Plots and Thoughts

Sexual Identity and Language With a Purpose

Posted in Strategy by Captain Optimistic on December 2, 2009

Bond takes note of confusion around identification with (and the use of) the word queer:

I just read a comment in which a trans guy explained that he identifies as queer, but only because he’s bi or gay, and that being transsexual in itself is not in any way queer. A bunch of other commenters piped up to agree, explaining that straight transsexuals are not queer, and even that butches are not necessarily queer (because apparently tough rural straight women can classified as butch, because they might read that way to urban eyes — a notion I’d guess would offend such women even more than it offends me). On the other hand, I’ve also heard gay, bi and straight trans people identify strongly as queer by virtue of being trans, and I’ve heard queers of all stripes make painstaking efforts to include queer-identified het transsexuals in our language.

The phrase “in our language” is especially apt.  The way we describe our sexuality encompasses everything from who we are attracted to (if at all) to how we express ourselves sexually, to what we consider acceptable conduct.  A large chunk of our social identity is represented.

Thus those interested in equal rights regardless of sexual identity and orientation might want to consider ways to expand our language to be more inclusive.  What we need is a word to describe anyone who believes that sexual identity and consensual expression never need be labeled or restricted.  True sexual liberty doesn’t need language to tie it down (unless you are into that of course).  But we could really use the power of shared identity to push the gay rights movement forward!  People fight harder and more effectively when their own rights are at stake.  From every possible strategic consideration of the rhetoric of the gay rights movement it is a clear win to find a way to be more inclusive and direct in making this about sexual liberty for all.

And we need that to counter some of the stinging defeats we’ve had (NY and ME), and continue the momentum from the equally ringing victories (WA and DC).

I think the word queer has a lot of lingual baggage, and further I don’t feel right appropriating it when there is such comfort for any group in having a word – a name – to call their own.  We need a completely new word.

Suggestions?

Here’s two off the top of my head to start us off:

The first one that came to mind was FreeSexual.  I love the ring of it!  And a quick trip to google turned up others with the same thought.

EqualSexual This one isn’t already used.  I’d define it as someone who refuses to be labeled, and supports sexual equality.

What do you think?

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One Response

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  1. geo1 said, on December 3, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    This is something I have spent a lot of time mulling over. Personally I like the idea of free sexual, but with half the equal sexual definition. I think two things are at hand here. There are people who reject the idea that our sexuality needs a label, and that all things that aren’t het need to be “othered.” However, of course, a person who openly prefers the heterosexual label, or any label for that matter, could still be for equal sexuality.

    Great post. 🙂


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