Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Queer Freak

Both of these are words that I identify with quite strongly. And I often find myself wondering why.

Both are outsider words. Words saying "I'm not normal"

My mother wanted terribly for me to be "normal" - is it simply "rebellion" - almost 20 years since the end of teenage, for me?

I am a lesbian, and started using the word "queer" as simply something "easier" than saying "gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender" to identify my community (even before I knew any trans folks, I identified them as my community - as "other")

Now I think it is evolving. It means something to others that I'm not sure I understand. I found this on Wikipedia, it's the closest thing I've found to what I'm talking about:

"Because of the context in which it was reclaimed, queer has sociopolitical connotations, and is often preferred by those who are activists, by those who strongly reject traditional gender identities, by those who reject distinct sexual identities such as gay, lesbian, bisexual and straight, and by those who see themselves as oppressed by the heteronormativity of the larger culture. In this context "queer" is not a synonym for LGBT and many activist groups accept the acronym LGBTQ as preferable to the less inclusive LGBT."

We are having an adult education forum at meeting on what "bi" and "queer" mean, as we are working towards a greater understanding in our meeting of GLBTIQ issues (I is for intersex, again, I know no one who identifies this way, at least who identifies to me this way) And I wonder if I "count" as "queer" - I see it somehow as breaking the rules, or challenging the rules. And I find that some of my inclinations are quite traditional.

I am a lesbian, yes, but I am also monogamous (profoundly so), and would like to be married someday. The idea of marriage has deep meaning to me. I am not "into" S/M (not the least little bit), etc. There are many many "rules" that I do not break.

But for me, I think, the key is that I don't break them because I have no incliation to. I don't feel that G-d will strike me down (or even think less of me) if I have more than one sexual partner. I simply know that it would be the wrong path for me.

I even have straight, monogamous friends who I think of as "queer" - not because they do anything to stand out, but because I have faith that they act on their hearts, and their leadings. I believe that no part of their heterosexuality is rooted in fear of G-d or society, but its entirety is rooted in the calling of their hearts (and the rest of their bodies!)

I know lesbians who I do not tend to think of as "queer" because they seem to have an investment in "blending in" - a question of looking for your piece of the pie, rather than thinking about massive redistrubution of pie, or even about having tapioca pudding instead (I am having tapioca cravings lately)


I don't know so much about "freak" - I think I have just felt like one all my life, and like "reclaiming" the words "dyke" or "queer" - It's been a process of saying, to the "mainstream" - "yes, you are right, I am not like you, I am in some ways profoundly different, and that is something that I cherish, now that I have come to fear it less"

5 comments:

Sebastian said...

I think the semantics of a definition will always fall short to describe an individual, no single individual can be contained in just one word, i think it's a very important step for the rest of the world to stop putting stigmas on groups that aren't part of the majority, especially as everyone is different. Self definition can be important sometimes but one may subconsciously commit the error of craving to belong to a group and then it's when definitions become too definite. In one way or another we all are victims of the stereotypes imposed by society, that's what we have to escape.

earthfreak said...

so true, sebastian

I find that I struggle to find a label that "fits" - and that more and more it just sends me further into confusion.

I think the desire to "belong" is so strong, even, sometimes, if it's to a not-so-desirable group (alcoholic, mentally ill - I have seen people grasp these labels as their most important defining factors, and it scares me)

That's part, I think, of why I "label" myself a "freak" - a declaration that I don't fit labels, really. (though weirdly backwards, as that is one.

Odd thing about blogs. That all seemed important to say yesterday, and now I'm not sure what my point was.....

:)

Sebastian said...

I think to that one could say: Thus the light works. I think acceptance is an odd phenomenon in how deeply it can affect an individual and it calls for us to discern our reasons and why is our heart leading us to the doors we are knocking. I don't particularly think that acceptance or fear acceptance should be something that has a say in someone's actions. I recommend this poem by charles bukowski: http://www.americanpoems.com/poets/Charles-Bukowski/4442

Liz Opp said...

Thanks for lifting up some of these important points, Earthfreak. I love the reference from Wikipedia: it resonates for me...

I also like how you openly explain your reclamation of the word "freak," your concept of the word "queer," and a number of other pieces.

And your last line certainly speaks to my condition in relation to whether my meeting and I are good fits with each other. I have begun to be more open in acknowledging to some Friends:

"yes, you are right, I am not like you, I am in some ways profoundly different, and that is something that I cherish, now that I have come to fear it less"

Thanks for giving me food for thought.

Blessings,
Liz, The Good Raised Up

Zach A said...

"I even have straight, monogamous friends who I think of as "queer" - not because they do anything to stand out, but because I have faith that they act on their hearts, and their leadings. I believe that no part of their heterosexuality is rooted in fear of G-d or society, but its entirety is rooted in the calling of their hearts (and the rest of their bodies!)"

This was a wonderful thing to read. I recently stopped identifying as straight, so maybe now it's a moot point, but — I feel like I have carried around for the past few years something that might be called "straight guilt", feeling like being straight (and male) means one is both repressed and an oppressor, like the "white guilt" that many whites involved in antiracism feel. I appreciate your good faith.