Reimagining queer community

15 Aug

“What makes the so-called queer community so incredibly exclusive that almost nobody ever seems to feel as though they belong? I was […] curious as to what exactly everybody in my group was looking for in the ideal queer community.” Rachel

I read Rachel’s perzine on the train to the anarchist gathering last Saturday, and it helped me reflect on the notion of alternative communities as home over the day. Queer communities, but also other subcultural communities in my experience, nurture the ideas that a deep sense of connection unites their members and regularly use the words “home” or even “family” to describe such ties. However, like Rachel, I have often felt like I wasn’t elligible for this particular kind of belonging, or perhaps that I didn’t know the proper code for entry. I have sometimes attributed this failure to the fact that I am part of a bisexual group which occasionally has trouble being acknowledged as viably “queer” by other LGBTIQ people. However, Rachel questions the very foundations of these assumptions by asking: “If this so-called queer community were accessible, why do all the queer-identified people in my life keep telling me that they don’t feel as though they are a part of it?” Interestingly, she admits that what has helped her develop a sense of validation in such spaces was to write and distribute zines that give her a voice and provide recognition. Further, what I understand from the rest of the zine is that by the same logic, leaving aside identity politics in order to resist assimilation into corporate culture makes us more powerful and leads queer communities out of their self-referential questioning. “Our Pride is NOTE for sale”, she claims, and I take it to mean that fighting side by side brings a stronger sense of solidarity which, perhaps, could redifine queer participants as comrades struggling together rather than as brothers and sisters in an idealized family controlled by corporations or the state.

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