WHAT IS QUEERING?
To me queering/queerness/and queer represents a way to look at things through a non-normative lens. A lens that challenges dominant ideologies and forms of heteronormativity. It troubles and calls into question the notion of "comfortable". My all time favorite quote so far of the semester is Haraway's, "queer functions variously as an interpellating gesture that calls on them to resist, reclaim, invent oppose, defy, make trouble for, open up, enrich, facilitate, disturb, produce, undermine, expose, make visible, critique, reveal, more eyond, transgress, subvert, unsettle, challenge, celebrate, interrogate, counter, provoke and rebel." In my opinion, this is ultimately what Queer/Queerness/Queering mean. To be a troublemaker!
When engaging with The Digital Queer: Weblogs and Internet Identity by Julie Rak, she discusses how online media can be used as a space to think about "queer identity, electronic identity, and liberal discourses of identity based on individual agency, unity, and the primacy of individual experiences important to many in the Western world". Here, blogging can be used as a method of creating queer communities and ways of showing the world that Queer is also Normal. I think since online media is inherently unstable, it can be called Queer in itself. Blogs are used to "write oneself into existance for others to read and comment on". Online media, to me, is Queer in itself, so Queerness online can be further complicated and almost pushed to the limits of normative. Pullen also points out that "we are living in a world where the discursive potential of an "imagined gay community" seems vividly real through online interactivity and identity affirmations". The web can be used as a queer space to share stories and lifestyles that are REAL and normal to the people that live them and blog about them.
Although online access comes with certain privileges, it is one way in which people can use Queerness to find a sense of community, or a online space, that verifies their lived experiences and existance.
Another space where Queerness can be examined is pedegogy. Queerness within classrooms. This class in itself is a type of Queer pedegogy in that it's not a normal structure (tests, class structure, papers, and a strict teacher to student relationship). Luhmann suggests that, "a Queer pedagogy exceeds the incorporation of queer content into curricula and the worry over finding teaching strategies that make this content more palatable to students". So what does a Queer classroom look like? OUR CLASSROOM! This class is definitely the most queer form of curriculum I've ever taken part in, regardless of it being a GWSS/GLBT course. It's interactive, we can comment on our peers work, we are forced to be assertive and engaging, and taught to think outside the normative lens of curriculum.
So, what is queer then?
A few Luhmann quotes:
Queer, as a term, signals not only the disruption of the binary of heterosexual normalcy on the one hand and homosexual defiance on the other, but desires "to bring the hetero/homo opposition to the point of collapse".
Queer aims to spoil and transgress coherent (and essential) gender configurations and the desire for a neat arrangement of dichotomous sexual and gendered difference, central to both heterosexual and homosexual identities... queer theory insists on the complications of the two: without gender, sexuality is nothing".
I think Queering's main job is to undo the "normal" to undo normal categories, or categories we would consider normal. Haraway, in Queering the Non/Human states, "queer comes to signify the continual unhinging of certainties and the systematic disturbing of the familiar". I like the word "disturbing" here. I think Queer engages with the in between spaces to unpack binaries and give a voice to the silences that we build these things around.
Thinking to Sara's interest in troubling and complicating things, I think about Queer in terms of troubling the familiar, take for granted, categories that we understand as intelligible and static. Queer's project is to trouble what makes us comfortable, and to ask the questions about why these things are taught to be uncomfortable in the first place.
Queer This! I wanted to analyze honeybumps1505 Queer This! "No Homo" YouTube video. This video has really stuck in my head a lot. I always think about how people throw around the term gay by saying things like "that's so Gay" as if Gay is something that's lame or ridiculous? Because gay is something "uncomfortable" for some and most popular culture, we have a stake in Queering the Queer. Does that cancel it out? Then maybe it's normative? Nah, popular culture teaches us to be uncomfortable with the ideas of Queer. Thus, Queer projects seek to answer questions about why we are made uncomfortable by things.
moviesofmyself's direct engagement: movies of myself asks: "I'm reminded that "For every 'livable life' and 'grievable death,' there are a litany of unmentionable, unassimilable Others melting into the pace of the nonhuman" (Giffney and Hird, 3). In what different ways is death functioning here? How does death work differently for subjects who embody, even celebrate, non-normativity, transgression, unintelligibility? How does this factor into our vision of a queer future-- who will live and die, and how will their histories be recorded? Is a queer future still concerned with our queer pasts?"
I saw some really interesting questions and parallels here. What does a Queer future mean? What about Queer time? Is that like "hippy time" as my friends call it, meaning you show up whenever because time really doesn't have a meaning? In thinking about Queerness and the future of queerness, what do we have to gain from the project of Queering? In my opinion a queer future is dependant on a queer past. I think the project itself has changed and will continue to change (that's what makes it queer- it's unstableness) and in order to ensure a queer future the project of Queering and troubling the current dominant ideologies (at whatever point in time) is necessary to insure a queer future.
I am pretty sure, thanks to this class, that queering is now my favorite project!