Friday, January 25, 2008

LGBTQ party

Sometimes I feel like life is just one big joke. Example? Well, the LGBTQ welcome-back semester bash was at the "Straight" (Willard Straight Hall). Haha. Although, because nobody else seemed to notice, it was a bit paler than it could've been. Ma'alesh.

School has started up again, and I may just be able to hang on this semester. I've been being productive--I've done all the readings so far, and gotten an HPV shot into the bargain. Actually, it was into my arm, but the nurse pulled the needle out a little bit sideways and yowch. I felt like my arm was being unraveled from the inside. Ick.

The idea for the evening is the concept of "queer"ness. A lot of buttons at the LGBTQ party (they had buttons for whoever wanted them) said things like "we're here and we're queer--get used to it". I understand that reclaiming the word "queer" is an empowering thing to do--if you take it for your own and embrace it and give it a new meaning, then it is no longer useful to those who would hurt you. I understand this, and I support the reclaiming of words. I also support the reclaiming of religion (specifically Protestantism) by people who are somewhat left of Boondocks Alabama politics. So if people are empowered by being "queer" I support that.

But I don't identify as "queer'. I don't feel odd, or out-of-the-ordinary, or particularly strange; I feel like a person. Just a person. I'm glad there are activists, and I support the idea of activism, but I'm not an activist, because I think in order to be an activist, you have to be to the far side of reasonable: you have to be an extremist, and then you fight with the opposite extreme and come to a reasonable middle-ground. I don't feel extreme, just because I, as a friend so eloquently put it "like boys AND girls". Politically, I guess I'm a little extreme. But the point is that the word "queer" to me hasn't got the societal undertones that it seems to have for everyone else. Maybe because I read a lot of British Detective Fiction when I was really forming my vocabulary and mode of communication (roughly, age 9-14). To me, "queer" means "odd", "strange", "peculiar", "weird" with an undertone of the unexpected. There are certainly aspects of myself that I would use those words to describe.

My orientation isn't one of them. Maybe it's because I think that pretty much everyone is bisexual to some degree or other. In any case, I do not feel strange, and I do not feel as if I need to rub the fact that I am bisexual in people's faces to feel legitimized. If they know it, and they interact with me in a normal way, then that's great. The argument for legalizing gay marriage is, for me, a simple matter of "Why does sexual orientation have to MATTER?" As in, at all? Two people wanna commit to share their lives with each other--I say go for it. Black, green, blue, purple, male, female, neither, both....I don't care. Whoever you are, and whoever you're in love with--those things are not relevant. It embarrasses me that we classify people based on something as personal (and, honestly, as legally trivial) as their sexual orientation. It embarrasses me that there are people who will fight against equal rights for anyone. It embarrasses me equally to see the effects of this kind of lack of acceptance, which is a greater than or equal tendency on the part of the marginalized people to identify themselves as that, first.

I understand, I think, why it happens. I support being proud of something rather than ashamed of it. I just don't think it has to be such a Big Deal. Gay marriage--that is a big deal. If being proud of your orientation, being proud to be who you are, if those things are the alternative to feeling marginalized, not taken seriously, and totally rejected, then by all means, be proud. I'm proud. But not because I'm bisexual--I have nothing to do with my orientation; it's just how I am. Can't do anything about it. It'd be like being proud of the fact that I have brown eyes, or brown skin. I'm proud because I'm not afraid of being that way.

In some ways, it seems like just as much as the Scaryotypical Christian Right perpetuates a heteronormative binary, a lot of self-righteous non-straight people work to perpetuate a homosuperior-normative binary. I believe that the correct response to "Straight is Good. Straight is Normal. Straight is the Only Way To Be," is indeed "Nope." But I don't think that it makes sense to go so far as to say "Nope, because actually non-straight is Good, Being Normal is BAD, and therefore anyone who is not straight is better than anyone who is". And in some ways, that seems to be happening.

Anyway. I'm bisexual, but I don't feel at all queer.

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