Friday, March 2, 2012

Am I Queer?

In a recent discussion thread, the question was posited as to whether being poly oriented was enough to make one queer? To be honest, the whole concept of "queer" has largely passed me by. While I have many friends that self-identify queer, my partners tend towards using bi, straight, or mostly gay as descriptors, and that's the pool I've been swimming in. The question about poly in relation to queer got me thinking more about it though, and perhaps is setting me in the direction of a shift in self-labeling.

I'm not straight. I'm not gay. While being distinctly female, my more dominant take on life is often perceived as "masculine". I've been told by multiple people that I "Fuck like a man.", whatever that means! Being around 6 foot tall, I'm not the cute pocket-sized woman that blends in easily. My hair is vividly colored and short, maybe even a little butch at times. Clothes range from athletic for work, to slutty for play. None of my partners are conforming, although some may look it on the surface. I'm comfortable around people of any gender (or none) and orientation, but favor those who aren't particularly binary/straight/mono for social connections. Does any of this make me queer, or is queer something that must be claimed?

Is queer a political/social/sociological movement? This is probably where I haven't gotten on board the train thus far. On top of the energy that I put into parenting, my relationships, my business, and the local poly community, it just seems a bit daunting to don another hat that requires defending against the masses. Queer has always seemed an activist term to me. Something that requires being part of a movement. Perhaps I'm overstating? What if I get to just _be_ queer?

Part of me has a squick at the word itself. It seems designed to draw a line of "otherness" around those who claim it, and I tend towards seeing myself as someone who is on the farther reaches of a continuum, rather than on a completely separate scale. Poly, kinky and bi don't feel as distinct emotionally to me. How do others who identify with queer see it?

Food for thought. No conclusions at this time. More mulling required.


Rob.R919 said...

Nice post.
While I rarely use the Q word, I do think that LGBT and Poly are natural allies that should embrace each other. Should it change to LGBTP? I dunno. In a way, poly is more of a Relationship Orientation than a Sexual orientation. But they are both orientations in my mind, so it fits.
Of course as a gay poly man I could be biased. ;-)

billybox said...

It's refreshing and affirming to see your post on this. When I saw the thread on FL, I ran the other way, as its exactly the sort of identity, scenester BS that I deal with all the time in LA. Who is, who isn't, who cares?!

So, since your little group up in Portlandia was one of the groups I've felt more akin to, it was nice to see you just almost not even understand the question.

Christy said...

I like queer. I embrace my otherness. Yet, it's not my primary identity. I do think that it's an activist term. Yet, what if that activism isn't about dividing us, but about encouraging us to think?

When a grrl identifies as "queer," it raises some eyebrows. When a grrl who is married identifies as "queer," it raises even more.

Part of the point of me adopting the identity was to make people question me more. Whether that strategy is a success? Mostly, I'd have to say yes.

That is my activism. To point out the absurdity of labels in my own silly way. There is more than one dictionary definition of queer, after all.

I adopted "quinky" a few years ago and haven't looked back.

KDaddy said...

In my poly relationship, my wife was bisexual, I am, but the other two women were more on the "receiving but not doing" end of this. While everyone's sexuality was known, well, when making love, it just seemed easier for everyone to go with the flow of things and, for the girls, it was encouraged that they have some kind of fun with each other... and thus giving me some much needed help!

But, tossing sexualities out the window also allowed us to bond better. I think that when you start sticking on the various labels, it could be an issue for someone who may not really identify with being queer, bi, whatever.

It's just easier, in my opinion, to let "diverse sexualities" balance themselves out so that when the poly group plays - together or in some other combinations - there's no angst to upset the apple cart.