… 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…