Monday, September 26, 2011

Not Born This Way

So says Lindsay Miller, on being queer:

"In direct opposition to both the mainstream gay movement and Lady Gaga, I would like to state for the record that I was not born this way....

If there's one thing to be said about lesbian relationships, it's this: You always start from equal footing. It is never assumed that one partner is genetically predisposed to enjoy doing laundry. Bizarrely, I actually do enjoy doing laundry, or at least prefer it to most other household necessities; my partner, on the other hand, is a skilled and enthusiastic cook. So I provide clean sheets and folded undershirts, and in return I get homemade pear-gorgonzola pizza and lemon-roasted asparagus. I also do more of the housework right now because my partner is working full-time while I'm in graduate school. We divide up the chores based on who can realistically do what, and arrive at the best possible arrangement for the two of us and our relationship. We don't have ready-made roles to step into -- the breadwinner, the housewife. We're just us, trying to do what we can for each other.

Neither of us was raised with male privilege. Neither of us was raised to believe, on some subconscious level, that the way we perceive the world is the default setting, and everyone else is deviant. Neither of us assumes that our career is more important, or makes decisions without consulting the other. This is not meant to be male-bashing: I know a lot of wonderful straight men who have done the work of breaking down their internalized sexism and developing a more nuanced way of relating to women, but it's just that. It's work. Men and women begin from different levels of entitlement, and it takes a concerted effort to meet in the middle. For millions of heterosexual couples, that effort is rewarding and completely worth it, but you couldn't pay me to go back to that kind of relationship."

Although I don't think Miller is trying to speak for all queer people, we can cue the countdown until anti-equality folks begin using Miller's "confession" as "proof" that Being Gay Isn't A Choice And Therefore People Who Don't Choose Heterosexuality Are Just Selfish And Undisciplined.

That being said, I agree with much of what she says. I have been in relationships with both men (briefly) and women and while I wouldn't say that I "chose" to be a lesbian, one of the aspects of being in a relationship with a woman that I appreciate is that we don't have scripted "opposite" roles to overcome and negotiate.

Anyway, it's no small irony that anti-feminist gender essentialists (who are often anti-LGBT) who promote "traditional gender roles" contribute to a world that encourages some women to admittedly choose lesbianism. LOLFAIL.

No comments: