The Crucible

Come On IN!: Radical Queerness

By Ryanaustin Dennis

The proverbial “closet” is a creation of the heterosexist society, not a psychic closet that the queer person fights and grapples with in their daily lives. The process known as “coming out” is a pointless performative gesture that only perpetuates heteronormativity. I think we need a “coming in” at this university, in which the “heterosexual” (whatever that means!) comes to know their queerness and comes into the so called non-normative sexual world. The phrase “coming out” connotes a dark to light sequence; dark being the freakish, strange, and threatening world of queerness and light being the normative heterosexist world. In fact, it should be the opposite. The “coming out” sacrament is rooted in white middle class luxury afforded to them for being of the privileged caste. The only reason struggling and marginalized queers would even try the “coming out” ritual would be only to mimic the racial and class privileges above them. This makes “coming out” a brand to wear so you can let others know how brave and courageous you are. Why must the queer fret over such tokenism? People who “come out” do so because they are secure in their identity, but know they have to let the “normal” world know their gayness. I say it is childish that individuals with humanity must parade their queerness around like a banner to be noticed. It is not queers the need to “come out” but the heterosexist that must “come in” and embrace the difference.

We must make identity flexible, this includes sexual identity. The binary of pure gay and pure straight is a myth, the fields of anthropology, biology, psychology, and sociology can attest to that. We must produce a world of continuous sexuality. A place where the erotic is at the center not the margins; what is queer must be questioned just as much as “straight”, I despise a dogmatic gay person more than homophobic because a gay individual should know better than to try and establish essential quality of “gayness”. The supposed norm of the heterosexist is based upon the denial of queerness. What they miss is that their sexual system is deeply entwined with queerness. The categories of gay, lesbian, transgendered, bisexual, intersexual and questioning are divisive and only perpetuate the heterosexist system. They are useful for the practical purpose if by chance one runs into an idiot. But other than that, what use are these categories? I am not arguing for a denial of your sexual identity, but as a broader philosophical perspective. I believe the word “Queer” encompasses all of the beautifully complex and subtle identities. We must destroy the hetero/homo binary construct. Historically it has never been useful in controlling queer relations.

Coming out is performance, something to entertain the status quo so that they feel accepting without changing the sexual system that causes the queer individual to “come out” in the first place. Queers I ask you “Who are you coming out to?” A society that hates, discriminates, and ignores you. And you perform? You become a minstrel show for heterosexists who will stigmatize and label you and make false assumptions about your lives. Why do you do this!? Because you want to be accepted into a system that denies your rights. It’s nonsense, I say let them hang in the dark and have them question their own sexuality instead of the one you have created and refined. Let them figure out your “orientation”. As queers you are the most sophisticated sexual beings. You can navigate the masculine/feminine divide with style and ease, playing on the inherent absurdity of that divide. Queers must look at themselves as the new radical human beings who collapse the distinction of masculine/feminine and male/female. The possibilities are endless: intersexuals, drags queens, butches, feminine men all of which have their own creative sexualities. Why bother having boring hetero sex, full of patriarchy and puritanical prudishness. That’s so primitive and backwards. Let us embrace our bodies and create new forms of sexual exploration without categorizing ourselves as gay or straight. Maybe then this university can stop being so homophobic.

This entry was published on March 10, 2011 at 9:24 pm. It’s filed under Features and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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