Have you been to a queer event in Seattle? We have so many amazing nights right now: SHADE, Night Crush, Girl Bye!, GlamourPuss, and Transfabulous, just to name a few! There is so much diversity in color and texture within our community. We want to share this beauty with you, make memories, and open minds.
Have you ever thought about the appropriate etiquette for navigating queer spaces? The queer sect of our LGBTQ community has recently gained large-scale visibility. That means some insensitive and uncomfortable situations are occurring. Here a few topics to help us all co-exist and have a good time.
Believe it or not, we aren’t all male or female. There are many genders within our community and they all deserve your recognition and your respect. A common way to identify gender is with pronouns. Hopefully you’ve heard he/she and him/her before! These are male/female pronouns.
Not everyone identifies as male or female, though. Some people prefer to use they/them/their pronouns, me included. This doesn’t always have anything to do with a person’s physical body.
I choose to use they/them/their as my pronouns because those pronouns better represent the fluidity of my gender. Someone else may use they/them/their for completely different reasons.
Don’t worry, though. The reason someone chooses their gender pronouns doesn’t matter! All that matters is that you respect them as human beings. After all, it doesn’t affect you.
If you ever feel the need to ask a person’s pronouns (maybe to find the correct language to communicate), try going with, “May I ask your pronouns?” If you’re drunk / inappropriate / obnoxious about it, be prepared to be ignored. Or yelled at.
Politely asking someone which pronouns you should use is ok. But here are some important questions NOT to ask.
What’s your gender? – It doesn’t matter. We only ask pronouns as a way to address and interact.
What genitals do you have? – Seriously. Just don’t.
Are you on hormones? – I don’t know, are you on depression medication? That’s such a personal question! Rude!
Have you had/Will you have surgery? – Also totally rude.
Why don’t we try enjoying the company of others without putting expectations on their physical body? This is nightlife. Keep it light! If someone brings one of these topics up, and then personally addresses you and asks your opinion, go for it. Otherwise, mind your own business and have fun.
To pass or to be passable means you are successfully emulating one or another gender. Never give anyone suggestions on how they can pass better. It makes you look like a naive, entitled jerk. Not cool.
Passibility is not always an ideal, or even a goal! We are who we are. ALL of us. You included.
There is no box for us as humans to be put in. The “in-between” of emulated gender (as you may view it) is beautiful. Hopefully one day people will let go of society’s opinions on gender and beauty influence. Then they could see beauty openly and honestly, without needing to ask questions.
You know what outing is if you’ve outed ourselves or have been outed before. It can be absolutely terrifying. It’s scary to put your true self on the line, and kudos to you if it was your personal choice.
Sometimes we are outed by others though, against our will, and that can be uncomfortable and dangerous. It has ended in violence, verbal abuse, and death.
People who’ve come out, such as gay men, should already have respect for this ritualistic part of their lives.
In queer spaces, you can meet many trans* and gender nonconforming people. These spaces are sacred and safe, where we can let our hair down and feel our own fantasies surrounded by family. Much like being gay at a gay bar! Safety in numbers, right?
Don’t you hate being introduced as so and so’s “gay friend,” “gay BFF,” and all that? It’s tokenizing, and implies that you are only worth your sexual identity. When you call someone your trans* friend, not only are you being an ass, but you are putting someone in potential danger. It’s a lot easier to be “gay” than “trans*,” and that is a fact. Queer, trans*, POC friends are not your personal chachkies. Do not make us feel collected. We are human beings like you.
This is a very big deal. It’s HUGE.
We should all know what it means: Ask first.
When you are at a queer party or in a queer space, there are a different set of rules. VERY different.
Ask consent. Ask if you can speak with someone. Ask if you can give someone a compliment. Ask before you touch someone. Ask before you buy someone a drink!
If you’re a man who is male identified, your presence has a tendency to occasionally make people tense. Many of us who are queer identified have been physically, mentally, and emotionally hurt by cisgender men over and over.
Be aware of what your presence means. You’re coming into something so real, so beautiful, and so special to us. We want you to appreciate and learn, and we NEED you to respect us.
Speaking of beauty standards, one thing that makes queer culture different from mainstream gay culture is wide acceptance of all body types. Don’t ever let me catch you shaming anyone for their size (large or small), color, clothes, characteristics, etc. I mean it. No good.
Well, I think that rinses over everything a bit! There’s so much to learn about ourselves and each other. Thanks for learning a few things, and I hope it starts a discussion for you!