. Our hearts, our bodies carry it. With every homo/transphobic hit we hear Colombus’ footfall on our land, on our bodies, on our spirits, on a way of life that valued our BEing. We must pause to feel our full history so that we can remember with clarity who we really are. So that we can mend the relationship between humans and all of nature. So that we can belong to mamiearth again.
I wrote ‘how to live with fear, love and awareness’ in my journal the day after the Orlando massacre, not because I accept the fear that has been placed in our hands, but because I want to know it so fully, face it so freely, eat, digest and transform it so completely that we naturally rise again as the whole, sacred Beings we are. We are built to heal. Fear is a doorway to the truth. Fear is a midwife to our real self. It is not a wall. I embrace the fear and I hold precious the path I was born walking. My rightness cannot be used against me. It is my power. I need not fear their fear but learn to feel and let it pass through me. I am the dance. I am divine. The artistcreator of all that I see. I am rainbow butterfly unicorn serpent spinning reality. I am the truth of nature. My BEing came here now to proclaim this truth through my very BEing.
But to begin with I must BE. I must say it. I must see it. I must pause long enough to listen to my body and understand, I am afraid. There is fear in my body. This makes sense. I will not turn away from it. Posture that I am brave and not impacted. I will embrace and know the fear they placed in my hands. I will know it so well that they can no longer use it against me or any of my people. ALL OF ME will be free. But I must feel all of this moment. The grief, the fear and when appropriate the anger, the courage, in continued preparation for the long dance.
Saturday I dedicate my Peace Practice webinar to Orlando and QOC. We will talk about how to practically support fear moving through our bodies, touch internalized homo/transphobia, remember indigenous/nature based frameworks of human sexuality and gender and how we can inform the revolution with our very BEing and flow of feeling. We will honor those who died dancing and we will BE QUEER ETERNAL together.
I love you familia. I love everything about you.
Nonqueers are welcome to support, heal, grow and learn through an affirming queerofcolorcentric framework. All love is welcome. xomaya