Monday, December 3, 2007

the queer zoo

Today was the annual GLBT discussion in Harv Klevar's American Diversity class. Some of you may be familiar with these lovely sessions. Harv puts us up at the front of the class, we talk about our coming out stories, the class stares at us or avoids looking at us, it strongly resembles a zoo exhibit. Usually they make me feel like I'm whoring out my queerness for money. Which I guess is kinda what happens, we talk and Harv gives pride money..

Anyways. So today I was actually pleasantly surprised by the discussion. For one thing, at pride when we were asking for volunteers we decided that we didn't want to take forever telling our coming out stories. We wanted the class to be structured more as an organic discussion than as us queers telling the heteros how life is. We also made sure to clarify that our experiences are ours and ours alone. We don't and can't speak for anyone else's choices or experiences. We also were upfront about the fact that we wanted to field questions from the class.

The results were good, at least in the hour I went to. We got asked questions about Luther, how we interact with conservatives or people who think homosexuality is morally wrong, when we knew we were queer. One question that was really insightful was how important is the gay community at Luther to our lives, and whether or not we feel isolated from the rest of the student body. Honestly, I don't. I feel integrated into the Luther community. I don't feel like I have to hide anything about myself to feel accepted anywhere on campus.

I got asked some questions about trans stuff too. Like, after I have surgery will I date straight girls or gay girls. Also just nuts and bolts questions about surgery and the whole SRS process. And questions about binding.

In the end, I think it was fairly successful. I hope that the class was able to actually see us as people instead of tokens, and realize that our queerness doesn't encompass our entire identity, it is only a part of our identities. I also realized that in past years, I think what has made me uncomfortable has been how Klevar interacts with us, as if we are representative of all queers, and as if we are somehow inherently different people with inherently different culture than heteros. But it was a good experience this time. And pride got $100 for it so hurray.

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