Intelligent Independent Creative Queer Professionals

It started with a conversation about dating. I tried define my dating class to a friend, and quickly came up with a string of words that sortakinda summed it all up: intelligent independent creative queer professional. This class includes me, and I had to acknowledge that we’re sometimes hard to date.

Another friend-in-this-category, sfslim, quickly noted that we’re also a hard class to find. I decided to take this as a challenge, and put out the following request to the Internet:

quick poll: would all the self-identifying “intelligent indie creative queer professionals” pls raise their hand via @ reply, dm, or email? May 19, 2008

I wasn’t really expecting the results. So far, over the course of a day, 25 people have raised their hands. They’ve come through public replies, private direct messages, email, facebook messages, and IM. More than a quarter of them have come from strangers. A handful of them have been unsure if they really fit, so let me describe what I’m talking about here:

Intelligent – Do you notice change? Are you witty? Do you see patterns in what’s going on around you? Do you critically analyze the opinions that come your way and consciously decide which ones to accept? Can you usually find the information you’re looking for on the Internet?

Independent – (I didn’t really mean indie in the label-free musician sense. I was just working with limited character space.) Do you insist on keeping a flexible schedule? Do you create interesting projects to work on? Do you define yourself by your skills and passions instead of by the name of your workplace? Do you enjoy time alone? Do you (at least try to) examine any sentence that includes the word “should” to make sure it’s right for you before accepting it?

Creative – Do you come up with new ideas when you’re in the shower or taking a walk? Do you have a form of self-expression that feels satisfying and allows you to be playful? Do you enjoy brainstorming? Do you like to make things better? Do you value the time you spend thinking and experimenting? Do you believe your perspective matters?

Queer – Does your gender or sexuality just not quite fit the traditional binary categories (man or woman; straight or gay)? Do you feel excited when you see people playing with or challenging those traditional roles? Are you hopeful that things are shifting in a direction that will better encourage you to be yourself? (This category is big and complicated, and I’m not gonna get into its subtleties here. You pretty much get belong as soon as you say you do… even if you’re not fond of the word.)

Professional – Do you make (at least some of) your living doing things you’re personally passionate about? Did you intentionally choose your line of work? Do you bring unique value to your work? Do you feel a sense of ownership and responsibility for your career path? Do you have a strong sense of personal integrity about your work?

These descriptions are my own perspectives, and none of these categories have clear boundaries to them. To me, this combination of traits is gold, and I want to know as many “identity revolutionaries” (to use sfslim’s term) as possible who share them.

I’m not putting out a call for people to date (although, hey, if the shoe fits…). I’m putting out a call for community. Rally up, folks! Tell me where you are! I believe we’re more powerful when we’re connected, and I know we each have a lot of work to do.

As a side note, to answer a question someone asked: No, I’m not going to publish this list anywhere. Many people are raising their hands privately, and it’s not my place to share their identities, even with each other. I believe you have the right to tell and curate your own story.

If you’re part of this fantastic class of people (which I’m now just calling the IICQP folks) and haven’t already raised your hand, please do so. Leave me a comment, send me an email, shoot me a twitter reply, find me on facebook… whatever you prefer.

Just raise your hand.

Edit: As of 9pm 5/20/08, the total number of hand-raisers is 41. Hot damn, people! I love you guys!

Edit: It’s June 9th, and we’re totally up to 53, oh-yes-we-are.

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10 Responses to “Intelligent Independent Creative Queer Professionals”

  1. elkit Says:

    I love your descriptions! I’d raise four out of of five fingers – I’m straight, but not narrow. ;-)

  2. reechard Says:

    [hand raise]

  3. sarah Says:

    Elkit, there are a hundred rooms in my heart for you, regardless of how you identify. :) Thx for the support!

    And Reechard, rock on! Thanks for raising your hand!

  4. syd Says:

    i am so raising my hand. in fact. both hands.

  5. sarah Says:

    W00t! Thank you, Syd!!

  6. Jason Says:

    Hallo! Blame George Kelly for pointing me in your direction in an indirect fashion by twittering verse at you. :) Also in SF, here. I’m really glad you’ve raised this question; I’ve been in (and for the last year or so, out of) the web scene here for almost five years and it’s felt overwhelmingly straight. I didn’t think moving to SF from Chicago would decrease my connection to the queer community, but for some reason it has. Long story, I guess, but I’m going to try and fix that. (I’m also a former spoken-worder, so we have that in common too, whoa.)

  7. Dustin Says:

    I’m in, and I think you’ve done an excellent job of describing this group (and a hard group to define at that!). I agree with Jason—it’s shocking how straight the tech/web world feels… in SF/Bay Area of all places! We need more high-profile queer web/tech people!

  8. sarah Says:

    Jason! Dustin! You guys rock — thanks so much for chiming in! Yay!

    And yeah. Seriously. When did the bay area become so straight?

  9. Monica Says:

    Two months late but raising hands nonetheless. Always! Bit “iffy” on a couple (gay but not narrow, ha!, and professional but a bum at the moment? lol professionally creative works?) Well I really wanted to raise my hands anyway. :)

  10. Pearl Says:

    Me, I’m chiming in. *hand raise*