Lately, in a few difference conversations, it's come up that despite having both male and female partners, I identify as straight. Why is that? It can't be denial, since I'm not exactly shy about it...
Well, I have some reasons for that. I'll start with the most frivolous reason (which I'm hiding behind a cut), and I'll progress to the serious ones from there. Keep in mind that I'm a straight white dude talking about privilege, so I may get things wrong. Feel free to say so. Keep it within reason, though: winterfoxes¹ risk being laughed at, flamed, and/or banned, at my discretion.( Firstly, it's a practical and personal thing. )
Secondly, most people have the occasional impulse, even if they never act on it. If you're a straight man who looks at someone like, say, Brad Pitt and gets tingly, that doesn't make you any less straight -- it just means that he's Brad bloody Pitt, and you're not blind. Likewise if you're a straight woman who gets tingly at the sight of Christina Hendricks. And what if you end up meeting your particular Brad Pitt or Christina Hendricks and stuff actually happens? According to the excellent book The Guide to Getting it On,
you've got plenty of company: 20%, in fact. (That oft-quoted 10% figure is a bit of an overgeneralization -- the actual figure ranges between 4% and 20%, depending on just what you're talking about.)
And finally, here's my most serious point. Let's pretend, for a moment, that I'm a white dude going on a trip to China. (I know this sounds like a complete digression, but I'm going somewhere with this, so bear with me.) I learn the language -- no mean feat, since the word "ma" can mean mother, hemp, scold, horse, or a question marker, depending on inflection. I develop an appreciation for the food. I learn the history. I make friends I'll keep for the rest of my life, and even have lovers. The fact remains that I am not Chinese, and that as much as I will forever treasure my experiences in China, I can still go back home afterward.
Things like Tiananmen Square, Foxconn scandals, and Google blockages are not
part of my history. I have strong feelings on these because I am a decent human being, but they do not affect me personally. And for me to claim that these things do
affect me personally is a bit insulting to actual Chinese people. I am still, let's be honest, a tourist. And as much as I love China and its culture and its people, all I can ever
really be is a tourist.
(In a past post (here
on LJ, here
on DW), I have spoken harshly about certain kinds of tourists. The difference is that I am a respectful
By the same token, Stonewall, Ryan Shepherd, Proposition 8, and the WBC are not part of my history. Again, I have strong feelings on these because I'm a decent human being, but I have no claim on them, and they do not affect me directly. The fact that I occasionally visit Biville doesn't make me bi -- once my visit there is concluded, my real home is in Heterotopolis, which is much safer. And since I am privileged to live in nice safe Heterotopolis, one of my obligations is to realize how much less safe it is to actually live in Biville, Gayville, or a Trans station, or some other lesser-known 'burb. I shouldn't be pretending I live in Biville; I should be working in Heterotopolis, and talking to other heteros about how unjust it is that these other places are less safe than where we live, and shouldn't we try to make those places safer even if we don't live there ourselves?
This is why I won't wear the queer label. And by the same token, this is why I snort derisively when I see unmarginalized people try to stretch the queer label completely out of shape so that they can wear it, or invent new labels that they try to put on the same level as the queer label. "Demisexual?" Really?
- 1. Winterfox, v, to use the umbrella of social justice as license to be a fuming asshole, frequently using the whole premise of "tone argument" to justify no end of abusive behavior. 2. Winterfox, n, a person who frequently engages in Winterfoxing. While some Winterfoxes are solitary predators, many Winterfoxes are pack animals.