The straight-gay binary is inadequate because it creates two very definitive boxes in which people must squeeze themselves into. Those boxes come with a list of characteristics that are specified to each one as well; any cross-over might mean you actually belong in the other box, and identity confusion is the last thing that anyone wants. "Queer" exposes the fact that nobody fits into either of those boxes perfectly and opens up a realm of possibilities: if nobody fits into boxes and nobody can subscribe perfectly to those lists of straight/gay characteristics, then what? "Queer" says that people can identify along any spectrum within sex, gender, and sexuality (among other things) and that, though labels might be useful, they are not definite or necessary. "Queer" also exposes the societal scripts that everyone has been given and shows people that, though society pressures us all to follow those scripts to the letter, it doesn't fit everyone. In fact, those scripts often perpetuate harmful aspects of society, like heteropatriarchy, for example. In the end, this reveals that, even though society has told us that heterosexuality is "normal", "desirable", and even "necessary", "queer" tells us that we can throw that idea out the window. That all identities are valuable and have a place in society, even if we have to fight for that place. This becomes an important component of what and how things are normalized within society, and through what means they are normalized.
TrackBack URL: http://blog.lib.umn.edu/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/176288