PQ Monthly May/June 2015

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Photo by Eric Sellers



PQMONTHLY.COM - Vol.3 No.5 May/June 2015

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We weren’t quite sure what to expect when Melanie Davis asked John and I if we would consider chairing a committee to select the first Brilliant List. Once we agreed, Melanie gave a brief idea of what she wanted, stepped back and told us to go! We quickly realized that the selection committee would have to start from scratch, except we didn’t have a committee yet, so we looked to our community and recruited three great folks: Skye McKay, Willa Hendrickson, and Cameron Whitten. Each committee member is activlely engaged in our community and was eager to get going. Our first task was to establish the rules for the nominees. The committee ensured that all the candidates demonstrated community engagement and/or leadership with a focus on Social Justice and diversity. Examples of this were anti-bullying, LGBTQ rights, racial justice, immigrant rights, women’s rights, homelessness, poverty, hunger and political activism. Candidates originally were to be from Oregon, but we later realized that PQ Monthly and El Hispanic News reached farther than the Oregon border and we expanded it to include parts of Washington. Once nomination guidelines were set, we waited for the nomina-

tions to come rolling in, we thought that the hardest part was over, we were wrong! Our community has so many folks that do so much and the nominations reflected this. We received many great nominations from Oregon and Southern Washington and we realized that this would not be an easy selection process. We wanted to have a diverse and exciting first Brilliant List. During our process of determining the nominee’s qualifications, we also decided on several categories that would be inclusive of the many aspects of our community. We decided there should be awards for a Business, a Non-Profit, and individual awards that would include a Rising Star and a Legacy award. Since the nominations were open to everyone, the nominating form asked several questions about the nominees that would inform us while making the selections. We had asked for background information to help us understand why folks were nominating the business, non-profit or individual such as unique skills, qualities or noteworthy accomplishments that make the nominee “Brilliant”. We asked for a description of how the nominee promotes diversity and social justice in the community as well as any collaborative partnerships that resulted from their actions. We wanted to know how the nominee inspired, encouraged and/or mentored others to create a positive change. And finally, we wanted to know how the community benefited and the lasting impact the nominee has had. All in all, this was a very thorough vetting process that the selection committee developed to ensure that we truly did have a “Brilliant List”! You will find, each of those selected truly have made an impact, in our local community and also in the broader community. John and I would like to thank Melanie Davis for her vision of creating an award as a way for those who do great work and for those who rarely get recognized. We’d also like to thank each of the committee members for their dedication to this project, without their insight and determination we could not have accomplished this.

--Robin Castro and John Halseth


photographers Oscar Foster

Staff Photographer oscar@pqmonthly.com


contributing writers

The Brilliant List Introduced..............................................................Page 4 Radical History, GLAPN’s Community-Based Archive...................Page 8

TJ Acena, Belinda Carroll, Marco Davis, Gula Delgatto, Andrew Edwards, Leela Ginelle, Sossity Chiricuzio ,Shaley Howard, Konrad Juengling, Richard Jones, LeAnn Locher, Michael James, Monika MHz, Miss Renee, Katey Pants, and, of course, your PQ Editorial Team

“Butch Queens in Pumps” and Ball Culture....................................Page 9


June is Coming; Your Pride Preview................................................Page 16

“We Changed the Face of Oregon”...............................................Page 10 The Deconstruction of Colonial Structures.....................................Page 12 “We Are All Connected”..................................................................Page 14

Even More Events..............................................................................Page 18




See and Be Seen and the Return of Ginger Lee............................Page 32 This month’s cover is brought to you by our Brilliant List honorees, who we believe are the perfect introduction to Pride season. Here you will find activists, legislators, non-profits, and so much more-these people work tirelessly to make our city and state (thus, our world) a better place. So dive in and get inspired! All Brilliant List photos by Eric Sellers, styling by Michael Shaw Talley.

Plus: ID Check, The Lady Chronicles, This Ends Badly, Pretty, Witty, & Gay, more Brilliant List, more Pride events, and lots of inspiration. Not seeing what you’d like to read? Email Daniel@PQMonthly.com, and keep June 11 marked on your calendar, our complete Pride Guide will be printed that day (and released a little early online). SPECIAL EDITION MAY/JUNE 2015 • 3



PQ Monthly and El Hispanic News have invited their readers to acknowledge ten people, groups or organizations that have an impact in the LGBTQ community. Nominees were judged on skills, promotion of diversity and social justice, inspiration, mentoring and their lasting impact. As you may guess, the selection committee had their work cut out. We’d like to thank everyone for their nominations, there were many to choose from with many deserving folks. The categories are: Corporation, Non-profit, Rising Star, Individuals and Legacy Award. So, let’s meet the 2014 Brilliant List! Nike – Without a doubt Nike has been an ally and a leader among corporations supporting, encouraging and including the LGBTQ community. Equity Foundation – They have helped so many folks for over 25 years and are spot on when they say “we fund equality”! In the past year the Equity Foundation has flourished and continues to be there for our communities. Pam Campos-Palma is the Rising Star among the group. As director of Las Mujeres de la Raza, a communal and PSU organization, Pam strives to promote strength, empowerment and unity for all women. And that’s just one of her accomplisments. Kendall Clawson – As former Executive Director of Q Center, Kendall led the effort to move Q Center from its former location to its new and larger cite. Her accomplishments are many and after leaving Q Center, Kendall is now on Governor Brown’s senior management team as Director of Executive Appointments and Deputy Chief of Staff bringing her vast experience to a statewide level. Shaley Howard – Whether fighting for LGBTQ equality, fund raising for HRC or advocating for women’s rights, Shaley walks the walk and talks the talk everyday by being an example for all and strives to get more in our community involved in the issues that matter to us all. Amanda Wright – As a member of the Klamath Tribe,

Amanda has brought awareness of LGBTQ issues to a community often overlooked. Amanda has worked in the Native community bringing awareness to suicide prevention, tobacco prevention and HIV/AIDS prevention and education. She founded the Portland Two Spirit Society, an organization dedicated to bring the LGBTQI community together with their families and allies. Alissa Keny-Geyer – A member of the Oregon House Of Representatives, Alissa is a champion for all issues in her district and has been a great ally in the Marriage Equality campaign, worked to pass the Natural Hair Care Act, and is another great voice for the LGBTQ community! George T. Nicola – Thanks to the Gay & Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest (GLAPN), the LGBTQ history is documented and used as points of references in our fight for equality. This is just one of the efforts George does; his activism has spanned four decades and shows no sign of stopping, truly an asset to our community. Everett Maroon – As Executive Director of Bluer Mountain Heart To Heart, a HIV/AIDS support services organization in Walla Walla, WA, Everett is a voice for the LGBTQ community in a very conservative part of the state. Activist, author, he has published two books, one a humorous memoir about his gender transition, and the other about a trans kid who can jump through time, mentor, we are very happy to be able to include Everett. Renee LaChance is the Legacy Award winner. Co-founder of Just Out in 1983, Renee has been a champion, a leader, an activist forming many partnerships in the LGBTQ community. Renee has been one of the go to people for guidance and support for all whenever called upon. This is just a snapshot of the many accomplishments of the 2014 Brilliant List winners. We are proud to have so many great folks in our community and are grateful for all they have done—so dive into our pages and enjoy!

--Robin Castro and John Halseth


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Businesses, small and large, play a powerful role in the struggle for equality — not just by affecting the lives of their employees and consumers, but also as influencers of policy and culture. One company that ranks among the best nationwide as an advocate for equality and inclusion comes from our own backyard in Beaverton, Oregon. Nike, the company with the mission to bring “inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world” (and that means everyone), not only stands up for its LGBTQ workers but has a message of inclusion for all. That’s especially valuable to us in a company that stands as the cultural force that Nike is, with an iconic level of brand recognition, partnerships with world-famous athletes and sponsorships with hundreds of teams and athletic events. And, as a brand that is central to the world of sports, Nike has been making waves in industries that have often been slow to respond to the changing times for LGBTQ people. In 2014, Nike paved the way for making it easier for

LGBTQ athletes to come out, promising to endorse any major league player who did. And that’s exactly what happened when NBA player Jason Collins announced he is gay, and then signed a deal with Nike. Nike scores a perfect 100 in the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, has been lauded for offering a transgender-inclusive healthcare plan and is the creator of the Be True line to support the LGBT Sports Coalition. Nike’s CEO Mark Parker criticized Indiana’s so-called ‘religious freedom law’ passed into law this spring — a law that essentially introduced a right to discriminate against LGBTQ people on religious grounds, before the law was updated by Indiana’s legislature. “Nike proudly stands for inclusion for all,” Parker said in an official statement. “We believe laws should treat people equally and prevent discrimination. Nike has led efforts alongside other businesses to defeat discriminatory laws in Oregon and opposes the new law in Indiana which is bad for our employees, bad for our consumers, bad for business and bad for society as a whole,” he said. pqmonthly.com




By Leela Ginelle, PQ Monthly

Since 2011, Alissa Keny-Guyer has represented constituents in Oregon House District 46, an area including Mt. Tabor, Laurelhurst, Montavilla and Foster-Powell. As a legislator, she’s advocated on behalf of children and pursued health care gains for all—concerns that have animated her entire career. In the early ‘80s, after graduating from Stanford, KenyGuyer taught in Indonesia, and returned there as a Community Development Officer with Oxfam. She earned a Masters in Public Health for the University of Hawaii, and later moved to Portland when her husband, Neal, became the head of Mercy Corps. From 2003 to 2009, Keny-Guyer served on the Multnomah County Children and Families Commission. In the Oregon House, Keny-Guyer sits on the Human Services and Housing committee, and is Vice-Chair of the Health Care committee. In May 2013, she co-sponsored The Natural Hair Act, which allowed African-American hair stylists to practice natural hair styling—a part of African-American cultural tradition—without a cosmetology license, but with a natural styling license instead. This was just one example on Keny-Guyer’s commitment to serving all the communities around her. PQ MONTHLY: You served many communities, from Indonesia where you taught and worked in community development, to Portland, which you represent in the state legislature. What does being part of, and contributing to, a community mean to you? Alissa Keny-Guyer: As the third of six children, being “amidst” and contributing to community has been a part of my DNA for as long as I can remember. I am energized every day when I can work with others who are inspired to give back to their community. I feel rewarded when I see progress in economic development, social justice, and community pride as a result of collaborative efforts. The issues are often similar in communities overseas as well as at home... everyone wants to see their families and communities thrive. PQ: You recently worked with Conscious Coils to pqmonthly.com

pass the Natural Hair Act in Oregon. You’ve also advocated for midwives and survivors of domestic violence. What does activism mean for you in your life? AK-G: My focus has been on the health and well being of women and children most of my career. Well being is based on physical and social factors, including a strong social fabric and access to resources: education, business capital, housing, healthy foods, nurturing relationships, and a clean environment. Activism means working with others to ensure that everyone has access to these physical and social determinants of health. PQ: You’ve accomplished many things in your life, including graduating from Stanford, being an elected representative and serving on the boards of Impact NW and the Portland Children’s Levy. What’s inspired you in your achievements? AK-G: My parents were my original inspiration. My father focused on international development, from his early career with the United Nations in Pakistan, India and New York, and later with Save The Children. My mom focused on domestic issues, from civil rights and poverty to nuclear disarmament. Despite all they did for others, they personally suffered from societal prejudices. My dad felt compelled to hide his homosexuality and later died of AIDS; my mom died of complications from Hepatitis C. As an adult, my list of mentors and heroes has grown to include the thousands of people I have witnessed working tirelessly for social change, from Jeana Frazzini on LGBTQ issues, to Marian Wright Edelman on children’s issues, to Alberto Moreno on immigrant rights, to Nichole Maher on native rights, to my legislative colleague Rep. Lew Frederick working to end racial profiling. There are countless others who have suffered beatings and death when standing up to injustice. Every time I feel tired or anxious about taking an unpopular political stand, I think about those who have risked so much more than I ever have. PQ: You’ve been an elected official since 2011. Do you envision continuing in that role? What goals do you have for your future? AK-G: I hope to continue serving in this role as long as I can have an impact on promoting social justice through the political system. While there is so much gridlock in Washington DC, we have made a lot of progress at the state level to support women, children, the LBGTQ community, immigrants, seniors, and people with disabilities. Yet we also have a long way to go in all those areas! If I ever feel that my ability to impact change through the political system is severely restricted, perhaps by my party losing the “majority” or by my making too many enemies (!), I will probably return to the nonprofit sector, where I spent all of my career prior to politics. PQ: As a member of the inaugural Brilliant List, do you have any thoughts to pass on to young activists or leaders who might just be starting off on their paths? AK-G: I recommend throwing yourself whole-heartedly into one or more causes, and see it through until you have a victory. It is so rewarding to know you have made a difference in collaboration with others, and it will make you want to repeat that experience over and over! Find mentors and learn as much as you can from them, and then be ready to share your experiences and lessons with those who come after you. Learn from your mistakes... we all have MANY of them, so go easy on yourself and those around you.

you have 1,138 reasons


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Photo by Eric Sellers

In 2010 Amanda Brings Plenty-Wright founded the Portland Two Spirit Society. The group uses education to help combat the homophobia and transphobia introduced to Native American cultures by European colonists. In 2012 PTSS partnered with 2SY, a Two Spirit youth group run by the Native American Rehabilitation Association, to create a curriculum and tool kit for workshops and education. In 2013, Plenty-Wright (Klamath/Modoc) was recognized by Queer Heroes NW. PQ MONTHLY: You founded the Portland Two-Spirit Society, which has helped people connect with and reclaim their identities, and you’ve helped educate those around you to combat homophobia learned from European colonizers. What does being part of, and contributing to, a community mean to you? AMANDA BRINGS PLENTY-WRIGHT: I work for my people, my community—so it literally means everything to me. I feel a strong sense of self worth when I am helping and giving to others. The credit is uncomfortable for me, I like the behind the scenes work. I work hard and the pay off comes in seeing the change not accepting credit or being praised for the work. My great-grandparents helped raise me and really instilled a strong work ethic and a strong sense of taking care of others and working for my people. My great-grandpa always used to tell me, “Everything you give will come back to you, always keep your word, be generous, humble and respectful to everyone who comes along, a person can have no material possessions but if they have respect, they have everything they need in life.” Two Spirit people have always held leadership roles in our communities, as healers, mediators, historians, teachers, caretakers, etc so I think in that way it comes naturally for me. PQ: You helped the PTTS partner with 2SY, a two-spirit youth group started by the Native American Rehabilitation Association, to create a youth curriculum and tool kit. What does this activism, that helps so many people, mean for you in your life? ABP-W: I am so very proud of this work and collaboration! It’s amazing to see others inspired and moved to action by my work as I have so many heroes and mentors that I look up to and have been inspired by. I still very much feel sometimes like I am that little Klamath/Modoc kid in the back of the room sitting quietly while my elders lead the way. To look up now and see and acknowledge that I am participating in leading the way for others is humbling and amazing to me. I really do put everything I have into my work and I don’t like to hear, no or it can’t be done or it’s impossible and I think that’s when I work best. All my life I have been hearing that and my response has always been, let me show you and one way or another I make it happen. PQ: You’ve had a number of big accomplishments, such as being chosen as a 2013 member of the Queer Heroes NW. What’s inspired you in your achievements? AMANDA BRINGS PLENTY-WRIGHT page 7

Brilliant Media would like to thank Tony Starlight for hosting The Brilliant List 2015 Awards Ceremony

Tony Starlight Showroom 1125 SE Madison St, Portland, OR 97214 6 • SPECIAL EDITION MAY/JUNE 2015


ABP-W: Thank you. I’m grateful for the acknowledgements. I’m constantly inspired by my kids; the greatest thing in my life is Continued from page 6 being a parent. These little spirits come into your life and shake your foundation to it’s core and really make you question what you really think about the world and your place in it. Then they are like little sponges thirsty for knowledge and your job is not to own them or put them in a bubble but prepare them to be awesome, responsible, respectful, contributing adults in this big, bad, beautiful, chaotic world. And in the moments between the why’s, what’s and how’s they constantly seek you realize looking through their lens they teach you more then you will ever teach them. They inspire me to do my best everyday and to work at shaping the world they will inherit. My brother Myles also inspires me everyday. He has survived Leukemia twice now in 8 years and is only 30. His bone marrow transplant was a year ago this month. He still battles with the battle scars of cancer and the drug side effects that were used to kill the cancer but he’s the strongest person I know. When I’m feeling pitiful I remind myself what he’s endured and cut my pity party short. I’m grateful for him and the things he’s taught me. PQ: What activities do you have coming up? What do you see in your future? ABP-W: PTSS is revamping itself and gearing up to start social activities this coming summer. It’s exciting returning, I’ve took a much needed break and now it’s time to get back to work. I hope that PTSS will establish itself as a nonprofit and start looking for grants to further it’s work in the community. As for my future, I’m not looking to far ahead these days, I’m trying my best to enjoy each moment, spend time with my family, create as much Art as I can because it truly feeds my soul, and graduate from my Master’s program. I will be very proud of myself next year this time when I graduate as the first in my family to have a Master’s degree. I was told many times that I couldn’t do it and it really never gets old to say, let me show you! PQ: As a member of the inaugural Brilliant List, do you have any thoughts to pass on to young activists or leaders who might just be starting off on their paths? ABP-W: Yeah: always be true to your word, work hard, and celebrate the work not self. Never give up and work harder through adversity. Get to know your strengths and use them.


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will only be able to piece together the overarching story of this protest; collectively, We often see the term “radical” used the voices of the demonstrators merge to to describe politics and modes of think- create a more complete and potent history. ing, but what exactly does this mean? The Primary sources are infinitely valuable word “radical” stems from in historical terms, and the Latin radix, meaning many of them never see “root.” Think of a converthe light of day due to persation with a young child, ceived insignificance by where they ask a seemtheir creators. Primary ingly simple question: sources are basically the “Did you go to school raw materials of history— too when you were they include diaries/jouryounger?” nals, letters, event flyers, “Yes, I did,” you answer. articles of clothing, etc. “Why?” These sources can be You pause. “Well, chilintensely personal, offerdren need to go to school ing an unfiltered look because that’s how they into the individual expelearn things from teachriences behind crucial ers.” periods of queer and The child shrugs and trans history that otherasks, “Why?” wise receive little to no And so on they ask after coverage. Using a comevery answer you give to munity-based model of every question archiving histhey pose, contory, every voice “TELLING OUR STORIES, SHARING OUR tinually peeling is given value MEMORIES, AND SAVING REMNANTS away the layers and unique conFROM OUR PAST ARE ALL WAYS TO of meaning and sideration. Pris u b t e x t u n t i l ASSERT OUR WORTH AND SIGNIFICANCE mary sources are they either get to recognized for IN A WORLD THAT IS OFTEN VIOLENTLY the origin of that their value preOPPOSED TO OUR EXISTENCE.” particular human cisely because institution or, at they comprise least, know where they next need to hunt the core of our lived reality as a commufor answers. That child is practicing rad- nity, free from any spin or bias. ical thinking. Telling our stories, sharing our memHistory, much like education, is often ories, and saving remnants from our past structured on the assumption of hierar- are all ways to assert our worth and sigchy: the study and preservation of our past nificance in a world that is often violently belongs to the extensively trained archi- opposed to our existence. If we view history vists and degreed historians, both of whom as a collective effort, we empower ourselves we assess as authority figures. Information to mold the narrative of queer and trans is circulated linearly, from top to bottom, struggles in a way that centers our humanity and those who are not trained as creators and autonomy. A community-based archive are mere consumers. But looking through also excels in amplifying our intersecting a radical lens, we will find ourselves asking, identities. Much of history focuses on a sin“Why?” gular narrative that is white, wealthy, cisA community-based archive is an alter- gender, heterosexual, and male; if we shape nate way of viewing the creation of our his- history ourselves, we subvert this paradigm torical record. Instead of following the cre- and center those at the complex intersecator-to-consumer model, all members of a tions of identity. community-based archive are creators and Do you have a story to share? An old contributors. It’s an empowering concept, journal from your early days of activism? and it is especially important to consider A homemade sign from the first time you when documenting queer and trans his- participated in a demonstration? We invite tory. Personally, I tend to emphasize three you to connect with us! Every one of us has reasons for this importance: a story to share, and every story gives us a If we rely solely on trained experts and broader understanding of where we came mainstream media outlets, we are left with from and where we hope to be. In the realm an incomplete and inaccurate record. His- of radical history, your experience is at the torians record history, but the actual cre- center of our movement, and we want to ation of history rests with us all. Imagine a help you preserve it. protest attended by thousands of demonstrators; while it’s true there is a single event GLAPN currently meets on the 4th Thurstaking place, every one of those protestors day of every month, from 7 PM to 9 PM, at brings their own perspective and experi- Q Center. For more information, contact us ence to the forefront. An outside observer through email at info@glapn.org. 8 • SPECIAL EDITION MAY/JUNE 2015




For many observers, their first taste of the house/ball scene came with the 1989 documentary “Paris Is Burning.” The indelible film took viewers in Harlem’s African-African and Latino LGBTQ subcultures, where members formed surrogate families, with names like the House of LeBeija and the House of Ninja, and competed in voguing and catwalking battles. Twenty five years later, author and academic Marlon M. Bailey offers readers both an update on this culture and a thoughtful, scholarly look at its roots, its place in U.S. society, and the vital meaning it holds for participants. To research his book, “Butch Queens Up In Pumps,” Bailey spent six years in and around the Detroit ball scene, joining the House of Prestige himself, and walking in numerous balls as a butch queen, or cis gay man. His writing balances “you are there” style reportage, deep analysis, and occasionally wonky academese. Bailey’s thesis is a large one: that LGBTQ African-American (his focus omits Latinos), excluded from African-American culture by homophobia, and white LGBTQ culture by racism, formed houses to provide themselves nurturing and support, and throw balls to both acquire the skills they need to survive in a world that’s hostile toward them, and as ceremonies for their identities. He demonstrates his ideas handily, in a work that ranges over many topics, such as house culture’s gender system, the houses’ family structures, and ball dynamics. One topic Bailey delves into masterfully is “realness.” A viewer watching “Paris Is Burning” might find realness,


which measures a person’s ability pass as cisgender if they are trans, or as heterosexual is they are gay or lesbian, as non-progressive. Bailey, however, displays the social circumstances that make realness competitions so important for ball participants. Surrounded by violence and hostility, learning to pass, or to “unmark themselves as non-normative,” allows house members to navigate their worlds safely. Likewise, acquiring these skills with the support and mentoring of their house families reinforces participants’ value to themselves and each other. As Bailey sees it, houses could not exist without balls, and vice versa. The need for family is always balanced with the thirst to “slay and snatch”: slay the competition and snatch the trophy. Both aspects give members a chance to create a world in which they’re valued and can see themselves as participants. While the house scenes are home to all sexual and gender identities, Bailey critiques the way in which it reproduces the femmephobia and transphobia of mainstream culture. Masculinity is privileged, meaning “butch queens” hold a dominance over “butch queens up in drag” (cis gay men who perform drag), and “femme queens” (trans women). Likewise, “butches” (trans men) are valued above “women” (cis lesbians). Bailey’s book offers fascinating looks at how voguing has evolved since “Paris Is Burning,” the ways homophobia has caused house music, which is integral to the ball scene, to be undervalued both academically and within the African-American community, and the place that call and response dynamics, which play out vibrantly between the commentator and the ball contestants, holds in African traditions. That said, the author also displays some of the

traits, such as explaining at length what he plans to discuss in each chapter, and using words like “labor” and “kin” in incredibly broad, repetitive ways, that can make academic writing off-putting for lay readers. While clearly concerned with and sympathetic toward trans participants in house/ball culture, Bailey is more surefooted when discussing gay identities than trans ones. He uses the terms “male-bodied” and “biologically male,” for instance to describe trans women, both problematic, and less respectful of trans identities than “assigned male at birth” would be. Likewise, his recounting of a discussion between a trans man and a trans woman about gender roles within houses is offensively sensationalized. He describes their dynamics as “paradoxical,” basing his view on the speakers’ birth assignments, rather than their identities. Bailey’s more insightful when comparing the world of balls with that of mainstream culture. In examining “stunts and crafts,” for example, the use by ball goers of identity theft to fund their outfits, and their trips to competitions, he gives space for people who condemn such illegal practices, but also places them in the context of a U.S. culture that appears to condone corporate fraud on a massive, ongoing scale. The author, likewise, delves deeply into the widespread use of words like c-nt and pussy by commentators, participants and promoters in the scene to connote femininity. He explores the idea that the terms’ meanings have mutated subversively in their journey from the broader culture to the subculture, so that they might not carry misogynist charges any longer there, while conceding that their use may simply be a replication of misogyny that’s been unconsciously reproduced. Nearly every page of Bailey’s book contains thought-provoking ideas, as it explores an inspiring, fascinating culture. Pick it up, but be warned: in the words of ball commentator Frank Revlon, “It’s gonna get severe up in here.”




Photo by Eric Sellers


Kendall Clawson, formerly Executive Director at Portland’s Q Center, led the effort to move Q Center to a new and larger site—from its modest spot on Water Avenue to its now-iconic perch atop Mississippi. In 2011, she left Q Center for a role in Gov. John Kitzhaber’s office—Director of Executive Appointments—with a goal of finding more women, people of color, and LGBT folk to serve our state in a variety of capacities. Soon Deputy Chief of Staff was added to Clawson’s resume. Since the recent transition to Gov. Kate Brown’s administration, she continues to serve in the governor’s office as Deputy Chief of Staff. PQ Monthly: Tell me a little bit about your background. Kendall Clawson: My dad was in the military, and so I grew up in Cuba and Puerto Rico and came back to the U.S. when I was getting ready to go to high school. I had this completely different reality where particularly race and class weren’t as obvious because in the military we were first and foremost American. I (went) to college at UC Santa Cruz, and started to notice the difference in the way that people are treated. I had this interest in community, in issues related to race and class. PQ: What sparked your interest in community work? KC: I always expected to go to law school, but one of my greatest mentors—the associate dean of admissions, African American and gay, someone I knew I could relate to, taught me about trusting myself and accepting myself and looking at ways that leadership would work for me as a woman of color. This is back in the 1980s. He called me one day and said he felt really sick, went to the hospital and he found out he had AIDS. I was interested in what

was happening to him as an African-American gay man experiencing that discrimination and disenfranchisement, and back then there weren’t a lot of programs that were culturally competent. There was an organization called the Black Coalition on AIDS, and I went and started volunteering and ended up working there. I decided not to go to law school, because I felt my calling was around community development and organizing. PQ: What brought you to Portland? KC: I was living in Massachusetts, working for United Way and it was a winter that it just snowed relentlessly, and I was ready to get out of there and do something different. My wife Michelle and I—we had a conversation about “we’re not gonna do this cold winter stuff anymore”—and we always loved Oregon. We decided to roll the dice and move. I saw the job posting for the Q Center and—ended up getting the job, and it was this really amazing opportunity to build something from the ground up. This is the piece that I love about Portland and about Oregon in general is that when people believe in something, they really come together around it. I was really lucky. I didn’t know a soul, I literally had zero friends here, and yet I walked in on my first day surrounded by people who were ready to help me be successful and help me build the center. PQ: From there, you started working in the governor’s office. KC: My former board chair Gwen Baldwin called me one day and said, “Some people in Salem are talking to you; the governor wants to talk to you about a job.” I was like, “What, are you kidding me?” I get this phone call an hour or KENDALL CLAWSON page 11


FASHION so later from his transition team. I had a conversation with Governor Kitzhaber and Continued from page 10 he said he wanted to focus on connecting people who don’t have access, and create opportunities for women, people of color, LGBT people, to get onto these boards and commissions where all the decisions for the state were being made. I said, “Can I be frank with you?” and he said, “Of course.” I said, “I’ve heard this song and dance from dudes like you before, where you come in and tell me all these amazing things you want to do, and this is what I would imagine could happen. I go down to Salem...and start to put people of color and women and gay people into these spots, and the people who are used to having them start getting upset, and they can’t be upset with you so you send them back to me, and when I say no, you put the handcuffs on me...and we’re not doing what you said we’re going to do. So if that is something you think is a possibility, don’t pick me. But if you are serious about this, and you want to change the face of Oregon, I will chase this like a dog and you can ask anybody who knows me that when I say I’m gonna do something, I’m gonna do it ten thousand percent.” So he calls me the next day and offers me the job. PQ: How has the transition to Gov. Kate Brown’s administration gone for you? KC: She’s wonderful, and that’s the great part of it, that Gov. Brown is an amazing woman and she’s been a great role model


and great leader. I’m not gonna say that any of that was easy, it wasn’t. But Oregon is in really good hands. PQ: Do you think the state has taken a step closer to the LGBTQ community in any way? KC: Well heck yeah, she’s talked more about it in the last two months than anybody else has ever. We just in fact had a conversation a couple days ago about making sure we use trans-inclusive language in all of our applications. That’s not something that anybody’s ever pushed for before. It’s certainly helpful, I think, for us to have somebody that has not only an understanding but a direct relationship and advocates on a regular basis. PQ: What are you the most proud of? KC: Well it’s two things, actually. If I had pride in anything, it’s knowing my role in Q Center and its origins. I feel very fortunate and if I were going to say anything in a super public way, it’s that I recognize I am where I am right now because I arrived in Oregon and was embraced by the LGBTQ community, who supported me and who loved me up on a regular basis. But in terms of the broader work that I’ve done statewide, it’s really this leadership pipeline that I have generated in the governor’s office. We actively went out and sought people of color for leadership, and really took on a recruitment strategy where we went to people’s events and sat down 1 on 1—dozens and dozens of coffees with people to find out what are their interests, what are their skills, what is the best placement for them. We changed the face of Oregon.

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Before European colonists came to North America, indigenous communities lived in cultures with as many as six traditional gender orientation roles. The settlers brought with them the western gender binary, however, and repressive, violent tactics that instilled transphobia and homophobia among the indigenous people whose lands they occupied. Phoenix Singer, who identifies as a trans woman and two-spirit, uses academic writing and activist organizing to reclaim her indigenous identity and promote decolonization. “Outside of colonialism, I would have been able to exist as myself, without the threats I face now—of medical violence, imprisonment, unemployment, etc.” she says. Singer’s work helps her find a voice in the face of multiple, intersecting oppressions. “There’s a question of how I exist in indigenous and western culture,” Singer says. “It’s grating. I shouldn’t exist, since colonialism spent 600 years trying to erase indigenous culture, and sexual and gender deviance.” In her paper, “Colonialism, Two Spirit Identity, and the Logic of White Supremacy,” which has been viewed almost 7,000 times online, Singer traces the ways indigenous gender orientation roles were stamped out by violent forces and western ideologies. “In order to get people to accept colonialism, they had to be taught to accept power differentials and hierarchies, and that came through patriarchy,” Singer says. “Colonial settlers refused to talk to women leaders. If they were present, they’d ignore them. Sexual and gender deviations were not allowed to exist.” One horrifying tool in this campaign, which has been largely buried, was the use of boarding schools. Designed, as one proponent Richard Henry Pratt said, to “kill the Indian and save the man,” the schools removed indigenous children from their families, stripped them of their culture, and attempted, coercively, to indoctrinate them into western, Christian society. Homophobia and transphobia were rampant in the schools, as well as sexual assault, so that the traumatized students often came to associate violent pedophilia with non cis- and heteronormativity. In the 1980s, indigenous gender and sexual minorities began to organize, and reclaim the cultural legacy that had been stamped out through colonization. At a 1990 conference in Winnipeg, attendees adopted the term Two-Spirit to replace the western terms transgender, lesbian and gay, which had been imposed on them. “The influence of Western culture on the erasure of Indigenous ‘Queer’ and Two-Spirit peoples has created a system of sexual assault, homophobia, and trans12 • SPECIAL EDITION MAY/JUNE 2015

phobia used against our peoples,” Singer writes. “Healing our identities is part of the ongoing process of decolonization because besides our land, our identities are colonized as well and expressing our identities as Two-Spirit peoples is to resist colonialist definitions defining who we are while also proclaiming ourselves sovereign from the identities of the white dominated LGBTQ rights movement.” Si n g e r h a s o r g a n i z e d with several groups in Portland. She’s led a decolonization workshop at PSU’s Queer Resource Center, and done lobbying work with the Oregon Students of Color Coalition. Recently, she was chosen as a trans justice policy fellow at Basic Rights Oregon. While proud of her twospirit identity, she sees the value of working with Western groups. “It’s important to recognize we live in the Western world,” Singer says. “Some people will say, ‘We don’t have gays and lesbians and trans women in our communities. Those are Western categories,’ but I see that I am recognized as a trans woman. I recognize that transmisogyny and homophobia exist, and that I’m subject to them, and I can build solidarity with Western groups fighting them.” A framework Singer uses for her activism is decolonization. “It’s something that can be pursued personally and collectively,” she says. “Personally, you can look at the ways colonization effects your thinking and work to change that. Collectively, you can work toward the destruction of colonial structures.” While Singer is an outspoken advocate for indigenous and two-spirit people, that support has not always been returned. “I don’t have the most accepting community,” she says. “They promote the idea that I do things wrong. According to them, I’m not actually trans, or I am, but I’m not doing it the right way,” Singer says, explaining that people suggest she follow an outmoded medical model, which would require her to pursue years of therapy before even beginning hormones. Looking ahead, Singer says she imagines pursuing a graduate degree in Critical Race Theory. “It provides a way to look at social structures and hegemony,” she says. “It helps people understand what creates oppression around race and gender, and provides a framework for understanding alternatives.” Singer’s also attracted to the group Incite!, which was formed in 2000 by women of color, and prioritizes issues such as immigrant rights, Indigenous treaty rights, institutional racism, and the prison industrial complex. “They’ve worked to combat the rampant police violence against indigenous women,” she says. “And they’ve compiled and released statistics about the Two Spirit population. They’re an organization I’d like to work with.” pqmonthly.com






Photo by Eric Sellers By Leela Ginelle, PQ Monthly

The daughter of a first generation immigrant from Honduras, Pam Campos-Palma entered the U.S. Air Force out of high school, where she rose to become an Operational Intelligence Officer. As an officer, Campos-Palma traveled the world, and was especially fond of Kyrgyzstan, where she saw her presence as a successful, professional woman broaden the horizons of the young girls she met. Following her active duty, Campos-Palma enrolled at PSU as a political science major. At PSU Campos-Palma became director of Las Mujeras, a Latina student organization, prioritizing the mentoring of middle and high school and collegiate Latinas, and combating the cultural stigmas present in higher education. She likewise became involved with the National Hispana Leadership Institute, from whom she received the 2014 Rising Star award, and became the first student member of the school’s Institutional Governing Board of Trustees. In 2014, Campos-Palma was named a national Newman Civic Fellow, and given the Shattuck Award for Outstanding Service to Women. She currently studies at NYU, where she’s pursuing an MPA at the Wagner School of Public Service. PQ Monthly: You’ve been part of many communities and organization, including

the U.S. Air Force, the PSU group Las Mujeres, Causa Oregon, and now the Women’s City Club of New York. What does community mean to you? Pam Campo-Palma: Many of my mantras are about living a communal-minded life; we are all interconnected in some way or another, and our intersectionalities are more intrinsic that we might think. Building and being in community brings insurmountable strength, resilience, and fortitude that can move mountains, but it takes courage, work and intentionality. Community to me is about being conscious of others, it’s about support that’s not marred in expectations or being transactional. To me the notion of “uno para el otro” (being one for the other) has the ability to lift many, instead of just a select few. PQ: While at PSU, you helped mentor middle, high school, and collegiate Latinas, and facilitated workshops on Interrupting Oppression. What’s the role of activism in your life, and what meaning do you draw from it? PC-P: I didn’t truly understand the word “activist” until I moved to Portland. In retrospect, my mother, a single parent, and Honduran immigrant, was the first activist I knew, before I even knew what that was. Advocacy and serving others has been a lifelong cultural norm and value. I have many memories of her speaking out, stepping up to do what was right, defending or helping others without needing anything in return. She’s my number one role model in many ways, and ultimately shaped my own convictions and activism. Activism to me is about consciousness and choosing to act to change a damaging perception, or a negative situation. It isn’t always about changing the world, but about having integrity, and compassion to act in small moments that add up to a better, more whole existence. PQ: You’ve accomplished a lot in your life, including being named the first student member of PSU’s Board of Trustees. Who and what’s inspired you in your achievements? PC-P: I’m deeply inspired by my mother, who instilled my comfortability with taking risks, being fearless, and having confidence in myself. Throughout different junctures in life, I’ve been very blessed to have geographically scattered, but very genuine women and men, from an art teacher, to military officers, to peers, who all have really, truly believed in me. To me, humbling, intentional support and encouragement from very different folks is priceless soul sustenance. During my time in Oregon I was also deeply impacted by the wisdom, and role model of Jilma Meneses, Governor Kate Brown, and Kendall Clawson, who among others, really exemplified to me what genuine mentorship and moral courage looks like. PQ: You’re studying public service at NYU now. What do you see in your future? PC-P: I came to NYU to figure that out, to learn more about myself, and the possibilities to be had. I’m passionate about many social justice issues, and there are many systemic, policy changes I seek to address. I’m pursuing a hybrid MPA, focusing on International Management and Policy. Ultimately I’m interested in the social sector, raising consciousness and leadership development within underrepresented communities. I’ve also become interested in international development, global security as it relates to gender equity, feminicide, and violent crimes, as well as peacekeeping. PQ: As a member of the inaugural Brilliant List, do you have any thoughts to pass on to young activists or leaders who might just be starting off on their paths? PC-P: Everyone has the ability to be a leader, a change agent, and an innovator. We tend to over glorify leadership, to put it on a pedestal, making it so far removed, and isolated. This makes it difficult for folks to see themselves as leaders, when in all actuality you very likely possess the very tenacity required to invoke change. Even the smallest acts of kindness, and compassion can plant small seeds of infectious consciousness. Believe in yourself, be kind to yourself, embrace living outside a box of comfort, and you’ll find strength and wisdom you never knew you had.

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Pretty And Witty And Gay STONEWALL WAS A RIOT By Belinda Carroll, PQ Monthly

Hey kats and kittens! It is time for another LGBTQ Pride season.The time when you pull out your best assless chaps — or if it’s rainy this year, your best assless neoprene hiking pants — and and march down the avenue for all to see. It’s ripe for highs and lows. The high of realizing that the Absolut booth is giving away samples, the low of realizing that your ex’s new dating partner has better abs than you. Mostly it feels like a symbolic affair; gone are the days of hundreds of Westboro Baptist protesters or names of people appearing in the paper to shame them about their sexual orientation or gender identification. Usually the mainstream press will throw a shout out or two to a ‘most powerful’ queer that came out, or run the most scandalous pictures from the march. I had a girlfriend who was just coming out, completely disappointed in her first pride because she thought it was going to be way more Tom Of Finland and way less Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Nowadays, there are more churches in our march than leather bars. Which, depending on who you talk to…we’ll save that debate for another day. The other day I was watching “Selma,” because I know how to really get the PMS waterworks going, and I was thinking about how much we owe our gratitude to the Black civil rights movement of the 50’s and 60’s. (Spoiler alert if you skipped Black history month in 8th grade.) The reason that Selma got attention during the 1965 marches is because the media finally showed up and showed white middle America what the police were doing to black people in Alabama every day. White people were understandably shocked, and they finally kicked in some help. Of course, then the cops were like “our bad,” and stopped being racist. Ha. Just kidding. We’re still dealing with the systematic

arrest, killing and jailing of a disproportionate amount of blacks. The riots in Ferguson and Baltimore are a response to decades of police violence against people of color. The current riots reminded me a lot of Stonewall. For those that don’t know, Stonewall was a gay bar in New York City which was raided June 29th, 1969 (much like a lot of gay bars in the US) by police because the mob, who owned the bar, forgot to pay off the police. But instead of just going quietly, and switching clothes as to not to be arrested for gender crimes (you had to have on three pieces of ‘correct gender’ clothing), people fought back. People think it was the white gay men that fought, and they did have a hand in the riots, but the people who threw the first brick were reportedly Martha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, two trans women of color. The media again helped fuel the flames of the Stonewall riot, and reported it as white homosexual men (their words, not mine), burying the persons of color participation. The next year was the Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade, which in subsequent years became The Gay Pride march, The Gay and Lesbian Pride march and finally the LGBTQ Pride march. No one else come out as anything new, I can’t memorize any more letters. This Pride season, as you’re planning what parties to go to, who to make out with, or how to avoid the whole thing altogether; remember the contributions of those that came before us. Do whatever you can to support those that are on the frontlines fighting for the basic right to live their lives without having to worry about violence based on who they are. We’ve made huge strides in the last 45 years, but we still have a long way to go.

Belinda can be reached at Belinda@PQMonthly.com



PQ Monthly, proud major sponsor of the women’s 3x3 tournament! WEDDINGS


PRIDE IS UPON US! Here is a smattering of the slew of events sure to test your livers and stamina this June. Drink lots of water, take naps, and invest in quality eye treatments. (This isn’t an exhaustive list; our complete list will be out June 11, and will run early online, so stick with www.PQMonthly.com for the all the latest. Also, several Pride and pre-Pride events are on our calendar, page 18.) HEKLINA is coming to town! THURSDAY, JUNE 11 PQ’s Pride Press Party: Mix and mingle with the makers of your favorite queer newspaper. Rub elbows with activists and leaders of our local queer movement. 5pm, Vendetta, 4306 N Williams. (5-7pm) Queerlandia i s q u e e r excellence—don’t miss it: Queerlandia is back to kickoff Portland Pride for its 5th year. Honoring our vibrant local queer community, they bring you the best performers, DJs and artists in Portland on a backdrop of stunning decorations while raising money for Bradley Angle’s LGBT service. DJs: David Sylvester (Two Dudes in Love), Roy G Biv (Panty Raid, Control Top), Huf N Stuf (Destiny at Dynasty), Orographic (Family Home Evening, Bridge Club). Plus: Carla Rossi’s Postmillennial Pledge Drive, where Portland’s premier drag clown promises to amuse and horrify you with visions of the new future in this annual tradition. Also: queer arts market. Hosted by Serendipity Jones. 9pm, Embers, 110 NW Broadway. $5. FRIDAY, JUNE 12 Open Wide Pride: Loveshack at Lovecraft. This year Portland’s goth bar Lovecraft is having its first Portland Pride event presented by their queer parties NecroNancy and Ghoulfriend. DJs: Sappho, Hold My Hand, Buckmaster, Prince$$ Dimebag, & Stormy Roxx. Live talent, performance artists, and more. See Menorah, Amoania, Ash St. Darling, Protégé, and the Mistress of Rollerskating Ivizia Dakini. Get it, queens. 9pm, Lovecraft, 421 SE Grand. $10. Free Bleed: Portland Queer Pride. Enjoy the best patio in the city before the sun goes down, then dance the night away. Queer life, best life—PDX queer pride PNW talent represent! Performances by Bomb Ass Pussy, sounds by Riff Raff, Chelsea Starr, Roy G Biv. Hosted by Chanticleer Tru, party vibes by Anton Boeke, photos by Major Arcana, fortunes by Coco Paradise. This is a queer and queer allies party. We are anti-racist, body-positive, sex positive, queer-as fuck freaky radicals who strive to create an environment of respect, celebration, and fun in our parties. SATURDAY, JUNE 13 Their biggest hit ever! PGMC presents ABBAQueen: A Royal Celebration. This time, it’s even bigger and more dazzling. During Pride Weekend 2015, celebrate with PGMC as they pull out all the stops with singing, dancing, costumes, and lots of sparkle. ABBAQueen brings all the


spectacle and music of two iconic groups together in one exhilarating show. From Mamma Mia and Voulez-Vous to Bohemian Rhapsody and We Will Rock You, this is the must-see show of the season. So, put on your cool bell-bottoms and groovy platform shoes and join all the Dancing Queens for an unforgettable evening. It’s sure to be a sell-out. Don’t be left out, because the show must go on. https://tix4.centerstageticketing.com/sites/portlandgaymenschorus6/ Save the date: Inferno’s Pride edition is this Saturday. More info coming soon. Blow Pony, of course, will have their annual queer shindig. Get there early, darlings, this one always sells out. Mykki Blanco, Hi Fashion, Vinsantos, Buckmaster, and more! 9pm, Rotture, 315 SE Third. $10. Gaylabration: DJ Bret Law (Seattle) will spin to celebrate this party’s fifth incarnation. Izohnny will perform; Izohnny is the dynamic performance duo of Isaiah Esquire and Johnny Nuriel. This statuesque pair of 6’5’’ ebony & ivory specimens embody a gender fluidity that audiences swoon over. Consistently delivering a jaw-dropping performance experience, they exhibit an impressive and unique array of disciplines. Go fill the Crystal Ballroom and make some Pride magic! 10pm, Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside. Tickets available via etix. SUNDAY, JUNE 14 It’s Sunday and your Pride experience is just beginning. The Big Gay Boat Ride on the Portland Spirit always always sells out early. Get your life and get a ticket. Coco Peru, Carla Rossi, Poison Waters, Trixie Mattel, and HEKLINA. Last year was pure queer joy, truly. Portland Stranger tickets: The Big Gay Boat Ride 2015. Do it. Plus: HEKLINA. Lumbertwink Patio Pride: Lumbertwinks! They’re having their first Pride Sunday party and they couldn’t be more excited. After the parade, come right over and enjoy a gorgeous day on the patio. Doors at 3pm and we celebrate Plaid Pride till 10pm, come early or come late. This will be an indoor/outdoor event and Funhouse is serving great food all day long. Get in the photo booth and meet some friends. Guest Matt Consola on the decks, along with Orographic, Hold My Hand, and Jimmy Swear (SF). 3pm-10pm, Funhouse Lounge, 2432 SE 11. $6 in plaid, $10 without. Pride saved the best for last—there, we said it. ProHomo. It’s like you’re on the boat again, but you’re not. You’re on land. Land! Two floors of hot music, hotter dancing, and the hottest go-gos. Plus: Pearl and Trixie Mattel from RuPaul’s Drag Race. And: HEKLINA. And Coco Peru, Poison Waters, Carla Rossi, Jackal, Art of Hot, Madame Dumoore, DJ Mouthfeel, and Jens Irish. Whew! We hope you’re taking Monday off. (We are.) Best save some cash for the VIP, it’ll be worth it. 8pm, Branx, 320 SE 2. $15 GA, $40 VIP.

--Daniel Borgen








See Page 16 for our full Pride Preview; and stay tuned for June 11, the print date of PQ’s Pride Issue, which will also include our annual Pride Guide! As always, stay online for the latest. Also, we’ll run our Pride Guide online early this year, as is customary now.


Funhouse Lounge is proud to present “Buffy! A Parody Musical”, a live stage parody of the 1992 cult classic film Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Want more? We’ll give you Buffy Summers was ever ything. Head over to just a normal Southpqmonthly.com and check ern California high out our online calendar of school cheerleader, events , submit your own planning dances and events, and peruse photos from your reporters-about- shopping at the mall town. Also, remember to with her friends. Then carefully examine our weekly a stranger appeared, weekend forecast — with the and she learned she latest and greatest events — was “the chosen each Wednesday (sometimes one,” destined to Thursday), online only. --DANIEL BORGEN battle bloodsuckers from beyond the grave. Funhouse Lounge is presenting its unique take on this classic 80’s story, jammed to the max with humor, dance numbers, pop culture references, a totally rad eighties soundtrack for songs and lyrics, and even a glittering, brooding Edward Cullen. C’mon down and see how a girl takes care of business when the ‘stakes’ are high. Directed by Trenton Shine; starring Landy Steckman, Sean Lamb, Trenton Shine, Michael Teufel, Anthony McCarthy, Kate Brauneis, Katie McFarland, Hanz Eleveld, Greg Shilling, Colton Ruscheinsky, and Andy Barrett.



See Page 16 for our full Pride Preview; and stay tuned for June 11, the print date of PQ’s Pride Issue, which will also include our annual Pride Guide!


Squeeze: Dance your afternoons away at Scandals with these delightful afternoon soirees—guest deejays from near and far, all your friends, and sunshine! Who doesn’t love day drinking? (You can socialize sober, too.) 3pm, Scandals, 1125 SW Stark.




Superstar Divas. Bolivia Carmichaels, Honey Bea Hart, Topaz Crawford, Isaiah Tillman, and guest stars perform your favorite pop, Broadway, R&B, rock, and country hits. Dance floor opens after the show. The Drag Queen Hunger Games are over, and the shows must go on! Check out the newest and freshest


Performances are: May 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30. Also June 4, 5, 7. 7pm, Funhouse Lounge, 2432 SE 11th Ave.


During our regularly scheduled PQ Press Party on May 21, we are stepping it up a notch. We will be honoring the 2015 Brilliant List Awardees! As always, the event is free to attend; however, we will be raffling off a 5 night, 6 day stay (May - September, based on availability) in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico at Le Mision de SanFrancisco (donated by the www.elysianballroom.com), in a cozy condo located in the heart of the highly desirable Romantic Zone. Proceeds will benefit Brilliant Media Scholarship Fund. Raffle tickets are $10 each and can be purchased in advance via Eventbrite. 5pm, Tony Starlight, 1125 SE Madison. Ooligan Press invites you to join them for a reading of Untangling the Knot: Queer Voices on Marriage, Relationships & Identity at Another Read Through on Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 7:00PM. (Authors Carter Sickels, Ben Anderson-Nathe, and Sailor Holladay will be reading!)


We’d argue that nothing moves us quite like the movies: So join filmmakers for an evening of compelling and eye-opening local documentary shorts! DIY May 22nd Documentary students will be screening their films at the Clinton Street Theater this spring. They have tales of West African immigrant families, survivors of homosexual “conversion” therapy, transformation through outdoor education and perspectives on the first foods of indigenous communities, among others. Join filmmakers for another great evening of Homegrown Doc Fest! Tickets are $8 at the door. 7pm, Clinton Street Theater, 2522 SE Clinton.

Diva hits. 8pm, CC Slaughters, 219 NW Davis. Free!


Family Home Evening. A weekly, post-work lounge party every Monday night at Vault, featuring DJ Orographic (Bridge Club, Queerlandia) and occasional special guests (Sappho fills in now and then). Jens Irish serves you happy hour all the live long night. 7pm-11pm, Vault, 226 NW Twelfth.


Hip Hop Heaven. Bolivia Carmichaels hosts this hip-hop-heavy soiree night every Thursday night at CCs. Midnight guest performers and shows. Remember those midnight shows at The City? Bolivia does! 9pm, CC Slaughters, 219 NW Davis. Free.


Sugar Town. On June 6, Sugar Town is raising funds for PFLAG Portland Black Chapter; half the profits at their annual Pride Kickoff Party will be donated. DJ Action Slacks is joined by Oakland’s DJ Larsupreme. THE Sugar Town evento f the year, so get out. Keywords: Soul, polyester. Great place to find the ladies, to mingle, to get your groove on. 9pm, The Spare Room, 4830 NE 42. $5.


Bi Bar—every second Tuesday at Crush, and it’s an open, bi-affirming space for music and mingling. Correction: Bi/Pan/Fluid/Queer. 8pm, Crush, 1400 SE Morrison.


Blow Pony. Double Duchess is back! Plus: two giant floors. W variety of music, plenty of room for dancing. Rowdy, crowdy, swe betty, the one tried and true, even after all these years. 9pm, Rottu Branx, 315 SE 3. $5


Take a ride up the I5! Turnback Boyz, an inter-dim sional, intergalactic queer boyband, will bring their Orig tour to Seattle’s Gay City. Oliver Gold, Tommy Tugu and Peter Pansy, your favorite superstar time traveling will be performing their classic hits; Consent is Sexy, N cisexual and Love is Cheesy, along with brand new tra from their new album Turnback Boyz: Origins. Starr Oliver Gold, Tommy Tugunns, and Peter Pansy. (Hom mentum spinoff!) Gay City Health Project, 517 E Pike, Seattle. http://www.strangertickets.com/events/24616505/gaycity-arts-presents-turnback-boyz Also, enjoy the cool vocal stylings of Portland Idol phenom CJ Mickens—at the Funhouse Lounge. 10pm, 2432 SE 11.


The return of the Poison Waters & Friends Sunday Brunch Show and Film at McMenamins Pubs, Breweries & Historic Hotels Kennedy School is happening Sunday June 7! 21 years and older, $21 includes brunch, show featuring Cassie Nova , Ciara Dela’Rosa , Jeff George aka Shallow Waters, Godiva DeVyne, and our cohostess Kourtni Capree, and “Dreamgirls,” the movie! 10:30am doors, 11am-12:30pm brunch buffet and show followed by film. (Of course the full bar featuring bottomless mimosas will be available at an additional charge.) Did we mention Poison is going be there? Tickets can be found via etix—search for this eve May 23rd


Slo Jams is a Queer Modern R&B & Neo Soul Dance Nigh Local Lounge. DJ II TRILL (TWERK) and DJ MEXXX-TAPE lay do everything from Mary J // Jagged Edge// Keys to Badu//Lauryn Etc. 10pm, Local Lounge, 35 NE MLK. $5.


Hot Flash: Inferno. (Second and Fou Saturdays) In the heart of Portland is where women are—dancing the night away and burn up dance floors the second and fourth Saturday every month at Trio. Welcoming all women, que and their allies. 6pm-10pm, Trio, 909 E. Bur nside. Mrs.: The queen of theme welcomes its new hostess, Kaj-Anne Pepper! OK, she’s not new anymore. But we love her so. And dynamic DJ duo: Beyondadoubt and Ill Camino. Costumes, photo booths, all the hits. Lots of ladies, very queer. 10pm, Mississippi Studios, 3939 N. Mississippi. $5.


Comedy at Crush: Our own Belinda Carroll and a slew of locals rustle up some funny. Special guests, and Crus signature cocktail and food menus. Donations, sliding scale. (Com have to eat and drink, too, so give!) 9pm, Crush, 1400 SE Morris Queens of the Night: Alexis Campbell Starr. That’s all you need know. But there’s more: she always welcomes a special slew of pqmonthly.com

Dynasty, $3 suggested donation, though no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

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Mark your calendars! Sunday, June 7: Squeeze party featuring special guest DJ OROGRAPHIC and DJ JENS IRISH. DJ Orographic aka Rob Loucks: Rob plays house grooves and techno funk, esoteric jams and bedroom soundtracks. An original member of the Bridge Club collective, half of Queerlandia and most of Spookitins, Rob has been dancing it out in dark rooms (and well lit patios) since 2000, making music since 2001 and DJing since 2010. Feel the happiness of the sunshine at Scandals Pdx this summer for “SQUEEZE.” The 1st & 3rd Sunday of every month from 3pm to 6pm, featuring local and national DJs.


Back by popular demand: Testify returns! Home Theatre System presents: TESTIFY! A MUSICAL STORYTELLING REVIVAL. Gather round your friends and gaybours and fill your heart- bellies with us as we kick off the summer with the third season of this irreverent storytelling experiment in faux churchiness! Hosted by William Frederick Steuernagel V and Shitney Houston. With music by Sister Mercy. Featuring serApril 19th mons, testimonials and “soapbox confessions” by CASS HODGES, SOSSITY CHIRICUZIO, SISTER BRITT, NIKKI LEV, JAMES DIXON, and MITCHELL DRINKWATER. The family that preys together, stays together. 6pm, Killingsworth

ented queens for a night that takes Hip-Hop from beginning to end. 8pm, Local Lounge, 3536 NE MLK. Free.


Polari. Troll in for buvare. Back-in-the-day language, music, and elegance. An ease-you-into-the-weekend mixer. Bridge Club boys make the music. Bridge and tunnel patrons have no idea what to do with us when we pour in. Hint: it’s always the Thursday we go to press. What serendipitous fortune! 10pm, Vault, 226 NW 12. Free.


Burlescape! Burlesque & boylesque wrapped in a taste of tease! Zora Phoenix, Isaiah Esquire, Tod Alan. (And there’s more than that, kids.) Zora is a treat and a treasure—and so are her shows. Try one out! 9pm, Crush, 1400 SE Morrison. $10. Gaycation: DJ Charming always welcomes special guests—and here you’ll find everything lesbian, gay, and in between. Be early so you can actually get a drink. Sweaty deliciousness, hottest babes. THE party. Yes, boys, even you can hit on Mr. Charming. We know you want to. 9pm, Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison. $5. Undergear: Eagle Portland’s monthly underwear, jock, mankini, etc., fetish party every third Saturday. Free if you arrive before 9pm or if you use free clothes check upon entry after. After 9pm arrivals who do not check clothes must pay $5 entry. Clothes check and raffle prize provided by Cub Cleaners.


Twerk. DJs ILL Camino and II Trill. Keywords: bring your twerk. The pqmonthly.com

Are you looking for something new to do this year in support of equal rights and the LGBT community? Well Pride Glow Run is just what Portland has been asking for! PGR will be kicking off Pride Weekend on June 12 at 9pm under the Morrison Bridge. Join your community as we show our true colors on this 3 mile LED glowing loop located on Portland’s own waterfront. To particiMay 29th pate in this year’s Pride Glow Walk or Run event register at http://prideglowrun.com/ and receive a pride glow run T-shirt, Glow Bracelets, Glow Necklaces and a LED Glow Baton. For team and individual pricing please check the website athttp://prideglowrun.com/


Their biggest hit ever! PGMC presents ABBAQueen: A Royal Celebration. This time, it’s even bigger and more dazzling. On Pride Weekend 2015, celebrate with PGMC as they pull out all the stops with singing, dancing, costumes, and lots of sparkle. ABBAQueen brings all the spectacle and music of two iconic groups together in one exhilarating show. From Mamma Mia and Voulez-Vous to Bohemian Rhapsody and We Will Rock You, this is the must-see show of the season. June 7th So, put on your cool bell-bottoms and groovy platform shoes and join all the Dancing Queens for an unforgettable evening. It’s sure to be a sell-out. Don’t be left out, because the show must go on. https://tix4.centerstageticketing.com/sites/portlandgaymenschorus6/ See Page 16 for our full Pride Preview; and stay tuned for June 11, the print date of PQ’s Pride Issue, which will also include our annual Pride Guide!

city’s longest-running queer hip hop/R&B party—where artists, deejays, performers come to mix, mingle, and move on the dance floor. We promise you you’ll move all night long. 9pm, Local Lounge, 3536 NE MLK. $5. Turnt Up! is a dance party for queers and queer sentiments. It features a combination of performance, live music and DJs from near and far. This night is for those who want: cosmic level dance music, a place to turn a look and an intimate dance floor to get your flirt on. What you’ll hear: Underground dark disco, house, garage and techno. Organized by club creatures: DJ Sappho and Dillon Martin. 9:30pm, Lovecraft Bar, 421 SE Grand Ave., $5-7.


Blow Pony. Two giant floors. Wide variety of music, plenty of room for dancing. Rowdy, crowdy, sweaty betty, the one tried and true, even after all these years. 9pm, Rotture/Branx, 315 SE 3. $5. Judy on Duty. Lesbian hardcore. Judys, Judes, and cool ass freaks. Dance it out. DJ Troubled Youth. Organized by Ana Margarita and Megan Holmes. 10pm, High Mark Water Lounge, 6800 NE MLK.


Sabbathhause Discotheque, gay night is back at Aalto lounge and it is bigger and more queer than ever before. Featuring some of the best deejays and performers around and hosted by night hawk Chanticleer Tru. 8pm, Aalto Lounge, 3356 SE Belmont.




DUNGEONS & DRAG QUEENS is a crafty, clever stage production wherein the audience gets to experience watching a comedic cast of performers utilizing drag to portray the game of D&D live on stage, with some references to nerd and gaming culture thrown in, as well as a lot of LARPing. (We don’t even know what that is.) “What happens when you take one of the most famous RPGs in the world and cross it with comedy camp, glamour, and heels? You get DUNGEONS AND DRAG QUEENS (EENS Eens eens... eens). Seriously, they are in it to win it this time. No matter what! Our heroes are BACK and better than ever in this third installment of the hit series. Hosted by Saturn Saturn and a slew of talented queens. 8pm, Guardian Games, 345 SE Taylor.



SHADES: This has become the can’t-miss event on your calendar! A monthly POC, LGBTQ and ally happy hour celebrating diversity by bringing community together through the best R&B, Old School Hip-Hop and ChilledOut-Disco-Lounge! SHADES is a driving force with our involvement in hosting benefit fundraising for our allies and other POC LGBTQ nonprofit organizations. This month’s Pride kickoff event is hosted by the one and only Poison Marie Waters! Cue applause. The evening will also serve as a fundraiser for Cascade AIDS Project’s AIDS Walk, so you get to socialize and be a do-gooder. 6pm-10pm, Bad Habit Room, 5433 N Michigan.


(Yep, two great events June 4. Sorry about it.) Known for their eccentric and colorful costumes and beautiful music and harmonies, Justin Whomever and Tammy Whynot join forces with lush musicologist Mari Lane and vibrant vibeologist Tanya Tuckit to launch t heir glamorous new musical project: Seven Cake Candy. It’s sure to be a fun and elegant event with people dancing and enjoying the atmosphere. Seven Cake Candy has been cooking up a unique sound for several months, and now they are ready to give their audience a taste. Their first show promises to be a blend of visual and aural delights that doesn’t skimp on wit or glamour. They are currently at work on an EP, as yet untitled, and will have a music video out in the next few months. Come out and support these hard working musicians! 9pm, Crush, 1400 SE Morrison. SPECIAL EDITION MAY/JUNE 2015 • 19



This Ends Badly How It Happen By Mike Schneider, PQ Monthly

This is how it happens: you look at Scruff one day, having been single for three years, single at 41. All of these faces scrolling by. Some familiar ones occasionally post new photos, where maybe they have a little more grey; they’ve lost or gained weight. Maybe they look a little more tired from the search, a little more cynical. Maybe they’re almost ready to press “delete” and just leave meeting people to fate and natural circumstances. Their faces say they’re ready to just trash every dating app and get on with living life, spending more time with friends, creating more art. Maybe their weary faces say they’re a little scared that they’ve already experienced all the love they’re ever going to. Or maybe that’s just me, you think. You see a handsome bearded face in the grid of faces. He has a boyfriend, because of course he does, and they’re exclusive. You chat a bit, and he won’t even flirt with you because he’s taken. He makes an impression on you but the conversation fades away after a few days. Months later, he finds you again on the app, and the two of you start chatting. He’s single now, and the connection is instant. He’s far away though, and much younger than you, and you haven’t exactly had a stellar track record with the combination of those two things. In fact, the opposite: you’ve finally heeded your friends’ and family’s advice and sworn off courting guys more than, say, 1,000 miles away. But you’re determined to not be a cynic, so like a dog to its vomit, you return to your pattern. You ask him on a FaceTime date, and the two of you eat Italian food and talk about your lives, and then watch a movie simultaneously. His movie idea is “What’s Up Doc?” which you haven’t seen before. After the date you talk for hours, you confess your recurring nightmare of a Voltron—but made of your ex-boyfriends—you almost fall asleep together. The next day, you’re optimistic, but there’s a voice in the back of your head. It’s telling you to wave off; it’s telling you that this is eerily similar to something that happened before. This is the same voice that tells you to give up; this is the same voice that tells you to stop trying. This is the voice in your head that sometimes raises bigger questions about singledom and predestiny, faith versus science, the sick role of entitlement in being single and lonely. You ignore the voice. You go on another FaceTime date, then another. Suddenly there’s this beautiful, wonderful creature that wasn’t in your life before. You’re deeply infatuated, but that voice keeps muttering dark things in between the folds of your brain. You take a deep breath one evening and invite him

to Portland to visit. He says he’ll think about it. After the date ends you just sit there on your couch, and let the voice wash over you. It cackles gleefully and tells you that he’ll say no, it sets up a projector and plays a home movie of a particularly bad rejection from a similar situation three years prior. And then the miracle happens. He says yes, he’ll come and visit for a long weekend. We are surrounded by these little miracles every day, we just can’t recognize them anymore, we would not know miracles if they came up and bit us on the ass, and they do all the time, our asses are positively covered with the bite marks from miracles. The cynical voice murmurs an expletive, but it shuts the fuck up for a while. Before you go to the airport to pick him up, you look in the mirror at your meticulously groomed hair, your carefully curated outfit, your artificially lowered expectations. “I hate myself!” you smilingly exclaim at the mirror, meaning it to sound funny and self-deprecating, but instead it echoes in your empty apartment. You realize that it maybe hits a little too close to home, sounds a little too similar to that dark voice in the back of your head. As you get your keys off the console you whisper a counter-spell to yourself, “Either way, you’re going to be okay, Mike.” You spend the weekend getting under each other’s skin, getting to know each other’s loves and fears, holding each other’s hand in the car. When you kiss him it feels like it’s supposed to, it feels how you imagined it would feel when as a kid you made your GI Joe action figures make out with each other. Over the next few months, you celebrate those little victories: when you become exclusive, when he visits a second, third time, when your ex texts to congratulate you and repeats (maybe one too many times) that you’re so much better in a relationship than single. You fall deeper and deeper in love, and he does too. You love him so much that you want to cut yourself open like a TaunTaun and insert him into you to keep him warm. You finally articulate the fear that after so long of being known for being single and miserable, you’re not sure what you’ll write about now. You say out loud the fear that you’re scared that the best creativity comes from pain, and you’re not in pain anymore. You state the fear that the fact that you never really learned to be completely happy by yourself, before you met him, feels like a failure. But in the end, it’s fine. You’re fine. It doesn’t work, until suddenly it does. Even the low, doubting voice concedes defeat, raises a white flag. Let’s see what’s next.

Michael James Schneider is based in Portland, OR. He writes for his wildly unpopular and poorly-named blog, BLCKSMTHdesign.com. His first fiction book, The Tropic Of Never, is available on Amazon. 20 • SPECIAL EDITION MAY/JUNE 2015




As Executive Director of Blue Mountain Heart To Heart, an HIV/AIDS support services organization in Walla Walla, Washington, Everett Maroon is a voice for the LGBTQ community in a conservative corner of the Northwest. An activist and author, Everett has published two books, one a humorous memoir about his gender transition, and the other about a trans kid who can jump through time. PQ Monthly: What inspired your interest in activism and community work? Everett Maroon: It’s lots of things. Being totally terrified by the nuns and priests who ran my Catholic school saying you needed to do something or the gates of hell would swallow you up or something — you couldn’t just say you were a good person, you had to be a good person — there’s a lot from that Catholic heritage I still walk around with. Also, I’ve come through so much personal trauma in my own life that I don’t want to let it befall other people, so that really inspires me to make others’ lives easier. I found early transition to be really difficult, and I almost didn’t make it. So when I hear someone else might be struggling and they’re in early transition, I almost always reach out to them, even if it’s just to listen and be a sounding board. PQ: How did you get into HIV/AIDS work specifically? EM: When I came out in 1990, I had some good friends who died young, and was friends with some of the radical faeries in Syracuse, and to watch your friends just disappear off the face of the earth is horrifying to say the least. I was one of those folks who would go around to nightclubs with packets of condoms and leave them on tables. More recently I became involved in HIV work through the HIV/AIDS organization here in town as a grant writer, and then got promoted to the executive director position, and I’ve been doing that for five years. PQ: You’ve said your involvement with your involvement with Act Up in 1992 and the march on Washington in 1993 changed your life. How? EM: Well, one, to be in a city of 500,000, and to know there were a million people there — we tripped the population of D.C. in one weekend. Coming up the escalator from the DuPont Circle metro station, you just heard this dull roar on the platform that got louder and louder as you came up, and it was just all these screaming, cheering gay men and lesbians and drag queens and people wearing leather even though it was hot as blazes outside. It was so instantaneously validating and electrifying and terrifying and wonderful. It made me really feel like we did have a voice as a community, and really could change the world. PQ: I understand that you’ve written and published some books. EM: Yes, I published them with a small publishing house


in Seattle. First I wrote a memoir called Bumbling into Body Hair, and the point of it really was that I’ve read other trans man stories, and they were very proscriptive and prescriptive, like ‘don’t do this, do this,’ and ‘you’re transitioning right if you’re doing XYZ.’ I wanted to push against that idea and say, ‘I’m one person, I did this in a particular place and time, and this is how it worked for me and please remember there’s no right way to do this.’ Then I wrote a novel called Unintentional Time Traveller that’s for young adult readers. PQ: Is there anything about Walla Walla or small towns like it that you think LGBT people from a city like Portland should know? EM: Well on the one hand it’s not horrible as I used to think when I was simply ‘a city person.’ There is a sense of community here, and you know, the LGBT community is small no matter where you are. ...there are definitely pockets of, you know, I’m not gonna say ‘hostility’ since no one’s really hostile but there might be some lack of cultural competency we’ll say. So it’s not all a rosy picture, but it’s certainly not the religious intolerant place you think you might be, it’s a pretty cool town. PQ: Out of everything you’ve done, what are you the most proud of? EM: I think I’m most proud of how I’m raising my two sons right now. My toddler said to me today, ‘Do you know what my favorite color is?” He has a new favorite color like every three days. I said ‘What?’ he said ‘pink.’ I said ‘pink is great!’ He said ‘I want pink shoes, will you take me to get pink shoes?’ And you know, my very first thought is ‘oh my God my son is about to go out in public in little pink shoes, what will people say?’ I go through all these psycho panic moments, and then my response is just ‘sure, we’ll go out later today!’ (Laughs). So he thinks I’m really cool with it, even though there’s all this stuff going on in my head. I’m also really proud of the books. I must get an email every couple of weeks from some very young person saying my book made a big difference to them and to thank me for writing it, and you know, I’m not gonna make a million dollars for anything I write ever, but if I’m making a 15 year old scared kid feel better, I’m immensely proud and honored to do that.

Photo by Eric Sellers PQ: Is there anything else I haven’t asked you about, that you want to add? EM: I would say there’s really nothing special about me, but I’m happy to do the work and put the time in and just connect with people and remind them that we’re all OK. And I think that means that all of us can do that. You see these award things and you think, oh my God, this person invented Nitrogen, I could never invent Nitrogen! But no, it’s really not about exceptionalism to be helpful in the world.





Trans Bodies, Cis Words By Leela Ginelle, PQ Monthly

When my transition began, I believed it was incumbent on me to “pass” the moment I stepped outside. Having been raised with unquestioned cissexism, cis male and cis female were the only genders I considered valid. My failure, my inability to impersonate a cis woman, plunged me into shame. Transmisogyny had taught me I was an abomination, not fit to be among cis people. With daily effort, I’ve worked to rid my mind of the prejudices that led to my self-loathing, yet I still see them, in all their ugliness, informing our language, laws, and culture. A Federal judge recently ruled the University of Pittsburgh had not discriminated against a trans man they’d expelled, after repeatedly disciplining him for accessing the men’s athletic facilities and restrooms on campus. In their ruling, judge Kim Gibson wrote, “While Plaintiff may identify his gender as male, his birth sex if female. Thus, even though Plaintiff is a transgender male, his sex is female.” The phrase “birth sex” is prejudiced, a remnant of the legacy that considered all people cis people. Like the phrases “biological woman,” or “genetic man,” the use of the term “birth sex” implies a scientific legitimacy to the misgendering of a trans person. Cis people’s genders are natural and provable, these terms suggest, unlike trans people’s theoretical, artificial identities. Trans people’s identities, and those of gender non-conforming people, are seen as suspect in our system, namely due to their erasure at the moment of birth. Our medical and legal systems view bodies, even intersex bodies, as “biologically” female and male, and assign them as such. Bodies, however, as those of trans and gender non-conforming people demonstrate, do not have gender identities. My gender identity existed entirely independently of my birth anatomy. In being assigned male at birth, I was subjected to a cissexist error. Misgendering terms, such as “biological male” or “birth sex” compound this prejudice in our culture, which seek to codify it, via court rulings, like the one described above, or transphobic legislation, such as the recent spate of proposed “bathrooms bills.” What could assure that trans women were no longer housed in men’s prisons, or trans men were kept from male facilities as they are now? The passage of Federal Civil Rights for LGBTQ people, perhaps. A long, loud campaign that said, over and over, we are who we say we are, and your backward, cissexist objections, your protestations of discomfort over our deviations from com-

pulsory cis standards are prejudiced, and are violating our right to equal treatment. From the moment my gender identity emerged, I was taught to hide and hate it. My parents, teachers and peers policed me until, terrified, I policed myself. Our society is for cis people, I learned, and I towed the line. That sort of gender police state of thirty five years ago has loosened, but not vanished. What might my transition have looked like had my gender identity been assumed to be mine to decide? It would doubtless have occurred earlier, been accompanied by little or no angst, and would not have been called a “transition,” because I would not have been declared cisgender without my consent. Were people’s gender identities truly considered theirs, we wouldn’t police the genders of others, based on some cis paradigm we hold in our heads. Entry into bathrooms and athletic facilities wouldn’t be granted or denied based on cis people’s levels of comfort, and religious schools would not gain exemptions to discriminate based on gender identity because of “deeply held” beliefs, as Forest Grove’s George Fox did last year. Instead, we would trust that each other’s sense of themselves was authentic, and give one another space to express who we are vis a vis our gender presentations. No state could spitefully refuse to change the gender marker on an individual’s birth certificate, as Tennessee does today, because no state would purport to wield power over anyone’s identity—over who anyone “is”—in that way. Discarding terms like “birth sex” and “biological male” would mean degendering bodies; it would mean ending the cissexist narrative that trans people “are” cis before they’re trans, and remain cis “physically” until they’ve undergone enough surgeries to convince cis people they’ve really transitioned. It would mean acknowledging non-binary genders exist. Discarding terms like “genetic woman” and “born a man” would mean relinquishing the entitlement we feel to gender everyone we meet and judge their gender expressions as successful or unsuccessful based on our appraisals. It would mean ceasing the projection of insane amounts of gender expectations onto infants, whose gender identities have not even emerged, and halting the policing of their expressions based on cis male and female standards. If we each assumed the only gender identity we had any say over was our own, and acted accordingly, gender expression might become what it ought to be—an individual’s human right.

Leela Ginelle is a playwright and journalist living in Portland, OR. You can write her at leela@pqmonthly.com. 22 • SPECIAL EDITION MAY/JUNE 2015








Photo by Eric Sellers


As a proud “Portland Unicorn,” someone born and raised in our fair city, Shaley Howard works tirelessly to make it a better place for everyone. A nationally-recognized activist for HRC and Habitat for Humanity, for starters, Howard’s activist resume is a long and storied one. When PQ Monthly launched a few years ago, Howard added writer and blogger to her already-impressive list of credentials. (Watch for her on Portland Timbers billboards.) Howard is the owner and operator of Scratch N’ Sniff Pet Care, a relentless sports enthusiast, and she’ll happily lend you her smile when you need it (and even if you don’t). Says Howard: “I’ve always had a lot of energy and enthusiasm for life. I typically wake up ready to go and excited for another day. So that natural inherent glowing energy combined with the outrageous idea that everyone deserves equality and basic rights—those things lead me and keep me on the path of action.” Learn a little more about the face you see all around town: PQ Monthly: Why do you think Portland is such a special city to live in? Shaley Howard: There’s an energy in Portland that is different from many cities I’ve visited. It’s a young energy, active and outdoorsy along with tolerant, accepting and inviting of new ideas and new ways of living. We don’t have a lot of religious dogma compared to many other states and cities but instead seem to have a population of people who are spiritually oriented which I think adds to open and more laid back way of life. There’s also a huge lesbian population here so for us lezzies it’s fabulous.

PQ: What’s it been like watching equality slowly unfold in a progressive city like ours? You’ve been able to see the OCA days all the way to marriage equality? SH: Unbelievable. I do remember the Lon Mabon OCA days back in college. But even before that I had spent years in the closet not exactly knowing why it was bad to be gay, but everything around me gave me a clear understanding it was not accepted. So a lifetime of being told that there was something wrong and abnormal with me led me to be closeted till my 20’s. Then in college I met the true love of my life, Amy, and came out. That was right about the time the OCA started their No on 9 campaign. It was a rude awakening. Up until that point I knew on some internal level being gay was not at all acceptable but it was the No on 9 campaign where I saw blind hatred in people who blatantly would tell me I was a sinner and I should be ashamed and more. ‘Welcome to the party, Shaley, the water’s warm, so jump on in.’ So the years of fighting for equality up to the present is just phenomenal. What brings me to tears sometimes beyond the actual legal progress is witnessing the transformation of people. We are all fed a bunch of lies when we’re born and so of course we believe them – be it sexism, homophobia, racism. To be able to live long enough to actually witness people change and see them wake up realizing the lies of homophobia are just that – lies, is heartwarming and gives me such hope for humankind. PQ: Tell me a little about how you define community and what community means to you. SH: Community to me is my neighbors, the people at the local stores where I shop, it’s the people I meet on the streets – SHALEY HOWARD page 25




it’s everyone. It has to be. That is my community. We may not all share the same Continued from page 24 ideas about what we want in life, how we should live or share the same goals and interests, but we all live together. We make the mistake of setting up artificial boundaries in our communities all the time, whether we acknowledge them or not, be it class boundaries, racial division, gays and straights, and so on. But my community is everyone. I refuse to see boundaries and always strive to include everyone, from every walk of life into what I call community. We all sometimes shrink from reaching out or having that challenging conversation because we’re scared. We don’t want to offend; it’s new to us so we’re unsure of someone else’s lifestyle or how they’ll respond, so we remain silent. But in order to really have true community everyone needs to be included. If we want to create that utopian world of equality we have to start with each community individual that makes the whole. PQ: What inspires your work for HRC? What are your proudest accomplishments with that organization? What have you learned during your activism? SH: I was inspired to work for HRC but I’m super gay. There are many amazing organizations out there that I do support but for very obvious and personal reasons,


and being that HRC is the biggest LGBTQ organization in the US, my passion is for my own personal rights and equality along with my queer sisters and brothers. I’m very proud of the events that I’ve created, especially the Portland Women’s 3x3 Basketball Tournament which over the last 6 years has brought in almost $30,000 for HRC, not to mention countless memberships and bringing the LGBTQ and straight ally community together. I’ve learned to stick to your guns. Volunteering, as they say, is often a thankless job. And it does sometimes feel that way. But if you stick to your beliefs, show up continually and remind yourself of the bigger picture that what you are doing is for a much bigger cause, in the end you will feel satisfied and even happy. Fighting for equality of any cause, not just LGBTQ rights, is a long, sometimes arduous path. The key is to always check in with yourself, not the outside critics or supporters, but yourself as to why you want to fight the fight. It’s your internal activism compass. We all have it and it will guide you. But it is a long road so I’ve learned patience and to never, ever give up. My Mom always used to gently remind me as a kid when I was outraged at some travesty of inequality and injustice that change does happen. It may not happen overnight be it will happen so get comfortable and work on being just a tad bit more patient.




Since its inception in 1989, the Equity Foundation has served Oregon’s LGBTQ community, and advanced its equality. Equity gives grants and scholarships, and sponsors events, all with the aim of promoting LGBTQ justice and security. As the needs of the community change, so does the focus of Equity’s work. Current foundation priorities include: housing for people with HIV, Trans Justice, the arts, and youth. We spoke with Equity Foundation Executive Director Karol Collymore about the organization’s mission, vision, and future. PQ MONTHLY: Equity Fo u n d a t i o n i s O re g o n’s only grant-making institution designed specifically to fund projects and programs that promote equality for the LGBTQ community. What would you say community means to the Equity FounPhoto by Eric Sellers dation and the people who lead it? KAROL COLLYMORE: When Equity began in 1989, it was a place inspired by and created for inclusion. Our founders wanted LGBTQ-identified people to have a visible impact on Oregon philanthropy. It helped people recognize that Equity Foundation donors could be their neighbors, friends or colleagues. The ground those founders broke is another piece of what brought Oregon full, legal equality. We continue to be inspired by inclusion and motivated to support our LGBTQ community. We recognize that despite legal victory, it remains difficult to grow up being the only one in your classroom that is gay or trans or a person of color. Sometimes, that child could be all three. Laws don’t mandate personal safety when someone is cornered on a playground by bullies. Our job now is to provide community in those spaces by funding organizations doing the work of protecting, supporting, and representing LGBTQ


Oregonians. And we need to fund those spaces, especially in rural communities. PQ: Equity Foundation works to fight the social alienation and legal discrimination faced by LGBTQ individuals, and has done so since 1989. What would you say activism means to Equity Foundation, and does that definition change as the LGBTQ makes social and legal advances over time? KC: To me activism means present participation in issues that are affecting the community I live in. It’s being a voice for those who can’t always speak up on their own. The definition doesn’t change. Social and legal advancement makes an activist’s heart sing. It means nights in phone banks, going door to door—even protesting inappropriate media representation makes hearts and minds change. But we know full equality is a marathon and not a race. So Equity has to remain present and be nimble enough to respond to issues that arise. Right now we know LGBTQ-identified kids are still having a hard time. How do we do our best with our funding to make sure those kids get what they need? That’s what our activism will continue to be. PQ: Equity Foundation raises money year round to provide grants, scholarships and sponsorships to individuals and groups. What inspires the organization to fulfill its mission, and what inspires people like you, who help carry that vision out? KC: Equity is inspired by our founders who were committed to inclusion, no matter what. What an honor it is to continue this work in that spirit. I’m inspired by mom, who I realized as I got older had made it a point to never teach me a bad stereotype about anyone. At all. None of this, “we hate this person because,” nonsense. Every person that came through her life was loved with food and laughter, no matter what. She showed by incredible example how you treat people, how you bring them in to your circle of support, and you keep them there as long as they will let you. And that carried straight through to her volunteer work and straight through to me. That inspires me to do the best I can do. PQ: Equity Foundation has been serving the LGBTQ community consistently since 1989. What do you see in Equity’s future? KC: I think the future of Equity is bright. We are poised to continue the work of funding equality throughout Oregon. There are still LGBTQ kids that need support, people living with HIV and AIDS who need homes and transgender people who need better access to healthcare. This is our charge. As we gain more and more members to our Foundation, we’ll have even more resources to fund the needs of our community. Every member has a piece of this work and we are proud of that. PQ: As representative of a member of the inaugural Brilliant List, do you have any thoughts to pass on to young activists or leaders who might just be starting off on their paths? KC: When you’re starting out, it’s OK to be the person who answers the phones for a while as you set your career goals. It will help you figure out if that is the right organization or career for you and actually make you stronger when it’s your turn to be the one in charge. Seek out opportunities for professional growth and mentors that will be honest with you. No matter how much you love it, work is work so look for balance, protect your personal relationships and make self-care a priority. And if you are a person of color, seek out your peers. There will be many spaces where you are the only and you’ll need someone who relates to that specific feeling and the situations that will arise.






The Gay Bar is Dead, Long Live the Gay Bar! By Daniel Borgen, PQ Monthly

In the old days, gays would saunter up and down Stark Street any given night— especially on a Thursday or a Saturday— finding everything their tipsy little hearts desired within a few small-ish city blocks. Perhaps you’d go from Red Cap to the then-infant Blow Pony at the Eagle and you’d end up at Silverado or maybe face down in a greasy platter of fried goodness at the Roxy, shoveling fries in your mouth while you gazed at the guy across the restaurant doing the same. On Stark, you were always within shouting distance of any part of your cohort that may have wandered off; it feels like we didn’t even need cell phones then, we’d simply holler at friends on the street or magically end up at the same place on the same night. Though we probably had phones; who knows—my memory. During Pride season, there was really no question where you’d go; everyone went to the block party on Stark. That gathering of hundreds that felt like thousands was an amalgamation of every shade of queer; though Stark, in general, was a gay man’s game for most of its history, Pride was always the exception. There was something really special about having a de facto, default gathering place during high season; there you saw people you saw once a year, perhaps many others you wish you forgot, but it was no matter. The sun was out (except for the year that poured and washed off all of Poison’s makeup) and the gays were carefree and happy. You didn’t need Facebook to stalk your exes; they were all right there! Now Red Cap is a shopping mall, the old Eagle sells high end skin care, and your ex blocked you on Grindr. This column is not an angry letter from a cranky old man wishing the kids would get off his lawn; this column is part nostalgia, a moment to address the wistful affection my aging friends and I have for simpler days gone by. Because as much as I loved those days and remember them fondly, I am not sure I’d trade Panty Raid at Vendetta or Coco Peru and Heklina at Rotture for anything back then. Change is good for the soul, this old Taurus is learning—begrudgingly. Enter Stag, the upstart gay bar that opened just down the street from Embers on Broadway; billed as “Portland’s premiere [sic]” (a word the whole city should consider retiring) “gentlemen’s club, catering to gay men and women, a place for dancers to perform and patrons to enjoy fine Oregon spirits and microbrews.” Ever the skeptic, I resisted going the first weekend it opened; but I heard the buzz and I watched social media kick into overdrive as gays from all corners of our fair city descended upon

it. Then, post CAP art auction, my friend Komo and I decided it was time to see Stag with our own eyes—I tore myself away from Netflix and wine for a night; and oh, did we behold the glory. First, let’s get serious about our lives: it is thoroughly refreshing to walk into a gay bar and immediately notice that ownership has invested some money in furnishings. It is also nice to not see a thousand Absolut signs plastered on every wall—not that there is anything wrong with an Absolut sign, per se, but the dearth of typical bar paraphernalia set Stag apart from the outset. Perhaps I was just mesmerized by the dancers holding themselves upside down on the gymnastic rings on stage; such strength! Regardless, Stag has a rustic sophistication that suits it quite well; sure, the décor is sometimes a literal translation of the bar’s name, but the folks at Christopher David did a fine job; it feels new and exciting and comfortable and familiar all at once. While there, my friend and I saw a few dozen faces we hadn’t seen in a while—old friends and new ones, some texting from the long line outside, others hollering from across the street. Gays were everywhere, and they filled the bar to the brim. Drinks were a little slow—they often are in a fledgling establishment; not everyone can be Trevor at Silverado—but the bartenders are kind and easy on the eyes. Aside from logistics, it is very clear Stag hit a nerve; gays are clamoring for another place to socialize. In a time when our bars are closing left and right, Stag opened and is thriving. Long lines, big crowds, return visits (I went 3 times in a four day stretch), gays from near, gays from far; build it and they will come. Does Stag have staying power? Will it be as busy in August as it is now? At the moment, it feels like those questions are moot. For now, I am enjoying the fact that we have a sort of makeshift gay district again. I can go watch my favorite drag show starring Bolivia Carmichaels and then watch beautiful dancing men at Stag (where Godiva DeVyne is probably hosting); and walking from place to place satisfies that nostalgic itch that we all get now and then. It doesn’t mean I won’t venture over to Vendetta or Lumbertwink or whatever is happening at Killingsworth Dynasty; it means I am a complicated creature who craves comfort and newness at once. It means I can love gay yesteryear while embracing queer today. It means sometimes I want a room filled with sweaty men, and other times I want every queer I know on a patio. Please just work on getting me my drink a little more quickly; Nana needs her juice.

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Though it is lovely, this lady recommends always traveling through Old Town in groups— especially on weekend nights or during Pride season. Be safe, queers. Daniel@PQMonthly.com. The title of this column is taken from an old Decemberists track, one of my all-time favorites: Oceanside. Yes, I have loved them since 2001. Email Daniel@PQMonthly.com.





Photo by Eric Sellers By Daniel Borgen, PQ Monthly

Raised in the Midwest in the 1950s, during a time of rigid conformity, George Nicola has a unique perspective on the history of our LGBTQ movement. Then, especially, homosexuality was thoroughly demonized. Young people at the time were alienated from their hometowns because they associated those places with the homophobia they experienced when they grew up; many of Portland’s early activists were transplants from other cities.

Nicola came to Portland in 1968; there were no openly gay organizations, almost no positive literature on homosexuality, no gay support groups. He looked for gay bars but could not find them. As with many other gay people, the fact that gays were demonized made Nicola afraid to talk about to anyone about his feelings. He decided that if he could find a way to come out, he would have to make sure others would never go through what he did. On February 7, 1970, an alternative newspaper called the Willamette Bridge carried an interesting article. An anonymous young gay man who said he was lonely wanted to find someone like him. The newspaper refused to carry the ad because they thought it was sexual, which it was not. So a 21 year old gay newspaper staff member named John Wilkinson wrote a reply to the anonymous man suggesting that Portlanders organize a Gay Liberation Front (GLF) like what had recently been done in other cities. Eventually the Portland GLF was formed, and I came out through that. It was the parent of Oregon’s LGBTQ movement. Later, Nicola joined a newer gay group called the Second Foundation. That was the basis of his lobbying for Oregon’s first attempt to ban sexual orientation discrimination. These days, you’ll see George Nicola supporting a slew of local causes—Queer Intersections, PFLAG, Q Center, and many more. He also works tirelessly to record our state’s queer history—with GLAPN—and has been a regular contributor to PQ Monthly. PQ Monthly: What has it been like watching equality slowly unfold in a progressive city like ours? George Nicola: Portland has not always been progressive. By 1970, the city no longer attempted to close all the gay bars, but homophobia was still rampant. Since I came through the birth of Portland’s and Oregon’s LGBTQ movement, I have seen it all. The early gay organizations like the Portland Gay Liberation Front and the Second Foundation of Oregon produced some changes just but by being out. But it was a long time before we made any progress. There was a gradual change in attitude in the 1970s and 1980s. However, between 1988 and 2004, Oregonians endured about 34 anti-gay ballot measures, almost surely more than any other state. Eventually, all of these plus an earlier anti-gay ballot measure were overturned by legislative action or court order. Overall, there has been a gradual progression toward tolerance and inclusiveness. But it did not just happen. It occurred because we and our allies worked so hard. It was not until 1991 that the City of Portland passed an ordinance banning GEORGE NICOLA page 29


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sexual orientation discrimination. Gender identity was added in 2000. Our response to Continued from page 28 the 1988 through 2000 anti-gay ballot measures tended to mute our identity. However, when marriage became the issue, muting our identity was no longer possible. The campaigns had to talk openly about us and our relationships. That began a process of humanization that had not occurred previously, which is why the marriage equality movement has benefited people like me and many of my friends who would never marry. PQ: Tell me a little about how you define community and what community means to you. GN: When we say the “LGBTQ community”, we are talking about people who have something in common. Some of these people do not know many others in that group. But there are organizations and vehicles that have brought LGBTQ people together for a common purpose. Those that are still operating include Pride Northwest, Q Center, Basic Rights Oregon, PFLAG Portland, GLAPN, among others. Facebook and PQ Monthly and your monthly press parties are distinctively helpful in this area. PQ: What inspires your work for GLAPN? What are your proudest accomplishments with that organization? GN: We cannot change the past. However, everything today is a result of what happened in the past, so to some extent we need to know history to understand where we are and where we are going. And look at what has happened! A group of people that was criminalized, demonized, and considered mentally ill is now accepted at least nominally and legally. If we are to learn anything about bettering the life of human beings and allowing people to live peacefully together, this is a case we should study. I talk a little bit about our successes in my article at http://glapn.org/6027PersistentOnes.html: We have battled about 35 anti-gay ballot measures. We have gone to court numerous times. This took a good deal of stubbornness, and some of our people have been persistent to the point of appearing quixotic. When faced at nightfall with a demoralizing defeat that seemed to vanquish all hope, they started planning for a come-



back the next morning. This was often the work of a few people when the vast majority even in the LGBTQ community thought the cause was hopeless. And for the most part, the optimists’ strategy eventually worked. My writing for GLAPN has had some unexpected consequences. The article on anti-gay ballot measures was cited by attorney Lake Perriguey in his brief for Geiger v. Kitzhaber, the lead case that overturned Oregon’s ban on same-gender marriage. Though I am not an attorney, I was asked to lead an Oregon State Bar class on the history of Oregon LGBTQ law. I also participated in the development of the Oregon State Bar Diversity Story Wall. But I still think the major outcome of my work has been to help Oregon LGBTQ people and allies gain a stronger sense of common purpose. Community is to some extent established by a common tradition, and our history helps people understand that tradition. PQ: Where do you see LGBTQ rights in, say, ten years? Twenty? GN: In Oregon, we have full LGBTQ civil rights protection. But we still face a huge amount of homophobia and transphobia, even in Portland. It gets much worse outside of Portland metro, even in the suburbs but especially in rural areas and smaller cities. So the change I would want most would be one of attitude. On a federal level, we have no legislative legal protection, and I would hope that comes about soon, especially in employment. I would hope that soon the Supreme Court makes a decision [about marriage] that extends that to all 50 states. PQ: If you could do one thing to inspire people to do more and give back more, what would it be? Or what would you say to inspire them? GN: Beyond good health and financial comfort, what brings human beings the greatest happiness is their relationship to other people. So I think that involvement in the LGBTQ movement and its associated activities will make us happier because it involves LGBTQ people and their allies in a positive way. One of many ways is through the numerous performing arts groups in our community. I tried to summarize that in this article: http://glapn.org/6033PerformingArts.html. A group that has done much to give back is PFLAG Portland, which includes the Black Chapter and East County components.




Photo by Eric Sellers By Matt Pizzuti, PQ Monthly

Renée LaChance, the Brilliant List’s Legacy Award winner, co-founded the Portland LGBTQ newspaper Just Out in 1983, a paper she helped expand and eventually sold in 1998. A community leader with a grassroots mentality, Renee has been a champion and steward of numerous LGBTQ community and social groups in Portland. PQ Monthly: How did you get started in LGBT media? Renée LaChance: It started with the Northwest Fountain. I was involved in the Women’s Place bookstore, and thought maybe they should advertise. I tracked down the gay paper, talked to the publisher and said, “Well how come you don’t have any women’s news? It’s all men.” He said, “Well, write it!” So I did. I had “The Women’s Page,” writing about what was happening in the lesbian community. Six months later another guy comes along and says, “Hey I’m gonna start a gay paper, why don’t you come work with me?” And I said great! That was the Cascade Voice, Neil Hutchins was the publisher. I started as the assistant manager; within a month or two I was the editor. Some controversies happened between the summer of 1982 and summer of 1983. Back then everything was “gay,” there was no “gay and lesbian.” So women were fighting and our male allies were fighting to call things lesbian and gay. The publisher of the Cascade Voice was not coming along; I was also learning about issues of people of color and develFEATURES


oping this new political consciousnesses and wanted to talk about that, and he just wasn’t having it. I had an ally, my assistant editor Jay Brown who was also my paper’s photographer. Jay and I decided to start our own paper and we started Just Out. PQ: Tell me about how Just Out was different. RL: Our mission was that everyone should come out; the more visible we were, the faster we’d get our rights. The majority of the community was closeted back then. Since we had left the paper that advertised all the (gay) bars — the traditional advertising revenue for an LGBT newspaper — they boycotted us. We started to approach non-gay people, or gay and lesbian professionals, or businesses who were gay or weren’t gay, who didn’t advertise with the other paper. We did surveys with our readers, and people said, “Yeah, if someone is advertising a Chevrolet car I’m gonna buy that before I buy a Ford because it’s in my paper.” That kind of loyalty just bloomed. We were the first ones who did that. Every time I talked to other gay papers, they said, “What? You sell to non-gay businesses? How do you do that?” PQ: Who inspires you? Who are your role models? RL: Well Harvey Milk is one my early mentors because he advocated being out, and he was one of the first to talk about intersections. He would look at his board of San Francisco and see all the different communities and what they had in common. Kathleen Saadat, Rupert Kinnard. Gloria Steinem, for her feminism, and right now Melanie Davis is kinda being my hero. PQ: Yeah? How so? RL: Because she really walks her talk, and really visualizes her community as a whole — every color, every letter — she really lives that. And as people are saying “papers are dying, papers are dying,” she’s proving they’re not, by starting another one and even expanding. PQ: What are your hopes for the future? RL: For the community, I would like to heal the rift between lesbians of a certain age who aren’t as supportive of trans women as they could be — I need to think of a better way to say that — I’ll say I’d like to heal the rift between cis lesbians and trans lesbians. For myself, I hope to be able to create something in this community to support our aging queer population — the boomers who got us all to where we are now, I’m the youngest, right? So they’re all older than me, and some of them are in their 70s and 80s and we need to be creating systems and spaces for them to still have viability, and to create residences for them too. Our queer heroes shouldn’t be warehoused. So we need like community housing, we need to develop space for ourselves to continue being our authentic selves. I have visions of mini houses in a community space where you can live in your little independent house, but still have common space like a common kitchen and dining room, and maybe somebody comes in and helps with assisted living types of things if needed. And hopefully nursing homes will be better eventually but I don’t see that happening. But I see our people getting warehoused in places where they can’t be out, they can’t be with their loved ones, and their friends are too old to visit them, and that’s wrong. PQ: Is there anything you’re really proud of? RL: I’m proud of all the firsts that Just Out did. The first paper to depend on non-gaybar advertising, we were the first gay newspaper credentialed for a National Democratic Convention in 1988, we were the first ones to buy a big gay billboard by the Memorial Coliseum that said “come out come out wherever you are!” It must have been 1991. I’m having a lot of fun right now with a group called the Dapper Boy’s Club; it’s a group of trans men and butch women and people just fucking with the gender binary. We dress up and go out and mostly look like peacocks, take our pictures, drink whisky. That’s been very fun — we’ve been doing that for two years — we call it the dapper takeover and take over a bar. We take over a gay bar and it’s been very fun to rattle some people saying “what’s going on over there? Who are those people?” But hey, it doesn’t matter what we are, our gender doesn’t matter. And I’m super proud of being a fifth generation Oregonian.

Always have supported LGBT rights, Always will.



TENDER PLACES: INSIDE STORY By Sossity Chiricuzio, PQ Monthly

The body is a road map of discovery, full of hard truths and tender places. It is also the only thing that most definitely belongs to us. Despite all the ways the world has tried to steal them away and sell them back, our bodies can still be a place of sharing and compassion and knowledge and power and joy. I’ve been a sex radical writer and educator for decades, talking about sex and bodies, sharing stories and unlearning shame. Send me your questions, and we’ll find some answers together.

Photo by J Tyler Huber.

Dear Sossity, Are double-ended dildos a thing that works in practice, or mostly just porn? It’d be rad if there was a toy that could penetrate both of us at the same time (cunt-to-cunt) more equally & effectively than the Feeldoe. Position recommendations also solicited! --Two Hopeful Switches Dear Hopeful, In my experience, traditional double-ended dildos are mostly good for giving you a UTI because a straight line from your insides to your partners is not actually how cunts are shaped and angled. Especially once you maneuver your bodies into a position that will accommodate double penetration. That said: there are new styles on the market, and if you really want that scissoring plus experience, they could

be worth a try. Sheboptheshop.com has a few intriguing models listed! You could also try a toy that is similar to the Feeldoe, but shaped in a way meant to fill you both more equitably. I’ve got a few suggestions that could work well for you - though I recommend contacting the support staff at your favorite shop for more thorough vetting. I’m listing the Nexus first because I can personally recommend it. My favorite toy to use with a partner for well over a decade, and it never fails to work for me, too. There is a minimal size difference in the the two ends, and it comes in two size ranges. The Fuze Tango is similar in design to the Nexus, but with a larger difference in the two ends plus a clitoral stim pad. There’s also the Share, which holds a bullet vibe in a very well placed spot. All of these are recommended to use with a harness, but positioning and PC* muscles can often do the trick to hold it in place and give you more skin to skin contact. I’ve been able to use this type of toy in many positions, but I get the best results in friction and penetration for both when one person straddles the other (facing either direction,) bent over from behind, or missionary style (modified as needed). Have fun exploring! Dear Sossity, “I want to work up to being able to be fisted vaginally are there good exercises I could be doing? I feel really tight and little and my partner hasn’t been able to open me up enough to take more than three fingers.” --Dreaming of Red on the Right

Dear Dreaming, Asking for information is a great place to start. Most vaginas can be fisted, but every one of them is different, and some are more accommodating than others. Fisting is a trust exercise for everyone, as you’re both going to be vulnerable and exposed by an act which leaves a part of them fully and intricately enveloped by a part of you. Being able to open up enough to take their whole hand is not so much about stretching out, as letting go. Some pieces to consider: Has your partner fisted anyone else

before, or done homework around techniques? Are you feeling connected, and communicating what’s happening for each of you when you try? Are you taking the time for a long buildup of activities that ground you in your body and turn you on? There is a wealth of resources online, everything from tips and tricks to how to instructions, so I’m going to cover a few basics and let you take it from there. I recommend making it into a sexy homework project for you both! Lube.** Lots of it, and try using latex or nitrile gloves as they are smoother than skin, avoid hangnails or other sharp edges, and don’t soak up the lube as much. Communication. Describe what you’re feeling to each other, ask for more, less, a break, a kiss – support each other in this adventure, don’t get locked into your own heads. Patience. Take your time getting excited and engaging in sex play. The more aroused you are, the more likely you’ll be able to open up and let your partner in. Research. If you are not already familiar with Kegel exercises and the muscles of your vagina and pelvic floor, learn more. Locating and understanding what you’re trying to relax can sometimes help the process. If you find yourself getting to that place that feels like it’s not gonna happen, you can’t take anymore, just slow down and feel the fullness of two or three or four fingers. Take some deep breaths, give your PC muscles a flex, and then release them. Relax into feeling full and desired and open. Come a few times if you can, or just enjoy the sensations. Breath. Relax. Enjoy. Repeat. You may finally get there, and even if not, remember it’s not a failure, it’s just a different kind of joy. *The pubococcygeus or PC muscle stretches from the pubic bone to the tail bone, forming the floor of the pelvic cavity. PC exercises can help increase pleasure and control in the pelvic region.s ** Be sure you check in about allergies before making your glove and lube choices. End note: If you have questions you’d like me to answer or seek out answers for, please get in touch! sossity@ pqmonthly.com.

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