Moving forward, taking stock: activism and life.

Yeah, so I have nearly a dozen planned topics to blog in depth about, but apart from my usual procrastinatory practices, I’ve also spent the last two months searching for, finding and moving into a new flat in a different part of town, while trying to maintain an active social(-justice) life, so no apologies this time. Validly distracted and busy!

So, have some links to ongoing and upcoming events, of the queer variety as this blog is most often dedicated to*. For starters, this Monday was the opening of the Under The Rainbow exhibition at Thistle Hall on Cuba St, featuring artwork donated by local LGBT artists to support next year’s Out in the Square festival. I donated a piece of original artwork myself, which you can bid on at the auction on Saturday.

Tomorrow, the Queer Avengers are helming the second ever Queer The Night march to protest against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in our community. If you missed the first one last year, it was pretty effin’ epic. About four people planned it and 400 people showed (which for Wellington, is comparable to about a thousand people showing up to a rally in say, Chicago). On a personal level, the energy and commitment of that first march took me from just being a mere “keyboard warrior” to an involved and passionate queer activist, and I’ve heard from several who did not attend (because they were too young, scared, closeted, etc), but saw the march on telly or read about in the paper, that it touched off a spark of hope in their hearts that things will Get Better (but only if we Make It Better). I hope more people are able for whatever reason to come and show their bravery and support.

Next Friday is Pink Shirt Day, started in honor of a group of students who defended a classmate (who was bullied and called gay slurs for showing up to school in a pink shirt) by buying and wearing pink shirts in solidarity. The Queer Avengers were originally planning on holding the march that day, but since it coincides with the local premiere of Mani Mitchell’s paradigm-shattering documentary “Intersexion”, it was decided to hold it the week before as a run-up, with pink as a major clothing theme to show support and push awareness. I took the liberty of starting an Etsy Treasury full of fabulous pink shirts for people of different ages, shapes and genders, and if one is so inclined (and living in the continental US) one could probably still order one in time for Friday the 18th.

After all that, as hard as it is for me to pull away when the world never quits throwing fast-balls (currently trending: CeCe McDonald having to defend defending herself, Barack Obama supporting marriage equality, Colin Craig slut-shaming the women of New Zealand), I have to tap out and take a break, either in part or in whole, to focus on my art, my personal life and myself. I actually returned to talk therapy in late January, and started taking anti-depressants again in early April, to cope with the fallout of anxiety and overwhelm and having little left for myself after (in some cases) overinvolving with others.

I may even do something drastic and deactivate social media for a while; some acquaintances of mine did so, and it did wonders for them. I would just have to deal with the withdrawal, not just from the obsessive-compulsive internet use, but the sudden dearth of information and keeping in touch with valued friends who I never see in person due to distance. Will have to see how it all pans out.

In the meantime, I still have boxes to unpack (four weeks after moving, yes) and a stack of books to read. One has a title, specifically relevant to queer activism due to the book’s content, but something human beings should probably consider, before letting themselves fall prey to illusion, fear and ignorance:

We Must Love One Another Or Die.

*Honestly, I DO have other interests, they just get waylaid because I don’t have a handy direct-action group to motivate me to get offline and leave the house. I suppose I should join a book club or art collective, eh?

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