I suppose one of the best things about having friends of all ages is that when a subject comes up, I can get varying opinions on the topic. Sir and I were at a party the other night and the subject of being “queer” came up. Since we were the oldest people at the party, I listened with some interest in the good-natured discussion that followed.
Ask a 50-something what they consider “queer” and I’m guessing that for the most part, it’s far different than what a 20-something considers it to be. Hell, ask any five people in a room and you’ll get very different definitions, age notwithstanding. But recently, I’ve watched my younger friends debate the meaning of this word. They've also begun to exclude people from considering themselves queer based on their own perception of what is “queer enough”. And I find that sort of thing generally making a mountain out of a rather idiotic mole-hill.
Words mean only what each of has as a reference point in his/her own life. I can say “table” and the picture in my own mind will likely be vastly different from the one that pops into your head. Is one table better than the other? Or are they just different in our own minds? We can accept that your table and my table are both tables, without having to expound on the differences. Not having a particular quality in common doesn’t make my table any less of one either. We would do far better to remember that a table is still a table no matter what it “looks” like. The problems begin when you insist that my table is only a footstool. And being a footstool, hardly deserving of the title "table" at all.
Words like love certainly mean different things to different people. And even those who use the word “love” mean it differently for each person in their lives. My love for my grandmother is far different from that I feel for my granddaughter or even my Sir. What I consider the qualities that I need in order to experience the feeling of love are probably not the same as any other person's.
And then there’s words like pansexual, heteroflexible, heteronormative, queer, bi, poly, mono, genderfluid, top, bottom and probably hundreds more that I don’t have the time or inclination to research or try to figure out the shades of differences. Because to me, it really doesn’t matter if anyone I know is any of those things. I don’t consider a friend’s value in my life based on whatever label they decide upon. And I certainly don’t get to decide for them. My friends could tell me that they consider themselves to be an alien from planet X who only eats leaf shoots and mates with imaginary gnomes and all I’d probably ask is “what kind of leaves would you like for dinner tonight” and "how tall is your date?
Have I ever been attracted to a woman? Well, this is one time that I’ll invoke the Bill Clinton school of semantics. Define attraction. And then define woman. My idea of a woman might not be the same as yours, and certainly my idea of attraction to, or having a relationship with anyone, is unlikely to match what you’d consider as a relationship. So, do I ask you to define both terms before I can answer you? Or do I answer based upon my definition? And should you find out that my ideas weren't the same as yours, does that mean I've deceived you?
And now, because my relationship with Sir is a monogamous heterosexual one does that preclude me from also being “queer” if I consider myself to be?
And that is the problem with trying to define each other. Or by assigning words to a particular outlook. I use my own measure to describe myself. I take exception to those that try to define me based upon their own meanings attached to particular words. And that I think, is how it should be.
I’ll leave this rest of this debate to others though. I'm certainly not qualified to get into a pissing contest about gender/orientation/definition or....pigeonholing and intolerance.
As has been made patently clear to me, I’m not queer ‘enough” to have an opinion.