When I left school, I spent the rest of my life un-learning the group mentality. I wondered what about who I was that was unacceptable. My identity was separated into different baubles, guised with adjective-derived masks to fit in, and denying myself a confidante. By refusing anyone I could divulge to because I am scared that if anyone knew my real fears, secrets, and thoughts, they’d not like me. And that there is no possibility for repair. I felt punishment was warranted.
Over time I learned to express feelings and practice self-compassion, by putting a strong spotlight on the dried and cracking leather hid of my baggage. I embraced my uniqueness – shown self without a mask. Rather, I am a historical queer, existing outside rigid associations of mainstream acceptable. Being queer is being liberated from essentialist identity politics, instead focusing on how numerous sciences, histories, and legalities to examine the identity, lives, history, and perception of queer. Avoiding traditional social theory, and taking a critical theory approach to queerness enriches the discussion around the vulnerabilities and suppression faced by societal outliers, those whose identities further remove them from society because of association with more than one group. Queer requires the ability to empathize with and perceive the world through the experiences of fringe and minority groups.
Queer exists as a counter to homonormative, white homosexual privilege that pushes heteronormativity onto LGBITQ+ culture and identity, which creates hierarchies of worthiness. Those that most closely resemble heteronormative are at the top, while the rest are less worthy and dangerous to homonormative individuals receiving privilege. Homonormative is the rejection of any group that endangers the privilege that comes with assimilation from emphasizing commonalities to heteronormative: marriage, monogamy, and procreation. Viewing mainstream as the ideal dangerously suppresses the more radically different, silencing voices for radical inclusion in favor of acceptable goals like marriage equality and adoption rights, but also commercializing and mainstreaming queer subcultures.
Queer culture is a set of shared perceptions that take heteronormative practices, beliefs, and arts, to repurpose for identification. Self-classification as any one sexual category, such as heterosexual, does not eliminate one from participating in queer culture. Queer includes all gender and identity-variant individuals to find civic participation by engaging in complex dialogues that emphasize diversity in history and experiences.