Vancouver
2 min

But are they queer?

If straight people call themselves queer, what are we?

Everyone gossips. Ask anyone in junior high or anyone who regularly attends a house of worship. Ask anyone who lives in a seniors’ centre or a co-op. Gossip is part of what we do. It’s “natural.” 
 
But that doesn’t mean it isn’t awful and destructive.
 
There’s a couple I’ve heard about for years. A man and a woman who live together in a couple-like scenario. They’ve built a home together, they go to each other’s family functions and, presumably, they have sex. So they are what they claim to be: partners.
 
But here’s the snag: They also both claim to be queer, and this is why they are so legendary that I know all about the details of their sexuality from all kinds of people even though I’ve never met them myself. 
 
Did they have their same-sex experiences before they got together? Can you call yourself queer after you’ve coupled with the opposite sex? Isn’t it bad etiquette to go to queer events with your opposite-sex partner?
 
Maybe they are impostors, eager to appropriate the cachet of queerness, trying to hang with the cool kids, talkin’ the talk but not walkin’ the walk. Yap. Yap. Yap. 
 
As usual, these questions and observations negate the bisexual experience and are offensive and nosey and ultimately really inappropriate. Love is love wherever you find it. 
 
But there’s more to it, of course. The word queer is a word of change. It is its own little mini-revolution within the larger more historical context of the sexual liberation movement.
 
The word queer engages all sexualities outside of what these two appear to be living. This is what gets everyone’s back up. I get it. The real question on everyone’s mind is “If straight people can call themselves queer, what are we?”
 
It boils down to something like this: If “those people” can say they are a part of this movement, that changes what “this movement” is. It just does. Camps are created, sides are taken, and differences are noticed.
 
Personally, I think that the beauty of the word queer is that it includes all kinds of experience, even that of the folks in the eye of the gossip storm (who hopefully have no idea that a little trail of whispers follows them everywhere they go).
 
Queerness is not an exclusive club. If people want to label themselves queer, that’s good enough for me.
 
Let the masses appropriate all they want. Let us dilute this precious pool we’re swimming in. I don’t see the harm. The problem isn’t with those who want to identify as queer. The problem is with sticking our noses where they don’t belong.