A subtweet from a small town queer

So, I help produce an art and music campout that happens in California every summer. I’m on the People team (dealing with conflict, consent violations, etc) and am a general coordinator for the overall event. I’ve done this on and off for about 5 years of the 18 years it’s been running. And after this year, I have to say: are the straights and younguns ok? This entire entry is a subtweet to both straight people and young people who seem to think they can’t be in community with their exes.

I am queer, and I am from a 20k-person town. Not the smallest, but also there were like 4 of us in high school who were out as gay in some way or another. Of course we dated each other. We fucked each other. And of course we stopped sleeping with each other at some point. We also had huge falling outs, whether with (ex)partners or friends.


We were who we had, and so we got our shit together, looked each other in the eye after the dust had settled, and we figured out how we were going to be in community with each other. Because we’re who we had. We were it. We didn’t have time or capacity to tear our community apart because we had to survive.

Y’all thinking your ex partners can’t be in the same space as you is refusing to acknowledge your own role in an incompatible (and sometimes toxic) situation. It’s washing your hands of taking responsibility of your own role in a dynamic. It’s refusing to acknowledge that someone who hurt you might have learned to not hurt others (including your future self) from that experience.

You all seem to think that community is an endless resource, that another can always be gotten. But it isn’t. It is precious and it is hard won through tears and showing up and forgiving and being forgiven. Community is about showing up and reconnecting with someone, even if you’ve exchanged bodily fluid with them. For Pete’s sake, sex isn’t that sacred, it’s just a thing people do with each other to learn more about each other and to see if they like doing it with each other. Same thing with any interaction. If it’s not working for you, try to figure out another way to connect.

Get your shit together, pull your collective heads out of your collective asses, and mature a bit. Someone may have broken your heart. You may have broken theirs. But you are still humans worthy of love and care, and we have some big fights to take on. So let’s fight together, even if our LEGOs didn’t click (to quote William Gibson).


There will be abusive people, sure, and this is not to victim blame. But even from my own past abusive relationship, I recognize in myself what I needed to change in order to avoid things like that in the future. I can look that person in the eye and know what was their shit and what was mine, and why the two don’t mix. I hope they can be healthy with someone else, even when they couldn’t be healthy with me.

I recognize a problematic ex of mine who was respectful to me but a serial rapist to others, and that humans are complex and we exist through our relationships with others.

I acknowledge my part in dynamics, because it means I have some say in the dynamics I am in. Relationships do not happen TO you, you are IN them. This is empowering. For fuck’s sake.

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