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Home: The Toast

BROOK SHELLEY: welcome, folks!

FRANCES LEE: hi, made it in!

MALLORY: hi everybody!

BROOK: maybe we should have a little intro section, since I don’t think everyone knows each other. I’m Brook – I am 31, and a white trans lesbian. I live in Portland, OR with my cat Snorri. I work in tech, and write for a few places, and am on the board at a queer rights group. I’ve been out for a while.

FRANCES: Hello. I’m Frances. I’m 30, live in Seattle, work in the tech industry (for now), Chinese American, ID as non-binary queer. I’ve been out for two years, try my best to keep up with the current (Western/internet) dialogue on queer and trans stuff, and am applying to a cultural studies masters program next fall where I hope to dive deeper into these experiences and others’ research. I really dislike having a FT job and wish I could just write, take photos, shoot video, make pottery, do woodworking, make books, dance, and try out all the hobbies.

MALLORY: I am Mallory! I run The Toast with my best friend Nicole Cliffe and am also the instigator of this chat. I’m a white cis queer lady with a very old dog. His name is Murphy. I was just on a train!! These are the only important things about me, pretty much.

GABBY BELLOT: Hi, everyone! I’m Gabrielle Bellot – I often go by Gabby. I’m a binary bi transwoman from the Commonwealth of Dominica. 28. Multiracial, to the extent that I often get confused for someone from places I may visit – I’ve been mislabelled as Puerto Rican, a Brazilian, and even as an Arab, though people in the US often seem to think I’m black or ‘Hispanic,’ that catch-all term I so dislike. I just say I’m very mixed. And I’m a writer – fiction and nonfiction and some criticism. Right now, I teach undergrads at FSU, where I’m trying to finish a PhD in fiction. I’ve been out for just over a year. Coming out meant that I couldn’t return to my home in Dominica as I used to, since it’s not the most LGBTQ-inclusive world, and so coming out has been for me as much about place as it is personhood.

MEY VALDIVIA RUDE: Hi! I’m mey, I’m a 29 year old half-white Latina (my dad is white and my mom is Mexican) binary trans woman and lesbian. I’ve been out since 2012. I’m the trans editor at Autostraddle, where I also write a lot about comics, dinosaurs, witchcraft, TV shows and queer representation in all-ages media. I live in Idaho, but I also spend a lot of time in Los Angeles. I have a pet cat and epilepsy and a new therapist.

MALLORY: ALSO
GUYS
STEVEN UNIVERSE THIS WEEK

BROOK: YES Steven UNIVERSE
I’m only 2 in so far though – I need to watch the other 3

BROOK: Mey, come visit Portland
it is your neighbor

MEY: I went to Portland once when I was 18 and I was a professional disc golfer and I participated in the Beaver State Fling, which is a big disc golf tournament

BROOK: ah, cool

MALLORY: PROFESSIONAL DISC GOLFER???
okay this chat is now about professional disc golfing

BROOK: I used to disc golf in Austin – get really stoned and wander around the rad parks there

MALLORY: omg
you are my two favorites right now

MEY: I was a ranked member of the PDGA for about three years

BROOK: damn

MALLORY: Dykes Who Disc Golf To Watch Out For

MEY: but like, really low ranked

GABBY: I agree with Mallory–this must be written about immediately

BROOK: i like the idea that disc golf is another one of those ​*wink*​ wink “trans women like this” things
like trains. and having a pilot’s license. and working in IT

MALLORY: ;aslkdfja;skldjfa;lskdjf

MEY: also comic books are big with us

BROOK: yea, true

MEY: a couple months ago, I went into my local comic shop in Pocatello and there were more trans women than all other people
Pocatello is getting better, for years we couldn’t get a comic shop to last more than two years, but now we’ve had one for about four years and it’s pretty cool and really women/queer friendly, which is different from any of the older ones

MALLORY: Mey, I can only imagine you get a lot of “ARE THERE EVEN QUEER PEOPLE IN IDAHO” comments from coastal gays, so I won’t ask

MEY: and my answer is always, no, not really
I mean, Pocatello has one gay bar that I’m not even sure has lesbian nights.

GABBY: Tallahassee feels pretty queer-desolate as well–we have half a gay bar, really

MALLORY: SF isn’t much better now that the Lex is closed
lots of gay bars with occasional lesbian nights but all the dyke bars are out here in the East Bay

FRANCES: Seattle has the Wild rose which I keep forgetting to go to. Last standing lesbian bar

BROOK: let’s put on an all-trans remake of My Own Private Idaho in Pocatello

MALLORY: BROOK YES

MEY: jajaja I like that idea!

MALLORY: ok let me try to organize my thoughts
this was sort of sparked by a chat Brook and I and a few others were having on Twitter recently
about transmisogyny in the LGB community
we can talk about our own experiences, what gives us hope, what our own communities are like, what’s not working, etc
would you want to start a bit by talking about your own queer experience so our readers sort of know where we’re all coming from?

MEY: So, I can start. I’ve had two wildly different sides to my experiences with queer women’s spaces. Experiences with Autostraddle communities and experiences with non-Autostraddle communities. I know that this sounds like an advertisement, but really, it’s the truth.

I came out, and then about six months later I was off to Autostraddle’s A-Camp, which is an entirely immersive queer women’s community experience, and I never once felt like an outsider, or like I was considered anything other than a woman and lesbian and a queer woman and welcome part of the family. it was honestly one of the best experiences of my life. And it’s just gotten better since then.

But outside of Autostraddle, things aren’t so great. In Idaho I often am tokenized, included in name only, and sometimes just straight up made to feel like I don’t belong. The same can be said for other online communities I’ve found. It’s tough, because the online community and family that I’ve found at Autostraddle are super amazing and great, but sometimes I want to be able to have that in real life, to be able to leave my house on a random day and be a part of a queer women’s community, you know?

MALLORY: have you always lived in Idaho?

MEY: yeah, I mean, I visit LA every summer and Christmas, but I’ve always lived in Idaho

MALLORY: do you have a similar experience in LA?
or is it hard to compare the two because you’re only there on vacation vs. real life

MEY: Well, I think it’s harder to compare because when I visit LA I have that Autostraddle community in real life. Like, I have a good number of Autostraddle friends (like trans women and comics people I’ve interviewed and become friends with) who are excited to hang out with me when i’m there since we can’t hang out for most of the year, so sort of because it’s a vacation, they know that i’m not normally there, does that make sense?

MALLORY: yes, absolutely
It seems like AS has worked hard as a site to become more trans-inclusive, like they’ve made it a priority in a way that not a lot of other cis-run lesbian and feminist sites have done. Not to say AS is flawless and everyone else is fucking up, of course.

FRANCES: I’ve also gotten that vibe over the past year. It’s great to see.

BROOK: a friend of mine is one of the cofounders and she said it was very much intentional

GABBY: Definitely–since I began reading and doing some writing for AS, I felt ‘safe’ there as a trans woman.

MEY: Yes, definitely, and they’re very open about it. During trans awareness week this year, Riese wrote about it, and talked about how they used to not be so great, and even included trans men before trans women (which, as a women’s site, you know…) but it’s been extremely intentional.

BROOK: that said, there are pockets of any community that can be bad to trans women

MEY: of course

MALLORY: oh let’s come back to that for sure
can someone else do their intro next?

BROOK: My experience is… a bit different

I came out first when I was 12 – and that went very badly. I didn’t have any idea how to be a lesbian trans woman, and this was the mid-90s, and I was in Texas, so I had no clue how to access that community. I stayed online with my identity, and would tell a lot of my friends and girls that I dated that I was a lesbian, and explain what that meant to me to a certain extent. I didn’t actually transition until a few years into my relationship with Frances: (we’re exes), and it was a shock I think, to them, that transition was very important to me. We were part of the same mostly hipster queer/lesbian women’s friend group in college, and it suddenly made a lot more sense to those who didn’t know me why I was there. I got a lot of tacit support at the beginning, but quickly learned that tacit support doesn’t mean that someone wants to date you, sleep with you, or actually go to bat for you.

We broke up a year or so later for trans and other reasons – it’s super hard to recontextualize a relationship, and there were many other factors. Since then I’ve been vocally a part of a lot of mostly cis queer/lez spaces, and I’ve gotten very, very mixed reactions. I don’t always get read as trans, so I get to see people’s faces and attitudes change as I come out. And it’s often a clear sign of bad news when I’m the only trans woman in the room.

MALLORY: it feels so cliche that at least two of us are exes
and yet how could it be otherwise

MEY: jajajaja!

FRANCES: Hahaha

MALLORY: watch at least two of us start dating AFTER this chat

BROOK: HA. true. and I’ve had other trans women ask why I want to be in cis lesbian space at all – but those are my people in a lot of ways. I grew up on riot grrrl, Tori Amos, and zines

FRANCES: I feel lucky to be good friends with Brook now. We had some time apart and now we can talk about lesbian and queer stuff in really specific ways that I don’t get to do with my other friends.

BROOK: Totally. It rules to have someone that knew me super intimately for 7 years that I can count as a friend

FRANCES: I grew up in a very evangelical Christian Chinese American family in Texas. My dad is still a pastor. I probably knew I was queer when I was 12, just had a strange feeling in my tummy whenever I looked at certain girls in orchestra. Anyways, I did the whole good Christian girl heteronormative life path til my mid-20s. It’s a bit complicated, but a turning point was meeting Brook, and then later ending that relationship, during which I finally came out as lesbian. Then I had to get the fuck outta Texas, and since then I started identifying as queer and non-binary (which is a newer thing for me). I don’t feel like a woman or a man, and get misgendered all the time, but in specific ways that are different than if I were trans.

I have found queer community in Seattle (where I have been for a year), but it’s hard. I had fantasies that I would automatically get along swimmingly with folks with my identities – QTPOC – but really people are just people and making friends as an adult is hard. Plus all the politics and drama and misogyny specific to queer spaces.

BROOK: Quick note that Frances and I both had pastor dads… we were the queer pastor’s kids your parents warned you about

MALLORY: ME THREE, my parents are both pastors
although I don’t think anyone gets warned about me

MEY: My mom was the office manager at a Baptist church and I taught sunday school and was a youth group leader for six years

BROOK: Gabby, I’m curious to hear about your religious background too(edited)

FRANCES: So many church connections

MALLORY: we could start our own church

GABBY: Church-wise: no pastor parents, thank the pagan gods, but I was brought up Roman Catholic for many years, abandoned Christianity for Wicca briefly as a teenager, returned to Catholicism and thought I would burn in hellfire for my sense of gender and who I wanted to love and how, and now I’m not religious anymore–but that belief in eternal punishment leaves scars that don’t fade quickly.

MEY: Hey! I was also raised Roman Catholic!

MALLORY: guys we seriously need to start a church
it will mostly be about candles
and cats

MEY: I honestly have at least a dozen la virgen candles in my house right now, plus another dozen other saint candles

GABBY: And comics

MALLORY: THE THREE C’S

BROOK: I was going to say a different C-word, but it’d have to be censored

MALLORY: Brook was the word ‘coping mechanisms’

GABBY: I knew who I was from as early as I can find memories, in the sense that I saw myself as a girl; the map of mind and body didn’t align for me. But I didn’t understand what that meant. I grew up in the Commonwealth of Dominica, and for most of my life I didn’t have any clear models for queerness, didn’t know that anyone like me existed in the island or the archipelago at large or the globe. And because I was raised to believe that being queer in any way was a one-way ticket to a capsizing kayak ride on a lake of fire, I didn’t come out until I was 27.

FRANCES: Whoa. When did you first meet other queer people?

GABBY: Whenever I dated women prior to beginning my transition, I felt scared: navigating the waters of saying, I am a girl, and I want to date you as a girl, especially when you lack the language, is difficult. Translating inner experience was difficult for me and made my early dating life difficult. So I felt that all my early relationships would fail because I didn’t think I could be a woman dating women, yet that was what I wanted more than anything else. Now, it’s a bit different: I live as a woman, yet I have new fears in lesbian spaces: will someone invalidate my gender because my voice sometimes drops down too much in pitch? I also felt distinctly uncomfortable with my first experience with a woman post-coming out because I was asked, innocently, if I could use my genitalia like a man, and I felt so awkward afterwards, this sense of being with a woman and yet being treated only partly as one by her.

I first met other queer people in college in the U. S. I unfortunately acted homophobic at the time as a mask for my own internal struggles and because this is such a common default for how Caribbean ‘males’ are expected to be.

I also just want to add that in terms of lesbian spaces and how we can navigate those, cultural context matters here, the way that different histories and expectations carve out the contours of how we define or come to expect to define things; for instance, I grew up with the few depictions of people I now know would be trans women being portrayed as ‘homosexual men,’ and in Iran, there is a somewhat common idea that transgender individuals are heterosexual people trapped in the wrong body, which is why sex changes are allowed there to ‘correct’ people’s sexual orientations: a validation and invalidation all in one. But navigating those spaces adds some nuance to this.

FRANCESGabby, I would love to hear your thoughts and writing about Western queerness and colonization sometime. 100% of my “radical queer identity” has come from Western notions of queerness and difference. Like, “I am the most legitimately queer because I am all up in these American tumblrs/twitters/queer blogs and I am using the currently deemed accepted language and concepts to describe my gender experiences and identities.” I have a strong desire to return to Taiwan for a bit (my dad’s from Taiwan) and check out the queer communities there and see how they are. Not being totally fluent in Mandarin Chinese in these topics is a huge barrier for me, yet I realize I can’t use that an excuse to parade around my Western queerness as the “right” way to be queer.

BROOK: agreed – straight trans women were my only lens to transition for way too long

MALLORY: oh gosh yes
this reminds me of what Mey brought up earlier
about how a while back AS “included trans men before trans women”
and there sometimes seems like (at least in American lesbian/bi circles) there’s a very strange double standard cis people hold for trans men and trans women?

MEY: yes, absolutely

BROOK: so much of it is sadly based on assumed genitals and assumed activities with said genitals and it is often totally off-base

MEY: for example, there’s a queer women’s site, that this year for Trans Day of Remembrance, they had a trans man write something for them, and published nothing by a trans woman

GABBY: And there’s also an exclusion based off voice and how one ‘acts,’ sort of a la Germaine Greer: this idea that trans women ‘sound’ and ‘act’ different from cis women, which I have heard indirectly said by lesbian women I know, unfortunately

BROOK: oof

GABBY: Which is such offensive reduction of who we are

MALLORY: [12:55 PM]
I think some cis lesbians have this sort of idea that trans men still ‘belong’ but trans women must be kept at arm’s length?

BROOK: right. this is why I try very hard to be out about being a trans woman at every juncture, because I don’t want cis queers forgetting that I am trans, and writing me off in their head as “but you’re not like other trans women” because fuck that.

MALLORY: I’m trying to qualify my statements because these are not, like, hard and fast rules, and I realize I have only an imperfect understanding of these dynamics.

MEY: Yeah, there’s sometimes the idea that trans men were “socialized as women” and trans women were “socialized as men” which is an idea with so, so many problems

MALLORY: as if socialization stops when you transition!

BROOK: and there are some trans men I’ve known who are cool with that, and the sex and community they get from those attitudes. And some who are like “Whoa, that’s disgusting. If you won’t date a cis guy, you can’t date me.”

FRANCES: Being non-binary is thrilling and dangerous. It’s on me to express my gender in a way that feels good but doesn’t continue the old-as-time sexist oppression in queer spaces. It’s interesting that Brook alludes to masculine-of-center folks dressing in very boyish ways, and I can easily fall into a boyish stereotype. Sometimes when I’m with my partner, I lose focus on the convo and I’m like *omg, boobs* and she is mildly annoyed and laughs about me morphing a 12-year-old boy. I don’t disagree, it’s just that getting access to stuff like that after 27 years of stifled wanting also feels like a supremely wonderful thing.

But on the other hand, it’s playing into horrible traditional gender expectations about how men can openly objectify women’s bodies and get away with that sort of behavior – oh God, I have to go process that now… :sweat face:

In short, thanks so very much to everyone for sharing – I’m glad that we’re focusing on trans women’s voices, and I’m very grateful to have been invited to participate in this very important discussion.

MALLORY: like…we’re being socialized RIGHT NOW

MEY: and as if socialization is universal across religions, ethnicities, locations, etc

GABBY: Yes, socialisation is the tool people use to pin us down to assignments at birth all too often

BROOK: and as if socialization doesn’t occur on a spectrum.

GABBY: This was the argument that Elinor Burkett made in her disastrous NYT article about trans women last year.

MEY: as if a closeted trans girl at age eight doesn’t hear “girls act that way, don’t do that” and doesn’t internalize that in a very different way than a guy would

GABBY: People like Burkett want behaviour and biology to mesh, even as they are supposedly against reductions of bodies and persons to either one

MALLORY: Brook, you mentioned “straight trans women were my only lens to transition for way too long”
can you talk a bit more about that?
(also anyone else who would like to)

BROOK: right. sure. So, I bet a few of us have seen sites like “trueselves” or “susan’s place” or “http://transsexual.org”

MEY: jajaja yes

GABBY: Susan’s for sure. Argh.

BROOK: And a lot of that content is helpful in some ways, but a lot of the ways they talk about womanhood, or passing, or transition just seemed inaccessible and unnecessary to me

some of that advice is like “don’t paint your nails and draw attention to your GIANT MAN HANDS” which, like, as a woman struggling not to hate her body, that was pretty hard to read

and there was this traditional narrative that you had to change your name, move away, and marry a guy

BROOK: that I was like “I’ve read erica jong, and know about the lavender menace and riot grrrl – you don’t have to do that to be a woman”

I was like, I see badass women at punk and metal shows – how do I do that? what do I do?

MEY: For a long time as a teenager I wondered if I would have to be straight, because I knew I so desperately wished I was a girl (that’s how I thought of it back then) and like Brook said, the only trans women I saw heavily encouraged a stealth, straight lifestyle, and so I was like, “well, I guess if I ever want to become a women, I’m going to have to date guys” and it caused me so much stress.

 

[Frances had to leave the chat to catch a plane at this point]

GABBY: My mother asked me point-blank: so, if I am a woman now, I want to date men, right?

MEY: So many people asked me if I was gonna date guys after I came out! Also, a ton of people I know thought I was a gay guy before I came out.

BROOK: right! same
and I’ve felt, even now, a pull that, like, to validate our womanhood we should date guys

MEY: I was not good at acting like a guy, and being trans didn’t even enter most people’s minds in the 90s, so everyone assumed I was a gay guy because I was feminine, and I think that idea that I liked guys stuck with people’s assumptions about me after I came out

GABBY: For my mother and many more ‘traditional’ women back home, questions like that stem from the way we are taught that a rigid religious view of the world simply is how things are and that, as my mum said, ‘God doesn’t make mistakes,’ which is how she viewed trans women and lesbians for a long time, as ‘unnatural.’ Which made me so nervous to come out until later on.

MEY: People at my old church told me the same “God doesn’t make mistakes” line when I came out to them

BROOK: I confused a lot of folks, because I really loved cars, but was in theatre. I hung out with a lot of women, but played video games with a lot of boys. I was really into literature, but grew up hunting. It’s almost like gender can be socially constructed!

GABBY: Ah, yes–I was also told that I couldn’t be a woman because I hadn’t acted ‘feminine’ as a child. To be honest, aside from definitions of gender, I did try to act ‘masculine’ per our cultural codes to conceal questions about me.

BROOK: I’m super glad I never heard the “god never makes mistakes” thing about trans women. I moved out of my dad’s house at seventeen to live with a partner, and from then on I didn’t really care what my family thought.

MALLORY: I imagine being a queer trans woman there is a lot more pressure to fit in with certain ideas about what’s feminine.

BROOK: indeed. which is why I always exfoliate…

MALLORY: ij;alwkdjfa;slkdjfa;skldjf

GABBY: You’re damned if you do and if you don’t: act too feminine and you are a ‘stereotype’ of womanhood, and don’t act ‘femme enough’ and you are not legitimate as a trans woman.

BROOK: exactly.

GABBY: The catch-22 of asinine essentialism

BROOK: Plus, there’s the conditional acceptance in cis queer spaces based on “being one of the good ones,” which is such a load of garbage.

MEY: Yes! Also, like, i’m a femme and I proudly identify as a femme, and I don’t see that changing, but I know so many trans women who were hyper femme for the first year or so after they came out and then settled into more tomboyish looks or identities.

BROOK: Yeah, I very intentionally didn’t wear jeans for a few years, because I wanted to explore what it was like to present more femme, but still be tomboyish. Now I wear a lot of jeans, but still wear skirts and dresses with Docs whenever I feel like it.

MALLORY: It’s weird that cis lesbians can be super accepting of cis butch women but really freak out if a trans woman deviates from ‘femininity’ sometimes? Like, we do not have a great track record sometimes on that!

BROOK: Totally.

MEY: Yes! like, i’ve heard cis queer women talk about how butch trans women are “triggering” bc they “look like men” which is so wildly transmisogynistic

MALLORY: oh wow

MEY: and those same cis women are perfectly fine with trans men being in their spaces

MALLORY: ​*my diamonds voice*​ MY SPACES

BROOK: I’ve known lots of queers who are totally stoked about a hairless, boyish “androgynous” person, but as soon as there is facial hair, or a sort of “man” identity, there’s rejection. So it’s also a narrow lens of acceptance

GABBY: I once heard that a lesbian woman I knew here in Tally had asked why any ‘man’ would come out as a trans woman because of the ‘wonderfulness’ of male privilege, and because I had just come out, I felt stuck, wondering if people really just saw me as exercising male privileges, and I became, briefly, afraid of ‘invading’ spaces like women’s restrooms. So I didn’t use the restroom at all at my university, for a few weeks, out of that fear of misperception.

BROOK: The amount of shrinking back we do and have done as trans women…

GABBY: Casey Plett talks about this a lot

MEY: And it goes back to the trans men/trans women thing: while trans women, who are women, are seen as invaders in queer women’s spaces. But trans men, who are men, and very much not women, are not seen as invaders.

again, that’s some spaces, not all

BROOK: “Here is the stereotype I am trying to get to: trans women try to shirk their male privilege before transitioning, disappear into themselves, and then can never really get back out to become assertive, present, feminist women. And this is why everybody thinks we’re weird.
Binnie, Imogen (2013-03-23). Nevada (p. 64).”

I was talking to Imogen a few weeks ago, and she referenced the “I see the queer community as my ex” thing that she wrote about in MRR a while back

I think that might be an okay model. we were also discussing the colonist impulse to show up in communities, and say “I deserve to be here” which, for parties or organizations is fine, but for friend groups… it can take time, and we may just have to build more or our own things

but like “queer community” isn’t a monolithic thing, but it’s so often at our parties, spaces, and in our groups… and maybe we can just give it a wary eye, and treat it like it’s hurt us before

MALLORY: any FINAL THOUGHTS? hopes for the future? things you’d like to see more in queer communities?
what did you have for breakfast today?

BROOK: i’m really curious how dating has been for folks btw

MEY: I had Cheez-its for breakfast, which I know is terrible, Ii’m sorry

BROOK: grass-fed roasted beef shank, fried egg, chou tofu cheese, coffee

MALLORY: Brook
get out

BROOK: HA

GABBY: I want to stop seeing the statement ‘I would never date a trans woman’ from certain lesbian spaces, for one, this idea of us being presumed guilty and ‘wrong’ from the start–even if one of the ones saying it found us attractive before knowing we were trans.

MEY: wait, Mallory and Gabby what did you have for breakfast, brook and I had the two extremes, so we’ve got that already taken care of

MALLORY: I am at Nicole’s house and I had that Iceland yogurt

GABBY: Oh, no breakfast yet–out of groceries

MALLORY: it said it was strawberry flavored but there was NO STRAWBERRY?
so just plain yogurt I guess

MEY: also I’d like to stop seeing the belief that trans women are interested in using our genitals during sex in the same way that cis men are (I mean, some may be, but many of us are not)

MALLORY: there’s this idea sometimes, that dating preferences are just ‘innate’ and outside one’s control and if they happen to reflect social prejudices like racism or transmisogyny it can’t be helped

GABBY: I just want us to be seen as women: saying you are attracted to women just means that, and women come in many categories. To say you would not date a trans woman is not the same as saying I only date women, yet they are presented by both TERFs and ignorant people as if they are

BROOK: I hope that many individual AFAB queers who make up communities, spaces, and dating pools rethink their assumptions about trans womanhood, and realize that we too are not a monolith. I hope that more trans women will go out and try to find each other in the spaces and hang out. and I hope that not​ knowing or or having trans women in queer spaces is more universally recognized as a sign of grossness. Dating is rough, but I think that anyone who dates women as a woman should be thinking about what they want, why they want it, and how little trans or cis matters in that scheme of things.

ugh, yes, that ridiculous “it’s a preference” thing. Like all preferences in the US are informed by white supremacy, patriarchy, and colonialism, dude.

GABBY: In spaces like where I grew up, I want, as our LGBTQ movements grow and do good work, like the Caribbean Women and Sexuality Diversity Conference, to work towards abolishing the idea that trans identity is an ‘American’ or ‘Western’ import being thrust upon formerly colonised nations by their colonisers

MEY: yes Gabby
100% yes

GABBY: It’s an open door to invalidation by saying that we only ‘think’ we are women because of colonisation and that if we just turned to the (coloniser’s) religious tenets, we would see the error of our ways

And this leads into the portayal of trans-ness as anti-black in certain communities. Which aligns with the rhetoric from certain African evangelists, for instance, that being queer is ‘un-African,’ something we also occasionally say in the Caribbean despite many Caribbean people seeming all too happy to divorce themselves from ‘inferior’ African-ness in other contexts–which is to say this is a mess of issues.

MEY: Gabby, I’m so obsessed with your writing and your thinking
it’s all so brilliant

GABBY: Thank you!

BROOK: It’s awesome. God, I just want to hang out in a room with all five of us and listen and talk all day
a quince of amazing people

MEY: jaja same

BROOK: quincet?

MALLORY: we should do this again sometime!

BROOK: i don’t know the word for a group of 5

GABBY: I’m so hungry I read that as quiche

BROOK: HAHA
quince is a fruit, apparently?

MALLORY: five queers is definitely a quiche

MEY: a quiche of queers

MALLORY: well thank you all so much for doing this!

MEY: thank you everyone!

BROOK: rad

GABBY: Thanks so much for having us :DD

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