When we talk about the movement of same sex sexuality I think it is important to distinguish between what I see as two movements. To many the vocabulary may be used interchangeably but in my mind the idea of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) is monumentally different from queer.
The LGBT movement is a movement that embraces the idea of immutability; the concept that out characteristics are either genetically ingrained or environmentally ingrained from such a young age that they are unchangeable. If our characteristics (mostly specifically sex and sexuality) are biologically inevitable then we should not be punished by discrimination. This theory sits well in a world of definite, a world of homosexuality, heterosexuality, bisexuality and transgender. These dichotomies provide comfort, either you are or you aren’t, it is easy to comprehend in one word answers to simple questions. And while these terms may not always fall on conservative ears with comfort they fall easier than others because they still abide by many familiar societal constructs. The LGBT movement to me is one of assimilation, of proving that we are no different, just as capable as parents, teachers, and look, we even reflect your heteronormative standards in our butch femme relationships.
Queer to me is a radical term, not just in the sense of reclamation, but also in the way that queer defies immutability and reaches beyond societal constructs of how we should be. Queer reflects fluidity and a world without rules to abide by. The term queer is not connected to specific acts the way that gay and lesbian tend to be, in fact many straight people I know seem to have queered sexualities. Queer is about deviance from the sexual norms, and experimentation. I am queer, my sex, my sexuality, my body, my life, and for now I get to stay that way.
I guess life is all about picking your battles and in the more conservative world it is more important for me to pick a battle for LGBT rights, no Q, because at least those battles will be seen and legitimized. But is it worth it to give up my queer culture? Why should I betray myself to make you more comfortable sitting in a room with me? Does my queerness only exist because I live in a community where I can embrace it? Will I reverse when I go back to the world of LGBT?