Saturday, January 17, 2009

Spoken Word Saturdays: Staceyann Chin

I've been resisting the urge to post this poem every week because I don't want to make Spoken Word Saturdays just a constant stream of Staceyann Chin. But I couldn't resist anymore. Plus I've been reading the Essential Dykes to Watch Out for and I was struck, throughout the entire 20 years of the strip, by the social commentary and the searing indictment of an increasingly corporate and conservative LGBTQ movement. I ranted about this to a reporter at Pride last summer but of course none of it was published.

So in honor of the nauseating slogans we have seen coming out of the mainstream LGBT movement, in honor of "Gay is the New Black," in honor of everyone pushing for marriage before basic human dignity, in honor of blaming people-of-color for Prop 8, in honor of McDonalds being present at Pride, in honor of LOGO and the L Word, in honor of the HRC and The Advocate, Staceyann Chin reads "Poem for the Gay Games."

However, I do have to say that I don't agree with everything she says. This poem constantly challenges me to think more deeply about where I stand politically in the Queer community. Because I think it's okay to say "I just date people." I don't buy into the idea that this constitutes "neoconservatism breeding among us." I think there definitely IS neoconservatism in the Queer community. I just don't think that saying you date people is an example of such. I think sexuality is much more complicated than identifying either as gay/lesbian or straight (or even bisexual). Because it all gets mixed up with how you identify, not just who you're attracted to. I identify most strongly as Queer because it is a politicized sexuality and it's also a pretty broad, encompassing term. I don't identify as lesbian even though I don't realistically see myself dating a guy anytime in the forseeable future. I don't want to imply that that couldn't change. Sexuality is fluid and, personally, I don't see the term "lesbian" as embracing fluidity. I don't think it makes me a neoconservative for not wanting to box myself into a certain term.

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