At the Borders of Queer Nation
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There is a distinction that is not often made, for political reasons, although the language sometimes harbors it: that between the "natural," "true," sexual impulses and the community, identity, ideology, which are political. Ideally, they would be inextricably linked, the latter growing naturally out of the former1. Bisexuals sometimes feel a tension (not that lesbians or gay men never do) and negotiate for themselves categories like "sexual orientation" versus "sexual identity"; one of which is more real (it encompasses "the entire complexity of our experience"), the other which is more imprecise (read: not true) but safe and allows community and recognition at the cost of certain freedoms in self-definition and actions (Gibian 1992:8-10). For other bisexuals, their position outside of given identities allows them a certain kind of strategic (and possibly epistemological) advantage. The politics that do not differentiate orientation and identity, those that essentialize queerness through assertions of a natural identity "often deny their strategic character ...{they are} operating within Enlightenment standards of truth....{because} In the modern understanding, truth and strategy are opposed" (Phelan 1993:769) i.e., It is because gayness is a true natural trait, not a chosen political one, that it has strategic weight: it is non-political in this "modern" understanding.
  1. Except for the people who came to their sexualities by way of their politics. Friedland and Highleyman address this for feminist bisexuals; lesbian feminists have already addressed this otherwise. I don't know if it occurs in male spheres.

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