> My page to collect my queer rhetoric and history. If you want to learn more and educate yourself, check out my tag on my tumblr.my queer issues tag
Things that are great:
You do you!
The other thing about the word “queer” is that almost everyone I’ve seen opposed to it have been cis, binary gays and lesbians. Not wanting it applied to yourself is fine, but I think people underestimate the appeal of vague, inclusive terminology when they already have language to easily and non-invasively describe themselves.
Saying “I’m gay/lesbian/bi” is pretty simple. Just about everyone knows what you mean, and you quickly establish yourself as a member of a community. Saying “I’m an aporagender genderqueer enby who's asexual, akoiromantic, and demiromantic”… not so much. You’re lucky to find anyone who understands even half of that, and explaining it requires revealing a ton of personal information. The appeal of “queer” is being able to identify yourself without profiling yourself. It’s welcoming and functional terminology to those who do not have the luxury of simplified language and occupy complicated identities. That’s why people use it - there are currently not alternatives to express the same sentiment.
It’s not people “oppressing themselves” or naively and irresponsibly using a word with loaded history. It’s easy to dismiss it as bad or unnecessary if you already have the luxury of language to comfortably describe yourself.
There’s another dimension that always, always gets overlooked in contemporary discussions about the word “queer:” class. The whole thing reminds me of a old quote: “rich lesbians are ‘sapphic,’ poor lesbians are ‘dykes’.”
The reclaiming of the slur “queer” was an intensely political process, and people who came up during the 90s, or who came up mostly around people who did so, were divided on class and political lines on questions of assimilation into straight capitalist society. Bourgeois gays and lesbians already had “the luxury of language” to describe themselves - normalized through struggle, thanks to groups like the Gay Liberation Front.
Everyone else, from poor gays and lesbians to bi and trans people and so on, had no such language. These people were the ones for whom social/economic assimilation was not an option. The only language left, the only word which united this particular underclass, was “queer.” “Queer” came to mean an opposition to assimilation - to straight culture, capitalism, patriarchy, and to upper class gays and lesbians who wanted to throw the rest of us under the bus for a seat at that table - and a solidarity among those marginalized for their sexuality/gender id/presentation.
(Groups which reclaimed “queer,” like Queer Patrol (armed against homophobic violence), (Queers) Bash Back! (action and theory against fascism, homophobia, and transphobia), and Queerbomb (in response to corporate/state co-optation of mainstream Gay Pride), were “ultraleft,” working-class, anti-capitalist, and functioned around solidarity and direct action.)
The contemporary discourse around “queer” as a reclaimed-or-not slur both ignores and reproduces this history. The most marginalized among us need this language. The ones who have problems with it are, generally, among those who have language - or “community,” or social/economic/political support - of their own.
‘straight passing privilege’ and 'cis passing privilege’ don’t exist. What’s happening is called erasure, it’s not privilege, it’s part of oppression and a result of heteronormativity and cisnormativity. It isn’t privilege to have your orientation and gender constantly assumed wrongly, it isn’t a privilege to be erased and treated like you don’t exist.
OK, this is “Earring Magic Ken” who was introduced in 1992 (and discontinued shortly thereafter).
Basically mattel had done a survey and discovered that girls didn’t think ken was “cool” enough so someone had the bright idea to research coolness by sending people to raves which, at the time, were mostly hosted & attended by gay men. So they went to these raves and took notes on what the fashions were and finally landed on this outfit, mesh shirt & all.
This doll became the best selling Ken doll in history, mostly because gay men bought it in droves. (Many of them said his necklace was supposed to be a cockring) but Mattel and a number of parents weren’t very amused and discontinued the doll. OF COURSE, THIS IS LEAVING OUT THE BEST PART.
SO. MAGIC EARRING KEN. This bitch gay as HELL. supposedly the aforementioned rings on him are for “magic earrings” and clip on charms. These charms are advertised as totally COMPLETELY heterosexual, not gay at ALL, see there’s a Barbie that also has Magic Earring Action with clip on charms! Ken wears them to match, because he’s STRAIGHT.
Here’s the issue: THERE IS NO MATCHING BARBIE. Magic Earring Ken is out here straight up wearing cock rings on his jacket with a thinly devised advertising ploy to make it SEEM not-gay. But it’s DEFINITELY GAY. (And if you’re thinking, why cock rings? Well way back in 1992 gay culture was HUGE on wearing cock rings, it was the in-style. Everyone who was gay wore one, even women; you sewed them to your leather jacket, and the placement indicated some of your sexual preference. In case you were wondering, Ken is a Bottom.)
AND IT GETS BETTER. Magic Earring Ken was on the shelves for six weeks before they pulled him. In that short amount of time? Magic Earring Ken became the BEST SELLING Barbie Doll Mattel has EVER SOLD. LET THAT SINK IN. SIX WEEKS. And now every time these wheezy old hetero windbag execs go to look at their sales board, they’re forever haunted by Magic Earring Ken at the top of their charts.
Gay as hell, Cock Ring Bottom Ken, the Best Selling Mattel Doll. Pride.
Okay, so like, back in the mid-twentieth century, when being queer was still totally a crime everywhere in the United States, queer writers started working in pulp fiction—starting with Vin Packer (she is awesome)—and writing pulps to tell our stories.
So one day over lunch, her editor asks her, “Hey, Vin, what’s the story you most want to write?”
And she goes, “Well, I’d like to write a love story about lesbians because I’m, you know, gay.”
He says, “Hey, that’s awesome, I will publish it. One thing, though, the homosexuality has to end badly and the main character has to realize she was never gay in the first place. We can’t seem to support homosexuality. I don’t actually think that’s cool, but the government will literally seize our book shipments and destroy them on the basis of the books being ‘obscene’ if you don’t, so if we want this story actually out there, and not burning in a bonfire somewhere, it’s what you gotta do.”
So Vin goes home and writes Spring Fire, the book that launched the entire lesbian pulp genre. And while one character ends up in an insane asylum and the other ends up realizing she never loved her at all, it’s massively successful, and queer women everywhere snap it up and celebrate quietly in their closets across the nation because HOLY SHIT THERE’S A BOOK ABOUT ME? I’M NOT ALONE and it starts a huge new genre. But: every publisher is subject to those same government censorship rules, so every story has to end unhappily for the queer characters, or else the book will never see the light of day. So, even though lesbian pulp helps solidify the queer civil rights movement, it’s having to do so subversively or else it’ll end up on the chopping block. So blah blah blah, this goes on for about twenty years, until finally in the seventies the censorship laws get relaxed, and people can actually start queer publishing houses! Yay! But the lesbian pulps, in the form they’d been known previously, basically start dying out.
MEANWHILE, OVER IN JAPAN! Yuri, or the “girls love” genre in manga, starts to emerge in the 1970s, and even starts dealing with trans characters in the stories. But, because of the same social mores that helped limit American lesbian pulp, the stories in Japan similarly must end in tragedy or else bad shit will go down for the authors and their books. Once more: tragic ends are the only way to see these stories published rather than destroyed. The very first really successful yuri story has a younger, naive girl falling into a relationship with an older, more sophisticated girl, but the older girl ends up dying in the end, and subsequent artists/writers repeated the formula until it started getting subverted in the 1990s—again, twenty years later.
And to begin with cinema followed basically the same path as both lesbian pulps and yuri: when homosexuality is completely unacceptable in society, characters die or their stories otherwise end in tragedy, just to get the movies made, and a few come along to subvert that as things evolve. But unlike the books and manga before them, even though queer people have become sightly more openly accepted, movies are stuck in a loop. See, pulps and yuri are considered pretty disposable, so they were allowed to evolve basically unfettered by concerns of being artistic or important enough to justify their existence, but film is considered art, and especially in snooty film critic circles, tragedy=art. Since we, in the Western world, put films given Oscar nods on a pedestal, and Oscar nods go to critical darlings rather than boisterous blockbusters (the film equivalent of pulps, basically), and critics loooove their tragedy porn, filmmakers create queer stories that are tragic and ~beautiful~ that win awards that then inspire more queer stories that are tragic and ~beautiful~ until the market is oversaturated with this bullshit.
The Crying Game? Critical darling, tragic trans character.
Philadelphia? Critical darling, tragic gay character.
Brokeback Mountain? Critical darling, tragic bi characters.
And so on and so on VOILA, we now have a whole genre of tragedy porn for straight people, that started out as validation for us and sometimes even manages to slip some more through the cracks occasionally, but got co-opted by pretentious ~literary~ types. While tragic ends made these stories more acceptable to begin with, and in the mid-to-late nineties that started getting subverted a little bit (Chasing Amy, But I’m a Cheerleader), eventually that became the point, as more straight audiences started consuming these narratives and got all attached to the feels they got from the ~beauty of our pain~.
without hrt christmas is just cismas
fun fact: motorcycle clubs in the U.S. were founded and run largely by gay men who missed the homosocial camaraderie of being in the U.S. military during WWII. the lifestyle and aesthetics of those motorcycle clubs gave rise to many of the stereotypical/classic gay “looks” (leather, chaps, etc) and indeed to the gay leather scene itself (both the gay male leather/biker scene and the lesbian/dykes on bikes leather/biker scene)
I just commented this on a transphobic post that was all like, “In a sexual species, females have two X chromosomes and males have an X and a Y, I’m not a bigot it’s just science.” I’m a science teacher so I responded with this.
First of all, in a sexual species, you can have females be XX and males be X (insects), you can have females be ZW and males be ZZ (birds), you can have females be females because they developed in a warm environment and males be males because they developed in a cool environment (reptiles), you can have females be females because they lost a penis sword fighting contest (some flatworms), you can have males be males because they were born female, but changed sexes because the only male in their group died (parrotfish and clownfish), you can have males look and act like females because they are trying to get close enough to actual females to mate with them (cuttlefish, bluegills, others), or you can be one of thousands of sexes (slime mold, some mushrooms.) Oh, did you mean humans? Oh ok then. You can be male because you were born female, but you have 5-alphareductase deficiency and so you grew a penis at age 12. You can be female because you have an X and a Y chromosome but you are insensitive to androgens, and so you have a female body. You can be female because you have an X and a Y chromosome but your Y is missing the SRY gene, and so you have a female body. You can be male because you have two X chromosomes, but one of your X’s HAS an SRY gene, and so you have a male body. You can be male because you have two X chromosomes- but also a Y. You can be female because you have only one X chromosome at all. And you can be male because you have two X chromosomes, but your heart and brain are male. And vice - effing - versa. Don’t use science to justify your bigotry. The world is way too weird for that shit.
TERFs, Biphobes and Acephobes
Although they differ in levels of intensity (TERFS being more organized with more or a long history of violence) when you look at their theories and behavior TERFs, biphobes and acephobes have a lot in common.
This is a first look into how these three groups often use pretty much the same tactics to justify being shitty bigots. There might be more similarities and there are obviously differences too, but I think these similarities are worth talking about.
Asexuality is not some exceptionally rare, impossible thing. Even using the common 1% estimate (which is now believed to be somewhere between 1.5% and 5%), that’s 3.2 million Americans. If you met someone who said “Hey, I’m from Chicago”, you wouldn’t tell them that you didn’t believe them, because people from Chicago are only about 1% of the population. “You’re really from New York or California. Statistically, that’s far more likely.“ That would be ridiculous.
Why do people keep saying asexuals are aliented, Monkey D. Luffy is asexual and he’s got a 500,000,000 bounty. Asexuals are out of control and thirst for adventure, leave them alone.
If aros are robots and aces are plants… then together we make up the entire plot of Wall-E, as well as the best parts of Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy.
Aphobia Masterlist, and Why Asexual Exclusionary Radicalism Is Incredibly Toxic And Shitty
So, since I don't really go into real detail on my about me, I'm going to just write down exactly who/what I am here. So, my sexual attraction is probably the easiest to describe: just straight up asexual. My romantic attraction is a lot harder. I've had, like, 1½ romantic crushes (I think), both on cis girls who I was friends with, but I'm not really sure if I want to categorize my self as demiromantic... not to mention that I have no clue how to describe who I'm romantically attracted to because I don't know if I'm also romantically attracted to guys or nb people, either... It's also worth mentioning that I do have strong alterous (q) attraction which is what those might have been which complicates matters. I also have a strong (like, really strong) aesthetic attraction that seems to be regardless of gender. This has me have sort of 'flash crushes/squishes' things, which is part of the reason I use the word akoiromantic to describe myself as well.
In terms of gender, I'm nonbinary and not aligned with male or female genders. I like the umbrella term genderqueer, but the term that mostly closely describes it is aporagender. I actually invented my main pronouns, ze/zer, because I couldn't tell how to pronounce a lot of the more popular neopronouns.
Overall, when asked to describe my identity, I usually just say ace or queer. I usually have to explain ace, but my asexuality generally feels more important than my gender, probably because I haven't been able to present or live as my gender so it's shoved in the back of my closet. Queer is also nice because it's aggressively not-straight and vague enough that I can be technically truthful on all levels and have the other person only know one or two.
Jessica Rabbit: Ace Icon
She is in romo with a rabbit because he makes her laugh and aside from using her looks to get things out of people she literally never once shows interest in anything or anyone sexually through the entire movie and is clearly appalled when anyone makes advances towards her like there is canonical evidence that Jessica Rabbit from the classic motion picture Who Framed Roger Rabbit? is an asexual character.
I’ve always remembered the line “I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way” as Jessica’s admission that while sexualized, she isn’t inherently a sexual entity. I mean hell, literally, her line before is “You don’t know how hard it is being a woman looking the way I do.”, to which Eddie responds; “You don’t know how hard it is being a man looking at a woman looking the way you do.” I think that’s pretty damning evidence to her asexuality. The whole plot point with Jessica is how everyone is either convinced she’s sleeping with every human and toon around, or why does she stay faithful to Roger.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit does a great job at satirizing Hollywood/American culture and ideals when it comes to appearances. It also does a great job at hiding some really well thought out challenges to how we look at others in plain sight. The concept of a sex symbol is based on what people project onto that person, not at all about what they themselves feel or want. Asexual Jessica Rabbit makes perfect sense and is a great illustration of the difference between subject and object, perception and reality.
I completely believe that Jessica Rabbit is an asexual romantic (hetero/bi/pan/etc not sure, and to be honest, I don’t know if that part is important, as she’s married to the toon she loves).