i was thinking about how i have few, if any, queer role models. there are almost no queers in my life (or even in the wider world) whom i would identify as people whose example i’d follow or whose advice i’d take. alison bechdel is a notable exception, of course… but she has no idea i exist. which is too bad, cuz i have a mad crush on her… heh heh.
anyway, i’m a big believer in mentoring, and i think i’ve done a pretty good job of finding mentors for lots of things: art, academia, communication, relationships. i also have peers who are fantastic for support, and a couple of them are queer. however, i sometimes find myself wanting guidance from someone who is both more experienced than i in the ways of the world, and has a first-hand understanding of how this is affected by our sexualities and genders. i lead a pretty charmed life, and i don’t think i have many huge crises that are queer-specific, but it still affects my perceptions, reactions, and behaviours.
the simple solution to this problem is to cultivate a suitable mentor, a task which i would have a better chance of accomplishing if i actually spent more time in the queer community. this is harder that you’d think, because i’m a bit gun-shy when it comes to the subculture. times that i’ve submersed myself in it have involved some serious alienation on my part, cuz i’ve been more critical than was appreciated. on one hand, i understand this… when a group of people are dealing with oppression from the outside, they do not take kindly to members who point out the problems on the inside. how could they be expected to? and yet i do, time and time again, because i’m just not going to gloss over racism, addiction, dishonesty, classism, abuse, transphobia, colonization, and rampant consumerism.
of course, i wouldn’t want a mentor who glossed over these things either.
have you had (a) mentor(s)?
how did you find them?
what has the relationship meant to you?
[photo: ah yes, we are all looking for guidance… and sometimes assistance is hiding in the tall grass… high salal trail, hornby island, june 2008]