03 July 2012

Queer Isolationism

There was a short time when I lived a mostly queer-isolationist life. It was my freshman year of university. I came out three times in that year, all with different identities. I was exploring my sexuality and my gender for the first time. For the first time, the girls I met were potential partners. For the first time, the pronouns people used to refer to me held a lot more weight than before. And I embraced it. I surrounded myself with people who supported me and knew what I was going through. 90% of my friends were queer. Every conversation I had was queer. Every extra-curricular activity was queer. I began to act cautious around straight people. I began to actively seek out queers.

I no longer live this lifestyle, and now have several distinct and overlapping communities based on common interests beside being queer. For example, I love philosophy. I love to travel. I watch Doctor Who. I work with children. I read books. I play the violin. I hike. There is a lot more to my life then being queer.

If someone hung out only with philosophy majors, or only with other Whovians, I might laugh critically at their decision. There is a lot to be gained in life from reaching out to different communities and people. Yet, despite that, I strongly support queer isolationism, and still revert to it on occasion. Because, you see, there is something about being queer that none of those other things have.

I will never walk into a philosophy classroom, look around at my fellow philosophy students, and know that each and every one of them at some time cried because of their love for philosophy. But that does happen with queers.

I will never tell a new acquaintance that I like to travel, and watch their eyes skirt away from mine, turn to the floor, as they step back awkwardly and say "oh". But that does happen because I am queer.

I will never walk into a grocery store with a Doctor Who t-shirt, and notice people staring at it and at me. I will never sprint from the store to my car, fearing for my safety because I am a Whovian. But I have done that because I am queer.

I will never lie to my parents about going to babysit to avoid another fight. But I make these lies because I am queer.

I will never fear bringing fellow book-lovers home with me. I will never have to search for a place to live which is book-friendly. But that's happening because I am queer.

I will never hear of orchadorsks like myself being murdered, knifed, and beat. I will never see it on the news. I will never hear of friends of friends who are no longer around because they played violin too much. But that has happened to queers.

I will never be told to act differently because I am a hiker. I will never have someone tell me that hiking is ok, but only if I dress and speak like a city person. I will never be asked intrusive details about my hike, because people are curious. But thay do that because I am queer.

Being queer is more than a mutual interest. Being queer dictates every part of my life. Although I am a lot more than just queer, being queer is the integral part of my identity. In an ideal world, I wouldn't need to be a queer isolationist. I wouldn't need to occasionally surround myself with only queers to feel safe. But this world isn't ideal. It is a world that continuously mistreats me, hurts me, and beats me for being queer. To survive, sometimes I must make a world of my own. A world of queer isolation.

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