“Queer people….- I would be fine” (Claire, 32). Personally, whenever I see a person who’s gay or belongs to the LGBTQ community complaining, I usually question myself that is our society is actively oppressing and persecuting these people or if are they just exaggerating their situations. And there isn’t exactly an answer for that because it could potentially go both ways. This passage shed light on this matter based on Claire’s perspective, which allowed me to put on a theory that in a general context, most people accept heteropatriarchy as the standardized gender system for a functional society. Being heterotic, this system labels the construct of queerness as deviants, but not to an extreme where it becomes a “must be executed when seen” type of crime, but rather systematic hatred and violence towards queerness. In this passage, I think Claire somewhat implies that this heteropatriarchy system is not so bad considering their scenarios, which queer groups are powerless against – to directly improve or change into a better system, which I believe to be delusional to achieve considering nowadays context. The idea here is not to support such a system, but what’s important is how one with queerness could keep their identity and be safe, continuing to exist in this system, which Claire considered as a balance. The disruption of such balance, according to Eli Claire, could cause a “real possibility of homophobic violence”; which ultimately leads me to Claire’s perspective on identity. In Claire’s context of identifications within this passage, it seems to me that one’s identity is not decided by their nature; and although identities are performative, it is also not decided by certain performances. Identities are ultimately decided by the context of the social structure that one is living in. In Claire’s case, his identity must be faked and decided in his town in order to avoid unnecessary automatic violence, because, say if you’re violently assaulted by a homophobe which could potentially result in death, there wouldn’t be any identities left for you to decide because you’re already dead meat.
One thought on “Eli Claire’s perspective on how identities are decided in society.”
The idea of navigating systems of oppression as someone with a marginalized is a complex one, which I think Claire and this blogpost bring to light. On one hand, the goal would seem to be to dismantle systems of oppression, but on the other, we must learn how to navigate within these systems to survive. The way this interacts with identity, indubitably defines the queer experience in many ways and varies depending on the safety of the space/society.
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