… not conservative. It is my strong hope and desire that queer is not heterosexist, homosexist, sexist, racist, or holds any other prejudice but experience within the ‘queer community’ has sadly proved me wrong.
Queer would usually be used to describe gays, lesbians, bisexuals and people affected by transgender issues. However, as a bisexual woman, I happen to have a heterosexual male partner. I used to jokingly call him my little heterosexual, but recently he has begun to take offence at this. He doesn’t deny he is only attracted to women, but he doesn’t enjoy ‘straight’ company. he is not sexist or racist or homophobic. He is a bit of a greenie. He does have heterosexual friends who are similarly non-prejudiced, but all of them hate the beer-swilling, sexist atmosphere of the all-heterosexual male group. Our friends are bi, gay, lesbian and straight. ‘My little heterosexual’ feels that, as the partner of a bisexual woman, he is a member of the queer community. He acknowledges that he is right on the fringes of it, and what’s more, agrees that that is his place. Before anyone gets up in arms, he does not think he has a right to tell queers what to do. He feels his responsibility is merely to lend support to queer causes.
If he can feel this way, then I sometimes feel that I am ‘obviously’ part of the queer community. However, prejudiced gays and lesbians keep telling me I am not. Why? I have many of the same experiences as them: I remember telling my mum about my first girlfriend, wanting to kiss her in public, and feeling I couldn’t (I’ve gotten over that now and kiss her anyway), coming out to my father as bi, dancing at the Exchange (remember the mass gropes in the old women’s loos? Mostly men touching men, and women touching women but all in there together…), Patchs, the Taxi club, going to RAT parties way back in the days at Paddington Town Hall (when I was 13, or something). I remember all the Mardi Gras marches and parties, remember the year I first decided “Hell, I belong here too, I’m marching, not watching” (1989). I remember the anti-Fred Nile vigils, the anti-discrimination march. I’ve been called leso, dyke, whistled at for kissing my girlfriend, threatened. I go to all-women dances. I am a supporter of women’s liberation – that doesn’t stop because I sleep with men. I do support ‘women only’ spaces. I buy the records, the red ribbons, take part in the culture. I get furious when I read about homophobic legislation, bashings, deaths due to medical sluggishness or capitalistic withholding of drugs because it affects me and my friends too.
So, apart from the fact that I sleep with members of the opposite sex, what is it that separates me from my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters? We both experience oppression from the straight world. The difference is that I experience oppression from the gay and lesbian world too…