So i wanted to write something for National Coming Out day, but I wasn’t sure what. Maybe this day doesn’t have any relevance for me. Maybe that’s ok: I know the continued discrimination and violence faced by people who are out, often on a day to day basis. I know that this is an area I generally experience privilege in.
However I am reminded of an evening, post club, me and a girl I’d just met hanging out at stupid o clock. She turned to me and asked ‘Rachel, what *are* you?’
And this question still haunts.
I’m pretty much straight. I think, except you know, I’m clearly attracted to women and have slept with them. and most of my friends are queers and although i’m feminine, I’m a pretty far away from a ‘conventional femininity’.
The straights don’t want me. it’s ok. it’s mutual.
So bi then? well….meh. i’m not ‘equally’ attracted to men and women, its not a 50/50 thing, there’s something about the use of *that* term which makes me uncomfortable.
Which is, I guess, where queer comes in. If you struggle with terminology on sexuality, ‘queer’ is like yr knight in shining armour. It proposes that identities are not fixed and do not determine who we are. Queer is sexuality as being composed of shifting boundaries, constructions to render ‘normal’ sexuality as strange and unsettled. That’s the theory.
But….in reality I struggle to identify myself as queer too, because, I suppose I feel its a term (like ‘woman’ or ‘British’) which is frequently policed in ways I don’t like by people I don’t like and that I somehow I don’t measure up. But its kinda the best I’ve got.
So i’m going to reproduce an anonymous pamplet (self published in 1991): which I was given for research on my UG module on ‘Queer Histories’ taught by the legendary Alan Sinfield: directly before he retired (it wasn’t my fault: I swear). Its fun and provocative and means I get to type lots of ‘naughty’ words: which the giggling school girl in me still gets off on.
Enjoy. It’s yr gift, for coming out day: whatever yr coming out as….
‘QUEER POWER NOW!
Haven’t we had enough of the lies being peddled by our ‘leaders’? By our ‘gay’ press? By ‘gay’ mafia like Stonewall and GALOP? By gay bars and clubs which are run by exploiting straights who rip off our culture? By ‘lesbian’ and ‘gay’ censors who try to control our lives by controlling our images? By political parties, who with fools like McKellen are trying to shut us up? Buy our VOTES , our MINDS, our BODIES!
IT’S TIME TO FIGHT! Time to take our anger out of the clubs and bars, cottages and cruising grounds and onto the streets! Time to show the Majors and the Kinnocks of this country that we can’t be BOUGHT. It’s time to put our COCKS AND CUNTS on the line, to smash once and for all the lie that we’re all the same, that we we want to be like the gay and straight zombies out there who watch PROPAGANDA TV, who believe the lies in The Sun and Guardian. who think they’ve got a right to judge us, our bodies, our lovers, our lives. Who think they hold some moral highground! They’re selling us out. Confining us to monogamy, marriage and mortgage! It’s time to SMASH once and for all the myth of the ‘gay’ community. which allows fools like the Stonewall group and Capital Gay to sell us out, to sell our souls to the devils of straight culture? They’re trying to put us on that Titanic, and we’re sitting idly by!
Queers, start speaking for yourself! Queers, Dykes, Fags, Fairies, Arse Bandits, Drag Queens, Trannies, Clubbers, Sluts. It doesn’t matter what you call yourself – you know who you are. Don’t let assimilationists kid you with their patronising crap about the oppression of language. Call yourself what you want. Reject all labels. Be all labels. Liberate yourself from the lie that we’re all lesbians and gay men. Free yourself from the lie we’re all the same.
For years we’ve been fed the lie that our sexuality is based on the gender of the person we sleep with. We’ve trapped ourselves into a GHETTO of our own making. It’s time to turn on our oppressors, gay and straight, who try to control us.
QUEER means to FUCK with gender. Our sexuality is unique. It’s not about whether you fuck boys or girls. Are you into tall or short, black or white, old or young, fisting or fucking, thin or fat, drugs, SM or vanilla? Do you gobble it down or spit it out? Does she come all over you? Do you push him up against the wall and fuck him? Are you playing safe?
LIBERATE YOUR MINDS. QUEER IS NOT ABOUT GAY OR LESBIAN – IT’S ABOUT SEX!
There are straight queers, bi-queers, tranny queers, lez queers, fag queers, SM queers, fisting queers in every single street in this apathetic country of ours. We are everywhere. It’s time to take it out into the streets. Get out there! Take them on! Be yourself! And if you don’t like this, get out and make some NOISE yourself. Write books. Be safe. Burn buildings. Shoot closets. Screw in the streets.
NO ASSIMILATION. NO LIES. NO SELL OUT. NO LEADERS. NO TRUTH. NO PRISONERS.’