I really like this project. Here is my Bikini Kill story:
I never got to see Bikini Kill perform live. The first CD of theirs I got was “The Singles” right after it came out (in… 1997?) I was about 14 or 15 years old. Bikini Kill seemed like this kind of mythic figure in a lot of ways. They seemed “untouchable”.
Around this age (I think I was 15) I started realizing that I was queer. I had been getting a lot of harassment at school and just in public in general, for looking, essentially, like a faggot. It was really freaky and I had a hard time reconciling this with my identity. Like, “Was I really this awful thing that deserved to be screamed at and beaten up all the time?” One thing that really struck me was the song “RIP” from “Reject All American”. It was so sweet, and normal, and loving, and I was really moved by it. At 15, I considered myself asexual, was nowhere near ready to admit that I might be queer, but had an inkling. And this song really spoke to me. It was like, a friendly, sad song about about loving a queer boy and missing him when he was gone.
Also around this age I started doing a lot of mail order, like with KRS, and writing a lot of fan letters. I lived in a suburb and didn’t know many punk kids yet, so letter-writing was a real lifeline for me. Some. There was one point in the mailorder catalog, they posted that Kathleen had moved to NYC and had a PO Box. I wrote her a fan letter thanking her for the song “RIP”. And she wrote back! It was so cool! It was, like, proof that she was a real person. That generosity had a big impact on me. I was and remain a super fan.