We’re Here, We’re Queer…and We’re Not White

Just finished a fabulous article by The Guardian‘s Yuvraj Joshi on the pros and cons of adopting a “Western” approach to same-sex relationships. brought me back to my “Gender, Sexuality & the South Asian Disapora” class from last semester (hands down one of the best courses at UNC…too bad they don’t offer it regularly).

In any event…the points Joshi makes are relevant to any community of color. In a world where “gay” overwhelmingly reads “white” in mainstream society, how do queers of color fit into the picture? Do we demand to be let into the niche that the white LGBTIQ community has created for itself, or do we form our own? How do we represent both “Third World” and queer identities, without letting one subsume the other?

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2 thoughts on “We’re Here, We’re Queer…and We’re Not White

  1. I can only answer from my personal perspective, but I’ve never been much of a fan of “niching” people. I feel that we’re defined by our conscious thoughts and actions, not by labels that we choose to apply to ourselves or others. It seems almost dehumanizing to categorize people based on socially defined variables.

    Maybe I feel that way because I fit into too many (or too few) social groups. Depending on who you ask, I’m a prep, nerd, radical, moderate, serious, or silly. I’d like to think I’m all of those things (or none of them).

  2. Agreed. I have to say I personally agree with the bumper sticker I saw, reading “Labels are for cans, not people.”

    But that being said, if we don’t claim our identities (those infamous labels), how do we fight for our rights? If I closet myself as a bisexual, I am letting the queer community do the work for me–I am essentially abdicating my responsibility to fight for my own rights.

    However, if I closet myself as a queer of color, I am allowing the fight for queer rights to be conducted entirely around white issues, entirely within a white context (white people who want LGBTIQ rights versus white people who don’t). The issues that face queers of colors are in some ways the same as those that face white queers, but in many ways they are different…just as issues facing any two different groups ( or any two different individuals) are.

    Does this help clarify at all?

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