Thoughts on queerness
A few months ago I went on date with a genuine lesbian, which was roughly when I realized that all the women I’ve had sex with have been bisexuals or pansexuals or otherwise not lesbians.
Aside: Consider for a moment that Sappho, erotic poet from the island of Lesbos and entire reason we call women-loving-women lesbians, was almost certainly married to a man and had a daughter with him. Perhaps more telling, her writing pervs over men as well as women. Why she is the Ur Example and Trope Namer of a male-excluding sexual orientation? I do not know.
The date went well. We were both kind of nervous; we talked for hours about hip hop and families and law school and other entry-level topics. Then she told me that her lesbian friends thought it was super gross that she was on a date with a bisexual. They argued that bisexuals brought disease into the community, and were just generally icky because of touching penises or something.
I am not sure how rare that point of view is, but it sort of both introduced and answered the question of why I haven’t had a lot of sex with lesbians. Maybe, to an unknown number of them, I am tainted with penis and super icky and therefore unacceptable. And it is absolutely their right to feel that way.
When I say I’m queer I mean that I fit under the LGBTetc. umbrella. I mean that politically and personally, I deeply care about LGBTetc. issues. But that is the broadest possible meaning of queer (unless we’re going with queer=weird, in which case we are all in this boat together), and some people choose it as a more specific identity. I have considered doing so myself, sometimes even to get away from all the (largely inaccurate) negative perceptions that come with being a bisexual. When people ask me what I think the term “queer” means, I usually tell them how I think of it when other people use it in the more specific sense: “Whatever assumptions you’re about to make about this person’s gender, orientation, identity, they are asking you to think again.” And that might be a terrible definition, but it makes a certain kind of sense to me. If I identified as queer over bisexual/pansexual, to me that would mean that I’d prefer for people to keep going and push further after clocking me as straight (as they tend to do), or assuming that because I’m a bi chick I’m icky, and have a conversation with me about my orientation and identity, rather than just having a term that declares outright whom I like to bone.
That’s appealing, in its way. But then, some days I don’t want to be all didactic. A surprising number of days, really. Therein lies the trib…