The Privilege of Performativity

I love my community. Like hard. I love that I have friends I can text Need queers. When can you be here? And they will show up right away. I love that I can text Heading to the bar and the recipient will know which bar. I love that I have friends across the country and former students and colleagues for every song or article or movie I want to discuss. For every Kafka tweet, there is a queer.

I hate that I don’t want to talk to anyone else anymore.

Last election allowed me to strip out the remaining toxic humans in my orbit. Granted, there were only like two holdouts, but still. This election was more precarious. I have officially lost all patience for performative liberalism. Which, frankly, means no more heteronormative white women. (There weren’t any white men. There haven’t been for years.)

There are people I love who I cannot stand for longer than two minutes. They are all white, straight, middle class people who think four more years of the same would be unbearable. So tough. I mean, they have to pay attention to the news like all the time. Not to mention how often they have to see Black and brown people in the news and confront their own racism. And they all have informed me that I am not at risk. I am overreacting. My (white, boyishly handsome, fun) queerness is acceptable and completely without danger.

Trans people are my people. Gender non-conforming people are, well, me. My people are at risk walking down the street, going into a store, filing a form in a government office, staying indoors, going outdoors. Breathing. It’s all a fucking risk. Being queer in America is scary as fuck. Being visibly queer is even more scary. I can’t fathom being visibly queer and also Black or brown.

So I find it a little hard to swallow when privileged heteronormative white people start talking about needing a revolution. As if the last four years were a surprise or an aberration. They were not. They were a very obvious consequence of having a Black president. They were a very obvious result of every person who “just didn’t like Hillary” but not because of sexism (spoiler alert: it was sexism. Forty years of concentrated, pervasive sexism focused on Hillary, specifically). The last four years were a dumpster fire of an example of needing a revolution when marginalized people have been saying for centuries that it’s getting a little warm in here. Liberals are damn right we need a revolution, but marginalized folks have been fighting it all along. Cis white liberals can go fight that revolution now. We are tired. We are dead and dying. My existence is revolutionary and I don’t want to hear anyone tell me about how they just noticed it’s bad out there.

I love the solidarity, really, I do. But in my earliest memories I knew I wanted things I wasn’t allowed to want. I knew to be quiet about my desires. I knew that I didn’t belong. So forgive me. I’ve known for thirty years that shit was bad. Someone who figured it out in the last four doesn’t have the weight that I have carried. If they want to take some of the burden, great. But I refuse to help carry someone else’s load just because I have weightlifting experience.

So maybe my circle is smaller now. Maybe my interactions with outsiders require a lot less time and a lot more booze. I’m a little sad, I guess. I’m a lot tired. But mostly I’m proud of myself.


  1. You have voiced an intriguing point of view, and I hear you. Let’s hope others are listening as well.


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