Don’t call me queer

slimming-world-q.jpg

Perhaps, it’s because of my age and that I grew up in a time when the word was used to make fun of and smear the name of others.

Perhaps, it’s because I am a Christian and correctly reckoning my identity is of prime importance to me.

Perhaps, it’s because its use by the LGBT community feels like an in-your-face move against traditional Christians (which is how I will define the Christians who are stubbornly hateful), and I despise anything, by any person, which will only deepen an already canyon-sized divide.

Perhaps, it is for all three of these reasons that I am not happy that “Q” has now been firmly attached to “LGBT,” and that I am reading and hearing “queer” being used by many in the media as a catch-all for all trans folks, as on HuffPost where transgender news is found under Queer Voices.

The thing that I loathe the most in the extreme taking of sides—in this case, LGBT pride versus Christian traditionalists—the digging in of their heels. It is in the digging in of one’s heels where biases abound, stereotypes spread, and hatred holds court.

This goes for both sides. LGBT folks are guilty. Christian traditionalists are guilty. Both sides are equally guilty of doing to the other what they despise the other doing to them.

Because they want to beat the other.

To beat them down.

To wipe them out.

Shame on both sides.

And I live on both sides.

As a transwoman, I support the civil rights concerns of the LGBT community. Fully. As I have written plenty, all Americans who live lawfully shall have their rights fully protected. As there are no exceptions for one’s religion, or color, or social status, there shall be no exceptions for one’s sexuality or gender identity, because there are no laws against one’s being a L, or a G, or a B, or a T. Or a Q. Period.

As a Christian, I support each Christian’s and each Christian denomination’s rights to practice its faith. Fully. As each group understands God’s Word, and how it has created the way it practices its faith and governs its church body is each one’s business. Period.

It is hard enough to hold these religious and secular views without there being new things to make it harder. That’s what the Q does for me.

Now, here is a vital aspect of this. Each person determines his identity. As, let’s say, a politically conservative, traditionally Christian, NRA-belonging, heterosexual, Chicago Cubs-loving man will not let anyone mess with his personal identity—and he is correct in his strong feelings about this—so do LGBT folks, including Qs, get to identify themselves—and they are correct in their strong feelings about this.

And because there are folks who do not find any existing label to fit them, they have landed on queer (which has been around for decades, but has taken time to spread widely).

In a positive-sounding light, queer’s definition is “unusually different.” Because some folks don’t find themselves fitting into the traditional labels, “unusually different” certainly works.

In a negatively-toned light, queer’s definition is “strange, odd, or of questionable nature or character.” That is the familiar definition from my youth, and one which I am confident traditional Christians still hold.

“Gina, you’re stuck in the middle. Get used to it.”

No, I’m not stuck in the middle. With Christians, I am firmly planted in the Christian faith. With LGBT, I am firmly planted in secular civil rights and full protection under the laws of the USA.

That’s why the slaps from either side sting my face so fiercely. The pronouncements of hatred, one side just as strong as the other, hurt me deeply, bother me profoundly, and cause me to long to work hard for a change of hearts.

To my Christian family, I beg, “You’re not helping. You’re only hurting.”

To my LGBT family, I beg, “You’re not helping. You’re only hurting.”

When I was a pastor, I read a very helpful book on divorce. The best thing I took from it, and I used with many couples and individuals while also adopting it for myself, was the idea that people continue to do things that don’t work. For example, a disagreement erupts into hollering, hollering into name-calling, and name-calling into a total breakdown in communication.

Couples who do this should know that as soon as they begin hollering, they have just lost. If change is to occur, then, um, change must occur. Indeed, as I find screaming at each other to be very common, I would counsel folks, “Never, ever, ever raise your voice to the other. And when you hear yourself beginning to go there, stop talking. Take a breath. Only continue when you can do so calmly.”

I would continue, “Do you like being yelled at? Of course, you don’t. No one does. Then don’t yell at anyone else. Never. Ever. Resolve today that you will never yell at your spouse, or at anyone, unless you are getting their attention to keep them from getting hit by a car.”

When new things become the regular way of doing things, as queer now is, it only makes the sides dig in more. I see it as the book on divorce exhorted: Stop doing things that don’t work. The LGBT folks shove their queerness into the faces of the Christians they hate, and the Christians use this queerness to shove their hate right back at them, and both sides are more polarized than ever.

Each side raises its voice more, as if it can out-scream the other. History tells us it doesn’t work.

It is time to stop screaming.

Back to my wishing the Q had not become a permanent addition to LGBT, how did I choose the side of not liking Q being added to LGBT? For me, my Christianity always wins the day when I am facing opposing things. I cannot go against my conscience. I strive to be a person of integrity. If I were to waver on even one point of what I truly believe to be a correct understanding of God’s Word, I might as well close up shop in trying to rightly inform my Christian family regarding gender dysphoria and transitioning.

What shall I do? I will continue to stand with both feet firmly planted in both communities, fighting for the appropriate rights for both. I will continue to be frustrated as I try to talk sense with this group or that. I have to speak up for what I believe.

I am a genetic male, who is heterosexual, who has an intersex disorder, which caused gender dysphoria, which led to my transitioning. I am fine with being called a transwoman.

Please, don’t call me queer. And, though I don’t care for it, for those who prefer the term, I respect their right to it.

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4 thoughts on “Don’t call me queer

  1. so many thoughts around this. i have a friend who lives in Canada. She prefers the term. I remember the first time I talked to a friend about it. It is the norm in her area, the way the term is used. The LGBT community prefers it. So often what one finds offensive or hurtful, is not seen that way at all in another space. Such is this human thing, huh. xo.

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  2. I also have friends who prefer the term. One of them uses it on me, and she knows it bothers me, yet she still does it.

    I suspect like or dislike is highly generational – I’ve heard from several in my age-group who loathe it – and also depends highly on one’s worldview. I know both of these are true for me.

    Such is a human thing, indeed. xo

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  3. It’s very interesting to hear your thoughts on the use of the word “queer”. There is definitely a generational gap, there, and I don’t often hear from people on the other side of that gap. I have definitely heard before that older people tend to have more issues with being called queer because they are more likely to have experiences with it as a slur. But it comes as a surprise to me when you say its use is a slap in the face of traditional Christians.

    I have my own issues with the word “queer”, but they are rather different than yours and mostly revolve around some people in the LGBT community saying that only some asexual people are allowed to call themselves queer (typically, heteroromantic asexuals are told they aren’t allowed to call themselves queer, only homoromantic or biromantic asexuals can, and the existence of aromantic asexuals is ignored or lumped in with heteroromantics for no reason at all). One thing that really frustrates me in all this is that we don’t have a good umbrella term to describe people who are not straight and/or not cis. Either we’re stuck with “queer” with all its baggage or some variety of alphabet soup (lgbtqiaa, quiltbag, etc.) that is not only incredibly unwieldy but also needs to keep accumulating more letters or else exclude or ignore people who really ought to be included in that umbrella. The best I’ve probably seen is GSM (gender and sexual minorities), but it’s not exactly widely used.

    One thing I absolutely agree with you on is that the way people identify needs to be respected. If someone identifies as queer, that should be respected. And if someone does NOT want to be called queer, that should be respected, too, especially considering the word’s history as a slur.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you for your very thoughtful comments, Alex.

    From my Facebook posting of this, I learned that the dislike of queer definitely is generational – a few from my generation echoed that – and for younger people either not so much or not at all. Even more, some of my trans peers like the term for themselves, and like it for an umbrella term. Sadly, everyone who did not agree with me took issue with me; you are the only person who was able to dissect my thoughts properly, and recognize that, ultimately, I acknowledge the right of all people to identify themselves.

    Peace,
    Gina

    Liked by 1 person

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