I have been putting this post off for a few weeks now. It has been hard to find the words for anything other than sadness and some version of quiet rage. I am not sure of where exactly this country (my country? was it ever?) is going. However, I am certain that our destination is nowhere good. Or at least, not good for people like me. In the month or so that I’ve been back in Philadelphia, I’ve been called a homophobic slur six times. Twice in one day even, in different parts of the city. And this is in Philly, one of the most progressive cities in the country. Things like that don’t really bother me anymore, sadly I’m used to it. What I am worried about is the how more and more people feel empowered to say things like that. Words are never just words, and rhetoric can easily become physical violence. I am a little afraid, to be honest. Not so much that I’ll be hate-crimed (though I’ve started making jokes about this to random white straight people because I don’t think they realize what’s really going on), but that there are going to be some major policy changes under our new administration. Interning for an LGBT non profit this semester has made me more sensitive of the ways in which policy can severely impact the lives of our most marginalized. In some ways, my class privilege and my social capital shield me from a lot of harm, but then I’m still a relatively femme black queer person. So I had to kind of accept that I could be murdered any day of the week a while ago. So it goes. “Faggot” kind of loses its edge when I’m more concerned with not being raped and knifed while walking home late at night.
This semester is not quite my busiest but it’s coming close. As I mentioned, I’m interning at the William Way LGBT Community Center this semester in order to complete my fieldwork requirement for my LGBT Studies minor. It’s been a fun program to work with – especially since I took every single one of my seminars in a different department. I’m doing two independent studies, one in post-colonial francophone feminist literature and the other in digital game studies. More excited about my digital game studies one, especially since I’m writing an honors thesis project in conjunction with it. And then there’s the graduate sociology seminar in contemporary sociological theory that I have, which is probably my favorite thing this semester readings-wise. Oh and I have senior seminar for my sociology major, in which I’m being taught by the same professor that taught me in Introduction to Sociology like three years ago. So that’s fun. I am still working at my job in academic advising that I’ve had since 2014, and then I’m doing research for a professor as well. So like I said, busy but not too much. Like myself, it seems to be just the right amount of extra.
Thinking about the future is not an easy thing. I am a Fulbright semi-finalist now, which is exciting. But all the same, I’m finding it hard to imagine what life will be like in April, let alone in September. Who knows, maybe I’ll win an award and move to Montreal in 7 months. Otherwise, I’m not quite sure what I’m doing with the gap year that I’ve created for myself. I’m certainly not regretting delaying my graduate school plans, a PhD is going to take 5 or more years no matter when I start. I’m not in a rush to do anything at all really. Despite all of this, I’m still optimistic that things will be okay. And if they won’t be, at least they’ll be bearable – until they aren’t.