On Queerness & Pride

On Queerness & Pride

Queer is a word I didn’t always feel comfortable using.  Sometimes I still don’t, its other meaning being ‘strange’.  

Growing up, it seemed that queerness was something okay for other people, but less so for myself.  It took a long time to accept and embrace my queerness – to see it as a gift.

Pride Month started as a way to commemorate the US Stonewall riots, which occurred at the end of June 1969.  (How often we celebrate or remember protests of the past, while rejecting movements of the present…).

Pride is born out of rebellion and rage.  It’s born out a refusal to conform, to ignore the truth of our experiences and feelings. A refusal to lay down in the face of injustice.  It is a commitment to radical and inclusive joy, an honour to the wholeness of our experiences, and a refusal to diminish them in the presence of others.

Queerness, beyond my sexuality, is my ability to orient to a world that I cannot see yet. Toward wholeness, toward truth, and away from what culture has conditioned in us.  To see beyond who and what I am supposed to be or do, to who and what I am actually called. 

Queer – and particularly trans – activists have a long history of envisioning a new, more imaginative world, before it is born to reality. 

This month, as we celebrate queerness in our communities, friends, children, *ourselves*, let us also honour this through playing and discovering new ways of orienting to a more beautiful world.  Orienting toward wholeness. 

And of course, let us support and celebrate the LGBTQ+ activists who continue to fight for liberation in the many parts of the world where queerness is not yet celebrated. 

What does queerness mean for you?

Laura x
Fire & Water: Holding Space for Revolutionary Anger

Fire & Water: Holding Space for Revolutionary Anger

Anger is a call to action, a just and moral response.  Anger can be fuel. And yet anger without skill, without wisdom, is like a fire that can burn everything, including myself.  

I felt a wave of anger wash over me last night as I read about the sentencing of an activist to a year in prison, with six months no parole. He was part of a recent successful blockade of the world’s largest coal port near Newcastle (north of Sydney) for 10 days, actions I’d found inspiring and important post-COP.  

I watched my anger at his sentencing & the police overreach meld with rage at the unjustness of it all.  Rage at the ecocide that happens around us.  Rage at legal & media bias, at the general unfairness, at the fact this is where we’ve come to. 

This frustration is nothing new – the Government of Australia represents so few of my values, so little compassion, humility or love.  It struggles to use its imagination, so attached to the status quo.

I remind myself that change doesn’t happen in the headlines. It happens in the margins, the liminal, the spaces in-between.  I know that the change I seek won’t come from government, rather will come to transform government. 

And yet I also sit with what to do with this anger.  The fury and rage and grief for all that is lost, all that is unjust, all that is not okay with the world.  

The spiritual upbringing I had taught me to avoid anger. That it was based in fear, a ‘negative’ emotion, and that I would better serve focusing on what I want to create. 

The activist side of me would tell me that anger is useful, a call to rise up, to hold those in power accountable for what happens.  That anger is right and just and moral, to let it fuel me into action.  To not let go, and to hold on to its power. 

Both are true in parts, though neither complete on their own.  Anger is a call to action, a just and moral response.  Anger can be fuel. And yet anger without skill, without wisdom, is like a fire that can burn everything, including myself.  

Anger unchecked, unexamined, leads to conflict, to twitter wars, to bitterness, partisanship & division, to burnout and to violence (physical or emotional). 

And so what we need is not to avoid our anger, not to bypass it it while we speak of loving our enemies, or to push it down while we continue with business as usual, but also not to have it consume is, allowing our anger to control the flow of our thoughts and actions, assuming that change comes from our rage alone.

Like all fires, we need the water, the flow, to temper our anger and guide it.  

My anger at this time exists for a reason. It is both a bodyguard to the grief & sadness I feel at this time.  (For anyone who’s seen Morning Wars recently, as Bradley says,  “I’m not angry, I’m hurt, anger is just what I know what to do with”.)

And my anger is also a call to action. To not be complacent. To not settle back. To never forget that we are in a liminal space and time in the world, and that if we want the future that we dream of, that we must work actively to dismantle the systems that work against it.  

I don’t subscribe to a philosophy of good versus evil, but I do believe we must actively disrupt systems that exist to perpetuate business as usual  However, dismantling systems of injustice cannot be centred just on a person, policy or position, but must also include the very mindset that allowed us to reach the point we’re at; the disconnection of our selves from life.  

Our anger should be informing our actions, but not determining of them, and must be tempered with wisdom.   

So today I sit with my anger. I remind myself of my commitment to nonviolence, and I explore the ways I do and don’t yet embody it.  I engage with and re-commit to my own activism. I let my anger inform me of my sadness, holding space for it,  and I let it ignite my passion, my love, and all that which I am called to.

If you’re wanting to unpack the power & troubles of  anger, consider joining Love & Anger starting in early 2022.