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Tuesday, 27 April 2004

Queer

Apparently, in the brave new world of critical theory, you don't need to be um, queer to be queer. Stright people can also be queer. As long as you're somehow oppositional to the mainstream. Also, somehow by this definition, the A-Gays or other privledged folks are not queer, even if they are LGBTTFAGIetc.

what a queer idea.

I don't want to be heteronormative for saying het people can't be "politically queer" nor do I otherwise want to be any sort of wet blanket but: do not appropriate my identity! If you have always been the gender you are now and have no problems with it and it matche yer body and the people you like are always of the opposite sex, then yer not queer. Sorry. You can be really special and interesting and nifty, but you can't be queer.

A brief history lesson: as few as five years ago and maybe still for all i know, the word "queer" was controversial when used by LGBT folks, because it was/is still used as an insult. People get/got beat up by angry folks calling them "queer." So when a group formed called Queer Nation, they were really radical for using that in their name. They were a direct action group that would do things like have sit ins where they would chant "We're here! We're queer! Get used to it!" Such was the era that a bunch of people sitting around, chanting, calling themselves queer was very newsworthy. the group was controversial. why did they have to be so in-your-face and unclosetted?

So when you use the word queer now, to self identify as LBGTTFAGIetc, you are doing so as a person reclaiming language. You are taking an insult upon yourself and saying, "yes i am queer. i am a sodomite. I am just as you say and I am proud of it. Now what are you going to do about it?" this is a powerful and important thing to do. It is claiming identity and seizing the terms of debate. It is liminal, it is transitionary, it is taking a leap. It is part of a tradition of queer activism that started before stonewall.

If you are striaght and you beleive in queer rights, then I saulte you. But you are not queer. when you say that you are, you take a powerful symbol and dilute it. you take a word that people took serious risks to reclaim and you are removing it's meaning. this is a meaning that people were arrested to claim. they were beatten up to claim it. they lost their jobs. It's not something to be taken lightly. words are powerful. If you're het, the word queer does not belong to you anymore. It was wrested from your control and seized by the people to whom it refers. Now put it down. It does not refer to you.

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