I’ve written many times about the rainbow alphabet with which we use to refer to the gay, lesbian, bi, trans and queer community. LGBT, GLTB, LGBTQ, or the current incarnation which seems to be LGBTQIA+. discussion of this arise often, but definitely during Pride months when we seem to be, as a community, grappling with how we can inclusively talk about ourselves. For the record, I don’t see a value at trying to come down to some single inclusive term. I see value in using a variety of ways to refer depending upon the context, and one of the ways that I resonate to is the use of the term “Queer.”

The linked article from the New York Times, a few days ago digs deeper into the word queer, and I encourage you to read it. This passage stuck out to me: (bolded emphasis is mine)

Maybe we are relying on a single word, a single idea, a single identity, to do too much. After all, “queer” never belonged to us; it was foisted upon us, and we reconfigured it to make it ours. The future will bring new possibilities and ideas — and new terms for them. Scientists are still learning about the vast and complex components that interact to create human sexuality. An article in Nature from 2015 delved into the latest research on sex and gender among mice. Sex determination is thought to happen in the womb, but studies of mice suggest that sex can fluctuate between male and female throughout life. Someday, maybe we’ll recognize that queer is actually the norm, and the notion of static sexual identities will be seen as austere and reductive.

I’m in Las Vegas for a conference and last night went to see Zumanity, the Cirque show all about sensuality melded with a circus/performance. The show was both beautiful and evocative, though pretty tame when it comes to pushing boundaries around sexuality. Heck a Kylie video displays a broader mix of sensuality than Zumanity does, but the comparison may not be fair, when you stop and consider what the Cirque audience may be like.

Sitting next to me were two younger straight couples, very attractive I might add. Towards the end of the performance, there were some of the performers making out on a sofa directly in front of us- close enough to touch. The writhed and humped and did just about everything you could do while still wearing g-strings. The guy next to me was really uncomfortable with this, and that surprised me, since the two were a male and a female. Edie, the MC, asks an older guy in the audience if he had ever thought about a three-way, and he stumbles for an answer. Earlier in the performance two male performers do this dance within a cage, and once they step outside of the cage, they kiss– the audience erupts in applause. But what if these two performers had been doing the humping in the sofa before us?

Read the NYT piece to learn more about the history of Queer as well as how some perceive the term. But I think the author failed to really answer her own question.

I’m going to keep using it as well as a variety of collections of the rainbow alphabet to talk about things and people, choosing which in that context seems the best. Here’s one last snip that stuck out to me:

The radical power of “queer” always came from its inclusivity. But that inclusivity offers a false promise of equality that does not translate to the lived reality of most queer people. Anti-trans bathroom laws and the shooting at Pulse, the gay nightclub in Orlando, are the latest reminders that equality has yet to arrive. Seen this way, such a sunny outlook can, in fact, be counterproductive. DarkMatter, a South Asian trans performance-art duo, highlights this observation — the way visibility and acceptance can actually lead to erasure — in their works. In one, called “Rainbows Are Just Refracted White Light,” they intone, “Rainbows are just a trick of light, they make us forget the storm is still happening.”



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