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August 16, 2010 | by  | in Features |
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A response to ‘That’s So Gay’, 9 August

While the Queer column has been left wanting for pretty much the entire year, last week’s column was, in particular, a judgmental and ambiguous mess.

You can be flamboyant. You can have brightly dyed hair, a camp voice, the works—and as long as you’re happy with yourself, cool. That’s you. Myself and many more wouldn’t even think twice about judging you negatively for it.

It’s unfortunate to read that our UniQ co-president, and our sole outward representative in Salient (and thus, to the wider student population), is being judgmental towards constituents in the ‘queer community’. Now I’m all for celebrating the diversity of this community. Our variation is one of our biggest strengths; I would’ve thought you’d agree with me there. This is the 21st century after all. We’re all our own people. But the latest column seems opposed to this.

There shouldn’t have to be a choice between being an: a) an apparently self-loathing, self-denying, internally homophobic queer; or b) flamboyant, ‘true to themselves’, balls-to-the-wall for queer rights, queer—a binary you seem to express as inevitable, despite your scapegoat “straight-acting” post-script. It is important to recognise that if someone isn’t overtly flamboyant by nature, it does not mean they’re disrespecting those predecessors who fought in the Stonewall riots, and they’re not making subtle digs at Ellen or Elton. That’s a ridiculous assertion to make.

It seems nothing but counter-productive to reconstruct that binary of ‘us gays vs. them straights’ in sexuality politics today. Don’t be so quick to pass off everything and everyone that isn’t flamboyantly gay as hetero-normative, patriarchal, and not worth your time. It’s a personal preference and natural instinct of some people, not a personal attack, to choose to embrace their sexuality through means other than conforming to stereotypical social constructs. So what?

Anyway, open your eyes and you will probably find that there are awesome straight, white, middle-class guys who walk around Lambton every day. You’ll find these people who are perfectly accepting (and even embracing) of flamboyancy, repressed flamboyancy, or those seemingly novelty “straight actors” who, incidentally, prefer to sleep with men.

There’s room for everything in the queer community. At least, there should be! Everything except ‘gatekeepers’: those who create unnecessary divides and barriers inside the queer community, when it needs to be united. These gatekeepers suck (and not in a good way), especially when they’re in positions of influence. Sure, we’re a mixed bunch. That’s why we love us, isn’t it?

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Comments (11)

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  1. Jack says:

    Well said ✔

  2. Hank Scorpio says:

    Brilliant response.

  3. Turtle Heart says:

    Thanks Josh

  4. Stephen Jackson says:

    I never told anyone how to act in that whole column. Yes it was terribly written but I never said anything about people having to conform to stereotypes, the only stereotypes I gave were about the people I felt didn’t want to acknowledge their queerness or have anything to do with the queer community. And it’s those people I feel weird about. They could be the most flaming homo in the world but want nothing to do with the queer community.
    Personally, I just don’t believe that as a community and culture we should aim to fully integrate, lest we lose the community, culture and history.

    I’m always thinking of ways to appeal to a broader audience when we do things at UniQ because I’d hate to exclude anyone.

    So next time I write a column (unless someone else wants to, I’ve been wanting that to happen all year) I will put more time into it than starting the day it’s due so my point comes across clearer

  5. Hank Scorpio says:

    “… the people I felt didn’t want to acknowledge their queerness or have anything to do with the queer community.”

    Again, Stephen, where is your proof ? What evidence do you have to back this up? Are there large swathes of homosexual men out there who’ve gone out of their way to say, “I don’t want to be a part of the queer community”?

    This is stupid. You’re utterly clueless. Josh Wright for queer column writer, plz.

  6. Stephen Jackson says:

    I have no proof, I used the word ‘felt’, I made assumptions, that was a terrible thing to do and I apologize for it, especially if it made you form an opinion of me that isn’t good and probably inaccurate as well. I feel like I need to rewrite that whole column so that it actually says what I want it too.
    I don’t know anything about the people who have gone out of their way to say they don’t want to be a part of the queer community, again I just assume they exist through stories and so on.

    I would be very, VERY happy for Josh to write the queer column. The person I was supposed to be sharing this responsibility with disappeared shortly in the first trimester and I feel like I’ve been stuck with writing it since. I would be happy for him to do it. He writes well but I don’t think he’s addressed what I was trying (and failing) to say in the other week’s column.

  7. smackdown says:

    im not part of the queer community im part of the fun community

    everyone should join that community :-D

  8. Duncan says:

    ‘I just don’t believe that as a community and culture we should aim to fully integrate, lest we lose the community, culture and history.’ Interesting view Mr Jackson. So you wish the queer community to consist of people who are ‘gay’ enough in your mind to belong to it? Sounds like a rather elitist uniformed group that is more considered about about their own apparent superiority than individuality being true to one’s self which I think most people will agree is at the heart of the Queer movement. This elitist uniformity is the principle on which UniQ operates too, which I think also needs to be changed. Let Queers be themselves and not who you want them to be Stephen.

  9. Freya Desmarais says:

    That thurrrr is an age-old debate – just sayin’. It’s not like Stephen is the only one with that point of view. That is – do we integrate and become invisible, at the risk of losing a lot of our culture and identity that has been created in an environment of segregation, or do we say ‘fuck you all, we don’t want to be part of your patriarchal homophobic heteronormative hegemony blah blah blah!’

    Neither side is ‘correct’ really – I certainly can’t make up my mind which side I’m on. One part of me wants the right to marry and the other doesn’t believe in marriage. One part of me wishes I didn’t have to make the decision whether to out myself many times a day, the other takes pride in my otherness and belonging to a special ‘community’.

    It’s a grey area, y’know.

    p.s. Also, while I agree with a lot of what Josh has said here, and think it’s fair enough to chide one another when we err like this, I do know Stephen and in every other circumstance he has been open and accepting of everyone, no matter what. I think he just very poorly expressed himself this time – it is just unfortunate that it was in such a public forum.

    Freya

  10. Josh says:

    Like you say Freya, it’s a bit of a grey area. I was trying to get at the fact that we shouldn’t actively take sides/rail against others in that debate, but instead just live and let live in a community which should be accepting of tolerance.

    I’m in the same position as you regarding gay marriage. I’d like the right even though I would only ever enter a civil union. Same thing with belonging to that special minority community – I wouldn’t change it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I should live it at all times.

    Regarding Stephen, all I’ve heard are really, really good things from everyone. I recall drunkenly stumbling down Cuba from Hotel Bristol chatting to him. Nice guy; so absolutely nothing against him! I wrote this column as more of an expression to the wider student population that Stephen had written a poorly-expressed/informed column, trying to ensure that people didn’t take his message as one from the entire gay community. Hopefully it worked. Regardless of that, it got people thinking and discussing the issue, and there’s nothing like a healthy debate, be it age-old or not. :)

  11. Freya Desmarais says:

    Hear hear! :-)

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