Of all the developments of the 21st century, by far the most regressive and counter-productive is the obsessive and bizarre attachment to collectivising sexuality. Notions such as ‘gay communities’, ‘gay pride’, and ‘queer identity’ that are being perpetuated mostly from within this so-called community, have ensured that all homosexuals in Australia, regardless of whether they subscribe to these ideas or not, are trapped in a self-imposed exile, isolated from the rest of society yet longing to be a part of it.
It is important, firstly, that we place the collectivisation of sexuality in context. In the post-Stonewall, AIDS-era Western hemisphere, it made a lot of sense for a marginalised group to band together and form a united front against their perceived oppressors. I think to an extent this was justified.
The problem is, a lot of people haven’t grown out of this identity and the movement has ultimately fallen prey to the major issue facing every collective throughout history: those who flounce around the loudest naturally gravitate to the top and end up speaking on behalf of everyone.
Personally, I don’t appreciate this, and cringe whenever a “representative from the gay community” expresses their admiration of the Greens (I am a Tory), their desire to amend the Marriage Act (it should not be amended, it should be abolished), or shrilly cries of “Homophobia!” every time someone dares to disagree with them (to such an extent that the word has absolutely lost all meaning). I do not know them. They don’t speak on my behalf.
On top of this, enforcing an arbitrary marker of distinction upon themselves is absolutely antithetical to everything that this group is trying to achieve. The Mardi Gras exemplifies a serious clash of conflicting narratives. On the one hand we have the ‘Bondage Appreciation’ float, followed by a procession of Thai Lady Boys and horny lifeguards. On the other we have the ‘We Demand Marriage Equality’ float. Drawing attention to why you are different and then demanding to be treated the same as everyone else is a self-evidently moronic logic-fuck. Equality or expression of differences – it’s one or the other.
Furthermore, gay ‘community’ rhetoric perpetuates the false notion that this is a unique ‘community’ which every gay person identifies with. No, this is not my identity. No, those are not my beliefs. No, I do not want to dress up in drag and sing cabaret, and I fucking hate musicals. I am no fan of Cory Bernardi but you can hardly blame him, the Australian Christian Lobby, and other groups for thinking the way they do. They aren’t watching Mardi Gras thinking about how great it is for self-expression and tolerance. They are watching Mardi Gras thinking: “What sluttery is this! And these people want to get married!?” This is where the idea of the ‘queer lifestyle’ comes from, the idea that every single member of this ‘gay community’ exists following the same behavioural rituals. This problem is entirely the making of homosexual collectives and now they, rightly, are left with the damage.
Unfortunately, though, this has other victims as well. I am gay but not in the slightest bit ‘queer identifying’ (what does this even mean?). When people talk to me, they talk to me with a set of loaded assumptions that I never asked for. I am certain that when I go out to the movies with friends, my parents think that I’ve gone to a bondage dungeon to get fisted. I did not ask to join this fictional community, want absolutely no part of it and deeply resent this identity being thrust upon me.
I seriously doubt that I am alone here and, far more seriously, I think that this has a negative effect on gay youth. Kids struggling with their sexuality, who may want nothing to do with this insidious culture perpetuated by increasingly vocal collectives are being done an immense disservice.
So let’s lose the collective identity crap. I am an individual who has been developing my own identity since well before I even contemplated being gay. My identity has nothing to do with my sexuality, which is nothing more than a fact of my existence. If you are also gay, then good for you. That does not make us friends. There is no imaginary narrative that binds us together, no shared ‘history of oppression’. I have personally never been oppressed.
I do not live a queer lifestyle and certainly am not proud of being gay (I not ashamed of it either, it’s a fact I am indifferent to and just live with). Queerspaces, Queer Honi, and the like – they all have to go. They entrench a victimhood complex which is entirely self-defeating.
As long as sexuality is being used as an arbitrary marker of distinction it is something we will all be shackled by. We cannot expect to be able to have the freedom to form our own identities and be taken seriously for the mostly decent and diverse human beings that we are as long as we are spoken on behalf of.