Finding Queer

Avid readers of this blog (if such things exist) will know that I’ve always had an uncomfortable relationship with ‘queer’ and its connotations but who would think I’d find it and make peace with it on the other side of the world?

Each year I’m contacted by around 5 or 6 students all wanting me to ask their seemingly original questions for their seemingly original dissertation on queer theory, because what the world needs is more forgotten paper with my thoughts on it. 

I think my blasé approach to queer is generational – I’m a postmodern post-Queer-as-Folk faggot that hasn’t ever really had to fight for equality, New Labour and my gay Grandad’s (by this I mean two generations before me) handed that to me on a plate. For my generation queer is slightly nostalgic, belonging to the queens who came before me - those brave homos and their friends who lived through / with AIDs, Outrage! and the sexual equality that came after 1967.

I don’t identify as queer because it’s defined by sexuality and as bizarre as this sounds I’m not a gay man. I don’t feel any affinity to a dysfunctional community that promotes a warped body culture and pseudo masculinity. I mean how do I, a fat femme engage with a group of people that promote ‘no fats, no femmes’ as their slap line?

Before coming away I spoke to Milk Presents about their upcoming queer theatre symposium – we quickly realised that queer arts in the UK is still largely dominated by white gay men (most of whom wear purple – who knew?). Queer excites me when like my friend, photographer Holly Revell is owned by a 5ft, working class, heterosexual woman who feels alienated by modern female culture – this is what I think dissertations should be written on. 

Arriving in Sydney this week I was a bit sulky, the reason? I’m booked to perform at a queer arts festival and nothing annoys me more than festivals for gay people by gay people because as a reluctant gay person all I have to talk about is being gay to a group of people who are comfortably gay. It’s all far too gay for my liking and yes I’m fully aware this is internalised homophobia.
I seem to vaguely know lots of people in this town and so my iCal became full of coffee dates and disco invites quite quickly but I wasn’t prepared for a few encounters that would change the previous paragraphs of ranting.

Since arriving here I’ve been amongst self proclaimed, proud queers – they’ve bought me macaroons, walked me home – some have even driven me home, they’ve taken me for longs walks, pizza and beer, introduced me to kids dressed in fairy lights, drank tequila with me and most important of all spoke about their relationship to gay and queer. 

Body culture here is really fucked up because its so hot no one is wearing clothes – the gay gays are obsessed with muscled tits, hairless bodies and the aforementioned pseudo masculinity - those who don’t own that body or those ideals are side lined but they are happy to be and live in what they call the 'Sydney Bubble'.

Last night someone threw a dinner party for me because I was in town – they’ve never met me and probably have no idea who I am but they opened up their home, fed me and thanked me for coming to Australia. The extremely open generosity I’ve found from the queers here has touched me because I think I’ve truly found a queer community - these are not queer people, this is a queer community.

They are not concerned with their relationship to queer; they are concerned about each other. My hosts last night said the next time I am in town they will put on an event “…you know it won’t be a big thing, it’ll be community”. 

Later on whilst chaperoning me to my next destination someone said ‘your part of the global family, of course we’re going to look after you’ and finally I thought I could be one of these queers.

I’m not sure why I’ve written this blog or if I have a witty last paragraph round up to sum up my thoughts but as corny as it sounds Sydney will always be where I found a version of queer I'm happy to be apart of. London.... we've got some talking to do.

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