October 10, 2010

5 Reasons to Be More Queer This Year.

photo courtesy Heather Buckley

In honor of National Coming Out Day, Oct, 11, I thought it vital to discuss why we all should try to be a little more queer.

Heterosexual normativity aka straight (white) (middle/upper class) (Christian) married couples don’t, as a general observation, have it all down.

In fact, they are less than perfect and should be looked upon as less of a rule and more of another piece of the sexuality rainbow.

There is nothing wrong with heterosexuality but it doesn’t necessarily need to be the norm in which we all attempt to conform.

Seems quite obvious as more and more letters are being added to the “alternative sexualities” alphabet…

L (lesbian) G (gay) B (bisexual) T (transgender), Q (queer), Q (questioning), I (intersex), A (asexual)… can’t we all just be or is that too post-modern?

When I think of queer I think of all that which is not heteronormative—the underbelly, the non-conformists, the subversive, the rebels—queer not just in their sexual preferences but in all of their life choices. And that being said I think we could all come out today a little more queer than yesterday.

Here are Five Reasons Why:

photo courtesy D. Sharon Pruitt

1) Less Death

If anyone has been paying attention to the news (or facebook status updates) youth bullying is and has been a major problem for queer youth for decades to the point where there were five publicly announced deaths by suicide in the last month, and according to About.com, for every successful suicide there is estimated to be between 100 to 200 attempts—with LGBTQ people being 8.4 times more likely to commit suicide each year.

This is just absurd; a sign of something horrible that needs to be changed.

Not to mention the demented people who decide to take someone else’s life just because they don’t agree with another’s sexuality.

If we all came out a bit more queer perhaps we’d be more mindful of other’s people’s personal choices and find each person beautiful for what they offered all-around not just what they liked to do in the bedroom.

More Queer Idea: Volunteer with a youth/teen group or simply talk to a youth you know about acceptance.

Suggested Reading: Hello Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicideby Kate Bornstein.

2) More Love

Being a bit more queer means recognizing and accepting your differences as well as the differences of others. This type of acceptance opens hearts to a better understanding of our interconnections to one another, as well as the unique, wonderful and beautiful elements of individuality.

Sometimes hippies can get it right—all we really need is love.

More Queer Idea: Write a love letter to yourself, notice your good qualities. Write a love letter to a friend—actually mail it—it will make their day!

Suggested ReadingAll About Love: New Visions by bell hooks.

photo courtesy Bob Bobster

3) Less Hate

Isn’t it a lot of work to hate someone or even some ones? I find it much easier to love, like or be indifferent than to hate. We create a binary between these things and are then coerced (or convinced subconsciously) into choosing one or the other—







but, in fact, all of those supposed binaries actually intersect with one another.

There is a whole world of in between and interconnections—some may even call it a rainbow of choices and positions we all take on an every day basis making the binary a false ideal that causes more anguish than enlightenment.

The best way to stop the anguish is to recognize the binary as false, to quit picking sides and start deconstructing these concepts on a larger scale.

More Queer Idea: Go to a panel or open forum on a hot topic pertaining to LGBTQ or start your own discussion group.

Suggested Reading: Borderlands/La Frontera by Gloria Anzaldúa.

4) More Fun

Ever been to a drag ball? A gay bar? Its a basic fact, queer folks throw better parties. We all could use some additional pizzazz in our lives. Sometimes extravagance and elaboration are all one needs to get back in the groove. Being a little more queer also means not being afraid to let go…to release the lasso of your inner bull dyke  and enjoy the exquisiteness of existence.

More Queer Idea: Try going out for the night androgynous, in drag, or your own individual queer style and see what it’s like to play with gender assumptions.

Suggested Reading: The Drag King Book by Judith “Jack” Halberstam and Del LaGrace Volcano.

photo courtesy Bob Bobster

5) Community Mindfulness

Once we become aware of the falsity of the binary mentality, once we realize that gender is an act we play and not necessarily who we are (we’re always acting in drag), we start to realize the larger picture. Being mindful means being open, centered, fluid, accepting of one’s self as well as others. When we see how we are all connected it’s really hard to be hateful; annoyed occasionally yes, angered occasionally of course, but it’s generally not because of what the other person is labeled as much as how the person is behaving.

When we queer the everyday, when we rebel against normative behavior, when we subvert mainstream systems of value we can all work collectively to transform our world into a more peaceful, loving, place.

More Queer Idea: Support a good cause with your time or donations, there are so many wonderful organizations out there from the Human Rights Campaign to the Gay Straight Alliance Network to the Trevor Project (and so many more).

Suggested Reading: Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler.

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