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The Dime
Was typing a bullshit post about group identities, and how strange they are. But every sentence I was typing left me completely unimpressed. Nothing new to say, nothing interesting to add. We identify because we need to, and we use whatever bonds we can. I just mention it because lately I find myself ridiculous for indentifying with other gay men, based solely on the fact that we like to have sex with men. We share nothing but that fact, and the circumstances that come with it. Yet a queer character in a movie will make me happy, a gay character in a book will thrill me. Hypocrite or survival tactic?

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in which I babble for a while

my roommate is taking a psychology class that discusses homosexuality yesterday. She suggested that the only thing homosexuals have in common (and thus, the only thing that separates them from heterosexuals and those who don't fall into either category) was choice of sexual partner. Her professor got all upset and said that that kind of thinking is what creates stereotypes. my roommate was very confused. I suggested that there is a cultural element that has grown up out of the fact that, for a long time(and continuing into the present in many ways) one WAS defined as a Homosexual, with that single characteristic dominating the way the entire person was viewed rather than simply the single category of sexual preference. No, you don't see heterosexuals defining themselves in the same way, because they have the power of 'the norm' on their side.

In short? Confusing, complicated, silly even, but probably not unjustified. And no, not hypocritical.

If I may briefly superimpose my own cultural issues...

I feel the exact same way about African-Americans. In a real-life community perspective I don't and haven't found much kinship among people of a similar skin color, but when I see intelligent black characters in games or movies, I want to like them and find kinship. I don't consider it hypocracy or a survival tactic - having or not having a "ghetto pass" (some sort of actively maintained credibility in the community) doesn't confirm or deny who we really are. Not associating with the community doesn't make me less black or you less gay. The community as it is just doesn't work for us, so we've found our community elsewhere. That's the way I see it.

And what about the queer characters in a movie or book that are similar to ones in real life that you may not identify or get along with?

Not hypocrisy. Survival tactic? I can see that.

There are certain groupings that seem to have high levels of overlap (paganism, SCA, and gaming is a trifecta I see coming together in a lot of individuals, for example). Others, not so much (I had a really hard time feeling any sort of kinship with my classmates in graduate school, despite the fact that we were all studying planty things and often came to grad school for the same reasons).

Just because there's low overlap doesn't mean there's no identification there. I mean, really. At a party I find a biologist these days, and I feel like I can actually relax and not have to think when I'm talking to them about work, because we both speak the same language, tend to have similar difficulties with the outer world, etc.

There are certain places we tend to end up by being x, y, or z, as much as we theoretically would like to believe we can be anything. Even if those places are as simple as being on the wrong side of creepy fundie activists who scream you're going to hell for being yourself, having been there colors the rest of one's existence, and affects us on many levels. Knowing that other people have been to the same places can have a huge impact for some of us, especially if we discover that it can be survived or even benefited from somehow. Some people need to surround themselves with similarity to feel and/or actually be safe. Others do not.

The experience of being silenced in some way has major impact. Seeing that silence broken by someone else is just as powerful, or more so.

I'm happy if I see a female in videogames who isn't a helpless moron or a ridiculously-proportioned bimbo. The game could kinda suck, but still, there's an actual WOMAN in it.

We like to be represented, even in the tiniest way. We like to see evidence that a larger world acknowledges we exist, that we have some part in things. There's nothing weird about this. Most often when we are given a voice we talk about what happened to us, what matters to us, and film and television are voices too - much louder and more far-reaching than our own. If we see a shadow of ourselves out there in those voices, that means there's someone else out there who thought someone like us was worthwhile enough to mention. There are of course issues later on with "that portayal sucks balls" and "that's so unrealistic!" but really, I imagine it this way:

Ten years ago, the only rea; notable women in videogames were Samus Aran (whose gender some didn't even know about), the laughable Lara Croft, and Princess Peach. Ten years ago, how many homosexual men were portrayed without a hand-flip and a ridiculous lisp, or homosexual women as large, ugly, angry butches? We were stuck on stereotypes, which - I neglected to mention before - can hurt worse than a lack of being featured. But things are changing. SLOWLY, but still (and I would say that sadly, in some ways, we've been moving backwards in the last few years, thanks to the current bullshit administration of fucktards).

Anyhow. Long story short, I know what you mean. ::hug:: I don't think you're a hypocrite and I don't think so much that it's a survival tactic - or at the very least only a little bit of one. I think it's just something that people do.

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