Why did I create this blog? I love freelance writing for queer publications, but I have article, interview and review ideas coming out of my ass that do not fit within the publications I write for. I want to cover a larger spectrum of queer news and media.
I also want to help lessen the bigotry within the queer community by bringing light to the diversity within it and celebrating it. I believe that sexual and gender identity and sexual orientation are not black and white, but fit on a spectrum. Everyone’s experience with their queer identity is unique to them.
I identify as a lesbian (and I identify as queer as a larger blanket term that is all inclusive of everyone outside of the heteronormative identity), but I do not believe that every lesbian has the same experience. I have never been attracted to a man. I knew I was a lesbian when I was 5-years-old. That is my experience, but that is not every person’s experience who identifies as a lesbian.
It is possible for a lesbian to be attracted to a man. It is possible for a straight person to be attracted to someone of the same sex. For many people, sexual orientation is fluid. Someone may be attracted to men 80% of the time, and to women 20% of the time. I think that percentage varies for everyone. Not everyone is an extreme 100% and not everyone is 50/50. And the words we choose to identify with are our choice.
If someone identifies with straight culture and a heterosexual identity, and occasionally is attracted to them same sex, who am I to tell them that they are not straight? It’s their identity. If someone is mostly attracted to the same sex and identifies with queer culture and identifies as queer, lesbian, etc., then who am I to say that they cannot identify as gay or lesbian, but that they have to be bisexual?
I only know my experiences and journey with my queer identity, but I have witnessed my friend’s journey’s with their identities, and theirs are different from mine. I don’t think one has to be right or wrong. Everyone’s journey is their journey. Everyone’s identity is their identity. Everyone’s word choice is theirs. If someone prefers gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, omnisexual, queer, no label, etc., then that’s who they are. That is the label, or lack there of, that they feel most comfortable with, that they feel is truest to themselves.
And our identities can evolve. It is not uncommon for someone to come into their straight or queer identity later in life. It is not something that has to be set in stone for someone.
I do not understand bigotry existing within the queer community. I am a lesbian. I have gone through a coming out experience. I went through that journey of feeling scared and learning self-acceptance and pride. I have experienced personal bullying. I have been discriminated against.
As a community who is discriminated against and viewed as less than by a large portion of heteronormative society, I do not understand how we can then judge and bully people within our larger queer community.
I hear things like:
Bisexuality does not exist.
A woman who identifies as queer cannot be attracted to men.
Bisexuals are greedy or dangerous to date.
Women who identify as straight are taboo and will hurt you, or they will only see you as an experiment.
Transgenderism does not exist.
A trans person is not a real man or woman.
There are only two sexes, men and women.
There are only two genders, male and female.
There are only heterosexuals, bisexuals and homosexuals.
Butch lesbians want to be men. Why are they not transitioning?
If you want to date a butch, why not just date a man?
Why would a butch date a butch?
Why would a femme date a femme?
There is a long list of judgements, and they probably stem from many roots. I think one of the roots is ignorance, a lack of understanding and a lack of exposure.
I think another root is our own insecurities, particularly revolving around our own identity.
For example, if there is a woman who identifies as queer and who has dated and been in relationships with women all her life, and then dates a man, it could be confusing. I have talked with women who identified as straight, lesbian and bi who did not understand it. Some were open to understanding it. They weren’t judging it. It was just a concept that they hadn’t heard of before and it was hard for them to grasp. Other women were negatively judging, saying that X woman could not identify as lesbian or queer if she was dating a man now. I know of a few women who identify as lesbian or queer and who dated or married a man.
Love is love. One of the women explained that she is not bisexual, but queer. She is largely attracted to women. She fell in love with this man and married him, but it does not mean that she is no longer attracted to women. It is still women that catch her eye. Bisexual or heterosexual culture or identity didn’t suddenly resonate with her. Her queer identity didn’t change. And who is someone else to force another identity upon her? Does someone who is not her 110% understand her thoughts, feelings and emotions like she does? Did they experience her experiences and interpret them as she did?
Linking back to our judgements coming from insecurities revolving around our own identities, if one views the label lesbian as black and white, and they see a lesbian dating a man, then it doesn’t fit. Lesbians cannot be attracted to men. What does that mean about their own identity as a lesbian? And not only their personal identity, but their cultural identity and identity as a community?
As lesbians, just like other communities within the queer community, we are discriminated against, and we also share commonalities with other lesbians. We’ve created this culture and community together. And there are stereotypes that anger me, as a lesbian. Like women only kiss women to get the attention of men or we are sex fantasies for men.
In a patriarchal society, men are the oppressors, and then as a lesbian, it could be threatening to have men break into our community, or take women from our dating pool. It’s like they are proving the stereotypes correct. When people do not fit within the “norms” of a culture, it threatens that culture. People get scared.
But that’s the simplistic black and white view. Not all men are bad, and in a patriarchal society, women are the oppressors too. Patriarchy is not about an entire sex being bad or “the villain”. Patriarchy is a toxic belief, in its simplest form, that men are more valuable than women, and women perpetuate this belief too.
There are some women who kiss women to get men’s attention, but that’s not every woman. There are also queer women who can still be attracted to the opposite sex, and when they get involved with someone of the opposite sex, they do so out of genuine connection, attraction or love.
Love is love, and who people are attracted to can be fluid.
The examples above are from my experiences as a lesbian, but the whole queer spectrum is diverse and the bigotry within the queer community affects the entire queer community.
Instead of spending so much time degrading, belittling and devaluing others, we can unite stronger as a queer community if we take the time to open our minds to the idea that everyone’s experience and identity is unique to them, and valid.
We’re all human. We share that human experience. We all want to be accepted, to be loved, to be appreciated and to be listened to. We all have goals, fears, desires, insecurities and passions. And within the queer community, we have another level of common desires or experiences.
We still want acceptance and to be listened to, but on a human rights level. Most of us want marriage equality. We don’t want to be discriminated against in work. We don’t want to be bullied, beaten, disowned or murdered. We want to be able to adopt. We want equal rights. Some of us may not want kids or to get married, but it’s about being treated and respected as a human being. We are not these less than creatures. We are human beings, and we deserve to be treated as such.
Identifying as someone within the queer community, I think we have a responsibility to be supportive to everyone within the queer community. We understand the need to fight for our own rights, so then why would we be against others within the queer community having those same human rights? It’s like a slap in the face. Saying “they” are less than. No one should be treated that way.
When we begin to come together and empower the entire queer community, we’ll make larger strides for equal rights.
If we continue to put our energy into oppressing others, instead of liberating others, it’s not going to benefit anybody.
Along side using this blog to write about queer news and media, and my personal exploration of queer culture, I also want to use this blog as a platform to discuss the queer identity and its diversity.
I’d love to get your opinion, as well as hear your story about coming into your queer, or straight, identity (I have a friend who identified as asexual into her early twenties, until she started to find men attractive, and is now engaged). 🙂