I’m Not Queer

September 10, 2013 — 39 Comments

I have been somewhat taken to task by a reader who felt a recent post wasn’t quite up to snuff for an “apparently queer blog.” But before I begin, I want to clarify that this isn’t a rebuttal-slam post. The comment simply set my noggin wheels to spinning and this is a product of that spin cycle.

I also want to make it clear that this post is all about my feelings and perceptions. I don’t claim that anything does or should apply to anyone else. Everything expressed is based upon what occurs in the exclusive realm of my thought universe. Like most things in my life, it is all about me. Me. Me. Me.

The disclaimers above are there because the reader’s comment made me realize that I get a little freaked out when someone is mad at me. While I’m fine with saying things that may make a person think or even disagree with my position, I’d rather stay away from stirring up trouble. I prefer the comments on my blog to be funny or clever or insightful, to which I reply in kind and we both skip away happily, looking forward to reading each others next post.

I also decided that I am not queer.

In my experience, like dyke or fag, queer is a word with negative connotations – one that might be said with pride or affection by some in the community, but still derogatory or an epithet when used by “outsiders.”

0028 Not Queer 04I remember that a popular recess activity when I was in school was playing Kill The Quarterback, the goal of which was to tackle the shit out of whomever had the ball and was, therefore, “It.” A variation of the game was Smear The Queer. The major difference being that in the first version, one was willing to hang onto the ball because being “It” meant being The Quarterback, and the glory of that was worth the risk of being subjected to a thorough pummeling. In the latter version, the player would attempt to get rid of the ball as quickly as possible to minimize the humiliating time spent being The Queer.

The post to which the reader took exception wasn’t about LGBT issues, but rather one where I had (or had attempted to have) a little fun with vegetarians, non-smokers and TV shunners. This leads me to surmise that being queer is not just about sexual orientation, but includes other aspects of ones life as well. Personally, when it comes to identifying my orientation, I prefer to keep my sexual preference separate from everything else. My physical and emotional attraction to women is something I was born with, everything else is a choice – I don’t see that one has anything to do with the other.

If being queer encompasses things like dietary choices, I think I may be expected to shop at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods Market, that perhaps I’ll have to spend the extra money to buy organic produce or opt for brown rice over white. By those standards, my generous gift-giving friend Gillette is queer. Something that will likely come as quite the surprise to both her and her boyfriend.

I can’t be sure, but if I were queer I might have to marching in, or at least attend, gay pride parades. Marching is a lot like hiking which, despite being a lesbian, I don’t enjoy. And in my opinion, the only form of entertainment worse than mimes is a parade. I also think I could be required to put stickers on my car (which should probably be a hybrid or electric) announcing my political opinions or for whom I’m voting in the next election. Not only do I consider those things personal and not the business of whomever happens to be driving behind me, that sticky stuff is a bitch to get off your bumper.

Being queer also seems to have political implications, like caring about social issues and being serious about feminist stuff. I get the impression I’d have to fight the patriarchy, rebel against gender stereotypes, refer to herstory instead of history and stop objectifying women. I fear that I’d be confined to appreciating someone’s inner-beauty and not allowed to check out a hottie and give her an approving, “Dayummm!” And I’m pretty sure lusting after straight, mini-van driving, spawn-shuttling soccer moms is strictly verboten. Perish the thought!

I get the feeling that being queer means preferring to frequent gay or gay-friendly establishments, attend gay events or go see gay performers and limited vacation destinations to places like Palm Springs, San Francisco and P-Town. I’m all for spending time with and supporting my peeps and their businesses, but I need variety. I follow blogs by gay and lesbian writers and nominate them for awards, and I do the same with the heteronormative bloggers I admire and enjoy. I’m all about spreading the love!

Outside the blogosphere I also surround myself with a melange of people, places and things. I think when you limit your associations to those who think like and agree with you, and your experiences to ones that are safe and non-threatening, you run the risk of assuming or expecting that like your insular existence, the rest of the world should conform to your expectations. And when it doesn’t, feelings of dismay and resentment occur, resulting in an “us & them” existence. This isn’t just a queer thing, or a gay-straight thing … it applies to race, religion, politics or any of the other ways we separate ourselves.

I’m a liberal, pro-choice, gun-control, meat-eating, atheist lesbian. My friends include heterosexuals, born-again Christians, right-wingers, vegans, gun nuts and pro-lifers. Aside from the major issues on which our points of view differ, we get along just fine. I scroll past the political messages, Bible verses and quinoa recipes they post on Facebook, just as I’m sure they skip over my irreverent jabs at all the things they hold dear.

Part of the beauty of having friends like this is the on-going reminder that people are more alike than different – one little NRA membership doesn’t mean someone is all bad and can’t be my friend. Similarly, I think that knowing me (for some I’m their first gay friend) has established a realization that gay folk are mostly just like them – that they only real difference is who we have hot sexy-time with.

I feel like being queer might mean saying not only “accept me”, but “agree with me” – and I just don’t expect that. There are things about people that I neither accept nor agree with; and I think it’s hypocritical to hold my sexual-orientation up as something special and different that must be embraced. However, regardless of whether I accept or agree with something, barring total douche-baggery on their part, I’ll give a person my respect … and will probably even like them. I ask only the same.

Again, this is all my perception and my definition of queer. Yours may differ. My intent is only to explain my decision not to identify as such, not to disparage those who do. Amongst the friend melange I mentioned above are a few who are here, they’re queer, I’m used to it. And they’d probably be the first to say that although we like each other, we’re not a lot like each other. However, if I’ve in any way offended anyone, I apologize. Please don’t give me a comment beat-down.

I just like to keep things basic and find it tough enough keeping up with the complexities of simply being a lesbian – Is she lipstick or femme, stud or butch? And what the hell is a stem or a futch? Is that a girl or a boi? Do I say she looks pretty and cute, or handsome and dashing? I still have no idea which pigeon-hole I’m supposed to roost in, and really don’t care all that much – unless, of course, it will somehow help me pick up chicks. Because if that’s the case, then slap me on the ass and call me Sally – I’ll wear whatever label you want!

39 responses to I’m Not Queer

  1. 

    To me queer is a political word.if I identify as queer it would mean I have an issue with labeling myself because I shouldn’t have to and I want to show my solidarity to my gay, lesbian, no, trans, questioning, curious, and whatever other letter had been added to the ever growing acronym.

    I have no problem identifying as gay.ii an only attracted to men and gay worksto describe who I have sex with. Ikeep up with politics and have very definite mostly liberal beliefs but I’m not politicizing my sexuality.I don’t set out to make out with my partner everywhere I know it’s going to be an issue simplto make it an issue. So I don’t identify as queer…but if someone else wanted to put me in that group because that’s how they want to categorize me I wouldn’t have a problem with it.

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    • 

      I agree, very political! And that’s part of my why I don’t identify as queer. I don’t need/want other people, particularly strangers, telling me how to live my life …

      “Perhaps if we lived in a country where I didn’t have to pay for your animal-fat
      induced heart disease and your smoking-induced throat cancer, then people like you who think it’s wrong to shoot for something higher in life might change your way of thinking (and consequently your lifestyle).
      Sincerely, someone who expected something much better from an apparently queer blog.”

      I’m a disappointment because as as a bacon-eating smoker, I don’t conform to the standard definition of someone who’s queer “lifestyle.” I’m not sure what her not shooting for something higher part is about, because I don’t recall mentioning my inherent laziness and lack of ambition. Maybe she just got a bacon-eater, smoker, slacker vibe from me.

      It also seems that she thinks views herself as someone different from, and probably superior to me. Generally, when you refer to someone as “you people,” it’s a pretty safe bet you’re looking down on them at the time.

      I find it ironic that a person who feels entitled to dictate to me the rules of being queer, actually ends up being a perfect example of why I won’t identify that way. I simply don’t want to have anything to do with anyone willing pass judgement on people just for being different than her.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. 

    Thank you. Just think what your correspondent would think of a woman who calls herself the Family Values Lesbian.

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  3. 

    I think if I am going to stereotype you, it is not going to be on your love of women. Rather, on your love of topiary.

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  4. 

    Yay you’re gay! Love it!

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  5. 

    Deeply insightful, and extremely well stated. Does that get me off the hook for being late again?? 😉

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  6. 

    Awesome post, you make some great points!

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  7. 

    Of course, it should be “whoever has the ball,” but that’s a tiny point … this writing sings with power and passion. Gosh. Thanks for this! WOW.

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    • 

      Power and passion? Oh stop, you’re embarrassing me! Thank you so much! I really appreciate the compliment.

      PS: I know, but I kinda liked how the rougher “tackle the shit out of” contrasted with the more proper sounding “whomever,” so I took a risk. You got me! 🙂

      Like

  8. 

    Love this post! Continue being who you are and eff the stupid pigeon holes.

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  9. 

    I agree, brilliant post. Applauses from the peanut gallery in my living room.

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  10. 

    okay, you are brilliant! and awesome. also you make sense.

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  11. 

    I stopped refering to myself as “queer” a few years ago, because my partner really hates the word.

    The problem is that the English language needs a neutral word to refer to anyone in the whole LGBT spectrum. “Queer” has a certain amount of in-your-face sneer. “LGBT” is just too much of a mouthful. “Gay” might work.

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    • 

      Gay has always been my personal favorite. It’s cheery, it’s mono-syllabic and rhymes with a lot of stuff, so it’s great if you’re prone sign-waving and chanting … “Yay! I’m gay! And that’s okay!”

      What’s not to like??

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  12. 

    Hey, what’s wrong with mimes?! Now you’ve gone and pissed off the mime community. If they ever get passed walking against the wind you will be in big trouble missy! 🙂

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  13. 

    Can I slap you on the ass and call you Sally? Lol. Great post. Great queer blog? Is that like a gay wedding versus a regular wedding? (I say this with sarcasm.)

    Liked by 1 person

  14. 

    Buttercup, great post. I’m not boosting your ego and I’m being honest with you I agree with everything you said. I just hope that you genuinely wrote this post and didn’t feel the need to explain yourself to anyone.

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    • 

      The first time I walked into a gay bar I looked around, thought “so that’s what lesbians look like” and changed my appearance almost over night. I immersed myself in the culture and did all of the things I thought I was supposed to do – partly because I was young and impressionable, partly because I felt it was demanded by the community and partly because being in “the scene” was the best way to meet girls. Fast forward a million years and I’ve evolved to a point where I no longer feel that I have to fit neatly under any label nor conform to any standards.

      And truth be told, I was a little miffed that the person who commented on my post decided that just because I’m gay my blog has to be a “queer blog,” or implied that being a lesbian means I should deny myself bacon or be immune to nicotine’s addictive properties. It bothers me that we try to send the message that gays are just like everyone else, yet some insist on us being conformist clones. Not only is that boring, but if we want to be like the rest of society we have to have the freedom to be different and be whoever and whatever the hell we want to be – because in the “real world,” people are different.

      So yes, it’s genuine. I just didn’t see any reason to start a fight or be confrontational.

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      • 

        I hear you and I understand what you’re saying. The first time I walked into a lesbian bar I walked right out and said to myself this can’t be serious. I felt out of place and didn’t want to conform. I decided to find a feminine lesbian bar instead and struggled so I ended up sticking mostly to straight places or gay male places because fem women would be there. Now I rarely enter any of these places I can’t relate and I don’t feel obliged to. The scene has never really been my thing. In London in the 90’s there were few choices for women. The only time I’ve felt comfortable is in beirut, Lebanon. Although it’s illegal to be lgbt there there are many places where the community meets and the scene is out of this world.
        On a different note I liked your post, thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. 

    EXACTLY how I feel! The funny thing is two months ago I moved to a town where everyone hikes, is “crunchy” and marches in parades and attends rallies to support their causes. My gaydar is all messed up now. I don’t use “queer” to describe myself, but am not going to judge those who do. And I don’t know where I roost either. 😉

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  16. 

    Love this.
    And side note: My BF thinks it’s hot that I’m queer. We’re on our way to TJ’s for some organic veggies and brown rice now. It’s like foreplay!

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  17. 

    Well said, and written! Kudos to you….but wait, your atheist, and pro choice too? Even more to take in. 🙂 love the post!!

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  18. 

    “I feel like being queer might mean saying not only ‘accept me’, but ‘agree with me.'” That could be said for a lot of labels we push on ourselves and others.
    Well said. And you have nothing to apologize for.

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    • 

      I just figure that if I reject anyone who struggles with me being a lesbian, I’ll deny them the opportunity of experiencing all of my other awesomeness. And once they get to know me in that regard, the gay thing no longer seems like such a big deal.

      Like

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