Queerness as a State of Mind
Don't be Beige. Be a Rainbow
Today, I read a sickening piece by June Kirri. I won't reference the title, as it is quite triggering.
The title needs a trigger warning. So, as you can imagine, the article requires a giant screaming trigger warning. The article discusses a violent crime and the inadequacy, and inherent discrimination, of the legislative system.
June's article is a gruelling read. I took three cracks at it.
I finished it, but not with out a bout of nausea and a splitting headache. I shit you not, I just necked 1500mg of paracetamol (Tylenol for those in the US).
Most days, my ability to be shocked still shocks me. It's not like I haven't heard stories like this before. It's not like it's unique to the US.
It's similar to how you can never be prepared for the death of a loved one. It might be inevitable. Perhaps you've watched them wither away. Even wished for their suffering to end.
But then they die. And the grief splits you in two. No amount of preparation makes it less painful.
Queerness as a Way of Being
After putting my phone down, and brushing the horror away, I was, once again, left wondering: Is queerness a state of mind?
Queerness is anti-establishment. Not "non-heteronormativity". Queerness is a rejection of singularity. An acceptance of multiplicities. Queerness questions power relations. And rejects binary oppositions. Queerness is 30 shades of rainbow.
Allies and Queerness
Our allies don't view the world around them in a way bound by dominant discourse. Our allies exist-if not outside, then-on the fringes of societal norms and expectations.
Can queerness be a way of observing the world in which we live?
Queerness is a lens that challenges and disrupts oppressive structures and systems. Queerness can be adopted as a political stance. As a perspective. As a way of thinking about thinking.
I hate labels.
But if I must: I would currently be defined as a cisgendered lesbian.
In the past, I've had crushes on both trans women and trans men. I never felt that this changed my sexuality. In saying that, I've never felt comfortable with the 'lesbian' label. But it is the one I ended up with.
I wonder if some heterosexuals also don't feel comfortable with their label. It's not like sexuality is a choice. Perhaps they don't feel comfortable complaining about their labels. I mean, I wouldn't complain about having white skin. I wouldn't complain about being born in Australia.
But I do complain. I complain about gatekeepers and governments and homophobes and misogynists and neo-nazis. I still complain (a lot) despite the fact I am palpably aware of my privileged position in this world.
A few years ago, I started using the word "queer" as an inclusive device for my business. I didn't want to say LGBTQ+ friendly. What a marketing mouthful. The rainbow emoji flag is perfect for this purpose!
So, I started referring to my business as: queer-owned. I wanted it to be clear that I was creating a safe space. That everyone was welcome. That the only thing not tolerated was intolerance. I also used inclusive hashtags on my posts. And Aboriginal place names when adding my location.
After a while, it occurred to me that queer felt right. I can't describe it. I can't differentiate labels in that way. But queer felt inclusive. Queer felt like home.
I quietly started viewing my heteronormative friends as queer too. My perceived segregation of the people around me shrank. In my imaginary, all-inclusive queer, community there is less division.
I love it there. I love inclusion. I love the idea of allies identifying with queerness. Outside of sexuality. Outside of gender. Outside of definition. In a fluid state of love and acceptance. I love queerness as a political framework. And a framework for being.
Political indifference is privilege at its most ignorant.
Privilege is not the problem. It's what we do with our privilege that becomes the problem. Or the solution.
So, I wanna thank all the allies out there for not turning a blind eye. For speaking up. For understanding. For validation. For solidarity.
I've said it before. And I'll say it again: We're stronger together.
As Gertrude Stein would say: repetition isn't repetition, it's insistence.
(Note: I commented on June's title. She responded, explaining the inspiration and asked for suggestions.)
Stevi-Lee Alver is an Australian writer and tattoo artist. She lives in the middle of Brazil with her wife. She loves bush walks and waterfalls but misses the ocean.
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