What’s in a Name? The Importance of Being Queer
The Living OUT Podcast — LOP088
In the last episode, I mentioned I was considering changing the name of the Living OUT Podcast. I’m happy to say that Living OUT is the right name for my podcast.
This all has to do with my core message. I’m about challenging the status quo — both other people’s beliefs, as well as my own. I help people use their difference to make a difference. I want to help people Live Out the best of who they are, to live out their authentic self that they may only share with people they trust. Why should we hide the truth of who we are in the shadows. Live out, live proud, be who you are feely, bravely, and honestly!
The definition and etymology of the word, queer
c. 1500, “strange, peculiar, eccentric,” from Scottish, perhaps from Low German (Brunswick dialect) queer “oblique, off-center,” related to German quer “oblique, perverse, odd,” from Old High German twerh “oblique,” from PIE root terkw- “to twist.”
“to spoil, ruin,” 1812, from queer (adj.). Related: Queered; queering. Earlier it meant “to puzzle, ridicule, cheat” (1790). — source
What these etymological definitions show is that being a consciously queer person is radically different from the status quo — or who the dominant hegemonic culture and patriarchy attempts to control.
I’m a strong defender of the words gay and queer to indicate identity and acceptance, not exclusion. We can use these words to loosely incorporate variation and we can use them to sharpen our focus. What matters is allowing the individual to choose how they wish to be labelled (if at all), to understand what these words mean in the larger semantic field, and to embrace/reclaim words others have used to harm and disenfranchise us.
Are We Not Homo?
We are not a homogenous community, nor are we a single, cohesive one, quite thankfully, for that is our strength. This is why the word queer works so well, perhaps even better than LGBTQ (and similar), because there will always be someone missing from the acronym.
We give away our power if we try to fit into the expectations of the status quo. This restricts our authenticity and well-being. Stop putting emphasis on what others think of you, focus instead on living out what’s inside of you, your truth, and that is the best example of authenticity.
Ram Dass suggests in and episode of, “ Be here and now “, that,
“The minute you define yourself as something, you’re constantly manipulating the universe to reinforce the reality of that. I’m a beautiful woman. I’m an ageing man. Whatever it is.”
“Most people are carrying their history so heavily on their backs, their childhood abuse, their ethnic oppression, their something, that they can’t come up for air. They’re too busy being somebody the result of all that.”
Can we peacefully coexist without ego-definition?
Looking at the world today you might think that we have all lost our way.
”My commitment must be to truth, not consistency.” — Ghandi
By conforming, trying to fit in, posting countless selfies online in search of external approval, we are seeking validation from the status quo. But queer thinking challenges that. Thinking queerly looks at difference as uniqueness, as the quality that defines the individual. The only way we can be fully realized individuals is to know our true nature.
This is exactly what the status quo is afraid of — our true nature.
Not dissimilar to religion I posted a tweet the other day, in which I wrote:
The purpose of religion is to de-individualize, thus giving power to the patriarchy, the priest, preacher, Rabbi, or religious zealot. If you allow people to think for themselves, they will reject religion and the person with all the power.
Religion is the most dangerous form of power when associated with the patriarchy.
It seeks to control minds, to limit free thinking, and to create a heard of sheep who group-think as they are told, and demonstrate belonging by their amount of unwavering belief (faith) in an unsubstantiated, non-factual, and unprovable imaginary being. These patriarchal “gods” are nothing more than an allegory for a single man or a group of men who seek absolute power and control.
Can queer fit into the capitalist model of our world?
“Fitting in requires that he join the consumer society, and this, in turn, puts pressure on him to place income ahead of other considerations when determining career choice. This comes at a cost to individual human dignity and, in the aggregate, means that social responsibility is abdicated in favor of social conformity.” — Laurence G Boldt in The Tao of Abundance
Capitalism is yet another aspect of the status quo we have to work with or work around as it attempts to add us as another de-humanized commodity to buy and sell.
What’s most important to you as an LGBTQ person?
Who do you want to be? What is the change you want to see in the world? How can you use your difference to make a difference in our world?
Use your unique perspective, the one you learned having lived in the closet, having had to hide your true self, always on the lookout for the ever-controlling watchful eye of the limiting confines of the status quo. This is our gift, having seen the world and still seeing the world through the lens of the “other”. We see differently and we see queerly. Embrace your gifts and Live OUT the best of who you are.
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Originally published at https://darrenstehle.com on May 30, 2019.