Queering All the Things
I knew when I clicked on the link Stop Queering Everything that was on my newsfeed I was going to probably be pissed off.
Disclaimer: You should know if you decide to click on the link to read the piece it comes from the Washington Examiner, a far right conservative newspaper. It doesn’t go to the Washington Examiner itself, but to a MSN reprint. Just know what you are walking into. That is all.
Instead of being pissed off about it all as I am now, I was confused and I see the point trying to be made. Doesn’t mean I agree with it. I asked a queer friend what they thought of the article and they were confused as well. I mean, I know the point of this rant, and it is a rant, is essentially asking the question, “Why do we have to look at everything through queer theory? Why does everything have to be gay?” The author, Matt Lamb, provides two links as examples of things that have been queered. The first is to an article from 2017 about Strathmore College offering a course called Queering the Bible.
As someone with a degree in religious studies, this is a pretty common course. The article bitches that it was only one of two classes offered that semester. Yea, that’s pretty common too, to only have 2 or 3 classes offered at a time in a religious studies department because the departments are small. The “let’s pick on this one place” without doing any relevant research is annoying. I could write an entire novella on why there are feminist and queer readings of the bible and why religious studies programs offer these kind of classes. The short version is it has to do with how back in the day, when women were considered second class humans – I can’t even say they were even considered citizens since they were technically property – they were required to have a male relative read the bible with them where it wouldn’t be misunderstood. I guess Perpetua, Thecla, Mary, and others were considered anomalies and the exception to the rule.
The second link provided was about ballroom dancing. My original thought was, “Is ballroom dancing gay? Does this guy have some cool insight into the history of ballroom dancing that he should be sharing with rest of the class?” I initially didn’t want to click on it after the crap article about Strathmore. I acquiesced and
The link when to a scholarly article on LGBTQ+ representation on the show Strictly Come Dancing. Sorry not sorry. A TV show put out in the world for general public consumption is more than fair game for this kind of paper. I’m sure Matt Lamb would have had no issue if the same sort of article was written about the show looking at conservative religious representation in the show.
Newsflash: Queer people exist. They have always existed. They will always exist. On the other hand, Christianity has not always existed. Yes, I went there. The world and the human race existed just fine in the pre-Christian world. Just saying.
I do find it funny though that Lamb decided to pick an essay on a TV show to link to instead going for the link between ballroom dancing and ballroom drag culture, since conservatives has made it drag queen hunting season.
As I said, the Examiner article had little going for it. It was more of a rant than making a point. Lamb did start off by attempting to explain what a queer reading was, and then it all went downhill.
Spoken like a true cisgender protestant able bodied white guy.
My brain hurts thinking about binaries holding together normative society. The world is not black and white. There are at lest 50 shades of grey in there. Bad joke, i know. As an aside, I do not recommend that book. Seriously, I had to look up what Queer Time was, and came across two articles that explain it without using the word “horror”. It also has nothing to do with making time queer.
I swear, conservatives like to make everything scary they don’t understand or agree with. I have no idea where he pulled this BS definition because he doesn’t site his sources. True horror is mass shootings. True horror is the loss of life in Gaza. True horror is charging a woman with abuse of a corpse after having a miscarriage in a toilet.
There is nothing pseudo-academic about studying queer theory or feminist theory or any other theory. It’s important in the field of sociology because the sociologist is going to be interacting with people from all walks of life and should be able to do their job without bias. No, it’s not equal to the work of a chemist or physicist. Humanists (is that what we call ourselves?) work with people, messy complicated people who don’t fit neatly into boxes. Boxes are for cats anyway. Chemistry and physics is pretty constant, unlike people, who change and grow and evolve and write about things in the Washington Examiner they don’t fully understand.
Has anyone informed Matt Lamb that there is more than one definition of “queer”?
Okay, it does seem a little odd to queer nuclear weapons, but if this is what it takes to open discourse I’m all for it. And for the love of everything sacred and profane, how dare we prioritize people!?
Queer theory helps to shift the perception of nuclear weapons as instruments for security by telling the hidden stories of displacement, illness, and trauma caused by their production and testing.
Honestly, post-colonial theory does the same thing, but that means the Western world needs to take responsibility for all the harm that has been done in the name of colonization and empire. An example that doesn’t involve nuclear weapons, but has caused the same kind of displacement, illness and trauma is the 1984 Union Carbide gas disaster in Bhopal, India. The United States has a history of environmental injustice where economically disadvantaged groups are adversely affected by environmental hazards more than other groups. The Flint Water Crisis comes to mind. It’s just not nukes but little research has been done to uncover how marginalized people are affected by nuclear research and testing. If history has taught us anything it is that marginalized people are disproportionally affected by environmental injustice, medical bias, and a plethora of social and economic issues because they have intentionally been placed in the crossfire of policy, shady business practices, scientific experiments, and so forth.
Marxism and critical theory are not two separate things. Marxism is a part of critical theory. It is one type of critical theory. Let me draw everyone a picture, or rather share a picture someone else drew. I don’t draw just like Matt Lamb doesn’t comprehend what he reads.
As far as queering gerontology, someone needs to study older gay people. Elderly people are still part of society, one that is often ignored and marginalized. The intersection of being gay and elderly is probably quite complicated. This demographic probably has to deal with stuff the rest of us can’t even imagine because their voices aren’t out there. Hell, Rob Halford – the oldest famous gay person I can think of off the top of my head (he’s over 70) – barely mentions what it’s like to be older and gay in either of his books, Confess and Biblical.
Why do we need to queer things? It’s simple, really. We need to look at things from different perspectives, especially if we are in a position of power where we are responsible for making decisions or influencing others and their decisions. A myopic world view does no one any favors and keeps binaries in place. Ours is not an Manichaean society and yet, here we are. Stepping into someone else’s shoes, learning how other people from other demographics, especially those who are marginalized and oppressed, are affected by things teaches us empathy and brings about change.
We do not live in a white protestant cisgendered able bodied male world. We never have. The far right needs to stop trying to make it happen. It would also be nice if people would do some research instead of talking out their ass in news media. Save that for a blog post or better yet, Facebook. That’s what it’s for.
I am just an English major and folklorist with a BLS in English and Religions Studies. What do I know?