Being queer means being intimately in touch with who you truly be in all your messy complexities & contradictions. For many queers, this means having to choose what you reveal & what remains in the shadows guided by the contexts of our families, our religions, our communities, our governments. Often this choice is ripped from us & it is used as a weapon to put us in our place, to kill us, to legislate us out of existence. Other times, we queers create our own rules about what behaviors & styles & language is or isn't queer & use it as a cudgel against those that don't conform to its codes & strictures & aesthetics. Queer, in either case, is constructed.
I am queer & often I have found myself between. I have not fit in in drag or club scenes. I have not fit in in activist groups. I have not fit in in schools & non-profits. I have not fit in in galleries & museums & theaters. I have not fit in constantly & consistently. And not fitting in, being between, has been my greatest power & love. In fact, I have constructed queer to mean "loving fearlessly & transforming radically" because of not fitting in.
Yesterday on Instagram, I showed a behind-the-scenes photo as I am creating some new content for Queerly Complex. In it, I look fierce & friendly, like you want to get to know me because I'm confident & cheerful. That is a constructed image, like all images. It is not "real", although it reveals truth. I do at times feel confident & cheerful, & yesterday was one of those days. My values are giving me purpose & meaning, and I feel in right relation to the cosmos.
In perusing old images for the website redesign, I stumbled on another from early in the pandemic & posted it online. I was feeling hella emotional & fluids & performance were at the fore of my mind. I got done up as the clown I felt I was & did what I love doing: take selfies. I let my emotions spill & spill & spill until spittle dripped from my lips. I captured this image in a snap using only environmental lighting.
This photo is also constructed. It is not "real" & the make-up draws your attention to this "fact". It also reveals a truth: YOU are feeling some sort of way.
I share these images because being queer for me means revealing complexities & questioning realities. Who am I really? What about these images is real or true? What am I experiencing? What am I communicating? Are they the same or is there a contradiction? Does it matter? Which is appealing? Which repulsive? Why?
For me, these to photos share a much deeper truth: This world is made up.
What will YOU make? How do you construct queer? Who be you truly?