Posted by: Kiersten | February 5, 2010

Let the potlucks begin!

Statistically, one out of every ten people is some kind of queer.  Gay, bi, trans or straight-except-for-camping-trips.  So we knew that in a town with a population of 1,400, there would have to be a few queers about town.  We found their gender studies books in the second hand book store.  We knew they were here. 

After three months of networking, we finally asked the right person.  She apparently called her gay women friends and said “There are two more lesbians in town!”  A few days later there were posters for a “Lesbian & Bisexual Women’s social night” for this Thursday.  Last night.  On our knitting night.

We weren’t going to skip out on Donna and our knitting night.  Knitting night is my favourite night of the week, and why oh why does the queer social networker have to be on a Thursday? 

Donna said the same thing!  “Oh why Thursdays!  You’re going to steal my lesbians!”  No way Donna, we’re not going to ditch you. 

We were spinning and carding and knitting away last night, when Lily walks in and introduces herself.  And outs herself.  Halleluiah! 

So there are five self-identified lesbians in Ukee now, that we know of.  There are more in Tofino, I’m sure.  Maybe the queer social night will flush ‘em out.  Not that it matters all that much out here.  Everyone just goes about their lives like everyone else.  There are no night clubs or specialty book stores to separate us.  This small town has totally accepted us, people have welcomed us into the community, taken us under their wing.  I don’t *need* a gay community here in the way I needed it in Toronto, but it’s just nice to know who the other queers are.  That way we don’t feel like the only ones. 

We belong.

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Responses

  1. Just wondering why you use the word QUEER?
    I see that as derogatory. Like that makes gay people less than other people, like there is something WRONG with them. I would never say to a gay person “you are Queer”.
    So please, Enlighten me.

  2. I just want to add. It is the same as Blacks calling themselves Niger. It is so disrespectful. It sounds like they don’t have respect for themselves, so why should anyone eles.

    • Hi Carol,

      Well it’s one of those things – words have power to hurt people and disempower people, yet the meaning of words evolves. In my experience with the word “Queer” in Toronto, Queer has been entirely reclaimed by the community and is used as an umbrella term to be more inclusive than simply “gay”. Gay is one end of the spectrum, but there’s people who identify as bisexual, transgendered, andro, intersexed, two-spirited, and there are a few terms I’m forgetting, I’m sure. All of these people as a group are often referred to as “the Queer Community” in Toronto, so I’ve brought my vernacular with me.

      Mass media has picked up on the generally accepted use of the word “Queer” in shows like Queer as Folk and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.

      Whether you’re black or queer or both or neither or another minority, I think everyone has a responsibility stop the use of hate language. For some, the responsibility is to simply not use the hot button words and to speak up when others use them hatefully. Those who are sometimes the target of hateful words may choose to remove the power from those words by changing the meaning for themselves.

      Another word that’s in the process of reclamation is “Dyke”. It’s still more hot-button than Queer, and while it’s used freely within the queer community, it’s a word that can still stop conversations and it’s even used hatefully within the queer community.

      So I’m not sure what to tell ya, Carol. Language evolves, and I guess we feel out our own comfort zones in the process. I certainly don’t think that calling oneself “queer” or “dyke” in the context of reclamation is a disrespectful thing though; on the contrary, it can be an empowering expression of self-acceptance.

  3. Thank you for explaining. I still would not feel comfortable with it. actually it makes me cringe, but, i get it now.

  4. I just wanted to add that i really enjoy all the pictures you post. I enlarge them to fill my screen. Its almost like being there! Love your blog and can’t wait to see you dreams of the coffee roaster come true. Do you have any names picked out for your new business?

    • I’ll be sure to get some more pictures up for you soon. 🙂

      We have a working name for the roastery, but it’s not really ressonating with anyone we’ve presented it to. We’re going to have a campfire coffee roast and get a bunch of people together soon, I have a feeling that our *real* name will come out of that.

  5. I remember long ago in the early 1970’s when we use “dyke” to identify ourselves in Berkeley, California. It was a coming out time and a feminist time. All kind of women’s businesses were beginning, homosexual division was happening and gay was considered a more male identity word. Lesbian was always a safe word to identify women. Dyke became a radical name. As far as ever becoming comfortable I don’t believe that happened. But it did get exposure. Now, dyke is pretty easily used to most lesbians I know, to identify themselves or other lesbians.

    • Thanks Joycie


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