Twelve cheerful observations to chase the winter blues
Like many of us, I greet the onslaught of an Edmonton winter with trepidation.
I assume this is actually true for everyone and those that claim otherwise suffer from a kind of geographical Stockholm Syndrome but, for the sake of keeping the peace, will pretend to believe those who claim to love winter. (“Yes, please tell me more about how you court death by sliding down the side of a mountain on skinny pieces of plastic. I’d love to learn more!”)
For me, the encroaching darkness and cold amplifies all of the bad news in the world, and given the current state of things, I can only imagine this year will not be an exception.
So, in an effort to stave off the winter blues, I’m dedicating this week’s column to something cheerful. Below, please find an utterly random assortment of true facts (if it’s on the Internet, it has to be true, right?) about queer and trans* people. My only guidelines were that it could not be sad and it had to be new to me.
Here we go:
1. The oldest surviving LGBTQ organization in the world began in the Netherlands in 1946. It’s called the Center for Culture and Leisure (COC). I’m not joking.
2. Queers tend to be more left-handed than our straight counterparts (clearly the devil’s work).
3. American settlers have been busting up the gender binary for a long time: In 1629, a Virginia Governor declared that a servant, Thomas/Thomasine Hall, was both a man and a woman. This only seems like a big deal until you remember that there are many other cultural and historical records of trans* and non-binary folks all over the world.
4. Dwarf chimpanzees are bisexual. All of them.
5. Previous terms for butches include sergeant, cat, mason, and jasper. There’s also the hilarious “pansy without a stem,” which is not only a perfect encapsulation of 1960’s views on queerness, but made me laugh out loud.
6. Broadway is not just the turf for gay men: lesbians first appeared on stage in 1929 in The Captive. It prompted a state law banning depictions of homosexuality in theatres and heralded a significant decline in the sales of violets.
7. Apparently, we can thank Canadians for discovering this, but the more older brothers a boy (presumably cisgender) has, the more likely he is to be gay. The same is not true for lesbians.
8. Recruit, recruit, we need more fruit: The internet also tells me that the 10 percent rule has been reduced to five percent. Although this is a sad fact, I’m hoping our species learns a thing or two from the dwarf chimpanzees and turns this situation around.
9. One of the first recorded examples of a queer relationship dates from 2400 B.C.E. Egypt and concerns the relationship between two male servants, Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum.
10. The Internet keeps telling me that cisgender men and women have different finger ratios (specifically between the index and rings fingers) and that the ratio on lesbians’ hands is the same as straight men and … what? I have no idea who funded this research but clearly they were high. If someone tries to bring this up at a party, please give them your best side eye.
11. The Roost was the best gay bar that Edmonton has ever seen.
12. Finally: remember back in June when a shooter opened fire on a group of Republicans playing baseball? One of the cops responsible for stopping the shooter is a queer woman of colour. Moral high ground is just as good as equity, right?