Lesbian Summer Camp
As a kid, I read a lot of books set at summer camp and my favorite show was Salute Your Shorts. I spent most of my childhood really, really wanting to go to summer camp, but never did go.
A couple months ago, a friend of mine told me about a summer camp for queers put on by Autostraddle, and I signed up on a whim. A-Camp is a way for Autostraddle to take their amazing online community offline and hang out in real life so everyone can feel feelings in a Jodie Foster feelings twister feelingering all over a mountain in California. In other words, there were a lot of feelings.
A-camp was a wonderful and completely unexpected experience. It was the first time in my life I felt completely comfortable to be who I am.
I’ve been masculine my whole life, but it was always a source of shame for me. I didn’t understand why I preferred boy clothes over girl clothes, nerf guns over dolls, and blue over pink. I just knew people thought it was wrong for me to like those things, so I tried to hide it as best as I could. I didn’t do a very good job though. You’d need to be blind to not sense my gayness, but I didn’t know that until I came out.
You see that smile? That is literally the biggest smile that has ever been on my face. And it was plastered on all weekend. That’s how A-camp makes you feel.
I didn’t feel ashamed to be wearing menswear, I didn’t get odd looks because of how short my hair is and I never felt like women were wondering why I was using the women’s restroom. These are all issues that have plagued me my whole life. At my old office, I’d even avoid using the restroom if I heard someone else in there. A coworker admitted she thought our building was haunted, because she’d hear footsteps outside of the bathroom, but when she’d walk out, no one would be there (Sorry, Steph! It was just me being creepy, haha.).
I was so busy during camp that this is the only picture I managed to take.
This is also the gayest picture I’ve ever taken. Lesbians on swings, lesbians drinking tea, lesbians huddled around a lesbian playing ukulele, lesbians having an intense discussion on gender politics (I’m assuming here). Did I mention the lesbians? Ah, well, lesbians. There were a lot of lesbians.
It was seriously my idea of heaven on earth. It’s kind of silly that a bunch of queers had to go to a summer camp to be in a space where everyone would feel completely free to express themselves the way they want, but that’s the world we live in. I’m just going to cling to the memories of camp until real life is just as awesome. And I will cling like a mother fucker.