Censored Out of NaNoWriMo Forum!

I’ve been on the periphery of the NaNoWriMo community since 2018. I have never really found “my crew.” So as I was trying to “find my crew” in the LGBTQIA+ group, preparing for Camp NaNoWriMo in April 2022, I thought I would try to find others who were of like minds.

I wrote:

Old Femme Dyke Looking for Other Old Homos (Most Un-PC Thread Ever)

taking a big deep breath

“I’m a 60+ year old femme dyke and am writing a semi-autobiographical novel about the years between 1978 and 1988, immediately pre- and post-AIDS. It’s mostly uplifting – filled with fun and joy, sex and way too many drugs, and includes a road trip (of course).

“I’m keeping the vernacular of the time, hence wanting to talk to others who were in the discos – the glory holes, the bath houses, etc. – during those years. I was a fag hag who lived with groups of gay men, so was privy to their sexual lives. While graphic sex isn’t the driving factor of what I’m writing, it is definitely the undercurrent throughout. (And I am not wanting to have sexual discussions here!)

“Adding another layer, I was coming out as a femme lesbian in a world filled with androgynous women. Drag Queens were my sister-friends. Trans folks were rare, so have bit parts in the book. (One of the hundreds of Un-PC things being written.)

“I am also wanting companionship as I recall those who died without hope and without their families.

“Gads, this is complicated. Anyone?”

Reply from the Moderators

Intro to automated one:

“Hello,

“This is an automated message from NaNoWriMo to let you know that your post was hidden.”

That was boring.

Highlights of the individualized email:

“Your post has been hidden because of the language of your title and in the body of your post.”

“… inflammatory words.”

“… you are part of the community”

“… you have every right to reclaim that word …”

“… we support the community reclaiming those words …”

“… seeing these words can still be triggering …”

“Thank you for understanding.”

My Response

“Well, ‘understanding’ is probably not the word I would use, (name removed), but since I have no choice in the matter, that pretty much is the end of it.

“You and I both know that ‘inflammatory’ words are in the eyes and ears of the beholder. These words are not inflammatory to me at all, never have been, even in the cruelest and most volatile of years.

“It’s certainly going to be interesting to see this book in the hands of the public some day. I better build my walls of armor now.

“This reminds me of the 1978 book called Faggots by Larry Kramer (I encourage you to look it up) when the gay community went berserk with his disclosing what they wanted to keep hidden. I can relate!

“Instead of feeling thwarted, I am empowered to move forward faster.

“Thanks for the sword!

“Barb Herrera”

Where Do I Belong?

Zack (pre-transition) and me standing in line to get married in San Francisco, CA on February 16, 2004

I called my former partner, my Beloved Zack, to ask, “Where do I belong if I don’t belong with my tribe?” He was so kind and said, quite emphatically, “NOT IN THE LGBTQIA+ COMMUNITY!”

He recounted a discussion at a Transman meeting after his phalloplasty and they were talking about penises in general and someone stood and said “My girlfriend” (who was sitting in the meeting of transmen), “is triggered by the word ‘penis'” and expected the discussion to stop. Zack told the guy to take care of his girlfriend by ushering her outside if she did not take care of herself by removing herself from the transmen meeting.

That was the last Trans meeting Zack went to.

Again, Where Do I Belong?

Me, San Diego Gay Pride 1987

So, am I so old that I really do not even belong in the gay community anymore? What about my feelings of ostracization and feelings of experiencing ageism?

I have marched and written reams of articles fighting for lesbian rights, gay rights, lesbian mothers’ rights, gays in the military, gay marriages … I’ve spoken on local and national TV news programs … and now I am marginalized? Now my own experiences are moot because I am old?

Zack and I in the news after our San Francisco wedding.

Now I am not needed because those rights have been won and it was so long ago, the fight doesn’t even matter anymore? Because no one alive in these groups remembers the people who fought for them?

I FOUGHT FOR THE RIGHTS THEY HAVE TODAY!

Who the fuck did they think won these rights for them?

Now I am not needed because I am not PC? Because my words don’t “fit” with the younger mindsets? Because the vernacular changed while I was out fighting for their rights?

Me, San Diego Pride Parade 1987

Where Are My People?

Zack told me to find an older group of liberal straight writers to work with. I have no idea where they are, but will begin a search. (Thank you, Google!)

Isn’t that kind of sad? Isn’t that really sad?

I think so.

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