A community united? Understanding the role of gender and sexuality in the Queer Community

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Leger, Sarah
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Mount Saint Vincent University
Excerpt from introduction: "Every year in June, communities all around the world stop to celebrate the anniversary of the Stonewall riots that occurred in New York in 1969. When the police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar, that fateful night, queer men and women rebelled against the authorities and created a massive stir in the city for days afterwards. This famous event is world-renowned and has even been referred to as the “…birth of the gay liberation movement” (Hall, 2010, pp. 546). While nearly everyone is aware of the Stonewall riots, they are especially important to members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community (LGBTQ), as they signify the turning point from secrecy and oppression to openness and acceptance. However, the LGBTQ community is not a homogenous one, and the riots and other liberation movements have affected members in vastly different ways. Although the term “community” connotes a certain sense of solidarity and togetherness, past research has shown that this may not be the reality, as LGBTQ members have been found to judge other members based on factors such as gender identity, gender performance, or race (Berkowitz, Belgrave, & Halberstein, 2007; Giwa & Greensmith, 2012). Therefore, I have chosen to explore how queer men, queer women, and transidentified individuals perceive and negotiate the gender order of the community. In this same context, I am also interested in determining the extent to which a sense of male privilege exists within this community. My aim is to contribute to the literature that relates to the LGBTQ community and how members of that community perceive and interact with fellow, but differently identified, members. It is important that we promote acceptance between LGBTQ members as well as the acceptance of LGBTQ members if we are to continue to progress. There are still tensions and struggles that exist within this community, and progress is not a naturally occurring movement, nor is it ever guaranteed. It is easy to look back and think that women would have been allowed to vote and formal segregation would have ended at some point, regardless of the effort put into these movements. This is certainly not the case, and the same can be said about the queer liberation: it is not an inevitable or linear movement and it cannot be treated as such."
Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgendered, Queer (LGBT) community , Social groups , Queer liberation