Tag Archives: identity

Dan Savage on the Existence of Bisexuality

3 May

I stumbled across this video the other day and I find it intriguing. I’m a fan of Dan Savage, a longtime reader of his column and books and a devotee of his Seattle newspaper The Stranger. That said, I’ve recently come into contact with some criticism of his views as being informed by his privilege as a white, affluent male who lives in the city and grew up in the suburbs. Despite this, however, I greatly appreciate his honest and frank opinions and also the rationality with which he always explains himself. These qualities are especially apparent in this video in which he discusses the topic of bisexuality in a rather controversial way.

Much of the resentment from the bisexual community towards both the general population as well as the gay and lesbian population revolves around a common misconception of their identity as a phase. Savage makes a good point when he says “it is for many people a phase as a chosen identity.” It was for him, it was for me. Is there a place in queer studies for a discussion of bisexuality as a transitional identity? Is it possible to acknowledge this without neglecting the concerns and needs of bisexuals like Kelsey who stand firm in their identity?

Also, I hope y’all enjoy the Tony Perkins bit at the end – it sure brightened my day.

Posted by: Anthony.

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I’m Not Really Attracted To Anyone…

2 May

  I remember the first time I had the courage to ask my best friend, indirectly, if he liked anyone. Obviously that was my way of finding out his preference. I remember feeling  guilty for wanting to ask, but at the same time, wanting to know after our six year  friendship so I could be that support he needed – like he was for me – without him  having to worry about negative reactions he thought I would have. I felt like keeping his romantic life out of our relationship was not fair to him. It was tiring how obsessed people were to find out what he identified as, it started to affect me, making me become hot tempered with anyone who asked. “I’m not really attracted to anyone,” was his response. I remember questioning him more, “really? Not even someone in high school dude, come on, we’ve known each other for six years.” Yet, he insisted that he never felt an attraction to anyone. I had never heard of this or discussed this topic growing up or in any of my classes at that time. This was the first time I looked up on the internet, or any reference book, what it meant to not be attracted to anyone. 

Asexuality was the termed that popped up and until the day he came out to me as gay, I always believed he identified as asexual. Yet, when we discussed the conversation mentioned above, we came up with different conclusions. Despite it being years, I still remember his response vividly, yet for him, being a first generation Latino male student and insinuating he was asexual was his way of assuring that his identity was not outed. It was an identity he was willing to use in order to express his identity to others, and served as assurance that he would stop being questioned. He and I spoke about it for a while, he explained he did not know how to explain his lack of a female relationships to impatient family members who constantly asked him about his romantic life or as he said, “trying to find out if I’m gay.” This temporary identity he took, was viewed as less detrimental to his overall well-being because he was not acknowledging an attraction to men nor was he acknowledging an attraction to women, thus still ensuring connections were kept with his family back home if anyone were to hear about his asexual identity.

I never realized how this identity could be used in instances such as these, and how it really helped my best friend incorporate it into an identity that helped him progress/survive through his own personal experience as a first generation gay male Latino college student. I am reading more into this and seeing if I find scholarly research on it, but what do you all think? My friend did not identify as asexual yet related to the identity whenever he wanted to give that impression in order to keep himself safe; can one say that is being selfish/claiming a word that is not yours? I know it’s up to the person and how they identify as, but I am asking this in comparison to the debate of the missing “b” and what does it means to have that identity and how you value it, versus how other people perceive you to be and question those individuals they may feel aren’t really bisexual; Lady Gaga being one of them as mentioned by Kelsey. Does asexuality have the fluidity that we acknowledged existed within the bisexual identity?  

Posted by Maria L”

Why I Write

6 Apr

I love queer…it’s an extremely useful polemic term because it is who we say we are, which is, “Fuck You.”

— Spike Pittsberg, Israeli lesbian activist

I stumbled upon this gem of a quote last semester.  It was the final day in a course on queer history and my instructor was, I think, bringing us to the present — asking us to conceptualize contemporary understandings of queerness.  The quote struck me, unexpectedly.  Queerness is usually defined in terms of gender and sexuality, so when I read this quote that described queerness in such broad and fluid terms, I latched onto it.

See, I am, if asked to define myself as rigidly as possible, a heterosexual, cisgendered, feminist.  Admittedly, I’m leaving out some important identities, for reasons that shall be explained quite soon, but in terms of the word queer, I, initally, seem unable to claim the term.  Yet the quote excited me, because it got me thinking…got me asking some questions that had been lurking in the back of my head.  What is queer?  How far can we push the boundaries of its definition?  And specifically for me, can I claim an identity of being a straight, (cisgender), queer feminist?

Problem is, if you ask me, ‘why the term queer?,’ I’m pretty sure all my answers would seem inadequate, or not good enough.  Though I can point to balking at the term “ally” (I feel like I’m more than that) or constantly questioning my sexuality (in terms of how I view attraction, lust, sex, and love)…the devil’s advocate in my head says, ‘So what?  That’s not good enough!  You’re still not using the term properly.’

So I turn back to the quote.  The quote that says FUCK YOU when you try to define me, FUCK YOU when you try to lay claim or impose definitions on words that I use…FUCK YOU when you ask me to reduce my thoughts, feelings, processes — to whittle down the complexity that is my identity to four or five words.

I say FUCK YOU, and maybe that, simply, is why I am queer.

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