Identity Issues

Identities are complex, Gentle Reader. How do we ever learn who we are, or how to accept who we are? It’s a cultural necessity to wear a mask, and sometimes, we lose track of the face underneath that mask. Personally, having viewed my father’s journey, I’ve always refused to wear one – and have accepted a respectable amount of flak for my non-performance. I often invoke the ghosts of June and Ward Cleaver, Gentlefolk, but we are called to behave like their descendants. Despite selfies and new slang, despite the feminist revolution and the Summer of Love, despite Stonewall and all that came after, we fall into old patterns. And that’s alright – if it’s authentic.

june and ward

Pictured: Fiction.

Recently, a local community figure, Little Bear Schwarz, came out again as Cis, and previously she had identified as genderqueer. Ms. Capere and I got into a bit of a conversation about it, both of us taking different positions as the night went on. What I took away from the evening – and what I’ve felt for quite some time – is that identity is fluid. As we learn, as we grow, what fit at one time in our lives might be utter anathema later on.

just try on a thousand different personalities

I grew out of being a racist fuckhead, and I utterly regret the episode. I’ve grown into a true Bohemian – a penniless writer who paints in parks at the weekend, has grown more comfortable with casual relationships, and whose manuscripts drive him mad. I’ve recently come out as Genderqueer, or maybe Genderfluid – I’m not entirely sure.

Moulin Rouge

Whatever this is.

It’s alright, when you come out, to not know exactly what your identity is. It’s okay to boldly, defiantely, proclaim your identity and then later modify who or how you are. It really is! These things are fluid and do change; my ex-husband used to be bi, after all. It’s perfectly acceptable to say “Well, I might be this” or to say ” I AM this!” and then later completely turn about face. We learn about ourselves. We grow. We experiment, and we experience new things that wake us to new horizons. And if we support people exploring their identities to experiment, to come out as gay or lesbian or bi or trans, as unsure, as possibly bi or pan or agender or genderqueer or genderfluid – if they later change, modify, or elaborate on how they identify, we wouldn’t censure them.


So why should we if someone who was questioning decides that they’re cis, or straight? That is to say, if we as a community support those who explore, who question – when they decide that they don’t identify with us, that they identify as straight or cis, should we censure them for that? After all, we support them when they don’t know where they’ll fall. If one winds up being wrong, or if one feels like a particular identity no longer applies, why should we judge? If we accept that gender and sexuality are fluid, and encourage people to explore who they are, we must also accept that sometimes people swing back across that white picket fence. Right? Ms. Capere and I were unable to settle the matter that night – perhaps you can help us, in the comments.

About Ty DeLyte

Madame DeLyte has suffered a grave disappointment - YET AGAIN - and still believes that freedom, beauty, and truth are what's valuable, rather than vulgar cash. He'd add love to that list - but, well, what can he say about love?
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4 Responses to Identity Issues

  1. SIna Mashek says:

    If someone re-identifies as straight or Cis, we should not be down on them about it. They questioned, they viewed from a new angle. This is what frustrates me the most about LGBTQIA community: Cis (especially hetero Cis) persons are cast as this ugly thing (isn’t that what we try to get away from, ourselves?) when really, they are just *some* types of identification.

    Just because it’s the “norm” and seen as the “default” does not mean we should ostracize them or think ill. We should be congratulating them in the way we congratulate those who “come out” and declare their identity. There is no shame in being Cis, just as there is no shame in being Trans or non-binary.

    Everybody changes and everybody generally accepts this. Why can’t they also accept that part of this change is how one identifies their self?

    As a community, I feel like while we do not want to be judged, we judge harshly anybody who identifies as Cis/hetero/not what we identify as. 😦

  2. mousegoddess says:

    I think the community as a whole is incredibly judgmental. Homosexuals are very frequently judgy towards bisexuals (I don’t want to say it’s typical…but it is accepted). People who fall on the a spectrums get eyerolls and scoffing. I’ve said it before and I will likely say it again, for a community that has put up with all the bs we have…there should be more inclusiveness. More acceptance. Goddamnit, there should be more fucking LOVE (uh, fucking is not used as the verb here).
    That said, I think the reaction to fluid sexuality and gender in the situations mentioned comes from a different place. I mean, not universally, a lot of it is that judginess. But…there is a young man we both know who would change his sexuality to hetero if it was AT ALL possible. You know the circumstances. And I sincerely doubt he’s the only one. So I think that some of the negative reaction might come from this feeling of “it’s not fair”. Because even if we accept and embrace and love who we are…there’s no denying that the cis-hetero path would have fewer hurdles.

  3. Pingback: Post the Sixty Third: Pride Recap | Whimsical Adventures of the Reverend Doctor

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