I got some very amusing hate mail this week! Many folks out in the LGBT activism world are familiar with Sharon Kass. She regularly trolls advocates of equality with emails extolling ex-gay therapy and the ex-gay group NARTH. In fact, Truth Wins Out has been tracking her for some time, and she’s also had run-ins […]
It’s been a long time since I’ve written here at ZFb, because I find my role as LGBT Editor at ThinkProgress provides me the venue to say most of what I feel needs to be said. Today is an exception, as I feel the need to write a personal response to an attack I received […]
After past discussions of sexual fantasies and even an interview with a porn star, Zack and Peterson decided it was time to actually talk about porn. In particular, the conversation addresses two questions: what were folks’ first experience with porn and what role has porn played in folks’ lives? There is sharing all around, including […]
It’s Thanksgiving! Folks around the country will be sitting down to dinner today and will share what it is they’re thankful for. As I wrote last year and discussed on yesterday’s Queer and Queerer, Thanksgiving has an underlying assumption that God is responsible for those things. So today, rather than just thinking about WHAT you’re […]
I just wanted to put up a note wishing the best for my friend Pam Spaulding of Pam’s House Blend. Today she is undergoing a hysterectomy, which I hear is not a very fun experience. I’ve followed Pam for a very long time, but only met her for the first time this Summer. We were […]
When I was in high school, I once thought I was going to double major in psychology and Spanish and be a bilingual psychiatrist. But then, I considered that all my extracurriculars were music, so I should probably study music. I went to college for Music Education.
While a Music Ed major, all my extracurriculars were in student affairs. I went to grad school for Student Affairs.
While in grad school, I thought I had a good balance of music and student affairs, but I also ended up starting a blog.
And now, I will be taking a job in blogging.
This week, I’ve accepted an offer to join the team over at the Center for American Progress as an LGBT researcher and blogger (for Think Progress and The Wonk Room). I’m not sure what my posting regimen there will look like yet, but it’s safe to say that ZFb will not be getting nearly as much attention. More on that to come.
For now, at least, the fine folks I’ll be working with have indicated that this blog doesn’t have to go anywhere. I still may very well write here from time to time when I need to get something out that I can’t really write about over there. At the very least, Peterson and I are committed to maintaining Queer and Queerer on at least a semi-regular basis!
It never occurred to me that this little hobby of mine could turn into a career, and so I have to thank a few folks who made it possible.
First of all, Pete Berg needs to be thanked. He doesn’t do anything for me on a regular basis, but it’s thanks to his generosity that this blog (and its podcast) has a home on the interwebs. Thank you, Pete, for continuing to host ZFb!
Pam Spaulding and Bil Browning: The two of you have been incredible mentors and I truly appreciate all of your encouragement and support. I would not be taking this step forward if it weren’t for your promotion of my writing.
Michael Crawford/Freedom to Marry and Mike Rogers: Thanks to your financial support, I was able to attend Netroots Nation this year, which was surely a turning point for me. It was the first time I stood among other bloggers and felt like I was legitimate and doing something real, and the connections I made there were priceless. Thank you for helping me on this path!
My fabulous readers: Thank you for being here, supporting me, promoting my posts, and commenting!
Lots of exciting change to come and I’m not sure what it all will look like!!!
Well, another fabulous Creating Change conference has come to an end. I’m chilling in the Minneapolis airport—exhausted, emotionally drained, and completely satiated. This would be the kind of feeling a religious believer would probably describe as being well within their soul.
More about religion later this week.
Every year, I feel compelled to write something during this moment of limbo while I leave behind “homotopia” to return to a world of heterosexual privilege and queer social isolation.
After leaving Denver in 2009, I described the awesome and important new connections I made there. Last year, Dallas left me energized to take action by bringing the energy of of the conference home with me. This year, I feel compelled to just say a few words about family.
It’s not used as often these days, but folks still often use “family” to describe members of the queer community. “Are they family?” It’s a little code to recognize a connection between us all and how our lives in this society are different from the heterosexual and cisgender norms.
But despite its purpose as a codeword, it also carries an underlying depth with it. Creating Change really is a big family reunion in a lot of ways. It’s an ever-growing family, and it’s the perfect opportunity to welcome and engage with new members.
I’m sitting in the airport with a new friend I made as we wait for his flight to leave. He’s someone I didn’t know four days ago and someone I’m now very sad to say goodbye to, one of countless new and old connections from the weekend that fit that description. I can’t imagine not cherishing every last second I have to enjoy such wonderful company. And whether or not any of us keep in touch regularly (we will) or see each other again before CC12 in Baltimore, our lives are different because our paths have crossed.
And as we all depart from the land of lakes, we return to lives where we don’t have this family at our immediate disposal, but we are refreshed and energized. We are reminded that we’re not alone, that our struggles locally are not unique and that we have a family to fall back on.
Most days, being queer is just one small facet of our lives that really doesn’t define us. But some days, we remember that it is still a significant part of who we are, a slice of our identities that connects us to others in a unique way we cannot ever truly lose.
Those of us with the privilege of attending Creating Change have a responsibility to bring back that sense of family to our schools and communities. We’ve touched base with that sense of love, support, and dependence that is at the heart of our queerness, and we owe it to the others in our lives to help them feel the same.
I’m tired and very emotionally drained, so I’ll refrain from babbling much more at this point… but to all you folks out there: you are loved. We are all part of a family, and it’s a family who will always be there waiting when we need it.
Has it only been two years, or has it really been two years already?
I’m really proud of the way this little blog of mine has grown and matured (and I along with it). I’ll have mixed feelings when I look back on 2010, as it was the (hopefully only) full calendar year I spent unemployed. Still, it was a proud sophomore year for ZFb, so I thought I’d mark today’s blogiversary with some highlights and reflections from the past year.
Certainly, the year started off quite busy with the Prop 8 trial. I was entranced; by the second or third day, I felt compelled to provide some comprehensive coverage. After all, it was the passage of Prop 8 that in many ways spurred the creation of this blog. Plus, the kinds of discussions that were held in that courtroom a year ago were historically groundbreaking and deserved as much attention as they could get.
Knowing I had many non-LGBT readers from the atheism community, I wanted them to see how fundamental religion was to the debate. Highlighting all of the rhetoric coming from Protect Marriage was a “dirty job,” but I think it helped illustrate that those opposed to marriage equality were clearly motivated by animus, continuing to say hurtful (and untrue) things in a public forum even as the trial was underway. Judge Walker’s decision brilliantly reduced their rhetoric to the phony bigotry it truly is.
My passion for covering Prop 8 has since subsided a bit, but only because it’s not as content-heavy. Despite praise for some of my legal analysis, I am not a legal scholar (at least not at this point in my life). While I do think of myself as a journalist, I don’t feel compelled to write about everything that happens. My voice on the blog has certainly evolved, and I write now more because I want to, not just out of a need to process. I hold myself to a higher standard of what I think will be meaningful and interesting to readers.
Certainly, the content has evolved too. The introduction of the Queer and Queerer podcast has been most rewarding, as has my friendship with Peterson Toscano that has accompanied it. Despite being a delight to record, it also is a fresh venue and context for discussing the issues of the day. I look forward to it continuing, and hopefully more people join our discussions and find it a valuable and entertaining resource.
I’m also still really excited that there are now some additional contributors to the site! It’s a small start, but I think Andy Szekeres and Shannon Cuttle have brought some important voices to the blog. I don’t think enough can ever be said about the importance of creating safe schools for our young people, and Shannon doesn’t disappoint. Andy’s political savvy provides opportunities for us to think about issues in fresh ways. Every time they submit new posts, I am just delighted by their fresh perspectives and honored to host them here.
Content has been LGBT-heavy here the past year, but I don’t apologize for that. With the Prop 8 trial, growing frustration with Gay, Inc., GetEQUAL, my first foray to Netroots Nation with the LGBT caucus (thanks again to Freedom to Marry and all who voted), the spate of bullying-induced suicides, and the lead-up to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell “repeal,” it has been an important year for LGBT issues! Atheism is still an important part of this blog, and throughout the year, I’ve tried to get people within the LGBT community thinking about it (with contexts such as Creating Change, a Catholic preschool, atheists as allies, and the ex-gay movement). Next month, at Creating Change, I will also be hosting a caucus for LGBT nonbelievers to continue trying to create visibility for this “double” invisibility.
Higher education has been harder to focus on because I’ve become somewhat disconnected from it. Still, I was honored to have four pieces published in The Cronk of Higher Education. Once the job search gets me back on a campus, I’m sure I’ll be reoriented toward thinking about it more. Having stepped away from it, I’ve realized how insular it can be, and so my hope for the future is to better connect the happenings on university campuses to the “outside” world. It’s amazing how little we currently learn from our institutions of higher learning if we’re not physically there or actively seeking them out.
And so the 401 posts from 2010 get archived and year three begins. Who knows what will be in store? I am not sure, but I’m excited about it! 2010 ended with an important milestone: I earned my first $100 from the blog. It’s not a lot of money given that it took 15 months to accumulate, but it’s still extremely validating. There are at least a few people out there who find what I write here to be interesting and worthwhile. That alone is motivation to continue!
Thank you to all my readers and supporters who have made this little experiment into something profound and meaningful! I hope it’s a very happy new year!
(By the way, the traditional gift for a 2nd anniversary is cotton, and I love snarky/nerdy t-shirts. Just an FYI.)
Today is World AIDS Day. I worry that there are some out there who think HIV/AIDS is not still a big problem for our species or for the LGBT community, but it very much is.
Having my own scare once opened my eyes. I had had a low-risk sexual encounter with someone, and a few months later found out he had contracted HIV. Though he might not have even been positive at the time of our encounter and we did not exchange fluids, any doubt is enough. The worst was that I still had to wait a few more months myself before I could get tested. Though I didn’t have much reason to be worried, I still felt incredible dread that the course of my life had changed forever.
Thankfully, I had not contracted HIV. I did not become a statistic.
Nonetheless, I realized from that experience how easy it can still be to get it. I am not far removed—none of us are. And while HIV might be much more livable than it ever was, it is still a huge burden to the health and also financial well-being of the LGBT community and world at large.
Rather than prattle on here, I invite you to take a look at some of these other resources. Please explore them and let today be an important reminder that we have a long way to go in fighting back this virus.
I just wanted to put up a note wishing the best for my friend Pam Spaulding of Pam’s House Blend. Today she is undergoing a hysterectomy, which I hear is not a very fun experience.
I’ve followed Pam for a very long time, but only met her for the first time this Summer. We were very fast friends and had a lot of great conversation. She has also done a lot to create visibility for my writing by promoting my crossposts to her site, which I can’t thank her for enough.
And so while I won’t be praying for her, she is definitely in my thoughts today. This blogger community is smaller than you’d think, and I think it’s super important we all look out for each other, especially because we so rarely get to see each other. Stop by the Blend today and send some love. We hope for a very speedy recovery!!!