Originally posted at The McGill Daily
I’ve been a queer activist since I was 17. I grew up in a socially conservative rural town where people would shout homophobic slurs at me from the windows of their pickup trucks. My brushes with anti-gay hatred intimidated me, but they also lit a fire in me. In my last year of high school, I resolved to do whatever I could to make a change before I graduated and left town for good. I felt like I had a duty to help other queer kids who were too scared to come out or who had feelings of self-hatred. I gave an impassioned speech about tolerance at a school assembly, flyered every hallway and classroom, and started a group for LGBTQ students and allies.
Not long after, I was exposed to the ideas of Judith Butler, a bold and penetrating mix of third-wave feminism and queer theory. I saw truth in Butler’s radical perspective on gender, and it felt liberating. My lifelong discomfort with being put in a box — a binary gender category — was vindicated. This is when my passion for feminism began in earnest. I put a bumper sticker on my car that said “Well-Behaved Women Rarely Make History.” I bought a subscription to Bitch magazine. When it came time to graduate and move on to McGill, I eagerly enrolled in a class on feminist theory, as well as a class in Sexual Diversity Studies, the subject that would later become my minor.