Tuesday, October 1, 2013

What Happened?

Hello internet. I hope you've been following me on twitter. Sorry about the whole no updates thing.

I had all of these grand dreams about continuous weekly posting about Pagan Spirit Gathering. Clearly this did not happen. So what happened?

Well, people that follow me regularly elsewhere have seen a solid taste of what my life has been like lately. Suffice to say blogging formally has taken a backseat to surviving more and more difficult life experiences, not to mention college.

The important facts are here:

I am in counseling for anything serious.
I am not self-harming.
I write every day, which means I'm actually doing much better in some ways than I was when I was blogging.
Most of my problems will probably be significantly mitigated by the end of the year.

For those of you that follow me on Twitter, recognize that some facts on my past blog posts are now very outdated. Don't be alarmed by this. I will be updating them as I can. The daily tweets take canon precedence.

Does this mean I'm back to regular blogging? Let's see how the semester goes.

The Goddex

Below is one of my best attempts to describe the concept of a Queer Divine archetype, and more generally an allusion to how I understand both deities and gnosis as developing. This was written for a syncroblog at Queer Theology.com It does not necessarily represent an endorsement of said website.

Once there were things.
Before these things existed there was nothing, but because they existed this was no longer true.
These things did not have names, because there existed no things to name them. They did not exist from one time to another time because there was nothing which marked that one time was different from another, and so there was no time.

In some ways they were not even things. What could a thing be without something to label it a thing?

Italo Calvino gave this more thought than I will here.

Things changed.

Soon there were things that had ideas. They weren't necessarily significant ideas but they existed. Something communicated an idea about something to another thing.
This was discourse.

Eventually there was time, and from that point on discourse existed throughout time.

Discourse changed things.

Discourse exists in a state of interaction with all other discourse.

Different ideas exist in discourse, and through discourse ideas about things are codified. Ideas become rigid, turn into tools, creations, patterns, behaviors, systems, groupings, associations, and especially concepts.

There were also numerous things which were then not just themselves but also associated with other things. There were signifier and signified, the subject and the object, meanings, connections, all fueling discourse.

Soon there was a concept of us. We existed. There was a we. We were a thing, which was also a set of things, which was also a codified set of ideas held in unison amongst the collective we. We were a position, a principal, a discourse, a group, a people, a path, a belief, a faith.

Our Gods spanned the heavens and the Earth. They roamed across plains, over hills, through sees and skies.

When we created the concept of a deity, they were there as though they had been already. We looked to the path, and saw them step from the trees, and from the moment we saw them we knew them. When we knew them, it was as if we had always known them. As if they had begun to exist and thrown their existence backwards into the very beginning, so that they had always been there. They were concepts that we knew. They were all of the ideas and associations we had ever expected them to be once we knew that they could be at all. They were a discourse onto themselves.

Soon there was a concept of not us. Those who were not us were a not-thing, in that we are a thing which they were not. This was, oddly enough, also a set of things, usually much less pleasant. They were not us, and if that was an acceptable thing to be that is what we would be.

The discourse of the other.

It's not really about if they had other Gods. It's not even about whether anyone actually deviated, or whether there really is deviation, or whether something existed from which to deviate. They were just not the group that decided whose group they belonged to.

We exist in this group. You and I. It's why we're here, writing/reading this.

The laws were codified, the associations were codified, the rules were spoken and unspoken from birth in every interaction. This too was discourse. It was a discourse that we failed to maintain, that we subverted, that we disregarded. We were the first Emperor of Rome to know she was a woman. We were an unhearable echo before, and from the moment that we, you and I now, knew that we existed we began to always exist. We did not hear the discourse of what had always been right and true. We did not hear there was no other way, what was proper, what was expected. We heard war, but we did not hear what was heard so clearly by those who warred upon us.

Instead we heard the Goddex.

Then there was Hir.

Ze existed from the moment that we realized that Ze existed, and began to exist infinitely before at the same time. Ze was and is a concept embodied. A discourse shaped into a body which was then entirely its own to shape other discourse. The discourse of the discontent. The discourse of the abused, of the cage rattler, of the dissatisfied, of the denied. The discourse of change and subversion and recreation, deconstruction.

When we create a Queer concept, we hold Hir in our minds. Ze is everything that we see, no matter what we see, because Ze is in all Queer things.

All works of gender bending
Each act of tranarchy
Every moment of self care
These are Hir works.

There is no one pronoun that captures Them. Per is every race, every color, all genders. He cannot be encapsulated in a single shape. She cannot be from a single backgrounds. E is not even a single deity, but an archetype that umbrellas several and is not fully any of them, but Eir own being. It is each and every marginalized, denied, and deprived voice, hand, face. Ze is every act we take in which we continue to deny those that wish we did not exist the satisfaction.

Ze is The Outcast.
The Explorer.
The Great Revealer.

Ze is everything that we can accomplish together, everything held by us alone, but us collectively, by us every moment in which we are ourselves.

Once Ze came to exist, Ze had always existed. We had never for a moment been without Hir and everything Ze signifies.

Once Ze came to exist, Ze created us.

Friday, July 5, 2013

PSG Post 1: Coming Home

Pagan Spirit Gathering isn't easy to explain, and I'm not sure I can encapsulate its mystique in a blog post. I've spent some time being introspective on the whole experience and I'll convey as much as I can, but it's definitely something one should experience for themself. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Quick Post: Failure in the Face of DOMA's Repeal

I'm finally back from an INCREDIBLE trip to Pagan Spirit Gathering and a subsequent incredible trip to Indianapolis to spend several days with my partner and metamours. I'm all set to get working on a long list of PSG articles, but there was some news during my absence that needs addressing.

First of all, Exodus International is shutting down. This is the most positive news for Queer people in recent memory. Exodus International has been responsible for the physical torture and psychological abuse of Queer people for decades, through a process referred to as "conversion therapy" but more aptly termed "suicide conditioning" due to the extremely high rate of suicide that follows the practice. Whether leaders of this organization can ever be forgiven for what they've done is a question I have little interest in, but the organization itself is pulling its support for conversion therapy and shutting down. That's satisfying enough. The lives of Queer people everywhere became brighter as this behemoth crumbled.

The bigger news of course is the Supreme Court decision made the other day on the Voting Rights Act. By ruling a key article of the act unconstitutional the Supreme Court has essentially reopened the way for mass voter disenfranchisement, literacy tests, and other tactics to prevent oppressed groups from having any access to the voting booth. Chief Justice John Roberts, who deserves to go down in history as the man intent on resurrecting Jim Crow, authored a decision which has the ability to bring an end to voting rights for everyone in the country that doesn't look white enough to vote Republican. State governments have been reassured that if they put measures in place that disenfranchise people of color the Supreme Court will allow them to continue.

It's because of this second piece of news that the celebration of the overturn of the Defense of Marriage Act is so depressing to watch. Having pumped millions of dollars into ridding the world of this legislation, signed into law by a President that just got a GLAAD award, Gay rights organizations have been popping champagne left and right in the wake of this other Supreme Court ruling. They have been celebrating so hard they seem to have missed the news from the day before, and I'm not surprised. Assimilationists have been so busy convincing themselves that they're just like everyone else they can't be bothered to recognize that this facade only goes as far as the companies trying to get the pink dollar. It has never reached the ears of the majority of society, never enough to put a dent on Queer teen suicide statistics, or bullying, or police violence. When these people scream and cheer about being able to get married in exclusively traditional liberal states that have already adopted same-sex marriage they drown out the deeper underlying cry that starts ever earlier in the United States: "The election is coming."

I'm going to speak frankly here: The repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act has accomplished nothing. Nothing. Zero. I don't just say this as someone that thinks marriage isn't useful for Queer people, I'm speaking literally as someone that hasn't been partying so hard since it was repealed that I can still conceive of long term planning. The Supreme Court just crippled a law that was meant to guarantee everyone in this country the right to vote. The immediate consequence is going to hit people of color the hardest, because they are once again able to be systematically denied their right and ability to vote at the whim of state and local legislators in an incredibly racist country. If you don't care about this I already want to yell at you, but for Gay people that can't seem to muster up concern over their post-DOMA haze, let me ask you this: When you pull up to your polling place with your Human Rights Campaign bumper sticker proudly polished to celebrate democracy, what exactly makes you think you'll be allowed to vote for someone that will guarantee you keep your right to get married? This is the conceit of the cissexist, white supremacist, Gay movement, the belief that the white picket fence protects them from the oppression faced by those "other" people. When you blink your way out of the haze and realize that right wing reactionaries just seized the ability to increase the power of white supremacy in this country, you're going to have to confront the cold hard facts that they don't see you as the right kind of white people, no matter how fabulous your wedding has been.

The Supreme Court did not just cripple black voting rights. They did not cripple people of color's voting rights. They crippled voting rights. This affects everyone. EVERYONE. This isn't a hard concept. When conservative state legislatures set up a pile of hurdles to keep people from voting they will bring in another wave of more conservative legislators that are perfectly capable of voting same-sex marriage back out of the states it's already legal in. What's more, those hurdles can just as easily be applied to people that read as Queer as they can to people of color. Sure, you can make sure you don't present too femme, because the Gay movement has been so good about femmephobia already, but you're staring into the tunnel back to the 1950's. You're looking back into the closet, back into the pits with the other "degenerates." No matter how well you've been dancing to the demands of heteronormative society you never made lasting change, because lasting change might scare off the allies. This is your whirlwind we now reap. All of us just lost decades of ground.

When you think to yourself "I deserve one day to celebrate. Things are still rough but we got a victory. We can sleep easy for at least a while" you do so out of ignorance. Not only do you need to utterly ignore a huge act of racism to keep the buzz going, but you need to ignore that when you wake up it won't be your legally recognized partner tapping you on the shoulder. When you wake up it will be to sirens blaring, to the beat of the jackboots descending onto your throat at full force, eager to return after being lightly restrained for so long, Tomorrow may look rosy for you now, but election day will come around not long after, and the Supreme Court has ruled that your needs, your rights, and you yourself have no place in that day and age.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Wandering to Pagan Spirit Gathering

Hurray! Starting tomorrow and extending for the entire next week through this following Sunday I will be attending Pagan Spirit Gathering at Stonehouse Park in Illinois. If any of my tiny number of readers is interested in meeting me I will try to assemble a rudimentary sign. Failing that I will be showing up tomorrow in my Polyamorous, Pagan, and Proud t-shirt.

While I don't have one of the fancy official press lanyards or badges, or whatever they give out, I will be taking lots of notes over the week and will be posting all about the gathering after it happens (or as it happens if there's a method of getting signal there and something is important enough to post about during). I don't know yet if my twitter will be silent but my phone is more likely to work than my laptop, so be sure to follow me on twitter as @Falcc and keep up on my adventures.

So! Much! Excitement!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Outlining The Radical Potential of Polyamory

With the last of my classes finally wrapping up I've been looking forward to blogging with renewed vigor. My problem lately has been less about not having anything to write and more about having too many subjects I want to tackle at once. I've decided it would be best to start really digging into intersectionality and tie together some of the concepts I've started explaining with my blog. After Pagan Spirit Gathering in mid-June I'll almost certainly be on a Pagan writing kick so in the mean time I'm going to tackle a few Polyamory concepts.

I want to begin by taking a look at what I consider to be the potential for Polyamory as a practice and as a movement. I've already explained what Polyamory is but now I want to look more at the possibilities Polyamory represents. Others have put forward some lessons for the building of a polyamorous movement but before we get to that we need to ask ourselves a fundamental question: what is the value of Polyamory?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Quick Post: Talking Without Training Wheels

I haven't posted anything in much longer than I'm comfortable with. Such is the power of the magic of finals. Beltane, May Day, and Pagan Coming Out day all fell by the wayside since my last post, and while I thought about sitting down to right something related to them if I didn't handle school first it would have put at risk my future prospects for school, housing, and insurance. None of this is what I want to talk about today, though. I'm picking and poking at some more important posts but today I have positive up-beat news for once.

I'm in a relationship again. It's been quite a while since this has been true and I'm all warm and glowy about it, even though most of the interaction between us occurs at a distance. I also have metamours (people that are dating my partner but not myself) for the first time and it's a unique kind of experience. As it happens my partner seems to draw in Queer loves like a magnet, and I can't blame them for pursuing zir.

Over the last weekend I had many incredible experiences as my now-partner visited and we formalized our relationship. I don't have zir consent to discuss some of them, although I will say they were revolutionary praxis at its best. What I can talk about is how amazing it is to talk to someone at a similar level. Not to suggest that most people I know are lacking in intelligence, nor to suggest that the conversations I do have involve someone that knows less about most subjects than I do (often quite the opposite) but rather that most people I speak to do not have the particular range of experiences and knowledge that I do. This isn't a value statement, most people just don't have the privilege to be able to spend six hours in a day delving into sex worker blogs to make up for not knowing what the views of actual sex workers are. All I can claim to be is incredibly well read and fairly well spoken. My partner shares these traits, which was a large part of our coming to connect with each other.

When the two of us talk we touch on a variety of subjects, but being activists most of them have to do with queerness or other maligned identities. Normally when either of us discusses these subjects we bump into some problems. We're often speaking to people from outside our respective communities that don't have the background on issues we feel passionately about. Other times we're speaking within the community but about subjects that aren't on the radar of the average (if there is such a thing) Queer student just trying to get by. Why more people don't spend their time thinking about ways to clarify concepts of privilege and oppression in their daily lives is largely beyond me, but it's the sad truth of the matter. This all means that when we bring up complex ideas put together from a dozen different sources we're more likely to spend the conversation explaining background than diving right into things. I'm thankful to know a lot of people for whom this isn't the case, and when it's not we get to do something my partner playfully referred to as "talking without training wheels."

It's amazing to talk to someone that self-analyzes and self-corrects. Someone that doesn't need to hear zir argument is ethnocentric because there's already a clarification of the limits to which the argument would reasonably apply. Someone that says things like "not that that isn't also valid" and "because clearly that makes a difference" and knows just why I'm smiling in response. Someone that not only has a broad understanding of zir own identities but of the needs and identities of others. These aren't things we get to take for granted in a heterosexist, racist, classist, tranphobic, and otherwise oppressive world. They are not givens, even if they should be. So when we talk with someone like ourselves, someone that knows that anger is justified and when a phrase is problematic, it's an incredible thing. It's beautiful. It can cause a deep and abiding connection over the simplest of topics. It's something more people deserve to feel.

While it's not easy to explain the value of abstract learning until you've actually had it, this is definitely one of those things more people need to do. When you realize you've spent so much of your life talking with training wheels, bumping into people with your words and crashing awkwardly against concepts, the freedom to converse down mountain trails and through shaddowy woods with someone you love is intoxicating. I highly recommend taking the time and learning how.