If You’re Not Gay Enough
October 1, 2012 § 3 Comments
Many, many times in my life I’ve heard someone say, timidly and ashamedly, that they’re “not gay enough” or “not queer enough” for something. Usually it means to be included in a particular social group, date someone, wear something specific, voice their experience or opinion. There are tons of reasons for this, and I am only able to list some of them here. I think a lot of us are afraid of being coerced, one way or another. We want our sexuality to ourselves, and every “identity” and culture feels like it wants us to feel and act a certain way or we will get shamed, often these days in the form of unwanted, hostile pop-psychology. A lot of times, we just aren’t sure yet, and feel our sexuality is still working itself out and is too fragile to voice. I think there is also a resistance to divesting of privilege artificially – as in, if I am a woman and still date mostly men, but I sometimes have relationships with women, I still likely receive most straight privilege, so I should not call myself gay.
I often suggest that those people consider calling themselves “queer” if they feel comfortable with it. And they ask, “What does that mean?” I say, I don’t know. Generally, when placing words on people, mistakes are made. But this is what I think. This is for those who would like to have a word to describe themselves, but feel that it may not be okay for them to use queer.
The way I see it, if I am uncomfortable enough with how society defines gender, sexuality, and relationships to feel resistant to accepting a label, if I feel a simultaneous urge and resistance to voicing my discomfort with how people do sexuality, I can claim the identity of queer. Queer means, not mainstream. Not comfortable.
Sometimes, it’s because we don’t want a single relationship to take primacy in our lives. Because we don’t believe in the romantic myth. Because we don’t get what’s up with wanting marriage.
Sometimes it’s because we love people who aren’t our “opposite” gender. Because we don’t get gender. Because we just love who we love, and want who we want, how we want them. Because we aren’t going to let some concept of gender get in the way of how we make our love bonds.
Sometimes it’s because we don’t want the sex society says is okay. Because we want to be tied up or knocked around. Because we want crazy, dirty things we would not say out loud in most settings.
Because if and when our true sexuality is made public, we will get pathologized, we will get abused, we will get prosecuted. Because we squirm in our skin whenever people are defined, whenever mainstream relationship talk hits our ears, whenever we someone hate themselves for wanting “the wrong things.”
Because we don’t want to get on the conveyor belt of relationships in this society, carried along, passive and half-hearted, when we know there’s something more. We’ve felt it in our friendships, and we want it to grow, not die out with time.
I am sure there are tons of reasons we’re made “queer” in this society. It seems it’s getting harder and harder to be what we’re supposed to be, to comply with contradictory norms and bizarre, inhuman standards of appearance, desire, and behavior.
No one in the world should have to “be queer” if they don’t want to. But I just wanted to say something for people who think they might like to, but maybe they can’t or shouldn’t. Because it seems to come up a lot.