Dear queer loves,
I get it. The shit that’s happening in this country is super scary regarding laws coming forward that would allow businesses, employers, housing, etc. to discriminate against queer folks openly based on their religion. I partially grew up in Arizona, I was assaulted many times for many reasons. Because I was a girl, because I was hanging out with my latin@ friends, because I was queer. I understand the pain and frustration that comes with the threat of violence and discrimination. Guess what though?
It’s not the same as Jim Crow.
As a friend-of-a-friend said, “I don’t think it’s a good comparison and I think it’s actually harmful to the work we do and the alliances we say we care about. Jim Crow laws were a broad set of measures created specifically to make it impossible for black people to participate on any equal basis with white people. Jim Crow has a unique legacy and Jim Crow is about race. Framing these religious exemption policies as ‘gay Jim Crow’ suggests that the LGBT community is engaged in some kind of parallel experience to black people who lived under Jim Crow. I hope that’s not what we are intending to do.”
These laws are horrible, they’re painful, they’re troubling, but it’s also horrible, painful, and troubling for white folks who are queer to appropriate the term “Jim Crow” for queer causes. The origin of the phrase “Jim Crow” has often been attributed to “Jump Jim Crow”, a song-and-dance caricature of blacks performed by white actor Thomas D. Rice in blackface. That right there begins to differentiate the situations. There is no “gay face” and we’re not fighting a legacy of slavery of gays and an incredibly segregated society. We are fighting attempts to legally discriminate and there are many queer-protective laws in this country. The situation is bad in its own right, which is incredibly worth talking about, but to call these anti-gay laws “The New Jim Crow” is appropriating, alienating, and ignorant.
It deepens problems marginalized communities already have in fighting with each other, it shows a lack of mutual respect and understanding.
DO PLEASE TALK about those bits of legislation in their own horribleness. Talk about how it might hurt YOU, talk about YOUR history in those states, if you have one. Talk about YOUR fears and pain in seeing such laws coming into our society. You can do this without appropriating the traumatic experiences of other communities.
A lot of people feel grouchy about Valentine’s Day and I get it, I really do. I have not always been happy about love, nor have I always had good relationships. Plus, in a capitalist, oppressive, heteronormative culture, holidays like Valentine’s Day can feel like just another obnoxious reason people are trying to get you to buy things…
However, I am seriously into love, celebration, and giving.
For a winter holiday present (or, I suppose you could say. a Christmas gift) in 2013, I made both Matt and Marco a zine, The 3 of Us. For Valentine’s Day, or The Infamous Love Day, I also handmade them a little surprise…
Last year, just before The Infamous Love Day, two of my partners, Matt and Marco had just moved into an apartment together, becoming more than metamours, now they were housemates. I was so thrilled that these two dudes loved me and were confidant and close enough not to be bothered by the expectations that society puts on them. To not view each other as competition, to not be worried that people will think they’re gay, but to think highly of each other and value each other as friends on a deep level, so much so that they decided to become housemates. To celebrate The Infamous Love Day, I wanted to delight in the the space they were sharing and make them both feel special and appreciated. So, I made a lot of little paper hearts. On sparkly construction paper, writing on each one some quality that I loved about one of them and I hid them all over their new space!
A year later, I find myself sharing that same space with them. To me, this was a really big deal. I have only had two experiences living with partners and neither were very good. One was when I was 19, the other when I was 26, and it was an incredibly abusive and unhealthy situation with Andy Johnson. I found myself staying with the family I nannied for as a safety caution while waiting until Andy moved out of the house I lived in. So, a commitment I have had to myself since then was that I would NOT live with another partner again unless I was moving in with more than one partner. I felt this way partially because a big component of that ex’s abuse was his jealousy. The first time he assaulted me, he was blackout drunk and he had come to where I was on a date to confront me. Because he agreed to have an ethically non monogamous relationship with me and I am super into openness/honesty, he knew exactly where I was. After making a scene in the bar, he followed me outside, pushing me against a wall to yell at me about the mistakes I was making. From there, during the relationship, his jealousy only got worse and more hateful and more destructive. Being in a relationship like that can really eat away at your trust with yourself, so I felt like making the commitment that I wouldn’t move in with another partner unless it was multiple partners was important for two reasons. The first reason being that, ultimately, I want to live in a poly-family type of household, so why make a big commitment like moving in with anyone unless they share that value? Secondly, I don’t want to be with anyone violently jealous again, and making the commitment to move in with me and another partner of mine (hopefully) would mean that the potential partners I would be moving in with would not be violent (much less violently jealous). If one of them turned out to be, at least I would have a closer witness this time (though a few people got to witness Andy’s violent abuse despite not living with us). The thing about having been with an abusive partner is that there remains with you a doubt in your own judgement. Even when a relationship seems great, I still feel worried in the back of my mind that everything will fall apart at any moment.
While we’ve had our own hurdles to clear the last year, I really feel like my home is with Matt and Marco. We find ourselves gardening together, building a couch together, planning our futures, working on an autobio poly comic, working on an empowerment app, and more. I feel this space and that my relationship with the two of them is really constructive. This mix I’ve made for them is an attempt at capturing our feelings and journey over the last year as a story that is told as a mix… <3
Tres Corazones Después Año: A Love Day Mix for Matt and Marco – https://db.tt/3GtjD8iX (it’s one mp3 file, because I seriously mixed it y’all)
1. I Feel It In My Heart - Talking Heads
2. Rebel Girl - Bikini Kill
3. Joan Of Arc - Arcade Fire
4. Love Is Dangerous - French Horn Rebellion
5. Sweaty (Shazam Remix) - Muscles
6. Mommy Complex - Peaches
7. I Can Change - LCD Soundsystem
8. Myth - Beach House
9. Good Intent - Kimbra
10. Forever - HAIM
11. The Reason The Night Is Long - Rainer Maria
12. Step Up - Hercules
13. Little Shadow - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
14. Running Up That Hill – Kate Bush
15. This Too Shall Pass - OK Go
16. You’ll Find A Way - Santigold
17. Vaporize - Broken Bells
18. I Don’t Know What The Weather Will Be - Laura Mvula
19. The Good Thing - Talking Heads
Dear friends! Most of you know that Marco, Matt, and I have been working on making a poly bio comic that we’ll update weekly. It’s a pretty big, multifaceted project, we will all contribute to the scripts and story ideas (well, our lives are the story ideas), Marco and I will also sometimes draw it, but Matt will be the main artist. We even plan on taking submissions for comics having to do with non monogamy to feature guest artists. The website for it is also going to be a place where we talk about our lives and our other projects.
ANYWAYS, we are torn between two names, so we’d like to ask all of you lovelies to give us your two cents….
If it helps, these are the two songs of inspiration for us…
Hey friends! Now that Matt has this new-fangled site, where all his work is collected in one place (designed by Matt and coded by Marco), he has opened up his Etsy store listing prints and offering commissions!!
To celebrate the new site and the love-based-holiday that is Valentine’s Day, he’s having a sale on commissions that’s perfect for fulfilling your need for a card-sized piece of original art, either for a lover, a friend, or yourself! From now until February 14th, you can enter in the coupon code INFINITYLOVEPIZZA while checking out to get 33% off of your commission order in Matt’s Etsy store!
He’s offering ink drawings or ink drawing that are finished with water colors or digital coloring, so check out his Etsy commissions listings!
And, let me tell you, Matt’s really been cooking up some rad, love-based illustrations recently…
A few months ago, some friends of ours who are in a triad relationship, were celebrating their love and commitment to each other with a formal commitment ceremony (somewhat like a wedding). They are also rather nerdy and passionate about their interests (two of them had been Disney villainesses for Halloween), so many geeky elements were part of their wedding’s decor, including making their vows while wrapping a Tom Baker Doctor Who scarf around all their hands and having 20-sided die scattered on the tables. Matt made them an appropriately nerdy commitment ceremony gift…. An illustration of Disney villainesses playing D&D together!
For Christmas, he made our wonderful neighbors smaller, original-illustration cards featuring their furry, household loved ones…
Ambrose, the chihuahua…
Porter, the ball-obsessed yellow lab…
Danielle and Thor, cougar pug princess and her mighty pup companion…
Just a couple weeks ago, for a lovely friend’s birthday (Cat Farris), he made an awesome illustration featuring the character of her webcomic, Flaccid Badger, with one of her beloved game characters from Mass Effect, Garrus…
So, as you can see, the dude is a talented artist for all your love-capturing needs. He’s having this sale because he really enjoys having new stuff to draw and mash-up. So, whatever ignites the love within you this Valentine’s Day, ask Matt to do a commission to bring your lovely imaginings into reality! Treat yourself or someone else you love. <3
Just visit his commissions listing in his Etsy store, then, during checkout, you can enter in the coupon code INFINITYLOVEPIZZA to get 33$% off of your commission order.
OHMIGOSH! OHMIGOSH! I think it’s cool to announce now… I can’t believe it’s literally been years since I first told my friend Heidi she definitely needed to take her locally made, vegan cheese from our friend Whitneys’s cafe to the outside world. I set up a food tasting with Heidi’s creations and some vegan food bloggers that I know to help promote it and Whitney’s cafe, she took her cheeze to NW Veg Fest, and things took off for her from there. Now, she is growing and growing… And she offered me a job doing PR and marketing for her company!!! My official title for working for Heidi Ho Veganics looks like it will be Marketing/PR CheeZe Whiz. I am so excited! Plus, it’s really awesome to think about having another job that coincides with my ethical views, where I’m also working for two amazing women, Heidi and her partner Lyssa.
AND ALSO! For a couple years, I have been planning and brainstorming as to how I can support queer students in the after school program that I work for, waiting until I felt more secure of my position and my relationship with the director, before I straight up asked to facilitate a queer support group. I was thinking of facilitating something like a Gay Straight Alliance, but more spectrum inclusive, but then I learned the after school program had lost their Black Student Union teacher and therefore BSU, leaving a greater need within the after school program for support of marginalized students facing various kinds of discrimination and challenges. The idea I’ve come up with is a club called Youth Empowerment and Solidarity, or YES!
My plan for YES! is to do activities centered on strengthening student bonds and relationships, talk about constructive communication (especially non violent communication), talk about conflict resolution with peers and authority figures, discuss key vocabulary that will turn students on to verbalizing their struggles (ageism, homophobia, empowerment, solidarity, autonomy, consent, oppression, marginalization, racism, sexism, etc.), talk about media messages and the importance of dismantling them, talk about the importance of caring for yourself (physical and emotional) and how to care about others, have guests whose experiences will add to the conversations we’ll be having in class (different community leaders and activists), talk to the students about local youth resources (Multnomah County Youth Commission, SMYRC, Portland Youth Summit, Youth Empowered Action, Rock ‘N’ Roll Camp for Girls, etc.), read/discuss parts of Stay Solid!, and address/talk about whatever else the students want or need to talk about. This is the poster I made for YES! to promote it within the school…
Since I was a preteen/teen living in poverty with an abusive and neglectful parent, struggling to get out of that environment and better my life, it’s been a dream of mine to become a teacher and to have a positive impact on youth, but also to advocate for youth rights. I vowed I would grow up to be an adult that made a difference in the lives of young people. Back then, I thought I would become a biology teacher and just be present for my students. Over the years, I have switched gears a bit. I began to loath the structure of the public education system (as I watched it fail many of my peers and realized its oppressive and inherent flaws) and I fell away from wanting to study biology to become an educator, deciding to pursue my own creativity through comics and zines and wanting to teach kids those skills and more around independent publishing, seeking involvement and belonging in those communities… Which was a struggle, especially coming into the comics “community” in Portland in my early twenties, as the community was riddled with oppressive, power-hungry dudes that were incredibly misogynist (that special brand of nerdy misogyny with a lot of gate-keeping). But, I started doing indie comics workshops for kids and broadened to teaching general zine workshops for kids. As I had quickly become disillusioned by the comics community, I turned more towards zines, becoming a PZS organizer because that community felt safer, being facilitated by more women and having a Safer Spaces Policy (safer, but certainly not without it’s own problems and crappy people, as I also learned over the years). Along the way, I made a lot of friends, zines, anthologies, and memories. Becoming well known as a zinester by volunteering in that community on so many levels and working with youth int hose communties lead me to be invited into schools to teach. Working with kids to make zines felt so right. Zines encourage literacy in a very engaging way and making their own media is very empowering to young folks. It also opens a dialog with youth as to how mainstream media fails them. Now, my path as a zine educator has helped me fulfill my goal of working with and empowering youth not only with teaching zines, but with other interests, like debate, games class, and social justice activism (my new group, YES!). After I do a couple terms of YES! where I currently teach, I’m hoping to bring it into other schools.
In case you don’t know, I am about to turn 30 this month, so I have been doing a lot of reflecting as to where I am at and feeling really happy with my life and excited for everything in front of me (hence this post). I find myself accomplishing quite a few of some of my oldest goals and feeling like my heart and mind are going to explode.
Especially my heart. This year, for my annual Friendsgiving, I was hosting in my shared home with two amazing life partners. I have been living with my partners Matt and Marco since May and it’s been a very transformative experience. There have been bumps (mainly Marco and myself have wrestled with some baggage from past bad relationships and our childhoods clashing a little bit), as with any relationship transition into deeper intimacy (the deeper intimacy brings out deeper demons), but I have honestly been amazed with Matt, Marco, and myself. We garden together, we’re building a couch together, we laugh together, we cry together, we’re planning comics together, we celebrate together, we chill out together. We also have separate spaces and times, we schedule date nights and alone nights, balancing our desires to be together with time for ourselves. They each have there own rooms that they share with me, but I’m also working on having my own (I’m lagging because I also have the smallest room and I just need to get rid of a lot of stuff before it’s a functional space). When I kicked an abusive partner out of my house a few years ago, I vowed to myself that I wouldn’t live with anyone again unless it was multiple partners, thinking that, if more than one partner wanted to cohabitate with me, we’d probably all be having pretty awesome relationships and they would probably be awesome people whose goals in life were compatible with mine. Both Matt and Marco are incredibly sweet, supportive, accountable, and motivated people. I find myself continually inspired by them both and feeling thankful for them both.
I have wanted to have deeper loves in my life for a long time, trying to have healthy relationships and practicing non monogamy (bent more towards polyamory) over the years with a lot of trial and error, but I finally feel I am sharing my life in meaningful way with not just one amazing partner, but two. We have shared space, shared goals, shared projects. It all has me feeling incredibly fulfilled and happy, my home is feeling like one of the safest and most wonderful places… It really feels like a home and Matt and Marco are my family. All with room for more.
So, with all this, I am going into my thirties. Considering where I’ve been and where I’m at, I think this may be the most amazing decade of my life. It took a lot of work to get here, but it’s all been incredibly worthwhile.
This past weekend, Matt’s mom came to visit.
Primarily, she wanted to visit to come to Matt’s book signing for the work he did on the Plants vs. Zombie comic. For us, it was a chance to humanize ourselves and our life to a woman who is very against who we are and the life we’re living, all while having little to no understanding of us or many things about our lives.
Matt’s mom’s visit was so many things all at once. Pleasant, awkward, fun, stressful, relieving, revealing, and more. I realized that, in a lot of ways, she’s like my own mother, but without the violent abuse and alcoholism and with more of the racism, homophobia, and sexual shaming. She was very polite to Marco and I, saving her fretful, phobic meanderings about our relationship for when her and Matt were alone. But she also said she appreciated that Marco and I were nice to her. Having recently gone through a divorce which involved a large amount of disempowerment and deceit, she is in a tender and vulnerable place. She has a lot of trust issues, which is really understandable. We recognized that and, though a lot of her fears are irrational and due to a lack of experience outside her own circumstances, a lot of what we’re going through is a culture clash. So, we tried to just have fun and hang out with her, to try to give her some experience with us that would be positive. Also, because I love Matt so much, I want to show his mother that, despite our differences, I want to be there for her and to care for her. We went out to eat at some of our favorite restaurants, we made dinner in, we made terrariums, we took her to Multnomah Falls, we traveled to the Newport Aquarium, we showed her our progress on pizza couch, I babysat the neighbor’s kiddo and brought him over while Matt was making dinner, we got her to watch Janelle Monae videos, we sang to her at karaoke, and we had a lot of conversations with her about our lives and our beliefs (and even about how we may want to have kids). The whole time, we we’re battling off colds (mine really hit me Monday, when we went to the aquarium), so I was bummed out that I felt I wasn’t more in top form, more articulate and energetic, but we made do. It’s so intense to feel a longing to include someone who thinks so little of you, but it’s also something I’m quite used to in life. I’m thankful she was at least polite and thankful she felt we were kind. We’re united in our love for Matt, which, I believe, will carry us far.