I don’t really know what it is, I just know that it speaks to the eternal optimist in me.
I had the idea for this post well over a year ago, but there was always something more urgent or topical for me to write about (and there still is, because the world is a garbage fire right now). But I think Hopepunk is even more important right now than ever before, especially to the queer and trans community. We are at unprecedented levels of bigotry and hate being flung at minorities of all stripes, and weathering the middle of a Trans Genocide in the US and UK. Things look very bleak for the queer community right now, and it’s hard to feel any sense of hope at all.
But now more than ever, we need hope, and joy, and love, and kindness. Especially within our own communities. I think that Hopepunk is exactly the philosophical aesthetic we need right now. I’m not saying no one should ever feel hopeless or depressed or scared. I am all of those things a lot lately. But I also still have hope.
I have hope because last night at the university staff union meeting, we asked attendees what they were most concerned about legislatively right now, and over half of them replied with some variation of concern for queer and trans rights and safety.
I have hope because Wednesday I had the first meeting of an unofficial (but still Dean-sanctioned) LGBTQ affinity group I’m trying to put together, and a bunch of library folks turned out and sat in community and talked about what we wanted and what we feared.
I have hope because today I got my first prescription for Testosterone and soon I will be continuing my transition journey.
I have hope because right now, this week, I know that people have spent days in Tallahassee lobbying against the dangerous bills being pushed through the state house by corrupt fascists.
To me, Hopepunk is looking at the shitty world around you and finding the moments of human connection where you can give and receive hope. Hopepunk is crying about a bill that threatens your family, and then getting up and organizing communities against it. Hopepunk is finding joy in life when bigots and fascists want you to be too scared and downtrodden to function in public life. And Hopepunk is taking that joy and sharing it with your community.
One of the things I want to share again today is the Mapping Trans Joy project, which has been on my radar for about 6 months now, and which has brought me much joy to explore and contemplate. The project is an oral history of trans* 1 folks joy started in Louisiana, and now beginning to expand outward to other states. I am in the beginning stages of talking to the Florida queer community about bringing it to Florida as well. Sharing our joy with the world is one of the most radically hopepunk things we can do right now in the face of a culture that wants us miserable, dead, and non-existent. Consider contributing to the project if you have been to Louisiana, or if you haven’t then consider sharing your joy with your community some other way.
As one of my favorite TikTokers says, “Find your joy.” Turn it into a radical act of resistance. That’s Hopepunk.