||[May. 12th, 2009|12:46 am]
The Queer by Choice Community
Hey guys, me again--I got great answers for my last question, but now I have another one. Some people say that it isn't possible to choose to go straight again: Why not? What makes that different?|
And for fun, a hypothetical situation that goes with my question: Let's say there's a community where homosexuality is the norm. Would it be possible for some people to chose to be heterosexual, then? And if so, would they be able to go back to being gay?
And how many of you think that choosing heterosexuality is a boring choice? If so, is that compared to homosexuality, or just queerness in general?
Just wondering! Thanks so much for your time and patience. =D
What makes this hard to answer is how these terms are used by different people in different situations. Many people feel that any kind of queerness, even a tiny bit, ever and always defines a person as queer for life. In queer circles, at least, 'straight' seems to be defined by behaviour only. Many gay people seem to feel that people really can't 'go back' though they can pretend, or act like it, or convince themselves.
In my mind, queerness in our culture is, more than anything else, a person's realisation of their fuller potential for affection and relationships. Since our society assumes we are all straight at birth until proven otherwise, we essentially are straight until something happens in our lives suggesting we might not be. That's a kind of awakening, an expansion. And while we might later decide it's not for us, I think it's pretty much impossible to constrict that expansion of mind and experience back to where it was before, short of real brain damage or severe brainwashing. (see: ex-gay ministries) To some degree, we remain 'queer' in mindset even if we either decide never to act on it, or that it's not for us, if it has ever seemed real and possible to us.
To answer your other questions, in a society where gay was the norm, straight would be the queer choice, which is what 'queer' means -- unusual, different. (Before being applied to attraction, it commonly referred to counterfeit money, and much longer than that meant anything outside normal expectations.) In the sense of queer choice, to choose to be straight in a gay society would entail the same struggle of personal identity and possibility over the normative standards and expectations of culture that realising a queer identity does in our current society where straight is the default.
Would that be boring? Not if it was queer to do so. In some parts of our country, just driving a different brand of pickup than everyone else is a bold assertion of choice. Also, doing what's right for yourself, regardless of social norms, should never be boring. Ideally, we're all looking for personal happiness, not the acceptance of everyone else around us.
I do find it interesting, and disappointing, that straight choice is often regarded as rebellious or somehow wrong in many queer societies. Where I grew up, bisexuality is very common and widely accepted all around, but where I live now, it's considered acceptable in straight society but somehow scandalous or shameful in queer society.
"Many people feel that any kind of queerness, even a tiny bit, ever and always defines a person as queer for life."
Yes - almost everyone in our culture except for the ex-gays seems to mostly conceptualize heterosexuality rather like virginity, as the state of never having experienced a particular thing (attraction or sex or whatever). For the ex-gays to claim to be ex-gay requires them to redefine the terms, and it's hard to see what the point is of them doing that when pretty much no one else - homophobic heterosexuals and queers alike - seems to accept their redefinition.
I agree with nodesignation
that it seems like it's probably easier to choose to learn to be attracted to an additional gender than to choose to unlearn an existing attraction. But I think that if one does manage to unlearn an existing attraction, telling one's friends that one has unlearned an attraction to the opposite sex is far more likely to be readily accepted and believed by one's friends (regardless of whether one's friends are heterosexual or queer themselves) than telling them that one has unlearned an attraction to the same sex.