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  • Writer's pictureEmily Royce

Keep It Queer

Conakry is so gay. It’s like being in the best part of any city worth visiting. I got a faux-hawk here and folks in all manners of dress tell me mon coiffe est tres bien. Women in baggy shorts and baseball hats and sashaying men are not given a second glance. But we are all still on the serious DL, talking about hetero marriage and kids in our futures. It is stifling for me and outright painful to witness in others. But because life is hard and a big deal is made of nothing, we just accept that marriage and kids are king here and this will just be another hard thing in our lives to face.

(This moment in writing paused by having a conversation with a young, handsome man asking me if I was mademoiselle or madame, had a fiance, and if not, was I looking. He hit all the points except to ask me if I was interested in him….)

To be in Conakry is ripe with the energy of possibility. “Tout c’est possible” is an often heard saying here. I ask people about their dreams and I am not met with puzzled looks. I receive passionate answers and sparkling eyes. Creative ingenuity is everything. I am often out with others, wondering why we are taking the seemingly more difficult route. But it is interesting, and exciting and a little bit different. It makes the forced inconveniences easier to roll with, get creative with. Get Queer with.

Because queerness does not just mean love for someone of the same gender as you. With fluid gender boundaries, this application does not even make sense anymore. And yes it was used as an old-school insult and means odd but I love the odd. The world needs the odd. It is the only way out of the mess we have gotten ourselves into by doing business as usual. Queerness is creativity.

I don’t think I am overstating what a tidal wave of much-needed energy shift open queerness would bring into our world. If these folks and this energy were free to be as they truly are, the creative explosion that would happen here in Guinea would be unprecedented. I am sure of it. We NEED this difference. We need everyone’s special purpose and talents and we need each person to feel not only comfortable and safe with who they are, but fucking ENCOURAGED to manifest into all they were meant to be. In coming out to two friends here, there has been a shift in my power, in my expression of dance, in my desire to be open and affectionate with others. I am no longer carrying around the burden of fear and resentment, even though I made my safety more vulnerable. I am at peace with myself and better able to love.

And there is no more powerful force than love. When it is kept from being directed to where it wants to go, it is a missed opportunity for us all. A connection in the neural circuit of the universe ready to light up that will remain dormant instead. We suffer on a planetary level because of this.

So this is my plea to get as queer as you safely can. Be unconventional, rock the boat, do and say bold things that make you squirm, tap into your desire and pleasure and have fun with all the ways you can solve life’s entanglements. Maybe those of us who can go BIG with queer can offset this stifled energy and bring justice to this Earth with the rippling effects of the creativity we give homage to.

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