“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” That quote from June Jordan introduces folks to the website for Mobile Homing http://www.mobilehomecoming.org an amazing project developed by two young women, Alexis and Julia. They describe themselves as responding to “a deep craving for intergenerational connection.” When we met this week end we affectionately called it stalking!
They are traveling the country in a jam-packed RV, collecting video interviews with Black queer woman, transpesople and gender queers. They then do interactive presentations so that the generations get to know each other. They interviewed me for the project and then were off to Las Vegas, Austin and roads east where other graying, colored dykes and queers were awaiting their arrival.
It was my writing day so I was a little impatient for them to arrive and be done, but that was before I saw their shining faces outside my window. I realized I was looking directly at the future or at least a segment of it.
Many dykes my age often bemoan the fact that so few of the younger lesbians—or whichever names feels most comfortable to them in the moment—have no knowledge of the history that’s gone before. And it often comes across as sour grapes; and truth is no one likes to be forgotten. But young queer women must be so sick of hearing it, just like we were annoyed at our parents reminding us that they, as young people, had already gone through the valleys of the shadows of death we were in.
But it’s most important for younger dykes to remember—WE ARE NOT THEIR PARENTS! We are so NOT parents! Many of us are just radical dykes who want the revolution to continue and feel terrified when we see the generations of women who seem to be oblivious to the work that still needs to be done to advance the human rights of women in general and lesbians in particular.
Mistaking the ability to have 12 piercings, a boyfriend and a girlfriend, and shirt tattoos for gender parity is a fatal error in a culture that still sees women primarily as objects to be draped over the hoods of cars like an ornament.
Not that I have anything against a woman draped over a car; I fell in love with a picture of Deb Edel in her leather jacket in the butch equivalent of that image. (Now you have to look up Deb Edel and find out her important place in our history!)
But I digress into a rant; not a happy place!
In the midst of the interview with Alexis and Julia I understood that these were the women I’d been waiting for. I personally didn’t need to be the center of their universe (although I did love that Alexis AND her mother liked THE GILDA STORIES). What was significant was they were acutely aware that the past often held the key to the future. They were feminists in the sense of knowing women had to be primary in our own lives or be lost to the dominant culture’s penchant for objectifying and eviscerating us.
And they understood that their generation would find their past on line. They travel in an RV that might as well be a time machine, reeling down the freeways from dyke to dyke, from era to era. They gather up the threads of our lives and weave them together then present them like exquisite quilts posted on line and at public events.
Our Past. Our Future. Coming soon to a town near you.
Jewelle Gomez is the author of 7 books including the lesbian vampire classic novel, The Gilda Stories. Her new play about James Baldwin will be produced in September 2011. Follow her on Twitter: VampyreVamp. Or her website: www.jewellegomez.com