Featuring L Henderson | By Kelley O’Death
FQP shines a light on the joys and heartaches that lie at the intersection of the LGBTQIA+ community and the world of alternative music. While queer representation is often refracted through the prism of normative curiosities and concerns, FQP features queer voices saying whatever they want, however they want. Don’t fear the realness.
While most of us struggle to get out of bed in the morning, Seattle, Wash.’s L Henderson is an implausibly busy human. They provide vocals and guitar for pop punk band Listen Lady, perform stand up with the QTPoC (queer and trans people of color) centered comedy show Hella Much—which is scheduled to appear at Bumbershoot and Gay City Seattle—write and illustrate a webcomic entitled Upshot and a zine entitled Thoughts as Long as Cigarettes, helm a solo hip hop project under the alias LH2020, and are planning several more projects they “can’t legally discuss yet thanks to nondisclosure agreements.” Henderson spends their downtime battling cancer, working with youth, and navigating the congested crossroads of identity. …Oh, is that all?
“Growing up, one thing that really stood out to me about punk and hardcore was that it seemed like a place for us ‘othered folk’ to gather. The idealism was romantic. The reality, not so much. So as I got older, I made it a priority to help maintain the scene that young me was looking for when I heard punk for the first time. I knew I wasn’t alone in that mission when I met other QTPoC in punk. That was where I felt found for the first time. That was where I felt like a home and chosen family was entirely possible.”
“There are so many bands and musicians who I’ve gotten the opportunity to meet and play with that, had it not been for us being so outnumbered, we would have never had a reason to intersect. So, community was once a means of purely survival for us, but now, I’ve gotten to see it grow into far more. I’ve seen the QTPoC punk community grow into this undeniable force that the young version of me had always hoped for. That’s the reason I prioritize the youth within the scene, because I know what it could have meant for me when I was young and I need to ensure that it still exists in a healthy way for any kid who feels lost and outnumbered.”
“I only feel like I’m given the platform to discuss dating and sex when I’m with other queer folk, otherwise I’m told that it comes off as intentionally shocking or offensive. I’m like, ‘…but I am still a person, right?’ Especially on stage. It’s extremely othering.”
“Dating since I came out has been pretty complicated. Coming out later in life meant that I had a lot of people questioning and checking my identity, so I only really had the chance to prioritize one thing. That one thing was just getting good with myself. Things like loneliness and isolation had to become secondary issues to deal with later. By the time I was ready to date, I had a jarring realization that dating as a trans person means you get to traverse the world of fetish and kink culture, whether or not you even have an interest. I wasn’t prepared for that, because I’m extremely reserved and private sexually. Dating profiles and, on some level, real life interactions became open invitation for sexual harassment, utter dehumanization, and on a lighter level, a Q&A forum for the curious. Either way, boundaries that didn’t previously have to be mentioned now became a regular part of my day-to-day dialogue. Needless to say, it makes dating seem way more terrifying.”
“I have only recently been trying to date again, but one thing about dating cis folk is that there is rarely an occasion where you feel they are more than just tolerating your identity. There’s nothing less sexy than being told by a person you are attracted to that who you are ‘doesn’t bother’ them.”
“Beyond that, I am available. *does eyebrow thing* Single and ready to tingle! Okay, just kidding, ‘cause gross.”
“One thing I encounter a lot within the queer community is a blaring lack of intersectionality: either transphobia from cis folks, or racism from white folks. Those two are the obvious things, but one thing that rarely gets discussed in my realm is the overall anti-Blackness that exists within the PoC and queer communities independently.”
“Growing up in a predominately Filipino household, I was raised to hate my own Blackness. ‘Oh, you’re mixed! Best of both worlds!’ Nope. So much nope. The first time I heard the N word was from my Filipino uncle who lectured me at the age of 4 about how I would never amount to anything and that I’d never be true Filipino. When I came out, one thing my family blamed it on was that I was ‘whitewashed.’ As if to suggest that ‘queer’ belonged to white people. The fucked up thing is that most cultures believe that because of the overall whitewashing of queer representation in the media. It’s 2015 and it literally still happens. Like QTPoC do not exist to some realms. That thought scares me. The idea that something like being queer can not only be owned by white people but rejected by others culturally is something that literally fucks with my life daily.”
“Also, being heavily associated with the punk and hardcore scenes for over a decade has really put me front and center to witness white supremacy masked by tolerance. I have so many people I love and care about in the punk scene who show me regularly what cishet white fragility looks like. I even had to stop writing songs calling out microaggressions due to the flood of ‘straight white people experience hardship, too’ bullshit. It’s truly exhausting.”
“As a member of the punk community who is very outspoken about issues that matter to me, I get put in the position where I’m expected to be the voice of whatever marginalized community is relevant during conversations. For instance, when Laura Jane Grace came out, I was still just newly out, but people turned to me to speak on her behalf about her identity, as I was the only trans femme they knew. I was like, ‘I have no idea what she went through or goes through, because I’m not her.’”
“Now, when anything happens in the news, people expect me to have articulate opinions on all things trans, queer, or racial. As if being a known voice on certain subjects means it is my duty to educate about and breakdown every emotionally charged social issue, regardless of whether or not I’m well enough to.”
“Since I exist musically, artistically, and comedically in realms dominated by cishet white men, often times, just mentioning something problematic starts fires. Let me explain what that feels like with an analogy: I see a friend and say, ‘Hey dude, you have pizza sauce on your cheek. Just letting you know.’ ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa. How can I possibly have pizza sauce on my face if I have eaten pizza before? I didn’t get any on me then, so how dare you imply I have some on me now,’ he replies, before walking away with pizza sauce on his cheek.”
“Also, I still don’t really care or have a strong opinion about Caitlyn Jenner. *gasp*”