The Kindness Of Queerness

How do you want to be loved?

Do you want to be cast in some typical romance, following the stories that explain how relationships should be, meeting the kind of social expectations that bring status?

Or do you want your heart, your mind and your nature to be seen, valued and adored, facing shared challenges with the best solutions you all can muster, delivering personal satisfaction?

Would you rather have the comfort of the conventional, the known, the routine or the intimate thrill of the revelatory, innovative and deep?

Queer, to me, is the commitment to boldly honour individual spirits, natures, hearts over the assumptions & expectations of convention.   It is a commitment that  I make everyday.

Queer is love.   That makes the queer view of others laden with possibility, with the possibility of change, of transformation, of mastery, of transcendence.  When you love another you value the emergence of their unique gifts as right and powerful.   Being committed to supporting the growth and healing of another loves who they are, not how they fulfill the role you have assigned to them.

If I want others to see me as an individual, allowing me space for emergence and finding my own power, I have to do the same for them.   That’s the queer golden rule, not doing towards others what I would find hateful.   It may be a pain in the ass to hold open the possibility of transformation, but if I want them to be like Shaw’s tailor, measuring me anew each time they meet me, I have to do the same for them.

Many understand that queer is about embracing Eros, the desire inside of you, but they see that desire only in a conventional and mass-market way.   Simply fornication, indulging the sensationalism of sensuality for pleasure, does not embrace the depth of Eros.   As the lives of many artists reveal, exploring Eros is the exploration of passion, understanding our own drives and using them as a part of divine creation.   Intimacy comes not just in the body, as heterosexist tropes will tell you, but also in the heart, the mind and in the creative spark.   Exploring all those facets opens us up to the connections which can power and expand life.

The kindness of queerness means that you value unique hearts over valuing their status or your fear.   Mr. Rogers was very queer in this way, no matter how conventional and routine his own presence was, revealing that queer expression, the attempt to show ourselves beyond convention, isn’t required for queer engagement.   Simply shouting at someone is rarely the best way to discover and encourage their own unique gifts and instead may be just part of your own defence mechanism.

As every kid knows, one of the kindest and most challenging things anyone can do is hold high expectations for you.   On one hand, those expectations are by definition hard to meet, demanding you work hard and stretch yourself, but on the other hand they hold precious belief in your essential value, power and beauty.   Moving beyond comfort is never easy, but making better, more considered, more polished and more precise choices is the only way to grow.

The kindness I offer is the kindness I struggled to find growing up.   I needed others to see and affirm my heart, not just to be angry when I didn’t meet their expectations and overwhelmed when I showed what they thought was too much of my own nature, my own Eros.

Those who want to blossom tend to appreciate my attention, while those who are resisting their own queerness, who are struggling to stay fixed, find it, well, just too damn intense and queer.   They wish I would just shut up and play a more quiet, conventional role, unable to offer the kindness of queerness to me.

Supporting playful, energetic exploration is at the heart of my kindness.   Only humour and wit can really lubricate the soul, allowing us to see the warm and funny bits even as we struggle.  An ambulance crew in Queensland stopped on while taking a dying man to hospice to buy him a McDonald’s caramel sundae; the kindness of a childlike treat a gift in their professional day. 

Being too playful, though, irks many who want to show a serious face.   A key question in LGBT communities (and LGBT lives) is “How queer is too queer?   How queer is not queer enough?”   Where should we appear to honour and respect convention, staying constrained, and where should we be transgressive,  breaking rules to claim individual expression?

I know that many find me too damn queer, asking too many damn questions.   In the 1990s I first labelled myself a “Power Femme/Drag Mom/Trans Theologian” (I’d say Trans Shaman now), and that drew flak even then.   How could I be a femme and anything else?   Don’t those identities negate themselves?

What I know is that those are the identities people respond to in me, for good and for bad.

What connects them all, for me, are two things: queerness and kindness.   I believe in the emerging power of the acorn born inside of us, how it can grow and blossom when we let it, and believe that the way that acorn finds fertile ground is in kindness, especially the kindness that challenges us to open our minds and hearts to do better.

How do you want to be loved?

I know that I want to be loved not as a human doing, for the role you believe I should play, but as a human being, full and tender with a precious heart.   That kind of love takes deep sight and an even deeper commitment to kindness, creating safe spaces not just for indulgence and isolation, but also for the promise of growth beyond boundaries and beyond fear.

Queer, to me, is the commitment to boldly honour individual spirits, natures, hearts over the assumptions & expectations of convention.   It is a commitment that  I make everyday.

To me, it is the essence of kindness.

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