Friday, June 25, 2004

Regina D

Her father sexually abused her relentlessly.
He referred to queer people as "those goddamn faggots!"
He cursed her for being lesbian.
He died in bitterness and alcoholism.
Regina never liked him.

But Regina's mother sat her down this past November to set the story straight.
"Regina, when you told me you were a lesbian, you may have wondered how I took it all so well," her mother began then dropped the bomb.
"Your father liked men."
Seems all his homophobia was aimed right at himself as part of his own self-loathing.
He never hated Regina because she was lesbian; he hated himself.

In spite of the mess she was given, Regina speaks of hope and healing and love.

Regina: "If we are not real, it will kill us and we will take other people with us."

Regina: "I want to expand the meaning of the phrase, 'My People.'"

Regina wants to include more than just other African-American Lesbian Women in her group. She seeks to embrace among "her people" all queer folks, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Disabled, more and more, a wider coalition of humanity that she calls kin. "Everywhere I look, I need to see my people."

Thursday, June 17, 2004



We want so much to be OKAY,
but part of being human beings is being desperately


Part of being human is emptiness is confusion
Part of being human feels disconnected.

Being human in the modern world,
We want to be fixed,
To be whole,
To spackle over the flaws and gashes,
To facelift it,
tuck it,
liposuck it.

but we war not against flesh and blood

We have to live with it.
Although it feels like stacks of jagged bricks
Cascading on my head, pummeling my body,
Bloodying me…it will pass.

The pain will
will dull.

These shadows have become part of what makes me

Some wounds do not heal
Or if they do,
they leave behind their
Beauty Marks,
gnarling our souls,
making us human to each other

The Gay Blessing

The Bible speaks of a blessing or a curse that can be passed down from one or both parents. Parents have the power to bestow a blessing on their children. Many give this blessing passively through their example and personal success. The good things they have they share with their children. Most powerfully, they speak words of affirmation to a child; these words give life. Similarly parents possess the power to invoke a curse that mars the life-path of a child, not always permanently, but the curse leaves the way cluttered with doubt and low self-esteem suffered by the cursed child.

I've seen this so clearly in the queer community. Many folks who become well adjusted in their sexuality and personality received the blessing from their parents. Even if there was an initial difficulty on the part of the parents to accept a gay, lesbian, transgendered child, once folks come on board and embrace their child, queerness and all, it results in blessing, confidence, health. Similarly, those folks I know who were rejected and even verbally cursed by their parents have had to struggle to accept and assert themselves.

The interesting result to the too often lack of blessing by parents/guardians in the queer community is the rise of surrogate parents. We see it so clearly in the drag community when a drag queen takes an aspiring queen under her wing and teaches her in the "drag arts". The drag mother offers gifts, affirmation, sharing of secrets (how do you make bouncy boobs stay in?) celebration and support. One of the great roles we have in the queer community is to become surrogate parents to each other. Older members of our community can bless the younger, speak words of affirmation, belief and love.

I ultimately received my parents' blessing regarding my queerness. But I have also benefited from the blessings of my "Auntie" Doyle, a courageous, charming, Southern belle of gay man I knew when I lived in Memphis. Doyle comforted me when I was confused and depressed, guided me when I did not know how to deal with all my boy troubles and spoke words of belief into my life. He would say to me, "Peterson, you are a diamond, a sparkling, beautiful diamond. Never forget that even a diamond sitting on top of a pile of shit is still a diamond!"

In our community, the queer community, we have the priviledge to bless one another, to undo curses that misguided and narrow parents may have heaped upon their children. We have the power to love each other back to life and give the blessing.