What’s Wrong With The Queer Community?

September 24, 2010 at 12:12 PM (Uncategorized)

I recently had a womyn ask me what I meant when I used the word “queer” because I used it in a negative way, and she thought it simply referred to gay men and lesbians. This is a response to that.

It is true that some gay men and lesbians refer to themselves as queer, but self-identified queer people also include transsexual people, transgendered people, genderqueer people, people who are into BDSM, polyamorous people, cross-dressers, and people who are willing to have relationships with some or all of these people.

When I speak of the queer community, I am referring to the subset of these people who subscribe to certain bullshit ideologies. One of these is the ridiculous idea that people are whatever they say they are. This is why it is considered polite to play along when males say that they are female, females say that they are males (i.e., some trans people) and a genderqueer person says that they are male one day and female the next (I’m not making up this example). People who don’t play along are assumed to be ignorant and/or considered to be transphobic.

Another facet of the queer community is the support of body negativity. If you log in to a queer community and make a post about hating your body and wanting your breasts lopped of, people will not be horrified and exhort you to love yourself. The queer community is filled with so much body hatred and body-negativity that such feelings are commonly accepted as part of someone’s “identity.” Similarly afflicted women will sympathize, people will suggest you get a binder (a breast-flattening device that continues to be used despite its tendency to dislodge ribs
and constrict breathing
), people will give you advice about getting the surgery (called top surgery). You don’t even have to say that you are trans aka “really” a man or give the by now standard narrative of being born in the wrong body. Even people (almost always women) who are not trans are jumping on the surgery bandwagon. No one asks why you dislike your body. Who cares? If that’s what you want, book a surgeon!

Part of the reason for the body-negativity is the heavy focus on androgyny in some queer subcommunities, particular the genderqueer community. The ideal androgynous body is generally closer to male than to female (not to mention being young, skinny and white), so genderqueer males don’t generally express the need to change the bodies, while genderqueer females want to loose weight, get rid of curves, and get rid of breasts.

One issue that particularly gets on my nerves is a serious misunderstanding or misuse of the concept of gender or gender identity. Whereas gender in everyday speech is sometimes used as a synonym for sex, and in the context of feminism, psychology, etc., is spoken of as gender roles, which society forces on individuals, certain queer people seem to think gender is some sort of choice about expressing themselves and/or how they want to be treated by society. Sometimes the phrase “gender identity” is used to express this idea, when in fact gender identity is a term used in the social sciences to refer to one’s awareness of the gender role one is expected to fill. In short, there is no choice about it. It is not some facet of someone’s being or personality or a choice of style, it is some made-up bullshit used to keep people in line, a tool of oppression. They are muddying this important issue with their self-indulgent nonsense.

Another “polite” convention in the queer community is that one does not question another’s identity, EVER. Identity in this sense is a relatively vague, amorphous mass of concepts that may include things such as how one feels about being male or female, the pronouns by which one wishes to be referred, the gender role one prefers to live in, and the style of dress and grooming one prefers (usually in terms of being stereotypically male, female, purposefully androgynous, etc.) The result of this is that people are not challenged when they build “identities” based on self-hatred, stereotypes, and maladaptive attempts to deal with the various pressures of heteronormative conformity. For example, I was reading what someone wrote about being an FTM a while back. She was talking about how she had hated to wear the Sunday school dresses her mother forced on her as a child. Obviously, this doesn’t have a goddamned thing to do with being a man except in this poor woman’s warped mind.

Questioning the morality of some dude identifying with appropriating womanhood, the identity of an oppressed group (womyn) probably wouldn’t go over so well in many queer circles either. Of course, being primarily composed of white, American, middle- to upper-class liberals, many in the queer community will be right at home with appropriation. Thus the endless trotting out of the two-spirit phenomenon (an appropriated facet of a Native American culture) and the appropriation of the experience of the intersexed community (some trans people are convinced that they are afflicted with a sort of brain-based intersexuality, and some just want to lump as many people as possible under the queer umbrella) against the wishes of many intersexed people. And let’s not forget all the “transwomen” appropriating lesbianism on top of appropriating womanhood.

It should be obvious at this point that queer ideology butts up against womyn’s liberation in a million different ways. We can’t even agree on what a woman is. Feminists are trying to delineate a group (womyn) so that they can point and say, “this group is being treated like shit and something needs to be done about it.” Queer people are saying, “but these males (transwomen) are in that group, too!” They are so focused on validating the “identities” of a bunch of men that they can’t or won’t see the difference between throwing on a dress and wanting to be treated as a feminine person with being expected to be a fucktoy for men, a baby-making machine, a cute, submissive airhead, and generally oppressed as a female from birth onward. The misunderstanding of/glorification of gender, the body-negative preoccupation with surgery and hormones, the overlap with the pro-BDSM, pro-prostitution, pro-porn “sex positive” community, and the general unwillingness to analyze anything anyone does are other anti-feminist issues.

As for the BDSM community, I’m sure I don’t have to explain the problem with people who get off on beating the shit out of and/or psychologically dominating each other.

I could probably go on.

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13 Comments

  1. Margaret said,

    Queer people are saying, “but these males (transwomen) are in that group, too!”

    Did you hear about that women’s health clinic in post-Katrina Louisiana that was shut down in large part because a bunch of men in dresses got angry that they weren’t able to get their penises and/or fake vaginas checked out by the gynecologists there? They insisted that this struggling clinic of mostly volunteers pay for the services of a urologist who would pose as a gynecologist in order to give these males the experience of being treated in a clinic intended to serve poor female people in a disaster area. Since the women running the clinic couldn’t afford to do that, and since they also obviously couldn’t afford to be sued by the angry men in dresses, they shut it down. And actual women lost access to potentially life-saving services.

    This is what happens when feminists try to do something for female people, and males insist that they’re part of that group too.

    I just wanted to illustrate with a real-world example exactly why this insistence is a problem *for female people*. Of course, the men in dresses didn’t lose anything, since they could still access services intended for males, just like they always could have, before they got the women’s clinic shut down.

    • lesbianplusfeminist said,

      I hadn’t heard about that but I’m not surprised at the depths of misogyny trannies will sink to in their games of pretend.

  2. Valerie M said,

    Yes and they got a women-only pharmacy shut down in Canada too. Or tried to, I’m not actually sure what happened. It was called Lu’s.

  3. Valerie M said,

    I got called away during my last comment but meant to say – it’s bad enough what they did to Lu’s, but doing it to Katrina victims is inexcusable.

    • easilyriled said,

      I agree, Valerie. I don’t think the closure of Lu’s was directly related to the tranny shit storm, but it’s telling that none of them were around when the news came that Lu’s was going to close. no infusion of transwomen labour or cash or activism.

  4. berryblade said,

    I am referring to the subset of these people who subscribe to certain bullshit ideologies. One of these is the ridiculous idea that people are whatever they say they are.

    Brilliant, it’s so accurate – cos it is bullshit.

    No one asks why you dislike your body. Who cares? If that’s what you want, book a surgeon!

    Exactly, no-one recognises that this is part of a huge self-mutilation epidemic. It’s consumerist and libertarian at best, and womon-hating, self-loathing and selfish at worst.

    Questioning the morality of some dude identifying with appropriating womanhood, the identity of an oppressed group (womyn) probably wouldn’t go over so well in many queer circles either. Of course, being primarily composed of white, American, middle- to upper-class liberals, many in the queer community will be right at home with appropriation.

    Yes, I’ve often pondered upon the fact that many t(y)rannies are middle class white men. I also did not know about the plagiarism of that particular aspect of Native American culture.

    As for the BDSM community, I’m sure I don’t have to explain the problem with people who get off on beating the shit out of and/or psychologically dominating each other

    Exactly! Glad to see you blogging again and so awesomly too 🙂

  5. easilyriled said,

    Your writing is spot on, as always. thank you for this. I tend to rabbit on about the misogyny and racism of the term “queer” as well, but not in such an articulate manner. Thanks very much.

  6. SadieTheGoat said,

    LOVVVE this post. Loving checking out your blog. Love you!
    Keep up the good work.
    -a Sister

  7. Bluetraveler said,

    “The result of this is that people are not challenged when they build “identities” based on self-hatred, stereotypes, and maladaptive attempts to deal with the various pressures of heteronormative conformity. For example, I was reading what someone wrote about being an FTM a while back. She was talking about how she had hated to wear the Sunday school dresses her mother forced on her as a child. Obviously, this doesn’t have a goddamned thing to do with being a man except in this poor woman’s warped mind.”

    I once dared question an FTM’s similarly built identity and, oh God, are those thunders coming down from the clouds? I was called “rude, ignorant, patronizing” and then bashed and ostracized. It’s truly dangerous that a community doesn’t let any dissent filter, especially since that dissent doesn’t usually come from malevolent sources, but from people who are genuinely interested in helping them out, unlike most of the medical staff or other transsexuals who genuinely are on the same boat, or other old, bitter trans people who promote body dysphoria to justify their own transition choice.

  8. Bedelia Bloodyknuckle said,

    This post is amazing! 😀

  9. Ms. Sunshine said,

    You do realize every medical study done on transfolk since the late 80s has implied a neurological disorder right? That they’re missing some of the hox genes on their y chromosomes which cause parts of their brain to fully masculinize and that the part of the brain which most commonly fails to masculinize is the part associated with physical sensation. The reason their mental health improves when starting hormones generally has to do with the changing neurology. Read some studies on it. The pathology of gender identity disorders is different from every other form of body dysphoria. Because all evidence points to it being a neurological disorder. Maybe in the future brain surgery will fix it but that’s another discussion.|

    By the way. What do you think of those womyn hating oppresive intersex people?

    • lesbianplusfeminist said,

      I am going to exercise extreme patience here. Your comment bears no ostensible relevance to the post on which you are commenting. You have a comment about the possibility of neurological disorders in “transfolk” (and I hope you are referring to transsexuals only, because the neurology thing is not gonna fly in the case of transfolk who have straight up admitted that they just want to live out the opposite gender role) and a baffling (hypothetical?) question about intersex people on a post about what is wrong with the queer community. Connect the dots for me, because I don’t see it. What is your point?

      Also, restrain yourself from making a comment whose relevance isn’t perfectly obvious in the future. This isn’t the first time I’ve had to respond to random diatribes about neurology, and I’m sick of it. It would also behoove you to exercise some modesty in your writing (i.e. Avoid arrogant and clueless questions such as the one at the end of your comment), because it’s quite possible you don’t even grasp the meaning of the things you are ranting about. Trust me, I’ve come across comments like yours again and again. I’m becoming quite skilled at spotting the presumptuousness.

      • fmnst said,

        My immense gratitude for lesbianplusfeminist’s blog and this blog post. I will respond more on it later.

        May I add, to “Ms.” Sunshine, you at least had me curious to see the studies you mentioned, or the write-ups of them you’ve seen,if for no other reason than my skepticism; but nonetheless, a willingness to read. You came across as rational and a seeker of knowledge and accuracy, to me, in the course of trying to make your case. However, if you want someone to respond to your evidence, you should provide the links to it. It’s not reasonable to expect people to spend ours figuring out which studies one is referring to, especially womyn who are already burdened with the M2M assaults on our various communities.

        But then your completely your own ignorance with a hostile and clueless swipe about intersex. Have you read none of the complaints from intersex people about trans misappropriation of intersex existence, incorrectly equating the biological reality of intersex with the dysphoric lack of grip on biological reality that is transgender?

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