by: Jason Wyman
I recently read Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots? edited by Mattilda Berstein Sycamore and published by AK Press. My husband got the book for me at the Anarchists’ Book Fair in San Francisco last April. I was thrilled when he handed it to me as the question is one that has been on my mind for quite some time; I just hadn’t phrased that way.
I know the power of creating personalized/specific “in groups” in order to establish trust amongst people, especially for people on the margins. That said, the book and the way in which I saw an “in group” forming also forced me to question, to ponder, to inquire about the role of “in group”/”out group” in perpetuating the exact same type of bias that the authors are trying to disrupt. At what point does our contradiction to “mainstream” (whatever that really means) stop being critical and start limiting our understanding?
So, here is my response. I hope this context helps in understanding my response’s obscurity. Or maybe it doesn’t. But, in the end, isn’t that the point?
Regardless, he was next to me and the scars along his ribs were bright pink accentuated by the red nightlight. I liked him there even though he snored loudly and spittle formed at the corner of his lips. I loved his scars even more. I do remember kissing them all night long. Or maybe that was my dream. Something about the memory of those scars is romantic. The reality is very different: romance laced with horror. It isn’t that they used to be breasts that is horrifying. Rather, it is that the scar is visible. Mine are hidden under decades of therapy.
I picked the scabs as they healed. It is why the scar is so raised: I couldn’t let them be. Instead, I wanted to prod and poke my wound, dig into it they way the therapist did. I wanted to know why I tried and failed. It was the failing that hurt more than the trying.
His body next to me terrifies me, and it’s not just the scars. He’s found himself, and I know it wasn’t easy. He’s questioned each feature and knows each wrinkle, each mole, each newly growing hair. I can’t even tell if I’ve always had the mole at the tip of my nose. I’ve never questioned my cock. Maybe it is that I have pretended for so long to be comfortable in this body that I don’t want to actually look at it.
He made me cry last night, and I dreamed that there were scars on my eyelids. It started when he kissed the spot between my shoulder blades, and I could not see him. I only felt him. At that moment, all of my scars became real. I feared he saw them and would want to go further.
We are both naked, still on the bed, the sun still has not risen. I want to run my fingers over his scars and know their realness. They seem so much more real than mine, and I question my maleness. He is so much more a man than me. He even has the physical scars to prove it. I will never live up to my masculinity. My beard is just pretend.
I am afraid of daylight, of the revelation of the sun, of the clarity of dawn. I must leave him before his snoring turns into “Do you want some coffee?” and the spittle on his lips turns into my cum. I must leave him before he sees me from the front. I know I can not handle his gaze. It would reveal scars even I have forgotten.
So I dress and leave knowing the only thing I will ever wipe out of my beard again is hot sauce. And this memory…? It is just another scar, which I only see when I dream.