Blog Archives

“No Homo lolol!”

“No homo” is a phrase I’ve heard and seen after phrases as innocuous as (“I love your shoes”) to the most sapphic (“Your tits look GREAT in that top”) and no matter what precedes it the phrase confounds me.   What about paying someone a complement indicates romantic interest?  And isn’t romantic interest just another complement?   If you understand this phenomenon, feel free to explain it to me but if you are as confused as I am then feel free to share this question with whomever insists that they are “no homo.”

Yours in Queerness,
Duo Spiritus

Where’s The Restroom?

Earlier this month I was blessed with the chance to attend a leadership and activist training as well as participate in a day of advocacy at a state level, this was my second year attending this summit and, to be honest, one of my main reasons for returning had nothing to do with the change I could make.  I wanted to go so I could spend a weekend surrounded by people who asked for my P.G.P. (Preferred Gender Pronoun), in a place where ALL the bathrooms were gender neutral and where I knew I’d be accepted as I am.  When I left I realized just how important having a gender neutral bathroom was, and how often I risked my own health to avoid choosing one or the other, I realized that if I know I’ll be able to make it to a gender neutral bathroom I’ll simply hold it even if I get an infection because of it.  I realized how uncomfortable I always am when I have to choose based on biology and I realized that if I feel this way then I can’t be alone.

If someone as self assured as myself is afraid to choose a bathroom based on comfort then how can we expect others to do the same?  If someone as confident in their gender as I feels diminished and trapped by the bathroom choice then how must it make those just coming out to themselves feel? And what can we do about it?

I can’t answer about the feelings of others, but I can tell you what you can do; If you find a place with gender neutral bathrooms you can let them know how much it means to people, if you find a business that has gender neutral bathrooms you should choose them over their competitors and if you have a place you feel safe enough suggesting gender neutral bathrooms then you should do it.

Yours in Queerness,
Duo Spiritus

A Good Series Is Hard To Find.

Mere moments ago I finished Inheritance, the fourth and final book of the Inheritance Cycle, and although the feeling for me was not as intense as when I underwent the same process with first the Harry Potter books and then the films it was the same feeling.

In the past 1,626 Days (232 Weeks and 2 Days or roughly 3 1/2 years) I have experienced the conclusion of an important part of my childhood. Starting with finishing the reading of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, then watching the final film of the same name and just now finishing Inheritance, and while I am not yet an adult with each of the conclusions I feel I have shed a layer of my childhood.  With the completion of this series I complete all the books with which I grew as a person and learned about myself, I no longer will await the next installment eagerly despite the years between books and although I’ll never stop re-reading I say goodbye to all the charterers I loved because I will no longer watch them grow without knowing the outcome.  Although I shall read more books, and no doubt many will touch me deeply, none will mean as much to me as those that helped me grow into myself.

With Eragon I dealt with my anger; anger at being trapped in a body that never did all I asked of it.  With Eragon I learned to protect my mind and myself while still being able to love and trust.

With Saphira I learned that love is not a weakness, I learned to be strong with the iron in my bones and brave with the fire in my belly.  And with Saphira I learned to let go and soar.

With Eragon, Brom, Saphira, Glaidr, Arya, Murtagh, Thorn and even Gallbatorix I learned the importance of names, and began the internal quest for my own true name.

With Harry I learned the importance and strength that lies in love for others, I learned that sacfriface for those you love is no sacrifice at all.

With Ron and Hermione I learned that one can find love in the most unexpected place.

With Hermione I learned “Books! And cleverness! There are more important things — friendship and bravery.”

With Draco I learned that it is never too late to change.

With Snape I learned that bravery comes in all colors, even green.

And with Tom Riddle I learned that Life without human connection, friendhip and love, is no life at all.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Eragon

Eldest

Brisingr

Inheritance

These 11 books have changed my life and made me the person I am today.  A Slytherin and a Dragon Rider.

Yours in Queerness,

Duo Spiritus

Bellatora of Valens

Bellatora of Valens whirled and slashed at her foes with her sword, Sagax, her face hard but calm even as sweat dripped off the tip of her nose.  Sagax cut through her foes as soon as they dared face her, the heat of battle giving Bellatora the strength to continue the fight for her own life and that of her child.

As she fought, Bellatora thought back to the events of the past ten months. In such a small window of time she had fallen in love, wed, become pregnant and given birth to a beautiful baby boy…  It all started when she returned from the border war, when she spent a good deal of her time off in taverns and pubs blowing off steam.  While she was spending time at one of the local taverns, she met a man with whom she shared an evenings entertainment, despite her plans for him to be gone come morning, when she awoke, he was still there.  A week later she found that she had forgotten the fact she didn’t want a real relationship.  Soon she found she was in a solid relationship–spending all of her time with her new love–they sparred together and dined together, they rode together and whiled away their nights.

Bellatora was in love with this man, and the man loved her in return, they decided to wed.

After weeks of the bliss of a new relationship, Bellatora was needed back at the border–she said her goodbyes and departed as soon as she could.  Within a few days of her return to battle, Bellatora realized she was pregnant.

Bellatora continued to fight until she couldn’t hide the bump of motherhood, and by then she was too far along to take the trip home for birth.  When her time came she gave birth alone, hoping nothing would go wrong. Her only concession was her good friend, a male healer, waited outside of her tent, in the event there was a problem.

A mere week after she gave birth, the Perduellisi attacked and Bellatora armed herself and hid her child in the hope the fight would end before any enemy got near her tent.  Her hopes were soon proven wrong.

Bellatora began to fight for her life, and that of her child, when the first enemy soldier cut his way into her tent.  He was quickly followed five more Perduellisi men and women at arms.  Bellatora braced her feet against the solid ground, smoothed her face into the stone mask she wore in battle and began her fight.

An endless hour later Bellatora had slain four enemy fighters and held the last three at bay with the strength and ferocity of a mother bear protecting her young.  Reinforcements arrived and the three remaining soldiers were slain, Bellatora and her baby boy, Fictilius, were safe.

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This is the penultimate installment in my short story series featuring elements.  This one was inspired by the strength and stability of earth.

Yours in Queerness,

Duo Spiritus

Life’s Flow

Several years ago lived a person well into hir golden years; ze had a body that was unable to do much of what it had before, but ze was not concerned because ze knew that what ze passed ze would be reborn as had happened countless times before. Ze had been born into many bodies and many lives; some lives cut short by tragedy and some were as long as this life had been. Most were average lives; ze learned a little, made some mistakes and did a little good, but some were fantastic lives and during those ze truly changed the world.

This person soon fell asleep, and ze slept for quite a while, when ze awoke ze was in a new place. Hir skin felt tight and the light was too bright for hir eyes, as they were used to such darkness, ze tried to use the words that ze had used thousands of times before but all that came out was a screeching wail. Into hir sight walked a giant of a man dressed in pale green whose voice was so loud all ze could do was scream again when he spoke “How lucky you are little one, we thought we’d lost you.” The man picked the baby up, and ze was in fact a baby, and handed hir to another giant clothed in a scratchy blue fabric “Here’s your little girl, isn’t she a perfect angel?” he said as Mother took the baby, handling her with perfect gentleness “She’s perfect.”

And for many years to come she was a perfect little girl, a little strange perhaps but a perfectly normal little girl none the less. She was strange for many reasons; how quickly her mind grew, how slowly her body grew and how much she seemed to “just know.” As she reached age five the adults in her life saw just how strange she was and worried, the children in her life saw how strange she was and shunned her. But the girl didn’t mind because, unlike any of her other lives, she remembered her past lives. She knew that this life must be special, she must be destined to do great things or she would have forgotten her past when she was born as she had done before.

As the girl reached her teen years the isolation her strangeness caused had turned from pure isolation on the part of most adults and all the children to isolation from adults and cruelty from her “peers.” The jackal-children taunted her, spread rumors and made her life, at school and at home, a place of anger and sadness. The adults told themselves, and each other, that what they saw was not happening when inside they truly sympathized with the Jackal-children and understood the need to torment the “strange one.” The few times the girls went to one of those adults for help she was told to “try and make friends,” “try to tough it out, they’ll respect you for it” or “it’s just a phase, they’ll get over it.” But the girl knew that these were lies, the witch hunt of the Jackal-children would never stop, just change and morph as they matured.
Despite the wisdom from all her other lives despite the “reassurances” of her teachers and parents she knew she could not live like this forever, she hungered for that deep sleep that would bring her new, better, life. The next day dawned bright and warm, a perfect summer’s day; the girl ate her breakfast and conversed with her family until one by one her family left for the activities of the day. The girl undressed and went outside to their pool; she dived in and fell asleep.

When she awoke she was in a new place. Her skin felt tight and the light was too bright for her eyes, as they were used to such darkness, she tried to use the words that she had used thousands of times before but all that came out was a screeching wail. Into her sight walked a giant of a woman dressed in pale green whose voice was so loud all shee could do was scream again when he spoke “What a handsome baby boy you have here.” The man picked the baby up, and she was in fact a baby, and handed her to another giant clothed in a scratchy blue fabric “Here’s your little boy, isn’t he a perfect angel?” he said as Mother took the baby, handling her with perfect gentleness “He’s perfect.”

As the boy grew he remembered all of his past lives, as he had in his previous life, and he knew that this life was a better life.  He grew into his wisdom well, his body fit well around his mind and his mind worked well with his body.  He began writing at an early age and shared his stories with adults and children alike. At first his stories were sweet and happy, but they grew darker, stories of hatred and it’s results were most prevalent until one day he wrote a story of a girl who drowned.  It was hauntingly beautiful and so mirrored the story of a suicide earlier that year that it stuck a chord with all who read it.

That story made a real difference in the world for it opened people’s eyes to the torment of “strange ones” all around them.  Teachers and parents began to step up and support those children who were slowly being torn apart by Jackal-children, and parents began to heal the anger within the Jackal-children.

Many generations fell asleep, and new ones were born, and soon there was a world where Jackal-children did not exist and “strange ones” were accepted and loved by adults and children alike.  Children were children, and that is the end of that.

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This is the second installment of an element themed collection of short stories, I intend to cover the elements of fire, water, air, earth and spirit.

This story was in fact inspired by water, the idea of a seamless flow from place to place, from form to form and how much water can change the world around it.

Yours in Queerness,

Duo Spiritus

Child of the Inferno

The story I’m about to share with you is not one of the past, nor of the present, but a story of all time. This is a story that occurred today and yesterday, a story of tomorrow and next year… A story of forever.

There once was a young boy who lived in a house of wood. His behaviors had always set him apart from the other youth in the area; he had always possessed a penchant for causing drama and dissent wherever he went.

As he grew the boy developed a skill for starting fires that quickly turned to obsession, the boy’s mother began to worry for her son as he would go out alone for hours at a time and return with burns on his hands and arms, but no matter what she tried he would not stop.

One afternoon as the boy was napping the house began to get warmer and warmer; the boy awoke to a tickling sensation enveloping his body. When he opened his eyes the boy saw that he, and his bed, was engulfed in flames. The flames spread away from his bed slowly devouring his home, climbing the walls and crossing the floor, the boy rose and walked through his home spreading the fire as he went until at last the heat consumed him.

He was a part of the flames now, both at one with the inferno and against it. As his body was no more his spirit began to fly through the blazing walls of his former home and into a new place, a dark place.

Once his entirety had arrived he heard a voice, both within and without his being, and it spoke in a deep, rumbling voice “Welcome home Ignis, my son.

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This is the first installment of an element themed collection of short stories, I intend to cover the elements of fire, water, air, earth and spirit.

Yours in Queerness,

Duo Spiritus

Do You Want To Play A Game?

I want to find out more about my readers and let Y’all find out more about me, so lets all answer a few of those “Conversation starters.” I’ll go first and then you can answer in the comment section below.

If you were going to live on a deserted island for a month what three items would you bring and what two people would you invite to come with you? No boats or planes or anything, you (hypothetically) want to do this, and food is not an issue.

I’d bring my Kindle, my iPod and a device to charge them both with solar power. I’d also invite my mom and my dog Snuffles to come along. Entertainment and company I could live with for a month without a buffer.

What was your favorite book when you were ages five, 10 and now? Why?

When I was five I really loved the books “Everybody Poops” and “The Napping House,” By the time I was ten I was into Harry Potter and now I couldn’t even tell you my favorite books… I love Ender’s Game, anything from Tamora Pierce’s Tortall collection, Cry of the Icemark and of course the Harry Potter series is still a favorite. I’ll take any Fantasy suggestions (I like knights) or Dystopic fiction of any sort.

If you could ask any one person (fiction or real) one question, what would it be?

I have to say I’d ask Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore why he let Harry stay in an abusive household even after he knew how bad it was. That was just not OK…

Well now it’s your turn, lets see some thoughtful answers! Yours in Queerness, Duo Spiritus

Body Image and Self Hatred

So far all my blog posts have been rather political or idealistic with very little information that is personal, but not this posy. This post is about body image, body loathing and body changing in others and in myself.

Everyone has two looks; the way they WANT to look, and the way they actually look. Usually the way a person wants to look is based on how society wants them to look because of race, gender, age, location, sexuality or whatever other stupid groups that one can be grouped by. I wish I could say knowing and hating this fact made me immune to it, but it doesn’t. I know how I want to look and I look in the mirror and see only little bits of it, sometimes, if I look hard enough and I’m in a good mood. Mostly I see fat, scars and acne, all things that logically I know have a reason for being there. Logically I know that I am a healthy weight, that acne break outs are a part of growing up and that my scars are monuments to how much pain I survived to get here… But logic plays no part in your feelings.

I know many people who spend hours of thought a day policing what they eat, caloric intake/output, but I can’t do that so instead I spend hours of thought a day SHAMING myself for my food choices. “You ate too much Duo, now you’ll never get thin!” or the nice voice “Did you really need that cookie Duo? You could have just eaten another carrot if you were that hungry.” I spend time debating whether or not to eat (my stomach always wins) and if something makes me skip a meal I’m proud of myself. And then when my head is clear from emotional, body hating voices and words for just a moment another set of words comes along; “Now you’re just like any other teenager Duo, why can’t you be BETTER than the teens that worry about their looks?” so I just cannot win. I get to be ashamed of my shame.

My ideal body may not be the one I would be assigned based on race, age, location or sex at birth but it is a product of media and societal ideals of beauty and sexuality. I want to be skinny, with bigger muscles, slight abs and clear skin. I want to wear crisp white button up shirts and jeans or black slacks with a long black overcoat decorated with chains topped with some kind of dapper cap or dashing hat. Instead I wear jeans and baggy t-shirts (and some form of fancy headwear) to hide the body parts I hate.

I am not the only person in, what seems like, an everlasting internal battle with myself over my body image, but I may well be the only person who never sees someone like themselves portrayed as someone who may have self image issues. It’s almost always girls between 12 and 25 years of age who are portrayed with eating disorders, self image issues and negative thoughts about their own body. Sometimes it’s boys between 14 and 25 years of age but it is NEVER youth outside the gender binary and it is very, very rarely someone younger or older than the ages above.

I think youth who do not conform to gender norms fight even more with body and self image issues because there are so few resources where genderqueer, two spirit, trans, non-gender, gender free, pangender or any other queer labeled youth can find support for their unique and beautiful bodies, clothing that fits both their body and their style and images of happy queer youth of all shapes, sizes, colors, sexes, genders and identities. We have to change this, don’t judge a person by their looks, make no assumptions and complement choices and achievements instead of physical attributes, especially if you are a parental figure or educator.

At the bottom of this post is a video that made me tear up a bit, just remember that the video’s message really should be for people of all genders.

Yours in Queerness,
Duo Spiritus

It Gets Better When You MAKE It Better!

Although the following post may seem to contradict this; I do (sometimes) enjoy Lady Gaga, ke$sha, Britney Spears, Rihanna and other Pop Music Icons. I watch Glee (and enjoy Santana) and I (to some extent) support the It Gets Better Campaign.

The problem I have with all of these Pop Culture mainstays are twofold, heteronormativity and passivity.

In the song I cannot seem to escape, Lady Gaga’s Born This Way, Lady Gaga gives support to those who are Gay, Straight, Lesbian, Transgender or Bisexual. She leaves those of us who live and love OUTSIDE the gender binary out in the proverbial cold. And beyond that she give naught but support when in reality Queer Human Beings need to stand and fight (with words and peaceful protesting) rather then remind themselves they are “on the right track baby [they] were born this way” and try to wait until “it gets better.” It will NOT get better until the masses give up this passive approach, and IF it does get better not one of us will be around to see it. Hence my annoyance with the It Gets Better Campaign… Yes it is important for ALL teenagers to know that life gets better as they progress through adulthood, but youth need to be told that we need to MAKE it better, not just wait around. If Ruby Bridges had been told that “It Gets Better” would she have been one of the bravest little girls I’ve ever had the pleasure of sharing similar skin pigmentation with? If the members of the resistance and the righteous gentiles during WWII had sat back until “It Gets Better” how many more lives would have been lost before the Allied troops finally stopped waiting for it to get better? Not exactly parallel cases but the message is clear, if you want it to get better then MAKE IT BETTER!

And Glee is just as bad, the Students on the show spend all their time complaining about their drama and then MAKING MORE. They complain about how cruel and mean everyone outside of the Glee club is and then they are cruel and mean to each other within the club. The whole plot is centered on heteronormative stereotypes (even the gay guys) without even a little bit of a twist to them. The writers clearly took the idea that there are no new characters to the extreme…

But on a more positive note, there are some artists who produce music about not only the fact that life gets better but about MAKING it better now, for everyone not just those who fall into clear binary life roles.

Warning, this video may cause emotional responses in anyone with a heart. Side effects of watching this video may include but are not limited to: Anger, Tears, A drive to advocate for human rights and Fear for the youth of the world.

I encourage you all to take a few minutes reflecting on how you can make it better, right now, enjoy some good music and then get out there and make it better. Be it on Facebook, outside, by calling a friend who needs you or by smiling at strangers to give them hope (or all of those and more) and make it better RIGHT NOW and forever.

Yours in Queerness,
Duo Spiritus

First “Crush?” Oh Goodness!

Eventually in everyone’s life there comes a time when they fall for someone, in a hetero normative world that means boy meets girl.  But for me it’s a little bit harder…

Just about every afternoon I head down to a wonderful youth program for teenage queerlings like myself to hang out and have fun in an accepting group setting, sometimes this wonderful person (We’ll call him X) comes too and recently I’ve found myself hoping that X will be there when I’m there.  A few days ago when I was trying very hard NOT to gaze longingly at X’s handsomely beautiful face and form I realized what had happened; I was in love with X.  Sounds romantic right?  Not so much, X has said that although he IS also Pansexual he does not often find more feminine forms attractive. (this is the part where I tell you that my body is quite feminine, with curves and the like)

X is also much more experienced then I am, this is quite intimidating.   And if problems with my mind, my self image and his past are not enough there are so many people out there who refuse to see me as pansexual, they all think I only like women.  And though other people should never keep you from love it makes it seem like it would be even WORSE if I were rejected…

Love is always complicated for queers and teens, so I guess it is ever more complicated for queer teens.

Your in queerness,

Duo Spiritus