Queer isn't Normal?

Although I sincerely enjoyed the December Profile of Courage about Justin Clouse, there were a few points that raised issues to myself. I realize that everybody has their own personal beliefs, values, and preferences in life, but one of Justin's remarks deserves, I believe, an opposite viewpoint.

I think that, at first, many youth coming out have difficulty embracing the word "queer" -- it sounds frightfully derogatory and offensive to some. Personally, I thought I'd never like the word, but I find that as I grow more and more comfortable with myself as a gay man it seems to fit better and better. But it's a personal preference, and everybody is free to choose what labels they want for themselves.

The bigger issue is the suggestion that some parts of the gay community aren't "normal." Drag queens, transgendered individuals, and flamboyant effeminate gay men certainly steal the attention at pride marches and gatherings. To youth facing the possibility of coming out, these parts of the community might be admittedly very intimidating and encourage one's closetedness. I'll confess that at one time I harbored some of these feelings, but now I realize it was my own internalized homophobia working against me.

Don't get me wrong; I'm not trying to attack or disagree with the article or Justin's point of view. And I'm sure nothing negative was intended at all. I'd simply like to point out that we all need to focus on our similarities rather than highlight the differences. We're all humans who deserve to be judged by who we are, not by how we look. We're all in this together, and we're all just as normal as anybody else.

And besides, if it weren't for the "queer" drag queens and butch lesbians of New York, Stonewall might never have happened!

Jase P Wells (jase@aimnet.com)

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