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Queer

This post is long overdue.  It has been in the works for quite a long time, I just keep procrastinating and procrastinating on it.

The term queer is near and dear to my heart.  It means odd.  It has also meant homosexual.  The term has been retaken by the LGBTQI movement to mean something more full and inclusive than simply “homosexual”.  A queer person may be of any sexual orientation, but they realize that they are not simply defined by that orientation; they know that their sexuality can be fluid and they are accepting of this.  They are comfortable in their otherness, their oddness.

I have a friend who identifies as queer.  He is pretty much exclusively heterosexual, but there is something else about him, a comfortableness with being, a bond with the idea of being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, without necessarily being fully one of the above.  Like me, he knows the sex and gender binaries and what can be damaging about them.  He is one of the few other people I know who objects to the use of the term “gender” on forms; gender is not male or female, but one’s gender identity as feminine, masculine, androgynous, or any combination of the above.  To put it simply, there is no correct answer to the question of “male or female”.  But most people do not understand that and I believe, do not care.  I always put “female”, simply because I believe that my biological sex mostly matches up with my perception of myself in a sexual way, and that most forms do no not leave space for an explanation of how I believe I differ from that.  And my assumption is that they are really asking about that.  This is where my friend may be more queer than me.  Often if there is an option he will indicate “other” on the form, perhaps at an attempt to address the difference between how he feels about himself as a being and the stereotype of “man” in our culture. I greatly admire him for this and may do this in the future, simply because it is a way that appears to work pretty well without preaching or getting upset at every little form or incident.

There are privilege issues at stake here too.  As I have said before, as a bisexual woman, I do not have some of the privileges that heterosexual women take for granted.  As a queer (mostly) heterosexual man, my friend can come from a position where he acknowledges that there are privileges he does not wish to partake in that he could claim simply by not also identifying as queer.  I think queerness addresses privilege in a way that heterosexuality (or homosexuality) cannot, by coming at the issue from a different perspective

There is so much more I could say, but it is getting late, so I will potentially save that for another day.

P.S. I apologize to my friend if this seems to imply that I am saying something about how you feel that is not true.  Feel free to leave me a comment and I will change it if need be.

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Queerness

Am I any less queer because I do like some things that are considered “normal”?  That sometimes I like things that are pretty vanilla?  That the only sex I’ve been having for the last nine to ten months is heterosexual?

I don’t think so.

I love the fact that queer encompasses everything about me, from the way I like my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (on sourdough bread, creamy peanut butter and homemade raspberry jam), to the people I think are attractive, to the way I like my sex (with occasional hints of dominance/submission).  The term bisexual, which is what I normally call myself, encompasses only the people I like, see as attractive, would like to have sex with.  Queer is an identity I’m just getting used to.  It doesn’t force me into a tiny box labeled “likes men and women”.  Yes, I do like men and women, and see both as attractive in their own ways, but what about the people who don’t consider themselves either or simply don’t believe they fit into society’s narrow definitions of gender and sexuality.  Just because I have not yet found one that I like/want to have sex with does not eliminate the possibility that I might.  I like to keep my options open.  Yes, I still do describe myself as bisexual, because that is my sexual orientation, I will not disagree with that, but it does not describe my whole self, like the sex: female does not fully describe me.  Yes I am female, in body and mind, but I am not that feminine, nor have I ever been, and I am fully comfortable with that.

To me, trying to fit into a prescribed gender role is restricting and it just feels wrong.  I wear a skirt or dress when I want to, not because I have been forced into it.  Make-up, nylons, hair-styling make me feel like I’m in drag.  Sometimes being in drag is a wonderful thing, messing with people’s perceptions of my gender.  I like challenging the assumed norms.  That’s what makes me happy and comfortable.  There are times that I just want to hide myself and I do,  something I learned how to do very well in high school.  That ability to hide means that only the people I like and respect get to see the true me, my true colors as they say.

I am working my way into a role I feel comfortable with.  I would like to be completely open with everyone about who I truly am, but I know that society will not let me be that.  So here at school is the only place I can truly express the full me: my sexuality and my queerness, and the truly great thing is that it doesn’t really matter to that many people.  College is full of variations, that’s what makes it so wonderful.

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Introduction–Part One

I am a queer lady.  Queer mostly because I choose not to conform to what people consider normal. A lady because that’s what my mother has taught me to be.  Funny how that works out.  I am also a queer lady in the sense that I am a bisexual woman.  Two ways to understand me, but nowhere near the complete truth.