Am I Queer Enough?

Identifying as queer means that someone experiences their gender, romantic attraction, sex development, and / or sexuality as outside the heteronormative, cisgender binaries.

So, you think you’re queer?

Are you sure?

You see, when someone asks you if you are sure of something, it is almost automatic for our mind to contest that certainty. Are you sure your favourite colour is blue and not green? How are you sure? One of the most intrinsic threats to our sense of self, perhaps, is this contestation. In order to search for a resolute yes, your mind looks for evidence through a map of information and experiences, of images, anecdotes, references, role models and much more. The thing about this map though, is that it has been developed in a space that is largely heteronormative. It has grown up with boxes filled with paperwork on what it means to be a man, a woman (period); to be manly or feminine (period); to love a person of the opposite sex (period). It holds few to nil references that normalise a phenomenon that does not subscribe to the binary, whether it be pop culture idols or literature. Over time, you may realise that you don’t necessarily fit in these boxes and this paperwork. Yet, the bureaucracy of this heteronormative society that influences our own development of self demands that we have answers- it demands concrete paperwork. It demands, in subtle and explicit ways, clear definitions of and explanations for who you are in order to keep the heteronormative structure alive.

It is often this demand that leads to a commonly heard experience of “Queer Imposter Syndrome”. An imposter syndrome is an experience of feeling fraudulent. It makes you feel inadequate and dishonest to who you say you are, and makes you persistently doubt yourself. If you were to fill out a form that says “queer”, you might not be able to answer all questions or check all the boxes. And so, the feeling of not being queer enough kicks in- whether it is the lack of real life references for what it means to be queer, or contrastingly, the abundance of expectations to be a certain way now that you say you are queer. Often, this doubt is also the result of internalised prejudice and stereotypes against sexualities and gender expression that is not heterosexual or cisgendered.

But that’s the thing about queerness- it can’t be boxed up. There is nothing concrete, for there is nothing that is absolute. Despite the understandable need to gain some “clarity” on what you make of your experience of queerness, there is no authority to say who you are except for yourself. Being queer is an active resistance to being boxed up again; it is an active disruption to this heteronormative structure that places an imaginary authority that dictates terms on what should and should not be, what is enough and what is not. Being queer is being far from this structure. Everything is play, and so, everything is free. There are no binaries and there is no bureaucratic machinery to demand explanations and confirmations. There is freedom to just be.

So, are you wondering if you are queer enough?

Who’s to say you’re not?


Author: Manasi, Counselling psychologist.

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