Is queerdom an ethnicity

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anthony, Wednesday, 25 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

No. Its a sexuality.

Pete, Wednesday, 25 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

IMO, ethnicity directly correlates to physical traits, not behaviors and cultures.

Dan Perry, Wednesday, 25 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Is Jewish and ethnicity? What about Mod?

Mike Hanle y, Wednesday, 25 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Dictionary def:

Being a member of or affiliated to a large group of people classed according to common racial, national, tribal, religious, linguistic, or cultural origin or background.

scott, Wednesday, 25 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

So, is there a unified queer culture?

Dan Perry, Wednesday, 25 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

I think you could make an argument that there are some things outside of sex that unify queers ? we have a set of rituals, language, community spaces, preformances etc ...

anthony, Wednesday, 25 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

unified like any other nation i.e. not

mark s, Wednesday, 25 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

And insofar as there is a queer culture, isn't this something you've embraced as a consequence of your sexuality rather than a cultural 'origin or background'?

scott, Wednesday, 25 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

And close associations with the ethnic group of fag-hags. I don't think describing queerdom as an ethnicity is accurate (if we take that dictionary definition which is about as loose and sloppy as said defs often are) but more importantly I cannot see it being useful. As said on the ethnicity thread - embracing your ethnicity may well be good from a cultural perspective, but not always so good from a political and isolationist aspect.

It is probably therefore more useful to talk about queer culture as just that - rather than claiming it as a birthright. Culture which of course some gay people reject out of hand anyway.

Pete, Wednesday, 25 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

The more I think about it, the more I like the concept of gay as an ethnicity. I'm still not sure I agree that it is one, though.

Dan Perry, Wednesday, 25 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

but are there different ethnicities within gay culture?

Mike Hanle y, Wednesday, 25 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Isn't the defining element of an ethnicity -- absent for that definition, but applicable to each of its examples -- the fact that it's something which is passed on reproductively? I.e., if your parents are it, then you're it, too?

Even Judaism as "ethnicity" refers not to the religious preference but to the genetic heritage -- hence "lapsed" Jews still being "Jewish" but converted Jews not. And "nationality" in the above definition, while not genetically conferred, is still bound to pass from generation to generation.

Nitsuh, Wednesday, 25 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Actually, it's the "origin or background" that cements it. You cannot just "become" it -- you must "come from" it. Meaning it must come from the culture that raises you and shapes your earliest perceptions.

So until some disturbing magical system is arranged whereby later-to- be-gay newborns are shipped off to already-gay adults for induction into queer culture, then it doesn't really follow . . .

Nitsuh, Wednesday, 25 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

nitsuh's right. we don't need to divide homosexuality and heterosexuality into to different RACES just as we're getting rid of our previous collective predjudices. being of different ethnicity = genetic differences, which treads dangerously close to jerry falwell territory.

ethan, Wednesday, 25 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Gays and lesbians - as do left-handers or the handicapped -- constitute a minority that is not an ethnicity.

You could argue that there is a common "queer culture," but even if so, we may be unified by our culture, but we aren't necessarily classed by it. Queer culture may promote feelings of solidarity amongst the members of a subset of people, but it's not a defining characteristic of membership in that subset.

Michael Daddino, Wednesday, 25 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Queer culture promotes among me exactly the same thing as all the other ethnicities I am entitled to partake in: irresponsible unsolidarity...

(The great part of my people perished, of course, in the Roswell catastrophe)

mark s, Wednesday, 25 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

If there is a "queer culture" (I live in San Francisco, btw, so I should be able to observe this), then it is shit.

If there is something outside of sex that "unifies queers", as Anthony suggests, I'm not aware of it. Language? Hopefully he doesn't mean campy slang like calling eachother "girlfriend", or some such garbage.

Whatever is held up as gay culture I reject.

My ethnicity is Irish/Italian, NOT "queer".

Sean, Wednesday, 25 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

possibly a touchy subject, but does anyone want to approach the question why ilm/e has a higher 'queer' population than say, middle america? obvious answer, it's made up of smart people who love music, smarter people more exposed to different lifestyles, less likely to be supressing sexuality, etc, but is that all? is there a unifying characteristic that brought all the people here?

ethan, Wednesday, 25 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

I came to FT 'cuz I like to read about rock and roll! Started posting a little later, probaby because I have time to kill at work. Percentage-wise, it's clear that most gay guys aren't big on rock music, btw, which is lame. Bet you more dykes are.

I used to DJ at San Francisco's only gay bar that plays rock and roll full-time (its not a dance-floor club, just a bar that has a ballsy soundtrack), and believe me, if you were to ask the typical "queer" around here his opinion of the place he'd hold his nose.

I don't mind discussing this, but I would never have come to this website if it were a gay bulletin board, so I look forward to mouthing off more about ROCK!!

Sean, Wednesday, 25 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Forgive me for coming very near stereotyping, but I always got the sense that it was because this is one of few forums combining (a) a pretty heady, serious approach to music with (b) a liking of chart- pop, a trait I think might be somewhat more common in "queer culture?" That the camp of queerness relates to the camp of pop is fairly clearn (Madonna or Dusty Springfield as "gay icons"), but it's always in a manner that's somewhat more critically thought-out than simple liking of pop music.

Is that horribly reductive? It's a poorly expressed and very vague thought, and possibly generalizes way too much, but as soon as I meet someone who listens to flashy pop in a serious, critical way, I always assume they're either a professional critic or gay.

Nitsuh, Wednesday, 25 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Bad construction above! I didn't mean that (b) liking chart pop = queer. I meant that the combination of (a) and (b), the liking of chart pop in a more critical sense, = associated, in my head, with "queer culture."

I also meant "clear" later in that paragraph, but you knew that.

Nitsuh, Wednesday, 25 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

I didn't notice any gay people on this message board.

Mike Hanle y, Wednesday, 25 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

I think I have to supply a socking big "hhhm, maybe, dunno" to that, Nitsuh. Unless you're kinda totally separating Queer Culture from the Gay Supportive Nation zzz. It REALLY PISSES ME OFF THAT eg Fluid or Boyz always have Atomic Kitten or similar on their covers. I really HATE diva icons. I don't like Sylvester cuz he pioneered this or that (well OK, I do a bit), I like him cuz he's GRATE. And so are Sabbaff. I like the twin boards because everything is entangled with its total opposite.

mark s, Wednesday, 25 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Nitsuh, your point is interesting, but considering the amount of "flashy pop" that gets discussed quite seriously on this message board, I don't see how taking that sort of thing seriously equates with being either gay or a professional critic (ok, maybe a critic).

Do the majority of gays that love Madonna, say, love her because of the serious, critical discourse she inspires, or because of the image, the spectacle, and the beats?

In a way I wish you were correct; your theory imbues gay men's taste in music with more intelligence than I suspect it actually has.

Sean, Wednesday, 25 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

To answer the question, no. It's not more of an ethnicity than being a man or a woman.

Ally, Wednesday, 25 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Sean, you're probably right. But do you sort of see where I'm coming from? Lots of "serious" music folks talk pop these days, but 8-9 years ago . . .

I think it's the influence of house music on today's pop that explains it my impression. It was a largely gay audience that first took house music seriously, so as of 10-15 years ago, those serious music fans to express serious appreciation of an artist like Madonna -- the sort of dancey chart stuff that owes a lot of debt to dance music as kept alive by house -- seemed likely to be a part of that gay audience.

So maybe I should rephrase "pop" as "dance?" Until the early 90s, U.S. dance music tended to be taken seriously by a disproportionately gay fan base?

Nitsuh, Wednesday, 25 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Yes, in that case, I agree with you.

Sean, Wednesday, 25 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

That's quite a US-centric view. In the UK house was first played in mixed clubs, so it doesn't really hold up on this side of the Atlantic.

Richard Tunnicliffe, Wednesday, 25 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

is being weird an ethnicity?

Mike Hanle y, Wednesday, 25 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Yes.

Dan Perry, Wednesday, 25 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

What bar did you DJ at, Sean? The Hole in the Wall?

Arthur, Wednesday, 25 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

yes.

Sean, Wednesday, 25 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Oh. Love that place.

Arthur, Wednesday, 25 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Actually, while there is a "queer culture" that might supply some with feelings of solidarity with their fellow gay brethren, I'm not one of them.

I live out in small town out in Long Island, and work in the NYC every day, and lemme tell ya -- nothing will provoke loathing for the trappings of "queer culture" quite as spending almost eight summers' worth of evening commutes with throngs of slutty muscle-bound cell-phone-toting harpy space cadets en route to Fire Island.

It seems to me that owning a certain degree of loathing for what's called gay culture is almost a perquisite to being a halfway intelligent gay man.

Michael Daddino, Thursday, 26 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Is 'indie' an ethnicity? ;)

Tom, Thursday, 26 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

No, but wanker is.

Mike Hanle y, Thursday, 26 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

"My father is half Creole and half Wanker. My mother is half Mexican, a quarter Queer and a quarter Swedish."

I think I'm beck-pedalling on the "Queer sounds good as an ethnicity" thing. Now it just sounds silly to me.

Dan Perry, Thursday, 26 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Certainly I think a lot of mainstream gay politics is structured around vague but not really articulated ideas of ethnicity, based very much on the model of African/American liberation. "Queer" specifically is not, but rather based on psychological sleight of hand ("unified by our diversity" = really really tense political meetings).

The phenomenon of "gay" music is quite obviously a function of culture not ethnicity regardless of ethnicity's existence or not (do African-Americans automatically like gangsta rap? Do Anglos and Europeans automatically like Bach?) What irritates me about the focus on Abba/disco/Kylie Minogue (in Australia anyway) is not the choice of the music so much as the way the music is interacted with - seemingly bought wholesale with the glamour and the dancing and the weekend romances but never appreciated for any reason beyond that. And maybe that's enough, but the sheer predictability of the signifiers and the way in which they're valued makes the experience seem a lot less meaningful and a lot more superficial than maybe it is or should be. I'm gay and I like Abba, but I like to think that one of these truths is not wholely premised on the existence of the other.

Tim, Saturday, 28 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

'beck-pedalling' Dan? Now, I know there's got to be a dirt easy joke in there, but unfortunately I can't bring myself up to it.

Kim, Saturday, 28 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Interesting that no-one's mentioned anything about 'sexuality as construct' in this thread so far. I'm in the more genetic school, tho' - resisting cultural/ethno-classicification (why not just admit that we're all a bunch of permutations and live with it?) - Yet, there's always someone needing to argue essense over biology (good luck - just don't start some campaign to have us all reprogrammed back, ok?) In any case, the point about 'queer pop' - i agree with Tom, culturally, queer identifiers have been built up as language (ie - chart pop, showtunes, etc) although the language was used to define 'gay sex' (going out, hooking up, endless consumption) - but I think that filtered through the Aids crisis, and then Gays becoming more and more assimilated/accepted - the signifiers aren't serving their purpose as easily as they used to. It's a stretch to really enjoy 'Gay House' these days... Perhaps its because they weren't really traditions to begin with, but just a soundtrack?

Jason, Sunday, 29 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

If it's genetic then it's ethnic. But it ain't so it ain't. Gene for liking Abba: heh. Homosex means a dozen difft clustered things anyway: not clustered the same in Japan as Tanzania as Finland as Peru.

Howzabout everyone = bi (genetical), just most people scared of full-on choice (cultural)? I have just solved all the world's problems.

mark s, Sunday, 29 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

The continuum then, Mark? Not as easy as you would think. Adrienne Rich had the classic one for women (ie - many women will easily identify bi) and there's a whole school of thought as to why men really don't have one (the Kinsey scale is a bit more rigid these days) - but then again, there's trade and other manifestations (read Zeeland's army books) regarding this.

Jason, Sunday, 29 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Blimey: a pinefox moment. I didn't really understand quite as much of your post Jason as I wanted to, I'm emabrrassed to say!

Continuum at genetic level, yep, but NO ONE would ever find themselves back there: we are a cultured animal, all our behaviour — eating, sleeping , posture, lifechoices — is so hugely culturally determined, that no merely animal impulses happens that aren't caught and given spin by the web we have woven, good and bad. (I have massive actually quite boring aademic tome on Queerness in the Animal Kingdom, which inc. a picture of a LESBIAN WHALE ORGY!! if I recalled: A LOT OF SPLASHING AND NOT MUCH ELSE TO BE SEEN...). Continuum at cultural level: probably not. We are a symbol-using animal, and most symbols come in unblurred pairs. Else more drag queens wd just dress up like your butch sister and still look totally boy.

mark s, Sunday, 29 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Hmmm, maybe that's why Lesbians love whale-watching (Cho' reference for you, Anthony!) - Yes, Mark! That genetic vs cultural web is a sticky one (i can't remember the theorist who studied lesbian simians, but they are apparently a highly political lot).

Jason, Monday, 30 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

two years pass...
"whale-watching?"

Kingfishee (Kingfish), Friday, 16 January 2004 23:43 (twenty years ago) link

three months pass...
"whale-watching?"

mei (mei), Sunday, 25 April 2004 20:25 (twenty years ago) link

one year passes...
"whale-watching?"

Michael Daddino (epicharmus), Sunday, 3 July 2005 02:32 (nineteen years ago) link

"ha-ha?"
-- Michael Daddino, April 25th, 2004

lesbian simians, Sunday, 3 July 2005 02:37 (nineteen years ago) link

EXACTLY.

Michael Daddino (epicharmus), Sunday, 3 July 2005 02:47 (nineteen years ago) link

;)

What about Mod?
'
being a mod is def an ethnicity. teeny 2 thread
teeny tiny

-- lesbian simians (highl...), July 3rd, 2005., Sunday, 3 July 2005 02:54 (nineteen years ago) link

"whale-watching?"

-- Kingfishee (jdsalmo...), January 16th, 2004 3:43 PM. (Kingfish) (link)

kingfish (Kingfish), Sunday, 3 July 2005 03:24 (nineteen years ago) link

"whale-watching" 2004?

Eric H. (Eric H.), Sunday, 3 July 2005 04:54 (nineteen years ago) link

Physical traits of the "Queer Race":
http://www.uniphiz.com/digital_physiognomy/ein100.jpg

Hurting (Hurting), Sunday, 3 July 2005 04:57 (nineteen years ago) link

New Dad Thinks Baby Might Be Gay

gypsy mothra (gypsy mothra), Sunday, 3 July 2005 05:03 (nineteen years ago) link

four years pass...

whale-watching?

plax (ico), Tuesday, 25 May 2010 19:54 (fourteen years ago) link


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