Queerness and liberation

My own ongoing liberation from traumatized sexual shame to queer joy feels like the central fact of my life these days, and it’s the story of ongoing healing I share with coaching clients the most.

Queerness and liberation
The Progress Pride flag snaps in the breeze outside my house.

For people in our place and time, gender and sexuality are increasingly getting policed in ways precisely designed to harm many of us — to strip us of civil liberties, deny our dignity and agency, and condemn us to social or even biological death. But thanks to the courage and labor of our queer and feminist ancestors, gender and sexuality can also be places where we can find new forms of healing and solidarity. My own ongoing liberation from traumatized sexual shame to queer joy feels like the central fact of my life these days. It’s the the story of ongoing healing that I share with my coaching clients the most.

Like at least one child in ten, I was sexually abused when I was little, and like many queer people, I got bullied a lot in school for performing gender clumsily. When I was a teenager, gay male teachers at my high school seemed to offer understanding and guidance, but instead they seized the opportunity to have sex with an underage student — a shameful secret I knew could get them sent to prison, or worse. By the time I was an adult, I’d learned to perform cis masculinity well enough to keep my sexuality effectively secret in daily life, and I tightly confined my queerness to drunk and joyless encounters with strangers. It took eleven years of sobriety in Alcoholics Anonymous, several therapists after that, a Restorative Justice circle, the steady love of a very patient man (now my husband), and years of healing in my inner community to reclaim gender and sexuality as valuable parts of my identity.

Nowadays, halfway through my life, I’ve found a new chosen family of other queer and trans people. I’m experimenting with gender in ways I never could have imagined as a little boy. I’m even working my way into intentional neuroqueerness (more on that in here). As a coach, it is among my greatest joys and privileges to walk shoulder to shoulder with clients who are on journeys to sexual and gender liberation of their own — particularly now, when our very right to exist is under increasing attack.