Queer Heterosexuals at the Pride Parade

Boston Pride wraps up this weekend, and I’ve been thinking about the crowd of people the annual event attracts. A recent study lends fire to the theory that the more a homophobe suppresses queer desires, the more homophobic they’re likely to become. So perhaps the very folks who really need embracing at Pride are the extreme homophobes themselves. (Mind you, this doesn’t mean I’m up for talking them round as we march.)

On the subject of queer pride, one of my writing students once said to me that she longed to be LGBTQ because she often felt left out. Most of her friends were queer, she explained, while she felt very straight. I referred her to an essay by Tristin Taormino called the The Queer Heterosexual in which Taormino explains that you can be straight and kinky or straight and cross-dressing or straight and polyamorous, and still call yourself queer. (For a neat definition of “queer”, go here). Taormino adds that the term “queer heterosexual” can be helpful when folks are “straight-looking and straight-acting, but they are immersed in the queer community, and you couldn’t in good conscience call them straight.”

I like to think that we are headed for a new era in which being queer or straight isn’t the point. Rather, we’ll ask “Are you sex-positive?” and if your answer is yes, then the rest is much of a muchness. The bottom line is this: You don’t have to be queer to support the cause.