By Lauren Tabak & Mya Byrne
Welcome back to Lauren Tabak’s “Queer From Here” series, in which Tabak has photographed some of the faces of Country Queer. The series is wrapping up today with Bay Area–based, multi-disciplinary artist, Mya Byrne—and Tabak has delivered a truly stunning portrait.
Mya’s most recent single, “Where the Lavender Grows” was released in May on Kill Rock Stars as part of a series devoted to Pride. It was a CQ Song of the Week and we ran a short Q&A with her about writing and recording it.
Be sure to read our interview with the photographer where she discusses the genesis for this series, which she refers to as “…an archive of modern queer identity that explores what it’s like to be queer here & now.”
For more #queerfromhere, click here.
Beginning next Monday, we will embark on a new photographic series from contributor James Dillon III entitled ‘Queer Americana,’ so stay tuned!
Mya Byrne • She/Her • Duboce Triangle, San Francisco, CA
I pronounce my name “Mia”, and also go by Mimi.
I definitely read as queer, though in the Bay, sometimes I wonder! I’m usually always repping leather or kink in some way, shape or form, so if you know, you know, but the truth is that not everyone does. I am reasonably certain most queer people know I’m queer, but occasionally when I do ‘boss lady butch’ as opposed to ‘leather dyke,’ I get hit on more by straight dudes. I feel pretty naked when that happens, to be honest. But typically I’m flagging with hankies or Corcoran boots, or a leather vest.
I’m Jewish, and I often wear Hamsa earrings, but I often need to out myself as such in queer circles. I’ve experienced much antisemitism in my life, and I think because of that I have shied away from it at times. I’m always thrilled to meet other queer and trans Jews and often host holidays now.
I definitely have gayface. And transface, for that matter. Whether it’s cruising or whether you recognize what my visible scars mean, I think it’s all out there. We carry our visibility in subtle ways. Even if sometimes the world outside of queerfolk doesn’t see me as I know I wish to be seen, I know when a queer or trans person sees me, and the look they’ll give me when I know they *needed* to be seen in that minute. And if I’m lucky, when I need it, I’ll get it too.
I’ve met so many of my chosen family and lovers in the Bay through organizing, film, and music. There’s a richness to our shared passions and struggles. We go through so much together. Here in the Bay we are nascent again; many people are coming together after so long of being apart, and so much is new and precious. And we aren’t willing to hold the status quo. I, for one, am sick of those who don’t use whatever privilege they have to be advancing the cause of our people. Coming out isn’t just partying with your gay clique. Gay liberation is being out in the street! I have seen some of the people I came out with retreating instead of advancing, and leaving the new folks coming out without guidance. Without community. I think that’s privilege run amok. Life is too short and we have much more to accomplish.
Lauren Tabak’s “Queer From Here” series for Country Queer has run on Mondays for the last two months. We cannot thank her enough for her generosity of spirit, for sharing her immense talents with us all, and for helping us celebrate Pride in grand style this year.