Straight people identifying as queer runs from ugly appropriation to beautiful idealism


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/07/13/straight-people-identifying-as.html


#2

I wonder at the effect of those who are referred to as queer but aren’t but don’t feel moved to address the misconception. Bo Burnham comes to mind, and there are a number of personalities who seem to affect some stereotypical “fem” behaviors as part of their character (Moshe Kasher’s femme-nerd hybrid*).

If it is appropriation is it productive appropriation? Does it create a “safe space” culturally for those entitled to those expressions to use them?

It seems like the appropriation of black/hip-hop culture hasn’t done a lot to make a safe space for people of color.

/*I say it’s affect because he literally went from a hip-hop kind of character to his current persona. Bo burnham seems to not have any affect, other than being I guess sort of mellow and not aggressive.


#3

Back before I realised I was attracted to all genders and sexes I had queer friends tell me I might be heterosexual, but I wasn’t straight. Clearly they recognised my queerness before I did.


#4

I’ve had a lot of buddies that are bi/pan and they get told they are appropriating queer identities when they are with the opposite sex. It gets very ugly.


#5

Sometimes people will play the “blank” card. It’s a thing that does happen. I used to play music and dance at an underage queer-centric club when I was young. The club was welcoming to straight people as long as they knew whose club it was and I was a part of that scene and most people knew me at least well enough to hive me the “hello nod”, but sometimes someone would get mad at me for “coming off as gay” or “looking gay”, because they maybe were in to me and I wasn’t in to them so they got pissed. But if you’re actually part of that scene with friends people will have your back. Sucks to be a new person in any social scene, though.

/The thing is, it was a new wave/goth scene. Eyeliner and foundation was just how you looked if that was your scene.


#6

Re: gay folk who trash your bi/pansexuality. Their defensiveness is an invitation to be dragged, and it’s so easy that caution should be taken. The sad fact is that constellation of contempt and identity indicates someone who hasn’t reflected on the political dimension of their own sexuality and who has hidden currents of self-loathing.


#7

Crazy thing, pretty much any type of person can exhibit ugliness. True equality!


#8

I’m naturally a bit of an empath, and often start to unconsciously “mimic” the person or group I am with. Not a surprise I ended up in Biz Dev, I guess. I don’t see this as a bad thing, and I think to the point Rob made, people who get angry over people who are really the closest allies… Well, they have other axes to grind most of the time in my opinion. As I said in the other comment, Yay! Look at this, we can ALL be assholes! Maybe it is a fuller definition of what equality means. And in a sense, that means that sometimes the person who’s a [insert minority group here] is really just an asshole, and doesn’t actually represent a real trend, in terms of people who they also happen to resemble along just one definition of their personality.

It’s funny to me, how much humans so home in on the extreme outliers, in terms of how they define things.


#9

I ran from the label queer as hard as I could when I was a kid. It was a hated term used to cull certain people from the herd. It scared me that my thoughts and feelings might earn me such a label. In retrospect I never really came all that close to being the queer associated with today’s enlightened and exalted Queers. I was just a weird-o who was sometimes suspected of being " a queer". It sure as hell would have helped if there had been an owners manual available to kids…some kind of honest and open way to figure out where your particular kind of individual weirdness might fit. Come to think of it though most of us kids were queer little mutts. We were an unsorted mess of ideas and abilities formed by whatever world we’d been pitched into. If queer had just meant weird, strange or adventurous then I would have been happy to claim my queerness. But in my part of rural southern Illinois queer really meant just one thing. It meant that way you sometimes felt for a certain other boy and you knew it wasn’t an ok way to feel.
It’s a pretty tasty bit of irony to think that Queer is an honorific bestowed or self proclaimed by some folks whether or not someone of their own gender gives them a special tingle in their magic parts. I guess if someone wants to be a Queer they ought to feel free to announce it in word or deed or out in the barn loft. There’s a helluva lot worse things to be besides Queer.


#10

There’s a whole article on that on Wikipedia

I ended up coming across it when I kept having gay and straight people tell me that I don’t exist because bisexual males are a myth or faking.


#11

It’s funny, because being a bisexual male in terms of sexual identity is pretty much down there in the pits, in terms of acceptance or even remotely having a community to identify with. Not sure why anyone would fake it. Or perhaps so proclaims my inner, non-prolaimed or realized “Q” tag. :wink:


#12

Well, these days, I don’t really call myself bisexual, because it seems rather narrow. I generally just don’t bring it up unless asked, and when I am, I typically say either queer, or “I’m attracted to attractive people”. Plus a lot of bi-identifying people I know seem to be squicked out by trans* people, and that’s just not even a consideration for me. If they’re pretty or I like them, then the genitals or gender really doesn’t mean much as far as I’m concerned.

Really it’s complicated. Ever since I was on prozac for several years, I don’t really have a libido to speak of anyway. But before then I was firmly into anyone who had an interest in me who wasn’t actively rotting.


#13

yeah, that is really a shame seeing as if you study history and look closely bisexuality has been with us strongly for as long as there has been people. people often rewrite parts of history that they are uncomfortable with. polyamory gets the same treatment of denial.

bigotry likes to keep people in neat little easily defined boxes. how are you supposed to know who to hate if the world is full of an endless variety of beautiful unique people?


#14

Jenna Wortham wrote a fascinating article about the pros and cons of straight people identifying as queer.

…wrote a fascinating article about the pros and cons of girls identifying as geeks
…wrote a fascinating article about the pros and cons of men identifying as feminists
…wrote a fascinating article about the pros and cons of Republicans identifying as patriots
…wrote a fascinating article about the pros and cons of Latinos identifying as classical music fans
…wrote a fascinating article about the pros and cons of light-skinned African-Americans identifying as black
…wrote a fascinating article about the pros and cons of web content repackagers identifying as journalists

I get that these aren’t all perfect analogies, but if you’re starting from the premise that X’s claim to Y identity is invalid because you prefer to substitute your own judgment that Z is X’s exclusively appropriate identity, then there’s really no point in a discussion about it. You’ve already decided.


#15

Wait, so we may be dealing with some sort of biological spectrum rather than a definitive “black and white” situation? In biology? Weeeiiiiirrrrrdddddd… (bloody f-ing sarcasm for those who are sarcasm impaired).

On the bi-pan issue, I think that there are a lot of people who have suffered for their identity and just honestly get mad at people who they see as “not committing” to being queer. They’ve suffered and struggled, why aren’t you willing to fight to that degree?

Also, it doesn’t help that a lot of people when they’re figuring out/coming to terms with their sexuality tend to start off by saying “I’m bi”, which later transitions to “I’m gay” or “I’m a lesbian”. It doesn’t seem at all difficult to understand that this would be a normal “easing” from one identity to another, but therein lies the problem. I think a lot of the “haters” can remember when they decided that they were bi, only to later “fully commit” and they don’t understand (since they finally decided that they were “fully” homosexual) that someone could be some shade in between.


#16

Draw a circle on a picture of a crowd. Draw a line through it to separate the groups equally. See if you can find a way to make the two sides more distinct from eachother than diverse.

Or… don’t and continue to insist you’re right.

Because that’s at least convincing.

Perception is real in its effects. Even when it’s baseless.

That’s just… how you.get it wrong and keep fucking up.


#17

I remember (many) years back an op/ed piece in a university newspaper complaining about all the straight/gay/lesbians because we all did not realize we we all wrong and we were all bisexual (pan would probably have been better but not probably use much at that point). I remember it being very angry and shouty writing how the rest of us were doing it wrong.


#18

“Someday, maybe we’ll recognize that queer is actually the norm, and the notion of static sexual identities will be seen as austere and reductive. .”

Fluidity exists. So does non fluidity. I unfortunately see people using the existence of fluidity to deny trans people’s existence at times. Or argue that trans kids should be encouraged to not be trans- sometimes with coercive therapy. Often from people who aren’t themselves sexually fluid.

Funny old world


#19

When I first encountered the term “genderqueer” and thought “wait, it’s not just me?” I also thought “I really hate that word, though” because I have the same childhood associations.

“Queer” is what the bullying jocks called basically everybody else in middle school in the 80s. Because if you were socially awkward and/or noncomformist in any way, obviously it meant you were gay and therefore some kind of lesser being.


#20

Which is ironic because I see trans people using fluidity to deny lesbians existence at times.

(I’m not being funny, I’ve seen this, and its disturbing.)