Question of the Week: July 10th, 2018.

Do you associate as queer?

I really like the label queer.  Especially as someone that’s been questioning it’s been really validating having a label that just captures that sense of otherness without having to spell out exactly how sexuality works for me.

I also really like the label queer because to me it involves a sense of community.  Queer for me is that sense of being othered. Of having to fight to have your identity respected, and of being willing to fight for and understand people that may not be like you.

I understand and respect why some asexual people *don’t* identify as queer because they don’t feel othered and they don’t feel a connection to that community, and I also think that is true of some same sex attracted people.

Do you identify as queer?  Has your choice to identify as queer (or not) caused you any problems?

About astarlia

Astarlia is proud of herself for only having volunteered for..... okay if you have to stop and count it's probably too many things isn't it? She is passionate about nerd culture, disability and mental health, alternative relationships, sexuality, and young adult fiction.
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17 Responses to Question of the Week: July 10th, 2018.

  1. Katherine says:

    Even when I struggled to figure out my other labels, I felt really comfortable with queer because it conveyed that I wasn’t straight. When I thought I might be bi or pan but neither seemed to fit right (unless we’re talking aesthetic attraction), it helped me not get frustrated with myself for not being able to figure myself out because, no matter what labels I considered, I could always call myself queer.

  2. Siggy says:

    I do use queer, and in fact it would feel very strange if I did not use it. For me, queer was just the standard label used by all the student organizations in college. Some individuals declined to identify as queer, and it usually seemed to be for one of two reasons: (a) they grew up in a context where queer was a common slur, or (b) they disliked the political connotations.

    I didn’t have the excuse of (a)–for me, the slur usage felt archaic. And the thing about the political connotations of queer, is that you can’t avoid them; if you accept or reject the term queer, it’s a political statement either way. My impression was that people who rejected queer were usually gay men who just wanted society to treat them the same as everyone else, and who weren’t as interested in building coalitions with other queer groups. That’s a bit of an unfair caricature, but it’s how I thought of it. It’s why I would never reject the queer label, especially as a gay ace guy.

    • Rivers says:

      I really like the point you make here about the political nature of queer. I always listen in to how people refer to the community and use queer to start getting a picture of what they believe, how much they know, and how inclusive they are. I find you can tell a lot from that.

    • Sennkestra says:

      I think my comfort with queer as an identity comes from some of the same reasons – it was just such a done thing on campus that it never felt particularly controversial (as opposed to the DiscourseTM on tumblr, but I weight offline experiences much more than limited online ones).

      I think that also, I became attached to queer identity during the period when I was identifying as “tentatively asexual” – I wasn’t 100% sure what I was yet, but there was definitely a strong feeling that straight probably wasn’t it. So queer identity and spaces made a nice space to figure things out.

      That said, when it comes to practical communication I definitely see it as like….a secondary identity in that “asexual” is so much more salient and communicative most of the time. Identifying myself as queer first sometimes feels like saying “I’m eating dumplings” when I’m eating tortellini – like, technically it’s true, but it’s so far from archetypal that it’s just going to confuse all the people who jump straight to thinking about things like xialongbao or potstickers.

  3. Rivers says:

    I love the word queer. It conveys that I’m not straight without getting into specifics that lead to further wrong assumptions. I have a lot of pride in how it connects and includes everyone who chooses to take it on.

    Since I live in the South, I’ve encountered resistance from quite a few straight people who heavily dislike the word (not that this can’t happen other places). I’ve had a couple friends voice their discomfort with me IDing as queer around when I came out even though they didn’t have a problem with me IDing as ace (they’re chill now that they’re educated). And I’ve always been proud to stand up and say that I am.

  4. Zoe says:

    I personally do not identify as queer because the word tastes like lemon rind and I avoid words like that.
    It also doesn’t help that queer still has a bit of that stigma attached from when it was an insult. Though the community is taking possession of it pretty well, it’s still problematic to identify that way in some circles and it’s just politics I’d rather not get into, even if it would be easier than running through my whole, complicated definition and life story or getting the dreaded asexual reproduction jokes.
    So yeah, I can definitely see why that would be a nice label, but it’s more politically complicated than I want to get and it tastes bad, so that’s a no for me.

  5. Coyote says:

    Nooooope.

    Although I have been called queer by other people (in a friendly you’re-one-of-us kind of way), and that was, uh, something.

  6. Satsuma says:

    I’ve always been very fond of the term queer. I like that it’s got a bit of an edge to it, I like that it doesn’t actually tell you very much about my sexuality, other than it’s not straight (I’ve had enough inappropriate questions about my sex life in response to me saying I’m ace to last several lifetimes) and I feel at home in the community that uses it, which isn’t necessarily true of other umbrella terms

  7. luvtheheaven says:

    I like your use of the word “associate” rather than, for example, “identify”.

    Associate on tfd.com:

    “1. To connect in the mind or imagination
    “2. To connect or involve with a cause, group, or partner”

    Because Idk like.. It’s a little complicated for me.

    Yes I *certainly* associate asexuality with queerness. I associate with the queer community & the term queer as an umbrella term to some degree.

    I would probably never say “I’m queer” – I’d say “I’m not straight” because I feel that pretty strongly but I’m just… Weirdly comfortable with telling people my specific identity, at least saying the asexual part, sometimes saying even more such as that I’m sex averse, gray-aromantic and gray-panromantic, etc etc. I tell offline acquaintances I barely know to look at specific ridiculously personal blog posts I’ve written and just… I want them to really know I’m asexual, and to me too many people are gonna assume I’m attracted to women (as a cis woman myself) in ways I just am not if I said I was queer. Even if someone asked me if I was queer, I’d hesitate and think well, yes, technically, but am I included in what you think of as queer? I don’t know. I feel included in the + more than the Q in “LGBTQ+”, but at the same time I think queer as a label should (and I do occasionally argue DOES) include a lot of things including asexuality as an orientation.

    I like the political connotations of queer, I like it as an umbrella term for everything from the types of friends I have to the types of fiction I read.

    But I feel like I’m… queer*, with that asterisk, like it’s a label that… Is way more vague or prone to false assumptions than I’m comfortable with. I prefer to be way more specific.

    • Jess says:

      I feel very much the same way you do, luvtheheaven, though I think in my case it is at least partly because, though I am aro/ace, I thought I was straight (in some capacity, but clearly doing it wrong, unable to try for more than first dates before I realized how much I wasn’t interested) until my late 20s. I think growing up that way might have made it harder for me to feel comfortable IDing as queer. That, and the lack of representation of aces that do clearly ID as queer. I mean, the lack of ace rep in general, too, but I don’t know of any media representation of an aro ace person or a heteroromantic ace person who IDs as queer.

      • luvtheheaven says:

        Really good points! I’ve seen a pretty fair handful of media representation now and none of it shows aces using queer, plus I thought I was straight through& until my early twenties too.

    • Sennkestra says:

      So basically, we identify as a queer in a queer sort of way? 🙂

  8. Cracticus says:

    It took me a while to be comfortable perceiving my asexuality as queer. The things that got me there where seeing both aces and non-ace queer people refering to aces as queer and joining several online queer groups. When some people at my local LARP created a Facebook group for the queer people at that LARP, that not only accepted me as asexual but also had other aces in it, it really assured my asexuality was without a doubt queer.

  9. wispy says:

    I do identify as queer, but I rarely actually say it aloud to others. This is in part because I’ve had people tell me they don’t think aces are queer, and in part because I just think saying “I’m aro ace” is clearer and more to the point.

    I think that words have power, and that drawing the lines around what is queer and what is not has power. To me, being queer means that society has been constructed in a way that doesn’t fit me, that I can’t navigate daily life without being reminded that I’m “different”. If someone takes that away from me, it’s like telling me my struggles aren’t real or important enough.

  10. I too like that this is worded as association rather than identification. Because yes, i very much associate with queerness, but i can’t only identify as queer online, in English-languages spaces. In offline spaces here, queer is pretty much always talked to in relation to queer theory, which i know jackshit about because academic discourse in not accessible for me (as in, i don’t speak academic and i not really interested to anyway).

    I think young folks are starting to use the term as an identifier, mostly to talk about gender; but only a handful of people i know even talk about queer politics and it’s usually in a “how do we translate it to our reality in a way that’s not colonizing?”.

    So i’m like, queer on the internet, asexual on the streets.

  11. Blue Ice-Tea says:

    For a long time, I would have said, “Not at all.” I’ve traditionally thought of asexuality as a third identity category, separate from either “straight” or “queer”. A lot of that is because of the queer community’s traditional emphasis on sex. While queer discourses challenged heteronormativity, they maintained the erotonormativity that aces find alienating. So I saw heteronormativity and queerness as two opposing teams, and asexuality as the people sitting on the sidelines and not even playing!

    Now I’m a bit more open to identifying with queerness, partly because I think the understanding of “queerness” has broadened. There’s a major school of thought that asexuality falls under the “queer” umbrella. If that’s true, then I must be queer by virtue of being ace-spectrum. On the other hand, there’s a more conservative, traditional understanding of “queerness” that requires some form of non-straight sexual desire or behaviour. By that definition, I’m not queer. I’m reluctant to offer an opinion one way or the other, partly because I don’t care that much (my loyalty is to the ace umbrella, whether or not it happens to be under a larger “queer” umbrella), and partly because, as a non-queer person, I don’t think I have the right to tell queer people what “queerness” should mean. If they want to put their umbrella over ours, that’s fine. If they don’t, that’s also fine. It’s their umbrella to do what they like with!

    (And yes, I realise I just described myself as a “non-queer person” right after saying I might or might not be queer. The problem with identifying as queer is I’m in kind of a chicken-and-egg situation: I can only argue that ace people are queer if I’m part of the queer community, and I’m only a part of the queer community if ace people are queer.)

    So I don’t go around describing myself as “queer”, because that feels like trying to push myself into a club where I may not be entirely welcome. But I’m not averse to being thought of as “queer”, either. I’ve never been sexually or romantically attracted to a member of the same sex, while I have been sexually attracted to members of the opposite sex. If your personal understanding of “queer” is broad enough to encompass me, then I’m queer! If it’s not, then I’m not!

    In the end, it’s just a label. It doesn’t change who I am.

  12. I like the associate vs identify distinction. I do associate with queerness in that I believe asexuality falls under the queer/LGBT+ umbrella, but at the same time I personally feel too straight to actually identify as queer, especially now that I’m in a “straight” relationship.

    At some level I guess it would still be nice to have a vague/broad label like that though, because I’m done with doing so much introspection and trying to name every single feeling and attraction that I have. But, like luvtheheaven, I feel like using queer would make people assume things about my attractions that aren’t necessarily true.

    In the end, the words and labels I use are just meant to communicate certain aspects of my identity, not to capture my entire identity. And for that purpose, “demisexual” without any other modifiers works a lot better than queer.

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