Friday, September 14, 2007

What is queer spirituality?

I created this blog as a place to discuss queer spirituality and the arts. I realized that more explanation was needed when I got an email from a straight ally saying:

I understand, a little bit, the current need to have, for instance, “queer spirituality.” But I want to say that every time I am faced with that “Keep out” sign (your blog's description means it's not for me), it makes it harder to feel like I can be in loving community with gays.

This comment inspired me to add the phrase “open to all” to this blog’s header.

Queer spirituality is indeed the focus of this blog and my website, but I always intended to welcome ANYONE to engage the subject, including straight people. It’s sort of like how I as a white woman was interested in African American literature and took a class where I was welcome to read and discuss it. Actually the word "queer" is considered to be relatively inclusive.

While “lesbian” and “gay” have specific meanings, almost anyone who feels different can identify as “queer.” The Wikipedia has an elaborate definition of queer that includes “asexual and autosexual people as well as well as gender normative heterosexuals whose sexual orientations or activities place them outside the heterosexual-defined mainstream.”

The use of the word “queer” has changed a lot in recent years, as I wrote in my coming-out guide, Hide and Speak. Here’s an excerpt:

The word “queer,” once a terrible insult, was reclaimed for popular use. The process began in 1990 when activists founded Queer Nation to force people to confront their homophobia. The group caused controversy even in the LGBT community by using such radical tactics as “outing” closeted public figures, staging public kiss-ins and using the in-your-face slogan, “We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it.” Queers became so acceptable that universities started offering degrees in the new field of “queer studies.” In 2003, the term got the ultimate stamp of mass-market approval when a TV series called “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” became a surprise hit.

One thing that’s queer about queer spirituality is that it defies definition. Spirituality is about personal faith, in contrast to the more institutional approach of religion. In my view, queer spirituality is an alternative to mainstream religion, rooted in the personal experience of LGBT people and anyone else who identifies as “queer.”

Anyway, you don’t even have to feel queer at all to read and make comments on this blog.

1 comment:

Alexandra said...

You have a really good thing going here. I hope you keep blogging!