I'll try to keep this coherent, for those of you that might care to read it. But this is mostly journaling as therapy, so I make no real promises.
I was at ComedySportz World Championships in Indianapolis last week. It's this warm bubble love and laughs. We're an international group of improvisors who believe firmly that having someone's back extends well beyond the playing field. Our anthem begins, "CSz, CSz, we are family," and ends "We will sacrifice, 'cause at ComedySportz, we're nice." Those are the people I spent the last week improvising and partying with.
On Wednesday night the annual LGBTQ+ Match was played. It's always been closed to the public, because the jokes tend to focus heavily on sex/sexuality, and that's not on-brand ("ComedySportz is for everyone." Including children and prudes). But it's become a much beloved Championship tradition. One of the hosts made a point of talking about why it's important to remember that even if we can't make those kinds of explicit jokes in a public match, that it's important to the queer folks in CSz to know that CSz is a safe space. He also stressed that there are other kinds of diversity in our family, and that he'd love to see other minorities have their own shows at future championships. How important that visibility is. Within 48 hours the inaugaral Disabilities Match was put together and played.
I didn't play in the LGBTQ+ Match. It didn't seem that important.
Saturday was Indy's Pride Parade, and many of our queer players, and allies marched together as ComedySportz. I wore my one-and-only rainbow (a bracelet empheliath and Mike bought me, with colorful skull shaped beads), and painted my lips like the bi pride flag. It was beautiful and wonderful, and affirming.
That night the final matches were played, and afterward all 270ish of us went back to the hotel and took over their bar and lobby. I knew we had to drive home the next morning, so eventually I started saying my good byes. When I was saying good bye to another bi player he asked why I hadn't played in the LGBT+ Match. I answered honestly, that it seemed more important to other people than it felt to me, and I didn't want to crowd the stage, and take playing time away from people to whom it mattered more. He encouraged me to play next year, stressing how little B had been in the LGBT match.
I didn't look at the clock at that moment, but based on when I got back to my room, it's likely that conversation happened around 2am Sunday morning.
Around 10:30am I got up, packed up the last of my things, and drove back to Richmond with my husband and another RVA Player we'd carpooled with. I found out about Orlando maybe an hour into a 10ish hour road trip with two hetcis men (wonderful, caring hetcis men, but hetcis men). I didn't read any articles, and every time I started to cry I forced it all down. I didn't want to be the hysterical crying woman who made an uncomfortably long car trip even more unbearable. Eventually I channeled everything I was feeling into a Facebook fight with a guy who insisted he was an amazing ally, even when he had members of the community going, "In general, maybe. But right now you're being a dick, and please shut up."
I didn't cry until Moday morning when I allowed myself to start reading articles, learning names, etc.
Some time that evening my husband asked why I was so personally effected by this. I tried to explain.
When I was a teenager, being bi was a huge part of my identity. The first REAL crush I can remember having was on a college woman who thought I was much older than I was (nothing inappropriate happened, much to my disappointment). I came out to my friends, which felt huge at the time, even though half of them had already come out to me as gay or bi. We participated in AIDS research fund raising together, and were collectively obsessed with RENT.
I came out to my mom. I didn't want the first time she found out to be when I brought home my first girlfriend. As it happens, the timing was never right with either of the women I might have seriously dated in college, and I met my husband almost immediately after breaking up with my last college boyfriend. We haven't particularly talked about it since, and for all I know she thinks it was some sort of phase I went through. But it was important to me to tell her.
My husband and I have been together for almost ten years. I have incredible passing privilege. Because that's what happens to cis bisexual women who marry cis straight men (or vice versa). When people assumed I was straight I mostly didn't bother to correct them.
It didn't seem that important.
We were winning. We'd achieved marriage equality, and there were still discriminatory laws on the books, but people had stopped using "gay" as an insult, and public opinion, on the whole, was headed in the right direction. There were still fights to fight, but the biggest of them seemed to be focused on the trans community--an area where I consider myself an ally, but where my sexuality doesn't really factor in. (For all that the T in LGBT stands for "Trans" sexuality and gender aren't the same thing).
Orlando was a huge slap in my far too complacent face.
Today, after a shift at my new job, I came home and watched what I had left of Boy Meets World, season 1. I needed something simple and heart warming. I needed to not think about Orlando for a bit.
At 7:30 I put away the dvds and checked my Facebook notifications. Lots of post-event chatter on the Championship group, and of course, lots about Orlando, and LGBTQ+ pride. Then a couple of comments made me realize that there was something going on tonight, and a quick Google search confirmed that a vigil had started half an hour earlier.
So then I cried for about half an hour, angry and hurt that no one--not even all the people I knew crying out that we can't forget our bi friends during this tragedy, this is their community too, they're in pain too, etc--had reached out to me and let me know this was happening. It wasn't anyone's fault. The people most tied into that kind of information are deep in their own grief, and if they thought about me at all, probably assumed I'd already heard about it.
One person, someone I barely know, did include me on a Facebook event invitation. And maybe every other queer friend I had thought of inviting me, and saw that I'd already been invited. But I never got the event notification (thanks so much, Facebook), and emotionally speaking, the end result is the same as if no one had invited me.
And I know, Poor me. My friends who are also deeply emotionally compromised right now, didn't reach out to me in multiple forums to make sure I knew about a vigil. My life is so sad. Me, me, me.
I feel like even writing this sounds super narcissitic and self-involved when there are very real victims in Orlando. But like everyone else, everyone who felt the need for a vigil tonight, I'm reeling from this. And tonight I felt really abandoned by my community.
I just want to go back to Championship, and march in more Pride parades, and play in the gods damned LGBTQ+ Match, go to All The Vigils, and tattoo pride flags across my forehead.
- Feeling: crappy
- Hearing:I'll Cover You - Rent