Part of a Nervous Condition

Shout out to Sycorax for hipping me to the site “Queer By Choice”. I think I have found a new way to spend hours glued to this screen. I began wandering around this site, in the quotes section and I want to share a few quotes I particularly liked.

I remember growing up in DC and watching the huge “Ex-Gay” demonstrations that used to go on there. The “Ex-Gays” were heavily religious and believed that their mission in life was to de-gay the rest of the their fallen brothers and sisters, to show that there was still I light to move towards. My natural defense to this was to reply that I was born queer, that some gene made me this way. That’s a common defense and a valid one, however it is not without problems.

As I have developed, I have found less appreciation for the “gay gene” theory for various reasons.

1. By claiming that we are born queer, we are in a way telling “straight” society to pity us. To allow us to sit at the table because our disease isn’t of our own doing.

2. It does nothing to challenge the society that would rather see us filling ditches. In fact, it affirms the murderous society, because it is “othering” queers (framing them as some side-show-esque group to be cared for by their masters) and normalizing “straight”

3.  etc. . . etc. . . etc. . . I could go on and on, but I won’t. Here are the lovely quotes:

And the gay rights movement has . . . adopted largely an identity politics; we were born this way, we can’t help it, and we should have civil rights just like anyone else. But the born-lesbian/lesbian-as-identity politics of the gay movements erases precisely what is most radically political about being a lesbian: that we are women resisting heterosexist patriarchy and valuing women as human beings—and that other women can choose to do this too.

—Jennie Ruby, “Is the Lesbian Future Feminist?” off our backs: a women’s news journal, Vol. 26, October 1, 1996

I am told that in order for me to fight for queer rights that I should tell people that my sexuality is biologically determined, that I was “born this way.” I can’t. That is like saying that I was born with an unwanted affliction and assumes that it is necessary and even desirable to become heterosexual. Sexuality is not an innate orientation as most would believe, but rather a preference that in some way biology may play a role in defining.

—Daryl Vocat, 2000

Homosexuality was invented by a straight world dealing with its own bisexuality. But finding this difficult, and preferring not to admit it, it invented a pariah state, a leper colony for the incorrigible whose very existence, when tolerated openly, was admonition to all. We queers keep everyone straight as whores keep matrons virtuous.

—Kate Millett, Flying, part 1, 1974

I was straight until 21 yrs old.

—Anonymous Deaf Woman, “Heartbroken from a Straight Woman (Deaf)” coming-out story published on deafqueer.org, September 3, 1996

For the lesbian of color, the ultimate rebellion she can make against her native culture is through her sexual behavior. She goes against two moral prohibitions: sexuality and homosexuality. Being lesbian and raised Catholic, indoctrinated as straight, I made the choice to be queer (for some it is genetically inherent). It’s an interesting path, one that continually slips in and out of the white, the Catholic, the Mexican, the indigenous, the instincts. In and out of my head. It makes for loquería, the crazies. It is a path of knowledge—one of knowing (and learning) the history of oppression of our raza. It is a way of balancing, of mitigating duality.

—Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, 1987

3 thoughts on “Part of a Nervous Condition

  1. Hello my friend! I wish to say that this post is awesome, nice written and include approximately all significant infos. I’d like to see more posts like this .

  2. This is a great post. I agree, the whole “Born This Way” movement is a bit of a cop-out. By putting it on genes/environmental factors, we basically say that it’s not our fault and thus we should be accepted. This line of thinking is very popular among straight “allies”, too – even the President of the US said that it shaped his thinking about gay issues. But this way, we make ourselves vulnerable to the attempts of “curing”, as it already happened with the fetuses with congenital adrenal hyperplasia, one “condition” that is known to affect sexual preferences of women.

    This isn’t to say that there’s no biological component to sexuality: I think a lot of activists reject that idea because of the reasons you mentioned (1,2) but the denial doesn’t make it go away. It’s just a complex picture, and people experience their sexuality and preferences differently. But that shouldn’t matter for how society treats queer people. After all there’s deep respect for another personal choice, which is protected, regardless of its biological origins: that of religion.

  3. A wonderful post, a blog with deep thoughts.
    I’ve posted the Kate Millett quotation on my just-began blog along with the reference to your blog. Thanks for making my acquantaince to this author. People are liking and reposting the quotation, and I hope they’ll end up here.
    Thanks. I hope I’ve done things right!

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