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Discussion > the use or not of a label such as GLBT or Queer'?

JJ gave me permission to post the following here for discussion:
Two points, first the personal, then the general: I self-identified as "queer" before becoming a Baha'i (there is no point in hiding this, as I was quite public about it), and I still experience all of the feelings and dispositions which can lead to that label being ascribed. However, I found discarding that socially-constructed label (of "bi", or "queer") a tremendously *liberating* and *empowering* experience. I could work for unity alongside diverse people, rather than isolating myself into increasingly-retrenched identity politics. I no longer needed to take a single facet of my being and accept that as a definition of my entirety as a person. I no longer fit into a well-defined marketing demographic. I found queer culture to be immensely hegemonic and controlling, with its own tacit but nonetheless powerful laws. I felt pressure to participate in forms of consumerism which, under the guise of liberation, served only corporate marketers who saw me as a target demographic. This posture is far different from the existing dichotomy of "queer-affirming" vs. "homophobic", since both are predicated on incomplete understandings of the human being. Moreover, the Baha'i Faith does not need to confirm to any existing socially-constructed political alignment (whether "liberal", "conservative", or any other label) because it is an entirely new Revelation which cannot be contained within our current political structures. Likewise, I have not rejected "queerness", rather I have found that my newfound identity as an eternal spiritual soul cannot be contained within that label, and continually overflows it.

In brief, however, I can say that I have experienced more oppression and bullying in supposedly-liberated queer spaces than I have in Baha'i spaces
I feel comfortable with the subject position that I have found - I am not "ex-gay" or "repressed", for other false dichotomy, it is more that I have transcended an identity and subculture (Bi/queer) which does not encapsulate the whole of my identity
August 19, 2014 | Unregistered Commentersonja
Thanks for that idea. I know what you mean and where you come from. When labelling oneself ‘queer’, one usually takes on some social and political agenda as well. Not that such an agenda is necessarily a good nor a bad thing. It just is.

On the other hand, all those identities are based on one single reality: there are people who either are bisexual, homosexual, or transgender. Ignorig those labels such as gay, queer, bi, trans, and so on and so forthe is simply like ignoring the underlying biological, psychological, and natural facts. Homo- and bisexuals have always been in existence, the same applies to transgender people. The have been labelled differently. In the Medieval Ages, people we nowadays name “gay” were called “sodomites”. Labels come and go and usually are shaped by social, cultural, political, as well as scientific developments. The underlying truths do not change, even if we do not pay attention to the labels and do not take them on as identity, the reality will still be the same. It does not make any difference at all if two women loving each other are called lesbians, queers, homosexuals, simply women, or come without any label. If they are rejected for what they are, are denied basic rights, are excluded and hated for, the label does not matter. If a young male teenager realises he is attracted to other male humans, it will not be alterred by different labels we use for that. we may call him gay or queer or just by his name. He still feels the same.

Also, we would never even consider removing labels such as black or white, female or male, Bahai or non-Bahai (who, as a matter of fact, more based on choice than race, sex, or sexual orientation) as we consider them essential to diversity. We are all one but we also are all diverse. We appreciate and value different labels on race, ethnicity, sex/gender, and religion. Why is it so hard to accept labels on sexual orientation or gender identity?
September 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNino