Today Nichole pops off about official autism diagnoses and how inaccessible they are, creating barriers for those on the spectrum to get access to services they need.
Why do anarchists only drink herbal tea? Plus another bonus joke!
Main Topic: Queerness and Anarchy For All!
Inspired by the book Queering Anarchism, we talk about the concept of queer anarchism and how we can queer our anarchy and anarchize our queerness, focusing specifically on how these two practices are available to EVERYONE no matter how you identify or what your political ideology is.
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Nichole [00:00:26] So hello internet. I’m Nichole.
Callie [00:00:29] And I’m Callie.
Nichole [00:00:30] And today we’ll be talking about…
Callie [00:00:33] Queer anarchism!
Nichole [00:00:35] We’re so excited. Highly anticipated.
Callie [00:00:39] So excited.
Nichole [00:00:40] We’re not as ready as we want to be but like, fuck it right?
Callie [00:00:45] Mm hmm, Yep.
Nichole [00:00:47] First, however, we’re going to talk about, well, I’m going to talk about a little autism update, if you will. So in the last week, ever since we had our neurodivergent coming-out episode, we have, well I’ve looked into really what it takes to get diagnosed. I was able to get in touch with a professional and talk to her about what a formal diagnosis would require. And I now more fully understand why people encourage others to diagnose themselves if they can’t get diagnosed professionally because it is really difficult. There’s a pretty high barrier to diagnosis. So just for everyone else who’s interested in this, this might be some useful information for you.
Nichole [00:01:42] So for, first of all, for me to get an informal diagnosis, she was saying her discounted rate was one hundred an hour and it would take two to three sessions for us to go through the questions that she had and just to do the evaluation to get like, basically a, you know, you can feel good that you sort of have a diagnosis now, but it won’t get you access to anything, a diagnosis. So it’s gonna be probably like three hundred dollars for that because I don’t have insurance. And then to get a formal diagnosis, you actually have to go to a center. It’s far more expensive. She didn’t say exactly how much, but I’m guessing like six to twelve hundred dollars, somewhere in there. It can take months, there’s questions that you have to answer, like tons of questions that you have to answer and they do a really strong evaluation on your development as a child.
Nichole [00:02:43] So they highly recommend that you bring a parent or have access to a parent to help you answer those questions. And I know many of us, myself included, don’t have parents in some sense. So either they’ve passed away or in the case of my parents, I’m estranged from them. And also, you know, my dad wasn’t super involved, so I don’t think he could answer questions, and my mom, unfortunately, suffers from mental illness that makes it so that she doesn’t, like she doesn’t have a reliable memory for things and doesn’t tend to answer things honestly. Or she may think she’s being honest, she tells a lot of tall tales so it’s hard to know what’s true. So in my case… And you need that diagnosis in order to get access to services for autism because as I mentioned on the last episode, every level of autism actually needs support. It’s just a matter of what level of support that you need. That’s kind of how they diagnose you. It’s like autistic and then what level of support you require.
Nichole [00:04:00] So this is… There is a reason there’s a massive barrier. And a lot of times the reason it can take months is because, for most people, it takes that long for them to convince their insurance to cover getting a formal diagnosis. So they have to argue with their insurance company and justify like, why. I think a lot of times they probably have to spend a lot of money to get that informal diagnosis, to then push to get coverage for a formal diagnosis. So it’s a whole thing. And then, yeah, if you don’t have access to information about your development growing up, then it’s harder to get diagnosed. And another thing that makes it really difficult, she was telling me, to diagnose someone is if there is a lot of trauma while you’re a child. A lot of that can be… Trauma and autistic traits often overlap so she was like, yes, sometimes it’s like, impossible to tell if it’s trauma or autism. And my response to that is like, well, if they present the same way, then like, shouldn’t people who have gone through trauma also get services and support? But that’s not what happens. It’s like, oh, you were traumatized as a kid so, like, you don’t need help. You’re fine. Goodbye. You know? But yeah, if you have autism then you may have access to things.
Nichole [00:05:24] So I’m still considering whether this is something I want to pursue or not. Most likely not because I do not have that kind of money laying around. And like I said, I don’t have insurance. And even if I had insurance like, the stuff I could get, like… It wouldn’t cost-wise, even workout anyway. So I am in the process of looking up what kinds of services are available in California to see if perhaps it would be worth it, in the long run, to get a diagnosis for the trade-off of the services that I could access. But I ran out of spoon’s before I was able to determine what those services are so I will keep you all posted on that. But I’m assuming, you know, I obviously would be a level one, which is like the least support needed. So I’m assuming, like, I wouldn’t have access to things that would really be helpful, like paying for housing or disability or anything like that.
Callie [00:06:20] Which would kind of justify going through a 6 month, really excessively difficult, process.
Nichole [00:06:28] Yeah, exactly.
Callie [00:06:28] You know, digging up all your history and medical records and having a really invasive expert crawling through your entire life’s history.
Nichole [00:06:40] My brain, yeah.
Callie [00:06:41] Yeah. And this is why it’s just so frustrating hearing, like, people talking about like, oh, you have to have a diagnosis, you know, before you can, like, talk about these sorts of things or like, you know, even just with the rise of… And I get it. It’s been really frustrating seeing the ignorance coming out of the woodwork to, just really shocking degrees with this whole Coronavirus thing, so I get that there is kind of this pushback now about like only going through, like reputable sources and only getting expert opinions and stuff. But it’s like we have to remember how inaccessible those things are and how a lot of times like, they are set up as barriers for people getting help.
Callie [00:07:27] You know, it’s not to say that like obviously there aren’t some things that it is helpful to have, like people, you know, experts weigh in on but it’s just, I couldn’t believe when you were describing to me, like what the process was and how difficult it would be even for someone who was, like, abled and had lots of spoon’s and like all of the… Like I just, you’re a person in your late thirties. Like even having to go back and, like, get history from your childhood, even from your, like, early development as a baby. It’s like that is so difficult, you know? Like I couldn’t get that level of detail from my parents either, you know?
Nichole [00:08:14] Yeah. Yep. And that’s why they say the older you are, the more difficult it is to get diagnosed. And that’s why like diagnosing adults is a whole different thing. And I think a lot of people have the misconception that it’s just like anything else where you can just go get diagnosed, right? Like, oh, you just walk in and if you have it, you have it. And it’s like, no, there’s actually a huge barrier because of two major factors. One being the background information that by now, you know, for me is almost four decades old. And also then, if you are someone who has gone undiagnosed this long, it’s likely because you learned at least some amount of masking and some survival mechanisms that helped you to navigate.
Nichole [00:09:04] So like for me, I was thinking about it because I watched a video about a girl who went and got diagnosed. I think she was in her like early 20s and she was explaining the whole process. And she’s like, you know, and I just made sure to try to not mask, and like I stimmed if I wanted to stim. And I was like, I literally don’t even know how not to mask. I don’t know how. Like the second I’d be in front of someone, especially someone that I’m desperate to like, connect with because I want them to help me, which is how I survived. Like I learned very young if I can make people like me, then I’m more likely to get help or at least like not get cut out of things. So, yeah, I just. I don’t know if I would be able to not mask in that situation.
Nichole [00:09:52] And it’s like, then I would go undiagnosed. But I’m literally basically on my own unofficial disability because I was so burnt out and I can’t work right now. So, yeah, and you’re right, like I just… Thank you for bringing that up because I think people don’t think about that, too, like even an able-bodied person with a lot of spoons like would have a really difficult time navigating all of this. If you talk to parents of people who are disabled or partners, you know, anyone who can help out, like, they’ll say that they get worn down by trying to navigate the system as well. So it’s literally intended…Like my mom went on disability a really long time ago. Like I said, she has a lot of mental health issues and she can’t work, and also health issues. And I remember her telling me that, like, she had to apply like three or four times and someone in the system told her that it’s their policy to turn you down the first time because a lot of people will take that is like that’s the judgment and not come back or not have like the ability to apply again. Like we’ll just run out of spoons, run out of support, run out of money, whatever it is. So that’s the situation we’re living in.
Nichole [00:11:12] So, yeah, I just, I had already pretty much embraced like self-diagnosis for this. But after researching that, I just wanted to give other people the information because I know that episode really resonated, and I think for ADHD as well, I think that’s easier to get diagnosed with, but it is still challenging and there is still like cost and time barriers. And, you know, if you have, if you’re struggling with ADHD, like even making that appointment and finding a therapist can be really difficult or like, you know, making an appointment, your primary care person. And then you’re, yet again, you’re at their mercy like, if they take it seriously or not. And just how much experience they have with it and everything else.
Nichole [00:11:54] So, I mean, Callie you had that experience where your therapist is kind of like, I don’t know, maybe, you know, so you, like, have to go find a whole new person to go talk to and you have to go through that whole intake process again, which for me, I always find filling out forms like extremely draining and it’ll just make me put off stuff for a really long time. So, yeah, I just wanted to give all of you that information for everyone who’s like, oh shit, these really resonated with me, just to be empowered. Like, if you’re going to try to get services, then you’re going to have to go through this process and it fucking sucks. But like, if you’re not going to get services then, and do be empowered to self-diagnose, if you’ve like, really done… I mean, autistic people are really good at research. I think people with ADHD as well because you’re really good at research, you know. So I just feel like we get to a point where we like, know. You know, and we’ve really done our due diligence and we’ve really, like, gone through all the information. And I just think if you get to that point and you just need it for yourself like I do, then be okay with that. And just be armed with this information for other people who push back and to say, like, do you actually know the process? Like, do you actually know what it takes to get diagnosed?
Callie [00:13:09] Right. Yeah, and I just want to clarify, too, because I’m really glad you said all of that. My point about like bringing up, you know, the COVID things and the pushback against kind of this, like all these conspiracy theorists and this kind of anti-intellectualism and anti science, right, is not to say that we should just like skew one way or the other. It’s just to like, that we need to be careful not to fall into a backlash and then, like, lose some nuance. You know, so it’s not saying that, like, obviously science or doctors aren’t important. It’s just before you start shouting anything down as like, oh, unless you have, like, an expert weigh in then it’s not real yet. It’s just to like have some empathy and understanding as to like, that the system is designed to like wear people down. And like you said, like even-
Nichole [00:14:01] Oh no! This is Internet tyranny. Poor Callie fucking internet companies. Well, while we wait for Callie to come back, I did see a question about spoons and I feel like you all answered it really well. But for anyone listening on the pod, I mentioned, you know, I didn’t have the spoons for something and that’s just a little chronic illness theory. It’s a way to explain not having the time energy to do stuff, or just how you have really limited capacity throughout the day of what you’re able to accomplish. And it also helps people with chronic illness or disability explain how sometimes some stuff can take additional effort then it would take and able-bodied person. So for me, you know, like I go to acupuncture once a week, I walk there and back and it’s literally all I can do that day. I always have to take a nap after. And I know that I just can’t, like, count on being able to do any other major tasks during that day. Looks like Callie is making her way back. So thank you for that question.
Nichole [00:15:25] I was like, oh, no! And it’s always when you’re in the middle of like, you never drop while I’m talking. You’re in the middle of, like, saying something amazing.
Callie [00:15:34] Yeah, it’s very, very frustrating, especially as someone who easily loses their train of thought.
Nichole [00:15:41] Yep.
Callie [00:15:42] But yeah, I was just saying, like, we just need to like, remember that the system is set up like to be a barrier. You know, it’s not an accident. And I just kind of hate that there’s like this very kind of flat response, you know, like anything less than just like fully trusting the institutions of our like health care system means like you’re this like anti-science, like ignorant piece of crap. And it’s like, no. There’s like a lot of ground in the middle there. And yeah. And also, I just want to echo your point earlier, and really highlight in case anyone kind of missed it because you brought up so many good things. But the fact that, like, they can’t… Because my therapist even told me that too. Differently, obviously but just that like, oh, some of these… Symptoms I guess? I can’t think of the right word for it right now of like autism or in my case, ADHD, like can also come from trauma. And it’s like, so it only matters like if it comes from ADHD or autism?
Callie [00:16:55] Like it’s like when we were talking about, early on in the COVID situation, right, when they were just trying to figure out what to do and people were like, treatment should be free. And it’s like but not any other medical treatment? Like, I don’t know why… like getting this virus would be terrible and obviously it’s very deadly and very… it’s just causing a lot of damage worldwide. But I don’t know why people would be like, oh, well, the treatment for this should be free, but like not anything else.
Nichole [00:17:30] Right.
Callie [00:17:30] It just doesn’t make sense to me. It’s like, so what if it’s like a hodgepodge for you of like, some of these things are from the trauma you’ve experienced, some of it from your chronic illness, some of them are from autism. It really shouldn’t matter where it comes from.
Nichole [00:17:43] Yeah, I need help.
Callie [00:17:43] The fact is you’re living with the results of it. And I just don’t really understand, like, why that seems to be such a thing, you know?
Nichole [00:17:51] I know. I know. Well, yeah. It’s like COVID is a perfect example because you will treat it if I catch it but you won’t help me with stuff like asthma or allergies or heart disease or any of these other things that are pre, you know, can make me either more susceptible to catching it or more susceptible to death or permanent injury from it. OK. And yeah, I agree. And it’s like I suspect that I am autistic period. And that like, my trauma was enhanced by being autistic because I can think of things from when I was like, tiny, you know, like a baby or a toddler, which is really before like, things were so bad in my family. But yeah, I completely agree with you. It’s like if we’re here now and this is the situation and I need help, then like, who fucking cares?
Nichole [00:18:56] But it’s just another way to make it inaccessible. And it’s also another way to individualize these issues because it’s like, oh, well, this happened to you because you’re from a bad family, versus like something you’re born with. Which you still get treated like a drain and like less than human, but it’s like, well, it’s technically not your fault so I guess we’ll have to take care of you a little bit.
Callie [00:19:21] Right.
Nichole [00:19:21] And it’s like, oh, what a generous Christian spirit you all have. And I just like your comment too about, like, science. Like, yeah, I’m definitely not anti-science, but at the same time, one of the major reasons both of us were not diagnosed earlier is because of the sexist bias of science. So, I think that’s a good conversation to have with people too. Like, don’t waste your time if it’s someone who just won’t listen. But I think that can be like, do you understand that people go undiagnosed because there is so much bias? Like science isn’t this gold standard of like, you know, pure logic. It’s just not. Like people go in with their own confirmation bias, their own theories, and things get skewed that way.
Callie [00:20:11] No, no, Nichole. Science is pure.
Nichole [00:20:15] It’s pure, it’s white.
Callie [00:20:15] It’s pure, it’s perfect.
Nichole [00:20:15] It’s male.
Callie [00:20:21] It’s always infallible and 100 percent accurate.
Nichole [00:20:27] Yep.
Callie [00:20:28] No, there is no human, like, bias or messiness that infiltrates science. I don’t know if you heard about this, if it was going around the interwebs or not. I saw this on Tik-Tok, but apparently some male doctors, I don’t know how many, like got together and basically published this paper. That they like, went undercover and like basically, from what I can tell, stalked a bunch of like female physician’s like social media pages and then posted this paper that was basically like calling them out for being inappropriate. That all of these like, you know, female physicians having, like, bikini pictures, and then like, posed in like sexy poses and wearing skimpy outfits, is like unprofessional and like tarnishing the profession and like just all of this bullshit.
Nichole [00:21:21] Fuck your dress codes.
Callie [00:21:23] Yeah, well, this isn’t even a dress code thing. These are people on their time off.
Nichole [00:21:29] Yeah.
Callie [00:21:29] Like, it’s your day off and you’re at the beach and you’re in a bikini. And this male doctor is gonna be like, because this is on your social media, totally unrelated from you being at work.
Nichole [00:21:42] You’re giving me pants feelings, it’s very unprofessional.
Callie [00:21:45] But like, you know, this is the kind of bias, like, that people carry into their work with their patients. And we just don’t factor that in at all. And we don’t factor in how much like racism comes into play, classism, right? Like, there’s so many things that like, these people are, like these professionals are people that bring in their own societal biases, you know?
Nichole [00:22:10] Yeah.
Callie [00:22:10] And we see that. It’s why, like, you know, there was that line going around through, you know, kind of the height of all the George Floyd protests that like, “Doctors do to black women, what police do to black men.” And it is true, we have an epidemic of doctors like killing black women because they’re not taking their pain and conditions like into account and they’re dying from it, you know? And that is because of the training they get and because of their bias against black women and what the field thinks of, like the conditions of certain bodies. And it’s just sick. And I just hate when I see all this, like even leftists, like leftist friends I have, like, pushing back and just like kind of praising science and the scientific community as this like infallible…
Callie [00:23:01] You know, it’s like, replace that with the Bible and it sounds exactly like the other side, right? And it’s just… It’s fine to like, mostly believe in a thing, but just to like, put something on a pedestal where it feels perfect and pure to you and infallible is when things get really dangerous. And when you can look at someone who is like telling you that they believe they have a condition and they don’t have the resources to go get help so they’re doing the research themselves, and then you like sneer at them and be like, well, a professional didn’t tell you, didn’t diagnose you with that so it’s not accurate. It’s gross, you know? It’s really gross.
Nichole [00:23:39] It’s really gross. Yeah. Yeah, and I think just any time you have an institution that is inaccessible to most people, you have to question it because it’s just gonna be rooted in, like, white supremist patriarchy.
Callie [00:23:56] I just heard that White Male Rage that you were singing earlier. It got stuck in my head when you paused.
Nichole [00:24:06] It is going to be rooted in white male rage. What is with these fuckin vaginas? They’re just… god, this woman’s uterus is just wandering all over the place, making her crazy. Why can’t they just leave us alone with our instruments and our numbers?
Callie [00:24:20] Women with their hysteria, i.e. They just need an orgasm bad.
Nichole [00:24:27] Thank you for getting the reference. I mean, who doesn’t? OK, I can feel my uterus getting twitchy if I haven’t gotten off in a while. Natural part of life.
Callie [00:24:37] Yeah.
Nichole [00:24:38] So, um. Oh, yeah. It’s my turn. So I want to tell a joke. I was going to be like, so Callie, you do Patreons, but I’m like, oh yeah, wait. So I’m gonna retell a joke that I told on VWPA. I doubt you’re gonna remember the punch line so I’m sure it’s fine. I apologize to anyone who remembers it but it’s like too perfect. And then I thought maybe we could tell the joke that you sent the other day. I could tell it but like, you’ll already know that one too. So everyone just buckle in. Callie may not have her normal reaction because she’s heard these before.
Callie [00:25:23] I don’t even remember sending you a joke.
Nichole [00:25:26] Number one. Why do anarchists only drink herbal tea?
Callie [00:25:35] I don’t know.
Nichole [00:25:37] Do you remember?
Callie [00:25:39] No, I really don’t.
Nichole [00:25:40] Yes. Because proper-tea is theft. That is my favorite joke. It is so clever. I love it.
Callie [00:25:52] Yeah.
Nichole [00:25:53] I was hanging out with my bestie and her brother was around and we were all hanging out and they told him that I do these jokes and he’s like, tell me some of the jokes and he was just like, not impressed. But he liked that one cause he’s a bit of an anarchist.
Callie [00:26:13] Mm hmm, that’s very cute.
Nichole [00:26:13] Yeah. These comments.
Callie [00:26:16] I know, Landon’s? “Callie submitted a joke, is that a cry for help?”
Nichole [00:26:22] She’s constantly sending me jokes from Tik-Tok and I’m like, I can’t do anything with these though.
Callie [00:26:28] Listen, not constantly.
Nichole [00:26:29] Constantly. Several.
Callie [00:26:29] I’ve sent you a few.
Nichole [00:26:33] And I love them but then I always get sad because some of them are really good and I’m like damnit, I want to tell this joke.
Callie [00:26:40] Yeah but you know I forget like right after I send it to you.
Nichole [00:26:44] This is true. I should just save them and retell them because you probably won’t remember.
Callie [00:26:47] I would never know.
Nichole [00:26:49] Hmm okay. This is the new strategy going forward. I’ll just like write the date that you submitted it and wait like at least three months.
Callie [00:26:58] You probably don’t even have to wait that long to be honest.
Nichole [00:27:00] Or three weeks. So the other joke that Callie sent me, I don’t really know how to tell it, but it’s just like, I’m pansexual. I’m also demisexual. So am I a pandemic? It could be in poor taste right now, but I’m choosing to embrace it because it’s cute.
Callie [00:27:24] I don’t think it’s in poor taste. I mean, that’s why the joke is funny.
Nichole [00:27:28] Yeah. So Callie has some people to thank.
Callie [00:27:35] Oh, I was like Callie has a what? Not a joke.
Nichole [00:27:39] Callie has four more jokes for you.
Callie [00:27:42] Yes, I do have some people to thank. New patrons. So, Chris, Judith, Stinky, Melissa, Maria, Hillary, friend of the show, Hillary, thanks, babe! Danielle and Grant.
Nichole [00:28:03] Yeah. We let those pileup. Sorry, everyone.
Callie [00:28:06] This isn’t… Oh, yeah it is. No, that’s not actually been that long. I feel like I’ve read some on… Your face. I just completely forgot what I was going to say. Yes. And then we got a very generous one-time donation from Narges. Am I saying that correctly?
Nichole [00:28:32] I’m not sure actually.
Callie [00:28:32] I feel like this is a person we interact with.
Nichole [00:28:34] We do interact with them a lot.
Callie [00:28:37] Sent us some monies. So thank you to all of our new patrons so, so much. We are deeply grateful and appreciative of you supporting queer leftist radical media and allowing us to do what we love to do the most, which is put out content for y’all. So, sincerely, thank you very much to all of our new patrons.
Nichole [00:29:04] Yeah. And if you want to support the show financially, you can go to patreon.com/bitchyshitshow and donate there. And that’s really cool and helpful, but no presh if you don’t have it.
Callie [00:29:20] Yes.
Nichole [00:29:20] We love you. We love your support in any way you can give it.
Callie [00:29:24] Yes.
Nichole [00:29:26] As usual, I will take this moment to shake the tip jar but like, instead of tips, it’s YouTube subscribers. We are growing pretty steadily on YouTube but like in small numbers. We’re really trying to hit a thousand subs because then we have access to more features on YouTube. So if you haven’t subscribed to the YouTube channel and you ever watch videos at all, please look up Bitchy Shitshow on YouTube and sub. We do our live streams twice a week and then we have the replays available at all times on the channel and we’ve had some really great videos. We do an Ask a Bitch series now which is a weekly advice column that we do live. And then we have those replays and that’s been taking off pretty well. So. And those are things we don’t publish on the show so it’s extra content for those of you who just can’t get enough of the bitches.
Callie [00:30:30] Yes.
Nichole [00:30:32] Yeah. So are we ready? Have you had enough coffee? Has it kicked in?
Callie [00:30:41] Definitely not.
Nichole [00:30:46] All right. So we tried to do something really fun and go out on social media and kind of solicit some responses from all of you for what you felt about queerness and what you felt about anarchism. Let me share that here so you can see on our IG story, we got lots of great responses. My favorite of which was just, “Cool. It’s cool.” Yeah, we got awesome responses so, “Encompassing any part of our beautiful alphabet soup of, you know, LGBTQIA+”, “I think of it along the lines of its original definition, odd, bent, different. Not easily defined.” Not normative… Oh sorry, I’m reading this person’s thing wrong. So they wrote three responses, but basically, “In the time when queer was being reclaimed from bigots as a label that we embraced… I’m more comfortable calling myself queer than bi or nonbinary.” “Not being cishet…” “Living outside of the binary gender roles…” “Always living outside of what’s expected…” I really love this one. “A comfy, roomy label that I can claim when the more narrow ones do not seem to cover it. :)” I love that.
Callie [00:32:07] Yes!
Nichole [00:32:07] And then my most favorite response, because it was so anarchist in nature, was from Molly saying, “The fuck I can’t fit anything in this tiny ass box!! I will DM you, if that’s okay.” And then they did and they actually wrote something really beautiful and I think is right at the heart of this episode today. So, “As a disclaimer, I am queer, I think there are many ways to think about and define queerness. I didn’t study this or anything. Still learning. But I like to think queerness is a methodology, one that actually, that to me places it in close relationship with anarchism. So, of course, we use queer as a noun to describe our identities. But I inform my understanding of my queer identity by thinking of the ways that we can use queer as a verb. The idea of queer and queering as a verb to is to me, along the lines of using a subversive or alternative lens to read, see or interpret something. So everyone can, and I’d say should but that’s another topic, queer the world around them even if they themselves aren’t queer. To queer something, your mind, a space, a narrative, etc. is to me to seek boundaries and look for ways that they can be meaningfully transgressed by the people they define or confine as a tool for liberation.”.
Nichole [00:33:25] I literally, like we could stop here. Like this was so perfect. And this really is at the heart of the episode today. So today we’re talking about a lot of things, you know, queer and anarchist. But the real purpose for today is to invite everyone into queerness and anarchism. I think that there’s a lot of different kinds of barriers put up for people, whether they’re enforced externally or internally, that make these thing these things seem like they belong to only certain groups. But really, if we can all embrace queer anarchism, we will find infinite ways to resist and infinite ways to create community and infinitely new ways to relate to one another.
Nichole [00:34:12] So we will go through some stuff, we did read a bunch of essays from a book and like learn some things, but really we wanted to have more of a free-flowing conversation just about how to internalize this concept and how to practice it in your day-to-day life, how to talk to other people about it. Because I know we have a lot of queer people, we have a lot of anarchists, but I think we also have a lot of people who, you know, are maybe drawn to these things but also feel like there’s barriers to adopting them and we really just want to break all that down today.
Nichole [00:34:46] So I went on out on Twitter and I asked people what they thought of anarchy, and our Twitter is not as poppin as our Instagram, as you can see, unfortunately, or maybe people just didn’t feel as attached to the question. But we got two really good responses. So anarchy to them is, “No (unquestioned) social norms you could break/that oppress you or force you to live a certain lifestyle…” and “Elimination of unjust hierarchy. Mutual aid. Consensus-driven decision making.” Love. Love, love, love.
Callie [00:35:16] Yes.
Nichole [00:35:18] So we can start with queerness first, and I think that this quote from David M. Halperin is a really great definition. So, “Queer is by definition whatever is at odds with the normal, the legitimate, the dominant. There is nothing in particular to which it necessarily refers. It is an identity without an essence. ‘Queer’ then demarcates not a positivity but a positionality vis-à-vis the normative – a positionality that is not restricted to lesbians and gay men, but is in fact available to anyone who is or feel, marginalized because of his or her sexual practices.” So, suck on that heteronormativity.
Callie [00:36:07] Wow.
Nichole [00:36:08] So what this means, we’ll talk about this a little bit before we get into anarchy. What this really looks like is looking at the world around you with a queer lens, regardless of how you identify. And as you know, Molly mentioned before, we can see queer as a noun. It’s an identity that we can wear. It’s something that people can call us, whether in a positive or negative way. It’s also an adjective and then it can be a verb. And that’s what we really want to focus on today, is the verb of queering. Now, queerness typically relates to gender, sexuality, and in a large part, relationships. I would say anarchism also deals with relationships but in kind of a different way. So when we look at queerness, usually, yeah, typically you don’t adopt the label for yourself unless you do identify as not cis or not straight, however, we all can access the act of queering and we can do it anytime.
Nichole [00:37:12] So in the town hall or the Ask a Bitch that we did about gender identities, you know, we talked about things like gender nonconforming, which is technically not a noncis gender identity. Gender nonconforming can apply to any gender identity. But what it’s doing is it’s pushing the bounds and it’s refusing to follow the norms for whatever gender identity you have. So I would even say like I was a gender non-conforming, genderqueer person for a while because I didn’t really queer my look. I was kind of walking around in what most people would consider “normal”, putting that in huge air quotes, appearance. But I knew that I was genderqueer and I still had that label for myself. And then you could have someone, for instance, a cis woman, a cishet woman, who shaves her hair off because she doesn’t want to have to be seen as valuable for how she looks, she wants to reclaim her body, she just wants the ease of not having to deal with hair, whatever it is. You know, if you’re doing it in a way that is pointedly against what is expected of you, then that’s queer and everyone has access to that.
Nichole [00:38:31] It’s pretty commonplace now, but think of like five, maybe 10 years ago, like guys wearing pink shirts, sadly was like a queer thing. And then it became more normalized and now it’s considered very commonplace. But like, that was kind of a big deal when people first started doing it and guys were saying, I like the way I look in pink, it’s a universally flattering color or I don’t want to be hemmed in. I don’t care. Like, I just want to wear, I think it’s cute, I want to wear it. Even something as small as that can be queer. So any time you’re pushing back, anytime you’re challenging, and to me, I think it always has to be inherently at least a little political and I think that’s where the intention comes in. So I wouldn’t tell someone they couldn’t say that they’re doing a queer action by, say, shaving their head. But if they really didn’t do it for any kind of political reason, then, you know, technically it’s not as much like queering as it is… I mean, I think it is still a queer practice in essence, because you’re still going to deal with shit from people and you’re doing what you want to do with your body, which I do think is inherently queer.
Nichole [00:39:43] But yeah, usually when you’re doing it, or I guess what we’re inviting all of you to do is to embrace this in a sense of looking at the world around you and seeing are there ways that I can push the boundaries a little bit. And I think that what I mean by political is that often you’re trying to make other people uncomfortable by not being the thing that they expect you to be or not doing the thing they expect you to do. It’s not so much just… It’s not necessarily confrontational, but it’s to highlight the absurdity of what expectations are. And a lot of times when people queer stuff, they do do it to make people angry or uncomfortable, to highlight the fact that it’s ridiculous that they’re angry or uncomfortable about this thing.
Nichole [00:40:29] So a super good example of this, I know I brought it up before, but is Vergie Tovar talking about how her gender was sort of taken from her when she was younger because as someone in a larger body, she was masculinized and told basically that feminine things weren’t for her. And so now as an adult, she is hyper-feminine to the point of just, you know, almost being costumed. And she does it on purpose to make people angry and uncomfortable because she’s reclaiming her space as a woman in a larger body who likes feminine things and feels as she has every right to access them as anyone else. So that’s a good example of someone. She’s straight identifying, she’s cis identifying, but that is a very queer thing to do. And she’s doing it, again consciously, not just because she likes those clothes. I think she even said, like, sometimes I don’t even, I know I look ridiculous, but I’m doing it to like move the boundary, right? Like, you’re not going to keep me out of these things just because of my body size. And that’s a very queer thing to do.
Callie [00:41:40] And you used a word that I want to go back to. You know, you said “confront”, like that it’s not always confrontational. And I think it is confrontational. I think even, but not necessarily in the way that we tend to think of it. You know, it’s not like confrontational way of like you’re trying to pick a fight, like you’re hoping someone’s gonna see your shaved head or your unshaved armpits. Right like that’s still, like that is still a thing that I see people doing, right, especially people like assigned female at birth. Like they will just have hair under their arms like human bodies do and people lose their goddamn minds, right? And that is like queering their image. And whether you’re doing it because you just don’t, you can’t be bothered with the act of shaving or because you’re trying to send a statement, you are confronting the norms.
Callie [00:42:34] And I really loved that quote you put up because it is an act of like confronting this system that we have, right, this cis, hetero, patriarchal, white supremacist system that tries to force conformity on us. It tries to force like it’s societal accepted standards for what our bodies look like, for how we’re supposed to talk to each other. And any deviation from that is an act of queerness and it is an act of confrontation, even if you’re not necessarily doing it that way. Like someone may shave their head just because they’re like, I’m tired of fucking having to do my hair. But like, real quick, that’s going to be a political act once you’re out in the public square, as it may be. You know, like you’re going to get looks, you’re gonna get stares, you’re gonna get probably some people like trying to wag their finger at you. I mean, especially if you’re an assigned female at birth person. Like you’re going to have older folks, generally, coming up to you and talking about how, like, men aren’t going to like you if you look that way or why did you do it? Like, why did… You know, like, that could be a problem at work.
Nichole [00:43:48] Yeah.
Callie [00:43:49] I mean, I’ve talked at length, at great length over my last job and they’re like absurd six-page dress code. And it was separated by men and women and just the amount of detail that went into it of the difference between what was acceptable. And it’s like that is, any deviation from that like is an act of queerness, you know what I mean, is pushing back on what society wants us to be, is telling us that we have to be, in order to fit in, in order to be like accepted within society. So. And it was a big part of honestly, like us, I mean, we talked about this at length on the comphet episode, but it was a big part for us of using that label. It wasn’t just realizing that we weren’t like straight. It was also realizing that, like, queerness for us was an incredibly important label and who we wanted to be, who we were out in the world, right?
Callie [00:44:50] You know, it was a verb. It wasn’t just what we are and who we want to get with, right? It was like it was who we are and how we relate to people and what we’re literally trying to build in our relationships with each other, with our family and friends, and just with our communities. You know, really upsetting the balance. And I think it’s why you and I have played with our looks so much since, you know, coming out as queer because for us that’s an important part. I mean, even, this is gonna seem silly because I think my eye shadow looks fly and there are a few comments on the livestream, people complementing me, so thank you.
Nichole [00:45:34] It looks great.
Callie [00:45:36] Thank you. But for me, even doing something like this would have been like pretty unimaginable a couple years ago because it’s like loud and it’s not, I’m not wearing it because it like looks good, right? I’m not wearing it because it, like, highlights my eyes. I’m wearing it because it’s fucking fun and it’s bright colors, and I wanted to, like, highlight my hair and just all these things, right, like that’s an act of queerness for me. It’s pushing back on dressing in a way that just makes me attractive to a certain group of people. And that feels radical and confrontational.
Nichole [00:46:13] Yes, absolutely. And yeah, something I came across on YouTube, I don’t even know, I think maybe it was just in my suggested videos, but I watched a Dainty Funk video about like the racist history of clowns. Like how, yeah. And they were dressed in, like clown face and they were saying, I forget the name for it, but there is a specific practice in the black community of using clown style fashion and makeup to over accentuate features that are often considered not beautiful by white beauty standards or that may be made fun of or mimicked, you know, in racist media as a way to like celebrate their black beauty, you know, their blackness. And I think, like, that’s an extremely queer thing to do. Whether or not however those people doing it identify, like it’s incredibly queer to use like extreme clown makeup, you know, something that would make people really uncomfortable, and use it to like over accentuate features and be out and be like, I love how I look and I love these features so much that, you know, I’m going to be out here highlighting them in this way. And like in a way where I know people are going to look at me and like have questions and be uncomfortable.
Nichole [00:47:44] And then, you know, there’s something like that and then there’s things down to like black women growing out their natural hair in a corporate setting. You know, I worked with someone who did that and she got so much shit when she stopped wearing wigs, and people made so many comments about her hair. And it’s like this is another way that we use, and this is why this ties into anarchism, is this is how we use class to control people. Because she had to worry about if this was going to impact her job just the same way I had to worry about if the things I wanted to do were going to impact my job. And so I waited until I was not working for anyone. And now I’m less employable, right, because I’m doing what I want with my body. And if I were to get a job that did require, it wasn’t just completely me just doing work remotely. If I were to start doing webinars again or something else, I may have to face a choice of employment versus like how I express my gender. And that’s difficult, right? Like, that’s a hard choice to make. And knowing me, I’d probably say, fuck you and just keep going. But like, if things are real tight and I’m desperate, like, I would probably have to just conform.
Nichole [00:49:04] So, yes, queerness. And I also wanted to highlight from this definition that I read before from David Halperin, and I think it taps into like Molly’s fire post as well, is that queerness is not stagnant. And I think that that is something that is highly misunderstood by people. It was even kind of misunderstood by myself. Queerness is a constant pushing of boundaries, a constant challenging of social norms. And what this means, the reason I want to highlight it, I think I’ve briefly mentioned this probably on previous episodes, but there’s things, or live stream at least, there’s ways that, like the LGBTQ community can conform and can create new norms that we have to push against to make sure that we’re not just being placated by neoliberalism. So, you know, gay marriage. I brought it up before, but that’s something that the gay community pushed for in order to get closer to heteronormative family structure and to make queerness palatable to people by mimicking what they were already comfortable with.
Nichole [00:50:17] So I don’t want to get into a whole thing of like gay marriage should exist or not because whatever, but like a queer practice then where the LGBTQ people who are pushing back against marriage, period, like, why do we allow the state to define what our families are and how our family structures should work? People who practice polyamory, people who have nontraditional family structures, anything like that is a queer practice. People who are into BDSM and sex workers, like that is also a queer practice as well, because your relationship, your job, your sexuality, whether it’s straight or not, is still something that is outside of what the Christian like white supremacist capitalist structure is imposed on you.
Nichole [00:51:14] And it might sound like a reach possibly to some people, but think about, like I mean, Callie even what you brought up with female scientists being policed for having like vacation pictures. Think about how many people could lose their job if they were found out to be part of, like the kink community or if they were found out to have two or three partners. Right, or if they were found out to be living in a situation where, like nobody knows whose baby is whose and everyone’s just co-parenting and like living in community and, you know, being very happy with that. So there’s a lot of ways, like that’s why this can be such an endless form of resistance because you can literally look around you and see oppression in almost anything and find a way to push back on that.
Nichole [00:52:05] And I think, like, that’s been the essence. The biggest reason I was psyched to read this book, like from the first page, I was like, holy shit, was because I didn’t even actually learn too many new things. I just realized, like, things I had been doing were queer and were anarchist all along, and that’s why it just occurred to me that I’m like, we have to do an episode about this and make it really accessible to people because, you know, I think it’s very like queer anarchist, our whole show. Of how we’re just always looking at common everyday things and being like, this is kind of fucked up. And like, here’s maybe how we could push back against this. Like, that is a queer practice.
Callie [00:52:50] I mean, honestly, some people would probably think this is a stretch, but I don’t think so. Even way back in the old days of early VWPA-.
Nichole [00:53:01] Waaayyy back when.
Callie [00:53:02] Way back, right, and how so much of our activism, our discussion, was rooted in like consent and changing relationship dynamics between yourself and your family or yourself and your friends. You know, we really called out like abuse and people not taking care of each other. Like that is even queer when you think about it. You know, because our society is trying to teach us how to not care for each other, how to, like, replicate harm in our relationships. And I think challenging those norms and saying like, hey, just because you’re my parents doesn’t mean you can just decide you’re not going to feed me at a holiday because you just don’t know what to do with vegan food. You know, like that’s even, like could be queer. And I just think, like something else you said too, and it was such an important part of what I’ve read in so far in Queer Anarchy, or Queer Anarchism.
Nichole [00:54:02] I know, I always say it wrong.
Callie [00:54:04] But it was talking about that. Like I thought that the conversation had in the book on gay marriage was so fascinating because the authors were talking about that, like instead of challenging the institution of marriage and why the state is involved in sanctioning or not sanctioning who we love and how we self organize, right, like how we choose to build our communities. We’re allowing them this power over dignifying, like, which relationships are appropriate and which aren’t. And we’re having to try to fight to fit into this like cis hetero patriarchal bullshit.
Callie [00:54:44] Right. And really, going way back in the day, like the nuclear family, like from early Christianity days is literally a tool of capitalism and a tool of white supremacy. Right, it’s a way that the state can, like, push off having to actually like take care of communities because now we’re like organized in these little silos and they can be like anything that goes on behind closed doors in your little like home in the suburb, you’re all disconnected from each other. Anything that happens within those walls is like your fuckin problem, right? It’s why the state could tell someone like you. Well, we’re gonna put all these barriers in between you and an autism diagnosis, because some of these things may actually be from trauma. Well, why do I have trauma? Because, like, the state is allowing, right, like trauma to be replicated and had in these private homes. And it’s dealt with in this very Christian way of like hiding it away. And parents just do what they’re going to do. And in most cases, the state doesn’t get involved because that’s like…
Callie [00:55:55] Anyway, it’s going off on all these different side tangents, but I think this is the way we can start to see them as like all being connected. And these nuclear family setups that we’re in are just, they make us so vulnerable. Right? Not that there’s anything wrong with organizing ourselves this way. But the fact that this is the dominant culture, like this is the status quo, I think it keeps us from building communities or puts barriers up to building true like mutual aid communities and on ways of like organizing that we could really take care of each other.
Nichole [00:56:31] Yeah.
Callie [00:56:31] And just trying to, like, fit in as gay people into like, hey, look, we’re just like your friendly neighborhood gays. We’re gonna be respectable and we’re going to have really pretty plants outside and we’re gonna buy a home in the suburb just like you. And we’re gonna drive a minivan just like you and we’re gonna fit right in and not cause a peep of trouble for you so that you like will maybe give us our rights. And it’s like that’s very much understandable of why a lot of people took that path because obviously a lot of violence has been done to the LGBTQ community. But I think queer anarchy and rooted in, like, really questioning like why? Why we’re bending to the will of this, like, really fucked up dominant culture that really doesn’t serve us.
Nichole [00:57:20] And what are the repercussions for that, right? Like, what are the consequences of us saying, okay, we’ll play by your rules? It means that the more marginalized people in our community get even worse while we get to have some upward mobility. But we also lose part of ourselves, right? Like any time for any person, however you identify, you lose a big piece of yourself. You lose a big piece of something that’s just inherently human when you allow these hierarchies to come into your communities. You know, I think about things like the gay community. I think about like men who won’t, like cis men who won’t date fem gay men, you know, like breaking that is a queer practice because you’re still invested, even in your gayness, you’re still invested in like the cis heteropatriarchy. Same with, you know, lesbian, like we have friends who are lesbians who say like it’s still really hard for femmes in the lesbian community. And that’s why being femme is a thing. Because it’s a reclamation of like this is how I express myself and I’m valid and I deserve love, just like a butch or like, you know, anyone else.
Nichole [00:58:44] Trans women have the hardest time because they’re, you know, transitioning over to being feminine or female and that is seen as less than adopting a more masculine expression. So there’s a lot of ways like there are intense repercussions top-down from us accepting these structures and being willing to adopt them instead of spending our revolutionary energy on dismantling them altogether. I mean, it’s worked. How many white gays like support Biden or, you know, just like rich white gays? We all know they’re the worst. They are causing as many problems as someone who’s hetero for our community.
Callie [00:59:32] Well, the fact that like Pride, right, was a riot. The Stonewall Riot was by black trans women, by butch lesbians by like the people that are like still marginalized, right, and yet we celebrate it as this like, this glorified masc culture. We glorify still men’s sexuality through gay men and by masculine traits in lesbian relationships. We still prioritize like mono sexuality, right, like gay men and gay women and not even like the fact that like the bulk of the community is actually bisexual people and people who are pan and all of these things. Right, because it’s easier to fit into the dominant culture with liking one gender. Right, so there’s just so many ways in which even in the LGBTQ community, we’ve still kind of replicated a lot of the predominant appropriate traits of this, like white supremacist, capitalist, hetero cis, Christian patriarchy. There’s got to be an easier way to just, like, describe all the things without listing them out every time.
Nichole [01:00:52] Yeah.
Callie [01:00:53] But, you know, like the fact that this all started from the people that are now left out of the movement. And I think that really shows that we need to like center queerness again. And I think it’s why, like this episode, we were so excited to do it because queer anarchy and like, really challenging these preconceived ideas of like appropriateness and how we’re supposed to present and how we’re supposed to relate is so important, both within our community and out into the world. You know, we can’t allow them to make us more palatable. You know?
Nichole [01:01:33] Yeah. If you’re palatable, then that means that you’re erased, you know, you’re placated. You’re made benign.
Callie [01:01:46] Yes. Yeah.
Nichole [01:01:47] And that’s the opposite. We need to be pushing and making people uncomfortable, and sometimes that means people in our own community. You know, whatever community that is like there’s a lot of work to be done everywhere.
Callie [01:02:02] Absolutely. Yeah. Sorry for interrupting you. I got excited.
Nichole [01:02:06] It’s okay, what were you going to say?
Callie [01:02:08] I was just gonna say, like, there were so many people who like when marriage equality passed, what, back in 2015, there was kind of this immediate fear, I think, with a lot of people of like, is this it now? Like, are we done? Right, and it’s like that’s how far our understanding of, like, queer liberation was in this country, that we think because the Supreme Court is like, yeah, the gays can get married, now we’re like, done. You know, that the fear was a lot of the more privileged LGBTQ members would remove their support and their dollars and their visibility and be like, well, I got what I need now. Like, I can go live in the suburbs and marry my partner and I have the money to adopt and fit into my corporate job. Like I don’t really need, I’m not in the fight anymore. And like that, I think that just is another example that shows us, like we need to make sure to keep queerness as a verb alive and front and center.
Nichole [01:03:20] Yeah.
Callie [01:03:20] You know?
Nichole [01:03:21] Yeah.
Callie [01:03:21] Even if you’re someone who identifies as gay, I think queerness can be part of it, but it can also be separate in a really important way.
Nichole [01:03:29] Yeah, I mean, I would say I know a lot of gay people who are not queer.
Callie [01:03:34] Yeah, no.
Nichole [01:03:34] Who don’t practice queerness at all and like, have a lot of work to do. And I think the way that this attaches to anarchism as well is that anarchy literally means like the root, like to get to the root of something. And that’s why I’m so fucking in love with and drawn to anarchy, because I’m always like, what is the cause of this? What is the cause of this? Like what is the actual real thing? Let’s keep digging deeper. Callie is the same way. Which is why we have six-hour conversations sometimes.
Callie [01:04:12] Sometimes?
Nichole [01:04:16] And we, you know, I think like, you can look at it is intersectionality or multidimensionality or whatever and those are very important perspectives to have. But I think what even those are really getting at is anarchism. It’s an anarchist lens to say, for instance, cause what I was thinking while you were talking about stuff, like I learned that one of the major reasons that hypermasculinity became such a thing, like being buff and being huge and ripped in the gay male community was because of the HIV epidemic. So it was a way for you to look healthy and signal that you weren’t sick. Whereas being thin made people think that you were sickly and like wouldn’t come near you. So that’s like rooted in this like ableism, right, and this fear that was put into the community by this virus that was neglected by our government because they were happy to let the gay community die and used it as a way to weaponize gayness and scare people about gay sex.
Nichole [01:05:22] And then similarly, you know, we’ve learned recently how fatphobia is rooted in racism and how that was a way when people couldn’t necessarily separate people out by their skin tone, they were able to separate people out by their bodies. And it was a way to instill Christian ideals that like, if you’re pure, then you only eat enough to, like, live and you’re very thin. And this is a way that they used to keep like women down but it’s also a way that they used to reinforce racism and separate people out when they couldn’t necessarily tell easily by skin tone who was black and who was white. So we can call this intersectionality, but to me it is an anarchist practice to say, like, I’m going to queer these things. I’m going to push back on them and not accept them because I’m aware that this isn’t just about how I feel in my body or how I feel in my day-to-day. But this is connected to root causes of oppression.
Nichole [01:06:26] And pretty much everything always leads back to racism, right? Like everything leads back to the patriarchy. I mean the white supremacist patriarchy. So, I just think that that’s like a really important thing. To me, it’s really inspiring. And it makes me always want to push harder and be braver and be more aggressive in like what I’m doing. And the reason to me, we should all be practicing queer anarchism is because anarchy is often focused on direct action, which is great. And I think queerness is a little bit more focused on, or incorporates more, the kind of day-to-day and self-expression. So, you know, it’s a disruption of being. It’s a disruption of feeling and expressing and loving.
Callie [01:07:22] Yes bitch!
Nichole [01:07:22] And I want to say, thank you, I wouldn’t say the two are completely separate. I wouldn’t say that that isn’t necessarily also part of anarchism, because anarchism is so rooted in community and mutual aid, but it does tend to focus on the state and the economy and class a bit more. And it does kind of focus around like direct action of like how do we disrupt this through our, like, coordinated efforts, if you will, and how we structure ourselves. And I think like queerness brings in a bit more of this, like how do I reject this within myself? How do I reject this with my appearance and with my behavior just on a day to day basis? How do I disrupt in these smaller ways? As well as like obviously queer people also take part in direct action and whatnot. But I think the two together are an unstoppable force of just this constant analysis of disruption and this constant analysis of how do we connect? Right, how do we break down the hierarchy, but how do we also find radical self-love in what is broken down?
Callie [01:08:34] Yeah. I think they’re… my god, I fucking love everything you just said so much. Like I wish I could hear it again immediately. But I think… It was so funny when you were talking I was thinking back to, I don’t remember what episode it was, I feel like it was at least a few episodes ago, when we first started kind of talking about Queer Anarchy. And I feel like you brought it up because you started reading the book before I did. And how I was saying, like, oh, I still, like, considered myself more of like an ancom, you know, that it was like more kind of, and that being queer was an important part of my identity but I don’t know if like queer anarchy was where I kind of, and you were like, “Oh, I definitely am.”.
Nichole [01:09:17] Oh yeah.
Callie [01:09:17] You know, and now I agree because there’s, I realize how much of the work that is important to me is like relational. It’s like relationship-based, right, and it’s like how we relate to each other. And honestly, so much of the questions we always get, and I know a lot of people get when they make content similar to ours, right, where they’re trying to like teach and challenge and show people that we can have a different way forward, is like well what do we do? And I think so much of the healing of what we can build going forward is going to come from, like queering. Ourselves, our relationships, our communities. Right, like really rejecting a lot of the, like, toxic culture of all the things that I’ve now named half a dozen times on this episode. That we like suffer under, right? And I think like that is crucially important because that will give us a path forward.
Callie [01:10:22] Like, we don’t need an answer right now on like what the perfect economic system is. We don’t need an answer right now, and what, you know, who the perfect person to vote for is? It’s all about like, how do we, like, foundationally shift our mindsets and our relationships with each other, with capital, with our communities, within our families. And that, to me now feels very much rooted in queerness and queer anarchy. Right? Challenging the unjust hierarchies. Challenging toxic and abusive cultures. And finding a way to make space in just being openly confrontational to all of these systems. Right, that have tried to teach us how to conform. How to be appropriate. How to not take up space. How to look pretty and attractive to one type of person. It’s just it’s all so important, you know, it really is like the bedrock.
Nichole [01:11:23] Yeah. And to dismantle stuff within yourself, you know, like if you’re a cishet dude and you see someone like me and you’re like, my boner’s confused. Cause men still want to fuck me.
Callie [01:11:36] Let’s not get it twisted.
Nichole [01:11:37] . Yeah. Like, do some work around that, you know, and just be like… Because it’s simple things that reinforce the patriarchy and reinforce all the things. We do need to come up with a fun name for like all the things. And then we’ll get hate mail constantly of people being like, you’re not listing out the… Alright girl. But like, you know, I’ll have stuff, even before this. You know, I would have, like I had my like, I don’t know, asymmetrical bob, I don’t know what to call it. Whereas, like, one side was basically shaved and then the other side was like down to my chin. And I would constantly get guys being like, oh my god, I love your hair, it’s so cool. And I’m like thanks, I really like it. And then they’d be like, are you ever gonna grow it out? And it’s like, even just small stuff like that. So it’s like analyze the way you’re policing other people’s bodies where you probably don’t even realize it.
Nichole [01:12:35] I had some fucking bitch at work, some Christian like cunt that I couldn’t stand. And she would do stuff like, I played with micro bangs for a while and, you know, I played with like different lengths of bangs and she would just be like, “I know you really are a fan of like a short bang, but like, you look way better when they’re longer.” And I would be like, go fuck yourself, Mandy. I didn’t fucking ask you. It’s my body. Stop policing it. We’re at work. Don’t comment on my appearance. You know what I mean?
Callie [01:13:08] Yeah.
Nichole [01:13:08] But I think, like, I think it’s so easy, I think especially with, like, family or partners or friends, like people we’re close to, I think it’s really easy to replicate stuff like that and not really think about the ways that, like, that is tiny ways that we reinforce the status quo. You know, don’t ask me if I’m gonna grow my hair out. I fucking, like honestly it makes me furious. And I would like walk away from someone at this point if they ask me if I’m going to grow my hair out. Because I feel like it’s a guy’s way to be like, oh, is it okay for me to be into you knowing that you’re cool now, but like you’re going to conform later?
Callie [01:13:45] Yeah.
Nichole [01:13:46] Fuck off. Fuck off with that.
Callie [01:13:50] My thing is people telling me that something looks attractive, is like an automatic, like fuck. It just makes me want to like, do the exact opposite of whatever they said. Or like undo whatever they’re saying like makes me look attractive. Because it’s such a like… Cause attractive is such a loaded term. Right, because it really only means… Well, I shouldn’t say only. From most people it means like you’re attractive to like this, like cis-hetero male gaze, right, that I spent so much of my life like underneath the burden of that, that now I am like, well let me do the opposite of whatever you think that is.
Nichole [01:14:32] And that’s a very queer practice.
Callie [01:14:34] Yeah!
Nichole [01:14:34] That’s a very queer, like rooted in the queer community thing is to like intentionally make yourself ugly or unattractive. And I feel the same way. Like I always want to be attractive to myself. Like there is something in my brain, I like putting things together, but I don’t care if other people think it’s attractive.
Callie [01:14:54] Right, right.
Nichole [01:14:54] You know, and like, I do, like this? Like I know people would be like… some people would be like that’s fucking cool, and some people would be like ooh.. like I’m, what’s going on over here?
Callie [01:15:05] Yeah.
Nichole [01:15:05] And I think that that’s for me as well, very queer, because I always was really worried, like I said, I was having to financially survive for so long that I was quite aware that I had to, like, be safe in order to, like, be safe. So to be able to, like, push boundaries now… Like I know that a lot of people think I’m too old to be doing the things I’m doing and that would make me seem pathetic or ridiculous. But like, I didn’t have the ability to do this when I was younger. And also fuck your ageism.
Callie [01:15:44] Thank you! Yes!
Nichole [01:15:45] Why are we policing what people can do at what age? It’s ridiculous. So, yeah, just this ownership of your own body is very queer, like no matter how you identify. If you can find radical self-love, if you can embrace self-expression, like that is always going to be queer because the world doesn’t want any of us, not even men, like cis men, feeling comfortable with ourselves. They want us feeling constantly insecure and unsure and trying to check for what the rules are and making sure we’re within them. And like, fuck that. So like any of you, any time. Like, I remember the first time I got just like a, it was like a long pixie, it was like barely a pixie. And I just like went outside and I felt so exposed. And I know to most people they would probably think that’s ridiculous, but I could tell that I had like, shed some layer of being protected. Well, I shouldn’t say protected but being accepted by the patriarchy. Right, like I knew.
Callie [01:16:48] Some level of conformity.
Nichole [01:16:49] Yeah. I knew that my hair had crossed a line that like, some people would have a problem with it. Even though to the outside like it just was like a normal haircut. And that like, thrill kind of set me on, it was scary and it like, shook me for a day, but it also set me on this path of like, I want to constantly be feeling this way. Right, like I want to constantly be pushing and/or I want to get to the place where I don’t feel this way because I’ve dismantled that in my head. And that’s kind of how I feel now. When I buzzed my head, I was like a little… I just didn’t want to, like, get into it with people. But like, I walk around now and I just, like, I’m perfectly comfortable and I don’t care because I feel great.
Callie [01:17:32] I love that for you.
Nichole [01:17:33] Yeah. Like, I feel amazing. And so, you know, and it’s all, I just think we really police, like I think queer and anarchist or anarchism are very radical terms, and they are because these are radical practices, but they’re extremely accessible to anybody. And don’t be afraid to be like, oh my god, I wore like purple lipstick today and it felt really queer and I was like uncomfortable all day but like, I also loved it. Like, that is a queer experience. It can be something so small. It can be like your eye shadow color, like what top you chose. Like it can be anything.
Callie [01:18:11] Yeah.
Nichole [01:18:12] Yeah. So, um, I wanted to share this since we kind of talked about queerness. I thought this was a good quote from Crimethinc about anarchy. “You may already be an anarchist. Whenever you act without waiting for instructions or official permission, you’re an anarchist. Anytime you bypass the ridiculous regulation when no one’s looking, you’re an anarchist. If you don’t trust the government, the school system, Hollywood, or the management to know better than you when it comes to things that affect your life, that’s anarchism too. And you’re especially an anarchist when you come with your own ideas and solutions.”.
Callie [01:18:56] Yes.
Nichole [01:18:56] So I think we can see hopefully with this definition how this ties into queerness in a way that can be almost inseparable at certain points, which is why we both now identify very heavily, I identify as like a queer ancom. I’m like I can’t separate those things out from each other. Maybe communism to a point, but like queer and anarchy are just, they’re blended and they’re locked together in the ways that they present in what we do on a day-to-day basis.
Callie [01:19:27] Yeah.
Nichole [01:19:31] Did you hit a wall? Are you done?
Callie [01:19:34] Yeah, I kind of think I am. Are you?
Nichole [01:19:38] I mean, I could probably keep talking, but like, who knows the quality of the content. OK, so I wanted to bring this up towards the end. So this is Susan Song and this is one of… Sorry, I don’t know why…. here we go, hide that. This is one of the people, Susan Song, wrote one of the essays in the Queering Anarchism book that we both highly recommend. So Susan says, “Where classical anarchism is mostly focused on analyzing power relations between people, the economy, and the state, queer theory understands people in relation to the normal and the deviant, creating infinite possibilities for resistance.” So I thought that was really beautiful.
Nichole [01:20:27] And we lost Callie again. So as we wait for her to come back, I did have also this from my quarantine presentation. Gustav Landauer, a German anarchist theorist whose name I don’t know how to say, said, and this is of anarchy but I think it applies to queerness as well, “The state is a social relationship; a certain way of people relating to one another. It can be destroyed by creating new social relationships; i.e., by people relating to one another differently.”.
Nichole [01:21:08] So this comes into play for anarchy when we’re looking at things like mutual aid when we’re thinking about things like property versus possessions and how we think about resources and distribution, right? And how we think about the people around us and our ability to count on one another and to self organize. But I think you could easily read this from a queer lens as well. And think about this is how we fuck each other and this is how we love each other and comfort each other and how we express ourselves to one another. How much of ourselves we allow to be on the outside and the ways in which we are willing to dismantle things within ourselves in order to make the world safer for other people. So I thought that this was really beautiful, and I think this quote perfectly encapsulates how you can put on a queer anarchist lens to see things differently and see multi-dimensions and everything around you.
Callie [01:22:08] This quote is so fucking validating to like everything we talk about. Like I feel like we were talking about this even on our Ask a Bitch episode, like our most recent Ask a Bitch episode. Right, like so much of the work that we need to do as activists, as lefties, as anarchists, whatever, you know, however you identify, is like changing our mindsets first and then like broadening that and then changing our relationship with each other in our small communities. And then just expanding it. That’s so much of what needs to happen is the changing of the mindsets and how we’re like quick to action. And I love the idea that the relationship that we have with the state can be changed by us changing, right?
Nichole [01:22:58] Yes.
Callie [01:22:59] And there’s just like, we could do like a whole episode just on that.
Nichole [01:23:05] So in other words, be gay, do crimes.
Callie [01:23:09] Yes.
Nichole [01:23:13] Oh, sorry.
Callie [01:23:17] It’s fine.
Nichole [01:23:17] I’m like, you’re done.
Callie [01:23:18] Yeah.
Nichole [01:23:21] Very not anarchist of me.
Callie [01:23:22] Yeah. Yeah, I just love that quote so much.
Nichole [01:23:26] Yeah, I do too. It’s one of those brain exploders where you’re like, I’m going to be thinking about this for years.
Callie [01:23:32] Yeah.
Nichole [01:23:33] And I felt so much of that in, you know, again, we wanted today to be kind of a primer to get started on thinking about these things. But I think you’ll see as we, it also was a way for us to lay a foundation because we’re going to start doing work that maybe could be a little controversh. And I think laying the groundwork-
Callie [01:23:53] Who, us?
Nichole [01:23:53] I know. Of this philosophy and this approach is going to help us navigate that with hopefully not over qualifying everything we’re saying and hopefully being able to get at the heart of, like, what we’re trying to do. Because, you know, I mentioned it on the livestream on Thursday, but like, we really want to do an episode interrogating the neoliberalism that has infiltrated, like, everything. And especially the way that we talk about race and the way that we do activism. And I think, like, you can’t fully understand where we’re coming from if you don’t understand queer anarchism, at least at this level. So, yeah, it’s just it’s become a founding philosophy for us that is really going to guide content that we make going forward. And it’s just, again, with queerness, I mean, queerness is defined as by what is deviant, what is not normal, and it by nature is always shifting and adjusting. And I feel like that is us as well. By adopting this philosophy, it’s just gonna be this continued process of applying it and deepening it and exploring it. And we just always love taking y’all on the journey with us.
Callie [01:25:12] Yeah.
Nichole [01:25:13] So this has been your introduction, and invitation, to queer anarchism.
Callie [01:25:19] Yes.
Nichole [01:25:20] And we would love to hear from all of you of how you apply this in your life or if you have any ideas of how you’re going to apply it in your life. If you want to let us know through the socials or through email I think it would be really cool, especially for those of you where this is like a pretty new topic. Like, if it made you think about anything or validated anything you’ve been trying to do in your life to express yourself or to queer your space or to be more anarchist in how you approach things, I think it would be neat to hear people’s stories.
Callie [01:25:55] Yeah. Yeah maybe we should do another, like, Instagram story thing where it’s like, answer a question thing?
Nichole [01:26:02] Yeah.
Callie [01:26:03] Like how are you queering yourself today or your relationships today? Because yeah, it’s… And again, I just love the idea of like giving people tools – not giving them, we’re not giving you anything. We are not in the power to give you anything but… Bad anarchist. But like empowering people to like see these as like radical actions that are like crucially important. You know, we tend to only think of certain things as being, like, able to make change, but like these day-to-day actions of like, I don’t know, queering the way you, like talk, queering your boundaries even, the way you talk to people, queering the way you look, you know. It’s all so important. And it does move us forward in, like, really hard to quantify ways, but that is no, like less important than like, the big actions, you know?
Nichole [01:27:05] Yeah.
Callie [01:27:07] So yeah.
Nichole [01:27:08] Yeah. So more to come. But we hope this makes a lot of you think and yeah, just sets a nice base for all of us to move forward together in queering our spaces!
Callie [01:27:23] Yes!
Nichole [01:27:26] And anarchizing our shit. I don’t think that’s a word but I’m using it.
Callie [01:27:30] It’s fine.
Nichole [01:27:31] So if you liked this episode, you know, listen to the next one. Listen to other ones.
Callie [01:27:42] Yeah. Rate us five stars.
Nichole [01:27:44] Yes, rate us five stars. I know, I forgot what people could do with the podcast.
Callie [01:27:49] Become a Patreon, or a patron.
Nichole [01:27:52] Become a patron. I know, I always say that too. Yes, become a patron. Share the episode. Connect us with people. I know we had one person reached out to another podcast who had actually been talking about being interested in anarchy and queer anarchism and referred us. So that’s cool. Like if you can refer us to other people, that’s cool. If you like this video, like, subscribe, click the bell for notifications. Also share it with people.
Callie [01:28:23] Yeah.
Nichole [01:28:23] Yeah. And we’ll be back next week I think to talk about… What were we going to talk about? You had such a good idea. Oh! Processing how we feel about our bodies and how we might be expressing ourselves differently after having been in lockdown for so long.
Callie [01:28:46] Right.
Nichole [01:28:46] It’s just gonna be a flowing huge talk about gender identity and body image and expression and queerness and all of the good stuff.
Callie [01:28:55] Yes. And actually, we would love to solicit your ideas, thoughts on that as well. Are there things that you’re realizing are less important to you about, like the must-dos for how you look? And what are the things that you’re finding you love to do just because it makes you feel good?
Nichole [01:29:17] Yes.
Callie [01:29:18] Did that did that make sense?
Nichole [01:29:21] Yes. So if you follow us on Twitter and/or Instagram, I will post that as another question that you can respond to before next week’s episode and I would love to collect those because it’s really fun. It’s really fun to see what everyone says.
Callie [01:29:37] Yeah, well and I think this whole, like, quarantining situation, I think it is challenging people’s ways of they’re relating to their bodies and the ways, like the societal pressures that they feel about what they have to do, you know? Because look, we’re all stuck at home, we can’t get our haircut. We can’t get waxed. We can’t get our eyebrows touched up. Like all the things that usually society tries to make us feel like we must have done in order to be seen by other people, kind of can’t do. So like, what kind of feelings is that generating? I’m so excited for it. I can’t believe I forgot.
Nichole [01:30:19] I’m excited too. Just the conversation we had about it when we were like, oh, this should be an episode, was really good. So it’ll be fun. And yeah, it’ll be fun to have input from other people to just kind of see where everyone’s at.
Callie [01:30:32] All right y’all, we will talk to you next week.
Nichole [01:30:36] Bye bye.
Callie [01:30:37] Bye.