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View Diary: “Queer” Is Not Just A Synonym For “Gay.” (67 comments)

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  •  Okay, I have a REAL problem with this (12+ / 0-)

    You all tipped and recced a diary that says this:

    Because it is the right of every person to decide and to choose and/or change their sexuality and gender identity whenever they want without the criticism from others around them.
    My question to each of you is when did you DECIDE you were hetero or homo or bi? Was this something you DECIDED or something you ACCEPTED?

    I ask this because the "choose" meme is political and it results in things like the Amendment 2 campaign in Colorado that ended up as Romer v Evans being run on the issue of "special rights" - incidentally, two years before the diarist was born. I have asked the diarist to rewrite the "choose" stuff. It hasn't happened yet.

    •  I didn't rec because of that (7+ / 0-)

      Although I did tip.

      I felt like it was clumsy wording on the part of the diarist, but I could be wrong. Without knowing, and since you have asked and received no response, I'll have to rethink my tip.

      P.S. I am not a crackpot.

      by BoiseBlue on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 03:02:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agreed, certain words are used to... (4+ / 0-)

      demean and remove power from others.
       I recced because of the overall sentiment which illustrates that Bisexuality is a legitimate part of LGBTQ.

      I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

      by detroitmechworks on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 03:20:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There are genetic imperatives (9+ / 0-)

      and there are choices. Some people really do choose to go exploring.

      I rec'd because I want to lend support to the idea that, if it don't break my beak, what other people do, by genetic call or as the result of a curious nature, just ain't my business and for damn sure ain't the business of the state.

      I live under the bridge to the 21st Century.

      by Crashing Vor on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 03:22:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's about context. (4+ / 0-)

      How the word is used determines meaning and intent. In this context it seems reasonable to me. We don't really need to become word police.

    •  People should be able to choose.. (6+ / 0-)

      ...if they so desire, because there is nothing wrong with being gay.

      •  The issue (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TiaRachel, congenitalefty

        is that the notion that people choose to be gay denies the experience of those of us for whom it is not a choice.  The choice meme is something we have fought against from the days in which homosexuality was listed in the DSM as a disorder.  To treat homosexuality as a choice denies the biological, physiological, and emotional imperative that operates for many of us.  It also opens us up to the attacks of yore- if it is a choice, we can simply make another choice.  We can avoid the oppression of being gay simply by choosing not to be gay.  It becomes a pathological deviation.  

        •  For bisexuals there would seem to be (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wader, Brown Thrasher

          a choice. Biology is not absolute destiny for everyone.

          •  I think you misunderstand the use (3+ / 0-)

            of the word.  Do bisexuals choose to be bisexual?  I cannot answer that question, but my understanding is no.  There is a difference between choosing one's sexual orientation and choosing one's sexual partner.  Of course, bisexuals definitionally can choose the gender of their sexual partner, but that is not the type of choice I am addressing.

            •  I think that the scientific understanding (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Alexandra Lynch, Brown Thrasher

              of human sexuality still has vast territory to be explored. Mostly what people have is a subjective experience of their own sexuality. There is not an objective empirical means of proving or disproving any particular persons experience.

              My own experience was that my sexuality was channeled in the general direction of gay but it wasn't all that cut and dried. Trying to understand my own journey has been a complex task. I really don't presume to define other people's journeys for them.

              •  Frankly, (0+ / 0-)

                I find this response confusing.  You state that you don't presume to define other people's journeys, but that is precisely what you did in the comment to which I replied.  

                There can never be "an objective empirical means of proving or disproving any particular person's experience" as one's personal experience is beyond proof.  It exists sui generis.  

                As for your personal journey, do you relate to it as a series of objective choices or as a force moving you in various directions?  I would argue the latter does not constitute a choice.  

                I am not sure exactly what you are saying in response to my contention that sexual orientation is not a choice, but an imperative.  I get the claim that human sexuality is unmapped territory in many ways.  I would contend that it is one of those metaphysical issues that can never be fully resolved.  Is it your position that sexual orientation is a choice?  I am interested to hear your views on this.

          •  And that's the problem with 'choice' that I was (5+ / 0-)

            trying to put into words (before I hit 'refresh').

            The 'choice' comes with whether or not to become involved with someone  -- but not the impulses that make them *want* to be with that someone.

            And that's a problem bi's have -- the perception that they're just 'experimenting' and/or 'trying out' homosexuality and will grow up and/or give in and live a 'normal' hetero life, that they're fooling themselves and/or their prospective partners.

            •  I think that an identity is about more (0+ / 0-)

              than just physical arousal. Erotic attraction has multiple components to it. It can at times be a very physical thing and at other times more mental. The same person can experience it in different ways in different situations.

              The problem is people trying to force other people to think and feel the way that they think they do.

              •  Doesn't erotic attraction (0+ / 0-)

                come with physical arousal by definition?  Does one experience physical arousal without erotic attraction (excluding coersion)?  I'm trying to understand the distinction you are making.  

                •  There is the walking down the street (0+ / 0-)

                  sort of arousal from just looking at a total stranger that you know nothing about. There is a more indirect form of attraction that can lead to arousal in sharing pleasant and affectionate experiences with a person who might not knock you over walking down the street.

                  Sexual relations as such don't really work between people who are just good friends, but there is more than one way to arrive at a destination.

                  The brain works at different levels. The mid brain where the limbic system is located is the old evolutionary mamalian brain. It is the source of sudden reactions like flight or flight. The cerebral cortex has its own routes to erotic sensations.  

              •  The (ahem) 'young people today', notably (4+ / 0-)

                the tumblr community, have taken that analysis much further than us old folks. It's worth spending some time investigating.

                And back to my original point -- that very complexity makes the word 'choice' an, um, bad choice. Because it's commonly understood as a definitive binary -- there's a 'choice' between two options, and people are expected to stick with their decisions or face moral opprobrium.  

            •  That is a pervasive meme about bis (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Richard Lyon, Dave in Northridge

              I know a lot of lesbian women who will not date a bisexual because of those beliefs.

              I don't completely understand it, to be honest. If we're talking strictly sexual, I could identify as bi. I find plenty of men attractive and had a few male partners that I really enjoyed having sex with.

              It's the chemistry that I never feel, though. I don't want to lie next to him and smell his skin or spoon with him. I don't want to grow old with one, or sit in a hot bath with one.

              I think that's where the insecurity about bisexuals come from. Does he/she really feel a connection, or is it just sex? I think it's hard for people to wrap their heads around that part of it.

              P.S. I am not a crackpot.

              by BoiseBlue on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 06:07:47 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Historically when gay and lesbian (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                TiaRachel

                lives got very little in the way of social support, people who saw that as the only option for them were afraid that a partner who thought that he/she had two options would chose the easier road.

              •  Couple places it comes from, I think. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Richard Lyon, orestes1963

                Depending on which generation(s) we're looking at, of course ;)

                Women who grew up not really knowing words to describe their attraction to women might've gone through a 'heterosexual stage', or thought of themselves as 'bi' in order to avoid the emotional stuff involved with being not-straight.  And of course life in hetero couples is much easier in many ways (much easier to date hetero, too).

                It's also probably worth thinking about the disney-style 'one true love at first sight for ever and ever' model.

              •  It's a political issue (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Dave in Northridge, TiaRachel, AoT

                revolving around heterosexual privilege.  Gay men and lesbians exist outside the world of heterosexual privilege.  Bisexuals traverse between these worlds.  A Pew research report this summer found that 28% bisexuals are out to all or most of the most important people in their lives (12% of bisexual men; 33% of bisexual women (as opposed to 70%+ of gay and lesbian folks).  Only 11% are out to close coworkers, as opposed to 50% of G&L folks.  Additionally, the report found that the great majority of bisexuals wind up in long term opposite sex relationships.  These data support the experience of many gay and lesbian folks that bisexuals have difficulty relinquishing their heterosexual privilege.  

                I can include myself in the group of gay people who would be disinclined to date a bisexual.  I also would not date someone in the closet or someone who identifies as straight.  I just would rather not have to deal with the issues that arise from those experiences.  Of course, I would never say never.    

          •  I would say you don't choose bisexuality BUT (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Throw The Bums Out, orestes1963

            some people (like me) have the option due to their precise bent to choose to pass as heterosexual.

            I am married happily to a man, most of my relationships have been with men but not a few have been with women. Not as many, but more than one.

            I could have chosen deep friendships and to keep my sexuality focused on men. THAT was a choice. I happened to have it, and I recognized at thirteen that would not be authentic to myself, and decided never to choose that.

            But I get read as straight a lot, and I am pretty conflicted about that.

            When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

            by Alexandra Lynch on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 07:39:39 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  I'm a transsexual woman. (7+ / 0-)

          I used to be a heterosexual man.  Now I'm a lesbian.  Some transsexual women go from heterosexual men to heterosexual women.  Some of us become bisexual.

          For us it is complicated.

        •  Many bigots also use "not a choice" as a meme (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TiaRachel

          ...such as when they start describing homosexuality as a "syndrome" that can be "cured" (by their patented hate-crime techniques, of course).

    •  Identity, behavior, attraction/desire all distinct (5+ / 0-)

      I think the writer could have been more precise, but we do choose how we identify. We also choose our sexual behavior. We may well not choose our range and flexibility of attraction. We choose whether or how to act on it, and how to identify ourselves. I identify openly as queer. My same-sex partner identifies as demisexual with a bi range.

      If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

      by rhetoricus on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 05:20:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  At that point in the diary, I thought the writer (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis

      was speaking more to how one self-identifies in a public sense, because the context was speaking to acceptance.  

      I didn't think they meant there was no genetic factor in one's sexual orientation or that people who identify as gay are doing so as a so-called "lifestyle choice," for example.

      "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

      by wader on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 05:24:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I've always been uncomfortable with the strict (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Richard Lyon, Brown Thrasher

      choice/'born this way' dichotomy.
      I myself did not/could not choose my sexuality, but I have at least one friend who claims that he did (he chose to be bisexual).  I think it is possible, although perhaps the ability to 'choose' might, in and of itself, be something you're born with...

      Anyhow, I think it is problematic to apply a one-size-fits all prescription for people.  I think the truth of the matter is far more complex.  That said, since most people have trouble with non-binary situations (just ask the queer community!), and since 'born this way' is both closer to the truth and far more politically favorable to equality, it is usually the best explanation to offer laymen.

    •  You misinterpreted my message (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Richard Lyon

      When I used the word "choose" in no way did I imply that sexuality was a choice. The point that I am trying to make is that we have the right to choose and change what label we identify with. For instance, a bisexual has the right to change his or her identity to pansexual or homosexual if they feel like those labels fits them more accurately.

      Like my posts? Follow me on Facebook for more: Click here to follow me on Facebook. Google

      by alexforgue on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 09:42:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I enjoyed your diary (0+ / 0-)

        and the discussion it developed. I think that people of your age group bring a new and useful perspective to the discussion. Some of us who came along when the world was a considerably different place tend to get stuck in fighting the battles of the past.  

      •  Identity vs. identifier, maybe. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        orestes1963

        I think most people view 'identity' as something intrinsic, which however it may develop over time isn't under conscious control (which is what the concept of 'choice' entails). But an identifier -- the labels one uses to describe their self to both themselves and others -- absolutely is.

        •  I certainly do not understand (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          alexforgue

          identity as being either intrinsic or immutable. Mine has gone through great evolution with my personal experiences. My sexuality is just one aspect of my personal identity. I have made many conscious life choices that have molded my identity.

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