the philosophactivist

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Queer bout 'em?

I'm kind of frustrated with the lack of literature with an actual sociological or psychological analysis of romantic relationships within the "queer" or LGBTTSGNC world. It's already so hard to find good models of what a healthy queer relationship should look like while there are oodles and oodles of self-help books about straight/heterosexual relationships. I'd really love to be able to understand the dynamics that are created (romantically) between a trans person and another transperson, lesbians, gay men, and people who are same-gender loving or of any other variety besides straight/heterosexual. I keep saying that queer relationships are a lot harder because of internal and external struggles. Your job, your family, internalized homophobia and transphobia in both partners, self-loathing, being closeted, reactions from strangers, etc. This is a lot of added stress. Then add in how this world caters to straight relationships...and not having many lasting queer relationships to learn from and well, I'm sure many of us queers have felt it. And then...when our queer relationships fail, having religious folks or family members tell us it is because of our it's some karmic debt that we have to pay. Like we don't deserve happiness because of our "choice" to be queer.

So many of us are walking around like ticking time bombs because we aren't allowed or encouraged to process, acknowledge, and accept our identity. We are made to feel ugly, awkward, and sometimes, even like sinners. It takes a lot to finally get through self-loathing and to feel good about where we're at....maybe even to feel a little bit of pride and then...we meet someone maybe doesn't feel that great about themselves or has similar or worse experiences that inform how they interact with us because of their gender or sexuality.

Things would sure be a lot easier if we queers could get more free counseling and have more discussions about co-dependence, self-hatred, gender roles, this hetero and patriarchal system, internalized homophobia and transphobia,etc. Queer theory is great and all...but is it addressing all of this in a substantial way? A tangible and accessible way? Maybe if we could understand more fundamentally what we're up against and how it affects us individually and how this, in turn, informs our interactions with our partners...we could have more healthy, quality relationships (and for some...more lasting).

That is all.


  1. My inclination is that it's less that we need queer-specific relationship advice than it is that we need to have people (therapists, friends, whoever) that aren't road-blocked by queer (or kinky, or poly, or any of those other things seen as "alternative" outside queer communities). I've thought about this before and come to the conclusion that there isn't really that much queer relationship advice so much as there is queer-friendly advice. For example, Jaclyn Friedman's new book, What You Really Really Want, is basically a sexuality workbook, and it's clearly written for eeeeveryone. Just having something like that using assumption-free language can be a big deal. Things like communication, consent, working through problems work the same way for everyone, it's just a pain when you're reading to swap pronouns, etc.