Sunday, 27 October 2013

What Is Queer?

Here is something I have written earlier this year in response to a question brought forward by fellow

The question was about us (Nina & myself) using the name/word Queer for one of our club nights, put forward by a number of people, all very much involved in 'the scene', and I distilled it to/understood another version of "what is queer". Here is my response, and it would be great to have your thoughts on this subject:

"For us queer can mean 'different', 'outside the norm' and maybe 'other', 'new', 'odd', 'unexpected', 'iteresting', 'colourful', 'surprising', 'inspiring', etc.

Now, this is perhaps a very individual and personal interpretation of the word queer, but I think also a valid one (as is everyone else's). We feel comfortable with the label queer, as we are also comfortable to be described as pansexual and bisexual. Having said that, I'm quite aware that the term queer brings up other, at times very different connotations.

We have started an open group on Facebook recently where we invite people to discuss 'queerness', and it became obvious that the term invokes strong (and very valid) feelings in some. In my (personal) opinion, as the term queer suggests 'inclusiveness' within Queer Theory, even straight people can (have the right to) be as 'queer' as they like. But that's probably another discussion for another time...

To elaborate this point: It is arguable that sexuality is a social construct, but the subjects are also constructs of their (our) culture. This makes it very difficult to step outside of these categories (e.g. one's own sexuality). That's perhaps the reason why it's Queer Theory and not Gay or Lesbian Theory - the term queer is an attempt to overcome categories and the difficulties with the notion of identity. The term 'queer' itself (in contrast to say 'Lesbian' or 'Gay') is undefined, purely 'relational' and without essence (whether sexual or otherwise). It gets its meaning by 'being outside the norm'.

There are of course very well defined political associations (e.g. Radical Queers) and possible social negativisms, etc. that come hand in hand with the word queer. For us the word means inclusiveness (or non-exclusion), at odds with the normal, the legitimate, the dominant, not marginalising anyone (lesbian, gay, straight, bi, pan, trans...), deconstruction of 'the norm' however that norm itself may be defined (not necessarily as sexual even), critique and discourse.

Discourse, critique and deconstruction of the 'heterosexist regime'."

Lots of Love,

Aidan xXx
members of a particular FETLIFE group. I'm reposting this because I'd like to start a conversation about 'labels' in general here on K4B...

BiZarre Events - London's Most Extreme Fetish Sex Parties!
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14 comments:

  1. Funny isn't it that a self defining "liberal" place like Felife would actually reveal
    Itself to be so heteronormative.

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  2. Yes, Fetlife indeed has its moments sometimes... There are some people who seem to derrive pleasure from 'owning' words, concepts, labels... Love, Aidan xXx

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  3. I guess there's a need but I am not a great fan of this insistence on labelling everything.

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  4. Absolutely - 100% agreed! In the human mind (linguistically, cognatively) labels simply categorise without asigning any particular value. Everything after is is individual interpretation... Love, Aidan xXx

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  5. To me, being called queer is great, I don't like conforming to social constructs anyway so being 'weird' 'Abnormal' is great.. I am an individual and I am unique.

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  6. Yes, I understand queerness as uniqueness too. For me that's where the colour in 'colourfull' comes from! Love, Aidan xXx

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  7. The Fetlife population of insecure self-gratifying males makes it a bit of a hit and miss place. Queer is a great word for those of us who feel other but have no concrete affiliation to existing terms.

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  8. Again, I totally agree with that, with the only exception that it's certainly not only the males who are insecure and self-gratifying. Those qualities know no gender-boundries... Ax

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  9. I can understand, though, that some groups of people who perhaps fought long and hard to turn the word 'queer' from a deadly insult aimed at homosexuals into a badge of self determination might object to its appropriation by the wider community.

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  10. Same here; I certainly understand it, but I also think it's still not the best attitude to have. Nobody can own words - only opinions, attitudes, experiences, etc. As I said, I do sympathise to a certain extend, but I also think that there is never anything good/positive about any form of exclusion, discremination or segregation, ever, ever, ever. Ax

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  11. I see queer as separate to homosexual, though understand the plight of homosexuals who had to overcome slang insults towards them.

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  12. Yes, queer simply means 'strange', 'odd' (although that depends on where you look it up). Consequently, queer only means anything in context. Strange to whom? Odd to what? Etc. Ax

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  13. From a scholarly perspective (having studied queer theory under Griselda Pollock) it is effectively synonymously "other". That which is outside of binary definition.

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  14. But of course, let's be honest. Queer was/is a word often used by shit people to hurt others...! Ax

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