At the Borders of Queer Nation
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I am. - Prologue
My presence is the starting point for this paper{nodestring}. It is as one of the lesbian, bisexual, gay and scholarly voices through which the dialogue of sexualities and identities continues here. They are the voices of people who identify through their sexuality and often find that this requires they live "an intensely examined life." (Weise 1992) Though they express a great variety of viewpoints, I won't pretend that they represent all non-heterosexual people, nor that I give an unbiased view of their range.1 Those who get published are likely to be the ones who have done the most recognizably political and philosophical thought, so the tone and focuses of discussion may be slightly different from that of an average "actually experienced" lesbian, bisexual or gay life. However, a very common form of talking/writing identity, especially in this genre, is the personal story.. the discourse is firmly rooted in the lives it springs from, even as it shapes and determines the possibilities of those lives.2

  1. There are definitely people for whom sexuality is not a political issue or an important part of their identity. I would venture that there are also people who are not heard, often because they are uneducated or poor. Their experience and strategies of identification may well be different from those expressed in publications. However, since they don't enter into the dialogue, it goes on as if they did not exist. This silence points up the fact that the identities at stake are far from homogeneous, and that the dialectic of sexualities exists within, not outside of, the hegemonic system.
  2. The life from which this paper was written had never strayed very far from the relative safety of politically liberal surroundings, nor conciously been subject to discrimination on the basis of sexuality. This, and the fact that I am young and have not been party to more difficult periods of political struggle, may make me more critical of lesbian and gay politics in some passages than I would feel appropriate in less supportive environments.
    Now that i have spent some time in "the real world" (No thank you!), i may be modifying these viewpoints some. I'll see when i get to them!
    This is also specifically about identities in the United States.

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