Isn’t it Queer: The Less Than Peachy Politics of Pronouns (Obnoxious Alliteration Necessary)

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Hedwig's Concerned
Hedwig’s Concerned

Disclaimer: This piece uses a veritable shit ton of “queer-speak” or words used by activists in the queer, trans and genderqueer communities. Note, I am not apologizing but I am excitedly inviting individuals who have yet to read an article of this nature, to embrace the new vocabulary. Please take into account that all of the words developed by queer activists were made with the intention of validating people’s identities, uniting communities and helping individuals to grow and feel safe being themselves. My critique of the use of this new generation of words, is to stimulate conversation and encourage inclusivity and sensitivity. Also, if you have any questions about terms such as genderfluid, trans, or cis, I would like to kindly direct you to google. Enjoy!

Google

I heard by a sour word of mouth recently that there are folks in the LGBTQ-ABCD’s positive community that are less than positive in regards to genderqueer folks choice of pronouns. I was made aware of multiple genderqueer individuals that believe that in order to use they/them pronouns, one has to be androgynous (and also that masculine folks should use he/him and feminine she/her). That sounds to me like a rule made up by cis people. Just sayin. Why so derisive? Why so exclusionary? Why, and according to whom, don’t individuals get to pick their own pronouns? The dude does not abide. It’s another example of people, within their own communities, bullying each other because of their own projected discomfort with people refusing to conform to gender binaries. It’s problematic and does not foster progress toward a dynamic understanding of the gender spectrum.

I also want to acknowledge the more talked about tension between non-binary folks and transmen/transwomen regarding identification presentation. There are ways in which the philosophy of genderlessness, agender, genderfluidity etc. have been interpreted as being threatening to people who identify as transmen or transwomen. They/them pronouns are sometimes seen as threatening or invalidating to his/her already persecuted and marginalized identity. On the other hand, individuals under the non-binary and/or genderqueer umbrella also find it frustrating to be accused of being not “trans” enough because they did not choose to transition from their assigned sex and conditioned gender to “the opposite one”. This is a gender-binary enforcing concept at best, and especially harmful when so many genderqueer individuals struggle with their own transitions. There are challenging emotional aspects of accepting your place on the gender spectrum as well as whether or not you would like to pursue physical transition procedures, such as hormone therapy or surgery.

To summarize for our readers that are less fluent in queer-speak, there will always be debate about fitting into the community “enough.”

Oh, the age old question of enough. “Have they struggled “enough” to be part of our community?” For instance, “are bi-sexuals gay enough?”, “Do non-binary people count as trans?”, “Do you count as a “real” insert race if you are mixed race?”. You can see how well lubricated that downward slope becomes.These questions are often asked by members of marginalized communities in a pattern that mimics patriarchal, white, cis-male tendencies to constantly invalidate the power of one’s peers in order to protect one’s community from further persecution . These questions of “enough” are exclusionary and derisive. Ironically they use a vocabulary (cis, trans, non-binary…) initially intended to offer validation to previously unrecognized alternative identities. The idea that any one individual has to prove their pronoun, experience of culture or race, sexual orientation, or any other major facet of one’s identity, that really should defined by the unique experience of the individual, is ludicrous. An individual’s experience of gender is an absolutely unique facet of their personality and they should be allowed to pick what identifiers suit them. Not to say white people should be allowed to pick their race, that’s not how it works Rachel Dolezal. That’s just appropriation.

This is also Ludacris.
This is also Ludacris.

I bring the fruit cocktail, vocabulary of queer politics to the attention of the reader less because I’m invested in people “getting it right”, and more to encourage people to remember why we are hacking the most colonial language in human history, in the first place. In my humble gay motherfucking opinion, language simultaneously defines and limits our existence. Which gives us the incredible opportunity to create communities that have space within them for everybody on the gender spectrum, by editing and improving the language we were taught. Yes everyone. Cis-gendered female femmes who dream of barbies for days, transmasculine fairies who are only butch on fridays and ain’t nobody can tell what they were assigned at birth, and transwomen who like forest green doc martins and a matching mohawk. Everyone at EVERY point on the gender spectrum should be welcome to identify as they please, and naturally, a good ally for this community would then be defined as someone who can hold space for people without questions of whether they are “enough”.

{Image Credit: (https://www.etsy.com/listing/126430117/respect-gender-pronouns-lgbtq)}
{Image Credit: ETSY Listing}

-To your personal revolts and riots and especially to your learning,

Cory

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Cory is a poet and sex worker in the Los Angeles area. They have worked in mental health, education, social justice and fashion blogging and aims to lead by example through bravely living an examined lifestyle.

“The learning process is something you can incite, literally incite, like a riot.” -Audre Lorde

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There are photographs in this post that were borrowed lovingly from the internet and do not belong to us. All are linked and credited to the best of our abilities in hopes of attracting more traffic to the photographers and websites who have blessed us with this imagery. The inclusion of a photograph here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the subject’s or artist’s identity or beliefs. If there is a photo included here that belongs to you and you want it removed, please email compassionaterevolt@gmail.com and it will be removed promptly, no questions asked.

 

 

 

 

Isn’t It Queer: Bisexual/Queer Invisibility

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Sometimes I feel like I am not gay enough. No seriously. If you read this blog regularly then that might be a laughable statement, because to those who know me I’m unicorns bathing in rainbow glitter. There have been times though when I’ve entered a new community and I’ve been treated as if I’m not gay enough for groups populated heavily with lesbian or gay identified individuals, and not straight enough for groups of people who identify as heterosexual. I identify as queer, what that means for me is that I am about as pansexual as they come. My preference in sexual and romantic partners includes trans individuals, butch lesbians, cis-men, and really everything in between. My attraction comes from some chemical reaction deep in my brain (…or is it nether regions?) that I have yet to correlate with people’s particular gender identity or sexual orientation. As such, I feel like I didn’t jump far enough on the gay train for a lot of lesbian identified individuals or gay men, and the perpetual shock I receive when I identify as not being heterosexual at said hetero-gatherings, is at very least annoying. Which is why I want to talk about bisexual/queer invisibility.

gay legos
{Image Credit: http://bit.ly/1QcVOUV}

So, have you ever had this experience: Upon attending a snuggle party (yep, a snuggle party, all the rage in poly communities, apparently) and after canoodling with 5 or 6 different women, found out that everyone of them identified as straight? Whoa…really? All of you? And more entertainingly, you get this little gem, “Oh what?! You’re gay? It’s totally cool, I just had no idea.” Ummmm thanks woman I just made out with. I apologize, did I project queerness on this party? If all this het on het action is just a progressive manifestation of polyamorous living, why aren’t all the het men making out too? My confusion abounds. I’ve had the same experience at LGBT gatherings, where people met my comments about my hetero cis-male hook-ups with a sort of resistance, or even offense. I’ve even been told that eventually I would abandon the practice with time, which suggests that I might age out of my current sexual orientation once I abandon naive thinking. Rude.

vomit glitter
{Image Credit: http://bit.ly/1AAk9lJ}

 

At 26 I don’t claim to have learned everything there is to know about my identity, fortunately, I have a plethora of time to explore. For anyone to suggest that after 26 years of flirting, dating, falling in love, and cultivating my identity, that you, person who has known me for a grand total of 18 minutes during an awkward small talk over a bag of cheetos, knows that I will eventually fall into one of the archetypes of more or less accepted sexual orientations in the U.S., is utter fucking non-sense. If I sound bitter-cakes, it’s ’cause I am. It’s not to say I haven’t been immersed in incredible communities of people that love me for who I am and celebrate my unicorn like uniqueness, because I absolutely do, glitter baths and all. One of my wise cohorts actually advises me to use these reactions as a test of whether a person can be a supportive force in my life and good ally. Simultaneously, the abundance of black and white thinking surrounding matters of sexuality, orientation and gender identity is still mind numbing. If we are progressive enough as a poly community to recognize that love is not defined by ownership or celibacy outside of one partner, how is it not an intuitive line of thinking to approach sexual orientation as not being gay or straight? If as LGBTQ individuals we have been endlessly poked and prodded with repudiation regarding our counter-culture, non-hetero preferences, how are we then so quick to repudiate other individuals who do not fit the gay-straight, masculine-feminine binaries?

Triple_Rainbow_Cupcakes_by_dashedandshattered
{Image Credit: http://bit.ly/1FcOqTa}

 

Although I am lacking an artillery of brilliant solutions to the on-going binary mindset problem that we are facing, I am pleasantly suggesting that a more fluid approach to orientation and gender identity in conversations with prospective friends or community members is absolutely necessary to becoming more inclusive as a community. I’m not suggesting that there is an easy solution to this on-going systematic misunderstanding of the spectrum of sexual orientations that exist in human beings, but putting aside judgment when faced with an unfamiliar situation is a good start. Instead of “What…you’re gay?” or “Eww, you fuck straight men?” how about asking a follow up question like, “Oh cool, do you have a partner?” or “Nice, is he good in bed?” I don’t claim to be an expert, but coming from a place of judgment generally tends to isolate people. Bitter-cakes out.

-To your personal revolts and riots and especially to your learning,

Cory

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Cory is a poet and novelist in the Los Angeles area. They have worked in mental health, education, social justice and fashion blogging and they aim to lead by example by bravely living an examined lifestyle.

“The learning process is something you can incite, literally incite, like a riot.”

Audre Lord

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There are photographs in this post that were borrowed lovingly from the internet and do not belong to us. All are linked and credited to the best of our abilities in hopes of attracting more traffic to the photographers and websites who have blessed us with this imagery. The inclusion of a photograph here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the subject’s or artist’s identity or beliefs. If there is a photo included here that belongs to you and you want it removed, please email compassionaterevolt@gmail.com and it will be removed promptly, no questions asked.