I was lucky enough to get to interview Mir Green from Wicked Grounds today and it helped me refine a few thoughts I have been playing with sharing here. I was interviewing them for my podcast Fat Chicks on Top. They joined the conversation expecting to talk all things kinky (me too, btw) and 45 minutes later we were deep into a political discussion.
For those of you familiar with either Mir or myself, you won’t be surprised by this at all. After all, kink, queerness, and politics are so intertwined that you cannot discuss one without the other two shaping the conversation. Additionally, there are so many kinky, queer folks online tweeting, Tiktok posting and more about how the current political climate is mucking up our ability to be feel safe, sexy, and joyous it is clearly not just a thing for older queer folks.
With all the horrible SCOTUS decisions, political warfare on trans folks, queer folks, and women, and the fakaktad economy how do you stay in touch and grow your kinky self?
Things are shitty and dark. I lived through the first wave of AIDS, anti-porn crusades, and the Evangelical church and things are worse now than I have ever seen them. As a political scientist with a specialty in political psychology and a queer I am terrified. I do not believe it is going to get better any time soon for kinky, queer folks and I am no longer convinced it will not require violence to hold onto our rights. This is a horrible feeling.
You are probably feeling a combination of rage, terror, anger, despair, and depression too. Go ahead and sit with those feelings. Recognize them. Breathe through them. Ignoring or trying to push them down or reason with them will not help. They are a legitimate response to the shitshow that is going on today. Recognize the feelings you have and then figure out how you want to channel them. Just because you are filled with rage does not mean you have to burn down your local Hobby Lobby. It does mean you need to find a way to channel that feeling into action which is right for you.
Connect with Community
The entire goal of the “Right” today is to make us queer, kinky folks feel isolated and alone. They have long cultivated the idea that they don’t have to kill us if we kill ourselves. Isolation, rage, and hopelessness can become toxic if we turn it in our ourselves.
Connect with like-minded folks. Feeling the collective rage, terror, anger, and sadness legitimizes your experience in the world and helps you feel less alone. Additionally, connecting with others is a primary step needed to take action.
[If you are not sure where to start, check out my Resources post where I list great podcasters, bloggers, Twitter peeps and more!]
Seek folks out online, in small groups, in organizations, and in community spaces. Whatever ways are open to you, connect with us. Connecting online is a legitimate way to build support and community. Find the other weird folks around you. Goth/emo folks are signaling they are different. Connect with them! Find a bookstore which carries a few queer books and patronize them. If they are stocking queer content, there is probably a friendly barista or clerk who will connect you with others. Go to organizing meetings. Hell, find an vegan cooking meet-up. Chances are your local lesbians are chilling there!
Just don’t go it alone. It is too hard to be here and feel you have no one on your side. At least connect with me! I am @AuntieVice on most social media (including Fetlife) and I’m always happy to chat.
Take Action That is Right for You
Everyone has a different risk tolerance, different capacity to be open about who they are and stay safe, and a different level of energy for action. As someone who lives with a significant disability, the inability to get out and march in a protest has been really hard. It has also forced me to find new ways to work as an activist.
Here are a few ideas:
Show up for a protest march for things you care about
Be part of a phone/text tree for an activist organization. If you can’t physically be somewhere, this role is still critical in activating folks for taking action
Register people to vote
Join a Get Out the Vote group to send postcards to other like-minded voters
Donate to organizations and people doing the hard work
Be visibly queer. Some baby queer may see you and hold onto hope just knowing you are out there living a good life!
Talk to family about issues and taking action.
Use people’s pronouns. With the intense attacks on trans/nonbinary folks simply using the right pronouns supports them and signals to others the right way to address people.
Write letters to your representatives: federal, state, and local elected officials all make a difference.
Run for local office. School boards, zoning boards, city councils, and other local positions make major decisions about how we live our daily lives. These offices only require a small number of people to vote for you and often your local political party will fund and support your run!
Request your local libraries buy queer books! Most libraries have a form online to request titles they don’t carry. Even if you don’t regularly use the library, make sure queer titles are there for others to access.
You will not be able to do all of these things. Find the ones you have time and energy for and concentrate on those. Everything helps. Additionally, taking action will make you feel a bit better, even if only momentarily.
Embrace Joy (when you can)
There is so much anger and despair it can be hard to get in touch with more positive emotions. However, without joy at some point we run our souls dry and can no longer act or connect. Find joy where you can.
Watch silly TV. Seriously. A good soap opera, a silly anime, or just trashy TV can make you feel better.
Rediscover reading for pleasure. We doom scroll, read articles on the horrible things going on, watch video after video of things. Stop all of that and pick up a good book! Let yourself rediscover the joys of reading for pleasure. [Not sure what to read? Check out this post.]
Get outside. Feel the sun on your skin (with appropriate sunscreen) and move your body where you don’t have a screen, or air conditioning, or a filtered environment for a bit.
Connect with friends. Have a coffee date, or a Zoom date, or call them during your commute, or throw a party. We are social people. Connect with folks you like!
Practice gratitude. I know this sounds hokey or woo-woo. Taking a few moments a day to write down what you are thankful for makes your brain look for the positive. There are actually studies which show this will increase your level of happiness if practiced regularly (I’m not just an advocate, I do this myself. It works,).
Listen to music.
Yes, things are bleak right now. It will be a while before they get better. It might get a whole lot worse. This is not a reason to throw in the towel.
Your Auntie is here for you! If you need to chat, bounce an idea off me, or just vent, please connect. And stay tuned for my interview with Mir, dropping July 21!