I, like many others it seems, previously thought that the right for queer marriage was the main issue in the fight for queer equality. I think this was because passing marriage equality laws was do-able and a tangible win for the LGBTQ++ community. But as we learned in class, equality is a much bigger issue and often laws don’t necessarily mean people following them or getting treated fairly. As discussed in class, marriage is not the only issue. Not everyone wants to get married and even with the supposed advantages of marriage, queer marriages are not always treated equal as a heterosexual marriage. In class, we talked about so many other more pressing issues than marriage. I still think that marriage equality is a goal, but there are definitely other issues to fight. Not having the same rights to marry is definitely a barrier in equality; marriage comes as a public recognition and acceptance. I personally think the idea of marriage is pretty controlling and scary, but everyone should have the same right to make mistakes.
To normalize LGBT people means to say that they are just like everyone else. This influences the idea that LGBT people are not different and want to be included into the heteronormative society that marginalizes them. Inclusion should not be desired by the LGBT community. In class we talked a lot about why inclusion isn’t ideal. Inclusion gives the idea that someone has the option to include or not include someone. Do you, because your cisgendered or heterosexual, have the right to choose? Why should they have a right to choose? Another point made in class is the idea of being tolerated. The word tolerance has a bad connotation that Walters writes about in Escape from the Tolerance Trap. For example, she writes, “The late Middle English origins of the word indicate the ability to bear pain and hardship.” By saying you tolerate something expresses that there is something wrong with it. Why would the queer community want to be tolerated? When an institution, such as schools, promotes tolerance on posters or another medium it suggests distaste towards the queer community. This is why many LGBT people want to challenge the idea of institutionalization. Being incorporated into an already existing institution seems logical, right? Well when that institution is built on ideas of hetero cissexual people, you are simply being included into a system that does not support and even marginalizes you. Rather the goal should be to break down the morals and values of the current institution and make a brand new one of your own. I definitely think this is possible with education of gender, sex, and identity beginning at a young age. With such education, the new generation of innovative thinkers can create a system built on the values of equality. With this new institution, no one will have to be included, accepted, or tolerated because everyone will have been from the very beginning.
Before taking this class, I definitely thought gay marriage was a great movement for the LGBT community. I thought that everybody would be in full fledge support for it. After this week’s readings and discussion, my views have completely changed. I still am pro-gay marriage because I feel like if anyone in the LGBT community wants to get married and reap the benefits of that union, they should be able to. If These Walls Could Talk 2 really solidified this idea. It was devastating that the woman could not keep her house where she had lived with her significant other. That being said, I wouldn’t say that I don’t agree with the push for gay marriage, but rather the lack of focus on other aspects of the LGBT community that I believe are more important.
My opinion on the song “Same Love” by Macklemore has definitely changed also. Before I read the article by Karen Tongson, I thought this song was progressive and impressive. I was blind to the problems within the song that Karen talks about. One of the major problems with this song is the fact that a very privileged white straight male is singing about something he sounds like he doesn’t actually truly understand. As Tongson writes, “Though I don’t question the earnestness of Macklemore’s and Lewis’ intentions to help out queers like you, me, Frank Ocean, and Macklemore’s uncle, the rhetoric of “sameness” and the white male hetero privilege that affords such statements of equivalency feel totally patronizing.” Now that I think more about it, I definitely would understand why the LGBT community would feel patronized by such a wealthy white straight male singing “for” them. He isn’t a part of the community; therefore his sing is presumably invalid. Macklemore is also making millions off of writing a song about supporting gay marriage making his song even less genuine.
Overall, the LGBT community and media should focus on more core issues such as education, medical discrimination, or prison systems. It would also be nice to see more famous people from the LGBT community speak up.
“Her knowing or not knowing vis-a-vis “quare” is predicated on her own ‘multiple and complex social, historical, and cultural positionality.’ It is this culture specific positionality that I find absent from the dominant and more conventional usage of ‘queer.'”
This sentence was hard to understand because it’s trying to redefine the word “queer” which already has a bunch of different meanings to different people. What does the author mean by “the dominant and more conventional usage of ‘queer?'” I read this as the author referring to the usage of “queer” as a blanket term for anybody who falls on the spectrum of not straight because thats what I view as “the dominant and more conventional usage of ‘queer.'” I think it’s interesting how queer can be used as both a positive and a negative term. It is very clear that the way the author defines “quare” as his grandmother uses it was negative, but I generally thing of queer as a neutral or positive umbrella term for the LGBTQIA+ community.
“Queer” is a very interesting term because its meaning is different based on where you are or who you talk to. I think that each person’s definition of “queer” can be seen as a reflection of what kind of exposure they’ve had to the word. Everybody I know who still sees “queer” as a derogatory term is either older or from the south. When I was in middle school I was taught that queer was synonymous with questioning. This reminded me of last week’s topic of how LGBT+ is portrayed in media. There are many different representations and the same show can be perceived differently by different people. This is a really interesting concept to me because my whole life my parents pushed me to learn math and science so I could become an engineer where there is always a distinct correct answer. This is also why I love learning more about LGBT studies. You’re forced to see things from multiple perspectives.