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Dangerous Compassions

what I’ve learned from Lex

lover

Hello, I want to tell you what I’ve learned from Lex.  Lex is an app for friend finding, date finding, and events sharing for queers.  So there are queer women, trans, nonbinary, and genderqueer people on there.

I joined because a new friend of mine was talking about Lex, and I felt curious.  My friend said Lex is more text based, like old school newspaper personal ads.  I was intrigued and thought it might be a good way to find in person friends, especially when we move.  Curious, I made a profile and tried it out.

community

What is the queer community?  I don’t believe in it.  Queerness is vastly varied.  Queer community is too big to believe in.

But I know the tropes.  As for me, I’ve never danced at a queer club, gone to a drag show, or rented a uhaul for a second date.  Well, Ming and I did move in together mighty quick.  But that was about poverty!

My queer experiences have been like this.

  • queer penpals
  • queer zines
  • first girl kiss was someone I met on a BBS in 1992?
  • first girlfriend, second girlfriend
  • meeting folks long ago on okcupid
  • I was the out queer kid at school who others queer kids told their secrets
  • volunteering at the queer center on campus during grad school but way too shy to do that well
  • I loved my queer pagan friends who were older than me and now have mostly passed away
  • bi support group
  • bi-pan social group at the Center here in Las Vegas
  • everyday normal life queerness now, like most of my friends are queer and it’s baseline

The penpal part is almost like Victorian queer experience, right?  My lesbian secret life, in steamy love letters.  Wearing an old fashioned dress and getting horny in a garden.  Well of Loneliness emo self-loathing transformation.

pride

No, it was way more complicated than that.  But I feel so prudish, that I’ve only been to one Pride celebration in my life, when I was 19 or 20 years old.  I went with my ex girlfriend.

I’m not good at crowds, I don’t drink, and I don’t need to buy anything.  Parades are overwhelming.  I’m not good at revelry–not bawdy.  Glitter and rainbows are lovely, but Pride is a big loud event, so it’s not for me.

what I’ve learned from Lex

Lex is imitating newspaper adverts.  I think it’s pretty cool.  At first I was reading ads and feeling like everyone was lighthearted to the point of flippant, or sarcastic.  Seemed I’d never find friendship there.

I got some messages asking if I was 420 friendly from people whose profiles were “user unknown” the next day.

Then I dug deeper and found ads that were more varied and felt more real.  I exchanged a few messages with someone in Pahrump.  I saw requests for pet sitting, offers of succulents, weirdly detailed missed connections ads.  Then I read about a pride poetry thing and had a great experience participating.

community

What’s community?  Queer is a huge umbrella!

I used to think queer people were special and more prone to being artistic.  That was my experience.  Among queer people, I had a chance of finding a home.

Now I feel like queer people are just a subset of regular people.  Am I safer with queer people?  Wherever I go, I’m an outsider because of my disabilities and differences.  Queerness doesn’t mean someone’s a good person, caring, sensitive, creative, or less harmful.  I wish it did.

Did queerness change, or did I change?  Definitely I’ve changed a lot.  I’m way smarter now about social danger, calculated risk, gender, predators, what I want, and what I’ll put up with.  I’m much less trusting.  I used to think language was for telling the truth.  Now I understand it’s mostly how people lie and try to make themselves look good.

social media

What I’ve learned from Lex is something like: People are wildly varied, and almost nothing is as it seems.  But beautiful is everywhere, and a tool can be used for many different purposes.  Queer isn’t what it used to be, but neither am I.

Curiously, I look at Lex sometimes and think it might suit me, as language is my skill.  There are nuggets of good there.  And I remember how facebook was a huge factor in me and Ming getting together.  I met him at a party, liked him, and friended him on facebook asap.

Then later on facebook I saw something he posted about getting out of zip tie handcuffs and was impressed.  Yes!  I learned about the Sacred Peace Walk from something Ming posted on facebook, and the rest is history.

Social media gets a bad rap, but it doesn’t have to be doom scrolling and bad news.  It can help us instigate deep connections that change our lives.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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