Intimately Political and Insecure
A talk given at Queer Provocations, 2016
I am cautious about what I say in this forum, because yesterday left me with a sore head and heart in the process of trying to comprehend all that was discussed yesterday. I sort of get overwhelmed and emotionally confused by eloquent and passionate speakers, mainly because I’m so not like that, I stumble over my own convictions and thoughts constantly. I was actually so exhausted and just drained, that I didn’t feel like I could do this this evening, speak on something so important to me, and give you all something meaningful and somewhat fun to contemplate.
When I was discussing what I could voice in this context, I told one friend that it would be entertaining to talk about my sex life in great detail and watch people squirm. Because that’s what people generally do, you know? People have a hard enough time comprehending that I can engage with ideas on the same level as them. So on a rare occasion, when I start going into my relationships and how I indeed fuck people from time to time, I can see people’s minds being blown, while they give me that gross patronising smile or they laugh uncomfortably. I constantly have to reassure myself that my body is desirable, even though it’s a bit, you know, quirky. And doing this in the context of fucked ableist readings of my existence as impaired, defective or infantile in some way, is a massive challenge.
I recently performed at Queer Stories, an event in the Late Night Library series currently happening around the inner west, and my story was published online and shared a few times on social media. It was about the isolation and ignorance I feel in the queer scene in Sydney, and I also ranted a lot about how I never get laid. That is true… Mostly. But I wanted to share a different account of my sexuality and non-normative embodiment tonight, as this thing is meant to be about dream worlds. Also it’s a vital part of my life and challenging people’s ingrained ideas about what bodies “should” look like and how they “should” function.
My overt crippled exterior makes it hard to not function politically anywhere. Except maybe in my own home, where my family and friends are assimilated to my idiosyncratic movements and communication methods. They don’t freak out when I choke while eating, or skull my drinks. Yet, every day, as I was saying yesterday, I have to be brazen and express my identity, in a palatable way to make people not shy away from me, because I look weird and my brain isn’t able to process words in the usual way, so I can’t do that small talk thing, or any talk for that matter, vocally at least.
However, although I have found queer scenes really hostile and judgmental of my innately queer body (a hilarious contradiction, I might add), having kinky and non-normative sex is a way to reclaim my physicality. It’s a celebration of my body and the unique way it moves through the world. And sharing that with another being is very affirming, because it’s rare that people see me as a sexual human, that I sometimes forget I am desirable and fuckable, and dare I say it, I even have moments of doubting my ability to make people cum. That is the pinnacle of internalised ableism, isn’t it? That even though I have the intellectual and academic theory to support my crip politics and social identity, and know the medicalisation and othering of my body is so damaging, I still feel the subconscious and insidious feeling that I don’t belong anywhere. That my body isn’t good or sexy enough to bring pleasure or it is too “impaired” to be able to be validated sexually…. So the act of having sex and being totally in my body, and not feeling out of place or trying to make my muscles move in a “socially acceptable” way, is enormously liberating. So yeah, that’s one way I am changing my world. Having queer crip sex. You should try it some time. Thank you and I look forward to seeing you around.