A Venn Diagram of Generational Queerness: A Discussion Between Andi Marquette and Ashley Bartlett

As promised, here is the second half of my delightful conversation with Andi. Read the first half here. As you likely know from my exceptional pie chart (I know the title is misleading. I can only draw so many diagrams) (one. I can only draw one of each kind of diagram), Andi and I have feelings instead of facts about gender. We also have feelings and facts about other things. Wow. I probably should have written this intro ahead of time.

ASHLEY BARTLETT: What is the final holdover that you thought would be dead and gone by now? Or, conversely, what did you think you would have to live with forever that’s gone by the wayside?

ANDI MARQUETTE: Two things. One, I never ever thought I would have the opportunity to get married. As a result, my generation of queers didn’t ever really think about that as an option. We just wanted to survive. So I have not married. I just never made those plans because I never thought it would be a nationwide option. I cried so hard the day the SCOTUS ruling came down. I was so goddamn excited.

ANDI MARQUETTE: That said…There are forces at work right now who have a good chance of taking that away, through the courts and the recent appointments to the Supreme Court. I’m pretty sure that if we make it through this administration, the courts will overturn Roe v. Wade and take a huge chunk out of Obergefell if they don’t get rid of it completely. And I worry about the young people in that regard. I think what will probably happen is that marriage will be tossed back to the states. There will be people grandfathered in, but I can see a giant clusterfuck on the horizon. That’s how dangerous this administration is and the network that’s been working toward this for a very long time.

ASHLEY BARTLETT: We absolutely need to plan ahead because the repercussions for this administration are going to haunt us for years, if not generations, to come.

ANDI MARQUETTE: Oh, decades. The judiciary will be a nightmare for decades.

ANDI MARQUETTE: The thing that surprises me is that ex-gay bullshit is still around. That people still think you can go and “change” your intrinsic self. I mean, people are who they are. Fluid, trans, queer, het, whatever. I can’t imagine myself as anything but queer and I wouldn’t want to be any other way. I think being queer has given me a perspective that I treasure and value. But god, some of the fucknuttery that still circulates about how dangerous it is to be queer. The pseudoscience drives me batshit. In light of all the acceptance we’ve gotten, that bullshit still circulates and people still buy into it and it fucking kills people. I cannot with that. Like it was back in my day. Fuck, back at the turn of the 20th century, when people had to fight just to keep kids out of the goddamn textile factories.

ASHLEY BARTLETT: I am also flabbergasted that conversion therapy is a thing, but working with teenagers, I can see why. So many parents attempt to change intrinsic qualities about their children. Not just sexuality and gender.

ANDI MARQUETTE: Y’all need to be aware of the other side of that argument—the opposition paints it as “parental rights” and “free speech.” So they want to take their kids to the ex-gay therapist because it’s their “parental right” to do it, and the therapist is just practicing “free speech.” The opposition is very good at claiming certain language and spinning it to get purchase. Look at all the “religious liberty” laws that have been passed in states. Their sole purpose is to allow people to discriminate against LGBTQ people, no matter how they spin that shit. So kids, basically, don’t have the right to make their own choices in families. That’s what this network posits. And it’s bullshit.

ASHLEY BARTLETT: Yet, in CA we treat it as child abuse.

ANDI MARQUETTE: Kids have the right to not fucking be abused. Fuck off with your “parental rights” bullshit.

ASHLEY BARTLETT: One of my colleagues called CPS on a set of parents who were sending their kid to counseling at the church. It was very carefully described as helping maintain the kid’s relationship with God. Nothing to do with queerness, but the goal was clearly conversion therapy.

ANDI MARQUETTE: And that’s a LOT harder to fight. So…we have to figure that out. I’m ready to go full on underground railroad if we have to. That and reproductive rights.

ASHLEY BARTLETT: The same system is easily transferable for both.

ASHLEY BARTLETT: The good thing I will say about all the fights happening and those coming our way, is that GenZ is fucking done with this bullshit.

ANDI MARQUETTE: I love me some Gen Z. God, they’re amazing.

ASHLEY BARTLETT: They are ready to light the world on fire. They want healthcare and reasonable gun ownership and ownership of their own fucking bodies and they are not backing down.

ANDI MARQUETTE: I will go into the trenches with them. Because my generation was done with some bullshit, too. I know that feeling. But I love seeing it in action now. It’s fucking beautiful.

ASHLEY BARTLETT: And they know it. They know exactly who to pander to and who to bring with them. Your generation organized pre-internet. Mine jerked off to the internet. GenZ knows how to organize with the internet. It took some time, but they are ready.

ANDI MARQUETTE: YES!!!!!!!

ANDI MARQUETTE: Did you want to go back to that whole weird “looking young” because you don’t look femme thing for a minute?

ASHLEY BARTLETT: Totally.

ANDI MARQUETTE: Because I get that all the time. “Oh, you don’t look that old…” “Oh, you’ll appreciate looking young when you’re older.” Got that back in the day.

ASHLEY BARTLETT: This assumption that youth is enviable is bullshit.

ANDI MARQUETTE: Truth.

ASHLEY BARTLETT: Dude, you look hecka old! And I say that as a motherfucking compliment.

ANDI MARQUETTE: lolol I haven’t really changed my presentation…ever. I mean, the last time I had longish hair was grade school. I got over that shit.

ASHLEY BARTLETT: Yeah, I cut my hair off in 9th grade. And my gender presentation doesn’t fluctuate. My hair styles do, but the longest it’s been as an adult was 90s boy band long.

ANDI MARQUETTE: You know what’s interesting—one of the things that I really appreciate about the changes over time is how queers have found the language to express how they identify. I tend to think of myself as gender nonconforming, because I don’t see myself as either male or female, though I’m comfy being she/her more so than they/their. I’m comfy in my body, and didn’t feel like I should be in a more male body. I didn’t have the language to say that until I was much older.

ASHLEY BARTLETT: Absolutely. So many of my students identify the same way (as do I), but many of them identify as trans and enby.

ASHLEY BARTLETT: But by giving us the language, we can all draw our own lines.

ANDI MARQUETTE: And yes, agree with the language point. We get to draw the lines for ourselves, and that’s something I just didn’t have until I was older.

ANDI MARQUETTE: So I’ve dealt with being called “sir” all my life, and being seen as “male,” but in a weird way, that might actually have protected me back in the day, because I have actually been mistaken for a straight guy. That is, straight women flirting with me thinking I was a dude, and not a lesbo.

ASHLEY BARTLETT: Yes! My wife and I called it the little boy defense. When I used to walk around LBC at night, I was relatively safe because I looked like a little boy.

ANDI MARQUETTE: Yes! I don’t “walk like a girl,” either.

ASHLEY BARTLETT: Hard same.

ANDI MARQUETTE: It’s not anything I cultivated. It’s just…how I walk. Which is interesting, I think, given that I didn’t have any models or rep for who I am. I just…am.

ASHLEY BARTLETT: And I manspread (when no one is sitting next to me).

ANDI MARQUETTE: LOL so do I. I don’t sit like a girl! LOLOL

ASHLEY BARTLETT: But I wonder how much of that is internalized sexism. We mirror the things we were taught were powerful. I had to do a lot of work in my twenties to undo my internalized sexism.

ANDI MARQUETTE: I don’t know. My mom is hardcore feminist and was all about educating me about what was sexist and what wasn’t. I mean, we talked media, books, pop culture, everything. She wanted to make sure I recognized sexism when I saw it. The reality is, we’re all basted in it. That and racism. And queer phobia is wrapped up in both of those.

ANDI MARQUETTE: I just was not comfortable carrying myself the way I saw a lot of other women carry themselves. It didn’t feel right. Which has always been kind of interesting to me, because I don’t know WHY it doesn’t feel right. It just doesn’t.

ASHLEY BARTLETT: Yes. I can walk like a girl. In heels even. But it’s drag. A farce.

ANDI MARQUETTE: SAME. That’s what I call it, too. That I’m in drag.

ASHLEY BARTLETT: But the first time I put on a suit. Hoo boy.

ANDI MARQUETTE: lol I’M HOME!

ASHLEY BARTLETT: And having my dad teach me to tie a Windsor when I was fifteen made me feel like a badass. I’m surrounded by people who enable me in the best ways.

A big thank you to Andi for blindly saying yes to me regardless of the circumstances. Hope you guys enjoyed this as much as we did.

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