Obsessively queer?

7 01 2010

This is an ongoing conversation between the three of us over a period of time, which is why it is somewhat rambling and disjointed. But we felt it raised some interesting issues and differing viewpoints that may open up more debate as a post…so any interesting comments are welcome, as always.

The conversation started as a debate around this:

http://alphafemme.wordpress.com/2009/10/29/a-femme-without-a-butch/

>> I say we are compulsive and obsessive about our queerness. By obsessive I mean we – all of us who identify as gay/lesbian/queer…we obsess about ourselves… our lives, the politics, our partners, the breakups, the freedoms we lack, the fight for rights, the sex, the books, the movies, our friends…it goes on and on. This is also tied into the way we define our entire lives and selves by the fact we are queer. We end up not having much in life that’s not connected to our sexual preferences in some way and I suspect that’s weird too.

I think it’s all too disconnected from the world we actually live in, whether we like it or not and that troubles me even in my own life. I want to feel I’m part of the whole world or at least know what’s going on in all of the liberal world. And that includes the politics, the music, the literature, the art, the sports, the news, the science and technology, the environment and human nature in general. All of it.

And this attitude of all encompassing general interest in the world around us is what we risk when we find true love and get ‘married’. One gets driven (or willingly leaps) into that isolated space of queerness when one is actually partnered. I always see this in my own life… when I am single I am more involved and interested in more general issues and life around me, including the things of the male world. The male world is a huge one – in fact whether we like it or not, it is the world and it drives the space we live in too after all, wherever we are.

But at the same time, I support our difference too.

>> I don’t know if this is necessarily a bad thing. I think it happens constantly with small marginalised communities that face huge stresses and pressures such as ours. But at the same time, it is good to have a foot in the world external to our community. And I am not sure why you feel you wouldn’t be part of the whole wide world if you were obsessing about the queer world? Wouldn’t you still be listening to different kinds of music or watching diverse films?

>> Oh but we don’t listen to different kinds of music or watch diverse films. Not really. We just seem to give up on the larger media/art/literature world. (Or maybe we were not that interested in the first place.) Haven’t you noticed our fixation with the L-Word, Sarah Waters, KD, Melissa, Heather and Ellen and on and on?

I believe it’s only the fact that there isn’t a greater volume of lesbian themed movies, lesbian authors and lesbian music available that keeps us from confining ourselves totally to those categories for life. Really, we are practically fundamentalists when it comes to accepting anything that’s not within our safe zone. We become very selective about what we can bear to see and hear, which means we continuously reinforce what we already believe, while shutting off so much valuable information about so much else that’s going on. (I know there are exceptions. I am speaking of a general trend.)

But I also feel it is so hard to debate these things or even critique our community, as it is one that is struggling on so many fronts – being queer, being poor, being third world disadvantaged, being less privileged even in the circles we move around in, being women in such a horribly chauvinistic society, being discriminated against and put down as a matter of course…all the social and class issues we face. There is so much to battle against.

It is very hard, because we are not like a group of liberated dykes in the first world having an intellectual discussion about the finer points of the rights we already have. It is so much more basic and painful than that.

>> But we should continue to debate these things. We are not here representing the LGBT world. We are just three independent, very different women. Whatever we write is part of and representative of the gay community because we are writing it. We are not outside of it, in the same way that Shakespeare was not outside his social group when he wrote his plays. He was still a part of that era and his work reflects the ideologies at the time, and in the same way, our writing is not outside of our world, our community or society. Whether in support of or against, it is still affected by our involvement with the time and place we exist in.

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One response

19 01 2010
thanga

when we stay obsessed with whatever marginal identity we take on, is the fact that we end up making the same mistakes the we struggled against. I feel stupid when we have to break down walls that we ourselves build! inter-sectional politics is the only way to go i think…it keeps challenging us.

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