Humorist David Sedaris has some thoughts on what's in a name:
I never liked the term "coming out." Still, I did it. This was back in the 1970s. Now I'm having to do it all over again.
I'm 65 years old. I've been with the same guy for 31 years, and on this day I am announcing to the world that I am straight.
I haven't met anyone else, haven't fallen in love with a woman. I've simply done fighting the term "queer."
What bothers me is not that it used to be a slur. I just don't see why I have to be rebranded for the fourth time in my life.
I started as a homosexual, became gay, then LGBT, and now queer. And for what? Why the makeovers? And what will it be next? I read an interview with a woman who identifies as queer because she's tall. That's it — she's never had a relationship with another woman, doesn't care to for all I know. So, what does it mean that we're both suddenly queer? I'm not tall. Just the opposite. There are parking meters that stand higher than I do.
Like the term "Latinx," "queer" was started by some humanities professor, and slowly gathered steam. Then, well-meaning radio producers and magazine editors thought, Well, I guess that's what they want to be called now! But I don't remember any vote being taken.
I'm told that queer is about inclusion. It's an umbrella that lesbians and nonbinary people and bisexuals and tall women can all stand under. But why not just say, "I'm intersex," "I'm trans," "I'm a lesbian," etc. Why do we need an ever-changing umbrella? Is it just to make the parades easier?
It no longer matters what you are in practice, just how you identify. I'm going with heterosexual because, like the words Jewish or female, it rarely if ever changes. I need a resting place, and this is as a good a one as any.
So, from here on out, I'm as straight as they come! But, with a boyfriend.
For more info:
- "Happy-Go-Lucky" by David Sedaris (Little, Brown), in Hardcover, eBook and Audio formats, available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Indiebound
Story produced by Amy Wall. Editor: Joseph Frandino.
More from David Sedaris:
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