Violence against Queers

The other night I went out for drinks and dancing with a couple of friends. We were going to hit Celebrities and I was going to scope out girls. Anyway, life’s going fine, we’re stoned and on the sky train, blathering on about various things stoned queers talk about. Then this very straight guy with his girlfriend starts staring at us. Just looking with this really weird look on his face. And then all of us just shut up. We’re pulling into our stop. Nobody moves a muscle, we just all wait and then slowly, so freaking slow, make our way to the door and get out before it closes. And then once we’re all off and he zooms off into the night, we all say “Weird!” And it was. Like the beginning of a bashing. It reminded me of so many other encounters with homophobic/transphobic violence.

I think one of the reasons I left Saskatchewan was because of the amount of homophobic violence directed at me. Being queer in a Saskatchewan high school is really weird. I knew five queers in my school and that was it. Almost everybody was keeping it on the qt. Hiding your sexuality is a horrible feeling. It’s too much effort to worry about. I don’t know how movie stars do it. That must be such a troubled way to live.

So I left Saskatchewan. I was tired of people throwing pop cans at me and yelling dyke. I think being crazy made it harder, because then instead of just feeling persecuted, I really was. It made for a lot of being scared. And then there’s the whole being Cree AND Scots, in a racially charged city. Yeah, that was a lot of stuff to balance out. I’ve experienced racism from both of my races! And people thought I was a boy for most of my childhood. Actually, I got sir-ed again recently. So when I make work about identity, it’s for a reason. Identity just shapes you in the way you get treated in the world. Like having to watch your back on the Sky Train because you’re queerer than queer.

It’s scary and it sucks. And maybe if I had been stronger I would have stayed in the prairies. I think I was like a lot of young queers, like Smalltown Boy by Bronski Beat, all leaving home to find a community in the big city. I think a lot of us also have this idealized image in our heads of this loving warm nurturing community, like a tribe, and then reality hits. It’s like any community, it has flaws too.

I don’t understand hate, just blind hate towards groups of people. Doesn’t make any sense.

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