Queerness goes way beyond #LoveIsLove.
With #LoveIsLove and the (rightful) focus on same-sex marriage across the world, it risks erasing those whose queerness is not remotely dependent upon love or romanticism at all. The pro-queer PR campaigns have sought to challenge old ideas around respectability. Queer people were made out to be perverts who were just looking for sexual fixes. The community was understandably desperate to change this and so there was a focus on marriage and showing queer people as wanting to settle down into alloromanticism and monogamy. Sex became a shunned subject and gender has often been avoided – with some even wanting trans people removed from the ‘LGBT community’. Yet, queerness exists beyond same-gender lifelong partnerships.
The campaign #LoveIsLove is erasive. It ignores those parts of the community for gender, and it also erases aromantics for whom love does not feature. Even at its core though, queer rights have never been about love. Queer rights are about the freedom to be who we are and who we want to be. It’s about the freedom of expression. The freedom over how we present, to live as our true gender, to have sex or not have sex ever without any judgement, to have partnerships without judgement but also to stay single if we so desire.
Love is one tiny element of queerness. Some queer people may never experience love, or experience love with someone of a different gender. Their queerness counts.
“Love is one tiny element of queerness”
The PR campaign around being queer makes sense. Love is a nice and quaint story to sell. Sure, there will still be those who want to combust over the thought of a Disney Princess who is homoromantic but in the main, it presents a nice and safe idea about what queerness is. The focus on it though has come at the expense of other queer people. It’s why trans rights lag far behind; as the community largely focused upon L and G rights despite the trans community having worse situations with regards to healthcare, mental health, legal recognition and homelessness. This was seen as a necessary choice by those with power in the community; trans rights appeared just too hard to sell.
It’s also a huge reason why aromanticism is never talked about. People who can’t feel love just don’t fit into that sweet narrative of two people of the same gender riding off into the sunset. Even bisexuality/romanticism and pansexuality/romanticism have been shafted. Their rights were left to be tugged along by the focus on L and G people, because people who could fall in love with cisgender people of a different gender were seen as those who risked diluting the message, so they were rarely spoken of, and the issues they faced were rarely addressed.
When we talk about queerness, let’s stop just thinking about love. There is so much more to queer identities than that. Our rights shouldn’t be dependent upon our potential for relationship statuses. They should be given because no matter who we love, or if we ever love at all, we deserve respect and liberty. The focus upon love isn’t so sweet when it risks holding back progress.
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