Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Gay for Pay

I am no longer gay.

I refuse the title, I want it stricken from the record that I ever identified as gay and I want people to quit referring to me as such.

Unlike my Facebook stunt earlier this year - where I made my profile look like I had joined an ex-gay ministry program - I am not saying that the focus of my sexual and emotional desires have changed; rather I am embarrassed by what being gay has become.

Labels such as "gay" or "straight" are, to use José Gil's term, floating signifiers; that is, they are terms which do not have a fixed thing they refer to. When you say "gay" you say more than just "same-sex desire", rather you imply a certain lifestyle, a mode of being. You are also including other connotations, such as the coloquialisms of flamboyantly heterosexual boys, where gay means stupid. Which usually leads to a lengthy apologetic about how they don't mean "gay in that way." Despite this, people still believe that the word is refering to a specific thing, and deny its elasticity.

At one time, and even still to some extent in certain situations, to be gay was to be subversive, to represent threat. Being gay was being something "other." Now it seems, that it has become something that has been streamlined into mainstream society; rather than representing something that is revolutionary, it becomese another accepted lifestyle.

When I say this, it appears that I am lamenting the fact that homosexuality is more acceted. I am not saying this, but I am wary of it. I am echoing the sentiments of Andrew Sullivan, that this acceptance causes gay culture to "die". Like Sullivan, I worry about what comes with assimilation. Gay culture at one time was a creative force - it had to be. Today, on the other hand, being gay has become merely another way to consume. Buy GAY THINGS! If we put two men or two women kissing go out and BUY THIS YOU WILL BE BUYING GAY! No thanks.

To be gay, then, has lost its revolutionary drive; rather than creating my own life I am now told I can just go out and buy it. Now I could get married to a man. Once again, no thank you; marriage is bad for everyone (but that's another blog for another time). I still want my sex to be on the outside of Gayle Rubin's circle, even as homosexuality moves closer and closer to the middle.

Thus, I disown being "gay", rather I choose the term "queer." I take on this label because it identifies me as queer in more than just the sexual, but also "queer" in the sense of values and ideas. Queer has a fluidity because, unlike the term of gay, it embraces its nature as the floating signifier; it realizes that it is different things for different people, and does not attempt to homogenize. I did not choose my desires, but I can choose how I utilize them. And this does not only apply for those with same-sex desire, I believe queer to be a term that can apply to anyone who does not conform to accepted norms.

(This really should be a longer post, but the last one was too long and so many people are victims of tl;dr)

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