Pronouns

Queer Tarot Card Reader starts Get Read Wednesday

Explain what Get Read Wednesday is?

Get Read Wednesday Tarot is an online tarot reading that happens on Wednesday of each week. Get Read Wednesday was initially a way to evolve my understanding of tarot, and to receive feedback on my interpretations. But Get Read Wednesday has a life of its own now and has chosen to evolve. Not every idea evolves like this, so I’m allowing it space to breathe and it’s showing me that it wants to expand toward community outreach, building an intimate and secure clientele, and becoming a multimedia entity. I’m am simply meeting the demands of this idea. I have no idea where it will take me, but so far it’s taken me to new heights and depths so I have reason to trust it.

As a new follower, here’s what to expect:

Wednesdays at 8pm (EST), a photograph of three different tarot cards are posted on Get Read Wednesday Tarot’s Facebook and Instagram.

Followers are encouraged to comment which card they are drawn to for the week and to engage with myself and others in the thread. There’s usually a discussion topic that goes with each post, I try to challenge people who wouldn’t normally talk about their feelings to do so in the context of our tarot reading thread, and I do so by finding new ways to be vulnerable out loud.

At 10 p.m. (EST), I post each card and my interpretation of them. Depending on the energy, it may not be the traditional meaning of the card. I default to intuition, and then use traditional meanings.

When and why did you start it?

I started reading tarot almost 3 years ago. I am a natural skeptic, so I’m pretty intentional about learning everything there is to know before I decide something is for me. I started reading because I wanted to find my truth. I was living a life that wasn’t mine. I was suppressed by my own efforts to meet societal expectations. I was in deep denial about my own internalized transphobia that kept me in denial about who I was. I was imprisoned by my own shame. It started off as processing trauma.

How did you get into tarot cards?

I’ve always been skeptical and curious. I remedied that at a young age by reading everything there was to read about occultism, Buddhism, and herbalism. I am the oldest of two to a single-mother who worked a lot. So I had time to discipline myself and master my hobbies. By the time I was 13, I meditated regularly, replaced soft drinks with tea, and was making face masks out of avocado and bananas. I chose to spend my free time in libraries, so I also mastered the art of stillness. This laid the groundwork for everything else that followed.

A few years ago, I started attending  AlAnon meetings to support a loved one.  I ended up getting so much out of it. AlAnon ended up helping me realize there was a lot of unprocessed trauma regarding how alcoholism influenced my childhood. Upon realizing that, of course I did everything to avoid seeing a therapist. Crystals, meditation, tarot, herbalism, rootwork, and chakra-based dieting were all attempts to avoid seeking professional help. Much later I realized that those grounding practices are supplements but they don’t replace therapy. You shouldn’t be the only influence in your healing, or you’ll just end up repeating cycles.  But during my avoidance phase,  I did pick up some invaluable coping skills along the way. I fell in love with tarot because I am a writer and I feel so deeply. But also I’m very analytical person, my mind processes through a story lens. Tarot was my own personal storyboard that allowed me to make full sense of what I was experiencing, how to work through it, and where to go next. Tarot helped me come out as trans. Tarot helped me pick my chosen name. Tarot helped me process coming out, every time I did it, until I got use to it. Tarot helped me rejection from my family. Tarot helped me forgive them when they started to put in effort. It helped me heal myself through someone else’s pictures and my own words.

How does it help other people and how does it help you?

Tarot supports emotional intelligence. It can help you build a stronger bridge between your intuition and your logic. But tarot is not magic. It is true that spiritual people use tarot as a divinatory practice, but it is not magic. It is a system based on numerology, astrology, psychology of color, the elements, and mythology. So it’s magic by association, but it’s ultimately practical.

Because it’s practical, it can help you process your emotions and understand yourself and the world from different angles. For others, it mostly introduces the idea that there’s more to the story. It introduces perspectives that we cannot comprehend as we sit behind the walls of our own trauma. It creates distance between us and what’s happening, so that we may fully understand the scope of our situations and how it applies to the big picture. That perspective is necessary because we tend to get lost in the sauce. Tarot pulls you out of that, places you somewhere safe, and gently encourages you to appreciate this new angle of understanding.

WHO are you? What are you up to in the world? What are you about?

My name is Austen. I am a black and non-binary multidisciplinary and healing apprentice. I am a student of life. I am queer and southern. I am gentle, accountable. I am a writer. For pay, I am a professional tarot reader and I work in research studying compassion in the public school system. I about healing. I am about life after healing. I am about life after the systems crumble. I am about tangible liberation – from systems, from student loans, from healthcare that no one can afford. I am about deep, throaty laughs and hearty meals shared with the ones who hold space for me, not just as a healer, but as a fundamentally flawed human with weaknesses and urges and blemishes and contradictions. I’m about the fabric of community woven by mutual trust, vulnerability, and self-awareness.

Are many of your clients queer and if so, how does it make you feel to help out other queer people?

Most of my my clients are queer. I actually don’t think about this because most of everyone in my life is queer. Aside from coworkers, I don’t deal with many heteronormative people on an interpersonal level. It is us queers who are daring to explore spiritual growth outside of tradition. Not because we don’t yearn for fellowship, but because we have been forced out of our church communities for daring answer the call of Self. As I’m writing this, I’m realizing that it confirms just how not alone we all are in the experiences we share and the feelings we feel. We are pioneering this spiritual audacity, and many of us are simply reclaiming roots that we can only metaphorically connect to because they were ripped from us.

What are your thoughts on being Queer in the state of Kentucky?

I hope to leave Kentucky, and the South in general. I don’t believe in staying where I am not welcomed. I know there is much work to do in the south, but all my ancestors did was work. Sometimes I think I inherited the exhaustion they weren’t allowed to act on. I don’t know where my physical home is yet, but I’m open to exploring where my creative work takes me.

It’s incredibly hard to be black, queer, transgender, non-binary, and polyamorous in the south. Not just politically, but queerness looks really binary in the south. Queer culture in the south seems to be a microcosm of cishet culture. Maybe that’s the case everywhere, but that’s something I will find out for myself.

If there were one or two things you could educate people on concerning queerness, what would it be?

If your queerness isn’t intersectional, you’re doing it wrong. If your queerness doesn’t respect pronouns, you’re doing it wrong. If your queerness doesn’t believe black lives matter, you’re doing it wrong. If your queerness believes that your biological sex at birth determines any part of your identity by default, you’re doing it wrong. If your queerness can ignore the alarming rate at which black trans women are being murdered, you’re doing it wrong. If your queerness is fatphobic, you’re doing it wrong. If your queerness isn’t wheelchair accessible, you’re doing it wrong. If your queerness doesn’t not have the capacity to appreciate narratives that do not belong to you, you are doing it wrong.

Learn yourself so that you may know others. We can make the world a beautiful place at the expense of the privileged. So paint the world your favorite color!

Queer, challenging and free

What does the word queer mean to you? How do you identify?

Queer means I am brave enough to try, it means freedom, it means the ability to imagine a world without racism, without sexism, without transphobia, and homophobia and brave enough to practice unlearning to see it come to past. It means that I brave enough to exist. It means I am Trans- GNC. I am divine. It means keep going, motivation. It’s a challenge especially the being part.

Why? Or why don’t you identify as anything at all?

I identity with as many things as possible, and at the same none at all. I am a Chris. I am specific Chris type of Chris to my peoples. I am Black Chris-Anansi-Ellagua-Eshu-Slaughter Young-Duke-Butler- Thomas-Wilson. Years of information in my DNA. And so much more. To be Chris the being is hard, because we in society are attached to everything.

We are obsessed with body parts.

I am too because I live in this society, I make mistakes, then I correct myself. I correct myself when I am not around my gender-non-conforming friends and practice their pronouns. I practice correcting my thoughts, when I think about them in the wrong pronoun.

Where are you originally from and explain how was it growing up/living in Kentucky?

I am original from Florida. I lived in the Tampa Bay Area. I don’t know, I cannot speak for Black Queer Kentucky, because I am not from Black queer Kentucky. I can only speak on my experience, as an activist and organizer for Black lives Matter. If you want information about Black Queer Kentucky find them, If want information about artists, activist, poet, Chris than hear I am. I am want to find Black Queer Kentucky and build relationships with them. That is all, and do my advocacy work.

What would you say to any person struggling to come into their own identity?

Shit accepting yourself is hard. Be gentle with yourself. It has taken me 28 years to accept who I am, and I am still accepting. It’s Challenging. Some days it easy, some days it’s just fucking hard.

I try to carry myself according to my principles.  My principles allow me to sleep at night.

Do you feel excluded from the “mainstream” queer community? Why or why not?

Yes, there’s obviously not Trans-GNC in mainstream media.

Where do you feel “at your best” (safe, happy, fabulous, comfortable, etc)?

I don’t think I ever feel at my best, I think I am always improving… that is purpose of human evolution in my opinion. I think if I accomplish the goals I set out to do I am winning. Winning in some area may not be my best in life though.

I am at my best when I am accepting that I am both light and dark. The dark parts of me, my skin color, the innocent part.. remember we humans started in darkness and we come out towards a light… in the middle.

I am feel best when darkness is understood, not as something always evil.

Safe isn’t a real word for me, safety is an allusion. Nothing is fucking safe. Secure for me is a better word. When I feel most secure sometimes is when I am speaking to my elders on the phone, they keep reassuring me that I am on right path. I am most secure in the arms of my lovers. My partners.

A lot of things make me happy, Ice cream, you can always bribe me with cream soda and pizza, and good head. I do like my nails to get done, etc. I am bit of a fem boy at times.


A poem to express me

I am that breeze that blows across your face, on hot summers day 

You know the one you was prayed to the Goddess for, 

I am the words that enter your mouth, when you think you have nothing left to say, 

I am resistance, been resisting since my creation, 

breed to be nothing more than what I am, 

And I am light, 

I am darkness, 

I am light wrapped in dark skinned, 

With a dash a of glitter star stuff, 

I am made from star dust, 

I am star shinning bright in the sky to give hope,

I am the rage that demands change, 

I am reason Masha P. Johnson throw the shot glass, 

I am the reason why, Harriet Tubman was a war strategist, why Langston wrote poems, 

And Zora spent time watching God, as she rained and blew her breath in Florida, 

That same breath that was, the breeze that ran across your face on those hot summer days, 

When you prayed for me, 

I am prayers answers, 

I am the reason why, our ancestor died, and were reborn, to died again

To rebel just to died, 

Because they knew fighting for freedom was worth dying for, 

I am their freedom, 

I am their broken bones put back together, 

I am their sorrow turned into joy, 

I am their unbroken hands, 

I am their unbroken spirit,

I am their culture reborn, 

I am free, from chains that enslaved them, 

I am their wildest dreams, walking, living, breathing, surviving, 

I am their hope, their star, their dreams, their sun, so naturally there I go rising, 

I am love, loved

I am Black joy, magic 

I am powerful,

I am living resistance, 

I am everything I need to be, in this moment,

I am enough,

I am water, constantly adapting to change 

I am worthy of all the love, I am trying to give away, 

I am free, 

I am me, 

I am Chris Black trans/gnc human being     

A trans man’s voice on queerness, privilege and intersectionality

Adrian Sibernagel

The label with which I most identify is “queer.” I also identify as trans (because I transitioned), bisexual (because I am attracted to more than one gender), and male (because that’s how I see and experience my own gender). But what draws me to the label “queer” is that it implies a fluidity, an open-endedness, and a critical dimension, that all those other labels lack. Specifically, I appreciate the way the term signifies a refusal to oversimplify my own body, desires, history, and experiences. It’s been a long journey for me to get to a place where I can admit that identifying as x, y, or z (gay, trans, bi, male, etc.) isn’t as simple as being “born this way.” While there is no denying the role played by biology in all of this, identities are not the direct or automatic outcome of a particular hormone, body part, or chromosome.

Rather, they are highly complex, invisible, socially-constructed yet remarkably real, structures composed of beliefs, experiences desires, memories, actions and reactions, accidents and choices.

While I’m not from here, and while it may not be your average queer’s dream destination, Kentucky, and Louisville especially, has been incredibly kind to me. It’s here that I grew to understand and honor my need to transition. It’s here that I found an employer and a work family that’s been nothing but affirming, accepting, and supportive. It’s here that I met my partner, who has stood by me and supported me throughout this difficult but amazing journey. Yes, I’ve had some bad experiences with transphobes and homophobes in my time here, and yes we have a long way to go as a city, as a state, as a world. But that’s the case pretty much everywhere.

To anyone struggling to come into their own identity I’d say take your time. Don’t do anything you don’t want to do until you’re ready. But if you’re ready, don’t let anyone stop you. No one knows you better than you, though there are plenty of people who think they do! If you’re questioning, try this thought experiment.

Ask yourself what you would do and what your life would look like if nobody else (your parents, friends, church family, significant other, etc.) was in the picture. If no one was pressuring you to be a certain way, who would you date? How would you dress? What name/pronouns would you use? Being honest with yourself and getting clear on your most basic wants and needs is the first step to “coming into your own,” and it’s a very important step!

First and foremost, as a white man who “passes” as cis, I try to remain aware of my privilege. Yes, I am trans, and it’s rough out here for trans people. But I also have a lot of privileges, at least in certain contexts, that women, non-binary people, people of color, gender-nonconforming people, and disabled people, do not. In contexts where I’m assumed to be a white cis man, I am careful to be aware of my white privilege and the way that privilege tips pretty much all circumstances in my favor. I’m aware of the space I take up. I’m aware of how my actions and words and silence might come across to others. I try to be an ally. I try to listen, and apologize when I make mistakes. If I can use any of my power or privilege to benefit others (assuming that gesture is welcomed) I try to do that. The operative word here is “try.” I am far from perfect.

In the queer community I see a lot of transphobia. I mean seriously, I wish I was joking!

There is also a good bit of misogyny, biphobia, and racism. I think the only thing we can do about this, and what I’m trying to do personally, is to be brutally honest with ourselves about our biases toward each other and toward ourselves. And from there try to figure out where these biases come from, and begin the long, grueling process of dismantling them. We need to get better about recognizing our blind spots and allowing others to fill them in. Men need to listen to women and trust them when they speak about their experiences. Same goes for white people in regard to people of color, and cis people in regard to trans people. There is no magic cure. The system is fucked. We’re all fucked. But we have to start somewhere, and a place where we can all start is by really listening to others and learning from them.

I’m naturally drawn to people with a more radical, critical perspective on gender and sexuality, so I tend to avoid “mainstream” queer spaces as a general rule. This may also be because I’m sober, and “mainstream” queer spaces normally equal bars and clubs. These things aside, I also just find that “mainstream” queer culture is often synonymous with “stereotypical” queer culture, which often mimics and perpetuates sexism, heteronormative gender roles, and other binaries that I find kind of boring.

Like I said, people in general need to be more critical of themselves, and not just cishet people.

I’m at my best/happiest when I’m alone at a coffee shop writing poetry and/or when I’m at the gym. You can normally find me in one of those two places when I’m not at Heine Brothers’ Douglass Loop, the coffee shop I manage. But I’m also really happy and “myself” at work too. I really am quite lucky!

Speaking of poetry, I have a poetry book coming out in April from The Operating System, a queer and trans-run small press and arts organization that’s based in Brooklyn. The book is called Transitional Object and you can preorder it by clicking the link.

The people who most influence my life right now include: my incredible partner (who is also my best ally) and my incredible friends, some of whom live here in Louisville, some of whom live elsewhere. I am very lucky in both of these departments. Also in the cat department. That’s right, I’m talking about you Wally and Flower.

Pronouns Matter, using them with respect saves lives

by Sarah Gardiner

Pronouns matter. Apart from name, they are the main way we address other humans in conversation, thought, and identity. So understanding them and getting them right is vital.

Let’s start by defining the concept. Pronouns are the words we use when referring to another person. The three sets you will hear most often are:

The feminine: she/her/hers

The non-binary/gendered: singular they/them/theirs

The masculine: he/him/his

While other sets exist, these are the ones by far most utilized in everyday language. The feminine and masculine are the most commonly used because of the ingrained binary that society has faced prior, but it can be harmful to guess pronouns. If you have not been expressly told someone’s gender, do not assume it.

The singular “they” (which has a long history of non-gendered use within the English language, dating back to the 1400’s and used by authors like Jane Austen and Shakespeare) is the most commonly adopted gender-neutral noun, though others do exist. We already use “they” in everyday language. Think of the phrases: “Who do they think they are?” or “You showed them!” We use this language daily, so we have all the skills already. We just need to learn to use them.

Learning new pronouns when your brain has been wired to the binary normative of feminine and masculine can take practice, but learning and growing are an important part of our community and being a human in general. Don’t be afraid to mess up — messing up is part of life. As long as you learn from mistakes, get better, try harder, and be more considerate.

Pronouns are some of the most fundamental ways we can be good allies and considerate humans. To respect someone’s pronouns is to respect them, their experience, and their identity. Pronouns can evolve as well, both situationally and because of the fluidity of gender. Respecting pronouns is one the simplest, easiest, and most fundamental ways to show respect and consideration for others.

Listen and respect when someone tells you how to refer to them and understand that they owe you no explanation if their pronouns or identity do shift. Believe and respect what people tell you. It is not for you to question. It is not yours to decide. What people say about who they are is valid. No questions asked.

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