Saturday, July 12, 2008

Open Forum: Is the Notion of a "Queer Community" a Fairytale?

We often hear the terms "Gay community" or "LGBT community" to refer to sexual and gender minorities who have banded together under an umbrella term. Is there really such a community? The notion of whether we are a community is subject to debate in Queer theory circles.

Each subgroup has a different struggle and a different agenda, we all have overlapping similarities. We all have overlapping political aspirations. Does this make us a community? We also have divisions amongt us. Do Gay men really care about Lesbian rights and having a women centered and feminist empowering movement. Do Lesbians really accept Trans-women as female? Are Homos and Hetero's throwing out the Bisexuals as just a confused bunch? Do Transgender people really care about LGB rights once they have transitioned and are "passable"? Do Asexual people really want to be labeled with a bunch of Queers who are "defined" by their sexuality? and finally do Intersex people want to be lumped into the umbrella with those who have "GID"?

Even amidst our so called respective populations we have divisions. Gay men are divided into categories Bears, Twinks, Fetish practitioners, etc. Lesbians divide themselves up by Butch, Femme, and Trans. Transgender people are divided by classifications of M2F, F2M, Andogyne, Genderqueer, Pre-op, Post-op, etc.

There is a lot of inner debate and struggle within our so called "community" and there is misunderstanding and even downright hatred. So often we hear arguments about which letter comes first in the acronym LGBT and we hear other debates that acronym is not all inclusive. We also often hear that the B or the T is being left out.

That being said there are some unifying themes that we all share. We all have the struggle of being closeted, and embracing and coming to terms with our identities, and we all share an opposition that hates us and wants to deny us rights.

There are other indications that maybe the "community" part of the debate is valid. During the 1980's at the height of the AIDS crisis, Lesbians were at the hospital beds of dying gay men. Many people don't know that some of the greatest leaders in ACT-UP (an organization set to fight HIV/AIDS discrimination) were lesbian women.

Stonewall was started by the acts of many brave and angry Transgender people which paved the way for the rights and empowerment of Gays and Lesbians.

The Gays who have a substantially larger population have accepted the Trans community and brought their issues and legislation to the forefront. Had it just been Trans people alone, their movement would not have advanced as quickly or at all.

So that being said there are divisions but there is also love and unity.

How do YOU define community and do Queers fit that mold?


Anonymous said...

Wow! What a powerful Post. iREALLY WANT TO BELIEVE THAT WE AS A "COMMUNITY" are agle to be accepting of so many others. I guess that's my "Pollyanna" showing thru again! I remember being at the San Francisco pride parade in 93. It was amazing! Out of the hundreds of thousands marching, two groups received Boos instead of applause: that would be the MBLA and the Queer San Fran Police! I remember understanding the response but also feeling incredibly sad about general prejudice and misunderstanding of other peoples trips. We Have Got to open our eyes to other peoples reality without judgement if we are to ever change the sad world condition. Love Jofish

Nicky said...

Well hey, since ENDA was passed with Rep Barney Frank and Rep Tammy Baldwin. They both decided that to get ENDA passed you have to cut off the T and get rid of the T to get ENDA passed. So now since ENDA passed, you can't say LGBT anymore. You have to say LGB and exclude the T. That means now, the transgender community is excluded from the gay community and now the T community is on it's own

thehostess said...

very thought provoking...I quickly go from community to family in my thinking. Community/family gives understanding and support. Friendship and common interests. Agreement and a respectful difference of opinion. I'll take anyone, LGBT or straight that fits that bill, and I will in turn try to meet those needs for them also.

Wonder Man said...

I want to believe we are a community, but I think it exist if you fit into the image of gay. If you're cute and fit, you're in. Also I only see a community when Pride or White Parties are present. I would love to see us as a force, that looks beyond the surface push for true social change

OII: said...

Thanks for this very thoughtful and sensitive analysis. The questions you raised are very important. Here is my analysis which I think underscores our agreement.

Who owns our bodies?

A qui appartiennent nos corps?

¿A quiĆ©n pertenecen nuestros cuerpos?

Queers United said...

I found this interesting article from Andrew Sullivan on this very topic.

Anonymous said...

the 'community' is strictly political. outside politics i have nothing more in common with the rest of the letters in lgbtaqiasdfjkl any more than i have in common with a particular religion, height or eye color.

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