Recently, two ladies openly flaunting their hand-holding in front of a security guard were told they couldn’t hold hands in the museum they were walking through. Because, of course, the affection queer people show to each other in public is considered to be much more sexualized and lurid than the same behavior between two straight people. The sick punchline to this story is that they were walking through an exhibit devoted to the lesbian writer Gertrude Stein, in the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. It is staggering to imagine the high-octane, uncut, military-grade heterosexual privilege a person has to possess to enter an exhibit devoted to Gertrude Stein and start sloshing around their heterosqueamishness. I can’t imagine being able to enter a space without first getting a read on the room to determine how to modulate my behavior, my affect, my voice, my inflection, my stance. I cannot fathom barging into a new space (the museum outsources their security guards) I’ve never been to before and trying to police other people’s behavior.
"I like things that are handmade and I like to see people's hand in the world, anywhere in the world; it doesn't matter to me where it is. And in my own work, I do everything by hand. I don't project or use anything mechanical, because even though I do spend a lot of time trying to perfect my line work and my hand, my hand will always be imperfect because it's human. And I think it's the part that's off that's interesting, that even if I'm doing really big letters and I spend a lot of time going over the line and over the line and trying tomake it straight, I'll never be able to make it straight. From a distance it might look straight, but when you get close up, you can always see the line waver. And I think that's where the beauty is." ~Margaret Kilgallen, Art:21 (2005)
While I identify as a sea creature ally more than a Femme Shark, the Femme Sharks are, nonetheless, one of my very very favorite organizations in the world. Created as a way to redefine and reclaim what 'femme' can mean especially as it pertains to and centers women of color, the Femme Sharks are fierce, in your face, and unapologetic in their love and their activism. If you are in the San Franscisco area, I highly encourage you to make it out to the rally and show some femme sharks some loving!
FEMME SHARKS VS. THE WALK FOR LIFE SAT 1/24/09 SF 10:30