There’s a large differential in how comfortable the various places I spend time in are for me as a queer-identified person – ranging from high visibility and acceptance of gender- and sexuality-related variance and issues (most of my online spaces) to rather chilly (my hometown), and all sorts of things in between. My university environment is one I’d call decidedly lukewarm – I haven’t experienced any hostility, but it also tends to be something that just doesn’t get talked about. I had to contact the Women’s Resource Center just to find a couple of professors I could speak to about the politics of being out in academia, when I was deciding how out to be here.
How comfortable are the spaces you inhabit for you as a LGBTQ-identified person, or any other important part of your identity? What tend to be the key factors in determining that comfort level?
The Afternoon Inqueery (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Queereka community. Look for it every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at 3pm ET.
Featured image: projectqatlanta.com
I’m incredibly lucky. My family have always been wonderfully affirming of my queerness. Words like “acceptance” seem entirely inadequate there, because they imply something to accept as opposed to just another aspect of who I am to take note of, like anything else. I don’t have a day job at the moment (I’d never say “I’m not working”, because that would imply having actual free time!) but I’ve only experienced outright hostility from a co-worker a couple of times in my life- and both of those times my other co-workers backed me up. I get to give workshops all over the country on queer topics- from making bi safer spaces and awareness-raising, to talking about conscious relationships and consent, to educating people in being better queer allies. Which is amazing. And I spend half of my evenings training for roller derby, where I get to be part of one of the most awesomely affirming sporting communities- for queers, for women, for oddballs, for people who are all three- on the planet.
I am lucky. Mind-blowingly lucky.
I’m out to my school, sort of. The administration knows because I went in asking for safe bathroom information, because I wanted to make sure things were cool when I started into that in between stage we FtM folks have. My friends there know, and if folks ask I’m open. However, I don’t involve all my professors. I don’t involve those that don’t know. They just think I’m that weird mannish looking woman that is shockingly married to a man, instead of a woman. It’s a weird half out of the closet position to be in. It’s a tiny school, and in the next quarter, I might have to start shaving, so I’m not sure how that will go down with everyone. So not that comfortable, but everyone has so far been very nice?
I worry a lot about job hunting in the next several months, when I graduate. I’m not really good at hiding my life, so I want to work at a place that is not transphobic. I’m white, and will hopefully be male passing eventually, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m married to a man, and pretty obviously queer, to even the straightest person. I don’t want to work in a space that I have to go stealth, so that’s going to be interesting. I’m still working on job hunting strategies because I don’t pass quite at all yet, and that’s going to be a weird interview.
Luckily at home, though, I have full support. My friends, and inlaws are amazing. I figure that makes up for all the weird awkward anti-trans stuff by miles and miles. I can be me, and my friends and family are there for me, and love me. It really does make all the rest doable.