As to how the “Safe Space” open mic evening went, I wasn’t asked if I wanted to present when I walked in; no open sign-up sheet. Just before the presentations started I asked for their e-mail address to the “Ornery” piece. About a hour and a half later, the MC looks at the list on Google Drive and says “Our last presenter is Cali?” at which point the organizing committee ran up and says “That’s wrong! That’s a mistake!” Apparently, in the interim my piece had been read and found inappropriate, so I was purged.
The winner of the $25 Stewart’s gift card was a young woman of colour who broke down a bit reading a poem about how the experience of her enslaved South Carolina ancestors exists powerfully in her bones and her blood. Here I am, suggesting we transcend history and biology to find new, but that is wrong.
“Comfort Zone” was the theme of the night, with lots of “trigger warnings” intended to create “safe space.” Talking about a time when we knew we had to break beyond our comfort zone to confront how the comfort zone of a binary society had erased us, well, that notion seemed to make people just too damn uncomfortable. Identity Politics has triumphed.
I come from a time when we knew we had to “fight for our right to be queer” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qkh_dp5LIjQ (September 1994) – but today, the notion of engaging what challenges and frightens us rather than just swaddling ourselves in comforting, isolating doctrine and dogma which separates and creates more polarization seems to be an idea too far out of step.