Author: Shrimp Teeth
Exploring queerness, polyamory, and sexuality.
Queerness – especially in media – is so often anchored to heteronormativity.
Most of the “representation” we see revolves around coming out and ultimately being accepted by straight people. But real queer experience mostly exists apart from, not in relation to, straightness.
I don’t define my queerness FOR straight people.
I reject the idea that I *need* their approval since that ultimately gives them the power to leverage my fundamental and unchangeable identity.
My life is occasionally disrupted, but ultimately doesn’t involve straightness.
The issue with anchoring is that we end up locked into tropes and limit the range of stories we’re allowed to tell.
My art is queer BECAUSE I’m queer. Queer art doesn’t need to always be about defining or coming to terms with queerness. I have. There’s way more to my experience.
When most queer movies/ shows are about repressing queerness or struggling with acceptance, we start to view ourselves only through that lens.
Coming out is just a fraction, just the beginning, of what it’s actually like to be queer. It shouldn’t make up 90% of stories about us.
What I love about Drag Race, compared to other queer shows, is that we see queer people doing stuff. We see talented queers with artistic passions, hanging out together, and talking about everyday shit. Acceptance is a minor topic, not the central point or focus. Far more interesting.
I keep saying I want to watch Lesbian HGTV, trans Master Chef, etc. Queers are dimensional people! We have interests, talents, passions, and lives that have fuck-all to do with explaining to straight people that we’re queer. Yet we rarely see our fullness overtly explored in media.
While I see a place for shows like Heartstopper – it’s good for teens to see queer teens – it’s also fucking boring.
It once again convinces mainstream audiences that BEING queer is a plot in itself.
It simultaneously trivializes our experience and sets the bar for acceptance.
This current media representation is having a pretty deep impact on actual queer culture. As we gain more visibility, we’re forced into mainstream assimilation, and our reliance on each other (and counterculture movements as a whole) weakens.
Pride becomes rainbow capitalism.
We need a level of acceptance – ie. WE SHOULD ALL HAVE FUCKING BASIC RIGHTS – but there’s also more to the queer community.
Queer culture and history are radical, richly connected, and necessary for change. If we lose ourselves in an attempt to be accepted, we’ve gone against our interests.
It’s not just about having queer characters in media. HOW we are represented matters.
We deserve to create art that reflects ALL of our experiences, not just the ones that impact straights.
Simply BEING queer isn’t enough of a plot, nor is slapping a rainbow on a logo.
Get more from Sam by following the Shrimp Teeth Instagram
Sam is a sex educator and artist who explores queerness, polyamory, and sexuality through their work. She’s passionate about exploring ways to broaden relationship structures to foster more connections between people. They use art and illustration as part of their education process.
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