”Queer By Choice’? I Think It Depends What’s Meant By ‘Queer’

Siggy of “Asexual Agenda” made a post about the debate surrounding the hostile reaction toward the link between asexuality and celibacy and how it effects asexuals negatively. Siggy also talked about another term, that, to be honest, many LGBT+ people, including myself, are often hostile about… the idea of “queer by choice”.

A number of LGBTQ+ people vehemently argue that they don’t choose their sexuality or gender identity. Suggestions of sexuality being a choice is often met with anger. The backlash against “Sex and the City” star Cynthia Nixon back in 2012, is a a case in point. However, after reading Siggy’s post, I did a quick Google, and found something fairly interesting. . Blogger known as “Nerdanel”, argued that there was ALWAYS a choice when talking about identifying as queer. However, his approach to his argument wasn’t what I expected:

(2) There is ALWAYS a choice. Always. If you are queer in a sense, and you acknowledge this, even if it’s only to yourself – then you have made a choice to do this. If you have a queer partner, if you go out to queer events, if you are active in your community, then you have chosen to do these things.

Interesting, don’t you think? “Nerdanel” explained the “lifestyle” aspects if you will, of a queer identity; the partner, advocacy work, associations, etc. This blogger goes beyond attraction. In this instance, yes, this person has a point. Of course, you choose whether you want to pursue a relationship with someone or not. You choose who you associate with. You choose where you stand when it comes to the politics of the LGBTQ movement. Here being “queer” goes far beyond biology – which often fuels the “born this way” argument both in the LGBTQ+ community and major medical bodies.

There is also another question that have been sparked in my mind as I was researching this post… what exactly does it mean to be queer? How far can the definition expand? For exqample there are people who:

 

Going back to the “born this way” versus “queer by choice” argument, there are some people who identify as queer (including the one I cited and linked to above that think the “born this way” argument – contrary to popular belief, actually harms the LGBTQ+ community, rather than helps it. One of the arguments is that it actually reinforces the idea that LGBTQ+ people are essentially victimised by their orientation. It’s like “well, we’ll be nice to you because we know you can’t help it”. I can see where the problem is here. Especially in the wake of same – sex marriage being legalised in different places around the world, there are many LGBTQ+ people who don’t want to be treated differently and want to go about their day. In fact, that’s, from what I can gather, one of the strongest arguments for same – sex marriage being legalised. Ironically, some gays argue against same – sex marriage because they don’t want to be seen as “common” or “normal”. They don’t want to be put in the same constraints that many straight people adhere to when they are married.

My take? I’ll always argue that my orientation was something that I didn’t choose, frankly. Seriously, I spent years hitting my head against a brick wall, metaphorically speaking, to try and not be asexual. Like Australian comedian Magda Szubanski, in the past, yes, I probably would take a pill to make myself straight, I admit it. However, aside from all that, yes, choices can be made. I choose to vocal about asexuality and the LGBTQ+ more generally. I choose to be informative, without getting overly personal. Most importantly, I choose to take steps so I can accept myself, including my asexuality, not in spite of it.

 

What are your thoughts about “Queer By Choice”?

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Some People Aren’t Straight, Get Over It!

Earlier this week, Catholic school. St. Francis Xavier College, in Berwick, Melbourne, made headlines when it was alleged that the Principal set up an assembly and demanded the children in Years Eight and Nine tear out pages of a health text book that dealt with losing your virginity, how to negotiate sex, same – sex relationships and sexual orientation. The Principal, Vincent Feeney, originally argued that the discussion about sexual relationships and sexual orientation should be discussed in Religion classes, not Personal Development, Health and Physical Education. He later admitted that the move was heavy – handed.

Earlier in the year, everyone (in Australia at least), would’ve heard about the controversy about Safe Schools, a program that talked about tackling homophobia and transphobia in schools. I do think they went too far, especially the program aimed at pre – school aged children. There have also been criticisms and concerns from experts about the accuracy of the information being presented; the number of people who are LGBT+ and the video case studies. I get all that.

 

Here’s the thing. Sex ed has been around years. We had it when I went to school from Years Seven to Ten. Anyone remember the “putting a condom on banana”? Yeah, I do. Relationships were talked about, especially in Year 10 (I remember that vividly), and… no one complained. Not to my knowledge anyway.

So what’s everyone up in arms about now?

Short answer: LGBTQ+ people are starting to be discussed. The gay/ straight dichotomy is finally busted. Now bisexuals, asexuals, etc are starting to be discussed. Frankly, a part of me wishes I was in school now! I thin it’s great; providing the information is accurate and age appropriate, that the LGBT+ community in all it’s forms is starting to become visible. My hope that one day, we’d hear about students being aware of asexuality is coming true.

Here’s the thing. Like I’ve said, I think some of the criticisms aimed at programs like Safe Schools are called for. There were inaccuracies and from what I’ve read, it lacked support for students who experience same – sex relationships/ encounters early in life, but end up identifying as straight. That aside, I can’t help but think that the reason why people are so up in arms is because heteronormativity is no longer pretended to be everyone’s orientation. It’s bringing the LGBTQ+ out of the closet, so to speak and people don’t like it. Yet, for a small amount of people, it’s reality. Why can’t it be discussed in schools? Why can’t LGBTQ+ students feel included? It’s reality. Only for a small amount of people, but still, it’s there.

 

Some people aren’t straight, get over it!