You know what I’m sick of? Folks within the queer community tearing each other down, attacking each others’ identities, trying to define identities that aren’t even theirs. It’s no wonder why we can’t get anything done as a community because we’re too god damn busy deconstructing each other and playing this bullshit queerer-than-thou game. I’m sick to death of it. You can claim your own identity and perform it any way you see fit without invalidating someone else’s. It is possible.
What I’m not interested in, however, is inclusivity to the point of erasure. I have no desire to assimilate and while I love and appreciate our allies, there is a difference between being an ally of the queer community and a member of the community.
I’m taking it that this is partially addressed at me, since I’m pretty sure that I was just unfollowed.
i completely agree with you about identities being subjective and the need to stop queerer than art thou in-fighting. i am currently reading a huge book about the early history of hiv/aids and it’s making me think a lot, every day, about how queer in-fighting will be the destruction of us all.
with that being said, i strongly believe that an important first step in order to prevent in-fighting is to be mindful of the terms we use to describe and present ourselves. i completely agree that a person can claim an identity without invalidating another person with the same identity.
however, certain labels have certain political and historical contexts. i personally do not feel like i fit into gender roles or expectations and have a number of shared experiences with people who identify as genderqueer and trans*. but even though my fight to find a way to be feminine without hurting (and trust me, traditional expectations of gender have hurt me, a lot) involves a lot of queering up gender, i would never publicly announce that i am genderqueer. because i feel that doing that would erase the experiences of people who actually are genderqueer. yes, all people relate to identity signifers differently. there are many different narratives for most labels. however, when i think genderqueer i think about the experiences of friends of mine who have really, really struggled in a dysphoric, painful sense that doesn’t even begin to match what i have gone through. these people haven’t always had the term genderqueer at their disposal and their experiences were erased by feminist, queer, and trans* communitities alike. i strongly feel like i would be appropriating and erasing their identities if i were to use this term to describe my relationship to my gender.
with all of this being said, i think that us queers often draw false lines between groups that are oppressed and groups that are not. that’s where a lot of the gender and queerer art thou policing factors in. just because somebody doesn’t identify as genderqueer doesn’t mean that they are happy go-lucky and comfortable with their gender as a cis person. privilege is not always that simple.
with that being said, i am not out to police anybody’s gender or sexuality. if somebody identifies in a certain way, that’s cool. as a cis person especially, it is not my role to say who is and who isn’t genderqueer. i aim to treat people the way that they want to be treated, and that applies to respecting a person’s gender and sexual identity. of course, i have made pretty major mistakes and appreciate the people who have gone out of their way to call me out.
i was responding specifically to a quote that really seemed to be using a cis framework to appropriate a trans* experience. once again, i am very sorry if i am making assumptions and being hypocritical. i’m not trying to sound like an asshole. i was just trying to point out something that i felt was really offensive.
i am sorry if i hurt or invalidating you. i want to make it known that i am writing out of a place of good intentions. this is just how i feel, and i understand if you feel differently. i am re-blogging in an effort to open up dialogue, and i am more than ready to listen if you or anybody else thinks that i have said something really messed up and need to be called out.
I understand what you’re saying and agree to an extent. I’d also like to point out that no one I know who identifies as genderqueer would necessarily identify as trans. The two identities are not the same thing. I reblogged the quote you’re referencing because I really appreciate the “femme is queering gender” sentiment and admittedly, I should have added commentary to make that clear.
I unfollowed hastily and I admit that (that would be the Aries in me and the lack of sleep…) The fact is, I’ve grown tired of hearing people who don’t ID as femme trying to define it based solely on some people they may know or something they saw in a movie. It’s problematic for people who don’t ID as femme to continue perpetuating mistaken assumptions of what femme is or isn’t when they don’t live it. (I’m not saying you’re the only one who does this either. I’ve seen it all over and on Tumblr in particular.) As you said, certain identities have strong historical and political context and femme would be one of those.
The main reason I wrote this post is because more often than not, my dashboard is full of negative attacks on others’ identities and/or attempts to find their voices in our community rather than having productive, constructive conversations. There’s a way to call out privilege without coming off as cruel (not saying you’ve done this). I want to see more community-building, more calm discussions (like this one) rather than all the condescending, mean-spiritedness that I’m seeing.
Thanks for the dialogue.
Thanks for responding!
To clarify, the main reason I have been responding to these femme posts is because femme is a identity that I really, really relate to. Most of my experiences in queer circles are what most would describe as “femme” experiences. I’ve also spent the past decade or so trying to re-define my femininity in a way that is not hurtful. I really related to the sentiment of the said quote, I was just offended by what I read as approprative undertones.
For a bunch of personal reasons, I do not feel comfortable claiming “femme” as my fixed gender identity. It’s strange. Honestly, I’m starting to feel less and less comfortable using the term queer to describe myself as well. The pressure that I have experienced to name my gender within queer circles has begun to feel really reductive. I’ll probably write a longer post about all of this later.
With that being said, I totally understand why you would be upset about non-femmes trying to police what is and isn’t femme! That shit isn’t cool.
Once again, all of these terms are rooted in cultural contexts. From yesterday’s post, I assume that our local femme communities may be rather different. Hence, our different relationships to the implications of that term.
Sorry if this post is incoherent - I’m beyond exhausted at this point. But I’m really glad to be having this conversation.