There have been a few occurrences in the last year-ish that have had me thinking more and more about what parts of my identity I think about the most, am the most proud of, and most want others to recognize. One example of this was a conversation with a professor about being openly queer in (science & engineering) academia – I recall her saying that she felt more comfortable meeting new colleagues when she was in a relationship, because she could reference “my partner” and thereby indicate that she was queer. She said she didn’t like it when people assumed she was straight. Another was a conversation with a friend about what we intentionally broadcast about ourselves by how we dress – I realized I derive an inordinate amount of satisfaction from tee shirts with specialized geek culture references, for instance.
It makes sense to me that the parts of my identity that directly align with privilege (white, cis-gender, able-bodied, etc) don’t mean very much to me, in terms of pride. I don’t think about them constantly because I’m not forced to think about them, and while I mention them in spaces where privilege and perspective are a regular topic of discussion, I’m not emotionally attached to having people know. It is very important to me, however, that I am recognized as being a lot of other things – some of which are on the crap end of various axes of privilege (female, bi, etc), and some of which are closer to value-neutral in US society (gamer, engineer, etc – and I say ‘closer to’ because I don’t think truly neutral identities exist). I’ve been getting more and more curious about where that pride came from, because it doesn’t necessarily correlate to skill level (in the case of subcultures that involve display of skill) or depth of engagement.
So I ask you all: What aspects of your identity – whether intrinsic or chosen – mean the most to you? What do you most want others to recognize? Are there any patterns in the nature of those attributes? How do you display or communicate those aspects of your identity to others?
The Afternoon Inqueery (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Queereka community. Look for it to appear on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, at 3pm ET.