My Deep, Queer, Freak Face
“I work at Diesel”, I was always proud to say. As well as, of course, “No, not the clothing company.”
“We are more – queer as in fuck you and less gay as in designer jeans”, I’d tell people in the era of my life that orbited Diesel Cafe.
My deep, queer, freak face moved to Boston in 2003. I moved there to attend Emerson College and quickly discovered that the TQ’s of the LGBTQ spectrum were not the gays at my college. I had queer family in NY, so I arranged my schedule so that I could be a full-time student, work at my school’s Career Resource Center 25 hours a week, and still spend weekends in NY to be my true self and surround myself with queer family.
Cheena Marie Lo was a new freshman in my sophomore year. When I met Cheena, I knew immediately that I had finally found queer family in Boston. In one of our first hangs, we went deep into queer resource sharing. We talked queer music, disclosed what thrift stores we got our clothes from, and Cheena blurted out their love for this one café in Somerville. I had never been to Somerville before but it wasn’t long after this raving endorsement that I jumped on the red line.
*A decade later, Cheena lived above me with their partner in a gay melrose place style home in Oakland, CA.
Patrick Kelly was the first Diesel family I met. Patrick’s blend of introversion, epically subtle wit, brilliance, and beautiful face drew me to them right away. I ordered a coffee, put half and half in it until it turned into coffee milk, added a pack a Splenda and dreamed of my new life as a barista with my new family.
*Patrick and I recently found ourselves holding each other while watching the best reality TV show “Goggle Box” at their home in London.
It wasn’t long before I found myself at the counter, nervously asking for an application. Sara Cooper answered me with a puzzled look. Since people rarely left Diesel, they hadn’t done any hiring recently. Sara went in the back to inquire if Diesel was in fact, hiring. Turns out they were and applications were under the counter. However, since Sara had no idea where to find this application they said, “why don’t you go ahead and just make your own”. Sara’s combination of charm and sweet disinterest inspired my first Diesel art project.
Laura Gillespie (LG) and I were the first two new hires in some time. I wasn’t sure how I felt about LG. We both quickly started hooking up with the same co-worker (as Diesel baristas sometimes did) and this officially started us off on the wrong foot. One day, we went for a walk after our shift and LG very articulately broke down why hooking up with co-workers was a bad idea. Having a Scorpio Moon (I live on the west coast now) and hearing some brilliant genius talk through the politics of gettin’ it with your co-worker was a bad idea (when we were, in fact, both doing said act) made LG my first Diesel enemy. Fast-forward to my stubborn ass letting go of this silly nonsense, quickly calling it quits with the coworker and falling madly in love with Laura Gillespie.
*LG now lives a short 6-hour drive south of me and we make a point of being with each other all the time.
Steve Mcfarland started at Diesel as a bright-eyed, enthusiastic, pretty, tall glass of water. Many months before Steve started, I had begun to fully actualize my trans identity. I was always genderqueer but getting to be in this family of queer freaks allowed me to consider my gender truths in new and different ways. I changed my name while at Diesel and leaned into the stud I always knew I was inside. Steve was drawn to the confidence and self-actualizing that Diesel helped me have and very sweetly asked me on a date. My response was something along the lines of “so you want me to be your boyfriend?” and probably, “I didn’t know you were into faggots.” From this moment on, Steve Mcfarland has always been referred to as my forever boyfriend.
*Recently, I went to Denmark to visit my boyfriend and their beautiful wife and sweet baby.
I could go on for many moons in talking about the family that came from and stays with me from my time at Diesel. Parky and Tucker created a family and allowed me to be a part of it and for this, I am forever grateful. From Diesel Halloweens and Proms, from always getting respected and recognized and paid well, from meeting too many loved ones to name – I am forever a Diesel super fan. Happy 20 years babes.
*This is the photobooth picture that I attached to my Diesel application. Thanks Diesel for hiring this queer trans freak and loving me for a lifetime!