Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Moving on

I am through a time in my life that I hope I never have to repeat. Mostly because I have been through it time and time again. Being a child of abuse from my parents at a tender age I tend to think of it as a normal part of life and tend to string it along for as long as possible. I would let "Friends" abuse my generosity and take advantage of me and then apologize for my actions. That is not to say that I am going to stop being self questioning but perhaps less self critical. I am always willing to blame myself when I have had enough of someone else's actions and believe that I am the cause of these behaviors. I tend blame myself for everything.
My parents sexually and emotionally abused me for many years and this year for my 42nd birthday the bigots told me they don't approve of my life. These same people told me not to date black people because they would be very disappointed if either my sister or I "Brought one home". My mother while walking through China Town clasp her purse to her chest in fear that suddenly a roving gang of four foot women were going to attack her for no reason other then they were different or not good clean white people. There was a time when my mother would have done anything to stop me from being a feminine sissy; and I mean anything. They took me to a psychiatrist to cure me of my affliction and then in later years told me it was because they wanted to raise me as their gay son. Is that why they donated to prop 8? Do they think that learning from the best liars I have ever met doesn't let me know a lie when I hear it? Do they think that spreading hate is really how Jesus; a man of peace and unity; would want them to treat their own child?
I was adopted at 10 months and brought up in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. It was easy to hide what happened in the home from neighbors and friends. My Femininity was not easy to hide. Instead it made me stick out like a sore thumb. There was a shack out back of some neighbors house. It is there that I would be raped by the teenagers of the neighborhood. My parents saw me withdrawing and struggled to know why. I hated leaving the house and was terrified of other boys. I was equally as terrified of the abuse at home and just shrank. I have very little memory of any happy times or sad times from my early years. I have shadowed images of fear and haunted dreams and no more. For me my life began at 15 when I had my first gay friend and after I went to college. As soon as I had some people start telling me that I was a person and not a shell I began to come around. Actually coming around for me was totally anarchist rebellion against the world.
I was consumed by a fear and sadness that found its voice in punk rock and later parties and random sex and just general abusive behavior. Now I see that I was just rebelling against the lies and hypocrasy of the life I had not lived before. I was on my own but had no idea how to love myself. I was a stunted half human lost in a sea of self loathing and pity. I craved love but thought it came along with violence and emotional torture. I had no self worth and certainly very little ego. I would just live from abuse to abuse that I created for myself and always cared so little about how my action effected others. I was a cruel child with a vicious tongue causing pain. I was an open sore festering in the dark of my damaged childhood. That fit well with the punk attitude in general and I was blessed with features that get me by so I survived.
Recently however I have been able to realize what it is I was doing with this destructive behavior and work my way through. My friend once said "You should be proud of yourself because you have done all this on your own." I had never realized what it was that I have done. I have survived and over come insurmountable hardships and become the person I was meant to be. This change has come from working within the gay community and sharing my voice within its confines and now sometimes even in the world at large. I have found myself through the Queer Communities eyes and found the place where I feel safe enough to continue to grow and push and reach higher. I am becoming whole.
My partner of 4 years has really helped me in this as well. I had no idea what it was to trust someone even if I knew he wasn't going to like what I was saying to him. He hasn't left, or beaten me, or raped me or any of the things that my Christian parents did. Our love is not perfect but it is an honest and true relationship that brings me closer to whom it is that I can be. By finally allowing myself to trust another person I am the happiest I have ever been. I am still often the scared child who shuts down but there is someone every morning waiting to pull me from the darkness. Once my mother said that "Your relationship certainly is nothing like your fathers and mine." She is right. My relationship is not about hiding or lying or any of the hate that my parents and their sanctified "christian" moral relationship is about. I consider myself lucky to be in a healthier place that them. I am proud that I did not die at my own hands due to their punishment and have found myself because the days are happy and I am healing and I am starting to be able to give back to the world instead of take.
I am also starting to say no and know why I am saying it. I continue to put myself out there every day now even though I still find the world a hostile place to be. I do it because I can and that is a gift I never expected. Through the time I have learned just how incredibly strong I am; not weak like I was told. When someone wants to abuse me I now have the power to stop that abuse right there. I still waffle because I want people to like me or am afraid that I will loose other people in severing ties. I also know however that if I don't take care of myself that I can't give back and that is my main objective today. To give back.
I'm not perfect and I shouldn't ever expect to be. I am strong and capable and if I make a mistake I acknowledge it make amends and move on. If I should stumble at that it has to be ok as well. I trust myself enough to know what to do and honor both myself and others. I am proud of myself today. I would never have believed it possible, and without the Queer community it wouldn't have been.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Thoughts of Dorian Grey

Nimble Thimble Tumble Time you've come to haunt a friend of mine.
To take him down to who knows where;
Innermost and murky lair.

This is now how time is spent, counting the days of quick repent.
Ah for chilling bone this rhyme,
And suddenly unduly mine.

Horrors face, a widows crash, no more time for the movie star cash.
Yet furrowed deep with heady brew;
Dark sallow lines of former you.

In the mirror hazed in glass, summers gone and winters last.
Do you fear yourself to morn,
Of last years blossom now short shorn?

Tired winds of genteel age toward the totter and phantoms fade,
Still not met with rallied cheer,
But with the lonesomeness my dear?

Is this my madness ? Me insane? This my vanity now in vain.
To have lived a life in need.
Squandered gifts and shallow greed.

Nimble Thimble Tumble Time on your marching sure as I'm.
Cant you please just leave him be?
Just this time? For me?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Freedom of Speech

So for many months there have been people up in arms about Butu Banton a Jamacian musician who has suggested that the past time of pouring acid and shooting gays for sport is a good idea. Now on the anniversary of Matthew Shepards murder he will grace the the Rockit Room and share with his fans his message. The Rocket Room has said that what we don't understand is that he grew up poor and in a country that doesn't have the sensitivity to the culture norms of our society. So perhaps it is time for Jamaica to limit the rights of gays and lesbians there if we are truly leading the way. But i digress. So everyone wants to say that poor little bigoted Butu should be or do something. The Rockit Room wants the cash it can make off of hatred and bigotry in the guise of artistry and many gay and human rights activists would like to see his night shut down. Yet still some raise the real issue here Free Speech.
I honestly believe that Butu should be aloud to voice his opinion. Honestly I do. I would never shell out a single cent to the label he is on, the venues that support him and his bigotry, or ever attend shows that sponsor him. This is MY choice and my reaction to his words. However with this I must add that what seems to be missing from this argument is the fact that his words are used to incite violence and death to people. Real People. Why people just like Matthew Shepard in fact. Huh now that is a coincidence.
Butu in SF; the gayest city in the world; AND it's the anniversary of Matthew Shepards death at the hands of malicious ignorant people incited by the idea that it is alright to hate, brutalize, torture, rape and crucify a gay person. How very interesting that these two events would come together so perfectly after Prop 8. Its like a novel right out the mind of Kurt Vonnegut darlings!
This is what I propose. Lets protest the fuck out of this show but lets do it not as an angry mob but as a people morning the death of a soul lost to us by anti gay violence. Lets show the bigots and the people who make a living off hate what the price of their speech is. Show them that their words kill and scar and maim a peaceful and noble people. This protest should be a funeral of epic proportions for Matthew. We should dress in black, veiling our faces, bringing flowers and candles and really making the message known that you can kill one of us but we will never forget that you have. We will not excuse your ignorant behavior and will haunt you like the memory of those you have killed. We should use our voice and free speech to show the true horror of bigotry and those taken by it.
I plan on black and flowers an candles and umbrellas if need be. I plan to be outside the Rockit Room showing them what they have hired and stand behind.... The face of oppression and death. Its their freedom to do so and its ours to educate them in their mistake. Rockit Room Monday night because there is no reason for Matthew to have died in vain or died at all.

Friday, October 9, 2009

What I might say at the Bridge Walk this Sunday

This is the first time I have ever been asked to speak my mind in public. I usually just do it. I must say it is easier to just speak than thinking about the task and coming after Mark Leno and other esteemed speakers. The first thing I did was question why some 42 year old drag queen would be asked to speak at this Marriage Equality event. I hope it is because I care about gay rights and equality for all peoples with every ounce of emotion I can muster. To live in a country that can remove rights from a people is something I would never have expected to see in America. To be part of the culture being denied these rights has made me a warrior. I have begun raise my voice and I will continue to do so until we are all given human rights and are not judged by the morality of the bigots and the fear mongers.
For too long we; the queer community; have been forced to swallow shame that is not ours. Most of us have met some opposition against the beings that we are born to be. Parents, classmates, society, they all point to our strengths and tell us we are wrong to celebrate them. That we are to be ashamed of ourselves and keep closeted the love and joy in our lives. This is not our shame. This is their shame and we refuse to own it any longer. We as a people have been blessed through time as leaders, rulers, kings, queens, shaman and the storytellers of our own culture and the culture of our fellow man. We have been exalted as beings of 2 spirits, personified yin and yang, and of mystical relation to gods and earth. We are a culture rich with imagination, understanding of magic and the ability to overcome against all odds. There is no need for shame to be placed upon us because we are not a culture that produces shame and disgrace.
To believe that a person or culture is less than another is bigotry and to honor that bigotry is to employ fascist beliefs plain and simple. Morality is about caring for your fellow man, not making them less and not judging them because of who they are or whom they love. This must not be the way rights are decided. We as members of society do not believe these lies and that is why we will have our rights and the people who stand against us will fall from lack of support under their shaky morals. The view of us as a immoral people is why people are able to believe it is alright to beat, rape, torture and even kill us; often in the name of their own god. We battle on against this false morality and shame and will gain our rightful place in society with full rights, full dignity, and pride in our hearts. We are tired of waiting. We will act up and fight on till we as a culture are recognized for the glory that we bring to this town, this country and the world.
I have not lived these 42 years to continue to see my people trampled beneath the boots of falsities and lies. I hope that with every step I take on that bridge today, and in my life ahead, is a step forward for the "we" as a people. We will not lay down and let these atrocities go unchallenged because it is wrong to treat humans in such abhorrent ways. Especially ones so full of all the traits that makes this world a beautiful place to live.
That very abuse by society however is why every last Gay, Lesbian, Queer or Transgendered person has the ability to be a hero. The fact that every day we prove ourselves to be stronger than the hate just shows what heros we already are. We are here, we are Queer and we are moving beyond societies shackles into a brighter day without shame, one step at a time. The days have come to come out, stay out and demand what is rightfully ours. No longer does shame hide our anger but instead frees us to use our voices and become the heros of our birthright. To move beyond and make a difference today until our rights are grated and dignity restored.
I hope at least that these words are the reason I was asked to be here because I believe them 100%.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Gay Pride 2010 the Last Charlie Horse

Um I have to say that I never expected to feel guilty about stopping Charlie Horse. Hello! I never expected to feel; let alone still be parading around in a wig every week for what will be over 5 years. I mean we will go down in history for hiring some of the worst acts in the city and loving them with all our hearts. You should applaud yourselves for putting up with it quite frankly!
I started this club because I wanted to hear rock and roll and do some drag. I was sick of being pushed around and asked to conform every where I went. I'm not a bitch darlings; I'm and anarchist. Well I've had more than my share of good times and created a place where everyone who asks gets to play but its just too damn big for the Cinch to handle. Were just not equipped darlings and there are gonna be problems if we keep on growing any larger. I am not willing to take the fall for underage drinkers, violent marina girls and their boyfriends who think they are so macho they should start fights or grab the pretty ladies hair, or deal with neighbors in new condos who don't like noise. No the time has come.
I am sure my CH family will tell you that this last year has been the weirdest ever! Just odd. It has been the best of times ie Charlie Horse Fresno; and the worst of times ie 3 violent episodes during the past year due to it being too crowded. We have made it. We are a hit. Now its time to fuck off.
This night gave me a voice and I'm gonna use it and maybe do some really fun other things like Herr-A-Chick on Wednesdays with Rentecca where my love of rock comes with live bands and weird outlandish cabaret monstrosities. Plus the Eagle is also a dive and a great rock and roll establishment.
Most of all I want to thank you guys for hanging in there. Thanks for marching on Polk with poo filled bags. Thanks for not taking it seriously. We sure have had a blast and will continue to until my favorite Holiday Gay Pride 2010. You know it was worth fighting for the pool tables. I think we have earned them.

Anna Conda

Gay Responsibility

You wake up and the week is different from the week before. Not a lot different just something uneasy in the air. The chill and ache have crept back into my head and filled me with a real sense of dread. Every so often I realize that by taking steps into the world I am having to deal with things I would never have expected. As I ask more of myself I learn that I am asking more of others as well and not everyone wants that. I am unsure that I want that really. I was perfectly happy...
See there lies the kicker. I am following my dreams and aspirations and for the first time in my life do I feel settled and secure. I am able to show up not only for myself but am learning how to show up for others. I have no use for my old ways of taking advantage and lying aand cheating. They just stopped working or I got wise to myself. It is hard to believe that anyone ever put up with my shit. However I know people who are for some reason unable to give up the ghosts. I am also facing the fear that if I grow up that I will die. It sounds compleatetly stupid I know. Everyone dies and after an exhausting week it could seem almost like a release; however the fear that my use and purpose will go away once I am not shiny and new is quite real to me. Not only that but the idea that if I accomplish what I am supposed to do I will die sooner.
The fact remains that is fear and that fear can be my undoing if I let it. I give those fears space in my head I get trapped like a heifer to the slaughter. When I decide to take the easy way out my life becomes useless and pointless. I become unaware and fogged in by my own ill perception and lazyness. I end up boxxed in by my desires and loss my desires to be a part of life's mission statement. I start doing as little as possible and get as much reward as possible.
This is a sickness that has rooted itself into the very soul of our existance. Consumption is blown out of all proportions. Like the lips on a hollywood starlet our societal dreams of wealth and glory and nothing but hot air. And still we go on producing future generations of children to deal with it. To deal with the fact there is hardly any water left. To deal with the fact that the refuse in the ocean is of greater mass than most continents. To deal with the fact that we have fucked up selfishly and have no want to deal with the mess we have created. Yet we blame everyone but ourselves and ignore what we know to be lies hoping they will just go away on their own. Not bloody likely!
Instead we complain about the Arab nations, the fags, the president, the state of everything when WE are the ones responsible for all these problems. What use is it to have a giant car that runs on petrol and then say I don't support the war? What use to sit around gobbing down food loaded with chemicals and then say that McDonalds is making your family fat and you should try fat free potato chips and diet soda? Another thing about these and other corporations who do NOT take any of the responsibility for what they have done; not only to us but to the environment and the worlds health in general; and choose to deny that we deserve health care from their chemical abuse. How much have they had to pay for that privilege? How much dirty money exchanges hands across tables that no one "really" knows about. How much money was payed for your health and safety? How much do people think your worth is? Yet if we ignore it it is going to go away? No? It's only going to continue and get worse! Why are we acting like nothing is really wrong? Why are the people just accepting this?
For that matter let me say again to the gays of the world. YOU are being made SECOND and THIRD class citizens and it is OUR fault for letting it happen. Now WE must go and DEMAND that the pretense of.... its ok to treat us badly because that is what we deserve.... be removed from our lives! We as a people, as a world as a society deserve better. These fear mongers should not be bargaining with our lives. These corporations should not be getting a drop of government money until they clean up their practices. These people, us people, its time to take responsibility.
Just because someone ignores the fact that they have stolen money doesn't mean that they haven't. They have but we are so stupid we forget. Just because someone harms someone else and decides to take societies way out and ignore the situation does not make the situation not exist. These problems just sit and boil and become a sickness. A cure and a caring and humane effort is what is needed to clean up messes left by us. It is our responsibility and our duty to change what is wrong. To lead. To take our learnings and move forward. We must take the steps to make a better world. We must take this time to open our eyes, get out of our cars, stop being so fucking selfish and do something.
I have come to realize that it is when I do nothing and stave off personal achievement that I die. I die little deaths until there is no time left. I will have left the world and done nothing but gripe and complain and consume. That to me if a fate worse than death. That is a fate that I could stop just by trying and yet I would have let it all slip away due to fear. We must do something. There is no need for us to turn the other way. It may not be as easy to face the mornings after a struggle but that morning gives way to the day full of light and possibility. It is that very possibility that makes the next day worth while. It is the coming through with eyes wide open and heart pounding that make the promise of tomorrow better than today. Otherwise every thing doesn't stay the same it bogs on in a grim reality that is set up so that no one wins. Not even the guys on top., and certainly not us. The sad thing is we are the ones responsible and we would rather be greedy that battle on for truth and justice. We would rather consume than care. We are killing ourselves and are too fucking lazy to really give a shit. That is the saddest part of the whole thing. We just don't seem to give a shit. That is a hard thing to battle and rage against because we are all so ingrained in that moment, but without claiming our responsibility we never take that first step forward leading to our success. I just know we can succeed. I just know that when it gets hard we can conquer. I also know that the gays are the ones to lead the way.
We as a people have survived the Holocaust, Aids, beating, lynchings, and oppression in a land based on freedom. We are the team to beat! All that the world has thrown at us and we have conqured and thrived and moved on. It is time that we as a people start making these problems ours. We are able to move mountains, change hearts, and win over the greatest of oppression. It is time we take the helm and lead to a better tomorrow for everyone. Make our fight theirs and theirs ours. We must take the mantle of the leaders that we are. We must stop abusing ourselves and letting others hand us shame. We must get out of our bars, ghettos, cars, condos and take to the streets. We must take to the streets for all humanities sake. It is time to take back our rightful place as leaders and spiritual mentors and save the world we are living in and creating. Our time has come and we must rise to the occasion and take the lead. We have taken worse situations like this and turned them around so that is why we must do it again.
Don't worry if they like us. Don't care about the bigots. They are wrong and they need us just as much as everyone else. We can save them from their plight as well. they are the ones who need saving. they are the ones who need to awake. It is our duty to show them how. How to change and be a positive force in the world. It is our calling and it is time to answer.