While impossible to pick a favorite part of the day, Clare Ramsaran's workshop on Writing Mixed and Queer was unforgettable. It was at this session that I first felt that feeling of being amongst your people. As a queer mixed-API femme, my experiences in both LGBTQ and API spaces have been ones rife with identity policing; "but you're only half Asian", "but you don't look like a lesbian". I've grown used to the fixture of proving oneself as an authentic [fill in the identity]. But within the walls of the Writing Mixed and Queer workshop, I was absolved of all of that.
Clare provided us with a space to write on mixed-race & queer experience. I was sifting through my journal tonight and came across some of the writing I produced after given a prompt, 9 minutes, paper and a pen:
Prompt --- Representing mixed-race in Jamaica by Ana Louise Keating: "There is something in living in interstitial existence - a life between lines - that creates a certain freedom and fluidity. We are anomalies amongst anomalies, able to enter multiple worlds at multiple times, as both outsiders and insiders."
"There is something so transient about the in-between. This sense of always coming always going, but never here. Because "here" for mixed folk is ambiguity, unsettling, hybridity. It's as though the inbetween is incomplete, less than, and so painfully inauthentic. But what is this desire to be authentic? What does authenticity give us? Is it not also just a norm?
Queer. Mixed. My mixedness is queer. My queerness mixed. Everything is intimate. I crave authenticity so I can intimately feel complete, because what is authenticity if not just another name for real, genuine, true? I am real, genuine, true. I am all of these things, mixed up. But I am none of these things, at the same time. I am multi. My existence is that transient, almost liminal place. Never here, nor there. But both. But neither. I mix that up because that is all I know how to do. My authenticity cannot be defined by your words, by your terms. It is mine. But it is ours. It's all so mixed."