Join us as we (David, TJ, and our friends Will and Michelle—who are asexual/queer) explore ideas of what “queerness” means. While we can’t come to one single definition, we hit on a kaleidoscope of topics as we explore the weirdness inherent in the word “queer,” the queering influence of Christianity, queerness and the arts, and ontological questions about queer sexual orientation.
A Few Quick Definitions for Your Optional Reference
asexuality: a lack of sexual attraction or desire for sexual activity (see Wikipedia)
ontology: the philosophical study of the nature of being, what it means to be; the nature of inherent personhood.
autognosis: self-knowledge; the understanding of one’s own psychodynamics, character, nature, abilities, etc.
theosis: the process of humans becoming more like God (this theological concept is prominent in particular in Eastern Orthodox Christian theology)
Conversation with Michelle and Will:
1:30 - Introductions
3:50 - Queer as a neutral word for “weird”
9:25 - Early and medieval Christianity—Origen, consecrated virgins, Franciscans, and Anchorites
16:00 - Queer theory—destruction of cultural norms, avoiding oppression
18:10 - Queerness, the arts, and avoiding “the game”
(TJ’s definition of “queer” at 20:15: “a special affinity for people of the same sex”)
23:50 - Self knowledge (“autognosis”): becoming more ourselves, more like Christ
29:00 - Self creation: identity narcissism in our current culture
30:50 - Michelle on art that knows oneself, community, and God
33:10 - TJ on difficulties with ontology and gender norms
Further Thoughts from David and TJ:
38:35 - Ontology: queerness as inherent vs. queerness as essence (i.e., an established trait vs a core, created good)
42:10 - Defining queer: “same-sex affinity” vs. “challenging dominant cultural norms”
49:15 - On the social construction of (queer) identity categories
55:15 - Why “queer” should not be synonymous with “broken”
Links and References
“S04E10 | Collin, Michelle, & Will on Being Ace (w/ Grant)” (Life on Side B podcast)
Article: “Is Theatre Really Queer?”
Book: On the Incarnation by Athanasius (read online)
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