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The straight-gay binary is extremely inadequate. There is a sliding scale of sexualities and genders and people can lie anywhere along that scale. It's not just gay or straight. I think Alfred Kinsey was right in his idea of sexuality being a scale, and it's like a bell curve where most people will end up in the middle somewhere. I wouldn't say that the word "queer" doesn't expose anything; it just allows us to have some sort of label without having to define your sexuality or gender, which is a valuable thing because there are some people who have a difficult time defining themselves.
When we acknowledge the existence of multiple sexualities and genders, we show that heterosexuality may not be as much of a majority as once thought. Since people are given more options to be who they truly are, they don't have to say that they are either gay or straight, they have a wide array of options to choose from, or not decide and just identify as queer.
In a way, I believe that identifying as queer is kind of an easy out because you don't have to really have to explain yourself, you can just be you. It's convenient because people can't always put how they feel into words. Also people are always growing and changing and sexuality is a part of the personality that continues to grow with the person.

4 Comments

I think it's really interesting what you said about sexuality and personality both developing as you grow older and mature. It does seem as though people grow more comfortable with themselves, and during this time, I'd say its definitely possible that people would also become more comfortable with sexuality throughout their lifetime.
I'm not sure if thinking about the word "queer" as an "easy out" is the correct way of looking at it however. I think that in many ways, living without a more definite label is more difficult for the majority of people, and I would say that this is arguably due to our organizational and categorical nature as humans. Most people prefer to look at the word in terms of labels, and so to make a statement that one is "queer" or without a definitive "label" is perhaps more difficult than prescribing to other pre-conceived labels.

I am also confused as to how queer is an easy way out. I don't feel as though queer will become a scapegoat to explaining oneself. I think the basis behind queer theory is that sexuality should be discussed in our everyday lives and if it were it would be reflected in our media and entertainment like movies. The definition of queer, as I understood it, was that sexuality issues and sexual desires are a big part of life and the problem with heteronormativity is that it forces people with any other sexual urges to the margins of societal representation. Also sexual orientation shouldn't have to be defined to others. Why should we walk around defending our sexual orientation? Who, what, when and where people participate in things related to sex is personal. Queer is a term that can be used to give voice to those that do not fit neatly into heteronormativity.

Your comment made me wonder if Kinsey's scale wouldn't be a bell-curve, with most people landing in the middle, if our society was different. What would the scale look like if we lived in a society that valued and respected the entire spectrum of the scale and didn't consciously or subconsciously force children in to thinking that straight is the correct/only acceptable lifestyle. Does the majority of the population "naturally" fall in the middle, with a minority of people "naturally" landing towards more gay/queer, or is that just what society sets up for us? I guess the current readings have me wondering what my sexual preference/orientation would be, had a grown up in a society that didn't hate on gays so much.

For the most part I find myself in agreement with your argument. I do however, disagree with your comment that identifying as queer is an "easy out", because in many cases, if you identify as queer, it causes people to ask more questions instead of less, and you are often more frequently prompted by others to explain what being queer means whereas if you identify as gay, nobody asks questions. I found that identifying as gay made things pretty simple, even though I might really fall closer to the middle of the spectrum. If you tell people you're queer they usually say "Oh so...wait, what does that mean? Is that like transsexual?" or "So you're gay? Or you're bi?". Despite the inclusiveness of this term, for anyone who isn't as aware of the broad spectrum of sexualities, they often fall back on the mainstream notions of gender and sexuality. I do agree though that the term queer makes a great umbrella term when referring to those who have difficulty with labels, and also when referring to the LGBT community at large because it is such an inclusive term.

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This page contains a single entry by bode0156 published on January 29, 2012 5:13 PM.

Imperfection in Societal Dialogue was the previous entry in this blog.

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