“I am not here to entertain straight people.” ― Sarah Schulman
I spent the summer looking forward to Queer Yoga Camp (QYC), and when the long Labor Day weekend finally arrived, I was buzzing with excitement! Not only did I get to finally meet Roger McKeever, but I would also get to meet other Queer Yogis – rarety where I live in Bellingham, WA.
While I expected to enjoy the retreat, I didn’t realize that it would be a life-changing event.
I was one of two people attending that weren’t members of Queer Yoga Church, and the only person who hadn’t meet Roger. So, I was slightly worried about how I would be greeted by the group as a complete outsider. All those worries melted away when after opening my car door, I was meet with a hug from Roger! Then as other Queer Yogis began to arrive, I realized how silly I had been. Each person met me with genuine interest and compassion – why was I EVERY worried!
One of the things Roger told us to pack was a journal, and with mine, I started to examine how I felt after each activity by recording my feelings, takeaways, and shared moments. In my bunk bed the first night, reflecting on the day, I felt a sense of ease that I hadn’t experienced in years. After the second morning’s practice, I knew why – Queer Community! This space was completely accepting and queer AF, allowing for a sense of freedom not afforded to queer folx often. My next statement might seem harsh, but I was so happy to be without people who identify as straight for three days. It made me realize that even as secure and open as I am, I still make adjustments to my authentic self to blend in with heteronormative society.
This became the most apparent to me in the studio, where I was able to do things that I’d never been able to do before – it was like my practice elevated to a new level! All because of the environment of the studio and the folx at camp. I wasn’t the gay guy in yoga class anymore (I know that’s how I’ve been referred to in the past), but a member of an unapologetically queer community in and expressly queer space, and it was FUCKING LIBERATING! It also left me with lots of questions to explore about being a queer man, as well as how to replicate that sense of community for others. Also, realizing that I’m going to be visiting Portland a lot over the next few months.