Queer have struggled through decades to have a seat at the table; in politics, visibility, in our communities-- in some cases we have recently been seen as human. Queers are very distinct and easily identifiable. They are the most targeted of the LGBTQ+ population and in some cases the most invisible.
The queer population has a unique and often puzzling presentation that until recent years was a little explored topic of conversation.
As a sage, self-identifying dandy butch queer, I’ve decided to add my voice in the conversation the trans queer voice through a lyric fusion poetry work I call, Dinner@8., where I discuss topics relevant to the queer experience I have had using the narrative of a single light source representing heteronormativism and the shadows it creates and light cast upon the queer kitchen table.
The conversation and exploration of Butch/Femme from my prospective; of grief, violence toward the trans population; isolation, rejections, the myth of the gay mafia, and other ephemera left behind in this dialogue.
The so called low-brow culture that queers are often put into by our own community because of our visibility, sensitivity, and power. We have been considered, “in poor taste” and are the parodies of the LGB community that most would choose to discard or exploit.
For generations, we as a people have been exposed the destructive power of clichés—these tropes have added smell, taste, discrimination; sound and images to explain the orderly nature of the world. There are two sexes, physical characteristics distinguish male from female.
In the glory days of advertising a cliché family was invented to sell products; a way of masking the real meaning used to appeal the greater public what we are seeing by a simple take these we’ve always been the odd ones out, queers are radically different from the lesbian and gay communities we are often thrown out of for being too flamboyant or emotional.
The queer became more visible as these ideas were challenged and exposed as untrue. The entire identity of a decade was torn down by the most identifiable individual in landscape of previously unexplored ideas--again we find ourselves in this time of great change and challenge to the status quo—and still the queer is determined by what is normal, acceptable or black and white, bearing the weight of injustice. The brilliant nature of the queer individual is both feared and admired for their courage and resilience.
In prior decades, we looked on images and categorized them as the male or female experience in art and poetry. But images convey something far beyond what a simple snapshot tells us.
Initially, the gay community was composed of lesbians or homosexual men. There were transvestites, both male and females; or the “crossgender” person, or the medical condition of intersexed persons called hermaphrodites because of physical and endocronogical traits— but mostly were identified as males or a transformed male. And these have been categories that led the conversation of gender.
But some of the most powerful individuals in our community are the queer butch woman.
A butch in current terms is a more masculine presenting woman. Taking on characteristics generalized as masculine. My body has masculine features in that I have broad shoulders, I’m strong, I have slender hips; and when I put this body into opposite gender clothing I am often seen as a man. But I have no inclination to change my sex, I am a woman, I don’t feel I am in the wrong body—if I were my challenge would be to be reassigned to the right sex.
In current context, I am transgendered because I am not concerned with being male or female because embody balance both traits of those genders. My conversation with you through this work is to invite you to my kitchen table, see the intimate moments, the moments that separate and strengthen us and the light that shines on us and brings out our best features.
Inspired by the narrative of Carrie Mae Weems black and white photo collection titled the “Kitchen Table Series,” I wanted to tell the story of the deterioration and connection in queer relationships. Focusing on the butch femme relationship, but also the comfort of friendship.
Because our relationships are often seen as unsuccessful from the outside world, a single light source representing the heteronormative values are often our measure—but underneath that definition the light shines on our kitchen tables.
There are a few tropes that I address in this work for the audience to unpack. The way we bid for attention in relationships. The anxiety found in the struggle of a butch looking for work while the femme battles with profitable employment dominated by a world of sexism and misogyny targeting her ultra feminism. The struggle to leave or stay in uncomfortable moments.
In this series we see gender across a broad spectrum. It might be difficult to tell the sex of the individuals, but it is invitation to investigate and question gender as long as you wish.
Come sit at the table with us. Dinner is served at 8.