Now that marriage is won in Oregon, I am really excited for the LGBTQ community (and our allies) to get back to the still very pressing work of making schools safer, ending workplace discrimination, bringing cultural competency to systems which oppress us, building bridges with communities of faith who oppose us, pushing trans rights to the forefront of our agenda, and making sure our growing senior population is honored and celebrated, having paved the way for all of these modern victories so many years ago.
Celebrate tonight, friends — because tomorrow the work continues.
To find the LGBTQ Community Center nearest you to get involved and support this community, click HERE. In Oregon, click HERE to connect with Q Center.
Recently I have witnessed a great deal of conflict within Portland’s local queer community online, in the press, and in real life. Much of this seems to come about as a result of heated debates around social issues, sex, politics, art, and the complicated inner-workings of the LGBT community in PDX (and everywhere). I believe there is much to be learned from conflict, but the way some of this has been playing out lately in the public sphere has felt mean spirited and has been difficult to watch at times.
It is my belief that we were all born inherently kind and connected to one another. Each of us was handed our own set of circumstances at birth, which are sometimes pre-destined long before birth, but most babies are not born angry. As kind queer babies are growing up, we sometimes find ourselves mistreated, abandoned, and ridiculed for being different. We are held down by layer upon layer of systemic oppression buried centuries deep in a culture that has its head shoved so far up its own ass it cannot see the part it plays in the cycle of abuse. This is painful and infuriating.
So what do we do with the fury we carry from having this history? How do we reconcile these justified feelings of outrage? Many of us might not feel powerful enough to take on our families, bosses or governments at the root of our feeling oppressed, so we aim lower and end up putting our pain on one another. Instead of queer people banding together to fight external oppression, we end up oppressing ourselves through infighting. It’s a tale as old as time, but all that cutting our friends amounts to in the end is a divided community, and a divided community is not a strong one.
We are still in the midst of a culture war, friends. While many changes have been made in our favor, we cannot forget that we still live in a country that treats queer people like second-class citizens, and in a state that actively perpetuates this discrimination. I fear sometimes Read the rest of this entry »
(Originally Published on QBlog and SMYRC on 12/5/2012)
The contestants for Season 5 of RuPaul’s Drag Race have been announced and our very own Jinkx Monsoon is one of them! Jinkx’s drag roots started at SMYRC, one of Q Center‘s LGBTQ Youth & Young Adult programs and drop-in center, and I had the chance to chat with her this week about her experience as a former SMYRC youth-turned-TV-star! Find our interview just below the videos…
Logan Lynn: Hey Jinkx! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me today! First off, Condragulations on your casting for Season 5 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Was this the first time you had tried out for the show?
Jinkx Monsoon: This was the first time I tried out. I had been considering auditioning since season 2, but it just never felt right. When I watched Season 4 however, I became really inspired. Not only was I inspired by the intensely unique Sharon Needles, but also by Chad Michaels who competed the entire time with class and compassion. The season 4 cast contained so much variety and individuality, that I finally said to myself “why not go for it?” I woke up one morning and it just felt like it was what I had to do. From that moment on, I went full force with my audition material and I was determined to do my damnedest to get on that show.
LL: Ah, yes. Determination strikes again! In recent years you have made quite a name for yourself in the Seattle drag scene. Would you say that your drag career began at SMYRC’s drag night?
JM: My Drag career most definitely began at SMYRC. Ages ago, when I was a SMYRC youth, I liked to get involved with organizing some the community events. One year for our Queer Winter Formal, the theme was “Fairy Tale” or something of the like. I had put together a small drag show to happen in the middle of the dance and I decided that I would dress up as the Queen of Hearts (one of my first times in true drag) for the event. The response was quite positive and I felt empowered to see where this could go. I started doing drag more and more at SMYRC for open mic. nights and other events and soon I was a full fledged baby drag queen. I had to have a name, so I used my SMYRC nickname: Jinkx. And it just seemed to work. Soon I was performing at SMYRC, The Escape (The all ages gay night club) and at little events here and there. But SMYRC was my home. It gave me a place to experiment with drag in a loving, supportive, judgement free zone.
LL: That is such a special experience! What brought you to SMYRC initially?
Note: My monthly column for Just Out Magazine “In The Trenches” was published today in the October issue. The piece is called “The Curse of Being Old Fashioned” and is about accepting all types of relationships. Unfortunately, the last 2 (very important) paragraphs were accidentally left out of the print version (something that has been making me CRAZY for days, and I’m sure will continue to all month) but the online version is complete. You can check out the original by clicking the cover image below, or just keep reading below.
In The Trenches: “The Curse of Being Old-Fashioned”
Let me start by saying I believe everyone should have the right to love whoever they please, however they please. My choice to love monogamously, and my sharing my thoughts around said loving with you all, is not meant to diminish your thoughts and choices, but rather to offer up yet another queer voice on the matter. I am not making a case for monogamy with this article, but rather a case for acceptance.
In recent days I’ve been reading a lot of articles about love, commitment, and the “M” word, followed by discussions with my fellow queers about said articles, and it’s left me feeling frustrated. I can’t help but wonder, at what point in our queer cultural development did it become acceptable to imply (or say outright) that a person or couple who chooses to be in a monogamous relationship is somehow less evolved than those who do not? I have encountered this view before in my previous dating misadventures, friendships, and relationships … as though my wanting to be with only one man for the rest of my life is buying into a “heteronormative” idea about love and, in so doing, is somehow oppressing you in yours.
It has been my experience that being what some would consider “old fashioned” feels, at times, a bit like a curse for an out, gay man. I have never had anonymous sex. I have never hooked up with anyone off of Craigslist. I have an iPhone but I am not on Grindr or Scruff or Manhunt or whatever other sites people use these days to populate their casual sex lives. In fact, I have never had a very casual sex life. It has always been tied to relationship or a longing for deep connection. My being this way has made it difficult for me to relate to the experience of many of my queer peers, and almost impossible for them to relate to me.
I was interviewed by The Advocate Magazine‘s Brett Edward Stout last week and it was just published today. We chatted for a while over the phone about love, life, sex, drugs, and (of course) rock and roll. Check out the original post by clicking HERE or on the magazine cover below, or you can read the transcript from our interview just below.
“Logan Lynn: From Fundamentalism to Raunchy Rock Star – The musician opens up about his eviction from fundamentalist church life, the drug abuse that nearly killed him, and how music saved him.
Indie rocker Logan Lynn’s life story is indeed a wild one. Somehow, a kid who grew up in a fundamentalist Christian church where even musical instruments were too secular to have around has developed into an innovative adult musician with a dirty-honest edge. “Turn Me Out,” the debut track off his upcoming fifth studio album, Tramp Stamps and Birthmarks, is blunt, raunchy, and fun. And people are turning in; the track quickly became a top 30 hit on iTunes, and audiences are eagerly awaiting the next single, “Do You Want Me Or Not,” scheduled to be released in September. Lynn chats with The Advocate about his eviction from fundamentalist church life, the drug use that almost killed him, and how music saved him.
The Advocate: What were you like as a kid?
Logan Lynn: I think I was pretty similar. I’m still pretty focused on love, family, and music. I’ve somehow managed to hold on to that in my adulthood.
What was your coming out experience like?
It was terrible. I’d been very depressed in high school. This religious upbringing had told me I was going to hell and was going to keep my eternal family from being together. I’d told one of my counselors about my early boyfriend I’d had and this particular counselor told my parents that I was gay and that I’d have to be removed from the church and sent to a boarding school in Tennessee the very next day. It was instant removal from my life. I fell full force into drug addiction for the next 15 years. I got clean in 2007 and have been clean ever since.
How did you survive?
At first it was just me. I went out on my own. I had to start over and rewire my brain that had been fully brainwashed and figure out who I was. I wanted a relationship with my family, but they were still involved with the church for another 10 years. Read the rest of this entry »
Originally Published in the September 2012 Issue of Just Out Magazine, on stands now. Click this month’s cover below for the original post.
In The Trenches: “The Party’s Over. Now What?”
It’s no secret that I struggled with an addiction to cocaine and alcohol for many years – Sixteen of them, to be exact. A quick Google search of my name uncovers that though, so this isn’t breaking news. I was always very openly strung out and continued to be open throughout the process of cleaning up, nearly 5 years ago at this point. By the time my active using had come to a close, I had wrecked my life many times over, hurt everyone around me, and squandered professional opportunities the likes of which I will never see again. It has been a long road to put things back to how they are today, and there are still times where that messy person appears, ready as ever to destroy all over again.
It seems you can take the drugs away from the insecure screw-up, but the feelings which led to the drugs in the first place remain. Sometimes they are small and manageable, other times they are too large to hold. Even now, all these years later, not a day goes by where I do not think about giving up. It usually happens when I get my feelings hurt or if I feel overwhelmed by the extreme realness of the universe, which tends to hit me in unexpected waves at the most inopportune times. In these moments I would love nothing more than to ease my aching shame with a drink or hide myself from you, the world, in some kind of thick, white, transformative smoke. There are times where I would literally give everything just to feel nothing.
The trouble with me feeling nothing is that it comes at great cost. I know how that story ends. I lose my work, then my friends and family, then my belongings, then my life. Boom. It’s over. Logan Lynn, dead at 32. No more love, no more music, no more words. I tell myself this story constantly so I Read the rest of this entry »