Once again, at Pride I ask myself, of what should we be proud?
Sexual orientation and gender are, despite continuing protestations to the contrary, how we are born, neither praise- nor blameworthy. We can, like all our neighbors of whatever identification, be proud of living productive lives, taking, should we choose, spouses, having, should we choose, children.
I had thought that most criticisms come from the outside, the straight community. But reading Diane and Jacob Anderson-Minshall’s Queerly Beloved: A Love Story Across Genders (see “Books”), I realized that not all queer folks are open to other queer folk they perceive as “not real,” or “too different” from themselves.
Queerly Beloved is a memoir of the Anderson-Minshalls’ journey during the past eight years, after Diane’s wife of fifteen years declared she was actually a man and wanted to transition. There are many facets to the book: Diane’s excesses (or were they?) of emotions and needs, Jacob’s fears for himself, and the overwhelming enormity of having one member of a dyad morph into someone altogether different and alien.
But for this piece, I’ll mention the queer resistance that Diane often encountered. Did she still have lesbian creds? Should she keep her position as editor of a national lesbian magazine? (Curve) Diane was continuing on, loving the spouse she has loved now for twenty-three years, yet she was coming under fire from the very people that she most expected to be supportive.
Jacob writes, “This double standard is offensive. We can’t demand the freedom of self-identification for ourselves and then not allow other people that same right. Like everyone else, Diane has the right to choose her own identities and proclaim, ‘This is who I am,’ and be taken at her word.
Writing about his own male identification Jacob asks, “Did Geppetto still see the toy he’d carved after Pinocchio was made into a real boy? Or had he always seen the real boy hiding beneath Pinocchio’s wooden features?”
This year, as we each realize and take pride in our own identities, let us also strive to feel equal pride in the unique identities of other queer selves, however different from our own they may be–hoping that they in turn, will show us the same respect.