January 1, 2009

Self Portrait Day

When I was speaking of moving from the general to specific in a earlier post, I was thinking about moving away from all the instances out there that could be contrived as representative of queerness—that would mean rainbow flags, queer codes à la Dean Sameshima, feather boas, and the like—to my personal experience, which includes commercial sex establishments, public sex environments, various and sundry boys and men, social intercourse and consummation. So to put it more succinctly (and to partly quote Nicholas), moving from the muck of ossified identity politics and consumerism to the personal and experiential.

I would also agree completely that quoting clichés of homonormativity are leading to a dead end. In defense of the process, I would have to compare it to having my early sexual experiences. It wasn’t about acquiring a gay identity and then going out and having gay sex; I had some ill-defined feelings, and sex was a way to try it on 'to see if it fits.' Likewise was my experience of scanning the bandannas and photographing at Michael’s. Being that these recent posts illustrate a process, I agree with Nicholas that it’s best to look at queer abstraction as a strategy that is both an ‘away from’ and a ‘trying on.’

Mark Kingdon, the first boyfriend I lived with, would sprinkle glitter on the carpets after he vacuumed them. For a gay boy in his late teens, it was a way to play with (and express) his gay identity. I seriously doubt he sprinkles glitter on is carpets today.

From my perspective, the body and sexuality seem to me to be so inextricably intertwined, that it's hard to suss one without the other. The body and its sexuality can be seen as tools that DNA uses to perpetuate itself. In the case of queer bodies and sexualities, would we be the tools of venereal diseases? Not to disrespect queers; we're all necessary parts of the competitive biological mire that turns shit into soil into plants into animals, and back into dirt again.

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