Emotional About Queer Issues

Posted: July 20, 2014 in About Me, Sexuality
Tags: , ,

Spilt Milk has an amazing blog post on queer mothering in a straight world, very worth a read. As I was reading through the blog post I found myself crying. And I wasn’t really sure why; this shouldn’t, to me, evoke such a strong emotional response.

But when I think about it, it should be totally reasonable for this to be an emotional topic for me. Reading that post I started crying thinking about what my future children might experience. Ideally my future involves meeting a woman who I will fall in love with and want to start a family with, and if that happens then my future children will have two mommies. Reading that also made me wonder and worry if my future kids in this scenario will be taught that that they have only one real mother, and what if I’m relegated to the role of unreal?

I notice this as a theme with queer issues and myself. I often find myself surprised by how emotional I feel about them, but more than the surprise at it I find that I often feel like I’m not “allowed” to have these feelings.

Coming out was one example. I was afraid of coming out- every time I have. Because I’ve never been 100% sure how people would react, if people would see me differently. And yet, I felt I wasn’t really allowed to be afraid of it. I’m very lucky to have friends and family who are supportive, and I knew they were ok with lgbtq people before coming out. The first people I came out to were close friends. And while I knew those friends had other friends who were queer and were allies, I couldn’t help but wonder if me being queer would change things between us. Would they feel differently about common friendly touches, or expressions now? If I tell a girl friend that I love her, as I’ve done many times, will she start to think I mean something other than friendship with that?

I had similar fears coming out to family. Yes, they’ve always been supportive of queer friends and family. But I also know that how we feel about things can be different in theory, or when it’s distanced from us, than how we feel when we are forced to confront it up close and personal. And sometimes we do not react according to our ideals when things hit close to home. I also know that things can look different when you are on the outside rather than inside- the degree of acceptance can seem different from an outsider perspective than an inside one. Actually the above blog post has an example of this- from the outside, to a straight parent the school may seem very accepting of queer parents and different families by including Tango Makes Three, whereas from the perspective of the author as a queer parent who met with the school and saw them reject 3 other books that represent queer parents the level of acceptance would seem a bit lower. There are a lot of aspects of prejudice and discrimination that we don’t see unless we are on the receiving end.

Even though queer issues are deeply personal ones to me, and ones that it’s reasonable for people to feel emotional about, I still often feel that I personally am not entitled to feel that way. That I am appropriating these feelings. That because I have been lucky to have people in my life who are supportive and because I have certain levels of passing privilege I’m appropriating these feelings that belong to people who really have to struggle with these things- people who have to face friends and family who are homophobic, people who are currently in same-sex relationships (compared to me being single and able to pass with no relationship that would out me), and queer parents who actually have to deal with those struggles (compared to me whose relationship to queer parenting is all based on a hypothetical future right now).

And the rational part of me knows this makes no sense, that as a queer person being emotional about queer issues is not appropriating anything. And yet I still found myself surprised when these issues have such an emotional impact one me.

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