I'm sure many of us on the hop are used to all sorts of different letters in the acronym that talks about the "non-heterosexual" community. I'm writing today about the Q, which can be either "queer" or "questioning." Yes, I've managed to come from "the left field" probably for Spanking Romance Reviews-related hops, as I often do. :D Also at the bottom of this post again is the links for Taboo Tuesday; I had too much to say to fit myself within that format.
In reading Molly Haskell's "My Brother, My Sister" about her sibling's transition from male to female, I found that I lacked empathy for her. While the struggle of the loved ones is an under-told story, when talking about transgender people, I can't relate. I have yet to be in a situation where someone needed to come out to me about something where I was upset, hurt, confused etc. Thinking on this, I was reminded of something that Iona says in Gaelan's meeting story. He mentions coming out to his parents and she practically claps her hands and cheers. Laughing, she says "In our family [talking of The Queen's family] people have as many as 3 or 4 things to come out about," upon which he says "I'm gay." Basically, I don't remember being in a place of questioning. One day I had no sexual thoughts- then I had my first sexual experience- I went awhile just having sex with guys before I had the chance to make out with a girl- then I figured I was at least bisexual- then I went to a GLBTQI youth group and met my first serious girlfriend who also introduced me to BDSM. Nope, there was no questioning, just experiencing.
Now I'm going to move onto queer. That is 1/3 of the sexual identity I claim today- the other two are poly (as in polyamorous) and kinky (as in into BDSM). Yes, when I came as a teen, it was to use the term bisexual. This was the mid 1990s approximately and I lived in Michigan- nope, I didn't have a lot of serious identity, sexual thought at my fingers as we have nowadays with the Internet. Yes, originally "queer" meant strange or peculiar and according to the Wikipedia article (see here for more history of the word, and please remember that Wikipedia should only be a starting point for internet research), it came into use as a slur for homosexuals in the 19th century. To my knowledge, it was post-Stonewall Riots (IE after June 28, 1969) that the reclamation of "queer" as a term of pride and identity started- although the wiki article doesn't quite agree with me. As I'm only 36, I'm inclined to think that older adults who may have been alive at the time and may have been involved in the writing of the article know better than I do.
While the term isn't the sole province of the Unitarian Universalist Association, it was in reading the UUA's "Queer 101" page that the word came to resonate with me as an identity I wanted to claim. The page gives 5 definitions- I won't try to summarize them here for you, they are a short read- and the first 4 all make sense to me as being something meaningful to me. My one concern is that the definitions almost seem like a lot of "I am not ____" in their construction, but yeah, my sexuality is a lot "I am who I am and that isn't mainstream." The word that stood out to me first reading this page is transgressive; dictionary.com defines it as "to violate a law, command, moral code, etc.; offend; sin." My sexuality does not respect the gender binary of male/female, the sexual orientation binary of heterosexual/homosexual, and probably a bunch of other binaries if I struggled to name them. There is now a whole bunch of scholarship under the label of "queer theory"; I need to do some reading :D. Even though it's not directly related to this article, I wanted to share the link to part 1 of a post with you; part 2's link is within it- as I've said before, I'm not good at separating religion out of my writing/author life, even if it's a more tolerant, open-minded religion like UU, I'm sure to make some uncomfortable. But writing as The Queen, a UU-Norse Pagan- I shared his thoughts on how UU-ism, Norse Paganism, and BDSM work in his life. It's a lot of reading, but I promise you'll find it intriguing and worth the time spent.