Queer to the Bone

On being different

In 8th class biology you learn that each individual is genetically unique. There is no one else like you. Epigenetics go even further, stating that it's not just your gene but your environment that molds you too. Since rarely do we truly share the same experiences, this means that there are even fewer chances that anyone would, or should, resemble us.

For many individuals, looking at the gay rights movement, it is a sense of alikeness, and not uniqueness, that we yearn for. Finding out there are others who are gay, bi, trans or gender non-binary (etcetera etcetera), means that we are not alone. I grew up in a rather large city by Romanian standards (in the pre-Grindr era), and I knew no one who was gay. Not one. This lack of any potential romantic involvements made me feel lonely. The first person who I slept with I did not fancy in the least - but I felt like being a virgin had created a mental blockage of sorts.

It's natural in a way - if one was the last remaining member of a species, think of the joy of finding someone else who was their kind. Not just from a romantic point of view (tho sex is amazing, yeah). Someone who could, perhaps, understand you more than others.

This rhetoric of alikeness becomes translated in most of our slogans for rights. Same love, equal love, we are all human. The LGBTQ movement has embraced that idea a bit too wholeheartedly perhaps. People have become a bit blind to the fact that such rhetoric has unintended consequences.

We are not all the same. And we should not be. The moment the movement insists too much on us being alike with our straight, cis-gendered siblings, it creates a standard. Or, even better, it copies whatever standards the rest of society has onto our group. Heteronormativity. It makes people who somehow break out from the mold become deviants. The same way homosexuals were deviants back in the day.

I see this happening a lot. Gay men being incredibly judgmental about sleeping around, to the point of someone having stated that "it gives gay men a bad reputation". It annoys me to no end. I pride myself, and our movement, about our hard earned rights of sexual liberation. My ancestors have not fought for the right, legally and socially, to have sex with whomever they want just so that some 20-year old (yea, I acknowledge I'm one of those as well) to tell me there is a secret police somehow counting the number of people I sleep with and then putting a black mark next to LGBT on the roster of Life.

In the same way that the patriarchy doesn't just affect women, but also men (and other genders), so does heteronormativity also affect straight, cis-gendered people. By exposing ourselves to other cultures, other groups of life, we gain the opportunity to compare it with the way we live life and reflect. Adjust. Change. I know many straight women who struggle with their sex life, who feel ashamed of having one. Who find safety within gay communitities, and, slowly, have that "shamelessness" rubbed onto them.

I think that often straight people think that gay events, for example, do not concern them. They are there, perhaps, to show support - and that's great. But people don't realize there is so much they can learn and apply to themselves from that. Straight people and gay events. Men and feminism. White people and BAME communities.

I struggled for a long time to understand what "queers" stands for. I think it's about a way of life. There is something inside me that revolts against social normativity, an exhibitionist that wants to forcibly expose others to what they are uncomfortable. Perhaps just to show that i resist their attempts to quash my difference, my uniqueness. How is it that despite our uniqueness, if we look around, everyone lives almost identical lives. The wife and children at home. The monotony of work that few people genuinely enjoy. The same complaints. The same death of our dreams. We struggle so much to blend in that we despise any others who dare not to, and force that alikeness as a standard.

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Queer to the Bone