Change Your World-NOT your Body

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Queering Gay and Lesbian Everything

How has the "queer" movement helped or harmed gay and lesbian issues, spaces, political gain?

dirt
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33 comments:

  1. I find that exclusive lesbian and gay cultures police their own members (perhaps inadvertently) too much. Sharing same-sex desire does not make a culture and many people are hard-pressed to find other people they relate to in the gay culture, unless they conform their own personalities and desires to the culture's standards. Queer culture has more diversity in terms of gender, gender-expression, kinds of relationships, and personal freedom. If you study history, you'll see that what was known as "gay" culture used to have alot more diversity within it but perhaps as we have more resources available, we have the privilege to separate ourselves out from each other. Not a good thing. Simply put, those old queens and drag queens and trannies RELIED on each other for survival. And I'll bet you anything that through that experience, they learned to love and understand people who were different from them. And to understand that people who are different can fight oppression together. From a queer perspective, gays who resent queer culture seem like gender-Nazis to me. Really more like fundamentalists - clinging to very conservative definitions. I don't trust groups who need to cling so desperately to an affinity so narrow.

    Finally, if you don't like queers, STAY AWAY FROM OUR FUCKING DANCE NIGHTS AND PARTIES!!!! Nobody cares if you define yourself as strictly gay, but don't come to a queer night and complain about there being men there, women there, trannies there, drag queens there, fat people there, disabled people there, people of color there, bisexuals there, or even butch women partnered with effeminate men. Create your own gay nights, DUH!!! I'll stay away, I promise!!

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  2. Dirt,

    Do you think subversivism is part of the problem? (The idea that being queer is more radical and therefore more feminist than being female or male is.

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  3. I find that "queer culture" is overly youth obsessed, disdainful of history (while laying claims to it or even changing it to fit the queer narrative), and superficially subversive. "Look! We're queering eating! We're queering this! We're queering that! Aren't we special?" To me, it seems a lot is based on appearances and rigidity, this obsessiveness with being different and with pooh poohing the work of gay men and lesbians in decades past. Despite the obsession in the female-majority queer culture with things male (and of course, gay male), there seems to be, for example, little knowledge about or interest in rising rates of HIV and crystal meth addiction.

    Dealing specifically with the issue vis a vis lesbians, I find the "queer scene" unwelcoming of lesbians - you get a sneer if you dare identify with the l-word. There is too much emphasis - for my personal taste - on making nice or appeasing to with "queer straights," and others, rather than an interest in and focus on women's rights (something that transcends lesbian, bi, straight, etc. but which obviously concerns lesbians very much). There is little awareness or care for issues of poverty, health care, child care (yes), etc. in the lesbian community and a definite class delineation. I would say that working class dykes are definitely invisible in the "queer culture," and if you've made any forays into it, you definitely feel that otherness and invisibility.

    The attitude above illustrates what I can only call queer brattiness to a T. I miss the days when "queer" didn't mean "women who sleep with men, but can get turned on by women, but really, are primarily / legally partnered with men and deeply concerned about maintaining their queer identity" "straight people who like to get their spankies on" and everything else under the sun other than "HOMO."

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  4. Whatever. I posted the above and I'm 39. I do not feel that I am a brat, but rather a person with a long history in both communities. Some of the points you made are good, especially regarding class, but I do not observe the lack of activism you claim to have found. Furthermore, I do find the "gay" moniker is accepted in queer places, but outward rejection of others is not. So it just seems that I prefer more open, tolerant society, while you would prefer to be segregated. Which is fine with me-I'd rather not run into you on the dance floor or at any of the political meetings I attend. Like I said-make your own nights, events, culture if you are only concerned about certain kinds of injustice. And don't tell me that queer has co-opted history. It's the other way around. If you've studied any of it yourself, you know that "gay" does not cover the wide array of people, genders, orientations and presentations that have suffered from being different than the majority.

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  5. Hmm "queer" hasnt co-opted anything historical?...lol Wonder where the post modernism baby got its name from!...lol

    dirt

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  6. For the anon who brought of subversion, there isnt anything subversive about "queer" politics or individuals. Queer keeps patriarchal structures and norms firmly in place which speaks to its popularity. And to go that extra mile, queers will literally drug and mutilate themselves to maintain long established patriarchal norms.

    dirt

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  7. I'm alarmed by how easily "queer" women have abandoned lesbian institutions and spaces in the name of "diversity"--only to end up with traveling parties that "take over" a straight or gay male bar once a month because no lesbian bars are left--even in major cities. And this is lauded as progress! It's actually a return to the 50s, when a lot of lesbian socializing was limited to private homes because there were no public places. But because these people don't seem to read, they don't know that. In general, "queers" strike me as very politically naive. Nearly every historically oppressed group understands the importance of "territory"--how it's better to have shelter than to be homeless, how it's better to be an owner than a renter, how it's better to have a country than to be a refugee. Not "queer" women, who glorify and romaticize having nothing of their own.

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  8. Questioning the social and individual merit of transitioning within the confines of patriarchy may be the most subversive thing one can do in this day and age. I am unsurprised that one commenter tried to label you "conservative" and came back with the accusation of you "prefer"ing to be "segregated." These are very specific talking points that attempt to label the accused as somehow socially unacceptable and politically out of touch.

    This is really the nature of the political left these days. They used to be the side that talked incessantly about dissent, but look how much of it they actually allow when the dissent is aimed at them. You can't even talk about how queer theory and the social acceptance of transitioning have corrupted feminism. To be pro-woman in any way is to be laughed at. I am unsurprised to find that lesbian bars have all but disappeared. There's definitely been a change in the culture in recent years, and the misogyny has been ramped way up, and it's coming from the left.

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  9. i really dislike the term "QUEER", historically its a derogatory work used to offend, much like FAGGOT, POOFTER, DYKE ECT..

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  10. :D said...

    i really dislike the term "QUEER", historically its a derogatory work used to offend, much like FAGGOT, POOFTER, DYKE ECT..

    Did you know that in the early 70's Lesbian was also considered a derogatory term? Then you have Dykes on Bikes and Dykes is a derogatory term used by folks against Lesbians.

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  11. "Did you know that in the early 70's Lesbian was also considered a derogatory term?"
    What utter bullshit. This is the sort of uncritical rewriting of history that queer does best. BEING lesbian was (and still is) considered shameful. That doesn't mean the WORD lesbian was a slur on lesbianism. Any more than the word homosexual was a slur on homosexuality. I'd ask you to produce your source for alleging that lesbian was a derogatory term for lesbianism but I won't bother because I know there is none. Only your conflation of bigotry against a behavior with the term defining that behavior.
    Read a book.

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  12. "Queer" women have become submissive to the whole inclusive movement. I can see how the all inclusive queer scene would and could work if in fact we were all standing with equal footing. But open your eyes- we as women are still not seen as equal at all. Men, even gay men are still paid more for the same jobs, are displayed on tv/media in a better light, etc, etc. Women are still very much second class citizens.
    There has been this obsession with the whole gay male culture socially and through the media, that displays them in a fashion forward, hip, cool manner and displays lesbians in a odd, out of place, uncool, unhip, old way. And the queer scene eats this up. And I think encourages it. Which is also why I think we see so many young lesbian girls turning to transition. Queer men get to be the funny, cool, perpetually hip, and stagnant in maturity- and this is excepted as a whole by our society. 'Lesbian' has become the old spinster cat lady on the hill that all the children are afraid of.

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  13. I think the young Lesbians are definately the most malleable in today's queer mix. To me that's the main concern.

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  14. "They used to be the side that talked incessantly about dissent, but look how much of it they actually allow when the dissent is aimed at them."

    This is truly hilarious. How can you "aim dissent" at a person and what they do with their own body? Transsexuals aren't exactly holding alot of political power at this point. And way to make constant victims out of lesbians. Is that really the idea you want to perpetuate? Lesbians have no power in the queer movement? False. Lesbians who just want a cookie for being special, lesbians who hate on men, transmen, and bisexuals have no power in the queer movement, because it's not a movement built on hate and separation. Lesbian bars close down because of queers? False. Lesbian bars usually close down because they are poorly managed and because lesbians don't go there. Ask a lesbian why, maybe it's because our parties are better.

    Come aim your "dissent" at my face, if you like. Come to the queer night and get in my face about being trans. I dare you.

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  15. funny how this one anon- i say one, because you so maturely seem to be obsessed with mentioning your cool queer parties.

    omg guuuurl. wake up, being gay/lesbian/queer is not just about the cool parties. maybe it is when your young or a alcholic.
    grow up.

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  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  17. anon @ 12:59

    "Come to the queer night and get in my face about being trans. I dare you."

    Real mature!
    Are you threatening?
    Real great way to argue your points.... hahahah
    I double dog dare ya LOL

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  18. ""Did you know that in the early 70's Lesbian was also considered a derogatory term?"
    What utter bullshit. This is the sort of uncritical rewriting of history that queer does best. BEING lesbian was (and still is) considered shameful. That doesn't mean the WORD lesbian was a slur on lesbianism. Any more than the word homosexual was a slur on homosexuality. I'd ask you to produce your source for alleging that lesbian was a derogatory term for lesbianism but I won't bother because I know there is none. Only your conflation of bigotry against a behavior with the term defining that behavior.
    Read a book.

    I beg to differ with you Gallus.. In the 70's in Berkeley if a Lesbian woman referred to herself as Lesbian it was politically incorrect.. Then a few years later if a Lesbian referred to herself as a Gay Woman it was politically incorrect and you were told it is now Lesbian. Then if you said you were a Lesbian Woman you were scoffed at and called redundant. I lived it. I don't need to read a book. It is those who lived it who write the books.

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  19. Not that any of you would admit it, but I wonder if what you can't handle is being less "special". Going out to queer nights and seeing all kinds of people means you can't be the most masculine (or whatever you want to call it) person in the room. It also means nobody is gonna necessarily think you are great and give you props JUST because you are lesbian. And if they do, then they are sorely mistaken, because you are just a human-no better no worse. I can appreciate wanting to commune with others who understand your particular intersection of experience around sexual attraction or gender and I do the same once in awhile. But in general, I think that exerting too much control over who you interact with is a way to be a big fish in a little sea. You can reject that idea if you like, but that won't make it untrue.

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  20. I'm no fan of post-modernism or necessarily young trendy queer stuff, but I am a transsexual, and was born a transsexual just like lesbians are born lesbians and gay men were born gay. Neurobiologically, I have always been male and will always be male. Transsexuality is a real medical condition and for the rare individuals who happen to have been born this way, medically transitioning greatly alleviates body dysphoria and can lead to a much better life. Being a transsexual is my reality, and being male is an innate intrinsic part of who I am and something that I have felt since I could think. Questioning, pathologizing and degrading the lives of transsexuals, is no different than what people once said and thought about homosexuality. You can take your anger out on trans people all you want, but you're only harming yourself. Just like gay people, we have always existed and will always continue to exist. You are targeting the wrong group of people.

    I do think that sometimes young trendy no-it all queers can be obnoxious, especially "tranny chasers" and the like, but I think there is some value in queer theory. To me "queer" is the notion that the genitals with which one happens to be born do not define who you are, how you should behave, or who you should love. Obviously society is structured to benefit men, and women and lesbian spaces are certainly important in their own right. But again trans people have absolutely no institutional power in society and the focus of your entire blog is ridiculing, shaming, and pathologizing transsexuals.

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  21. Thanks, anon, for making my point. I verbally dissent from your point of view and you want to pick a physical fight. That's dissent from the multi-culti set for ya. It only works one way.

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  22. Um, the whole point to funfems insisting that they are "sex positive" is to position literally everybody else as a prude. It's one of those "moving the goal post" deals. In order to qualify as "not a prude" somebody has to walk around with a horse's tail hanging out their ass.

    Queer crap reminds me of that^. If queer is so fucking open, then why precisely do you exclude everyone who doesn't conform to your narrow standards?

    If queer was indeed truly "tolerate of diversity" then logically queer would include everyone and anything, no matter how prudish they are. And that's exactly the problem -- when the "standard" is "everyone who breathes" then what's the fucking point?

    It becomes just another word for feminism. Except, feminism is vehemently opposed to unhealthy internalizations of sexism and misogyny, so in order to justify your continued sexism and misogyny queer folks just change the name of the umbrella they huddle under.

    It's bullshit.

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  23. On an individual level, many of the queer folks are quite nice. And a huge amount of fun. But I notice there aren't too many old people who identify as queer, probably because they grow up and move on to more serious pursuits.

    Keep in mind that originally, "queer" only meant some kid on ecstasy waving a rainbow colored glo-stick around, trying to shock their parents.

    google image result for "queers"

    It's just a bunch of kids. Now google old queers

    Hello.

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  24. Yeah well every time another transperson calls a woman a "c***", I suppose you would insist that foments respect?

    It's a two way street. Besides that, the two black women who assualted the transperson DIDN'T EVEN KNOW THEY WERE ASSUALTING WAS A TRANSGENDERED PERSON.

    You are literally imagining total bullshit.

    http://gendertrender.wordpress.com/2011/04/26/chrissy-dont-play/

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  25. (less) irritated psych postgradApril 27, 2011 at 10:08 PM

    From a usually-welcome ally's point of view (usually-welcome meaning I brew good coffee and keep my mouth shut) "queer" embraces a lot more cultural aspects of homosexuality than "gay and lesbian" which, given I am not in the USA, was usually co-opted by white people. It allows the intersection of culture and sexuality by allowing for someone to identify themselves as "fa'afine" (for example) without insisting they use the dominant paradigm and call themselves "gay" - a label which may not embrace their cultural experiences with their own homosexuality.
    Thus "queer" groups allow for identification with the wider GLBT community, and for identification with their own experience of gayness.

    I would say the reason that "queer" tends to be a younger kind of group is that it is now safer to come out as "queer" - and also young people are at a stage when they have time and inclination to do the parties, groups, clubs, whatever... Older gays and lesbians have jobs, partners, families. They are not in the first blush of no parents, alcohol, sex, and being "who you are" the way college students are.

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  26. Miss A,

    Spot on per usual, love you common sense approach to ignorance btw!

    dirt

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  27. "Public incidences of violence against trans people all over the media such as the latest incident in a McDonald's in Baltimore tend to get me angry"

    THIS! This is exactly what transpeople ALWAYS do. Crying out loud because of violence and twisting the facts until it fits for them. You guys are nothing but bigots and hypocrites.

    For all the crybabys out there, here are some facts aboute the McDonald's incident and Chrissy:

    1. He wasn't beaten up for using the restroom
    2. HE WASN'T BEATEN UP FOR BEING TRANSGENDER FOR GOD'S SAKE.
    3. He was beaten up because one girl thougt he was flirting with her boyfriend. Even Chrissy himself said this!
    4. Did you know that Chrissy has been charged with seven distinct criminal clusters over a two year period, including check forgery, malicious destruction, theft, prostitution, and charges of assault against three different people- all of whom were women (one was his grandmother) (thanks GallusMag)

    Transpeople don't even care about the truth! It's just pathetic.

    cizz from europe

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  28. add to that list the fact that she/he was drunk during the incident.

    and imho- the so called seizure was totally fake. my partner has a seizure disorder and they really do not look like that.

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  29. Okay there are fucked up people in the world, but you can't generalize all trans folk. There are people in every community that jumps to conclusions. Peoples ignorance is pathetic.

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  30. "Okay there are fucked up people in the world, but you can't generalize all trans folk"

    Then why didn't anyone from these guys told the truth about the McDonald's incident instead of crying out loud? Because it's obvious they don't care. The only thing they do is playing the victim card.

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  31. its funny how they always say you can't generalize etc, etc.

    funny they always say it to every single example provided on this website.

    funny too that they claim there is no significant insurge of ftms suddenly making it a trend- yet we continue to find new ones every week so easily.
    and of the new young ones every week you can listen to their own youtubes and find the same exact reasons as to why they 'feel' like a boy.

    but we shouldn't generalize- no way!

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  32. Generalization makes negative stereotypes. People judge people on these negative stereotypes automatically without knowing them. Which can cause automatic hate from others. Which is why we should not generalize communities.

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  33. If individuals disagree with queer theory and its white conservative patriarchal practices and do no wish to be judge on the abominable behaviour of that community, than as an individual I suggest they do not ID as "queer".

    dirt

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