Blake Kanewischer

May 1997

Queer Identity

I had an interesting talk with my boyfriend just last night that set me to thinking. What is "queer"? Queer is such a broad word that encompasses our bisexual and gay brothers and lesbian and bisexual sisters, and to many, it includes transgendered persons. We started out by trying to figure out why I had been so bitchy, grouchy, grumpy, and generally, a real asshole in the last two weeks.

We tossed out several reasons, ranging from the fact that we hadn't seen each other in five days, my current lack of money, our final exam stress, the fact that I'm moving home by the time you read this, but these weren't quite right. Finally, he said something which I pooh-poohed at the time, but looking back (less than 24 hours later), I have to admit he's probably right.

He noted that we're never bitchy when we're together in private, which is unusual for me -- I'm a very bitchy, grouchy, demanding person with the people that are closest to me. We're only bitchy (and only in the last two weeks) with each other when we're out in public together.

A little background here, perhaps: Steve and I have been dating for three months by the time you read this. Steve has been out to the world for about 1 1/2 years now, and I've been out to the world for about 4 years now. So, at any rate, Steve is well into the "faggy" side of life -- by that, I mean, he's a drag queen, he swishes, he's just a queen, period. I, on the other hand, am more of the stereotypical straight-acting fag. Don't get me wrong -- I have my queeny, faggy moments. Yet, somehow, they don't show through anywhere near as often as my sports-loving, "straight" boy side.

So, to get to the point, Steve openly questioned whether or not I was comfortable with his level of fagginess in public. In fact, the way he put it was something on the lines of "When I'm out in public, I do everything but scream 'Look at the fag boy over there!', and I don't think you're comfortable with that -- I really don't."

I was taken aback by these remarks. I mean, I've been out to various people for over eight years now, and I've always considered myself very open-minded, liberal, and accepting of people in general, especially gay ones. Steve and I are so out that we'll go downtown holding hands in public (for those who don't know Calgary, it's about as redneck as most of Montana). I really didn't know what to think.

So, I sat down and thought about it just recently, and I came to the conclusion that yes, I am uncomfortable with faggier people than myself. They're just more fabulous and more faggy and just plain better than I. I can't deal with it.

Okay, I started out with this nice broad column and it's degenerated into a personal story. Now, I'll bring it all back together for you readers out there.

What (I think) I'm trying to say is that there are many varieties and flavors of homosexuality and bisexuality out there. (Okay, so that was a bad pun) By accepting all of these Baskin-Robbins-ish flavors for their own uniqueness, we'll take steps towards accepting ourselves.

I've got to learn that there are straight-acting fags out there who don't like sports, or that there are femme dykes, or that I'm dating a drag queen. It's going to be weird dealing with this new part of my life. I've got to basically re-accept being gay.

Hopefully, you people "out there" won't have to realize the way I did that I am still suffering from internalized homophobia--after eight years of being out. It's not a pleasant thing to discover.

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