Wednesday, June 15, 2016

"Love is Love" and the Sanitation of Queerness

Something about the phrase “Love is Love” hurts when I try to swallow. The implied universality, the seemingly innocuous standardization, the flattening, the sanitizing toward negating desire, the unqueering.

My queerness is centered, not only on who I love, but also and perhaps more so, on who and how I desire. The Marriage Equality Movement committed grave injustice by crafting a narrative of homonormativity that rendered us virtually sexless beings desperate to reincarnate into 1950s white, middle class, picket fence Woolworths catalogue caricatures. But, you, my ally, need to know and conduct yourself with the knowledge that I am not that caricature. I am not sexless.

I do not wish to be sanitized for consumption or comfort. When you see me, know that who and how I desire is woven into every word I say, how I walk, who I walk toward, and who I walk away from. My desire fuels my politic and informs how and who I love. I am queer specifically because of my desire. Desire is not an afterthought or an inconsequential coincidence. Desire is at the core of my queerness, it is the reason.

My desire is not universal. Why should my love be? My love is not your love, your love is not my love. My love is neither equal nor greater than your love. My love does not stand in opposition or in contrast to your love. My love is my love, your love is your love. Both are love without mirroring or justifying the other. My love is, whether you recognize it or not. My desire is— especially when it causes you discomfort.

Your love should not necessitate indistinguishability from my love in order for it to be love. Your love should not be conditioned or based on how similar my love is to yours. That is not the ally I want you to be.

I want you to my ally by looking me in the eye when I stand at the urinal next to you. I want you to be my ally when someone calls me a pervert and I accept it as a compliment. I want you to be my ally when I am unlikeable, when I don't feel like being your "gay," when I stop telling jokes. I want you to be my ally when you realize I am the one your mother warned you about. I want you to be my ally when I speak of white supremacy while looking in your direction. I want you to be my ally when I ask why you forgot to invite me, again. I want you to be my ally when I burn an HRC flag in protest for selectively coopting and/or erasing my people’s history. I want you to be my ally when I burn a U.S. flag in protest for killing my people. I want you to be my ally when you realize we are nothing alike, that who and how I desire and love have nothing to do with you. I want you to be my ally when my existence does not bring you joy or comfort or forgiveness.

Be my ally right now, not by imagining me as palatable, but by recognizing and honoring the perversions that render my people and me sacred, a gift, an atonement for human sins. Be my ally, not by claiming your love is the same as mine and therefore worthy of justice. Be my ally because I am here, because we are here, because justice should not be an award we receive for aligning ourselves with your morality. Be my ally because it makes you uncomfortable, because it is unsettling, because witnessing me whole is an affront to the heterosexism, the patriarchy, and the white supremacy that offer you happiness in exchange for the lives and happiness of people who love and desire differently. Do it. Be my ally.

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