Acta Cogitata: An Undergraduate Journal in Philosophy

Article Title

Queerness Without Binary


Under the tentative definition Maren Behrensen offers in “Born that Way? The Metaphysics of Queer Liberation,” “queer” refers to acts, practices, and identifications that stand in opposition to the prevailing ideology of sex dichotomy, gender dichotomy, and the primacy of heterosexuality. In this article, I will be arguing that this definition risks reifying these respective structures as necessary to the existence of queer identity. If “queer” is only defined by its relation to gender dichotomy, sex dichotomy, and the primacy of heterosexuality, then the term is dependent on the existence of these structures in order to make sense. I maintain that queer identity can exist without sex and gender dichotomy, as well as the primacy of heterosexuality, as a committed, devotional practice of impression fluidity and critical curiosity. By impression fluidity, I mean a dynamic transformation and rearrangement of romantic and sexual performances, appearances, and behaviors that communicate gender or biological sex, in accordance with the queer agent’s current social desires. By critical curiosity, I mean the preliminary developmental process of exploring and acclimating to unfamiliar romantic and sexual performances, appearances, and behaviors. In this way, queer becomes a volitional identity that is taken upon for the purpose of liberation from body ignorance.

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