Posts Tagged ‘queer identity’

Here’s why!

Many argue that homosexuality is not a choice—that we are born with an attraction to certain gender-identifications that define us for the rest of our lives. I think this is a well-intentioned argument from the gay pride movement that actually leaves no room for sexual fluidity. Sexual orientation is a social construct. We are socialized to find a certain gender attractive according to the gender in which we were raised. I believe a desire to conform to or deviate from the norm determines whether or not you want to be socially acceptable or “weird”. I have always had a generally non-conformist belief system AND I did not identify with the gender in which I was raised, which seems to be a perfect formula for me to find the “wrong” gender attractive. However, now, I have realized that it is just as close-minded to say “I am only attracted to women” as it is to say “I am only attracted to men”. I have stopped confining my sexuality and dismissing possible lovers based on their gender identity. I define my sexual orientation by keeping it open and flexible. I call myself queer.

Why do I think you should do the same? I think people fall in love with people, not genders. Why do we put “Interested in: Men” and/or “Women” on facebook or mark those categories off in our minds? I don’t know anyone who is attracted to ALL women and/or ALL men. It’s misleading, completely ignores people of non-binary gender identities, and only sets you up for confusion when you start questioning that sexual orientation. Let’s stop dividing ourselves into gay, straight, and bisexual factions. Let’s focus on being attracted to individuals, not a gendered idea of a person. Let’s stop this discrimination based on gender identity. Be queer.

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nothing-more-unsettling-than-a-queer-tranceDo you ever find yourself in bed at night tossing and turning in frustration over things you wish you’d said? Here’s one of mine, it’s based on something I hear a lot of people say and it echoes in my head.

“I’m scared that what I’m feeling is just a phase.” Why does it matter? The term “phase” was constructed by our society to assure everyone that a deviant tendency will eventually get ironed out by the norm. I know too many people who are scared that their “radical” ideas are just a phase, that they’ll look back on the decisions they made with regret because, GASP!, they changed their mind later. Most popular is my female friends’ fear of a “lesbian phase”.

Some women are terrified that they’ll make out with a woman, maybe even date her for a while, but then it doesn’t work out, and OH, they’re out of college and they get that “lesbian until graduation” label stamped on their history. The fact is that EVERYONE CHANGES. Sexuality is no exception. People flow in and out of sexual orientations and their world does not devolve into chaos. As a person who has identified as a lesbian once, I think it is ridiculous to worry that you’re going to offend me if it turns out you like men too. The attractions are not mutually exclusive. There seems to be a myth floating about that once you enter a relationship with someone of the same sex you must stay same sex forever lest you offend the almighty HOMOSEXUAL COMMUNITY. God forbid you ever allow yourself to identify with an oppressed group of people.

Back in high school, I started becoming attracted to women. I kept telling myself, “it’s just a phase, it’s just cause you’re going to an all-girls school, it’s the same-sex environment… once you go to college you’ll have boys to fall in love with and all the complicated social stigmas will go away… it’s just not easy being gay, if you have the choice, you might as well be straight and avoid controversy.” I have my diary for proof. So I see all these women in college doing the same exact rationalizing game I did in high school and I just want to scream. Sexuality is fluid. Love isn’t logical. Your socialization is telling you what the easy way is and you’re avoiding complication. It is true: it is easier to be straight in our heteronormative society. But the only way change happens is when people start accepting a deviance from the norm. Not just tolerating, but accepting. Letting it invade their life, too. Making it their issue. I am not saying that everyone should force themselves into same-sex attraction. I am saying if you are questioning, don’t suppress that emotion for sake of upholding the norm.

What do I want you to do, you phase-fearers? I want you to acknowledge the homophobia with which you’ve been raised. I see that you love your gay friends, but you do not tolerate queerness in yourself. It is as though you are walking through a mountain range with a friend who is carrying all the heavy backpacks and luggage (the gay) and instead of offering to carry something, you just run circles around them cheering them on. I dare you to take a bag. I dare you to queer yourself. Even those of you who have only been attracted to the opposite gender–allow yourself to stray from the straight paradigm. Even those of you who fit into the fledgling gay paradigm–stop putting yourself into sexual orientation boxes. Be comfortable being queer. Being weird. Doing something that’s hard for you but promotes a more accepting understanding of sexuality.

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