In a culture that bases itself on binaries
I find it increasingly difficult to stake out an identity that I feel comfortable
with. From the moment of birth we are forced into a culture that attempts to define
us according to its specifications: man or woman, heterosexual or homosexual,
producer or consumer and so on. All of these categories deny human experiences
and the variations within them. In reality, our lives constantly change. What
is defined now as one thing can have completely different implications in another
decade or country.
The idea that is at the forefront of these thoughts is the hetero/ homo dichotomy
and its effects on our lives. I do not fit into the heterosexual category so society
and my thoughts plop me conveniently into the homosexual category. I am told that
in order for me to fight for queer rights that I should tell people that my sexuality
is biologically determined, that I was "born this way." I can't. That
is like saying I was born with an unwanted affliction and assumes that it is necessary
and even desirable to become heterosexual.
Sexuality is not an innate orientation as most would believe, but rather a preference
that in some way biology may play a role in defining. Having said that I am still
trapped. If I claim that being queer is a social construction I am to deny my
body and biology. However, if I acknowledge biology, my sexuality is defined from
a determinist perspective. I won't let that happen. Is the struggle for queer
rights any less valid if people choose their sexuality?
We do not know what it means to choose heterosexuality. No one ever has to justify
being straight or defend it as biological or chosen. If society weren't heterosexist,
no one would care about why people are queer. And we wouldn't be killing ourselves
trying to live in predetermined social categories.
In order for appreciation of queer sexuality, people need to recognize and explore
the possibility that they are not heterosexual, and not necessarily homosexual,
but a complex combination of both ends.
I do not want anyone to accept or tolerate queer sexuality. Tolerance and acceptance
stigmatize being queer into a problem that needs to be tolerated or accepted.
It doesn't take any courage to be homophobic in a society that hates queers and
In the end, I am left in the dark drowning, searching for a reality. I have no
answers, only questions and define myself in oppositional terms. Is it possible
to have a positive and accurate queer identity in a society that is both heterosexist
and homophobic? Is trying to do so only an attempt to conform to unacceptable
social ideals? Is it more important to break down heterosexuality rather than
basing an identity on a notion of other? Is there such a thing as queer identity?
The above writing is from a pamphlet I wrote for an art project and lately issues
of sexuality and relationships have been running through my head constantly. It
is something I am continually struggling with and always searching for some sort
of truth to apply to my life.
It seems as though most of the time I find myself being attracted to other boys.
I don't have a problem with being queer but I continually second guess myself
and somehow try to make sense of or justify this attraction. It doesn't seem like
I can. I think about what exactly it is that attracts me to boys and I feel like
an asshole for placing more value on one particular gender. In my every day relations
I don't distinguish or value my boy friends more than my woman friends but it
seems I make this distinction in my head where I am usually more sexually attracted
to boys. It always seems to come down to one thing. There is nothing in particular
about boys that attracts me to them other than "good looks." It usually
doesn't go much further than that. I can't appreciate masculinity in any of its
forms and when I hang out with other "men" I am generally nervous and
uncomfortable. I know that I don't belong in their social groups and woman hating,
racial slurring discussions.
There is this certain dynamic that always seems to occur with groups of men. When
men get together in groups they are these macho idiots who continually spout off
their bigotry. When a woman enters the room or conversation the fuck potential
suddenly expands and men suddenly turn into gentlemen. Women leave and comments
about nice asses are sure to follow. It makes me fucking sick and makes me wonder
how I can be attracted to "men."
On the other hand, I feel much more at ease when I am around women. I feel safe
and protected when I walk down the street with women. Women are fighters and warriors,
they have to be. Women are forced into roles where it is essential to fight just
to simply exist As a boy I have the luxury of wimping out and deciding not to
fight sexism, women don't.
I am not exactly sure where all of this gets me but I know that I am increasingly
less comfortable with calling myself gay and more comfortable saying that I am
queer. The term queer is a lot more open and ambiguous. I like that. I need to
stop limiting myself in terms of gender and relationships and work more towards
seeking beauty in everyone. Flush gender, we've tried it, doesn't work, let's
get rid of it.
As always, I love to hear what people
have to say or think so please get in touch, hopefully that is what this is
about. If you are interested in checking out more information on sexuality have
a look at the following: Homosexuality, Which Homosexuality? an essay by Carole
Vance, Homosexual Identity, Essentialism and Constructionism, an essay by Jan
Schippers and Queer By Choice, by Vera Whisman. I'd like to thank Lisa for giving
me a chance to use this forum and also everyone who has made me think more about
sexuality and gender roles.