WorshipWeb: Braver/Wiser: A Weekly Message of Courage and Compassion

Totes Queer

By Paige Getty

… queer

as in
always becoming;

as in
less “this or that”
and more “multilayered, multidimensional, and complex.”

as in
intimately experienced,
and beyond definition…

—M Jade Kaiser, enfleshed

At Capital Pride last year, a vendor was selling tote bags with simple, bold declarations:

Totes Lez. Totes Ace. Totes Pan. Totes Trans. Totes Bi.

A fabric rainbow tote bag dangles from someone's hand. They're standing on a sidewalk, wearing trousers, visible only from the hip down.

And—the favorite of my 13-year-old offspring and me—Totes Queer. She purchased that one, and it’s now proudly displayed in her space in our home.

More recently I mentioned to Beth, a newish acquaintance, that our older child was traveling to visit her girlfriend. Beth, herself a lesbian, expressed surprise. “Did I know that?” she asked.

“Probably not,” I said. “In our family, a lesbian relationship is unremarkable. We’re very queer.”

But here’s the thing: we don’t look it—not from the outside. On the surface or from a distance, we’re indistinguishable from the stereotypical White suburban family composed of a Mom, Dad (both cisgender), two kids, dog, and corn snake.

I’m in my early 50s and have been out since my mid 20s, having first claimed the label bisexual, though pansexual or queer fits better now. I’ve only ever had two serious romantic relationships—the first was with a woman, and I’m married to the second, who would tell you himself that he also is “not straight.” I am uninterested in romantic or sexual relationships with anyone other than my spouse; and also, if something were to take him from me, I fully expect that I’d want another romantic relationship. I cannot anticipate the gender of that imagined potential future partner. After all, my attention is captured by all sorts of attractive people whose gender I might eventually register.

My queerness, though, is about more than who I’m actively involved with, romantically or sexually. And it’s about more than what’s visible on the surface. It’s about mindset and attitude and intention. It’s experienced in the private world of imagination and fantasy, as well in the lived experience of relationship. It’s in the rejection of WASPy gender norms and in the deliberate choice not to assume or pressure a particular form of romantic relationship in the lives of the children I’m privileged to raise.

And it’s in the celebration of my own first serious romantic relationship—not as part of a life left behind in the past, but as an integral part of who I am now, spiritually, sexually, humanly whole. And totes queer.


Holy Mystery—embodiment of love more expansive and queer than we can imagine—may we live lives of integrity. Always becoming. Whole and true and beloved.

Editor's note: Rev. Paige's children and spouse all gave their blessing to be included in this reflection.