Today in “What Does the Word Queer Mean, Anyway?” is this article by homosexual male transwoman Rose Dommu, entitled “A Party Has to Be More Than Gay to Qualify as “Queer.”
As you can see from the title, the article is about how to make your queer parties more queer. I am always fascinated by the ways in which today’s SJW liberals use the word queer, and this article provides lots of notable examples. Here are some quotes that reveal what “queer” means to this writer.
“The meaning of queer has evolved over time, resulting in a generational divide in how people perceive its meaning. Starting in the early 1900s, “queer” was used as a synonym—and slur—for “gay.” In the 70s, the word was reclaimed by LGBTQ activists and intellectuals in their fight for gay rights—hence, the still-popular chant, “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it.”
So the author is aware that “queer” first existed as an insult used against homosexuals—I’m relieved to know that, because some “queer” writers don’t seem to be aware of that. However, he uses some more modern meanings too.
“In a 2016 New York Times Magazine article called “When Everyone Can Be ‘Queer,’ Is Anyone?”, writer Jenna Wortham detangled the nebulous definitions and political connotations surrounding the term, explaining how it came to be reclaimed by the LGBTQ community from a pejorative to its current status as a self-applied term of empowerment. Queerness, she wrote, derives its radical power from its inclusivity. “But that inclusivity,” she continued, “offers a false promise of equality that does not translate to the lived reality of most queer people.”
Ha! I’ve asked myself the same question. Now that queer has become so vague a term that anybody can call themselves that, the word has become meaningless. It’s the equivalent of “trendy” or “edgy,” basically. The queer cult likes to erase the meanings of words, something they consider to be revolutionary, but which I consider to be unhelpful, because we actually need meaningful words in order to communicate.
Anyway, here is the first modern meaning of “queer” demonstrated in this article: “a self-applied term of empowerment.” Yes, “queer” is a label that people apply to themselves to gain something—usually cool points that can be cashed in among liberal friends. Sometimes calling yourself “queer” can even get you material benefits, like giving you an edge when running for a political position or career position in a liberal establishment.
“Empowerment” is a term that comes from the media-led third wave “feminist” backlash against actual feminism. Empowerment™ is a feel-good lifestyle product you can buy from the companies that market it. The thing itself could be anything that capitalism sells—makeup, clothing, plastic surgeries, sexy photos, etc, but the advertising campaign surrounding the thing gives it an aura of Empowerment™. (This consumer product should not be confused with actual power, which is something one cannot earn by purchasing products.) Calling yourself “queer,” in liberal circles, can get you the same vaguely defined Empowerment™ feeling.
“Queerness derives its radical power from its inclusivity.” This is a word salad. Power is the ability to exercise control or influence. You don’t get power from “inclusivity.” I’m not sure what “radical power” would even mean. This is one of those phrases that people just write because the words look pretty when sitting next to each other like that. It doesn’t actually mean anything.
“Part of what’s driving the term’s adoption by the LGBTQ community is a pushback against the rigid ideas and definitions of sexuality that were prominent in the gay rights movement for so long. Essentially, “queer” has transcended sexual orientations like “gay” or “straight,” and become a self-identifier for those who choose to live in opposition to social norms of sex and gender.”
This is interesting because he actually comes out and admits that “queer” has nothing to do with being lesbian or gay anymore. It’s something anyone can claim if they think they’re being subversive in some way. The heterosexuals with green hair who think they’re “queer” don’t seem to consider that it might be homophobic to call themselves by a word that was historically used to insult gays and lesbians in order to seem cool.
“You don’t choose to be gay, but I believe that you do choose to be queer. That choice—to reject heteronormative, patriarchal standards—is the root of queerness. Not all gay people are queer, and the inverse is just as true.”
So being “queer” means making a choice to support a certain brand of politics. One can “reject heteronormativity” while being a heterosexual in a heterosexual relationship. Sadly, there is no detail offered here about how that could be possible. If it’s by switching gender roles among the man and the woman, so that she earns the money and he takes care of the kids, then what I have to say about that is that we used to call that feminist back in the day when feminism wasn’t passé. If it’s by “identifying” as not being heterosexual despite actually being heterosexual, then that’s a load of horse shit.
“Queerness is the intersection of the political and personal, a way to quantify how the personal becomes political. It informs who we vote for, who we socialize with, the music we listen to, and the art and media we consume.”
Indeed. He’s just proving all my points for me. Queerness is a consumer lifestyle choice involving choosing to consume certain things. Consuming the right things brings us Empowerment™. Listen, kids: late-stage capitalism has sold you the idea that choosing consumer choices and buying shit will bring you Empowerment™ on purpose so that they could sell you products. This isn’t a liberation movement, it’s a successful marketing scheme.
(I just want to thank Twisty Faster here because I’m totally just repeating everything she taught me back in the day when she was blogging.)
“But when you apply the idea of queerness to nightlife, things can get dicey. You can’t simply call a party “queer”; there’s actual work you have to do make a space welcoming, inclusive, and safe for queer people. Calling something “queer”—or using any number of queer buzzwords or aesthetic identifiers in your party promo—comes with a certain level of responsibility to live up to what the term encompasses. And there is no place where that tension is more visible than in nightlife.”
“Queer” is about aesthetic identifiers—a group of artistic signals conveying the brand of politics you have. It’s an artistic style, a decoration scheme. It’s rainbow-coloured crap made in China bought from the dollar store, destined for the landfill after the party is over. Liberation through consumption!
“How can a party claim to be “queer” if the lineup isn’t diverse, the cover is too high, there isn’t accessibility for those who are differently abled, or it takes place in a club where the staff and security might antagonize people of color or gender non-conforming individuals? LGBTQ nightlife is still primarily dominated by white cisgender gay men, so how can a party be queer when it’s exclusive of the whole rainbow?”
Okay…I agree that community events should be accessible. But it almost sounds like “queer” is being used to mean “good party planning.”
“And when it comes to nightlife, the major difference between a party being “gay” or “queer” comes down to choices as well.”
There it is again: “queer” = “good party planning.”
This is his ultimate conclusion:
“The bottom line is that queer women, trans people, people of color, people with disabilities, people who are neurodivergent, and people without access to capital or privilege—we’re at these parties. We’re paying the cover—OK, I’m not, I’m always on the list—we’re buying drinks, and we’re in the party photos. We’re not tokens or aberrations; we’re part of the community. That means we should be represented on the lineup, too—otherwise, nightlife will never be “queer.”
So, the customers who are the consumers of a “queer” product deserve to be catered to by the sellers of that product. True—that’s one of the laws of the marketplace—market to your customer.
The thing about the “queer” community is it’s not a liberation movement. If it was a liberation movement, then it would be doing the tiring, unglamorous, and thankless work of finding housing, medical care and a stable income for those people who have disabilities, who are from racial minorities, who are without access to capital, etc. But instead they’re just demanding that these communities be marketed to and represented in marketing campaigns.
Sheila Jeffreys explained in Unpacking Queer Politics that the revolutionary gestures made by practitioners of “queer” politics amount to acts of “transgression.” Transgression means going against traditional social customs in terms of sexual behavior or dress. Therefore homosexual behavior is “queer,” but so are antisocial and dysfunctional behaviors such as public sex and sexual abuse. Both healthy homosexual relations and abusive heterosexual relations can be considered equivalent in terms of their ability to transgress and therefore both “queer,” which is a politics that equates homosexuals with sex offenders, without any consideration for the inherent homophobia in this position. Wearing the clothing and appearance of the opposite sex is a transgression, but practitioners require traditional social customs to be intact in order for their transgressions to be shocking. If we were to actually eliminate sex role stereotypes, then their transgressions wouldn’t be transgressions anymore, so they actually have no interest in challenging traditional gender roles, because that would ruin their fun. Jeffreys calls “queer” politics a form of “night club activism.” As we see in this article, “queer” politics can be practiced simply by planning a good party.
Now that I’ve thoroughly demolished queer politics, let’s take a look at what we learn about this author from this article.
“I get a lot of flack for being vocally opposed to this kind of femme and trans erasure in nightlife. But as a trans woman, I often feel like if I don’t speak up, who else will? Sometimes, when I vocalize some kind of criticism about a supposedly “queer” party being too male-centered, I even face a backlash from members of the LGBTQ community. Often, someone will say, “Well, two years ago, you were a gay man, so who are you to talk?”
“Yet, for decades, a majority of trans women like myself have actualized their identities through gay communities, often within the space of LGBTQ nightclubs. For many of us who first identify as gay men and then go on to transition, our gay and queer social circles function as family, social group, and dating pool all at once. Once we transition, those bonds are the same, but the way we experience them is irrevocably altered. We still want to go dance with our sisters, but we don’t always feel welcome in the same way.”
“Recently, I went to a gay male-centered sex party at a queer after-hours spot to celebrate a friend’s birthday, and within an hour, my friends had abandoned me to play in the darkroom—a space where I felt not only unnecessary, but unwelcome. Going from being a fag to a fag hag is a fucking trip, man.”
I’m just going to rephrase some of this in my straight-to-the-point language. This is a gay man who has had the same group of gay male friends who party together over a period of several years, and recently he has decided to disregard the facts of human anatomy and call himself a ‘woman.’ His gay male friends still all know he is a gay male, but now they’re supposed to call him by female pronouns. Understandably, not all of them are buying this.
He says he actualized his transwoman identity through the queer community, and that other gay men do this too. He completely misses the fact that it’s a tragedy that the queer community encourages homosexuals to view themselves as something else.
This is a man who is complaining that parties that he is able to attend are too male-focused. Even though these parties are literally for men like him, he does not feel adequately included since they don’t specifically cater to his silly and nonsensical identity.
Can I just mention here that if you are spending lots of your energy worrying about how well people are including you at a party, then you probably are not experiencing much real difficulty in life.
He attended a gay male sex party, which goes to show that he still knows he is a gay male and doesn’t take his identity as a ‘woman’ very seriously. Even though he is a gay male who knows he is a gay male, he found gay sex play in a back room ‘unnecessary’ and felt that he was ‘unwelcome’ there, because of his ‘identity.’
I agree with him on one thing. He is definitely ‘tripping.’
I am sad to see the way ‘queer’ politics separates lesbians from lesbian communities and separates gay men from gay male communities. I am angry to see how ‘queer’ politics erases the facts of human anatomy and therefore our ability to organize for liberation for groups such as women and sexual minorities such as lesbians and gays.
It’s time for lesbians and gays everywhere to resist queer politics. Leave that for the heterosexuals with green hair who think they’re cool. What we need is lesbian and gay community, and radical, liberation politics to fight back against women’s oppression and economic class oppression.