Compassion to the Why by Karen Leslie Hernandez

This last month, I’ve found myself doing work on what I call, Compassion to the Why. That is understanding why. Asking why. Getting why. Having compassion, for, why.

Why is this important, you ask? Because getting to the ‘why,’ is imperative to understanding. Almost everything.

Let me give you some examples. I will start big. Afghanistan. After colonization, Afghanistan was working toward a modern world. I’ve noted pictures of women in mini-skirts at Kabul University in 1977, and although the country’s infrastructure was struggling, it was moving along as it should. Then, the Russian invasion in 1979, rebel groups, radical forming factions using faith as their political motives, and the rest is history. We have no guarantee or Crystal Ball as to if Russia had not invaded, of what Afghanistan would be like today, or if the Taliban or Al Qaeda would have formed anyway, but, it is safe to say, it probably would be a very different country all together. Let me also add this about my using Afghanistan as an example. Right after 9/11 and when the US was about to invade the country and begin its assault, I sent out an email with my worries about what that retaliation would mean. An Aunt of mine, through my marriage with my former husband, wrote me back and gave me a litany of excuses as to why we should obliterate this nation, ending with, “… and besides, they aren’t even Christian over there.”

If only my good ol’ Auntie had cared to know why, perhaps, she would have had some compassion.

Continue reading “Compassion to the Why by Karen Leslie Hernandez”

The Day I Re-Learned How to Love My Femininity: This Butch’s Experiment in Healing by _Melody F.

I feel like I am a bit of a typical white, middle class, butch. Maybe not, but I feel like I’ve met me: I dress like a dude, take on what I consider masculine roles in relationships, and do ‘guy things’ like play video games or carry heavy objects. And then there’s that really feminine part of me, the soft-butch side that comes out when I can’t take something macho I’m trying to do seriously, or when my voice (already high) hits that pitch that (not ‘screams,’ but) sort of sweetly says ‘hello, I’m girly.’ When my soft butch side comes out, my students coo at me. It’s all very embarrassing.

But under a face which turns blotchy red in such moments, something my ex used to think was cute, I have been privately wishing that feminine part of me would die away. For the last year, I’ve silently hated her. This post is about when I decided to stop.

I’ve been having an ongoing conversation with a fiercely femme friend of mine about misogyny and masculine privilege in LGBTQ communities. About a month ago she sent me an article by Gabrielle Rivera titled Fat-Booty Butch Wears Leggings — Confuses World, Confronts Self. In it, Rivera dons a pair of leggings for the day and writes a post about her experience that addresses invisibility of femmes, butch privilege, and other well-thought-out and honest observations about queer folks and communities from the perspective of a butch/Queer Person of Color. Rivera rocked both the leggings and the post. (I highly recommend giving it a read.) What struck me most was how very much herself Rivera seemed to stay. Even as she engages a complex shift in the way in which her communities received and read her, she protests her invisibility – nothing about switching codes had erased her or her queerness. I wasn’t sure I would feel the same. I was so alienated from my feminine side that the idea of looking even a little bit feminine, just to touch her, seemed as though it might blank out my identity. Continue reading “The Day I Re-Learned How to Love My Femininity: This Butch’s Experiment in Healing by _Melody F.”

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