This story is part of TQU’s ongoing project

Shifting Traditions

Call for submissions is open until December 31st, 2019. We’re looking for fictional and biographical work, written, film, picture or audio submissions. WE WANT TO EXPLORE MOMENTS AND PLACES WHERE SHIFTS IN TRADITIONS TAKE PLACE AND TAKE A LOOK AT HOW WE DEAL WITH THEM.

An Old Tradition

by Juli Saragosa

with illustrations by Lena Dirscherl

our last kiss

fumbling and strange

in a spanish airport bathroom

she

headed home to a new career

me

onto anarcho-queer berlin

we

don’t know each other anymore

on my return

all i find are empty shells

in an old place, seeking newness

with old friends

who don’t wanna touch

who don’t wanna go there

who disappear

when emotions are rough

home

not that fun anymore

lonely work, bored, lonely love

lost, lonely friends

distant

so i leave

not time to stand still

a spiritual quest

a time to invest

in me, my own love

i hit the western hotspots

of queer community

fame and glory

arrive

so removed from all of that

whales’ tails

tumbling salt waves

my body, ancient rocks

satya beats my shelled heart

desert sun, full moon

rising from my muladhara

light comes

the frustration

in the open love

mixed with lack of understanding

of who i am

how many times do i have to explain

what ‘queer’ means

the guru asks a room of young yoginis (a word

i refuse, it belittles me) to imagine

what the world would be like if

everyone was open and loving

without judgement, and cause i can’t

resist, i grin and say

‘then everyone would be gay!’

a laugh skitters across the room

later, he tells me perhaps

that could be true

for women, but

not for men

meaning, he can’t

imagine himself

being gay. ‘then that’s not

completely open’ i say. no

response, just an incredulous stare

opening to saraswati

accepting a different kind of love

reveals my commitment to initiating

change in an old tradition

so i move on

not time to stand still

to a small city by the sea

the catholics here just don’t get my

solo travel “¿por qué no tiene novio?”

with open arms they offer everything

but have nothing

except unconditional substances

and illicit love

i remain myself, hidden

not time to stand still

in the big city built on sewage

i find a people still

with its catholicism strong

politics

an affinity found, we

talk about community, family

but mostly, we work sewing

like the locals, vinyl roofs

for a gathering of those who fight

for freedom and justice

for the locals, who cannot

go home, like we can,

who do not

have leisure

of their own

the world economy is broken, but here

pesos are worth more

than the currency they’re given

after a day of work

and a cerveza together

we traverse a rumour, around zapata station is

the biggest city in the world’s

solo haven of queer feminism

it remains lost

as we do, amongst the catholics a fear

to reveal ourselves

yearning for home

i pleasantly discover

it is always here

my body

i relocate

ironically

to the bible-belt of Canada

a spiritual quest

a time to invest

in me, my own love

owls’ ears

stiffen biting air

my body, parched darkness

satya boils my urgency

desert sun, full moon

rising from my muladhara

light comes

the frustration

in the open love

mixed with lack of understanding

of who i am

how many times do i have to explain

what ‘queer’ means

i respond to unwanted touching from

a strange man with ‘you,

stay over there,’ someone

asks ‘so he’s your dog?’

‘no’ i say, ‘i like to pet

dogs, cuz they’re cute and

they don’t say stupid things’

the same incredulous stare

as if she’s never seen

a feminist

when you patronize me with a smile and say

‘you’re entitled to your own opinion’

i wonder if you have forgotten

at a women’s day event

you say to me ‘i’m not a feminist,

but i believe in women and men having

equal opportunities’

an old tradition illustration

geri halliwell, after a decade of promoting

equality, now believes it

demasculates men

i think you see me

as a bra-burning lesbian,

funny

i don’t even own a bra

and i’m not a lesbian

opening to saraswati

accepting a different kind of love

reveals my commitment to initiating

change in an old tradition


Having grown up in an immigrant family with positive encouragement to try everything and with the economic necessity to use whatever is at hand (including a home photography darkroom), Juli Saragosa was determined to become an artist from an early age. Moving-images became a suitable passion for this eternally curious DIY experimenter. Juli’s short films have been shown at festivals in Milan, London, L.A., Chicago, Berlin, Vancouver, Toronto, New York, Tunis, and Irkutsk. In 2005, Amoré won the Best Canadian Film award at Toronto’s International One-minute Film Festival and in 2011, it won the Jury Prize for Experimental Film at the Toronto Underground Film Festival. Juli enjoys collaboration and interdisciplinary practice, extending the practice to the curatorial and educational, as a grassroots organizer, curator and workshop leader (Vancouver super8 festival Project8, entzaubert queer DIY film festival in Berlin), as a film and media arts instructor (Simon Fraser University, University of British Columbia Okanagan, dBs Film Berlin), and as an active community organizer, mentor, workshop leader (LIFT in Toronto, VIVO Media Arts, Inside Out Film Festival, CFC’s Venus Video, and independent events).

Lena Dirscherl has been working as professional freelance illustrator and comic artist since 2014. She loves body positivity and Steven Universe. Her passions are video games and queer feminism. She is a founding member of KATENA Studios for vector illustration and information design.
Currently Lena is using Adobe Creative Cloud to realize her projects but she is always looking for good alternatives and new working tools.
Lena is against racism of any form and supports gender equality and net neutrality. She is very interested in working with clients who share the same values and want to make the world a better place.

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Transnational Queer Underground brings together and supports diverse queer voices. Art, music, film, writing or activism – we believe that we’re all in this together and we can only grow strong if we support each other.

If you find joy and value here – let us know.

Donating = Loving

Make a donation so that we can continue to find and publish the most interesting queer perspectives for you.

Support queer art & activism ❤︎

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