last nite, i had a rather intense discussion with my lover. he was trying to understand my identification with queer, why it is important to me and to others. i had been thinking about this question for quite some time and i finally had an answer for him which i will try to explain to you, the bytes and bits of the internet.
there are two types of identities that one must come to terms – those that s/he defines for hirself and those that the outside world defines for hir. some identities that you hold tight to yourself can be hidden while others cannot. for example, i cannot hide the fact that i am white or the fact that i am female. only in virtual settings is this even remotely possible. thus, when i walk down the street, i am categorized as a white female.
personally, i have the ability to hide the fact that i am not “straight” for some definition of straight. i admit that not everyone has that opportunity but i do. i prefer not to hide it but rather show tokens of my queerness, through jewelry, clothing and hairstyle.
so why do i do this? in an ideal world, sexuality would not matter and people would not be discriminated against based on this identity. but this is not an ideal world. as a result, those who cannot hide and those who choose not to are constantly subjected to prejudices. do not get me wrong, i do not desire the prejudices, but i am not willing to pass as straight in order to avoid them. if i hide my sexuality, i am telling the world that it is ok to push the minority down. i am not standing up for those who are experiencing discrimination and thus, i am just as much of the problem as those who create the system in the first place.
in order for this discrimination to stop, it is important to show strength in the cause. by clearly marking myself as queer-identified, i publicly stand as an individual who is not willing to accept the discrimination that occurs to those who are like me. by appearing at rallies, i publicly announce my support for the cause. by talking queer talk, i publicly show that i am accepting of the difference.
“pride” is essential in the states, because we are always told that we are evil and not accepted. by being proud in your self and in the cause, you make a statement to the world that this attitude is not tolerated. by being proud, you give those who are being pushed down someone to identify with and come to when they are in need. by being proud, you stand as a symbol of those killed in the past and those currently tortured.
in order to accept myself, i need to stand as a symbol against homophobia, even if that means that i myself am injured.