Does Queer Theory Help?

The question: “Is it possible to live life in more than one gender and still not be rejected by almost every LGB I meet”gays who broadly can’t fathom “cutting it off” (freak) and lesbians don’t want “former men” into the girls club. I don`t seem to fit in anywhere unless change occured.”

My answer:

The reason Queer Theory is taboo is simple; it challenges feminist theory.

And all university students are inculcated into feminist theory.

The basis of current, second wave, feminism is that there are overlapping systems of oppression based on race, class and gender groupings, and we must band together as groups to challenge this oppression.

Therefore, the whole thing is about group identity, about admitting that by being raised as a white christian male you are an oppressor.

The basis of this second wave is political, creating an us vs them belief systems, allowing victimhood to be valor, demanding obedience to the most damaged.  It very much follows black identity formation, where us vs them creates space for black leaders.

Queer theory, which I identify as trans, is more rooted in 1960s first wave feminism, where the goal was around “the belief that women are people too.”  In this model, feminists wanted a fair and equal playing field, not the kind of continuing affirmative action that second wave demands to aid oppressed groups, the kind of breaks that allow us vs them politics.

In queer theory, the individual is key, not the group.    We need to allow individuals free expression, beyond social demands.

LG theory (and I don’t include bisexual in this) is very much based on group identity formation.

In the heterosexist model, group identity is formed by birth reproductive biology, the penised vs the unpenised.  It posits that if you just know someone’s birth genitals, you know a great deal about them, maybe everything you need to know, especially if you also know skin color and class status.

The homo model likes that simple division, just adding two twists, females who love females and males who love males.

It’s a simplified model that abhors ambiguity and nuance.

And that’s the problem.  Bisexuals and transpeople, well, we break those nice, clean group boundaries.

So LG people often want to enforce those boundaries even more than het people.  Candis Cayne says it was always a gay guy who had to make sure everyone at the casting table knew she was “really a man.”   It’s a way they sell out to the normies; “I’m not queer or gender variant.   I’m just a normal man who needs sodomy on a Saturday night.”

What does this mean?

You know what it means.  It means we can never pass the basic tests of group identity.  As a woman, I can’t hate men, for example, can’t see them as the oppressor group.  Instead, I see them as individuals.

And that means we are left to create our own queer spaces where people are accepted and embraced for who they are as an individual, not their group identity.

Clearly, this is a huge subject, and the basis for lots of struggle.

In the end, though, I suspect that no matter how much you want to simply be a group member, you are past all that.  You can’t cut off parts of your heart, your head, your experience, your spirit, even if you can reshape your body.

You have to be yourself, whoever that is.  And you have to find your own balance between being tame enough to fit in to community well enough to get what you need & want, and being wild enough to always stand proud as who you are.

In the end, that’s the struggle everyone has, it’s just they don’t always know it yet.

But you?

If awareness was just bliss, everyone would already have it.

A followup:

Me being me, I have continued to think about why L & G people have such a desire to reject the basis of transgender.

They really want sexual orientation to be the overarching tent, what we all stand under.

We, on the other hand, want gender expression to be that encompassing issue.

“Straight acting” people who happen to be gay or lesbian have much less challenge in the world.  What they do in the bedroom is their business.

It’s the visibly gay people who offer the challenge, the feys and the butches.

And what they want is to hold onto their issued gender at all costs.  “Sure I dress as a woman for shows, but I am really a man,” say drags, just as crossdressers say “Sure I dress up as a hobby, but I am always really a man.”

And this is the basis of their politics that birth genitals are all, untranscendable, so they don’t see transwomen as trans, they see them as drags (or crossdressers.)

It’s this kind of thing:

In 1999, I wrote a long piece that made it into IFGE Tapestry on this:

Maybe that would give you something to think on.

I had the sense this all didn’t make her happy, so I sent this:

I like this quote:

The great thing about getting older is that
you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.
— Madeleine L’Engle


When I told it to Kate Bornstein, she laughed with glee.

“And all the other genders!” she immediately added.

Whoever you are tomorrow, you will never lose who you were today, who you were yesterday, and who you were a decade ago.

And that’s the gift of a complicated life.