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  • Writer's pictureLizzie Hessek

Sur le Boulevard Voltaire

Updated: Aug 4, 2020

I haven't yet written anything that has earned the "kids" tag, but I do hope to someday (perhaps in a few months), carve out a piece of this blog for queer kid-creation chronicles. There are a few beautiful places on the internet where the path to queer conception and the following nine months are detailed - I was so happy to follow Haley during her pregnancy - but I want there to be more! Without queer role models it is so easy to see having kids as this super heteronormative life choice and that doesn't feel comfortable, you know? The fact that I love themed dinner parties and eating croissants for breakfast doesn't help.

Though Rachel and I haven't actually hopped on the getting pregnant train yet, I think about our hypothetical family pretty much all the time. Mixed in with all the fun things to imagine such as future child names, future holiday traditions, and future trips we'll take are the scary things to imagine like the future of Philly schools, future struggles with life-work balance, and, naturally, the future of the world we'd be bringing a kid into....

The events in Paris on November 13 have been difficult for me to process. The violence across the world has devastating, but among the cities that have been terrorized recently, Paris is the only one where I have lived, where I have friends and people I consider family. The cover photo for this post was taken on the Boulevard Voltaire where much of the violence on the 13th occured. It was taken six months ago. They joy I felt then just doesn't make sense next to the sadness I feel now.

I have been obsessively reading the news from the French newspaper la Libération. One of the segments I've loved is the response from Belgian comedian Charline Vanhoenacker. She gave us an Ode to Perversity. She says basically, "If you don't like rock, alcohol, and sex, then don't yuck my yum." She opens a beer and chirps, "I start my depraved gestures early in the morning."

Charline goes on to say that if the citizens of France are not allowed to go to their culture events, to their rock concerts and their cafe terrasses, then they will stay inside and make rock n' roll babies! "A whole bunch of rock n' roll babies! A whole generation of idol worshipers who will meet each other at parties full of perversity and make more rock n' roll babies!"

And to this I say yes! Yes yes! Yes to the very specific context of Charline's ode to Perversity as well as to the way I am going to pervert her Ode to Perversity to fit my own personal fears. Our queer babies will come from that same queer cloth we are cut from and they will laugh in the face of heteronomativity because who can really say your family is heteronormative when there are literally a dozen decorative gourds hanging from your dining room ceiling fan ready to wap someone in the face? Yes to making rock n' roll babies who will never stop drinking booze on a terrasse on a warm autumn day and doin' it with whomever they like.

Perhaps in someway her Ode to Perversity and this cartoon sort of get at the same thing - something I am finding very comforting as my fear and joy collide in various parts of my life. This world is so fucked up, but there is so much hope in the future.

The minute of silence at my alma mater demonstrating solidarity through terror

#Kids #QueerFamily #Paris

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