Monday, 26 August 2013
LGBT and what it means to me ... by Charlie
In the group we spent quite a while discussing the phrase (acronym?) LGBT - lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender. Largely we disagreed with this as a representation of the queer community. Personally I find it a bit narrow. I think it doesn’t allow for much room and seems to operate within the system of binaries many queer people fight hard to defy. I dislike the way it refuses to acknowledge the grey areas that I personally try to occupy, the same grey areas that are constantly ignored by the majority of society at the cost of the people in them. And surely exclusion is the last thing anyone in this community needs. I use the word community carefully – a few in the group disagreed with it too, saying it implied that all the gays in Brighton were in some sort of club that met on Thursday nights in the church and exchange opinions on Liza Minnelli or the L word. That’s not the community I have in mind. My idea of community is a system of people who don’t necessarily have anything in common but kind of have an overall support for each other – a sense of togetherness through difference. It doesn’t mean everyone has to be best friends, people don’t even need to like each other, but I like to think if I was getting beaten up for wearing eyeliner in some ally, I would be able to call an army of queer folks to come to my aid. I’m aware this is almost definitely naive (obviously that was an extreme example but still) the more I find out about the politics of all this stuff the more I realise how many different opinions there are on the matter, many feeling like some groups should have no need to have any responsibility to any other than themselves. I understand that, but I like my idea better. It’s like a big celebration of love but without all the pitfalls of huge celebrations of love (extremism and Jesus). But back to LGBT. It might just be because I don’t currently identify with any of those letters, but certainly feel a queerness to my personality. I was born in the fires of the queer world (resulting in me having a small legion of lesbians forming a support network stronger than steel). I also don’t feel much solidarity with the straight mainstream, obviously not all of them, but I tend to be drawn to people who are (and I say this lovingly) a bit odd. Not always in a queer way, but people who have transcended the norm a little bit. So I would hate to be excluded from what I consider ‘my people’ because im not an L, G, B or T. I don’t feel it’s as simple as four letters. If anything this group have proved that. There are people in Not Going Shopping who have nothing in common with the other people on a personal level but there is a warmness to the room as soon as you walk in. A lovely queer warmth from people of virtually every description of queer. That’s why I think queer is a better word, you don’t have to qualify, you can just meet on equal not judgemental terms. I think I think this because of political reasons but it could just be a personal fear of exclusion. Anyway, ramble over. Looking forward to the next session.