Jesse Tise

We can’t deny that we’re living in a nation divided, making it more inviting than ever to isolate ourselves with people just like us. And the more queer-exclusive my circle becomes, the more I also can’t deny certain stereotypes surrounding our choices of aesthetic, our professions, and our love of potlucks, despite more than half the population of Portland having unique dietary restrictions.

This week’s potluck includes several counselors (because we love to process trauma); a painter of realistic prosthetic dicks for packing, fucking, et al; and a medical transit driver who lets us in on Oregon’s little-talked-about right to medical transportation. The next time a doctor says you need transportation to and from an appointment, ask them for the number. I too have my own stereotypical queer résumé: former pharmacy technician employed at a dispensary, a sex shop, the city’s best alternative paper, and various public speaking engagements on intersections of gender, sex, and ethnicity. I feel I’ve done my due diligence by not only working a job people would expect, but multiple jobs that still don’t pay all my bills.

Our occupational stereotypes are not, however, chosen without good reason. We tend to seek jobs with limited or no dress code and gender-neutral bathrooms; jobs that allow us to speak and process our truth, while hopefully assisting others like ourselves; jobs with high turnover rates and limited public visibility; jobs on the fringes of legality and social acceptance; jobs at which our employers only have the time or energy to judge us by our abilities and willingness to show up, rather than what we wear, which pronouns we use, or who we fuck in our free time. Jobs without drug screenings are also popular, because—as shocking as it may be for those outside our communities—lifetimes of trauma and the constant threat of alienation or violence makes the option of being high pretty damn appealing.

Queer stereotypes aside, the next guest arrives with the customary Portland +1: a big, dumb, fluffy, and drooling dog. Ever the sticklers for tradition, other partygoers blow bubbles for the dog to play with.

“OMG! The puppy’s eating bubbles!” a guest exclaims. (I can only hope to someday entertain Portland audiences half as much as a dog eating bubbles.)

The party’s playlist includes Nadia Rose, Leikeli47, and BbyMutha, and is 100 percent bad-bitch approved. Food offerings include chips, because we aren’t barbarians; remarkably tender Korean pork with kimchi fermented to perfection; and caprese and moqueca because my partner is equal parts worldly and boujee as fuck. The bringer of pork wants me to inform our white readers that you’re throwing away kimchi right as it reaches its intended flavor and kick. Stop it! Mind you, they also tell me they enjoy the aromas of bleach and gasoline. So some of their tastes may be questionable, but I stand by their kimchi recommendation and give this potluck 10 points out of 10.