The title of today’s blog is something Garth said to me a few months ago. The conversation that lead to this statement is long and winding so I won’t bore you with the details, but it ended with him saying, “Dude, you seek out queer spaces.” It was something I’d never considered before, and while I myself am not queer, I realized it was a true statement.
What is a “queer space,” besides a place with a lot of LGBTQ+ folks? Well it’s predominantly that first, but to me it’s also the energy of a place. I would describe it as theatrical, colorful, incandescent, and a joyous celebration of one’s true self, and the more unconventional the better. Having a background as a theater kid certainly helped develop this attraction to queer spaces and all they represent, and I count myself fortunate that I’ve been allowed into those spaces as a straight cisgender male.
The most recent example of this, after a long absence from such spaces, was an old friend’s wedding last year. It was, for lack of a better term, super gay. The venue was full to the brim with gender-queer and nonbinary folks, drag queens, gays and lesbians, and so on. There was a palpable energy there that I made me feel like a moth to an old flame; that theatrical incandescence and the joyous celebration of the truth of oneself. Several times during the ceremony and reception I turned to my wife and said, “I’ve missed this.”
And now that I’m no longer among those spaces on a regular basis, I feel like it was important that I was there. Because now I’m out in the suburbs and I have the opportunity to bring my positive experiences among queer folks to those who wouldn’t otherwise hear it out here.
I hope I don’t come across as too self-important or like a white knight when I say this, but I have a feeling folks out in the suburbs who haven’t had much exposure to queer culture and spaces would be more willing to listen to what I, a “normal” straight dude, have to say about them. (Ugh, it felt so wrong to even type that out.)
I’ve already acted as a kinda-sorta ambassador to a handful of fellow parents in my town who’ve never been to a drag or burlesque show, or who’ve never had family or friends transition, or whose only exposure to queer culture/spaces have been what certain conservative pundits/influencers have so wrongly said. I may not be a Champion among allies, but I have been a supportive voice where it needed to be heard, and can maybe open the minds and hearts of parents to kids who might need that support in the future.
So yes, I seek out the energy of queer spaces, whether it’s for personal reasons or to bring my experiences out to where there is no exposure. I’ve been beyond fortunate to be allowed into those spaces as a straight man, and will share that positivity, that theatrical incandescence, and that joyous celebration and proclamation of one’s true self wherever I can. It’s the best I can do as an ally.