Gender & sexuality are messy and layered
There is a lot of complexity around the concepts and movement of Pride in regards to the LGBTQA community and cannabis.
I’ve been openly bisexual for many years and just this past year realized that I’m actually pansexual. Pansexual means I could fall in love with any human, regardless of sex or gender identity. (I fall in love with trees, too, but I’m not sure what the word is for that.) What I’m trying to say is—I’ve always felt pride that I could go beyond gender and love anyone. I even wrote a book this year about exactly that—I Stole You: Stories from the Fae —where fae and shapeshifting beings struggle with their feelings for the humans they steal without ever mentioning the gender of these humans.
Our genders have always been things society has used to classify us or put humans in neat little boxes. But we are not neat beings—we’re messy and layered. Too often we allow ourselves to be classified—to be told we should feel like there is something wrong with us for feeling differently about others or ourselves than what our society deems “appropriate.”
Cannabis destigmatization inspired by Pride
LGBTQA Pride is a beautiful movement I feel part of regardless of whether I attend marches or not, but cannabis usage, whether medical or recreational, hasn’t reached the point of pride yet. This saddens me. Despite the trend of legalization across America, I still feel like I have to hide the fact that I use cannabis from anyone I don’t know intimately enough to know whether they think it’s “okay” or not.
I live in a state where cannabis is decriminalized and I’m surrounded by states where it’s been made legal, but my husband still can’t take our son to the grocery store with a cannabis plant on his t-shirt without getting a host of disapproving stares. This makes me angry because cannabis has only done good things for me and for many of the people I know who use it. I might have killed myself when I lost my hearing service dog/soul mate four years ago, but the decision to use cannabis to cope with that intense grief saved my life.
Things like depression and alcohol have killed many people I love, while any negative effects of cannabis are far less severe. More often, I’ve seen cannabis help people with pain, anxiety, and the slow burning way our society subtly tries to push us all apart. Cannabis brings people together. It needs a pride movement of its own. It needs to become less stigmatized. It’s a plant after all. A living thing grown from the dirt.
Cannabis for connection, beyond boundaries
When I use cannabis, I don’t just feel relief from my anxieties or grief, I feel more connected to the planet as well as the people around me. That’s another theme I use in I Stole You: Stories from the Fae—the importance of a deeper connection to the Earth. Humans don’t just try and classify each other or put other people into boxes—they also trash their own planet. But if we could love each other more deeply beyond gender and beyond the things like cannabis that some of us use and some of us don’t, then maybe we could take it one step further and love our trees, our animals, and the land we live on a bit more deeply, too.
I wrote stories about fae beings—about shapeshifters—but really I am trying to inspire human beings to shapeshift—to feel the magic of what happens when we are able to open our hearts a bit farther, let go of our judgments, and embrace the hearts around us whether they are male or female, transgender, gender fluid, cannabis users, or trees. Magic and fae beings—like love and acceptance—are things that are only there if we have the courage to choose to see them.
About the author
Kristen Ringman is a deaf writer, traveler, and mother. She writes multi-cultural lyrical fiction and poetry inspired by her persistent wanderings to far off places and is the author of I Stole You: stories from the fae (Handtype Press), Makara: a novel (Handtype Press), a Lambda Literary finalist in Debut Fiction and nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and the editor and publisher of Everyday Haiku: an anthology (Wandering Muse Press). She received her MFA from Goddard College in 2008. She’s currently working on her first poetry collection and literary fiction novels that play along the boundaries of magical realism, fantasy, and horror. Her work can be found in Callisto: A Queer Fiction Journal, QDA: A Queer Disabiity Anthology, and many other anthologies. Purchase I Stole You from Handtype Press for $15.
Call for submissions
SPLIMM is actively seeking diverse voices from diverse families. We have a particular need for parent perspectives from the LGBTQA community. If this is you and you’d like to contribute, please email us: newsletter at splimm dot com.