Queer is as queer does.Posted: May 12, 2015
My dear friend Nicola came over for lunch yesterday. I told her I was on day three of a spiritual fever, whose most conspicuous symptom is listening to Enrique Iglesias’s “Ritmo Total” on repeat (no el version de inglés, por favor), but whose cause is dealing with some white male institutions I’m supposed to respect. And I don’t. Just don’t. And can’t pretend that I do. I have no patience with those who aren’t helping to create the bigger and more beautiful future I’m creating, or in general, don’t feel life as deeply as I do. I don’t even know how to fucking talk to them.
She told me she thought I was queer. I’ve always been hesitant to apply that word to myself publicly, because I took it to mean the most surficial sense, that of sleeping with the same gender. And I have, and I loved it, though I’m a cis femme who mostly tends toward straight cis masculine men. But she takes “queer” to mean non-normative ways of being in the world. She thinks I’m queer because I’m the same embodied person in any situation, which she felt is a radical countering to the capitalist expectation that an individual must fragment herself on a daily basis to satisfy the different roles of worker, consumer, teacher, friend, mother, partner, volunteer, lover, and so on.
Women’s bodies are charged in our society, and that’s not our fault, nor is it our obligation to use them politically. But it does present an opportunity to do so. Last fall, Nicola used her body for protest in the literal sense, marching in Durham when Ferguson solidarity protests were going on. I said, I wouldn’t have been able to do that. Seeing defenseless people get beat makes me crazy. I’d go crazy. That’s not a front I can fight on.
And—I’m realizing more with each passing day—neither is dealing with white male institutions that are ultimately just interested in preserving themselves and the privilege of their members. It also makes me crazy. And sick at heart.
So instead: I choose to use my body for love. I’ve joked to friends that my sexual orientation is “Inara in Firefly” or that I’m a “freelance temple whore,” but it’s also fairly accurate. I want to show the world that there are other ways of being and living, beyond possession, beyond jealousy, beyond obligation. I want to use my body to demonstrate that. Usually one on one.
That’s my front.
I’ve always thought of myself as queer. But now I can articulate why.