Letter 1: Conceptualising Queerness – thinking on race, sexuality and gender identity

I know that it’s not always the best idea to put your business out there and I’m already feeling anxious about the hate I might get from queerphobes. I thought I’d write to the people who share the same feelings as me because personally informed work is the most genuine work. So here goes my contribution to queer visibility and archive. Even though I know that “HIS”tory will always write us out.

Here we go.

To those who look and feel the way I do.

I’ve seen a lot of debate on the TL about using the word “Queer” and I thought I’d share my thoughts on why I prefer identifying as “QUEER” in terms of both my sex and gender. I know many people separate sexuality and gender; but when I think of my sexuality and gender, I consider them to be fluid and interconnected.

I really envy the people who have always known, felt or been able to pinpoint what their sexuality and gender identity are, and how they feel about it. As much as I now enjoy how fluid mine are, I still sometimes question them and wonder if I’m “queer enough”.

So all my life I had always known that gender and sexuality were fluid but I had never had the words to express or even conceptualize the two concepts. Going to the schools I went to I had always thought I was cishet; because I had boyfriends and crushes on cis men, but something always felt off. There are many cis men that I had been with that I thought were the love of my life and I genuinely loved and cared for them. But at some point or another everything always came back to sex, and that’s when the discomfort came.

At first I thought maybe it’s because I come from a family and society which heavily pushes propaganda on saving your virginity and staying pure for marriage. And even though I was not sold, I thought maybe subconsciously I felt that way too. However even kissing a cis man was uncomfortable for me. I thought maybe I just don’t know how to kiss, and after kissing a lot of cis men it became a little bearable, and there were probably only two out of many where it was actually enjoyable.

But I was so confused for the longest time because I felt that “I really love this person in more than a platonic way, and very much want to spend the rest of my life with them, but I just don’t want them to touch me”.

When it came to womxn on the other hand, I thought the feelings I had were just intense admiration. And I just really couldn’t make sense of the very Queer sexual dreams I had was having and I thought ignoring them would make them go away.

It’s only when I got to second year of University, when I got involved deeply in FMF (Fees Must Fall) where I felt like I was ready to explore the feelings. And this is because for the first time in my life I was in black only spaces. And being in a black only space is what allowed me to fully be myself with myself. What was so beautiful was that coming into my queerness happened at the same time as learning to love my blackness.

My parents worked their asses off to make sure my siblings and I had the best possible shot at this life thing, by getting us into ex-model C schools; and I will always be grateful to them for that. But going to schools like that made me incredibly insecure about my race, culture, gender, body, hair, and sexuality. Which is why being in a black-only space was a culture shock.

So,  even though FMF broke and traumatized me in ways I am still yet to explore and accept. It also was the fire that burnt me, and forced me to rise out of the ashes of brokenness into the light of blaqueerness and self-cav.

Through FMF; I realized that my feelings of attraction for trans+, trans non-binary, and cis-womxn were feelings that were more than just admiration. It was in this space that realized that for me; how another person identifies and looks like, does not determine my attraction to them. Nor does it affect my sexuality. If I like you, I like you and I will always respect what your identity.

So in terms of gender; at the moment I identify as a cis-womxn, because even though I don’t really feel like one. Because of how I look, and how the world has already chosen for me, and how it treats me based on how I look, I am okay with that label… But, expressively, in terms of gender, QUEER is how I feel.

Kindest and Queerest Regards

D.

Find Dimakatso Nchodu on Twitter at @Adv_Nchodu and also check out @LettersToQueers

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