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?

10 comments:

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

Nick K.D Chaleunphone 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

Kelli Busey said...

Great post and very timely. I will comment on it from the prospective of a radical trannie. I have been attempting to put together a coalition of LGBT's to stand up to HRC in my town. But ya know, I've been sheding friends and "advocate" groups like a long hair dog sheds hair in August. When the rubber hit$ the pavement the T stands alone. It will be the same 10 people who have protested in Houston and New Orleans, and the one finger salutes from the Mercadeces and Bmw's are incressing in frequency and intensity as the coffered seek the royal joe. I hope our community will survive HRC becuse quite honestly it would be a pure drag without all the rest of the queer assfolks.

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.

Adamgv said...

Women need to be empowered more in general. They need to use their looks for good rather than use them for personal selfish persuits. When you get a moment check out:

www.prettygirlssavetheworld.com .

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

Anonymous said...

[sorry...I need one of those google ID thingys I'm lyssa]

I too want a community. One that allows trans women to take our rightful place among our lesbian, bi, and straight sisters.
But...it can't be done unless the community realizes hat it IS in fact one.

Resistance like this comment over at PHB doesn't help...

isn't Go's audience primarily lesbian? (0.00 / 0)
Rather than trash Go's list about not enough transgenders, or transgender lesbians, conduct your own list of remarkable transgenders in a transgender magazine.
Nearly any list, from any LGBT magazine will not please everyone, I certainly have had my objections to OUT's and ADVOCATE's lists of movers and shakers.

OII: http://www.intersexualite.org/ 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?
http://www.intersexualite.org/Who-owns-our-bodies.html

A qui appartiennent nos corps?
http://www.intersexualite.org/french-events.html#anchor_101

¿A quiĆ©n pertenecen nuestros cuerpos?

http://www.sentidog.com/article.php?id_news=21586

Queers United said...

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

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2007/11/the-lgbtqrstz-c.html

a 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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