not in Primary anymore

you call me weird like it’s a bad thing

“Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being.”                                                                                                                                                                                                          -Albert Camus                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        *Photo courtesy of


We live in a terrible world where so many members of marginalized groups are sexually assaulted, have hate crimes practiced against them, harassed by police, incarcerated, discriminated against in housing and in the workplace, preached against at the pulpit, misrepresented in entertainment and media, bullied in school, abused by their parents, made fun of, laughed at, belittled, ostracized, othered and face all sorts of other acts of discrimination against them almost daily.

In such a world where the dehumanization of oppressed minorities and women is the norm, perhaps we have a moral obligation to not be normal.


“The reasonable (person) adapts (themselves) to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to (themselves). Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable (person).”                                                                                                                                                                                                          -George Bernard Shaw                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        *Photo of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X


Some people try to claim that rebellious souls are inherently amoral. But I would propose that rebellion in and of itself is a moral quality. It’s a sign that one recognizes how messed up the world is and is expressing their lack of interest in taking full part in it. 

There are no rebels without a cause. Rebellion IS a cause. And as one’s love for others grows and as they learn more about the problems communities face and the pros and cons of each solution presented, they will become more efficient rebels with clearer causes and more effective means to bring those causes to light.


“What about those of us who are freaks, in the most powerful sense of the word? Freakery is that piece of disability and ableism where bodies that are deformed, disfigured, scarred and non-normatively physically disabled live. Its roots come out of monsters and goblins and beasts; from the freak shows of the 1800’s where physically disabled folks, trans and gender non-conforming folks, indigenous folks and people of color were displayed side-by-side. It is where ‘beauty’ and ‘freak’ got constructed day in and day out, where ‘whiteness’ and ‘other’ got burned into our brains…It is how I know we must never let ourselves be on the side of the gawking crowd ever again in any way.”                                                                                                                                                   –Mia Mingus (from “Moving Toward the Ugly: A Politic Beyond Desirability”)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              *”The Broken Column” by Frida Kahlo


For some of us, just making the most of our lives will be an act of rebellion. We are inherently the weirdos, the freaks, the despised, the unworthy.

Being happy, loving and living should not be considered acts of rebellion, but we live in a world where that is the case for some of us.

I look up to all of those who are able to live a fulfilling life despite powerful political and cultural forces working against them. They deserve a better world than what we are currently giving them.


“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you,and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”                                                                                                                                                                                                            -Jesus (Matthew 5: 11-12)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               *Picture from the Stonewall Riots


We should be the ones recreating that world. All of us, together, being weird, being rebellious, being proud freaks, embracing and uplifting those corners of humanity that are despised for no good reason.

Let us be a peculiar people. Let those in the Great and Spacious Building point and laugh at us as we partake of something even sweeter.  Let us be in the world with all it’s magnificent people, but let us not be of it with its many toxic ways.

May every mohawk be a beacon of truth, an expression of one’s distaste for the social norms of the world we live in. May we be able to recognize the foolish traditions of our fathers and create new traditions that are better for all people.

May we find the strength to slowly but surely tear down Babylon’s hateful ways as we embrace our inner weird, and may we build up a more loving world, our own vision of Zion, awkwardly but determinedly laying down a revolution brick by brick, theory by theory, action by action.


*Photo from Trans Pride Seattle 2014

7 Responses to “you call me weird like it’s a bad thing”

      • Katherine

        I see. So you believe in the Book of Mormon, then? I’m not being snotty, I’m truly trying to understand.

      • curtispenfold

        There are a variety of texts that I value a great deal, books that are scriptures for me in some way. The Tao Te Ching, the Book of the Law, Kali the Mother, Leaves of Grass, everything by Allen Ginsberg and William Blake–these belong to my personal cannon.

        However, when it comes to scriptures unique to the Christian and most specifically Mormon traditions, those scriptures hold an especially special place for me. Those passages and concepts presented in them belong to my childhood, community, and heritage and I still value them and try to interpret them frequently.

        I feel that the concepts presented in them are such a huge part of my psyche and the psyche of many of my friends and family that interpreting them in a way that supports our ideals is an invaluable way of empowering ourselves, similar to the way Mary Daly approaches the myths presented in the Bible through a feminist lens.

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