I think everyone has a number of Queer mentors, they fulfil different inspirations for you. Or me at any rate, that’s how my brain works.
Kate Bornstein is far and away the woman I have said most often, “I want to be her when I grow up.”
I even have a get out of hell free card pinned to my noticeboard in the hall.
Of course, the reason Aunty Kate gives talks (at which I received one of these cards) is because she’s trans. I’m cis so I’m not sure she’s a mentor to me in any practical based terms about my Queerness but she is a mentor to me in terms of generally how I want to be Queer when I’m older.
I guess I’m talking aspirational mentors here again, much like I did when talking about the first Queer person I met. The first person I think of is a public figure rather than someone I know. Maybe a mentor is supposed to be more physically present in your life, maybe I’m still the queer girl in rural Lincolnshire deciding she wants to be like the sexually ambiguous women writers and artists she read about?
The Gay Godfathers I guess count as Queer elders I met when I was in my late teens and then again when I was in my mid-twenties and looked to for how to Adult Gaily…
Yeah I’m not sure about that phrasing either.
They were involved in local Amateur Dramatics and they were the first gay couple of my parents generation (actually a little older) that I got to know. They’d faced worse stuff than I had but they also related to being thrown out of bars for being queer. Obviously my parents wouldn’t relate to that.
Once again I’m talking about gay men. I don’t think I ever had a bisexual woman as some sort of life model. Maybe the woman I shared a room with in the Saitama Women’s Centre one Dyke Weekend.
She was fantastic, she recognised the Mage Tarot as she was a role player and was not quite twenty years older than me. We’re Facebook friends but I don’t really know her and she lives in Hawaii with her girlfriend last I checked so not quite a mentor really.
I guess I don’t exactly have that Mentor/Mentee experience that I see a lot of the Quiltbag (especially American lesbians) talk about.
I think that’s ok though, I’ve had a community of elders to pick the brains of and that’s pretty lucky.