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douchebaggery misogyny rapey reddit that's not funny!

“Men run faster than women.” “Hence rape.” Or, Reddit in a nutshell.

Here’s a little exchange from Reddit that I found on ShitRedditSays that basically sums up everything that’s less-than-charming about the site.  We start off with a blanket statement of male superiority, followed by an enthusiastically upvoted rape joke, and then we get massive downvoting and a “fuck you” to someone who’s challenging the blanket statement. (If you follow the link you’ll see that Butch_Magnus isn’t the only one jumping on piv0t.)

 

The context: This is from the Pics subreddit; they’re discussing a “sexist treadmill” with a control panel that looks like this:

 

 

 

 

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CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

I’m curious about how people are defining queer. If people are taking it to mean “non-normative sexual orientations” then yeah, asexual people are queer. If they’re taking it to mean “is attracted to people of the same gender” then no, asexual people are not queer (unless they’re romantically interested in people of the same gender). But if we were to define it that way trans people wouldn’t necessarily be queer either, and I’m not sure how genderqueer people would even fit into that definitional framework.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

What I’m trying to say is, if we define “queer” based on who people want to fuck, then we’re essentially excluding a whole lot of people who’re trans or genderqueer, and that doesn’t make any sense to me at all.

Sorka
Sorka
8 years ago

But what about the fact that some asexual people are romantically (but not sexually) attracted to members of the same gender? Are they not queer?

Also, if asexual people are not “allowed” to identify as queer, isn’t there a danger of them being even *more* marginalised and invisible then they are already? Most people these days “know” what it means to be gay and bisexual, but asexuality is sometimes believed not to exist at all! However, it *is* a legitimate sexuality and it *doesn’t* fit in with the mainstreas hetereo-cis model.

If it’s not ‘queer’ what exactly is it? Why must ‘queer’ be such an exclusive category?
I’m bisexual but in a monogamous relationship with a cis-male. On the face of it, therefore, I have more hetereo-privilege than an asexual person who is romantically attracted to people of the same gender.

Sorka
Sorka
8 years ago

Whoops, Cassandra beat me to it there!

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

The language we have available for discussing this stuff kind of sucks, honestly. If I were to use myself as an example, I identify as bi. But if I get more specific, I’m pretty much exclusively attracted to men who lean noticeably androgynous or feminine, and I’m not attracted to women who lean butch at all. How do you even explain that, using the current language? “Bisexual” is the best word available, but doesn’t really capture the specifics very well.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

Also, I’ve had significant pushback from some lesbians about the fact that I’m not attracted to butch women or even women who’re kind of androgynous – in college I had a few people tell me that I couldn’t identify as queer for that reason. Which I think is bullshit, but it does kind of illustrate how little general agreement there is about this stuff.

Sorka
Sorka
8 years ago

Cassandra: That definitely is bullshit. Do you think they would say, for instance, that a straight woman who is only attracted to androgynous men was not really straight?

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

Actually I guess my question is, depending on how we define queer, is a woman who’s only attracted to androgynous men really straight? Is a man who’s only attracted to androgynous or butch women really straight? Is orientation about the body/type of genitalia that the people you’re attracted to have, or is it more about their gender presentation or persona?

I just think that orientation is far more complicated than straight/gay/bi and those are your only options.

Sorka
Sorka
8 years ago

Cassandra: I agree. A friend of mine defines herself as “hetereoflexible”. By this she means (I think?) that she is attracted to (only) androgynous men 90% of the time, and androgynous women 10% of the time. Then again, she’s also occasionally attracted to androgynous genderqueer people, so it’s all a little complicated.

I *thought* that I wasn’t attracted to butch women (only femme), but now I’ve found that butch women with an element of femme can make me swoon, so eh. I don’t know. I agree that the terms and categories we currently have are too simplistic.

darksidecat
8 years ago

If people are taking it to mean “non-normative sexual orientations” then yeah, asexual people are queer.

I don’t think that is an adequate definition at all. After all, there are a shit ton of sexual practices and identities that are perfectly coherant with being cis hetero as well. Is a cis hetero man with a foot fetish queer? No, even though that fetish carries some social stigma. Likewise, the sexuality of a person with a visible disability can be totally cis hetero and within the bounds of cis heteronormativity, and be heavily stigmatized. It isn’t “non-normative” alone, which norms are involved and how are a crucial piece.

“is attracted to people of the same gender”

This is totally inadequate as well, in no small part because it presupposes a number of things about sex and gender.

But if we were to define it that way trans people wouldn’t necessarily be queer either

Well, not all trans identities are the same, also, the idea that some lesbian and gay people aren’t queer is a cognizable one as well. There are some queer theorists who would not consider a normative, essentialist gay man queer either. There is a difference between “within the scope of feelings/experiences/social position that puts you within the boundaries of this identity” and “of this identity” by some constructions of queer identity. Some people see that as a bigger distinction than other when trying to suss out queer identity.

However, the linkage of LGB,etc. sexuality and trans sexualities is a linkage that derives from the way culture inputs meanings into sex acts, sexual desires, gender, and identity. We even use the same word in English-sex as in gender and sex as in fucking. The way that trans sexualities can problematize these social systems around identity, sometimes of the trans person, sometimes of their partners, sometimes to onlookers can end up having massive amounts of overlap with the way LGB, etc. sexualities do. Identity formulations are cultural things, speaking of “objective” identity formulations extrinsic to socio-cultural issues is nonsensical.

I don’t think I can give an exact boundary or list of the issues here regarding right to queer identity. However, the fact that an identity has contested boundaries does not mean that every person gets to claim it. Let me give a less loaded example of contested definition boundaries and still being able to say that some things are not within it. Here’s an example sometimes used in philosophy to demonstrate some of the tricky issues around definitional boundaries for natural language terms. “Define cake”. Actually giving a formal definition of cake is difficult, even though we feel that we know what cakes are. Okay, so the more classic stereotypical “cakes” are cakes, but what about ice cream cakes? Cheesecakes (those are rather pie like)? Cupcakes probably are, but what about muffins and where exactly is the line between those two? Okay, but a nice t-bone steak is not a cake. We are pretty confident about that, yes? Somewhat imprecise boundary definition is damned common in natural language, and unsurprisingly this happens in language around identity as well. There are “hard to call” cases between queer and nonqueer identity. Cis asexuals who are not homoromantic or bi romantic are not, in my opinion, among those cases. They are not queer. The fact that some other groups (such as a straight binary identified transsexual) might involve those questions is not overly relevant. Saying that not every single person on the fucking earth is within an identity is not “boundary policing”, we do get to make judgements about these things, the fact that categories are not always extremely rigidly outlined doesn’t change it, and we are perfectly able to get that concept when applied to other categories.

Mandolin
Mandolin
8 years ago

Position 1: “Asexual people can be queer queer queer if they so choose to identify themselves, and you can keep your self-righteousness to yourself.”

Position 2: “No, they can’t. Keep your appropriation to yourself.”

I dislike the appropriation allegation. Bagelsan disagrees with you. Theoretically, you agree that asexuals are a minority group that experiences social disadvantage due to their sexual orientation (if you don’t then I think you are incorrect). I don’t inherently have a problem with your advocating for a definition of queer that excludes asexuals, but calling it appropriation (as opposed to, say, wrongheaded misattribution) has shades of accusing the other person of bad faith. It suggests that asexuals are being insulting (or at least disrespectful to the concept of queerness) by even having the conversation about whether or not they can be labeled queer.

My dog in the fight: I’m queer (not asexual) and I have no problem with asexuals labeling themselves as queer. I disagree with people who do have a problem with it, but I don’t think they’re arguing in bad faith. I do think, however, that it benefits the conversation to keep in mind that even if we accept the scenario in which asexuals are misusing queer to include themselves, they are still a group systemically disadvantaged by compulsory heterosexuality; an argument over where to draw the boundaries of particular terms with them is inherently different than an argument over whether, for instance, over the ways in which anti-feminists use the rhetoric of social justice to justify sexism which is clearly appropriative (and inherently insulting/disrespectful to the concept of social justice).

Sorka
Sorka
8 years ago

Yes, but isn’t the fact that the term “queer” doesn’t belong to other categories part of the point? It’s an identity term and it serves a poltical purpose. Who gets to be a part of the category “queer” has greater consequences than whether or not muffins are cakes.

Language changes constantly, but as you know (and point out indirectly), this doesn’t always just “happen” naturally. The fact that “queer” now doesn’t mean what it did a hundred years ago or twenty years ago isn’t just due to linguistic evolution. It’s politics.

I’ve met asexual people who feel that they are not welcome in LGB groups and events. In fact, they are sometimes overtly *told* that they are not welcome. Where would a single asexual student go to discuss their concerns and meet understanding, if not to an event or organization that are outside of the heterosexual norm?

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

I guess a more accurate way to describe myself would be to say that I’m exclusively attracted to people who’re either feminine or androgynous regardless of their genitalia? But then most of the men I’m most attracted to aren’t really femmey so much as kind of right in the middle of the gender presentation spectrum and perceived as feminine because the American way of contructing masculinity leans so very macho. (I actually did a really awesome interview with a young American musician a couple of years ago in which we dug into that idea in great detail, now I wish I could link to what he had to say, but that would be a bad idea on a blog that attracts MRAs.) And again, androgynous women don’t tend to ring my bell at all, so what does that mean? And someone like your friend – why don’t we define people like her as queer? Should we?

Via work I know a number of women who’re exclusively attracted to men who’re androgynous or femmey, and I’m not entirely sure that your average person would see them as straight, or that they should. I guess I’m trying to puzzle out – what does queer mean? It can’t mean simply “is attracted to people with the same sort of genitalia as oneself”, or we wouldn’t automatically consider trans and genderqueer people to be queer. But we do, so what does that mean about what the word queer really means to people?

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

My own gut level response is not to consider asexual people queer unless they’re romantically interested in people of the same sex or gender, but I’m not sure that’s really a reasonable response, or one that makes sense. In fact, I’m not sure how people who aren’t interested in sex would in theory fit within a classification system that’s based on who you want to fuck at all. And I don’t feel like I understand asexuality well enough to make any definitive call about queer/not queer.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

” Where would a single asexual student go to discuss their concerns and meet understanding, if not to an event or organization that are outside of the heterosexual norm?”

Well, it’s not really cool to insist that if an individual doesn’t have anyone to talk to about issues they’re having any non-normative group that happens to be around must accept them and pay attention to their issues either, for the same reason that when the guy came in here earlier wanting to talk about his issues with being celibate without having chosen that path most of us basically responded with “this is not the place for that conversation”. Identity groups do have the right to choose not to center issues that most people within the group don’t consider relevant to them.

I’m just not sure that that’s what’s going on with asexual people and “queer” as an identity. Like I said, asexual = queer doesn’t really make sense to me on a gut level, but I’m not sure how much of that is due to the fact that I just don’t grok asexuality on an instinctive level.

Bagelsan
Bagelsan
8 years ago

Cis asexuals who are not homoromantic or bi romantic are not, in my opinion, among those cases. They are not queer.

Gay men are not interested in fucking women. Neither are asexual men. Lesbians are not interested in fucking men. Neither are asexual women. ASEXUAL PEOPLE APPROACH SEX DIFFERENTLY THAN HETEROSEXUAL PEOPLE DO. This is not a super fuzzy area here: queer people are, among other things, people who society has decided “do sex wrong” and not wanting sex IS TREATED AS DOING SEX WRONG. Asexual people are a minority population, are misunderstood and mistreated because of their (lack of) sexual orientation, and are told something must be wrong with them. Does that sound fucking familiar? Jeezus.

But yeah, sure, nooo one’s trying to police other peoples’ identities here, we’re just flat-out denying them entirely. Alrighty then. That’s totally preferable.

Bagelsan
Bagelsan
8 years ago

I just don’t grok asexuality on an instinctive level.

Yeah, and there’s a word for that.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

And what is that word, Bagelsan? Because if you’re hinting at “phobic”, that’s not it.

Bagelsan
Bagelsan
8 years ago

”Where would a single asexual student go to discuss their concerns and meet understanding, if not to an event or organization that are outside of the heterosexual norm?”

Well, it’s not really cool to insist that if an individual doesn’t have anyone to talk to about issues they’re having any non-normative group that happens to be around must accept them and pay attention to their issues either

Except that the hypothetical student is dealing with the same issue as the group is. It’s not like they’re trying to derail a meeting about Teach for America into discussing their sexuality. They’re trying to join a discussion about non-normative sexuality to talk about their non-normative sexuality. That’s the exact opposite of derailing or appropriation.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

That’s why I can see political reasons to include the category “asexual” in the category “queer”. But on a practical level, I’m not sure how much support or help the queer group could offer the asexual student. Support in terms of negotiating dealing with pressure to have sex you aren’t interested in? Sure. Support in terms of society viewing you as weird? Definitely. But my personal experience of queer groups doesn’t lead me to believe that they’ll be very helpful to someone who isn’t interested in sex at all in other ways, and Savage is a good example of why. Not just in terms of being phobic, but because there can be just as much pressure for people to be having lots of sex in queer circles as there is in straight ones.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

I mean look at my example. I’m a woman who wants to have sex with women, I’m just rather specific about which women, and in queer circles I often feel pressure to have sex with women I’m not interested in having sex with, and there’s social shaming if I say no. I don’t see how queer spaces would be a safe haven for asexual people at all in that sense, because the same assumption that people should want to fuck still exists.

Sorka
Sorka
8 years ago

“I don’t see how queer spaces would be a safe haven for asexual people at all in that sense, because the same assumption that people should want to fuck still exists.”

Wouldn’t that depend on the queer circle, though? I agree that there can be a lot of pressure in those circles to have lots of sex (and to be kinky rather than vanilla, for instance). However, in the queer circles I’ve been hanging out with recently (which includes asexuals, transsexuals, and kinky and vanilla queers) there is a great deal of tact and awareness that shaming or pressuring someone into doing something they don’t want to do IS NOT COOL.

That said, my aforementioned heteroflexible friend has had experiences where she’s felt pressured into sexual situations.

The point of all this rambling is (I guess) — just because there is a lot of emphasis on sex (not just sexuality) in queer circles, this doesn’t mean that they can’t be a helpful “safe haven” for asexuals.

Sorka
Sorka
8 years ago

Correction, I meant “transgender” rather than “transsexual”.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

It would. My own experiences have been that pressure to fuck people I don’t want to is even higher in queer circles in some senses. There’s lots of pressure from individual men I’m not interested in to fuck them in straight spaces, but generally speaking if I say “I don’t like macho guys/muscly guys/whatever” then in mostly straight spaces people will just accept that and not say “why not? justify your preference”. In queer spaces, not so much, in my experience. That may be a result of my very specific preferences, though.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

What I meant wasn’t that queer spaces should in general excluse asexuals, though. I meant that identity groups in general do have a right to define bounddries for themselves (feminist groups can choose to be unwelcoming to women who call themselves femininsts but don’t share the core values of the group, for example).

I’m not convinced that “asexuals are not queer” is an appropriate boundary to be drawing, though. Especially since asexuality as an organised identify group is really fairly new, so things are still sorting themselves out in terms of how people identify, organize politically, etc.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

The lack of sleep is kicking in…basically I’d prefer to see the boundaries of how we define orientation get looser, not tighter, in a general sense, and I think drawing a line and going “no, asexuals are not queer” goes against that goal. Whether asexuals will be considered a part of the umbrella group queer in, say, 50 years time isn’t something that we can know yet, I don’t think, because “queer” keeps shifting in meaning anyway.

darksidecat
8 years ago

Sexually assertive cis hetero women are also seen as “doing sex wrong” and they are also not queer. Promiscuous cis women are seen as “doing sex wrong” and are also not queer. Cis hetero people with fetishes are also seen as “doing sex wrong” and are still not queer. Polygamous Mormons are seen as “doing sex wrong” and are not queer. Not all stigmatized identities/acts around sex count as queer.

Also, if asexual people are not “allowed” to identify as queer, isn’t there a danger of them being even *more* marginalised and invisible then they are already? Most people these days “know” what it means to be gay and bisexual, but asexuality is sometimes believed not to exist at all!

Apply that same argument to cis hetero kinksters. That’s appropriation, plain and simple. Queer people don’t have a special burden to sacrifice our own interests, communities, and struggles to serve others. Insofar as we have a burden not to stigmatize things like fetishes, cis heteros have it as well.

Also, marginalized people can co-opt experiences of other marginalized people. This sometimes happens with white queer people and black people’s experiences, for example. Then again, I don’t think asexuals are marginalized in the broad sense, especially not in relation to queer people. Queer people don’t have social power over non-queer people, and society does not privilege sexual queer people over less sexual ones (quite the opposite, in fact, displays of queer sexuality including things as simple as hugs or hand holding can result in massive negative consequences). This applies to sexualities of certain other groups as well. It is not true that, for example, being more sexual rather than less is considered socially good for people with disabilities, with women (though there is more leway there), and with a number of other groups. Not all stigmatized identity rises to the level of oppression or marginalization. Not that it makes it okay to perpetrate that stigma in general, but it does affect priority and other issues.

Where would a single asexual student go to discuss their concerns and meet understanding, if not to an event or organization that are outside of the heterosexual norm?

They can make their own, instead of trying to derail and co-opt the extremely few social spaces where queer peple can discuss their desires and issues. In addition, asexuals and the asexual community has its fair share of homophobes and transphobes, and the majority of queer people I have spoken to around this have not found that cis non-queer aces are any less likely to be hateful of queer and trans people than cis heteros, which make issues around co-option even more glaring. They aren’t being asked to be allowed to have their own space, they are being asked to be able to force queer and trans spaces to center them and their issues over queer and trans people and our issues. I don’t see an issue with cis non-queer people being told they are not welcome at trans or queer exclusive spaces. In queer events or spaces where non-queers are allowed or welcomed, that would be an issue, because then they would be being singled out from other non-queers for exclusion.

But what about the fact that some asexual people are romantically (but not sexually) attracted to members of the same gender? Are they not queer?

I already addressed that issue in this discussion and have tried to be specific about when I was applying something to cis non-queer asexuals. Being asexual doesn’t make you queer any more than being kinky does, but a person can be both kinky and queer, and in some cases asexual people are also queer, but they are queer because they are queer, not because they are asexual.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

Being more philosophical again – is the absence of a desire the same thing as a desire deemed socially inappropriate, from a practical point of view in terms of how society responds to you? That seems to be the core of Bagelsan’s argument. I don’t think it is, since “I don’t want to do that” is not the same thing as “I want to do that with someone who other people would rather I didn’t do it with”, either internally or in terms of how society responds.

But at the same time, if queer is about who people want to fuck and that’s the core defining aspect, then why do we consider trans and genderqueer people to be queer regardless of who they want to fuck? What does “queer” mean?

Bagelsan
Bagelsan
8 years ago

Cassandra, I was going for “privileged.” Asexuality is a form of marginalization that you do not understand and yet you’re trying to categorize it despite your ignorance, and debating disallowing asexual people from claiming an identity despite not “grok”ing their experiences at all.

Then again, I don’t think asexuals are marginalized in the broad sense

They can make their own, instead of trying to derail and co-opt the extremely few social spaces where queer peple can discuss their desires and issues.

They aren’t being asked to be allowed to have their own space, they are being asked to be able to force queer and trans spaces to center them and their issues over queer and trans people and our issues.

darksidecat, I cannot tell you to “fuck off” hard enough. You’re a goddamn bigot, and not even a particularly rational one. “They are queer because they are queer”? That’s a fucking well-thought-out definition you have there; glad to know such exquisite consideration was put into your sweeping exclusion of asexual people from the identify of “queer” which you apparently own. You seem to be fond of repeating your ridiculous assertions as if that might serve in place of a convincing argument. It does not. Perhaps you should go back to the cakes vs. steak comparison, as it was at least an original denial of queer identity.

As a fellow queer person I think you are so full-to-the-brim of bullshit you have to keep your chin tilted up as you talk. Truly your appalling behavior is the best reason for asexuals to stay the hell away from other QUILTBAGers I’ve read so far, so congratulations on that; I suppose that making your group appear completely odious is a tactic for keeping undesirables out, though maybe not the cleverest one.

Bagelsan
Bagelsan
8 years ago

But at the same time, if queer is about who people want to fuck and that’s the core defining aspect, then why do we consider trans and genderqueer people to be queer regardless of who they want to fuck? What does “queer” mean?

Clearly fucking is not a sufficient criterion. Maybe darksidecat will present one at some point; for someone with such strong exclusionary convictions ze still hasn’t presented much in the way of evidence or argumentation on which said exclusion might be based.

If a bisexual woman can fall in love with a man, fuck him, marry him, and remain in a monogamous relationship with him while still counting as “queer” god knows why someone engaging in fewer heterosexual behaviors than that is suddenly “appropriating.”

nofatherfigure
nofatherfigure
8 years ago

This whole defining queer conversation reminds me of a story.

I was living in a small, very conservative town, and I had a little side project doing a website for a local bar. One of the waitresses came out of the closet and brought her partner to visit. For many people this was the first gay couple that patrons had ever met*, and much to my surprise people were very respectful (at least when in earshot). However the conversation kept coming back to “Who’s the man and who’s the woman.”

Finally after about an hour of this coming up again and again. It was clear that Waitress(Sally) and Girlfriend(Sarah) were getting uncomfortable because they were kind of at a loss to explain such a thing in the context of their relationship. So, irritated because I was the only sober person in a bunch of drunken question-repeaters and because I think gender roles are BS, I said “It’s simple. Sally is the “Sally” and Sarah is the “Sarah.” True story.

Anyway, I guess this pops in my head because, although I know it is generations away, I really look forward to the day that these kinds of labels are considered quaint. The day when “there are people who prefer to fuck penises,” “there are people who fuck vaginas,” “there are people who don’t care,” and “there are people who don’t fuck.” **


*There were a few other folks that hung around the bar, but never brought their significant others around. It was kind of a detente… “we accept you do that, but don’t want to be reminded about it.” Which was about as classy/accepting as some of the patrons seemed capable of being. *SIGH* Not a good time in my life.

** Yes, I’m sure I’m leaving out some options. I apologize, it is either unintentional or something I couldn’t find a way to express in the simple rhetorical formula I’m using. I admit that I suck, and am willing to take suggestions.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

I’m not trying to categorize it. You’re categorizing it (as queer) and I’m going “does that categorization make sense given what we as a society consider queer to mean?”. A shared working definition of queer would help, but no one seems to have one other than “these are the people who I think are/are not queer”, which is a list, not a definition.

Do you think “queer’ means an absence of hetero behaviors? I don’t think that’s what most people think it means.

Bagelsan
Bagelsan
8 years ago

I think it means “not heterosexual and cis” basically. I haven’t seen a more consistent definition from anyone else yet.

I’m not trying to categorize it. You’re categorizing it (as queer) and I’m going “does that categorization make sense given what we as a society consider queer to mean?”

My ass I am. I’m identifying as it, and you’ve taken that opportunity to get into a long philosophical debate about whether or not you think I deserve to have that identity respected.

Holly Pervocracy
8 years ago

I think “queer” really needs to be an umbrella term for everybody whose sexuality falls outside the realm of, speaking very generally, what would not surprise your grandma. (Well, your grandma may be cool. The generic grandma of the dominant culture.) And for the nitpicky cases, the things like “Does having a fetish make you queer?” I think the only answer is to let people self-define.

If people are taking over queer discussions with talk about “it’s hard to be straight and cis, you guys,” that’s inappropriate; but if they’re talking about having a sexual/gender orientation that doesn’t fit into mainstream society, that’s exactly what queer discussions are for, and discussions about only LGBT issues need to be LGBT discussions, not queer ones.

I’m poly. That means that:
-My relationship cannot be legally enshrined in marriage.
-My relationship has to be disclosed with a lot of explaining and justifying.
-Many people in my life do not know about my relationship because I am concerned it would make them view me negatively.
-My relationship is rarely represented positively in the media.
-Concealing my relationship involves concealing an entire person and what she means to me, not just being discreet about specifically what we do together.
-My relationship would surprise my grandma.

So can straight, cis, and poly be queer? I’m not sure, they certainly don’t share a history with or have identical issues to LGBT folks, but writing them off as “not LGBT, ergo not queer, that’s that,” doesn’t seem quite right to me.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

Um, Bagelsan? I’m queer too. I’m allowed to ponder what the word means. If you identify as queer then cool – in general I respect people’s right to identify however they want (there are exceptions, such as Sarah Palin calling herself a feminist), so if you identify as queer then I will refer to you as such. But people who belong to a group are allowed to speculate about what it means to be a member of that group, what the descriptive term that refers to the group means, etc.

It does seem odd to me, linguistically speaking, to define an identity in terms of “things I am not” rather than “things I am”, which is part of why I’m asking what other people mean by “queer”. I’m curious about whether most people are defining it as “I am not X”, or as “I am X, Y, or Z, or possibly all of the above”.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

@ Holly – maybe the issue here is that the terms “queer” is an offshoot of “gay”, and via linguistic drift it may be starting to have a much broader meaning. But people seem to still want an umbrella term for “attracted to people of your own sex or gender”, and if “queer” comes to mean “not normative in a way that would freak out Grandma”, then “queer” no longer works as a way to refer to people who specifically have a sexual preference for partners based on gender, and who are not hetero.

I dunno, I think darksidecat is being a bit too draconian about definitions, but at the same time calling anyone whose sexual preferences don’t fall inside an incredibly narrow range (not kinky, zero attraction to their own gender, very gender normative, very monogamous) queer seems to broaden the term to the point where it’s essentially meaningless, because how many people, if they’re being honest, are fully in the “nothing about my sexuality would be alarming to Grandma” category?

Well, other than Brandon.

Holly Pervocracy
8 years ago

CassandraSays – I would rather define more people as queer than fewer. I think the difference between “queer” and “LGBT” is that “queer” is a way more inclusive and fuzzier term.

But I also don’t want to be the Boss Of Queer and I’m nowhere near involved enough with the queer community to be issuing rulings on it, either.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

In general I agree with more inclusive/expansive definitions too, but under the one you’re suggesting I’m not sure if I know anyone who isn’t queer. My Grandma might seem not to be, but that’s probably just because I don’t talk to her about her sex life in enough detail. Certainly I don’t know many people in my age range (30s) who’d meet that definition of not-queer, and no one at all under 30.

Granted, I live in the Bay Area. But still, it just seems like a definition under which almost everyone is queer. Which is cool if the goal is to expose how silly the definition of “normal” is, but not much use if the goal is to define specific people/groups of people/activities as non-normative.

Alpha Asshole Cock Carousel
Alpha Asshole Cock Carousel
8 years ago

I think “queer” really needs to be an umbrella term for everybody whose sexuality falls outside the realm of, speaking very generally, what would not surprise your grandma.

But that kinda makes everyone queer, because very few people actually behave as normatively in bed as they represent themselves to in their public sexual identity. That’s the problem with using it as an umbrella term. Outside of spaces where terms like “cis” even have any currency (I had never seen that term until I started reading comments on this site, and I’m relatively up on LGBT issues for someone of my generation), “queer” roughly means gay. I can’t tell you how many times my asexual, butch-dressing, hetero female friend has been assumed to be a lesbian simply because of how she dresses, and from her perspective being called “queer” would just reinforce that normative mis-labeling.

What I’m saying is that I think some of these debates are currently internal to LGBT subcultures, academia, and other spaces like that, and they’re not going to translate well into the larger culture without that larger culture evolving from where it is now. So to be perfectly clear, in the broader culture right now labeling asexuals as “queer” is in many cases going to exacerbate, not mitigate, some of the stigma associated with asexuality (not that that stigma is necessarily the worst of its kind, it’s just an example of the culture clash I’m pointing to).

Again, social justice is hard. Let’s go shopping!

Naira
Naira
8 years ago

because how many people, if they’re being honest, are fully in the “nothing about my sexuality would be alarming to Grandma” category?

In my case, pre-marital sex with a Jewish man makes me queer, then.

I understand that the grandma standard is more about a general “grandma” and not a specific one, though.

Even with some major arguments, I’ve actually been happy to read this discussion on the word “queer.” I am the proverbial cis female bisexual in a monogamous relationship with a cis male. I’ve tried to stay current with at least some of the issues that go on in the Queer world (including attending the MBLGTACC–worst acronym ever–conference when it was at my school a few years ago). But with how things turned out for me, the issues are a lot less personal than they could have been.

But, no matter the diversity of attractions and identifications you’re introduced to, there’s always more. So it is helpful to read more views from people I wouldn’t otherwise interact with.

Lauralot
Lauralot
8 years ago

Goddamn, what a depressing thread to read first thing in the morning. It’s great to know that I don’t “count,” I’m not marginalized despite evidence otherwise, and by wanting to discuss my orientation and place in society I’m “co-opting” safe havens from “real” queers.

It’s funny that this is the first thing I’ve ever read on this site that really hurts me, despite all the horrific misogyny I’ve read since coming here.

Holly Pervocracy
8 years ago

Maybe we need a third word. If “queer” only means “LGBT,” then I call “gazork.”

Everyone who fucks funny (incl. not fucking) is a gazork, and they are all invited to the Gazork Club meetings, and you’re allowed to declare that some Gazork Club discussions are only for certain types of gazork, but you’re not allowed to tell anyone who self-applies the label that they aren’t a real gazork.

:p

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
8 years ago

@Lauralot:

Don’t worry. At least one person here knows you exist. 🙂 Funny enough, my former girlfriend identifies as asexual. It was kinda frustrating for me, because I am quite sexual myself, and it took me far too long to figure out that we didn’t click like that. Good news is we’re still very good friends. Bad news is now I have to do some work to find someone to cuddle again…

It’s conversations like the one between DSC and Baglesan that made me want to write my little song earlier. We really don’t want to get in the habit of saying “you don’t fit into this particular label, therefore your problems with the status quo don’t matter.” Fuck, I’m a straight white male from a high-income family… the very bottom of the ladder when it comes to discussions on privilage, racism, classism, pretty much any -ism you like. Imagine if I had to try to prove I was marginalized in the same way as women in order to be included in feminist circles like this one, and to complain about misogyny.

I suppose I could talk about my atheism… Obama doesn’t mention God in his thanksgiving address and suddenly it’s some big scandal. *shakes head*

Lauralot
Lauralot
8 years ago

@kirbywarp: That was an amazing song. Agreed, when I imagine the queer community, I don’t imagine it as a Queerer-Than-Thou Tree Fort, with the members holding the ladder away from those who aren’t queer enough.

@Holly: I would like to join the Garzok Club.

darksidecat
8 years ago

darksidecat, I cannot tell you to “fuck off” hard enough. You’re a goddamn bigot, and not even a particularly rational one.

Why don’t you fuck off and stop appropriating others identities.

“They are queer because they are queer”? That’s a fucking well-thought-out definition you have there; glad to know such exquisite consideration was put into your sweeping exclusion of asexual people from the identify of “queer” which you apparently own.

I don’t own it alone, but queer people in general do, and you aren’t one of them. You don’t get to tell us we have to let you claim our histories and experiences. You are offended? Well, guess what, I find your attempt to appropriate others’ oppressions and identity offensive. And it’s no denial of queer identity to say so, what it is is a denial of your right to appropriate it.

@Cassandra, the linkage of trans and LGB, etc. sexualities is a historio-political issue. Part of it is that some trans people’s sexualities could only count in the latter category (a nonbinary identified person who is only attracted to men can only have those desires named hetero if they are being misgendered), part of it is that people who transition later in life may have spent significant portions of their lives living and doing work in those communities, part of it is a shared history of being affected by certain legal and religious punishments (straight trans people were not immune to sodomy laws, crossdressing laws often affected both groups heavily, same sex marriage bans often affect trans people, etc.), part of it is that our cissexist culture generally insists on conflating the two, part of it is that when dealing with history or other cases where one has limited ability to ask the person themself the two are sometimes rather hard to distinguish (for example, FAAB people who had sex with women and often lived socially as men during the middle ages, are they properly discussed as trans men or as cis women loving women who dressed as men for social benefits, it’s not so clear in a lot of cases, yet getting caught meant getting killed as a witch a lot of times either way). The origins of the modern use of queer come from a school of thought trying to deal with historical issues around how we conceive historical figures and figures from other cultures when discussing those desires, those “loves that dare not speak their name”. Since the habitual western way of naming sexual desires is derived from extremely gendered notions, the fact that trans identities would come up in discussing namings of sexuality and in studying of history is not particularly surprising. I do think desires, romantic, sexual, at times political as related to the first two, are a core part of the concept of queerness, and that trans desires (or lack thereof) that get swept up in that attempt to build community which otherwise might not fit may still have a claim because of those historical, social, and cultural connections to the issues. I would not use the term queer to refer to the desires a straight binary identified trans person, or an asexual trans person, unless they considered them such themselves, but due to all of those earlier historio-cultural issues, I think they have grounds to claim their identites and desires as such even though an otherwise similarly situated cis person would not.

Oh, and Bagelsan, fucking is fucking, desire is desire, reducing queer sexual identity to fucking is basically pulling an NWOslave and claiming things like that male prison rapists are all gay or bi.

….by wanting to discuss my orientation and place in society I’m “co-opting” safe havens from “real” queers.

Wanting to discuss it in general isn’t, having an expectation of a right to use of queer spaces and queer identity because of it is, and the latter was the original context.

Holly Pervocracy
8 years ago

I know this is going to come off badly (“then why are you saying it?” good question), but:

How many queer communities really have a major problem with too many people identifying as queer?

I’ve only ever seen it in very sheltered spaces–the sex-positive blogosphere, at very liberal colleges–because in 99% of the world the need to be “normal” vastly trumps any desire to appropriate a still largely outcast label. (And even in the sheltered spaces it’s more often the case of a LGBT-dominated community casting out a few asexual or kinky people, just in case they suddenly take over.) So I’m having trouble seeing how the harm to the community trumps the harm to the people being told “sorry, you don’t count, you’re just going to have to be double outcast now?”

Especially since “you don’t count because you don’t face the same issues as LGBT people” is often completely mixed up with “you don’t count because your sexuality is weird and icky and maybe not real.”

Bostonian
8 years ago

Apparently making sure the borders are properly policed is more important than helping someone else, perhaps accidentally. Good to know.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
8 years ago

I’m not entirely clear on this, but if “queer” does indeed refer to “LGBT,” then I’m baffled as to how you could make the history-of-persecution argument… I doubt very much that bisexual people have faced the same level of persecution as trans people, or gays and lesbians for that matter. Isolating a chunk of history and saying such a diverse group has claim to all of it, but for some inexplicable reason asexual people are not allowed despite arguably having a tougher time than bisexual people… Yeah, I just don’t get it.

Lauralot
Lauralot
8 years ago

Oh, and Bagelsan, fucking is fucking, desire is desire, reducing queer sexual identity to fucking is basically pulling an NWOslave and claiming things like that male prison rapists are all gay or bi.

All people who disagree with you are hateful trolls. Nice.

Lauralot
Lauralot
8 years ago

don’t own it alone, but queer people in general do, and you aren’t one of them. You don’t get to tell us we have to let you claim our histories and experiences.

Fuck this. I’m quickly losing all respect I have for you. I’m queer and you don’t get to tell me otherwise.