Still wondering what ‘queer’ means

So apparently there’s such a thing as “queer heterosexuality.” According to Wikipedia:

Examples of queer heterosexuality are when one or both partners express their gender in non-traditional ways: heterosexual butch women or feminine men, and taking up different gender roles.

So it’s true—straight people can be ‘queer.’ That really does confirm my suspicion that ‘queer’ no longer has anything to do with being gay. Didn’t queer used to mean gay at some point? I’m pretty sure it did. This gay male writer for Huff Post isn’t happy about them changing their Gay Voices section to Queer Voices, because he has experienced the word queer as a gay-bashing word. He writes:

“Yes, the word is painful. It was a point driven home to me with fists and kicks. It was the word vomited at me by bullies at school. It was one of the words, along with “faggot” and “sissy” that the gym coaches threw at us. If you didn’t want to put on boxing gloves and hit another kid in the face you were a fag. You were queer. If someone was queer it was okay to inflict pain and suffering on them because of it. That message came from staff at school, from coaches, house parents, and the older boys. It was pervasive and universal. Let’s all play smear the queer.”

There’s something really uncomfortable about this. Gays have been beaten since forever while getting called queer. Some of them are beaten and called queers while they’re still young and have not yet ever had the sex they are being punished for wanting. But straight people who wear interesting outfits call themselves Queer Heterosexuals in order to sound cool. There’s a real big disconnect here. Being gay isn’t a costume you put on to look cool.

An article in Vice asks, “Can Straight People Be Queer?” and then provides a non-answer to the question with the usual incoherent jumble of mismatched thoughts and celebrity quotes. First of all, some quotes from young celebrities who know nothing about Gay and Lesbian history but who are genderfluid and not sticking to any particular label because sexuality is a “vast spectrum.” (My sexuality is not much of a spectrum. I just like women, and that’s that. But anyway.) Then there’s an obligatory tweet of Jaden Smith wearing an outfit.


This confirms my suspicion that the word ‘queer’ means ‘wearing a Tweetable outfit.’ Our Vice writer continues with this word salad paragraph:

“Being queer is not the same as being gay. Queer means lots of things to lots of different people. Its definition defies any meaning that is pinned to it. For many, it is a political persuasion as well as a sexual one. There are plenty of gays who don’t identify as queer—who wouldn’t subscribe to gay marriage, for instance. Writing “no Asians” on your Grindr profile and having mostly white pride lineups are other examples of gay culture devoid of queer thinking. You don’t have to be queer to be gay, but do you have to be gay to be queer?”

Well, I’m glad he admits that ‘queer’ defies any meaning. Truly, it does. I don’t have a clue what ‘queer’ fucking means any more. I am flummoxed by the sentence where apparently gays who don’t identify as queer wouldn’t subscribe to gay marriage. Huh? I think a citation is needed here. And then apparently if you are racist on Grindr then you are devoid of queer thinking. Does that mean ‘queer’ means ‘not racist’? This is really all over the place. I’m not getting anything out of this.

“For someone who is homosexual and queer, a straight person identifying as queer can feel like choosing to appropriate the good bits, the cultural and political cache, the clothes and the sound of gay culture, without the laugh riot of gay-bashing, teen shame, adult shame, shame-shame, and the internalized homophobia of lived gay experience.”

Now that I can agree with! Straight people who wear outfits and call themselves queer have not had to go through what gay people go through. They are appropriating.

So then the Vice writer interviews a straight male drag queen who has a girlfriend who thinks it’s “sexy” that her boyfriend does drag. *yawn* As usual, if a man wears a cool outfit he is suddenly TEH MOST COOLEST GUY EVER AND IS SO SPARKLY AND BRAVE.

“I ask Hollis Robin, drummer of queer feminist punk band Teenage Caveman, whether straight people can be queer. Hollis identifies as bisexual when talking to cisgendered, heterosexual people because, “it’s easier to understand and keeps the conversation flowing.” Hollis prefers the term queer and uses that “when talking to other queer people/people who get it.”

Obviously, when writing about a social issue with a complex history, it is always good to ask a drummer in a punk band for her opinion. It is a known fact that drummers in punk bands are the leading experts in contemporary social studies. Anyway. Hollis prefers to use queer terminology around queer people. Well I have to state here that I would not understand Hollis’ queer terminology. I am mystified by this stuff. I am just a boring old homosexual, and I don’t understand sparklegender unicorn rainbow terminology. I suppose that when talking to actual homosexuals, it is probably best to use layperson terminology, not this ‘queer’ stuff.

Queer is a very broad term that encompasses many aspects of sexual and gender identity,” Hollis says. “Society needs to be deprogrammed, subverted, or queered, and that involves a process of unlearning and de-conditioning white supremacist, cisnormative, and heteronormative behavior and values. Straight and cisgender people engaged in that work could be considered queer but I feel it’s not a label/identity cis and straight people are entitled to claim, more one that they need to earn. In the same way cisgender men can’t just declare themselves feminists, or white people can’t just declare their activism intersectional, they have to be held accountable to the people society places beneath them.”

So society needs to be ‘queered’? (Right now I am rubbing at my forehead in exasperation.) You know, I can agree with a tiny bit of this paragraph. We do need to unlearn heteronormativity and white supremacy, obviously. But then she throws in “cisnormative” and loses me with that. Cisnormative is a bullshit concept. Cis is a bullshit concept. Nobody’s personality precisely lines up with the sex role assigned to them. And the reason that it’s the norm to be ‘not trans’ is because most people aren’t trans. That’s not really a problem. We don’t all need to inject ourselves with hormones. And we should not normalize injecting everyone with hormones. I’m just an Evil Transphobic Shitlord who thinks that maybe everyone’s body is just fine the way it is.

“So go on. Have gay sex, listen to Arthur Russell, and watch RuPaul, straight people. Paint your nails and eschew binary logic. Cross-dressing is not cross-dressing if dresses do not belong to women. It is dressing, which is always already performance. You are born naked and the rest is drag. Go forth and engage with the important and difficult issues happening to the queer people who you love. Be a good ally.”

Wait, what? Did she just tell straight people to have gay sex? I’m pretty sure straight people don’t want to have gay sex, or else they wouldn’t be calling themselves straight. Is straight gay sex a thing now? Like, if a man and a woman who wear cool outfits take off their outfits in a cool way and then get it on, is that “gay sex”? I wouldn’t really be surprised if this was a thing, because the bullshit has gotten this bad. But anyway.

This writer is totally a TERF, by the way. I just caught a TERF statement in here. She wrote, “Cross-dressing is not cross-dressing if dresses do not belong to women. It is dressing, which is always already performance.” I have made this exact statement before! If a man puts on a dress, the only reason we call it “cross-dressing” is because dresses have been assigned to women. But if we just thought about clothing as being for anyone, then there would be no such thing as cross-dressing, there would just be dressing. (However, I disagree that dressing is always a performance. I am currently wearing some sweatpants and a hooded sweatshirt, both of which I took out of the dirty laundry bin, and I don’t think that this clothing is performing anything at all. Unless ‘slob with PMS’ is a performance piece.)

So this Vice article ends with a quote from a random celebrity who is bisexual, and there is no actual conclusion as to what ‘queer’ means. That’s because there is no conclusion to make, because queer doesn’t actually mean anything.


24 thoughts on “Still wondering what ‘queer’ means

  1. “I will now perform…I’m Too Lazy to Change Out of My Sweaty Clothes …thank you very much…”

    I started to get a nosebleed from all the labels referenced in this post. Good grief. If we really need this many labels, perhaps it’s time to nix ’em! If we HAVE to define ourselves to anyone, perhaps it could be an operational definition, “I am a woman who is only attracted to other women.” “I am a man who is attracted to men and women.” Whatever! Really, I don’t see too much need for it outside of a discussion with someone you’re interested in having sex with. For me, it’s really nobody’s business unless they’re interested in pursuing a relationship with me that includes sex.

    And can we ditch the narrow gender norms already? With all the labels, it seems more parsimonious to scrap them all together–it’s obvious that there are MANY people for whom they DO NOT WORK!

    No matter what the current trend is, I will always prefer being known by my name–it has come to mean all that is me and that’s subject to change! When I think of the people in my life, very seldom do I think of them as “So and so, the heterosexual male.” They’re “Whatsherface” or “Whathisname.” 😉 For me, people’s names encompass their entire personality and this is NOT RIGID. If my dad suddenly started wearing frilly dresses, he would still be my dad and I would just add that under the heading of “Dad.”

    I heard someone use the acronym LGBTQIA the other day and I thought, “That’s it! I’ve had it!” When is everyone having all these discussions about their sexuality? I haven’t labeled myself like that since middle school or high school! I get it, people, we’re all special and unique and apparently, we’re all oppressed!!! (irony)

    Is this what it means to be PC??? One of the cisgendered heternormative females (just kidding) on The View put it well: “All ‘PC’ means is you don’t get to say all the stuff you used to be able to say….People don’t think all those sexist, racist jokes are funny anymore.” I agree with that. I think the main point that oddly enough seems to be skipped over quite a bit is RESPECT. We are not all the same and we all have different experiences but we all deserve to be treated with the same amount of respect and dignity. Nobody is worth any more or less than anybody else. Perhaps if we could all agree on that point then we wouldn’t need so many different designations for people.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Hey, I’ve been reading your blog for a while, but this is my first comment.

    The first time I ever heard a straight person call themselves queer was at a rally a few years ago. It was your typical straight girl who got on the mic and announced that she’d never “allowed” herself the label queer because it was for LG folks, but couldn’t really identify with heterosexuality since she liked feminine men. But one day her boyfriend announced he was trans – and voila! Instant queer cred for her and boyfriend. She now felt entitled to the label.

    This brings me to the conclusion that the new/expanded definition of “queer” is all about men. Trans women, gay guys, average hetero-Joes who want unfettered access to prettiness, glamour, fake boobs, heels ( and whatever else they think femaleness is about) and the self-satisfaction of being counter-culture. And, yeah, it’s a win for them because they get to put on fancy outfits without being condemned by society. And it’s a big win for capitalism because more makeup, overpriced clothing, plastic surgery, and hormone treatments get sold. It’s just a new niche market ( the “stunning and brave” market).

    But “queering” hasn’t done anything for women, and I don’t think it ever will. Conformist or genderqueer, we’re still stuck doing the shit-work of society, we’re still expected to be enthusiastic sex-objects. Also, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that, in my age group, there’s an abundance of straight girls calling themselves queer, but people literally cringe when I refer to myself as a lesbian. True gender non-conformity isn’t part of queer-chic for women, but bisexuality, “fluid” personal boundaries, and transition for butch women are. I can’t identify with queer for these reasons, but also because I’m not interested in a term which is contrarian and rebellious for its own sake. Lesbian/Gay/Homosexual are far from perfect, but at least they have dignity and refer to something material and true.

    Sorry for the long comment, I just had a lot of thoughts 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

    • this was superb!

      I especially liked “unfettered access to fake boobs”. It sums up our era.

      “Queer-chic” is perfect. We must popularize that. 📝 And thank you for putting into words that thing of being “contrarian and rebellious for its own sake”. Yes. So much of the sparklegender horseshit is descended from deconstruction, now call pomo. It was contrarian and rebellious for its own sake. All the while being incredibly intellectually pretentious too. In fact the “queering of society” is like the deconstruction idea that all language is secretly ambiguous. And it was a good thing in itself to demonstrate that about various ‘texts’ thus rendering the meaningless. Once you’ve made them meaningless you had succeeded. Queer-ism sometimes seems like they want to do that with the whole of society. Make everything meaningless. They won’t succeed though they’ll just make it confused…

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Huh. Because, you know, the folks I know irl who embrace queer theory are not that hot on gay marriage. Waaaay too heteronormative monogamous. Much more transgressive to forget the paperwork and boink whoever whenever.

    Personally, I’m the grumpy middle aged woman currently performing “winter skin itchiness so I slathered on some random body butter from the cabinet and am wearing an ancient sweatshirt and ratty leggings so as not to leave spots”. It’s my latest performance piece. I intend to close with “it’s miserably cold so I also wrapped up in the ugly but warm blanket”.

    Now, get those brats offa my lawn and away from my porch!

    Liked by 6 people

    • So I guess if you are queer then you should be polyamorous then. I can see that happening. There is definitely an attitude in the queer/trans cult that you must be open to fucking anyone at any time, especially if you are female. Which is a situation indistinguishable from patriarchy, by the way. My partner and I aren’t interested in marriage, but we are in a long-term relationship. I know marriage is important to some gays and lesbians but not to us.

      Liked by 5 people

  4. I am not that hot on gay marriage. I can’t quite understand why anyone would want to. But, you know, makes people happy..

    I am also a big lezzer. I am fairly sure of this, having had extremely satisfying lesbian sex just the other day.

    Today, fuck knows what I am performing. I am wearing a Tolpuddle Martyrs t-shirt topped with a sexxay Soviet army shirt from the Afghan campaign. I do have some quite nice boots on…the woman from the army and military store kids on I’m a copper and I get the police discount. (I am a regular customer).

    Also, some trousers. It’s cold here and you need them. 😉

    Honestly all this sparkly queer shite gies me the boak. Why is any of this necessary? If you want to, then fine, but stop kidding on it makes you special, Tumblr kiddies of the world.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. Going by this lot, queer seems to mean pretentious little tossers desperately trying to hide how goddamn shallow and boring they are.

    And no, heteros (like me!) cannot be “queer” when it is a synonym for homosexual, the meaning that still gets people beaten and worse.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. “sparklegender”

    What a perfect word. I’m stealing that!

    Less seriously, though, I think depaysement hits it. Queer=cool. So, I guess, if you’re just a boring old lesbian, that’s cisqueer? Unqueer? Through-the-looking-glass-queer?

    Liked by 3 people

  7. “Society needs to be deprogrammed, subverted, or queered, and that involves a process of unlearning and de-conditioning white supremacist, cisnormative, and heteronormative behavior and values. ”

    That ain’t politics, it’s therapy. Politics confronts power. Politics grabs power. Unions do politics.

    Also, I can’t believe they’re still saying “always already.” So eighties.

    Hi Purplesage, I read you constantly, first time commenting.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’ve heard some people calling themselves queer because they want to avoid long, awkward explanations about their biological sex being different from the sex they’ve chosen to present as, along with which sex they prefer on top of all that. They think queer covers everything, in all iterations. The same goes for “pansexual.” Maybe if people would stop inventing all these gender categories that don’t really exist, they wouldn’t have a need to keep repurposing existing words and adding new ones to describe their sexual orientation!

    Liked by 4 people

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