Progressive. Queer. Feminist. Opinionated.

Monday, July 25, 2005

If you let little girls play with trucks...

"and we hardly define the straight person by who he or she wants to have sex with" wrote Harper.

This is something I've been wanting to write about forever.

There are probably 100 reasons I avoid talking about my sexuality especially on the internet. But a really big one is that I don't want it to define who I am.

The fact that I date the person i do, that's a choice. Being attracted to that gender is not. I want to be defined by what I choose

It's like my hair. People have told me that my natural hair color is beautiful, and act like I'm not happy with who I am because I dye it. But brown hair isn't who I am. I had no say over that, any more than I do over the fact that i was born a girl or in Ohio or anything. It isn't who I am. If someone compliments it, they might as well compliment me for being born in Ohio. (which would be weird, cuz Ohio is crummy I think, but go with it.) If someone compliments my purple hair, s/he is appreciating who I am. I want to be read by the things choose.

Of course, there are choices with what we are born with. I didn't choose to be female, but I choose to wear skirts. I didn't choose to be born Jewish, but I chose to follow the religon.

For a long time I thought sexuality was like my hair, except unchangeable. It was something that had nothing to do with who I am as a person, or at least with who I want to be judged as. I think some people let this define them entirely, and I see that as bad. They become epitomes of a stereotype, be it negatove or positive, and they let that be all they are.

But then again, people do that with like-geek, or punk, too. and those are choices. embracing the culture of it or not, that's a choice.

I guess, in the end, I'm confilcted on this, where once I was sure. What do you guys think?


Blogger Harper said...

Ion and I were having a conversation about this at dinner - I swear!

I can just say how I feel.

We're talking about labels, I guess, and I have to admit I like labels (to a certain degree). Like ... okay, dyke is a label that can be positive or negative. If you call someone a dyke in hatred, that's a bad label, but if I call myself a dyke with pride, it's not a bad label. So I think there's a lot to be said about intent. Because of how you feel about your hair, your location, etc, these are positive things for you. And if someone says something negative to you about dyeing your hair, again - we have intent.

I was reading in an Advocate lately (not this month but the one before, I think) that a lot of the younger queer generation is turning their backs on the labels of gay or bi. A lot of the older generation is angrry for this. And I understand both sides. The younger doesn't want to be defined, but the older generation is saying they fought for the right to call themselves gay, queer, dyke, fag, etc and not feel shame for that. In a way, I think, they think that the younger generation is spitting in their face for turning their backs on those reclaimed words.

Personally, I'm a fan of many lables. I like dyke, lesbian, queer, granola lesbian, etc. I like liberal and geek. And I understand the problems that come up when one defends oneself on those words (I liked your statement: "They become epitomes of a stereotype, be it negatove or positive, and they let that be all they are"). But at the same time, if there is no word for gay, we'll have a situation like before the word "homosexual" came into existence, like, 100-150 years ago (whenever it was - sorry). Heterosexuality was the norm except for those few folks who had no way to express what they were feeling. They could only say they weren't normal and that was a hurtful statement.

So, uh, yes. I hope this is even slightly on topic and responding to what you say. I'm really glad you posted this, and it's funny you did so right after Ion and I were talking.

9:48 PM

Anonymous texasshiva said...

I personally like labels. I also know that people and personalities are fluid, so I'm open to label changing at any point.

Interestingly, and sort of on topic, the phrase "Dykes on Bikes" -- which I always saw as reappropriation, but what do I know -- has been turned down by the US Patent and Trademark Ofifce on the grounds that "dyke" is vulgar, offensive, and "scandalous." A group of dykes wants to call themselves dykes, and the government is protecting them from...themselves.

::: sigh :::

11:43 AM


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