Gina de Vries

"hey! my paisan!" // worlds coming together // travel adventures

Filed By Gina de Vries | April 11, 2008 3:32 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Living, Living, The Movement, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: blood family, building community, Catholic church, chosen family, class benefits, God, safety, sex, spirituality

Co-teaching a writing workshop at Toni Amato's on Wednesday night was amazing, and hanging out with Toni was amazing as well. I have never in my life had a queer person greet me by shouting "HEY! MY PAISAN!!" and wrapping me in a bear hug. I don't think I realized exactly how much I needed that till it happened.

Staying at Toni's felt very much like home. Like my different worlds -- the world of my queer community and family, and the world of my Italian working-class blood-family, and the world of my pagan but very Catholic and Christian-influenced spirituality -- were all co-existing in the same place, instead of being compartmentalized like they sometimes are. Toni and I led a really great workshop together, honest and raw and sweet and safe, and then we stayed up till 1am talking about family, race, class, god, sex, San Francisco, low magic, perversity... It was just what I needed, and really, just what I made this trip to the east coast for, even though I didn't know that when I first booked my ticket.

Toni, thanks for calling me a pretty girl and feeding me good food and giving me a sweet place to stay and introducing me to your beautiful partner and making art with me and letting me love on your cat and making me feel so at home. You are so good. Everyone else: If you are in Boston or a're ever in Boston on a Wednesday, go to Toni's writing workshops. You will get what you need. Whatever that might be.


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Every time I see "paisan," I always think of HotHead Paisan - the radical lesbian comic. I loved that. I even named my cat Chicken. :)