Since I've started blogging and writing for the ISJ, I really haven’t had much negative feedback. Putting my writing out there has, for the most part, perpetuated my naiveté that, “Can’t we all just get along?” isn't a stupid question. [therapy blog alert!]
On the negative side, I had one guy call me at work to harass me a bit and I received a message via Facebook at the beginning of June that led to the following dialogue:
Random Lady: Hi Billie you don't know me but I've heard a lot about you. I was at the council meeting of which you "came out" 2 years ago. I do know you were apart of Fair Pocatello which is very commendable on your part.
There is a but in this matter and I want you to know I'm going to be saying this solely on how I see YOUR actions through my eyes and don't mean to disrespect YOU in any way, so here it is PLEASE stop wearing that cow suit around town for no apparent reason to. This does not look good for the lesbian image.
I have been out for 8 years now and never had the urge to dress up in any animal suit.
Now im not saying this to hurt you as I am just bringing it to your attention as how to best represent the lesbian image.
Like I said at the beginning of this letter it takes strength to be who YOU are in public but drawing undo attention to a community that has people that have been living this rough tough life longer than you and me put together its just not the kind of representation I want to see myself as a fellow lesbian portrayed.
In kind regards Thank You for taking time to read this and PLEASE head the advice given to you today.
Huh? What? The “lesbian image”? Oh sweet cream butter, what do I do with this?!
Most people would say “Ignore it. “ That’s what I would say to anyone else, but this really got to me. I think it got to me enough that I not-so-coincidentally haven’t put a suit on since. If I’m going to keep writing, cowing and living, I've gotta thicken my hide for heifer’s sake! Here’s what I said to her:
Me: I feel like you are judging me here without fully understanding Cow Suit Saturday and, respectfully, I'm not claiming to be a formal "representative of the lesbian image." I am a representation of ME. We all have experiences through the lens of whatever label we give ourselves or others give us. The cow suit has inspired smiles in others that wouldn't have happened without it. It's made me smile. People don't see an engineer or a redhead or a woman or a dyke (pardon the expression), they see what I corral and present to them in the cow suit. The experience is always different, reflective and a joy to write about and learn from.
One of the reasons I spoke at that city council meeting (there were many reasons) is that I don't appreciate being judged based on the actions of other GLBT people. So in that vein, I'm sympathetic to what you are saying.
BUT…I COW FOR ME!!!
Her: I don't think im judging more like intrigued with a bit of don't really understand why a cow suit? And on the curiosity side of it why draw that kind of attention? I'm all for people being themselves but why not being you without the suit you could still be that flashy lady without it
Me: Oh, I’m still a flashy lady without it. ;-) Ya know, I wear it with my girlfriend and her kids at some of the local fun runs and we cheer and ring cow bells. Triathlons too. The other night we saw about 40 cyclists leave on a nightly ride from Barrie's. The six year old yelled from the back seat, "Why aren't we cheering?!?" It's just fun and different. He gets it. Lemme know if ya wanna throw one on sometime and join the herd.
Her: And I see how it would be fun as a family thing and it's cute when kids get involved. But like you said it's rough getting judged by someone else's actions gay or straight we each have different personalities, cultures, and views but I think it's not going to be for me kind of thing after all I was just curious.
She probably still doesn't get it, and that’s okay. The six year old gets it. Many of you get it. But most importantly, I get it.
One of my favorite quotes attributed to Friedrich Nietzsche (oh look at me quoting Nietzsche in my blog)
And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.
I think he meant moosic. And I hear it. I just need to turn it up a bit, put the cow suit on and do a lil dance.