Well, when I was in High School, a Queer was someone who was Gay, no questions asked. There were no female "queers", only men whose sexual orientation was thrown into question. Even today the word "Queer" is heavily associated with homosexuality for a lot of people, but what all this sadly overlooks is the fact that, in truth, the word has its own history, and this history alludes to a definition that is so much wider and more inclusive than that of the vulgar slang it has been devolved to in the minds of many people today.
So what exactly is queer? Consider the older, more traditional definition of the word– "deviating from the expected or normal; strange" says the American Heritage Dictionary. If you were Scottish in 1508 when the word was first catalogued and defined, it was synonymous with "strange" and it wasn’t until the late 1930’s, over four centuries later, that the term became associated with homosexuality.
So what does it really mean to be "Queer?" It means you’re different. You’re not "normal" in regards to the mold society has cast for you, you don’t fit into the traditional carousing bread-winner beer-swilling football-obsessed male role as a man or the simpering make-up covered housewifey role as a woman. You’re that man who’s more skilled with children than with a hammer, or that woman who holds a full time job at a construction site and knocks down whiskey in the bar after work. Still sound too distant from who you are? Still can’t identify with the term "queer"? Well, maybe you are that perfect "Man’s man" or one of those docile doe-eyed women that would rather clean the house and cook dinner to make your hubby happy than go out and get an education, but I doubt it. Few people are nowadays, and more and more people (I’m thankful to announce) perfectly fit the definition of Queer. I know I do, and I have no interest in other men whatsoever!
So in order to provide an example of what a Queer is, it’s only fitting that I present myself and what makes me different. Take a moment to consider all the things that are "Manly" in mainstream society, what is considered to be a "masculine" trait, and then read on to see how I measure up.
Well, for one, I think education is the most important thing we as a nation and as a species should spend our money on. Not bombs, not tanks, not bullets or oil pipelines that destroy thousands of acres of virgin wilderness in the name of "human progress", but real, honest to goodness, proliferation of knowledge. What else could label me as queer? Well, how about the fact that I’m not afraid to hug complete strangers, even if they are men? Or the fact that I get all worked up about domestic abuse and think breast cancer awareness and rape crisis centers are causes everyone should get behind and donate to? How about the fact that I, as a man, get totally passionate about women’s rights and issues like abortion (I’m pro-choice, by the way) or the fact that, of all the Physical Ed classes I could have taken in college, I chose to take Modern Dance?
Unlike the budweiser-swilling cowboys of the mountain town I grew up in, I don’t drink at all, or hardly so, and on the rare occasion when I do, I like sweeter things like berry cordials or cosmopolitans, drinks traditionally associated with women. I can’t stand beer– I think it’s disgusting, and after a hard day at work, alcohol is always the furthest thing from my mind. I like it when women make the first move– there’s nothing quite so satisfying as a woman who actually chases back instead of always playing "catch me if you can!" and then laying down to play the totally compliant lover when you "win" her. Actively pursuing a man says something important about a woman– it says she’s genuinely interested, that she’s secure in who she is and what she wants and that she’s willing to take risks because she thinks you’re worth it, and that’s, for lack of a better word, sexy.
What else? Well, have any skulls or knives or naked buxom women tattooed on your body? Yeah, me neither, but it’s manly, isn’t it? Manly like the marines. If I went into any branch of the military, it would be the air force, regardless of how pansy the jarheads seem to think those brave men and women are.
But in reality, what do I do for a living? Well, I think the job that takes up most of my time is babysitting, and I actually enjoy it, because it means I get to make a positive difference in my little sister’s life. Sure, I sell swords too, which is kind of "manly" but I think that’s probably offset by the fact that my greatest dream is to be a bestselling author as well as an English teacher that can help change the system from within and help kids appreciate English again.
What else makes me queer? Well, how about the fact that I’ve never had any interest in sports? There’s a running joke among my friends back home in the mountains about the fact that I know so little about Basketball that at one point in my life, I actually thought Soda Popinski, Donnie "The Toast" Yost, and a host of other equally unlikely characters/people, were the names of prominent Basketball players. So I couldn’t tell you what events they do for the Olympics or tell you who’s on such-and-such a team, or even what sport they play without googling it– I just don’t care. I’ve always felt like I have more important things to do than sit around and watch grown men chase a ball (that’s just personal opinion– no offense to the sports fans out there!)
What else? How about the fact that I face and accept my emotions. That’s not very "manly". Or how about the fact that I enjoy romantic comedies, or actually give a damn about my spiritual life? How about the fact that I read, or have exceptional language skills, or have long hair, or think floral print, button-up shirts rock, or think rainbows are awesome? I don’t give a diddly squat about the specs of cars or motorcycles, my favorite author is Storm Constantine (you’d understand how that’s "unmanly" if you’ve read her) my favorite characters in movies are "Rosie the Riveter" types, and I think chicks with short haircuts are absolutely and unequivocably the paramount of hotness.
Perhaps also not so "manly" is the fact that I don’t get embarrassed when I’m holding a purse or a box of tampons for someone, and when I go to the mall, I’m immune to that invisible barrier that keeps all the men out of the girly accessories stores that women pass through without shame or incident. That’s right, while the line of uneasy men stirs outside waiting uncomfortably for their "womenfolk" to come rescue them, I’m in there with my little sister, pointing things out and having a blast watching her try on the pinkest, most sparkly and frilliest things in there.
Sure, I lift weights, I do a lot of my own maintenance on my car, I make grunting jokes about fire and "guy movies" around the barbecue with "The guys" on gaming weekends, and I stand up for what I believe in. I get out there and beat on the walls and show the world in a very progressive (and unfortunately associated with "manly") way that the system is broken and oppressive and needs to change so the people who are victimized by it and can’t fight back don’t have to suffer quite so much. The first words out of my mouth are "need me to kick his ass?" when a woman tells me she’s been abused, and I actually have the "balls" to drive a bumpersticker-plastered cop-magnet art car and smile at the looks I get, knowing I’ve just added a random element to someone’s life that might shake up their stagnant reality a little. I think Terminator 2 is a masterpiece, and I all but drool over the sleek designs of fighter jets like the ME-262 Schwalbe or the F-14 Tomcat. I think shooting cans at the gun range is fabulous, and I’m a hell of a shot too. I think impact wrenches are absolutely "the shit" (power tools-wise) and I love my car, even though I couldn’t have told you (until someone pointed it out to me about six months ago) how many cylinders it had. I open doors for people, and I bend over backwards to pay for the meal when I go somewhere with a woman I’m interested in. I listen to metal, I air-guitar to sweet electric riffs, and I make my own way in the world like the maverick Wynn I am.
So yeah, I’m queer. I’m straight as up and down, but I’m not mainstream, I’m not "normal". I’m a person, and I set my own rules for myself, live by my own code, and do what I want and what I feel is right regardless of what other people think. I live outside the box and transcend the stereotype of male, and I know lots of other people who do too.
So now that you’ve read this, I challenge you to look at yourself, look at the role our society has cast for you as male or female, and see how you measure up. Are you "normal?" or are you queer?
Spread knowledge, spread awareness, and spread acceptance. Have the ovaries to get up there and tell the world how it is and help instigate change for the better. If you’re queer like me, tell the world, and tell them how wonderful it is to be different, because if you don’t do it, then who will? Wouldn’t the world be a boring place if everyone was exactly the same?
This is an except from Jim Marss' book, Rule by Secrecy, which is an excellent read. It's a completely different way of looking at things, well supported by well researched facts, and a (mostly) unbiased text in and of itself, but the real gem comes on the last two pages– this piece of his "commentary" is as inspiring as anything unity-oriented I've ever read. Also– Check out Becca's blog on "Labels" link for some more inspiration and awakening.
Anywho, don't get turned off by the fact that Jim is a Texan Christian. That right there is a stereotype, and if the mention of "God" is enough to disqualify anything he says as far as you're concerned, then maybe you should rethink your stance on human diversity. Ignoring what someone says just because they're Texan, Christian, or both, is as bad as ignoring someone because they're Gay, Pagan, or Black. We're all equal, we're all holding bits of the puzzle, we've all made mistakes in the past, and we're all one people. There is strength in unity. Embrace it, dammit.
"United we stand, divided we fall" -- Matthew Walker
"Can't stop the signal" -- Firefly.
"Many of us look the other way, hoping we won't have to deal with the mind-expanding questions that new knowledge brings. We avoid those TV shows and books which are liable to upset our traditional mindset.
"But it's no use. We hear about them in office conversations, radio talk shows, and even occasionally as brief pieces in the mainstream media. The discussion of topics which once were prohibited are now commonplace.
"So what's to be done in this era of spiritual poverty in the midst of material wealth?
"Knowledge is indeed power. It is time for those who desire true freedom to exert themselves– to fight back against the forces who desire domination through fear and disunity.
"This does not have to involve violence. It can be done in small, simple ways, like not financing that new Sport Utility Vehicle, cutting up all but one credit card, not opting for a second mortgage, turning off the TV sitcom for a good book, asking questions and speaking out it church or synagogue, attending school board and city council meetings, voting for the candidate who has the least money, learning about the Fully Informed Jury movement and using it when called—in general, taking responsibility for one's own actions. Despite the omnipresent advertising for the Lotto—legalized government gambling—there is no free lunch. Giving up one's individual power for the hope of comfort and security has proven to lead only to tyranny.
"It is a time for truth—about out past and present, about who really rules and about what's being done to this planet in the name of progress and profit. Love your country so much that you will look past the jingoism and sound bites to starkly view the fear-inspiring depravations and corruption within the national government and oligarchy. Such truth must be made available to everyone, not just to the manipulative elitists..."
"The time for secrecy is at an end.
"Don't wait for the corporate controlled media to inform and explain. Read and listen to everything within reach and search for sources of alternative information—on the internet, in documentaries, in old library books and unconventional bookstores. Read and watch things you normally wouldn't. Then quietly contemplate. Use that God-given supercomputer called your "brain." Perhaps more important, feel what's right within your heart, your soul, your innermost being.
"And remember there remains one last great secret. This one is within the hands of the general public. Namely, that there are more of us than there are of them. And we keep gaining knowledge daily.
"This knowledge comes from individual initiative, not from government committies or the so-called "experts." If one truly desires to be free, there must first be a seach for truth, without the aid of paid experts, academic snobs, media pundits, clerics, gurus, or government leaders—all of whom have their own agendas to press.
"True innovators like Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, and Bill Gates did not conform their thinking to conventional wisdom. Like these men, and many more like them, each individual makes his or her own destiny. We are creative beings and would like to create the best world for ourselves. But this is impossible when the creative process is based on incomplete or erroneous information designed to instill fear and dissension.
"There are more people today who sincerely desire peace and brotherly love than ever before. Unfortunately, those who strive for power and control usually achieve it. And they want to keep it. But the time for brute force has past. Today, they can control the six billion members of the human community only through deceit and secrecy.
"Once you have found your own heartfelt truth, that truth must be shared, so as to lift the curtain of secrecy which contributes to the ignorance, fear, and confusion of our time and create a new spirit of human tolerance and togetherness.
"As recorded in John 8:23, "You will know the truth and the truth will make you free."
The Balancing Act.
FACT: Big Business (i.e. Corporations/wealthy individuals) have a major effect on global affairs. (all that money!)
FACT: CFR (Council on Foreign Relations) Bilderberg, Trilateral Commission, and all levels of US. Gov't show interlinking connections (I.E. There is undeniable heavy corporate influence on the Gov't.)
FACT: The media, which is owned by (is) Corporate interests, is moderated by Gov't agencies that show heavy concentrations of people tied into corporate interest.
FACT: Most people in the United States watch T.V.
Here's what I think is going on:
Science has told us that there's no proof either way of magic, the soul, miracles, or anything else supernatural or otherworldly. No proof is the term they use, and it's a convenient loophole that allows an escape path if new evidence is found. But as society grows and gets harder to govern, more and more maverick scientists are finding that there is in fact proof for psychic phenomena, magic, miracles, incorporeal energy and the like.
A point of interest is that the supernatural phenomena that are generally dismissed are those relating to personal empowerment, that is, the ability to stand up and effect the world around you on a greater scale than yourself, the ability to perform miracles and modify the unseen. Who would benefit from a mass of people that believe they have no personal power? Those currently in power.
Who is currently in power? Many would say the biggest sway is held by Corporate, and yes, the big wigs do meet to discuss "secret" matters. (Bilderberg, Trilateral, etc.)
So who watches Science for unbiased results? The UCS (Union of Concerned Scientists) whose reputed purpose is to keep corporate influences from effecting the progress of science or the release of data to the public. Funny, since the UCS is greatly influenced by organizations like the CFR and long-standing corporate-linked families like the Rockefellers, The Rothschilds, and the Warburgs. So essentially, the same people who would influence science negatively are entrusted with watching to make sure it doesn't happen.
So what are we left with? There is still religion. Mainstream America (i.e. the bulk of the population) claims to be Christian. But if a person claims to be Christian and yet does not follow Christ's teachings, doesn't read the bible, doesn't believe they have the power to preform miracles as Jesus did (and Jesus said we all have the power to be like him) indeed has no inkling of these ideas at all, then where does their "faith" come from?
• Society as a whole
• Church (how many people who claim they are Christian go to Church?)
• The Media.
Assuming that Parents/Relatives and Society are given religion and faith through these four routes, that leaves Church and The Media as the two remaining major influences present. Who controls the Media? Big Corporate. Again, we come back to cost/benefit for those in power. Church is a maverick variable– they are institutions not technically condoned by the bible that are effected by a conglomeration of Media programming and cater to the mainstream herd mentality (in order to keep the donations up) the latter of which is heavily effected by the Media.
This does not mean that Christianity or Christians are wrong or evil– True Christians, people who follow Christ's teachings, read the bible and seek out unmodified biblical documents to compare and contrast in their own minds are empowered individuals. They have choice, and they exercise it. So why Christianity and not, say, Judaism, or maybe Islam? Simple.
• It's widespread in the United States
• It's naturally xenophobic (i.e. One god before all others mentality)
• People accept it without question when it's doctrines are modified by people in power (Priests, Dream of the Rood, Pope, King James, Presidents)
What we have here in the United States is less Christianity, however, than a hybridized form of quasi-faith that people cling to for the following reasons:
• It's easy (Everybody's doing it.)
• It's the predominant religion of "Good Guys" in mainstream media today.
• It's all inclusive (Many people are Christian because they were "raised that way".)
There is nothing in here about personal empowerment. This new form of Christianity is in fact, anti-empowerment. It teaches us that Christ was an amazing man, but does not empower us to become like him. In fact, if you look closely, you will find that "Christian" has become more of a label than a religious bent– Science (as it stands now) predominantly discourages religion in all its forms, decrying anything "Miraculous" or "Magical" as false. Considering the influence science has over the minds of people (and the increasing correlation between a college education and a good job) and the division in society as a whole between "Science" and "God" (Rather like Republican and Democrat) we end up with three (predominantly) groups of people. Those who are effected solely by the media and this quasi religion (and decry science), those who are effected solely by the doctrines of science (and decry anything faith) and the biggest group of the three, those who stand in the middle, unsure, unwilling to completely trust either. None of these are empowered by their stance. They are instead bitterly divided against one another, each of the extremes with their own overwhelming, compelling evidences (where does this evidence ultimately come from?) rattling their cages on either side of the mainstream and scaring people into line. And so, the mainstream is put into a finely tuned balancing act.
By keeping mainstream society balanced where it is between faith and atheism, the individual's efficiency is increased. People have a god and a belief system to cling to when things get tough (i.e. through prayer) though science has cast enough doubt upon it (and the existence of god) to reduce it to a simple comfort mechanism. Sure, most people will say "I am Christian!" and defend the notion to the death no matter how "sinful" their lifestyle is. (this term is up for interpretation– many of the things that are considered sinful today were not so according to the teachings of Christ) but in the end, few people actually follow the teachings of Christ or show any sort of real "belief" in their faith beyond simply claiming it (it becomes a defense mechanism here – everybody's doing it, and it's safer to be part of the herd than apart from it)
So why the balancing act? Consider the fact that many philosophers have agreed that if it were absolutely proved that there is nothing "spiritual," no soul, nothing, that we are simply meat and bone and when we die we will be no more in any state, then society would be ungovernable. If this is your only life and then it's totally done, nothing, no more, who would want to be stuck where they are? If there are no consequences (except the physical – such as jail or death) then why not just go out and steal what you need, kill whoever gets in your way, run naked in the streets, break every commandment? It becomes "Why die sooner?" v.s. "Death comes anyway, have fun" very quickly.
So we have a god to keep the mainstream in check. When police and legal institutions aren't enough, we have someone unescapable at the end of the road in the terrifying domain of death that will judge you and commit you to an eternity of hellfire if you don't stand in line with everyone else. Now I'm not saying that there isn't such a god (if you want to believe in him) but I doubt his agenda (and measure of a good human being) is the same as Big Corporate's.
When these two ideas come together in the mainstream, we essentially end up with people confused and doubting that there is any sort of afterlife. This leads to carefully restrained atheist tendencies (i.e. impulsivity) without the chaotic nature of those who "know" there is nothing judging them. How does this manifest? Just look at what most people do their entire lives– They go to work, then they party, they forget about anything than what's right in front of them and just "go" until retirement (and/or death) claims them. They do not reach out and try to effect things, they are not empowered, and as any empowered individual will tell you, no form of prayer or ritual works unless you whole-heartedly know it will.
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