”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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4 comments on “”Queer By Choice’? I Think It Depends What’s Meant By ‘Queer’

  1. PurplesShade says:

    Likewise about not feeling as if I choose my queerness.
    I don’t think those are the only two options though.

    For instance there is a thing that I took a while to believe, until I’d met people who’d experienced it and was then not be able to doubt it’s realness, where some peoples sexual identities start off one way and change fundamentally and permanently over time. They’re not experiencing fluidity in the way I understand it (a small spectrum one floats over continuously, but where the boundaries and the shift back and forth is itself reliable) but as profound changes that don’t flow back in the other direction.
    Those people aren’t born to their sexuality, but nor is it a choice.

    It seems to me that there may be a lot about sexuality which we (as a species) still don’t know. I wonder about it still though, and asking questions of ourselves may be the only way to find out. 🙂

    • PurplesShade says:

      (I feel like I also need to add another thought because it’s relevant)
      Nerdanel’s definition also seems to imply that people like me who are queer in several ways but who don’t fit queer tropes aren’t queer, because we’re not *preforming queer*, and thus we are “choosing not to be queer”.
      Except I’m still queer. No matter that I’m not preformatively so, I am.
      It may not be intended as such, but it has the same ring as erasure of Bi and Ace folks. >:\

      • S. says:

        Good point. I didn’t think of that quote that way, but I understand why it would be problematic, particularly for peoplevwho are bi or even pan. Whether intentional or not, I guess we’ll never know. Unless the blogger explains his view on whether bi/ pan people are by choice, etc. I do doubt it. The blog post was published around 11 years ago. Sounds like there was a lot that Nerdanel didn’t think about. Thanks for your comments. 🙂

    • S. says:

      Very interesting comment. I didn’t think about people who’s sexuality changes permanently. Like the guy a few years ago whowas originally straight, but due to an accident at a football game, he had to have brain surgery, and after he woke up, he claimed he was gay. That’s quite a dramatic example of what I think your talking about. There’s probably less dramatic examples, that was the one that came to mind.

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