The first of its kind in a long time, Tuesday was a really good day. Renee and I drove to the state capital (about an hour-and-a-half away) to have our first consult with a fertility clinic. I can’t tell you how good it was to be in a totally new environment, working with brand new people, professionals who deal exclusively with fertility and inseminations. This new clinic has an all-female staff and they were so incredibly wonderful, so compassionate with our loss and our cautious optimism toward the future. At one point, the Dr. looked at my BBT chart from this cycle and seemed optimistic about the prospects of our potentially already being pregnant. We joked that this could be a prophylactic fertility meeting! As it stands, today is 13dpo. No period, no temp drop, but also no positive HPT, so we’re waiting to see what the weekend will reveal. All told, R and I both felt wonderful about our future with this clinic. They are expensive, and we’ll have to drive out there once a month for the actual inseminations, but I think it will be worth it AND I think that we will be pregnant sooner this way.
Bonus, right next to the clinic is a PF Chang’s, which happens to be one of the only mainstream restaurants that R and I like to eat at. Our current city doesn’t have one, so it’s a treat for us when we find one while traveling. After a late lunch, we made a triangle of the state, driving another 90 miles to our favorite university town to hear a lecture by one of the most influential scholars in our areas of research (post-feminism and queer theory), Jack Judith Halberstam. Halberstam’s talk was inspiring (particularly to R’s nascent dissertation). Plus, we had the opportunity to speak with her for about ten minutes alone after the lecture. She encouraged R to e-mail parts of her dissertation prospectus so that they might dialogue about ideas via e-mail. Also, a woman had given Halberstam a single long-stem blue iris, which she wasn’t able to take with her on the plane back to the west coast. She offered the flower to R (blue irises have played a cathartic role in our world since losing Emmett), who explained briefly why the flower meant so much. Halberstam was incredibly compassionate with both of us, and she called me a pioneer for walking the butch pregnancy path. It was the kind of experience that totally solidifies why I love scholarship and academia so very much.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Halberstam’s talk in the last two days. She was articulating her concept of an anti-social, non-resistance-oriented feminism (what she calls “shadow feminism”) and how we can see examples of this through a multitude of cultural outlets. “Shadow feminism” is a sort of underbelly of traditional western liberal feminism and the patriarchal normative that such feminism resists. I’ve been thinking about this in relationship to the binarism present in the contemporary American LGBT movement. There seems to be the split between the assimilation movement that articulates a rhetoric of “we’re just like you” and the radical movement, which resists nearly all mainstream ideology. I find that R and I occupy a particular hybridization of the two. We strive to occupy normative spaces (marriage, family, academia, politics) in such a way as to destabilize and redefine these spaces. At the same time, though, we are resigned to the impotence of most radical movements’ ability to enact change in a globalized world. As such, we find ourselves on the outside of two major pulls in the LGBT world. But instead of lamenting our place, I find a tremendous amount of joy and freedom in occupying this subject position. I think this sense of liberation and loss of control is what Halberstam finds manifesting in “shadow feminism.” Perhaps, then, there is also a “shadow queerness.” Maybe we’ll get t-shirts. ;-)