Thursday, April 1, 2010

On Something New

[Originally posted on February 25th 2010]

So. Blog. Never saw that day coming.

However, recently I have been writing everywhere: in a journal that only I know about, on live journal (also a new development) in the margins of my books, on my hands. And since I have diligently been following Jenn’s blog, I thought that perhaps I could do that too - it will be certainly nowhere near as witty, but it will be another space for some of my thoughts. Yes, perhaps I need just one more outlet. I’ll do my damnedest to make this one the entertaining one though.

And so my first thought, that I felt the need to jot down, because I found it just too perfect, was this: The queers really are EVERYWHERE aren’t we?

I am in my lab today, at an undisclosed sciencey venue, where smarts are abundant, fashion sense is lacking, and social skills are fleeting, and any discernible traits someone has that could help my Gaydar are washed away by unisex lab coats, greasy hair, and the need to wear comfortable “lab appropriate clothes”. Well now, shit…what’s a little male-presenting genderqueer to do in this situation?! I had pretty much given up hope that there were any allies among all the scientists here, at least not allies who would openly discuss, accept, support, and be out and proud with me. Until today…

Today the labs of the Jaharis were of woodwork, and the queers were coming out.

During a shared lunch with a nice young woman who works in a lab on the same floor as me she began to discuss how stressed she was about trying to finish her thesis and organize a conference at the same time. When I asked what the conference was for she replied with “I’m heading up a queer-poly-kink conference and I’m going to be presenting on my specialty - ropes.”

Well tie me up and call me…uhh…a safe word? I definitely wasn’t expecting to hear that. But she explained that she felt safe around me talking about this stuff, because well, in so many words, have you seen me? Yes, yes I have, thank you. She asked how I identified, and we shared fascinating stories of life lived on the fringe in a field where personalities can get pretty swamped under experiments and brains. We both left lunch feeling a little more heard and a little less alone. And in my case for sure, thinking that the queers and the gays and the kinks and the polys and the “weirdos” and the minorities really are everywhere, we still just have to be cautious, putting out feelers first, ready to dart back into our safety zone if something looks suspicious and only tentatively finding others around us who know exactly how we feel.

Later this same day, as I purified PCR product in a different lab on a different floor (to avoid contamination, obviously) the cute blond girl who I frequently see in that lab struck up a conversation with me. I’m not sure if everyone that day was just in a sharing mood, or if I have “trust me, I don’t judge, have ya seen me?” taped to my forward but either way by the end of our brief 5 minute conversation she had not only made it clear that she loves gay marriage and a woman’s right to choose, but that religion can be a bit overwhelming, and that rainy days make her blue. We got deep. I’m honestly not sure if she is “one of us” (I’m keeping my fingers crossed) but either way she is clearly another ally and quite hysterical to boot.

And so, I was impressed by today, to learn that in fact, I am definitely not the only one at my job who practices one of those “devious lifestyles”. And to be honest, I’m glad that’s the case, it can get quite lonely at the top. And by at the top I mean in the margins. I think it all might just be another testament to the fact that the GLBTQI… community really is everywhere and the rest of the world should stop taking us for granted. We have big hopes and dreams, and we work in big time universities, developing your cures. So careful now.

All in all I feel better seen, by comrades, and while I’m pretty sure I still don’t have any allies in the “oh, you shop in the H&M men's department, AND know how to layer patters too??” category, I’ll take what I can get.

So that’s a blog, huh? Nifty.

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