If you are looking for answers regarding my gender identity or sexuality, there is a separate Q&A on this page.
Q: Whoa, what is this website?
A: It’s primarily the blog of a writer named Sam Dylan Finch, but it is also a platform that tries to raise awareness around a whole variety of queer and feminist concerns. You can read more at the about page by clicking here.
Q: The art on this blog is so neat! Can I use it on my website?
A: Jessica is a fabulous artist! However, the art she creates for this website is her own original work and belongs to her first and foremost. You will need to contact her before reposting this artwork elsewhere. Explicit permission is needed before any of her work can be used for other purposes beyond LQTU’s articles.
Q: I get the “dash of awesome” part, but what is queer feminism?
A: I define queer feminism as a movement that acknowledges things like patriarchy (a society which privileges men over women), cisnormativity (the privileging of cisgender people over transgender people, and the regarding of cis experiences as the norm), and heteronormativity (the privileging of heterosexual people over queer people, and the regarding of hetero experiences as the norm) as inextricably and closely bound.
Queer feminism is an intersectional movement that is particularly focused on the ways that oppression based on gender, sexuality, and sex are all connected in very specific and important ways. This particular variety of feminism has its roots in something called “queer theory.”
It is also a reaction to a mainstream feminist movement which, at times, has pushed queer, trans, and gender non-conforming people to the margins.
Q: When did this website start?
A: The blog began in July of 2014. It went viral in October 2014, and took off from there!
Q: Are you currently accepting submissions for the site?
A: We are indeed! We are always looking for guest writers and artists. Feel free to email us.
Q: Who is Sam Dylan Finch?
A: That’s me! I’m the founder of this blog. You can read more about me here.
Q: How much money do you make off the ads on this website?
A: None. The ads that you see sometimes in the comments are placed by WordPress, and I have no control over them and make no money from them. The only money I can earn is through donations and speaking engagements.
Q: How did you make your website go viral!?
A: Um, you all did that. Not me. I posted an article of mine on Facebook, and then a few days later, it was everywhere. Let that be a lesson to you about the wonders of the internet.
Q: I thought I was the only transgender person with bipolar disorder. I’m so glad I found you.
A: The fact that this is a frequently asked question/statement blows my mind. There are so many trans folks with mental illnesses, but those are conversations we too often have behind closed doors. I’m glad you found the site, I’m glad I can be here for you, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you need me!
Q: I’m [insert identity group here], and your narrative does not speak for me!
A: No, of course not! And I encourage you to write about your own experiences in the comments, or write a blog post of your own. I can only speak to my own perspective, and I hope I’ve made it abundantly clear that I am not trying to act as a representative for any group.
Q: Why do you talk about “mental illness” so much? Why not talk about mental health instead?
A: I believe that there is a time and a place to talk about mental health more generally. I also believe there is a time and a place to talk about the distinct experience and the stigma of being a person with a mental illness. Mental health and mental illness, simply put, are not the same subject. Related, but not the same.
At LQTU, I am challenging the dominant narrative of shame surrounding mental illness, and in order to do that, I have to contend with the dominant script — this includes using the phrase “mental illness.” I am attempting to take this notion of “mental illness” and make it less scary, less stigmatized, and more acceptable. It’s not possible to do this without naming it.
That being said, if you struggle with your mental health but choose not to name that struggle as an illness, that’s totally your prerogative. I do understand that our identities are complex, and mental health is not a “one size fits all” sort of thing. I believe it’s important to self-identify and use whatever framework is best for your particular situation.
It’s important to note that I am not seeking to be the sole authority on this topic. In fact, if I were the sole authority on mental health, we’d all be in big trouble. You are welcome to seek out and share other resources that you feel do a better job of tackling the subject.
Q: You wrote about X but you didn’t include Z! You wrote about dogs but you didn’t include cats! You wrote about spaghetti, but I wanted you to write about lasagna!
A: Blog entries, by their very nature, need to be limited in length and scope. Please keep in mind that, as a reader, you may want to know more or want a certain point expanded on. However, to do my job as a writer, I have to keep things brief and concise. No one will read a blog entry that is 10,000 words long. This means that some important points will inevitably be left out.
You are welcome to share those important points in the comments in a respectful way.
It might not be a lack of insight on my part, but rather, the scope of what I’ve written didn’t allow me to expand on it, and my prioritizing of certain points over others meant that it was left out.
Q: You seem awfully fond of psychiatry/psychiatric meds.
A: Sometimes, and sometimes not. I think it’s a mistake to paint it with one brushstroke. Psychiatrists can be good people who go to great lengths for their patients. They can also be terrible, oppressive, and really hurt their patients. I’ve had experiences with both. I’ve been helped immensely but I’ve also had really traumatic experiences.
Treatments for mental health issues are entirely specific to the individual, so I hope you know that I am not trying to push anyone to do anything that isn’t right for them. I’m in favor of whatever works for the individual, and I also recognize my privileges have shaped this experience for me.
I speak mostly to what I know while acknowledging that my experience is not necessarily the norm. Remember, this is not a blog about mental health more generally. This is a blog about one person’s experiences in the world.
Q: It seems like your view on mental health is very Western-centric.
A: I hope my readers recognize that when I speak about the way I’ve chosen to treat my bipolar disorder and conceptualize it, I am strictly speaking from personal experience, and what I have found to be the most helpful in my journey.
I understand that so many people have been victimized by a system that uses medications, diagnoses, and hospitals as a way of keeping people in their place. I also understand that psychiatry has a terrifying and dark history, and that I have a certain level of privilege to have had mostly positive experiences with psychiatry. I know that the very concept of “mental illness” and “madness” is culturally-situated and specific, with a very complicated and tragic history. And yes! Not everyone in the world even recognizes the notion of “mental illness.” These are all important things, and I’m glad that my readers have raised these points in the past.
I appreciate that others seek to hold me accountable for my words, and I hope you will recognize that, because the scope of my blog is very limited, I can’t always write about every single culture and every single topic, nor every possible angle or vantage point on an issue. And because I do not belong to these cultures, I also believe it isn’t my place to act as a representative — we should let these folks speak for themselves. You can always share these voices with me in the comments section.
Ultimately, this blog contains the opinions of one little queer in California. And if you couldn’t tell, I am very much human and very much flawed. You can teach me what you know, and I can teach you what I know — and together we can have some hella wonderful conversations.
Q: Are you a POC [person of color]?
A: No! I am white. I think this is important to keep in mind, as I carry white privilege and consequently this shapes my experiences as trans, queer, bipolar, and just generally. If I haven’t included an important point about race in a post, please feel free to comment on that post saying so. It’s not because I don’t feel it’s important, but rather, because my perspective is very limited and I am not qualified, ever, to speak on behalf of POC (that’s icky and problematic). I do my best to be mindful of my privilege, but again, it’s good to hold me accountable.
Q: You didn’t include a trigger warning on your post, and I’m really upset about it.
A: I’m very sorry that my post was triggering. I do tackle a lot of tough issues, and I do my best to give a fair warning if I think a post is particularly intense. If you require a specific TW, please comment or email (letsqueerthingsup [at] gmail.com) and let me know.
I also recommend checking the tags in advance if you’re worried — they generally give a pretty clear picture of what the post will be about. That being said, I understand the need for warnings upfront, so again, just email, it’s really no problem!
Q: I don’t agree with your lifestyle. You are a sinner. You’re going to hell.
A: Cool beans!
Question not included here? Feel free to comment and ask!