Cover Photo: An image of a queer couple leaning in as if succumbing to a great longing to kiss while seemingly simultaneously taking a selfie of the moment.
Photo courtesy of author

Queer Visibility and the Self-Checkout Camera

It both thrills me to watch myself as others might watch me in the world, and instills in me a deep loneliness—a grief that reminds me I am so helplessly stuck inside of myself.
“Being invisible can be deadly.”

        “You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.”

Some days I prefer the ease of the Target self-checkout lane. Each transaction, I am confronted with myself, my small part in the roboticization of capitalism, my antisocial tendencies, and my own face on a screen reduced to a collection of pixels reflected back at me. The pull of seeing myself in these cameras is irresistible. Whether I like what I see or not. The seductive urge of knowing what it must be like to gaze upon myself, to see what others see, is too strong.

Queer Phenomenology,

Boys Don’t Cry


ALYSE BURNSIDE is a writer living in Las Vegas, Nevada. She is currently a Creative Nonfiction MFA Candidate at the University of Las Vegas, Nevada, where she is working on a collection of essays about surveillance culture, the seduction and fear of seeing and being seen, loneliness, and anxiety. She is also working on a memoir about her grandmother, who worked as a typist at Area 51 before becoming a spiritualist healer and channel to an ancient Lemurian shaman.

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