Friday, May 27, 2011

Everyday Queering

Have you noticed how everyone says QUILTBAG now? It's a quality acronym, obviously – if you're too lazy to click that link, it stands for:









Good, eh? More inclusive (and waaaaay more pronounceable) than LGBT.

Personally, though, I like to use “queer” as my umbrella term for all that stuff. I know some people have problems with the q-word – mainly older LGB folks to whom it still carries the resonance of a slur – but even academia has reclaimed it.

The reason I like “queer”, though, is that it's a verb as well as an adjective and noun: it's not just something you are, it's something you can do. Cis, het, monogamous people with 2.4 kids in the suburbs aren't a part of the QUILTBAG community, but they're still capable of queering.

What do I mean by queering? Anything that challenges normative behaviors or attitudes around sex and gender. Anything that critiques the dominant, heteronormative culture. Anything that might introduce somebody to the concept of deconstructing their identities.

Even the tiniest actions matter. These parents are queering radically (and I think they are awesome), but not everybody needs to do what they're doing. Even the humblest challenges to the kyriarchy can open that crucial door in somebody's mind.

Buying pink booties for your cousin's newborn son: that's queering.

Teaching your young kids that trans*, intersex, and genderqueer people exist: that's queering.

Not correcting the shopkeeper who took you for the opposite sex: that's queering.

Reminding the right-wing Christian who's always talking “family values” that Jesus not only was unmarried (celibate; perhaps asexual?), but also rejected his biological family in favor of his friends (OMG JUST LIKE ON BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER)? Queering.

Using Spivak pronouns in everyday speech? Queering.

Sometimes I feel sorry for cis heteros, because they have to try that much harder if they want to challenge the kyriarchy. We QUILTBAG types queer the place up just by existing, but y'all have to do something. And that's also why I appreciate you queering non-queers so much.

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