The heterosexual majority often argue that gays are bent on publicly displaying their sexual orientation. You often hear remarks about pride parades, "why must they parade about their sexuality, we don't have a straight pride parade." We retort back by saying that our sexual and gender identities are only one aspect of our lives and that we are varied individuals with many characteristics that make up our identities and personalities.
Who is right? Are queer lives so heavily focused on identity or are they truly only just a sample of our greater selves?
When our lives are broken down into important spheres there are some commonalities we all share. With regards to family and friends, our identities can come into play because we want to be open with them about who we are and whom we love. When it comes to religion, many people feel that their religious background has left them feeling isolated and abandoned, and so religion and identity intersect. When it comes to politics we are not a given a fair shake, and so politics becomes an arena where we can advocate and demand equal rights for ourselves, our partners, and our families. At school or the workplace we want to know if our peers/co-workers will accept us, and if our jobs and our positions are in jeopardy. When we venture out into new areas we want to know whether the environment is safe and affirming or whether we could get attacked or victimized for simply holding hands with a partner, or for dressing/acting a certain way.
There is no doubt about the fact that our queer identities are complex and very significant to our lives. The question is how significant are they and to what degree do our respective identities enter other areas of our life? Feel free to weigh in.
Saturday, August 16, 2008