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Old 06-17-2008, 12:26 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by U2isthebest View Post
Word. I'm a straight female, and that word offends me. Seriously, what year is this? 1948?

well ... there is a whole history behind it that i had explained to me in college, and in college it makes sense, but not so much in the real world.

here's what wikipedia says:

[q]In contemporary usage, some use queer as an inclusive, unifying sociopolitical umbrella term for people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, transsexual, intersexual, genderqueer, or of any other non-heterosexual sexuality, sexual anatomy, or gender identity. It can also include asexual and autosexual people, as well as gender normative heterosexuals whose sexual orientations or activities place them outside the heterosexual-defined mainstream (e.g. BDSM practitioners, or polyamorous persons). Queer in this sense (depending on how broadly it is defined) is commonly used as a synonym for such terms as LGBT.

Because of the context in which it was reclaimed, queer has sociopolitical connotations, and is often preferred by those who are activists, by those who strongly reject traditional gender identities, by those who reject distinct sexual identities such as gay, lesbian, bisexual and straight, and by those who see themselves as oppressed by the heteronormativity of the larger culture. In this usage it retains the historical connotation of "outside the bounds of normal society" and can be construed as "breaking the rules for sex and gender." It can be preferred because of its ambiguity, which allows "queer" identifying people to avoid the sometimes strict boundaries that surround other labels. In this context, "queer" is not a synonym for LGBT as it creates a space for "queer" heterosexuals as well as "non-queer" ("straight-acting") homosexuals.

For some queer-identified people, part of the point of the term 'queer' is that it simultaneously builds up and tears down boundaries of identity. For instance, among genderqueer people, who do not solidly identify with one particular gender, once solid gender roles have been torn down, it becomes difficult to situate sexual identity. For some people, the non-specificity of the term is liberating. Queerness becomes a way to simultaneously make a political move against heteronormativity while simultaneously refusing to engage in traditional essentialist identity politics.[/q]

so, like i said earlier, i understand it's usage, but it does feel to me like another offshoot of feminism as opposed to specifically speaking to the lives of most homosexual people. i might also argue that the urge to adopt a "queer" identity is, yes, all about resisting the dominant paradigm and refusing to wear the labels that society gives you, and that's fine, but since college, i've simply become less interested in fighting ideological battles like this one. do i not get to be gay because i've had sex with a woman? yes, i'm physically capable of having heterosexual sex, so does that mean i should reject a gay identity? or can i just say that i'm gay, and really be done with it? all sorts of straight people have gay experiences, and all sorts of straight people could, in theory, be capable of performing homosexual sex, but does that make them not straight? no, it just means that while there is variation in human sexuality based upon context, it doesn't mean, so much, that on one day i feel like a 3 and on another day i feel like a 5. it's that kind of thinking that, to my mind, does more damage to the overall quest for acceptance and advancement and respect.

some would argue, well, then, why do we want the acceptance and respect of an oppressive power structure? for saying that you are gay is to accept the reductive, binary expression of sexuality and to thusly accept the "less than" designation as delineated by heteronormative hegemony.

and i'm all, these days, well so freaking what? i fully understand that there are people of contested gender identity who, yes, might feel better with a queer identity. but i also have to point out that their struggle is not my struggle. i love them and support them and wish for them happiness, love, and legal protections and to be fully integrated members of the human family. but when it comes right down to it, i simply don't see myself as all that different, or different in the way that those who promote a panoramic "queer" identity for all those who are not heterosexual. i feel like i have far more in common with Jim and Jane Straight than i do with, say, female sexed individuals who have a variety of gender expressions and seek out relationships with both men and with women. this is also why i am even slightly uncomfortable with the "T" in BGLT. not that i am uncomfortable with the Transgendered, nor am i unsupportive of Transgendered. i am comfortable, and supportive, but i think that their struggle is quite different from mine. yes, we may have a common enemy, but that common enemy isn't, actually, homophobia, for many trans individuals live as heterosexuals (and can get married). the common enemy is, at the base of it all, sexism and the abject fear that many have when we don't perform traditional gender roles. so we might all have this to deal with, but my lived-in experience is vastly different from a TG, and i wouldn't ever pretend that i can understand the struggle of the TG, much in the same way that i would never pretend that i can understand the struggle of, say, African-Americans in Mississippi.

so, anyway. i'm in a reflective mood today, so just thought i'd pontificate a bit.

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Old 06-17-2008, 01:10 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Irvine511 View Post
it always struck me that the ideal of "pansexual normality" was more an offshoot or outgrowth of feminism than anything else.
Specifically, the deconstructionist, lit-crit wing of third wave feminism. Which, yes, was strongly shaped by the desire to integrate lesbian women's perspectives (as well as black women's perspectives, working-class women's perspectives, etc.) into feminist thought--something second-wave feminism had made overtures towards, but never really tackled in a systematic way. On the upside, you get more recognition and validation of that need to "find the shoe that fits," and often better listening, more real dialogue, a helpful new set of tools for critiquing authoritarian forms of essentialism; on the downside, you can easily spiral off into fun, but totally arcane and abstruse arguments (roughly, what does it mean to "fit," is it not oppressive and stunting to need or even want to, etc.) that bear little resemblance to most people's actual lived experience of reality--gay or straight, male or female.

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Old 06-22-2008, 01:35 PM   #33
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Like I've always said: you can take the man out of the homosexual, but you can't take the homosexual out of the man.

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