I’m so happy we found each other. In my mind, developing a queer identity requires walking a circuitous path: certain objects or figures seem to speak one’s queer feelings and offer comfort, but in a mysterious language that defies clear articulation. Self-understanding is like a trail of breadcrumbs: secret desires, strange emotions, moments of initiation and deep wordless knowing. For some queer kids, messy feelings cluster around same-sex desire, while for me and many others they manifested more in a keenly felt, taboo cross-gender affinity, which ripened into a potent urge to subvert and betray the male sex and its privileges. Mine was a childhood of intense girl-identification: socializing almost exclusively with the fairer sex, as well as being mistaken for a member of it; dressing in drag and dancing like Madonna; inventing female alter-egos—mine was named “Lisa,” probably after my beloved Lisa Simpson, and she loved to wear bracelets—and identifying with the TV girl-heroes I spent way too much time indoors with—Punky Brewster, Darlene Conner, Wednesday Addams, even good old Velma from Scooby-Doo.
With Logan MacDonald, “Lezbros for Lezbos” in C Magazine 114 “Men” (Summer 2012). Artist project with photos, poster and text.
It’s wonderful that people who feel uncomfortable with the gender they were assigned at birth are gaining strength and visibility. But, it’s just as important that young people, girls and boys and genderqueers alike, can have as many examples as possible of men and women who don’t conform to gender stereotypes. I like to think I’m doing my part for that by living as an aggressive, competitive, logical, and strong butch woman.