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

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  •  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-)
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      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-)
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          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).

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