More from the FAQ
Why would you want to be queer in such a homophobic world?
You know, there's more to queerness than being discriminated against. Ask your queer friends if they want to turn hetero — the odds are that most of them don't. Whatever their reasons for wanting to remain queer, those reasons are probably also good reasons for people to choose to become queer. Some possible reasons for choosing to be queer include the following:
It may be easier to relate to members of our own gender on an understanding, nonexploitative level.
It may seem silly to reject perfectly good people just because of the shape of their sex organs.
If we don't believe queerness is genetic and we also don't see anything immoral about choosing it, then limiting ourselves to loving only members of the opposite gender just from pure fear of social condemnation might make us feel like cowards.
We may be looking for a sense of purpose in life, and reclaiming the right of all people to love and make love to members of our own gender may provide us with a sense of purpose.
We may admire the queer community and want to be a part of it.
We may be rebelling against the sexually repressive culture.
If like most non-queers we find that the idea of being called queer scares us, we may recognize that the only way to overcome any fear is to face it and do what scares us most—to become queer.
One final note: People who choose to be queer do not generally do so with the idea that being queer will be some kind of nonstop party. But as Frank Aqueno says on his Queer by Choice website, people often choose for good and rational reasons to do painful things. Some people volunteer to fight in wars and die for their country. Other people choose to practice civil disobedience and be arrested and/or beaten up for the sake of their cause. For many of us, choosing to become queer may feel something like that. Also, most of us who made a fully conscious and direct choice to become queer also tend never to have believed the hype about queerness being in any way immoral.
ven though I was normally homophobic prior to this choice, I didn't really understand the ramifications of being queer til my mother actually thought I was.. soo.. that's how someone can choose the horrible, horrible life of being queer. And, besides, I'd already become a feminist a year or so prior to my choice & decided I never wanted to marry a man. I figured I would just live a sad and lonely life. It was a godsend for me to find out that being lesbian was actually an option. Oh, and for the record, no, when I chose to be queer I did not do so due to any book or anything. I did so because I wanted to do so. I had no idea it was a "political statement" or anything else. I was a feminist, and I saw it pretty obvious that being lesbian was the only way I could live freely in my personal life.
—Eve Shalom, "Common Sense (or Lack Thereof)," diary entry on glass.poetess.org, May 31, 2000
I have friends who are straight, you know. I realize it's problematical for them because they have not been able to get out of where I was at, at that particular trap. I think of heterosexuality as a kind of trap. And they can't get out of that trap. I've been known to say, "I think you would be better off without men." And some women say to me, "I just can't bring myself to do that." And I tell them all, "I don't expect you to make any compromises on my account. It's your life." But culture and society says you sleep with men if you're a woman.
—a queer woman, quoted in Vera Whisman's Queer by Choice: Lesbians, Gay Men, and the Politics of Identity, 1996
I'm a radical feminist, not the fun kind. -- Andrea Dworkin