Blog / 2020 / Why We Should All Be More Queer

June 30, 2020

[video transcript]

The original quokka painting is for sale for $1500 plus shipping—see all currently available artworks. If you want prints or other pretty items with this image, check out my Redbubble shop.

The full alphabet book is available here, and a bunch of the original artworks from the book that aren’t already sold—including Q Is for Quokka—are on display in July at Wildflowers Too on Long Beach Island!

Open: July 3rd through August 9th
Hours: Wednesday to Sunday from 11a to 4p
Virtual Reception: Tuesday July 14th at 4p (New York time) on Facebook

Wildflowers Too
506 Broadway
Barnegat Light, NJ 08006

quokka, a little marsupial, wildlife art
Gwenn Seemel
Q Is for Quokka
acrylic on panel
14 x 14 inches

The first names embedded in this image are Q, Qadim, Qarim, Qasim, Quaashie, Quamaine, Quamora, Quanah, Quanda, Queeny, Quentin, Questa, Quetzalli, Quiana, Quianru, Quibilah, Quigley, Quilene, Quimby, Quincy, Quinn, Quintavius, Quique, Quirijn, Quirino, and Quondra.

Here’s what I’ve been reading since my last alphabet book update:

  • Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

    This novel is a collection of fascinating character sketches, with the action told more as context for the person being described than as what’s driving the plot. This gives the book the feel of benevolent gossip, so that Girl, Woman, Other ends up being a lovely way to remind us of how interconnected we all are.

  • Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

    This was such a fun book, while also being a pretty serious one too. That’s my favorite combination: playful and also playing for keeps.

  • Long Division by Kiese Laymon

    This was my second time reading this novel, and it’s twice as strange, engrossing, and powerful the second time around.

  • How Long ’til Black Future Month? by NK Jemisin

    Jemisin’s longer works are captivating and immersive, so it was interesting to read her style in short stories. Sometimes it made the stories exhausting, but in a good way, like intense exercise for your imagination.

  • She Came to Slay: The Life and Times of Harriet Tubman by Erica Armstrong Dunbar

    I generally prefer memoirs to biographies, but I was glad to read this bio. It made me realize how little of Tubman’s life and contributions I really understood.

  • Broad Band by Claire L Evans

    This book makes me think of Maggie Koerth-Baker’s Before the Lights Go Out. Each of the books opened my eyes to the complexities to one of modern life’s necessities—the internet in the case of Broad Band and electricity in the case of Before the Lights Go Out—and both books are excellent.

quokka painting
detail of Q Is for Quokka

Straight culture is obsessed with what is sees as the moment of creation. It has built a whole system to uphold the false concept that: a sperm + an egg = whole person.

Just look at straight culture’s emphasis on genetics, on knowing who the sperm-provider for a baby is. Straight culture will say it’s about respecting a father’s rights, but that’s silly. Just because someone provides sperm doesn’t mean they are actually a parent. Same goes for the person who provides the egg and gestates the baby: biology does not make a mother. Everybody knows you have to choose to be a parent every day.

And then there’s the anti-abortion movement, one of the more vicious expressions of straight culture. Many anti-abortionists are convinced that a fetus deserves more protections than a child. I mean, they’ll say that’s not true, but then they’ll also fail to support gun control, public schools, and every effort to end domestic violence and poverty. So clearly their priority is on protecting what they view as the moment of creation and absolutely none of the life that happens afterwards.

Straight culture has a hard time seeing past its false formula of “sperm + egg = whole person” and getting to the heart of the matter, which is that a whole person isn’t made in an instant.

We are all works in progress, raising each other—shaping each other—every moment of every day. We are all each others’ parents. We are all each others’ children. Family can’t ever be defined by genetics. Family is defined by love. Period. And that concept is at the core of queer culture.

So when I say I am queer, I mean that I am not heterosexual, but I also mean that I am your child and you are mine. And it’s because I’m queer that I made you an alphabet book.

This video is made with love and microdonations from my community!

Maybe this post made you think of something you want to share with me? Or perhaps you have a question about my art? I’d love to hear from you!


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