I live something everyday called my Queer Intimacy with Place (QIwP). I have many homes and many loves across this country… and other countries too depending on where people are traveling. This allows me to tune into things like where state’s stand on comprehensive sex ed. Feel out art scenes and queer communities. I explore urban green space like there’s not another tomorrow. I want to know these parts of where I move, breathe, open into the tenacity and warmth of my heart.
QIwP allows me to feel something special for someone in Dallas, Texas; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Winnipeg, Canada= simultaneously. My home address says Duluth, Minnesota. But I have so many homes. I’ve also lived in Durham, North Carolina, Asheville, North Carolina, Kansas City, Missouri and Burlington Vermont as an adult. I was born in Miami, Florida and on my fifth birthday moved to Cleveland, Ohio where I resided until I was eleven when my family headed south again to Plano, Texas.
Thus, I have intimate relationships with many places. The north and south of the United States contradict what I think I know about home and then call to me. This dialectic, my QIwP, shifts- depending on season, politics, my body and heart. Work has led me to claim new homes and outdoor adventures too. Places speak to me. When I was biking from New Orleans to New York City in 2008, riding through Carrboro and Durham, I knew I’d end up living in those southern cities one day. From 2012-2014, I carved out places throughout the Triangle of a state that keeps calling me back- at strange times and in strange ways. North Carolina's Piedmont was politicizing itself in beautiful, creative ways while resisting an incredibly oppressive++ administration. Folx were on fire- and weekly Moral Monday marches led by Reverend Barber queered me over and over again. My QiWP always brings be back to how to be an important player in individual and collective liberation.
QIwP fills my lived experience with contrasts and subtleties, craving and desire- to be and know somewhere other than where I’m physically at most days. And also trust why I am where I’m at in the moment. I sit in bed in Duluth, on April 18th and listen to frozen rain pelt my windows. Tires drive splash through wet streets. I will get up soon and start my daily routine- which today includes staying warm and dry.
My sister and I recently wrote back and forth to each other about “equality”. She drove home how looking past equality (I.e. accepting the selfish, stupid crapass backward things and ways men have done things forever) is knowing women, trans, queer, POC, hard of hearing folks are doing and imagining things differently. We’re creating what hasn’t been created because the crap we “should” aspire to know, be, have to be “equal” isn’t enough. It’s never been enough.
She used the example. Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education is equality. Angela Davis as Secretary of Education is pure, fucking, radical, equity. QIwP allows me to penetrate past an old vision of good, enough, democratic and see something different and thoroughly satisfying.
Allow me to study two definitions here
Equality def. – 1. rights, treatment, quantity, or value equal to all others in a given group 2. an equation in which the quantities or either side of an equal sign are the same
Equity def. – 1. actions, treatment of others, or a general condition characterized by justice, fairness, and impartiality 2. the system of jurisprudence that supplements common and statutory law, when those bodies of law are inadequate in the attainment of justice 3. justice applied in conformity with the law, but influenced at the same time by principles of ethics and fair play 4. a claim that is judged to be just and fair
I am imagining something called InterSEXtionality. Teach-in, panel and sexpo. Information sharing meets lecture/panel series meets access to true and accurate and fun information about who we are as sexual beings meets QIwP bringing people together. This is not equality. I don’t want the sexual rights or recognition of anyone I see “at the center of existing conversations, or the people “in power”. I want something new and delicious and dynamic. A freedom for all that I’ve never witnessed during my thirty-nine years of life in this country. I want ease and comfort and pleasure and radical learning and loving for all. I want to unleash the erotic- become undone, focus my creative ambitions, build the community I have dreamed of over lifetimes, become undone again, and achieve more than I ever have before.
I want to use what I’ve learned from and about the northern, forested corners to the southern, swampy flats of my country. These places and people have been my best teachers (Emergent Strategy's biomimicry brilliance speaks more to this- details on resource page). I have an embarrassing amount of friends and mentors who have lent endless goodness, brilliance and wisdom to my life. My nature is inherently joyful and curious. I explore because I thrive when moving. I write to intimately know stillness and study the world. I revel in other creatives and intelligences, so I can be all I want to be.
My QIwP is a tool and a way of undressing the world. Stand touching, naked with my many lived in worlds. This connection is justice and beauty. Is pulsing blood for me.