The Battle for Fun: Queers & Straights

Maeve_Marsden_thisisozI recently posted this photo to the ‘this is oz’ website, an Australian initiative which basically involves people posting an anti-homophobia message in the form of a photo of themselves with a handwritten sign. The posts vary from playful, to political, to passionate pleas for equality, to more abstract statements.

I have received mixed responses to my “Queers have more fun…you’re just jealous”, from the positive to the confused, culminating last night in a straight woman saying something along the lines of “but I’m straight and I have fun”…or some such. Could she make a “Straights have more fun” sign, she asked.

No. No she could not.

There needs to be a class compulsory for all school students which explains privilege and power. Which explains why it is ok for a black person to say nigger, why there aren’t straight bars or a straight mardi gras (because 364 days of the year ARE straight mardi gras) and why my statement about queers having more fun is not a flippant allusion to the idea that drag queens are like totes so funny right now and like being a lez is totally awesome cos it‘s just like falling in love with your bestest friend.
I chose my “Queers have more fun…’ statement because I am sick to death of asking for acceptance, for equality, for tolerance (my MOST hated word). Because I am sick of gay rights meaning having exactly the same rights as straight people when I don’t actually like the parameters of straight society and would rather redefine relationships and families for myself.

I chose it because I am proud to live in a society where, as a queer woman, I can have any fun at all! Where I am not gaoled, forced into straight marriage, beaten, silenced or killed. Because I could be raised by two amazing women and because I can live in a community of brilliant, out contemporaries who I adore.

I chose it because, in fact, I do see my queer community as capable of providing more of the kind of fun I want to have than my straight friends’ communities do. I often wonder where I would find a community if it weren’t for my sexuality. I see a lot of heterosexual friends (note I see a difference between heterosexual and straight) rally around politics or sports, past times or areas of study. But I choose to find the fun among queer politics, sports, past times and areas of study.

Being queer has given me a sense of history and culture. In a country where a lot is tossed around about a lack of history (white history anyway) and a lack of coherent, unifying culture, I feel I am part of an international shared history and language of queer. Though my community is extremely varied I feel a sense of nationhood and ownership and safety. We have citizens to be proud of and revere; writers and artists and activists and musicians and philosophers. And for me personally, I found that history and sense of unity in the family home where my wonderful mothers gave me a sense of my personal and global history – the events leading to the possibility of my mere existence! I had an A-Grade upbringing by queers.

It’s fun to socialise and analyse with people that want to understand and better the world around them. Of course there are gays who do not strive for change and heterosexuals who work tirelessly for a better world. But when I think of my own queer community I see a higher than average willingness to support minority views and respect a marginalised group’s right to agency. The other day a friend of mine who uses a wheelchair complained of perceived discrimination in a first aid course. Our coworkers initial reaction was to defend the tutor’s intentions and try to explain his error, instead of saying to her – that’s fucked that you felt persecuted. From a privileged position, it is easy to forget that when someone feels attacked they don’t want the first response of their friends to be a justification of their attacker – they want support and then balanced analysis. I was really bothered by this interaction as I don’t like to see a friend silenced, and on a personal level it reminded me of the myriad times I’ve been told I am overreacting to homophobia or seeing sexism because I want to (that evil Feminist agenda makes me oversensitive, remember?)

From the moment of self-realisation or ‘outing’ queers are explaining and justifying their sexual practices and relationships to the world. The number of overly personal questions that get asked is amazing. The positive of this (the fun part if you will) is that my queer friends are wonderfully analytical and productively critical about their relationships. We search for new ways to love each other and fuck each other and strive to find a model that makes us happy. We don’t always get it right but I am proud and privileged to relate to people that care about how they love me and how I treat them and want to experiment with human interaction.

I’m going to say it: fucking queer women is fun. Now I can’t make comparisons as my experience with men is limited, but I just can’t imagine men being as…skilled… 🙂 Oh look, any straight friends reading this are going to have a tantrum now… One straight recently joked that lesbians shouldn’t be allowed to use strap-ons – “you’ve made your choice” she quipped. Now the delivery was hilarious, but there’s an underlying jealousy there no? Because we get to have it all… Am I due for another straight tantrum now? I don’t care! The women I have loved have been bright, engaged, caring, supportive, adventurous, willing, playful, skilled, beautiful and yes – Fun. So I couldn’t let this blog go by without acknowledgment of the joyous sex part of sexuality.

Maybe I think you’re jealous because you have to stifle any urges you have for the same sex to fit in with your societal position. Whereas I can have a sexuality that is fluid and will not suffer the wrath of my friends if I deviate from their expectations of my gender and desire. Maybe you are jealous because I have sports teams I can join just for my kind and I have parties and events designed to appeal to my sexuality and desires. Or because some of my people are so clever they developed a whole queer theory. Are you jealous because I can define the rights I am fighting for and have a framework for analysing this very confusing world? Or because there are websites devoted to people posting messages of support for ME.

If you aren’t jealous, you should be!

DISCLAIMER: I don’t think the people I have referred to here read my blog, but if you do and you find it problematic that I have used your comments in this way, please let me know. I do not wish to offend you, but I do think it’s worth me bringing up stuff I find problematic. If I am even talking to you, I obviously like you so hold you to a higher standard than the general population. And I’d be willing to chat and clarify. xxx