YouTube and why I’m here

(sigh) Let’s do this.

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome back. I was going to have a book wrap up video be the next one I uploaded, but a few things happened that made me decide to make this first. I was in part inspired by one of Hallease’s videos, Why I’m REALLY on YouTube. But mostly, I decided I’d go over why I’m on YouTube for those who may be new or may not know.

This channel started back in 2014, six years almost to the day as of this upload. I started it because I was watching quite a bit of YouTube, but knew of barely any deaf YouTubers other than Rikki Poynter. A huge lack of representation for deaf people, AND at the time, there were so few Deaf YouTubers who signed only. Now, there are more, but still not enough in my opinion. I had the skills to do it, so I thought, why not? It started out as a purely vlogging, “day in the life of” type of channel. I also used it as a sort of creative outlet while I was in college, because it was something that I could do and had everything that I needed. It didn’t take long for me to start taking it in a more educational direction, because I personally love learning and dropping random facts for people. At first, it was just about the deaf community and a bit of ASL. I had zero interest—and is still true today—in teaching ASL, like a list of words or phrases (note: apart from regional signs and idioms, that’s different). I wanted to do what was less common, which is why I started my ASL Ponderings series. That’s where I talk about things that I’ve noticed interpreting students tend to not know or struggle a bit with, or things that I personally wonder why we do in the Deaf community. It’s a pretty broad series, but basically, anything that I felt like isn’t talked about much.

When I decided to be public about my sexuality, and later on my gender, I shifted to have a lot more educational content about the queer community. In part because I was learning a lot that I knew a lot of other people wouldn’t know. But a major part of that was because there is SO little in the way of ASL resources about the queer community. So I wanted to and still want to improve that. Also, representation comes into this again. Many of the other Deaf YouTubers I’ve seen are straight, white, and/or cis. So while I’d be adding another white face, I’d be adding representation for deaf queer people. I would LOVE to see more BIPOC Deaf YouTubers across the whole spectrum!

Even with all of that, this is still a creative outlet for me. While I make a little bit of money from this, this is not my job. I do this mostly for fun. That’s why I have no upload schedule, apart from a benefit for some of my Patrons. I’m saying this because while some people probably mean well, I have gotten a few messages or comments recently that are… Hmm. One was telling me I should do less book content, because they were here for the deaf stuff. That came after I just happened to be posting a lot of book-related videos, it was around the time of the Queer Lit Readathon. I never said that this channel would only be This Stuff and nothing else. I will make what I want, and if you don’t want to watch particular content, that’s fine. Watch just what you want. That’s what y’all do anyway right? Then I recently got a message through Instagram. I don’t always reply and I didn’t in this case, but it was someone asking when I’d be doing more YouTube videos. First, it’s impossible to tell tone through text only, but I want to caution people against doing this kind of thing. It can seem like you’re demanding more from a creator, when you have no idea what’s going on behind the screen. They could be experiencing burnout, they could just be needing a break—like I mentioned in my previous video—they could be busy with their own lives and things that you don’t see online. Sure, I’m posting on Instagram. But I’ll always be more active there than I am on here, because that takes almost no time at all while YouTube tends to take more work. Again, this is not my full-time job. And well, we’re in the middle of a pandemic and a huge cultural shift. Nothing is going to be normal. I don’t want things to go back to our old normal.

I realize that it might sound like I don’t care about y’all. That’s not true, I do really appreciate you and the fact that you take time out of your day to watch a video of mine. When I upload. (laughs) I am really grateful for all my Patrons who continue to support me monthly, and those who sometimes send me a coffee on Ko-fi. I’m glad I’m able to share my nerdy self with you. (sigh) It just rubs me the wrong way when people try to tell me what to do. Suggestions are welcome of course, but when it’s phrased more like a demand or a must-do, that’s not okay to me.

Okay, I’m done now. Stepping off my soapbox, thanks for watching if you went all the way to the end. I’ll hopefully see you again soon.

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

I’m still around! | Vlog

Hello! I’m Rogan and welcome back. I know. It’s been a time. I will explain a little more later, but right now, I need to go do errands, and drive to (stumbles in spelling) Marysville to meet someone for giving them their macarons. So. You’re coming with me.

[Montage of grabbing keys, driving, dropping off boxes at the post office, highway, green-lined roads, flopping back on a bed.]

I hope you enjoyed that little trip out. I know I haven’t posted anything for almost a month. It’s been a time. I decided I needed a break for several reasons. First, June was Pride month, and I posted a lot. And there was a lot going on in that month. So I just needed to breathe a little bit (in regard to doing YouTube).

Another reason why I took a break from making videos for a while is because it’s my birthday month. So I just wanted to enjoy myself, relax a little bit. My birthday already happened, I’m 27 now. It’s a little bit weird having a birthday during a pandemic, because… You know, you can’t really get together to celebrate. I’m one of those people who don’t really make a big deal out of their birthday. My family doesn’t really… We do care yes, but it’s not like we have to get together and celebrate big, have piles of food. That’s not me. So this year, I actually kind of forgot about my birthday until like, a week before. And I was like, oh, right, my birthday is soon. Eh. I ended up not really doing anything except for going to get food from a place with my parents, and that’s it really.

I also had a couple of other things that took up a lot of my time that aren’t really visible to the internet.

One of that is I made a lot of macarons recently. It’s a lot. I think almost three…weeks. About three weeks straight of making macarons. I used so many eggs. Oh my god. I’m really thankful for the Costco bulk eggs. That really helped me! But yeah, I was making a bunch and shipping them to friends and family that were buying them. So, thank you! It’s kind of a side thing, because I can’t work right now so this is a good way to make a little bit of money. But also, I got so many responses that I decided that I would donate part of that to The Okra Project. The Okra Project is an organization that connects Black trans people that may not have full access to resources with Black trans chefs that go to their homes to (cook) them homemade meals. That’s a really great project. I’ve donated to them in the past, so I thought, why not again? I’m making food, selling it, that money going to support more food.

While all of that was going on, I was also doing the online portion for an interpreting program I’m in. It’s called the DeafBlind Interpreting Institute. I have two portions, one online and one in-person. Obviously, the in-person is not happening now, because you know, pandemic. The online portion is still going forward. We’re…about halfway done with the weekly classes, I believe now. Yes, halfway. So that takes time. I’m enjoying it! It’s been a great experience, I’m really liking it. My cohort, really great people in my cohort. I’m really excited for when we can be together in person. Because that’s the challenge. DeafBlind interpreting requires touch. And discussing through videos, through typing… It doesn’t really work. It’s an interesting challenge, but I’m really enjoying it. A lot of great discussions in that cohort so far. So I’m really excited for this program.

This video is more of just saying hi, yes. I’m still around. I’m…I plan–hope to get back into making videos regularly. Well, more often than once a month. From here on, I don’t really have any plans for what I want to do. No timeline, really. So if you have any ideas, thoughts, whatever… That you want to see me make a video about, I can see what I can make happen. And yeah, I think that’s it for today. Thanks for watching. Like, subscribe, comment…Whatever. Bye!

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

Not the End | Pride Project

Hello I’m Rogan and welcome. Today is the last video of the Pride Project, but it definitely isn’t the end of Pride! It sure won’t be the last time I make queer videos. To close out the month, I just wanted to talk about some recent queer media I’ve enjoyed this month.

Love, Victor released on June 17th and it’s a spin off from Love, Simon. This is in TV format, 10 episodes long with thirty mins of runtime each. Right now, we don’t know yet if there will be another season, but I hope there is! Victor and his family recently moved to Creekwood, where Simon lived. Victor’s unsure about his sexuality, so he reaches out to Simon, who is off in NYC for college. They start up a conversation and it runs throughout the show, as Victor navigates his new life, his confusing feelings, family strife and stress, and getting through high school. As any good high school show, there’s drama and twists. I watched this with a friend, and we kept yelling that Victor is bi because reasons. We’re a little biased of course, since we’re both bi, but Victor eventually said he’s gay. Which is fine! There certainly aren’t enough representations of queer people of color, especially in a lead role. My friend said this, and I agree—paraphrasing here: “I think Victor is bi, because he went through that confusion with Mia, liking her and wanting to make it work. He eventually says he’s gay, but I think it could be because Victor’s in high school, and probably still sees a lot of things as black and white. I hope that gets explored some in the future.” We both really liked how the show was set up, including the confusion around sexuality and showing that it isn’t as stark as most people think it is. This also can resonate with a lot of people since Victor is “…being a fixer…and how people don’t want to make mistakes even if it’s with an identity thing, they don’t want to do the wrong thing and hurt people.” Another thing my friend said: “The way they ended it also makes me hope that they’re setting up the second season to kind of be a navigation journey for himself but also for his family because obviously as we’ve seen, some of his family members aren’t okay with it and that is honestly life for many people, I hope they show a season about a family going through this together and not just Victor dealing with it by himself.” I can’t recommend this more, go watch it if you have Hulu, or even do a trial just for this show, it’s worth it.

Another thing I watched that was also released this month was Disclosure, a documentary that takes a look at Hollywood’s depiction of trans people and the impact of this on American culture. Every single person interviewed in this is trans, and they talk about their reactions and resistance to some of Hollywood’s moments. This was an amazing look at so much media across the years, and I learned a lot about some trans representation that I wasn’t aware of—mostly because it was very bad, and people don’t want to talk about it—but it’s important to know where we’ve come from so we can see where we need to go. This is a Netflix original documentary, so you can watch it there. If you’re at all interested in history, trans representation in anything, this is a must watch.

Of course, I couldn’t not watch the newest season of Queer Eye! Just as good as all of the previous seasons, and it all happens in Philadelphia. I can’t watch a season without wanting at least some of the Fab 5’s clothes, or some of the heroes’! If you enjoy this show, you’ll love this season.

I want to quickly mention a couple of animated shows, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, and Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts. The first has some very clear queer representation throughout, with two of the princesses being married, and Bow has two dads. Kipo recently released their second season, and it makes very clear that there are two boys interested in each other. One is black and one of the main support characters, and the other is a POC I think. I’m just thrilled that more and more shows aimed to children are including more queer characters. Now can we get more main characters who are QTBIPOC? (Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color)

Before I end this video, I want to say: Pride is for everyone, and I mean everyone, queer. Regardless of if you’re openly and loudly queer, or if you’re still in the closet for whatever reason, or if you don’t plan to ever be out because you already have your lifelong partner. If you identify as queer, you are queer period. Those people who try to tell you that you don’t count, you’re not really queer, your identity is really this or that? Ignore them. They likely don’t know you nearly as well as you know yourself. Whatever your situation—you are a valid queer person.

A couple last things before you go. The shirt I’m wearing is a design by Inka’s Screen Printing, a deaf queer artist. It was originally a limited run in 2018, but good news! Inka’s recently announced that it will permanently be in their store now, and you know me. Here’s the link! The other thing I want to remind you about—there are also links to several lists for black queer and trans organizations at the end of this post. These organizations are doing great work, and I want to see them be able to continue doing it and expand the scale of the work they’re doing. Please donate to at least one, and please don’t just pick the first one you see. Actually look and donate to one that’s meaningful to you. That’s all for today. Happy Pride month and forever!

Black queer and trans organizations to support
https://www.instagram.com/p/CBDoiY5BisQ/
https://www.instagram.com/p/CBOULwrBFg4/
https://www.instagram.com/p/CBTVJ33hTDD/

If you want to support me in addition to those above, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

Disability & Pride | Pride Project

Let’s talk about Pride and disability. 

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome. There are links in the description for several black and queer trans organizations. Today, I’m going to be replying to a comment I got on a video asking about pride parades/festivals and what accessibility is like at them. First, I’ve been to only a few prides, two in Seattle and one in Portland. So my personal experience is limited, but I’ll talk about what know from other people who have talked about this. I also will link a pretty in-depth article about accessibility and pride.

The ones I’ve been to do provide interpreters but you have to be at very specific places to be able to see them, and those areas are usually crowded and difficult to get into if you don’t arrive early. They’re also not always accessible for deaf people who also use wheelchairs because they can’t see over people’s heads. There are sometimes designated spaces for wheelchair users, but they’re not the easiest to get to and that doesn’t even mention all of the other difficulties that wheelchair users face at Pride.

I don’t use a wheelchair myself, but I know of some the problems they face. Some are as simple as cracked and uneven sidewalks that weren’t repaired when they should have been. Other issues arise when the route is set where the whole thing isn’t fully accessible for them. There are still portions in some cities or towns that don’t have ramps on curb corners, or the incline is too steep to comfortably use. People have no awareness of wheelchair users, people’ll block their way, not let them move up to the front so they can see, lean on their chairs, and generally act like they’re not even there.

It’s a whole other set of problems when you look at Pride parties or events after the parade. There generally aren’t any spaces that are quieter or more casual for people who easily get overstimulated such as autistic people. Many smaller events not connected to the big Pride event aren’t interpreted unless people reach out and request it. These smaller events are often in bars or clubs, spaces that usually aren’t ADA accessible. This is especially true in cities with older buildings that were there before 1990, because they’re not required to comply with the ADA.

I know there are many queer disabled people who just opt out of going to Pride events, because it’s not worth the energy to try and go. The few times I’ve gone, I enjoyed but it was either because I was with friends or went by myself, but had no expectations of understanding anything that was being said. I tend to still celebrate Pride, but not by going to the parade or Pride specific events unless I know they’re accessible. My queer friends and I will just get together at some place where we’re comfortable and celebrate that way.

To finish the video, I want to remind you that Pride started as a riot, continued as a march to honor that riot and the start of the bigger fight for rights. It was started by queer and trans black women. This has to be remembered with Pride often being whitewashed. When you can, support queer and trans organizations, especially those operated by BIPOC communities. I have links below to a list, be sure to check them out. And to close out, if you are disabled and queer, have you been to Pride? If yes, what was your experience? If not, if you feel comfortable with sharing, what’s your reason for not going?

Black queer and trans organizations to support
https://www.instagram.com/p/CBDoiY5BisQ/
https://www.instagram.com/p/CBOULwrBFg4/
https://www.instagram.com/p/CBTVJ33hTDD/

If you want to support me in addition to those above, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

Alcohol-Free Queer Spaces | Pride Project

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome. At the end of this post, I will be leaving the same three Instagram links to black queer and trans organizations as I did in the last video, please check them out and support a few of them if you can. If you can’t, at least share them.

As you know from the title, I want to talk about alcohol-free queer spaces, also called sober spaces. This can be a range of things, but at the core, it means a space where alcohol isn’t present. Here, I’m talking more about social spaces. Of course, there are businesses that don’t serve alcohol, but they’re not places where you can go in and just hang out. When you ask around for where you can go to find other queer and trans people to meet, the usual immediate answer will be some kind of bar, and tends to cater toward cis gay men. That isn’t ideal for a lot of people – those who don’t feel comfortable in a gay male-dominated environment, those who are sober or in recovery, those who simply don’t like the overstimulating environment of a bar, those who aren’t of legal age, those who just don’t want to drink.

Gay bars have long been important to the queer community, as a space for socializing, organizing, protesting. The problem is that this kind of place isn’t ideal for a lot of people, especially in a community that has increased risk of addiction and substance abuse issues. There are a lot of options, but not nearly enough in my opinion. There’s bookstores like I mentioned in a previous post, but they’re not always places you can just roll up to and hang out in without buying anything. There are LGBTQ+ centers, but they’re not always comfortable places or conducive to socializing.

I’ll be linking an article from them, the media/news company, that talks about this and lists several options for sober queer spaces all over the country. One of the quotes I want to say here is from Bauman, the co-founder of Cuties, a coffeeshop in Los Angeles.

“You don’t have to be sober to want sober spaces… The more spaces we have that are not centered around an activity, that you don’t have to give a reason for being there, that’s a revolutionary thing.”

Virginia Bauman

I absolutely agree with this statement, and this was a big reason why I founded the Deaf Queer Social in Seattle. Obviously, it’s on hold now because of the pandemic. When I founded it, from the start I knew I did *not* want to host it at bars or any spaces that have alcohol as a main focus. I wanted it to be an accessible space, in more ways than one. I wanted to make sure all ages were able to attend, families could bring their children, the older generation could feel comfortable there where they’d feel out of place in a bar or club. Bars or clubs tend to be very dark or dim spaces, which is an accessibility issue for Deaf and DeafBlind people. I wanted to make sure that it would be affordable, bars and nightclubs can get expensive very fast. So far, all of the locations I’ve hosted the Deaf Queer Social at have been coffee places open until 8 or 10pm. When we are able to gather again, I plan to have some meet-ups at parks or outdoor spaces, or do other social activities that are cheap or free. I also host it a little earlier in the day than many other social events, like Deaf Night Out. DNO tends to start at 6 or 7pm, but people tend to not show up until 8pm or later. With DQS, I start it at 5pm, end at 8pm, and it’s been on Friday evenings. This way, people can easily choose to go home and relax or go to other, later events.

Going back to sober queer spaces in general, we need more spaces to just be. Queer spaces that aren’t nightlife venues often have a harder time sustaining their business, compared to nightlife venues. Bars do have a big role, and I think they are important to have. I just would like to see more options that don’t involve alcohol.

That is a good place to stop. Please let me know what your thoughts are, and if you know of any sober queer spaces in your area! This can be an event, gathering, or something else, it doesn’t have to be a physical location. 

If you want to support me, there are links below. But if you do, please also support black businesses and organizations. Thank you to my current Patrons! Subscribe for more, follow my socials for updates. Thanks for reading, see you soon.

Black queer and trans organizations to support
https://www.instagram.com/p/CBDoiY5BisQ/
https://www.instagram.com/p/CBOULwrBFg4/
https://www.instagram.com/p/CBTVJ33hTDD/

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

Outing and Stealth | Pride Project

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome. The links I will be leaving today are to three Instagram posts of black queer and trans organizations to support. Check them out, they’re very varied!

Today, I want to talk about outing and stealth. Of course, this is in the context of the queer community. This is more of a 101 knowledge thing, I haven’t really seen this in ASL so that’s why I’m making this.

Outing is when someone discloses a person’s sexual orientation or gender without their consent. This is an issue of privacy, choice, and it can be very harmful to that person. People who get outed against their will can lose their jobs, be rejected by their social circle, disowned by their family. Of course, there has been ongoing debate over outing public figures. There is a history of celebrities, politicians, and the elite being forced out of the closet. This was often done under the idea that it was necessary for all queer people to be out of the closet to show people we’re everywhere. The problem with that is many people are in an unsafe environment, maybe with family who will immediately kick them out onto the streets, they could lose their living, and so on. 

Outing has often been done with harmful intent and aiming to damage a person’s reputation, but there have been some cases where it was considered appropriate. An example would be of queer politicians who are actively working against LGBT rights. In 2006, a Congressman said, “I think there’s a right to privacy. But the right to privacy should not be a right to hypocrisy. And people who want to demonize other people shouldn’t then be able to go home and close the door and do it themselves.” There are arguments for outing and against outing, in what context it’s appropriate and when it’s not. Either way, outing in general is frowned upon in the queer community if it’s a person who is just trying to live their life. And outing can be very harmful, regardless of whether it’s true or not. Trans and queer people get killed over this. People use the “panic” defense to justify killing someone they didn’t know was trans or queer. Outing someone exposes them to more potential harm, physical or mental.

Now, let’s talk about stealth and what that means in relation to the queer community. Disclaimer first. There is debate over the use of the terms stealth and passing, which I will explain. I’m making this because it’s terminology people need to know because it is still used in the queer community. Stealth is essentially when a trans person decides that they want to live their lives as their gender, and not have anyone in their life know that they’re trans. They choose to hide their past, don’t easily tell others about the fact that they’re trans. This usually happens when someone is “passing” as the gender they are. Passing means that someone is seen as the gender they are, rather than the gender they were assigned at birth. The problem with the term passing, as said by trans writer Janet Mock, the term is “based on an assumption that trans people are passing as something that we are not” and that a trans woman who is perceived as a woman “isn’t passing; she is merely being.” GLAAD has also said it’s inappropriate for the mainstream media to use this term unless it’s a direct quote. There are people who dislike both terms, stealth and passing, because they can imply trans people are being dishonest about who they are and engaging in deception.

There are many reasons why someone would choose to not be visibly trans. They may not want to deal with all of the intrusive questions trans people inevitably get about their genitals. They want to simply live their lives and don’t feel a need to be a loud and visible part of the queer community. They live in a region where it’s dangerous or illegal to be out as a trans person. They experience less prejudice and discrimination if they’re not openly trans. They don’t want to remember the part of their lives before their transition, because it’s too traumatic. They may be comfortable being openly trans with their friends, but not at work or in professional environments because of discrimination. Side note – yes, it’s great news that SCOTUS ruled that employees can’t be fired for being queer, but there will be people who choose to stay hidden at work because the workplace itself might be not safe and will find other reasons to fire them.

I know this barely touches on all of the things that could be discussed about both outing and being stealth. I haven’t even talked that much about the history of outing and how it came to be a big thing. Like I said earlier, this is just a 101, introductory video. These are *very* complex things. If you have any questions or want to know more, let me know in the comments. Also do your own research! That will be all for today.

If you want to support me, there are links below. But if you do, please also support black businesses and organizations. Thank you to my current Patrons! Subscribe for more, follow my socials for updates. Thanks for reading, see you soon.

Black queer and trans organizations to support
https://www.instagram.com/p/CBDoiY5BisQ/
https://www.instagram.com/p/CBOULwrBFg4/
https://www.instagram.com/p/CBTVJ33hTDD/

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

Queer Bookstores | Pride Project

Note: This is mostly just a list of books from this link, I just make some extra comments.

Hello I’m Rogan, and welcome! Today, the links I will be leaving in the description will be for queer and/or black bookstores you can buy from. There is a call to show the power of black publishing, between the 14th and 20th so if you were planning on ordering something, do it soon!

Today, I want to talk queer books and bookstores. There are a lot more bookstores that have a focus or a big queer lit section than you think! I’ll be focusing on ones in the US, but I will leave a link that lists a few international ones. This list isn’t necessarily bookstores that sell *only* queer books, some of them are simply big sellers of queer literature. I’ll mostly just list them, and if I know a bit more about some of them, I’ll add to it.

Antigone Books in Tuscon, Arizona. Dog Eared Books, San Francisco. Otherwild, Los Angeles. Skylight Books, Los Angeles. Lavender Library, Sacramento. This one is more of an actual library, with archives of queer history and culture. Colorado based stores – Word is Out, online only. Boulder Book Store, Boulder.

All of the following are in DC: Kramerbooks & Afterwords, Busboys & Poets Books, Second Story Books, Solid State Books. I’ve actually been to Kramer, and it’s a cool place! There are two different entrances, one for the bookstore and one for the cafe. They’re actually opposite sides of a weird triangular street, and could be mistaken for two separate stores. Delicious food too. Okay moving on.

Charis Books, Atlanta. Unabridged Books, and Women & Children First, both in Chicago. Quill Books & Beverage, Westbrook, Maine. Two in Baltimore, Maryland – Atomic Books and Red Emma’s. In Grand Rapids, Michigan, there’s Books and Mortar. Missouri has Peace Nook, Columbia and Left Bank Books, St. Louis. There’s Violet Valley Bookstore in Water Valley, Mississippi.

Here’s a whole list of New York bookstores: Rust Belt Books, Buffalo. The rest are in New York City. Bureau of General Services – Queer Division @ The LGBT Center, Bluestockings, Quimby’s Bookstore, Strand Books, and Three Lives & Company.

Malaprop’s Bookstore, Asheville, North Carolina. In Portland, Oregon, there’s Another Read Through, and of course, Powell’s. I’ve been there multiple times now, they have a gorgeous and massive queer section. In Pennsylvania, there’s Giovanni’s Room/Philly AIDS Thrift and Wooden Shoe Books, Philadelphia and Webster’s Bookstore Cafe, State College. Rhode Island has Books on the Square in Providence. Texas has two in Austin, Book People and BookWoman, and one in Dallas, Deep Vellum Books. There’s King’s English Bookshop in Salt Lake City, Utah and Everyone’s Books in Brattleboro, Vermont. Wisconsin has A Room of One’s Own in Madison, and Outwords Books in Milwaukee.

Of course, I had to finish this list with my home state, Washington! All of these are in Seattle, and I’ve visited them of course. Elliott Bay Book Company is the one I’ve gone to the most often, with my best friend, and that’s in Capitol Hill. Third Place Books actually has three locations, and I’ve been to two of them. And then there’s Left Bank Books on Pike.

That’s it for today. Now is a time to support your independent bookstore more than ever, so see if they have the option to order online or pick up! You can also order through bookshop.org and you can choose to have your money go to a pool or pick a specific bookstore you want to support. Also, this is a great time to buy that book by a black author, or books to unpack your white privilege, so do it!

Today, order two books from black authors to support them. Thank you to my current Patrons. Subscribe and follow my socials to stay updated with me. Thanks for reading, see you soon.

Whole list: https://queerhistory.com/queer-booksellers
List of Black-owned bookstores: https://www.queermall.online/resources
Some Black LGBTQ+ book recs: https://www.instagram.com/p/CBRba8VjcWN/
Aidan Wharton has several lists of Black queer and trans organizations: https://www.instagram.com/p/CBDoiY5BisQ/

Queer Signs in Other Countries | Pride Project

Note: This transcript has been edited to explain some of the signs, but I would suggest watching the video to get the full picture.

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome! This is your reminder to do what you can to support the Black Lives Matter movement, whether that be donating, protesting, having hard conversations with your white family and friends. This isn’t an US-only issue, it’s global as well so international people are not exempt from this.

Today, we’ll be talking about signs for queer terms from other countries. First, before you get all excited, I won’t actually be showing you a list per se. This is more of a discussion and my thoughts on certain signs, what concepts they can convey to people. The queer community obviously has always been there, all over the world. From my small exposure of international life when I studied abroad in Denmark, it seems like it hasn’t been as visible as it has in the US. In part because comparatively, it’s much larger and louder in the US. That definitely has influenced how signs for queer terms have developed.

Of course, there will be bias in this, since I’m US-born and don’t have an exhaustive knowledge of queer signs all over the world. I will discuss what I do know, and I want to emphasize that this is not saying that they should/shouldn’t be using those signs. It’s not my language after all. I just want to give people some things to think about, in relation to their own signs, from an outside perspective. If I happen to talk about a sign you use, please let me know what your thoughts are. I want different perspectives! Also, I will link to my video of ASL queer signs if you want some comparison. Okay, with that long introduction and disclaimer out of the way, let’s get started.

Many countries will do some variation on the rainbow sign to represent LGBTQ+ or queer, including the US. [shows a few variations that are similar to the sign for “rainbow”] All good there! Now let’s look at more specific signs.

Gay and lesbian. The US tends to prefer spelling gay, but signs lesbian with a L, the index finger tapping the chin. The international sign for gay is a dominant hand thumbs up on your non-dominant palm, twisting your wrist. Lesbian is the same, but with a L handshape. A few countries will sign gay this way, like the handshape and motion for duck, but grasping the earlobe. Very interesting, I suspect this comes from the old idea that if you wore an earring in a specific ear, that meant you were saying you’re gay. It wasn’t really a thing in the queer community, so it was probably a weird straight rumor. Anyway. Several use a similar sign for lesbian as the US. I’ve seen some signs that I do not like and won’t repeat here, because they’re… Let’s say they’re a little risqué. They’re focused on what they *do,* rather than who they are. [makes a face]

For bi, I’ve seen a lot will simply spell bi because it’s only two letters. But I’ve also seen many that rely on the mistaken concept of binary. Examples: Non-dominant signing two, while the dominant hand signs switching between the two. B-handshapes touching the chest and alternating motions away. I’ve even seen this, [B-straight I]. Absolutely not. We’re not Straight Lite. Or is that Gay Lite? *shrugs*

Trans. This is the one I have the most…issues with. In the US, everyone uses the “beautiful” on the chest. I have a video on this. I actually don’t recall the international sign for this, it might be the one that the US uses. I know some countries are starting to adopt this sign as well, because what they are currently using is a little problematic. LSF, Langue des Signes Française, signs it like: V-handshape with one finger touching the chest, flipping so the other finger touches the chest. I can’t recall which country this is from, but I’ve seen one like the LSF version, but the V handshape is horizontal and twists up or down. The way you go depends on if they’re MTF or FTM, which is kind of gross. All of those are problematic because they focus on the concept of “changing from one sex to another” rather than gender being an intrinsic thing. It also perpetuates the binary idea and that you have to have had a surgery to be considered fully trans. That sign doesn’t really consider nonbinary people and people who don’t consider themself a binary trans person. There are many trans people who have no interest in having any type of surgery. That is still valid.

I found a video from 2017 of a person explaining the major queer signs in LSM, Lengua de Señas Mexicana. Focusing on trans specifically, LSM uses this sign as an umbrella, both hands in T-handshape twisting together like signing change. Again, this focuses on the “changing” part which is not accurate. The transitioning process is simply bringing their body into alignment with how they view themselves. And that’s only if they actually transition! This person also talks about other terms which are outdated in English, and a little cringey for me to watch because they’re explained in such a biological view. The signs kept being like “man become woman,” “woman with mind of a man,” and so on. Ugh, that’s—no. Again, like I said before, this is not my language, and it’s not my place to say people shouldn’t be using this at all. However, I beg people to consider the impact that the signs can have on trans people in their own community. In my view, this can be extremely harmful to them. Just think about your choice of signs and what they *mean.*

Like in ASL, many of the other less common terms in the mainstream don’t have signs yet. The last word I want to briefly mention is intersex. ASL does have a sign: starting with I-handshape touching the forehead, moving down to touch the chest and it changes into a X before touching. And this was created by a deaf intersex person. I’m not a big fan of it, just because it doesn’t really convey the concept to me, and relies on the English. Now, the sign in LSF is one that I actually kind of like, and it’s very conceptually clear. It starts with two open hands touching each shoulder, then they slide in together, closing in and finish in the center, completely closed. Essentially, two sexes in one body. This is a situation where biology comes in, because this is an identity term yes, but it’s also a scientific term. [LSF intersex] shows the binary, but also shows it’s a range of a kind. This, to me, shows the concept of being intersex very clearly without relying on English letters. Of course, if you disagree, please let me know. I’d love your perspective on this, especially since I’m not intersex myself.

I’m sure I’m leaving some things out that I haven’t thought of, but I’ll add them in the pinned comment on YouTube if there’s more. I will leave links to the videos I mentioned for LSF and LSM at the end of this post, but just be aware they’re both in those languages. The LSF one has French subtitles, while the LSM one has none at all. And that’s all I have for this video. Let me know what your thoughts are on, if you know queer signs in other languages and what you think of them, and so on.

There are links below to support black businesses and organizations, be sure to check them out. Thank you to my current Patrons. Subscribe for more videos and follow on my socials for updates. Thanks for reading, see you soon.

LSF Queer Signs: https://youtu.be/rfHyYpNpy70
LSM Queer Signs: https://youtu.be/jN9wwlIRkDQ
Queer Signs in ASL: https://youtu.be/tg6NYev-xp8

Please let me know if there’s anything you feel should be added to the list below. Thank you!

Most Googled: Bisexual | Pride Project

Note: this is a very lightly edited transcript of what I say, so many of the odd pauses are due to me reading/looking at my phone.

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome. Black Lives Matter. Donate, protest, have conversations. Do whatever you can. I have links that can help you get started at the end of this post.

Today is a video I’ve been wanting to do for a while, but was never really sure how to do. I’m still not, but we’re just doing it. This is the most googled questions about bisexuality. I will just be googling the words and seeing what comes up, and react to that. I have a list of search terms that I created beforehand, so we’ll see what happens.

So, first and obvious to start with – bisexual. Bi flag, pride flag, all the standard expectations that you would see from “bisexual.” *chuckles* Bisexual haircut. Let’s see what that is. Oh yeah! Yeah, the bob cut. For some reason, a lot of bi women have that. It’s hilarious.

Okay, bisexual versus pansexual. That is… A lot of people have… Differing opinions on what this is. For me, I… It means the same thing for me. I tend to prefer bi, just because I like the definition of that better. They are really similar. A lot of people have the misconception that bi means men and women, that’s it. Really, it’s not. Yes, bi means two. But when has English ever actually followed language? Let me back up a little bit. I want to be clear that bisexual has never really meant attraction to only men and women. In 1990, the Bisexual Manifesto specifically has a definition saying no, we don’t focus on men and women only. We understand that that’s a spectrum, and we have attraction to that spectrum.

Bisexual Manifesto: We are tired of being analyzed, defined and represented by people other than ourselves, or worse yet, not considered at all. We are frustrated by the imposed isolation and invisibility that comes from being told or expected to choose either a homosexual or heterosexual identity. Monosexuality is a heterosexist dictate used to oppress homosexuals and to negate the validity of bisexuality. Bisexuality is a whole, fluid identity. Do not assume that bisexuality is binary or duogamous in nature: that we have “two” sides or that we must be involved simultaneously with both genders to be fulfilled human beings. In fact, don’t assume that there are only two genders. Do not mistake our fluidity for confusion, irresponsibility, or an inability to commit. Do not equate promiscuity, infidelity, or unsafe sexual behavior with bisexuality. Those are human traits that cross all sexual orientations. Nothing should be assumed about anyone’s sexuality, including your own. We are angered by those who refuse to accept our existence; our issues; our contributions; our alliances; our voice. It is time for the bisexual voice to be heard.

But I use this definition: Bi is attraction to more than one gender. Period. More than one gender. Not necessarily this and this. No, just attraction to more than one. While pansexual, most people tend to use that as attraction to all genders. That’s the usual definition of pan. Which is fine. Nothing wrong with that. But for me, the reason why I prefer bi–Attraction to all genders. Well, that’s… A lot. You can’t really know that, so… I don’t know, just my personal thing. I like bi better. But if you prefer pan, nothing against that! Really. Use whatever label you feel comfortable with.

Okay! Next word, bisexuality. I just explained bisexuality vs pansexuality, the definition, spectrum. Permit? I think I’ve seen this before. Bisexuality permit. I think it’s like a card, yeah! Ha ha ha.

Okay, I’m going to go ahead and jump to the next search term that I put on my list. Are bisexual and pansexual the same thing? For some people, yes. Some people, no.

The next term I have is… Is bisexual… Woody from Toy Story bisexual? I don’t see why not. I mean. Yeah. Is bisexual part of Pride month? [gestures to self and video]

Already answered that. Umbrella, okay. Is bisexual an umbrella term. I guess it could be?

Is bisexual outdated? No. It’s not. Living bisexual right here!

And! Is bisexual binary? Like I just explained, no. Not really. Yes, there are bisexuals who are attracted to just men and women. Yes. But most of the time, we don’t really believe in that definition.

The last thing, is bisexual the same thing as fluid? No. And yes. It depends on the person. I know many bi people have… Experience changes in levels of attraction. Like, some people may currently be more attracted to feminine people. But a few years later, it shifts to be attracted to masculine people. Fluid and changing over their lifetime. Some people don’t, and stay the same all the way. So it can be fluid, it can be.

Next term! [mouthing: do bisexual…] *drops phone* Do bisexual relationships last? This follows the stereotype that bisexual people are promiscuous, aren’t committed… That’s all… BS, okay? Bisexual relationships are like any other relationship. They may last for fifty years. They may last for a month. They’re not more or less stable than hetero relationships, gay relationships, any other kind of romantic relationship. So… Yes and no. Again.

*grimace-grins* Let’s move onto the next word. Have I always been bisexual? Maybe.

Oh, I love that they’re asking how to have a bisexual relationship. It’s like any other relationship. It all depends on what kind of relationship you want, what kind of relationship the bi person wants.

*laughing* Why do I have bisexual feelings? Maybe because you’re bi!

That’s really interesting that there’s a question saying how to have a relationship with a bisexual man? Specifically, a man. I wonder if it’s because there is a stigma in the queer community, really, that bi men are just on their way to identifying as fully gay. Not true. Yeah, there–yes. There are people who will do that, because they’re afraid to take that big step. Which is fine, but people have to understand that there are bi men who are not gay. They are still attracted to women, or other genders. And… Sexuality is fluid. Maybe you–I know some people have, full speed ahead, I’m gay, full stop. Later on, they realize that oh, no, actually I’m bi, because they still have attraction to other genders. They just realized that they had feelings for this thing, and thought that was the right thing, but no it’s actually all of this as well. So… Can people please stop thinking that bi people are faking it? Please?

Let’s try the past tense of that. Had a dream I was bisexual. Maybe because ♪ you are! ♪

And I believe we are finished. For now. That was…interesting. It’s interesting to see what people are searching for in relation to bisexuality. I hope you learned some things from what I said. And enjoyed this, some funny things that came up, and some… Questionable things. Anyway.

I don’t know what more to add to this. Just want to say, if you feel like, hmm, I’m bisexual. You are valid. I know, it’s annoying, a lot of people will question your identity, and say oh, but what are you really attracted to? They may even ask, Okay fine, you’re attracted to men and women. And they’ll ask you what you’re more attracted to. That’s a dangerous question. For example, me as a masculine-presenting person. I say I’m bi, and they ask me which I’m more attracted to. If I say I’m leaning more toward attraction to women, people will go, oh, you’re really straight, you just want to experiment. Or if I answer the other way, and say I’m more attracted to men, they’ll say oh, you’re really gay, you’re just not ready to fully accept that identity. Both are wrong. When people ask me that question, what I’m more attracted to… To a complete stranger, I will say no, why is that important to you? I label myself as bi. I am bi. Regardless of what I lean toward.

And I think that’s a good place to stop. Leave in the comments if you have any questions, or you’re curious about whatever. I will answer them. Maybe. Thanks for watching, see you soon.

Please let me know if there’s anything you feel should be added to the list below. Thank you!