What does queer conversation look like?
Many of us once yearned for firm answers to our questioning, but now find community coming alive in our shared curiosity for the unknown. By virtue of its nature, queerness introduces nuance into everyday choices, experiences, postures and relationships. The mundane becomes magical in the hands and hearts of queer creatives who challenge every tradition and convention. We want to know: Why? We are no longer subordinate to simple explanations. We are explorers of our own experiences. This is a noble of expedition: an anti-colonial rendition of cultural anthropology. Who are we?
We love that question as fervently as we hate it. Wouldn’t you like to know? We’d like to show you if you ask in earnest. We can rarely give a finite answer, and when we do -- don’t hold us to it. All we know for certain is that these things change. If our identities are not mutable, then the words we use certainly are. We are constantly adapting to new knowledge and new experiences. If we aren’t changed by our encounters, what’s the point? Our language for identity is always adapting to new circumstances, information, cultural shifts, and our own desires.
Questions are connections. The inflection at the end of a sentence invites a sort of dance: I’m not telling you how it is. I’m wondering how things are for you. Are you like me? Does your difference have something to teach me? Could we be at once similar and different? Question marks denote respect. They are a testament to the strength of this queer movement: in our questions, we become curious and considerate. Questions allow us to cede the floor to others’ voices and to learn about things dear to them. This creates opportunities for powerful vulnerability. To authentically talk through the possible responses, to brainstorm aloud -- these things are profound. It is by asking questions and listening genuinely to other’s responses that we come together in care for one another.
This queer movement is actively creating new meanings and challenging those that don’t serve us. We celebrate uncertainty by mixing it up, throwing out old rules, and declining to create any stable new order. No matter how many times people outside of our communities demand that we settle into easy definitions, we will defy that outdated logic. We find our unity through inclusivity and liminality. We welcome everyone’s experiences and stand for the beauty of diversity.
How can we create meaningful, inclusive, deep, and authentic community? The most memorable conversations are never simply Q&A, a verbal volleyball. They’re Q&Q&Q&..., cycling into progressively deeper and deeper meaning. Not: “What do you do?,” summoning a quick, ineffective, and arguably classist answer. Rather, a cascade of reflexive inquiry: What makes you who you are? How do you spend your days? What are you looking forward to? Who are you proud of? What does that mean?
Of course, not every question can be followed by more open-ended questions. Some interactions are more functional than relational. Sometimes there’s not enough time. Some people aren’t amenable to that kind of conversation. Some people aren’t teachable. But when it’s possible, can we ask more?
While it is important to recognize the limitations of endless inquiry, queer identity remains an open invitation to play in that space whenever possible. This blog and these conversations aren’t about expertise or authoritarian declarations of Truth. We’ve started the conversation because we’re interested in asking about your truth.
We want to understand you & ourselves better, to engage in the kinds of relationships built by questions. What can we learn from each other? Can we support each other’s investigations? Who do you want to be?
-- Ree Bradley
“There is no 'the truth', 'a truth' - truth is not one thing, or even a system. It is an increasing complexity. the pattern of the carpet is a surface. When we look closely, or when we become weavers, we learn of the tiny multiple threads unseen in the overall pattern, the knots on the underside of the carpet” -- Adrienne Rich
A friend told me a few weeks ago that queer life is magic: that we are grounded in experiences -- grief, love, brokenness -- that lends us a special, intangible kind of insight. This language rings so true. I feel such safety and home in queer magic.
In the wake of the Pulse Shooting and our overpoliced Pride and the tragedies that just keep coming and coming, I've felt a new reaction rise in me. The experience of my beloved queer family has hung heavy in the air this season: anger, grief, fear, bitterness, confusion, sadness. We have come together because we’ve needed to, but it's been beautiful to see us how each other so gently. Maybe it's just because I don't know how to carry so much weight, but it has all metabolized as joy.
Joy that we who remain are alive and together. Love for the people we are and the life we share, for laughter and learning and togetherness.
This posture does not let me sit on my ass, to let this sapling whither away in the Seattle Freeze. It gives me energy to fight. I cannot tolerate that we would have nothing to share but our grief. I want places to share big, good, living things. Ordinary things, extraordinary things. Places to have good conversations. Places to share our magic. And I want to do it now.
We’re starting this blog for the same reason this organization exists: to hear each other’s voices, to explore gender as it's lived in context. To hold each other as gently as we do in grief, to speak wisdom and insight to each other.
Carefully. Passionately. With love and joy that we are alive and have the privilege to be together. This is how we go past survival. How we thrive.
Dearest friends: we want to hear your voices. If for any reason you want to be here, you are welcome -- don't worry about not being queer enough, or being too different. Voices of color, tranfemme voices: we especially want to hear you! These are big ideas that swallow all of our lives: personality, love, friendship, the intersections of all our identities. We want to keep contributions thought-provoking and well thought out, but the ideas we’re exploring apply to everyone.
Blogs of any topic can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org at any time, but months will have different topics for our collective consideration. They will range broadly, from family and relationships to nationality and race to employment and healthcare and poetry and literature. What are our traditions? How do we interact with different parts of our being? What are our dreams for the future?
Your full person is invited. Your full experience is cherished. We are excited to have you here.
Founder & Director
Adriaan Dippenaar likes to say that they're a girl that grew up to be a man -- or at least the kind of man who is also a girl. Family stability advocate & nonprofit worker by day, choral singer + songwriter by night. Occasional nerd of radical theology, proudly South African, one-time biology major. They'd love to know what you've been thinking lately.