More and More People Identify as "Queer"

Comments

1

Pete Buttigieg isn't queer enough because he wears khakis and only sleeps with his husband?
That is ridiculous.

I'm a cisgender heterosexual white male, and this new "queerness" trend strikes me as a new form of cultural appropriation.

2

You may as well survey and ask how many of them feel "special."

4

This is just anecdotal but the number of self-identified straight men my friends and i have hooked up with over the years suggests there are way more gay/bi/curious guys in the world than the number of openly gay/bi men would suggest. Teens in particular are horny and willing to experiment so it shouldn’t be too surprising that more of them are owning this as part of their identity as society becomes more inclusive, even if many of them will eventually settle into hetero relationships. I don’t see the problem here.

5

@4

The problem isn't non LGBTQ people co-opting the term queer, it's these new "queers" deciding who is and is not "queer" enough.

Just listen to what some of these people are saying.
If Pete buttigieg isn't queer enough because he's married and dresses like a normie, then what does that mean for the rest of the LGBTQ community that live monogamous lifestyles and dresses like an average person?

6

Re the argument about mayor pete. The concern is not how he dresses or lives his life as a monogamous gay man, but his politics — you may have heard he is running for president, kind of the whole reason his “queerness” is a topic of discussion amongst queer people. Gessen’s point is that he is a very conventional centrist when queer politics have historically been rooted in radicalism, and queer people still suffer discrimination and violence, often at the hand of the state. Many on the queer left see his candidacy as a selling out of queer politics.

You don’t have to agree but you could at least represent the argument accurately. It’s spelled out very clearly in the new yorker piece.

7

@5 see above — those queer ppl who dress and fuck like mayor pete aren’t running for president

8

The roots of this politics are acknowledged in an open letter authored by a group called Queers Against Pete. (The letter was signed, according to the organizers, by more than two thousand people.) They wrote, “We are clear that LGBTQIA people are directly and disproportionately impacted by police violence, incarceration, unaffordable healthcare, homelessness, deportation, and economic inequality among other things.” The strategy of this brand of politics is to work across differences to bring about change.

The other, more mainstream, and often more visible kind of L.G.B.T. politics aims to erase difference. Its message to straight people is “We are just like you, and all we want is the right to have what you have: marriage, children, a house with a picket fence, and the right to serve in the military.” The vision of this politics is a society in all respects indistinguishable from the one in which we live now, except queer people have successfully and permanently blended in. To be sure, all kinds of queer people have been involved in both kinds of queer politics. But the politics of being “just like you” leaves out the people who cannot or do not want to be just like conventional straight people, whether in appearance or in the way we construct our lives and families.

10

In some circles it is cool to be 'queer'.
And is a super way for kids to draw some attention too themself.
If homosexuality were an immutable genetic trait the frequency of its occurrence would be fairly stable.
A huge component of 'homosexuality/queerness' is subject to environment and choices; what predilections one chooses to feed and dwell on.
Of course, if everyone else is doing it it becomes less cool.
Hence the clown-car of ever multiplying ever more bizarre sexual 'identities'.
Oh for the days when kids were content to dye their hair purple...

11

All the cool kids are queer.

12

The word "queer" is inherently malleable and always will be. It started as a derogatory slur and will never be able to shake it. Hence it's stupid to celebrate it, in my opinion.

13

Wasn't the entire point (originally) of being accepted in society to be exactly like Mayor Pete? Gay people wanted equality. Gay people wanted to be treated like everyone else, where, ultimately, no one cared about what one did or who one did it with, and life could move forward where people could simply be who they are and no one gave a shit. We're still not there, not by a long shot and things are worse under this administration and it's legislation allowing discrimination against gay people and states still legislating against gay people (like Tennessee's recent ruling that gay people can be denied the right to adopt children).

And to address @9's comment: But the politics of being “just like you” leaves out the people who cannot or do not want to be just like conventional straight people, whether in appearance or in the way we construct our lives and families. >>> There are plenty of straight people who don't want to be (and are not) just like conventional straight people, whether in appearance or in the way they construct their lives and families. All one has to do is look at anyone who doesn't want to get married (or more extreme, doesn't want to have sex), doesn't want to have children, doesn't want to chase after and achieve "success" (as defined by the mainstream), etc. There are people of all kinds who want nothing to do with the status quo. They simply want to be able to exist in this society without being scrutinized for who they are and how they live their lives. That is the the ultimate in freedom and equality sought by all >>> to simply be who one is and have no one care!

I personally don't care if Mayor Pete is gay or gay enough or gay the right way. I don't want him to be president. I don't believe he's qualified, nor do I believe he's capable. He's just yet another white man who believes he deserves to be president. Why? What does he actually bring to the table? Is he more qualified and capable than Trump, yeah, but basically any biped on earth is more qualified than Trump on all fronts, so that really isn't the right question.

15

"then was reclaimed by gay, bi, and trans people"
well not all...

The title bounces in and out of use just like in this article. It is used in so many different contexts sometimes it is included as part of the "LGBTQ" acronym then left out and used to describe everyone as a whole. No one is exactly clear when to use the term because it has a weaponized history in the 80's and now has worked it's square self into the round hole of a contemporary diverse society 30+ years later, a calmer and more accepting giant community of political and non political individuals that are actually desperate to be identified by one term and not a giant complicated acronym being continuously added to. So queer has become the identifier by proxy, a bad one from the days of "We're here we're Queer, get used to it" political sensibility . So we have ended up in this surreal world where some use it aggressively, some use it to sound like they are part of a cool group, some without thinking at all because it is a convenient lazy term and everyone is doing it.

It would be great to come up with a different all encompassing term to simplify in an intelligent way how to describe a diverse collection of individuals that know who they are or for some, are trying to understand who they are.
For me QUEER does not cut it and never has. We are at a stage where it is just used (ironically) as intellectual slang. It is not as a great identifier we have been lazy and here we are with long acronyms and the word queer, awkwardly trying to describe a large group of diverse people.

16

https://www.vox.com/the-highlight/2020/2/19/21124189/nonbinary-gender-fluid-adults

17

I would appreciate it if all the self-avowed straights would stop telling me how to be gay.

I don’t care for Buttigieg’s economic policies. His relationship and fashion sense are irrelevant.

Identity politics is complete and utter bullshit. Here, we see a horde of heterosexual people lining up to declare that any gay man who doesn’t support Buttigieg is somehow deficient. By doing so, you reduce Buttigieg to a one dimensional character. All he is is his sexuality. And if I reply to your rhetorical why with a discussion of economic policy, your eyes roll back, because to you no gay man is allowed to have any thoughts on economic policy. It’s just like how you have a token Black reporter on your pundit show that you trot out only when you want him or her to talk about Black Civil Rights, or how you make sure you have the whitest looking Hispanic guy on Earth on staff just so you can say you’re diverse because you hired a Gonzales. You’re just checking boxes. Black guy? Check. Gay guy? Check. Hispanic lady? Check. Yep, we’re the good guys. Now, everybody shut up and go hide until we need you to talk about only one dimension of your lives.

Right now at Lambert House there is a homeless gay kid who has to sell his ass on the street to get enough food to eat, and isn’t even thinking about a college he can’t afford or his future career. Down the street, there’s a couple of fast food workers who can’t call in sick for fear of missing the rent. Over in White City, a gay guy just got evicted for failure to pay rent. It’s February, and he’s going to die of hypothermia tonight. Another just found out his insurance won’t cover the cost of his meds, and the hospital is sending him a bill he’ll never be able to afford. And in Burien, a gay dude and a lesbian in LTRs just found out they got fired from their jobs as teachers and are gonna have some trouble paying the rent this next month.

I’m hard for Bernard. And all of you heterosexuals who have an opinion on how I out to live my gay life can kiss my gay ass.

18

13, my post @8 was a direct quote from the gessen article referenced and mischaracterized in the original post.

The queer community is not a political monolith; the split between radicalism vs assimilation has existed for decades, it’s just spilling out into the mainstream right now because a relatively conservative gay guy is running for president.

The radical view is that our entire culture needs to change, while assimilation argues the shortest path to equality is to blend in. Radicals want to completely deconstruct the concept of marriage and the nuclear family, not just for gay people but for straight people too. In their view, marriage equality is a capitulation to the status quo.

I understand why this infighting might be confusing or alienating to people. Even people i know who are steeped in old-school radical queer culture are troubled by it, because there is a middle ground where i think most of us fall. We have fought hard for the rights we enjoy today, but we also want to preserve queer culture and make space for everyone to live their lives without being ostracized for it.

19

@17: Well said.

20

Call me an old fashioned gay man, but every straight person with a mild kink calls themselves queer now, and it feels like appropriation. Straight kinksters weren't the ones who couldn't get married, were getting beat up and fired from their jobs. Real live gay people were.

I think I liked the bachelorette parties at gay bars better than this. At least they weren't making our struggle "their struggle". Just be yourself, y'all!

21

"gay" marriage is the big legislative victory but did it do structural change not really that wasn't the point so much tho it did do a lot for acceptability and visibility but ending government doing marriage and making it all just contracts is structural change but weep sigh sorrow that's a difficult sell that's why buttigeig won't get my vote except for best cia ai

22

Regarding Pete, of course it's stupid for people to say he's not gay enough or not gay the right way, the whole thing is absurd.

But I think the reason he's getting this backlash is in response to how he markets himself. He is pretty mediocre and unqualified and his politics are run-of-the-mill centrist Democrat- basically indistinguishable from everyone else in that sphere (Booker, Harris, Klobuchar) and yet he's a frontrunner. His brand is that he's super charismatic, a genuis boy wonder, so attractive, etc, and yet this too falls apart upon examination. The dude just holds a liberal arts BA like any Uber driver or waiter near you, he speaks in empty platitudes, he can't actually speak those languages he says he can speak, and while physical attractiveness is subjective, he just looks like a typical clean cut normie white guy with a bad profile, nothing to write home about.

So what is his appeal? There are two suggestions. One is the CIA conspiracy theory. Two makes more sense: after a couple decades of liberal politics being so centered on LGBT rights and gay marriage, a lot of liberals think it's the coolest thing ever to elect a gay man, they really want to see a married gay guy in the White House. Sort of "take that" to conservatives. Also he doesn't offer any major structural reform so you get to feel good about voting for him without having to actually do anything or pay any more in taxes. I think all of this makes WAY more sense to explain why an unqualified uncharismatic small town mayor with an undergraduate English degree is one of the main Democratic contenders than anything else.

And so, of course then people are going to attack him on those fronts since he's such a paper tiger. He's not charismatic, he's not super smart, he's not gay enough. This is wrong-headed and stinks of a kind of inverse homophobia, but yeah I can understand it. If his entire claim to fame is to show how gay acceptance has become a mainstream thing, then it is tempting to point out that this widespread acceptance still mostly just appeals to wealthy white dudes that can pass.

23

appeals = applies

24

First, I hate the word Queer. In my adolescence, Queer was vehemently derogatory, nearly on the level of the N-word. I still to this day have a visceral reaction when I hear the word, even when used in a well-meaning context. I think it is a generational thing.

Second, it's absurd that some people say that Mayor Pete isn't gay enough. He fucks dudes (well, one at least). That makes him gay. That is the very definition of gay (in the modern context), even if he's a pretty mainstream sort of gay. You can certainly disagree with his politics, and lots of gay people think he's too centrist and not liberal enough or not radical enough. That's totally fine. But to say is isn't gay enough is absolutely ridiculous.

Finally, yes, queer as used by youth today has broadened to the point of near meaninglessness. I work a lot with teens. For many, Queer isn't a descriptor of sexuality so much as a badge of the counterculture. Teens today use Queer in very similar ways we used to use the word Hippy back in the 1970s. Vaguely defined, vaguely sexy, but definitely counterculture, and very cool in certain circles. It's also used sort of as ally signaling. They may be totally opposite-sex attracted, but have LGBT friends and want to be supportive, and calling themselves queer shows support and tells the squares to fuck off.

26

@25 slurs like that really? You are a retrograde fuckhead.

Re the explosion of people claiming queer, it's absolutely a trend in the sociological sense. Doesn't mean it's not true; also doesn't mean it's not similar to flannel in the 1990's.

27

@26. Clutch your pearls a little harder. Transtrenders are not ACTUALLY transgender (i.e. people who don't have gender dysphoria but claim they are "trans" to get their victimhood points, and be "special little snowflakes", and who claim to have a million genders, and denying science). So "transtrender" is not a slur. It is who they are. But go ahead and have your fake outrage fit. We know that is the only thing you pussies are good at.

28

17 "Here, we see a horde of heterosexual people lining up to declare that any gay man who doesn’t support Buttigieg is somehow deficient." Yeah, who says that, exactly? I see criticism (and I express criticism) against the LGBT people who say "he's not queer enough," or "he doesn't represent every aspect of the queer community," or "he expects, or wants to push, every gay person to be just like him." And I've heard all those things. But your quote? Haven't heard it.

Anybody, queer or otherwise, who does not support Buttigieg because they don't support his policies (or have other candidates whose policies they support more), or because they think he doesn't have enough experience for the job, or other criticisms that can also be leveled at non-gay candidates, will garner no objection from me (whether I agree or not). But queer people saying he's not queer enough, or not really queer? They are the very people they claim to despise - gatekeepers who hold others to a narrow standard of "how to be queer," telling other people how to "live THEIR gay life." And are really mean about it. (And, of course, "he's not queer enough" is a criticism that, by definition, is restricted to queer candidates, exemplifying a double standard that straight candidates never have to think about, or be judged by. I do remember Obama being considered "not black enough" by some.)
As for #22's list of disqualifiers - actually, many people (gay, straight, or otherwise) DO find Buttigieg charismatic, intelligent, and even tempered, among other traits they find attractive in a candidate. If you like, you can spend a lot of time "demonstrating" that they DON'T - really, CAN'T - actually believe this, and must have some ulterior or subconscious motive for supporting him. But anyone could spend the same amount of time "demonstrating" that your opinions in this matter are similarly disingenuous. I don't see the evidence either way.
I like him. He's not my top choice. I think it makes an enormous, positive difference that he's there, doing as well as he is, kissing his husband at the podium (a knowledge of LGBT history indicates how astonishing this is). Am I queer like he's queer? In some ways yes, in some ways no. But that's true of every LGBTQ person I've ever met.

29

Sidenote: "... describe a large group of diverse people."

Ok. Diverse.

What's a good pronoun to describe one?
'They' and them sound a like a group.
' Y'all '?

30

Language is constantly changing. See also: Boomer. “OK Boomer” quickly expanded to reference not an age range demographic, but rather a mindset at any age.