Today was…well…not great.
After a very sleepless night, I woke up and headed into London. On the train ride in, I read The Guardian, which had four pages dedicated to the Orlando shooting. The paper, despite being left-leaning, still participated in the kind of homonationalism that we all knew would rear its ugly, jingoistic head, and although there were some good bits of the reporting—including some bits that pushed back against Islamophobia and xenophobic rhetoric—I still couldn’t quite shake the desire to just break down and cry.
When I got to London, my friend headed off to a work meeting—the reason we had traveled in—and I just walked. I went down to the River Thames and kept walking and walking. Along the way, all of the newspapers from around the world had the same story on the front page. Although I couldn’t read many of them, there was one word that stuck out to me: Orlando. It’s a good thing it was raining most of the day, because I couldn’t stop from crying.
I walked all along the South Embankment of the River Thames, and despite my trying to giggle about walking along The Queen’s Walk, I couldn’t shake the utter sorrow I felt. This atrocity is both mine and not mine. This happened to my communities, and I also recognize that, by virtue of my White, enabled, and middle-class privileges, this didn’t happen to my communities. I am half out and half in, and so while I am not attempting to take on all of this as my tragedy, it also is very much ours as a queer community.
I began thinking that I should be taking pictures to share with friends, but then realized I didn’t really feel like taking pictures. I just felt like walking. I wanted to put pain into my legs so that I could take the pain out of my heart. This is often a strategy I have used in the past by cycling, but without a bike, I was left with my legs, so I put them to use.
I also began thinking about what I wanted from my life. I don’t feel like making large-scale demands right now. I have tried that before, and I feel like it has led to little effect. First off, cis and/or heterosexual folks need to talk to each other to figure their shit out. I can’t with the feelings, the private apologies, and the suggestions that their silence is about “them hurting, too.” I know this is slightly problematic, and I know this may be (mis)read as separatist or whatever, but I just need to disconnect myself from cis and heterosexual folks who aren’t interested in me beyond my ability to be their token. I am not here for that.
And I don’t want to make demands of my QT* kin because quite frankly, we need to be and feel whatever we need to be and feel right now. This is fucked up. And it’s not fucked up because it’s the “biggest in modern history,” it’s just fucked up. Full stop. Period. End of story. And I just feel the need to feel.
And this got me thinking…what do I need more of in my life? What do I want and need and desire for my life? What would be helpful for me at this particular moment in time? Below is an impartial list, but perhaps it will resonate with you. I offer this to you in lieu of pictures from my walk along the River Thames in hopes that, perhaps, we can move along together in giving each other what we need, desire, and want to help make our lives full, vibrant, and full of queer love.
So these are some things I desire…an incomplete list, for sure, but a start. Because this is how I can wrench myself out of the complicity and complacency that often grabs hold of me/that I sink into over time. And through these desires, I can picture different, liberatory, and communal futures. So maybe that’s all the picture I needed from today.
Let’s desire together.
This blog is a space where I share my thoughts on trans*-related issues. I also will share my own research as it develops, including papers, presentations, and the development of my dissertation study with trans* college students.