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i don't like being a texture without a hue

A lot of my social history has been about being on the outside of groups and wanting to fit in. This includes the most primary group of all: I'm an only child who was culturally, emotionally, and eventually physically alienated from my parents. So while I never expect to be allowed to fit in, and don't really even feel comfortable fitting in, it's something that I keep searching for.

Lately I've been searching for that via gender/orientation/presentation labels. If only I had a label or two for myself, the thinking goes, then I'd have a community, and an established sub-niche within queerness, and through that, a valid claim on belonging to queer culture in the first place.

The difficulty is that I'm not an outlier from straightness in any one dimension. The sum total of all my small variances away from the presumed norm (male, masculine, hetero, vanilla, sexual, monogamous) compound to completely alienate me from straightness, but in each of those categories I'm way closer to the normative role than the queer one.

It's exasperating, because as soon as I start looking for the locus of my queerness, I end up de-queering myself. The real axis where I'm queer is a dimension that doesn't get talked about much, and one that doesn't have a well-known label: I'm weakly gendered. In practical terms it means that I while my thoughts and behaviors can often fit within normativity, it's really not that important to me to maintain that normativity, and I therefore bleed outside the lines of it. I'm straight, but I don't need to be straight, and I get little or no value from being straight.

This makes me look like a queer wannabe. For a while I avoided this be saying I'm a straight person who likes the company of queer folks. Here are the reasons why that doesn't work:
(1) Straight normativity completely rejects me
(2) I despise straight normativity, even if I happen to resemble straightness much of the time
(3) I experience emotional, verbal & psychological alienation and violence for not conforming to normativity, from parents, work environments, and random people on the street.

Those reasons are clear-cut. The fourth is more complex:
(4) The queer culture that I participate in, which is the politically radical, female/trans-centric kind, is the most welcoming social space I've known. I want to belong to it as more than just a straight, cis, male ally. "want to belong" as in "wannabe".

I've been sufficiently kicked in the ass by heteronormative masculinity that it's easier for me to throw on a dress in the summer, look absurd, and endure the heckling and verbal violence of strangers, than it is for me to conform to masculinity. I'm a displaced-person, a refugee into femininity. I'd gladly go live in the land of my straight male bretheren if only they'd allow me my feminity.

As a refugee to queerness, I don't have a flag of my own. While I delight in how pretty the rainbow is, I'm not myself red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, or violet. I'm a hueless texture, a ghost, a foriegner, a hetero cis-man in a land of non cis-men.

I really like it here for the most part. I'm starting to find connections into radical queer-male spaces, and I might go visit them (maybe someday even settle down), so long as they don't expect me to be overly masculine or too rigidly masculine-loving. I left straightlandia because there they wanted me to divorce myself from femminity entirely, and I'm not doing that ever again.

Strong words, with loud echoes of my upbringing in them. My emotionally flat father divorced and emotionally bullied my mother, and I lost my relationship with her because of it. So yeah, I'm a man, but I'm forever seeking to run from pure masculinity and to find balance with femininity. That's not really a queer thing, it's an upringing thing, but it makes heteromasculinity (and sometimes homomasculinity) intolerable to me.

Maybe I have a hue after all, it's just not one from the highly saturated rainbow flag. I'm a slate-blue man in a sheer pink dress.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jun. 30th, 2010 03:56 pm (UTC)
Loved this entry! Thanks for sharing.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )