Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Comment of the Week: Jessica Max Stein on the Barbershop Queer Issue

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | June 05, 2011 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, The Movement, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: feminism, financial costs, gender, gender identity, Jessica Max Stein, LGBT civil rights, queer, queer issue, Rev. Emily C. Heath

rainbow_umbrella.jpgOn Rev. Emily C. Heath's Barbers, Gender, & Why $5 Matters, in which she discusses being charged $5 in a barbershop more than a man for the same haircut, noting that it's a queer issue. Some Projectors said it's not a queer issue. Various explanations were offered as to why not: gender discrimination, sex discrimination, poor shopping skills.

Jessica Max Stein's comment said it is a queer issue.

"Queer" denotes more than desire. The Rev's queer/butch gender expression means that she trangresses gender norms and assumptions in a barbershop, that her "simple haircut" complicates the assumptions behind a "man's" haircut (simple) and a woman's (an extra $5 worth of effort).

I will never stop being surprised at how many Bilerico comments boil down to, "I don't want to be an ally to this person! Our struggles don't overlap!" when so frequently they do.

What say you Projectors? Is the Reverend's bad hair experience a queer issue? What is a "queer" issue, anyway -- is it anything affecting people not conforming to sexual stereotypes, even heterosexuals, or is it something more specific to the gay community in the realm of being gay and gayness? Is there a problem with lumping all gay people into the larger group that we might call "queer", or are the gays just one member of the big happy queer umbrella family?


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Didn't expect to see this! What fun, Jillian!

I wouldn't necessarily say that a queer issue is "anything affecting people not conforming to sexual stereotypes, even heterosexuals." Key to me in this example is that Heath identifies as a member of the LGBTQ community, so her gender expression (including her "man's" haircut) is an extension/representation of that, regardless of who the barber thinks is in her bed.

"Queer" is tricky because in one sense it's an umbrella term and in another it's a very specific identity, much like "transgender," which is probably why in both cases people who don't identify with the specific
identity resent being "lumped" under the umbrella.

Though I love debating about where to draw the line, I'm a big believer in self-identification. No one wants, or deserves, labels slapped on them that don't feel right, even if done in the name of alliance. I use "queer" because to me it feels like liberation, though it may feel like oppression to others. May we all find a word and community that gives us room to be who we are/want to be!

Jessica, if one believes in self-identification as the only legitimate identifying method, can one use *any* label that is a group identifier if there are any who object to its use?

Oh wow, honey, you ARE a lawyer! That is not what I said, and certainly not what I believe. What kind of community and movement would we have in that case?

Jessica, if one believes in self-identification as the only legitimate identifying method, can one use *any* label that is a group identifier if there are any who object to its use?

You can call yourself an elf if you want. It's your damn prerogative, and to hell with the idea that we can even be "grouped".

Individual experience tends to get underplayed, and we should move into a society less concerned with treating people as members of groups and more toward what the person goes by.

If people want to agree to share identification, by all means. Don't assume that just because they possess some sexual orientation that they agree to the term, though -- much less marginalize them as "few".


I appreciated Jessica's commentary. I was struck by some of the article's comments, which I could only summarize as "Adventures in Missing the Point". (Really, you've read the article and then write to complain not about discrimination, but my willingness to pay more than $10 for a haircut?) But Jessica got it; the queer issue, the intersection of identities, the overlap of our struggles. I was struck by how much various types of privilege (gender in particular) impacted who said what.

As a gay colleague said to me, Rev. Emily, upon my revelation that I have poor interior decorating skills, my membership card should be revoked. Perhaps poor shopping skills should bear the same penalty? (Of course, I am merely jesting -- being charged more merely because of one's sex is wrong. Wait, were you charged more for your sex, or your gender? Oh, this is confusing.)

Paige Listerud | June 5, 2011 10:02 PM

I hereby declare everyone's bad hair issue to be a queer issue. So there.

Eric Payne | June 6, 2011 1:41 AM

So, since Donald Trump is having a few decade's worth of Bad Hair Days, is that a queer issue, too?

Eric Payne | June 6, 2011 12:49 AM

All I did was ask her why she didn't ask the price before she had the cut. That's all. I even AGREED with her the price differential, for essentially the same service, shouldn't be tolerated and should be called out.

Even if she did know the price prior to the cut, and decided to get her hair cut there, anyway - hey, it's STILL WRONG for that price differential based on gender to exist.

I only asked the question because it seemed odd to me, and in contrast to human nature. How would she have reacted if, after the haircut, she discovered the shop had a policy that all haircuts, regardless of gender, paid the same price... $100.00?

So, Eric, you agree it's a "queer issue"?

Eric Payne | June 6, 2011 1:35 AM

It's a discrimination issue based on gender. Being the only guy in five kids, only 8 years between oldest and youngest child, I learned very early in life two vital lessons: Girls can hit just as hard as guys, but 90% of the time, they're going to get away with it, and;

Everyone from toy-makers to publishers are going to try to continue a stereotype, and get their consumers to pay extra for the "pleasure" of being that stereotype.

Girls shirts button on the left, so they're $10 more than a boy's shirt. T-shirts made for girls have darts (whether they're even old enough to have a bust or not), so they're $5 more for a 3-pack than the price of a boys 5-pack.

Haircuts for boys are a simple buzz-swipe, with the occasional scissor evening up... The exact same procedure for girls is hair styling and stylists charge more for the client utilizing their talents.

It's a discrimination issue. That it's the lesbian stereotype doesn't make it a queer issue, automatically... but that the thought of the barber, while giving a "men's cut" to a woman, is that the client requesting such a cut is probably lesbian, then, yes it's a "queer issue."

Just as, say, a straight man is walking home alone and gets bashed. It's a "queer issue" because the attacker thought he was beating up a faggot. But the over-riding issue isn't a "queer issue," it's one of anyone being safe in walking the streets at night.

Discrimination is wrong in any form, and should be opposed in every form.

Eric, you just don't get it. This place was a local equivalent to supercuts. People I know with the same budget, including male clergy members, go there. There was no possibility of a $100,000 haircut or even a $50 one. To even leave your comment was to go off-topic.

Beyond that, you make tremendous gender assumptions. I don't identify as a lesbian, and I don't think lesbians having short hair is as common as you think. Of course, your comments related to other gender-related threads have shown your true feelings about those of us who contend with these issues every day. For that matter, I choose not to engage with you any further.

Eric Payne | June 6, 2011 11:25 AM

You make broad assumptions.

You believe YOU are the only authority on subjects about which you write.

And you're a member of the CLERGY???

Eric Payne | June 6, 2011 11:49 AM

I replied, in anger, to the good "Reverend." Realizing that knee-jerk reaction was unnecessary, I now respond to her "points":

Eric, you just don't get it. This place was a local equivalent to supercuts. People I know with the same budget, including male clergy members, go there. There was no possibility of a $100,000 haircut or even a $50 one. To even leave your comment was to go off-topic.

Don't you dare to presume to tell me what I do, and do not, get.

In your original posting, you stated you had never done business at this particular barbershop before. All I EVER state, in reference to that, was it seemed odd you did not ask the price beforehand. Period. There was no questioning of motive, there was no questioning of your intent, other than to get your hair cut.

EVEN IF YOU KNEW, GOING IN, THAT YOUR HAIRCUT WAS GOING TO BE MORE EXPENSIVE BECAUSE YOU WERE A WOMAN DOESN'T NEGATE YOUR POINT THE PRACTICE IS DISCRIMINATORY AND SHOULD BE STOPPED.

Are we clear on that now?

Beyond that, you make tremendous gender assumptions. I don't identify as a lesbian, and I don't think lesbians having short hair is as common as you think. Of course, your comments related to other gender-related threads have shown your true feelings about those of us who contend with these issues every day. For that matter, I choose not to engage with you any further.

I was making overall assumptions as to why someone would think this was, exclusively, a "gay issue" - much like thinking aloud while typing. None of those assumptions were directed at you, personally, just as none of them were directed at my four sisters, personally, even though I mention their very existence is what makes me sensitive to what some would consider "women's issues."

FYI: In the 1970s, when the ERA was still being considered by the states, I was the only guy involved n our civics class sending out mailers to Pennsylvania registered voters urging the ERA's passage.

FYI 2: In the school year 1975 - 1976, our schoold's marching band - nationally known, highly prestigious, and holder of national "Best of" titles - had a policy: Only males can be the drum major, and only girls can be part of the flag corps. The current drum major would be graduating... a handful of us protested the gender bias, and we got the policy changed.

For you, based on a long running animosity between myself and another poster, to simply make assumptions based on ONE response to, literally, month's worth of back-and-forth between us to which you, obviously, were not privy, and then for you to make a a "pronouncement" based on what I said - in your words - "to another trans woman"... well, now, which one of us is making decisions based on gender?

It's human nature to ask the cost of something. That was the only point I ever said. From there, Reverend, you turned it into some kind of personal attack on you... then you made it some sort of familial situation about which of us was raised frugally... then, finally, you tried to turn it into me, trans-bashing.

It must be hard to live in your world, Reverend, where every comment mad to you, or every question asked of you has some 10-or-12 hidden agendas, all because you're a trans woman.

Eric,

I've been reading your banter with Reverend Heath with interest, and finally felt it time to comment.

First, to be clear, Reverend Heath does NOT identify as a Trans Woman. Reverend Heath is born female and identifies as Butch. Also, to be clear, Butch and lesbian are not the same identity either. Let's make sure we're using the correct identity in referring to the writer, shall we? Gender is a very nuanced conversation (as the Reverend's experience indicates) and we should treat it as such.

Second, in my review of the initial article and your comments here, it seems YOU are the one who simply could not let the issue drop, evolving the conversation to family and other areas.

Finally, your work on the ERA etc. is commendable. However, un-applicable to this conversation. I'm sure you've done any number of good works with varying organizations throughout your tenure.

All of that said, you've made it clear you disagree that this is a queer issue. While I disagree with your logic, I respect your right to hold an opinion.

However, one final point about language. Later in your post, you used the term "gay issue" to describe Reverend Heath's viewpoint. Gay issues and queer issues while often used synonymously are not the same thing. Again, nuance is the name of the game.

Eric Payne | June 6, 2011 2:10 PM

Really now?

Hmmm...

My original comment:

"You were new to the barbershop.

And you didn't ask prices beforehand?

That seems... a little odd."

The good Reverend's response:

"Eric, this is a low-key barbershop located next to a grocery store. I knew I wasn't going to be paying a lot. (And really, I generally get my hair cut in places with much higher overhead, so I was sure this small barber shop in a smaller town wouldn't charge more.) The rates weren't posted, and until she called me back I was talking to someone I knew. I don't think it's much more add than ordering a sandwich you're sure is going to be low-priced and then finding out the exact price at the check-out. If you're implying that I was somehow responsible here, I will admit that I committed the sin of not asking whether prices varied on gender before hand. I had no reason to think that they would.

Notice what she said (emphasis mine): If you're implying that I was somehow responsible here, I will admit that I committed the sin of not asking whether prices varied on gender before hand. I had no reason to think that they would.

So, from the get-go, she was applying her thinking that I was ascribing to her some sort of motive for her actions and, later, her commentary.

That is not what I said, and pointed out, in the next message, I reiterated the difference in price based on gender was wrong, on the shop's part, and continue:

"I wasn't saying you committed a sin by not asking, beforehand, if there was a difference in price based solely on gender - according to you, in a shopy (sic) you had never before patronized, you didn't ask anything about price, even though there were no prices listed. That makes absolutely no sense, whatsoever, and flies in the face of human nature."

She replied with a "what if" scenario: What if she had known the price was greater for females than males for substantially the same service?

I reply that if person B and person A are receiving, essentially, the same service, the price should be the same.

Then, in her next statement, she seems to have realized what I said, and responded with she's shopping at (what I presume to be a "lot" store similar to Costco or Sam's Mart) for the better financial value.

Then Jessica Max Stein pops in with a comment that completely supports what I said:

"I was reminded of this comment this afternoon when I stopped into a cafe and ordered a large iced coffee before asking what it cost (oddly, there were no pricing signs). Seems a pretty regular thing to do, even for haircuts."

The Reverend responds:

"Jessica, I thought about how I bought cupcakes at the church bake sale last week without asking the cost. I should have been far more suspicious of those church ladies and demanded upfront pricing.

Btw, thank you for your comments on this thread. I've appreciated them.
"

And, THEN Yasmin pops in, making a completely unnecessary comment that is directed toward me, commenting only on, literally, the closing paragraph of an earlier statement. The snark of Yasmin's comment is directed, solely and exclusively, at me - her comment really has nothing to do with the ongoing conversation at any point in the flow of the conversation. In my reply to Yasmin, I suggested she (Yasmin) "learn to read for comprehension" and "You want to enter a conversation, only hear the last remark, and make a snarky comment? Go audition for Real Housewives of Wherever You Live."

That's when the Reverend, not I, brought familial histories and frugality and trans issues into the conversation, always negatively.

So, Heidi, your comment:

"Second, in my review of the initial article and your comments here, it seems YOU are the one who simply could not let the issue drop, evolving the conversation to family and other areas. "

Is completely inaccurate.

But what does it matter, huh? After all, it's just Eric Payne and we all know how he feels about transsexuals and women, don't we? After all, we've been told about some of the comments he's made here, in the past, right? And, while we didn't read those comments, ourselves, the people who told us about them in e-mail wouldn't lie to us about them, now would they?

I had a grad school classmate who had never had a same-gender experience or attraction, and who considered herself binary gender conforming. Yet she identified as queer. She stated she was an ally and appreciated queer culture. I have to admit, even as I don't like to deny anyone the right to name their own identity, that never sat right with me. It felt like co-opting. But, maybe I'm wrong.

Jillian, the funniest thing about this is my friends' reaction. They know how frugal to the point of parsimony I am and have been laughing at the comments. (We also have a challenge going to see who can find that $10 haircut one commenter was talking about.) I already explained why I didn't get a chance to ask upfront, but that isn't good enough, it seems. And that's the issue. When confronted with a gender injustice, those with gender privilege find a way to lay at least part of the blame back on you.

Eric Payne | June 6, 2011 2:20 PM

I defy you to find ANYWHERE where I laid ANY fucking fault on you whatsoever for the shop's pricing! Here's my deal, right now: You fine ONE FUCKING PLACE WHERE I EVEN IMPLIED YOU WERE AT FAULT FOR THE SHOP'S DISCRIMINATORY PRICING, AND I'LL FLY THE BARBER OF YOUR CHOICE, FROM ANY FUCKING PLACE IN THE COUNTRY YOU CHOOSE, TO VERMONT, MONTHLY, AND YOU AND 9 OF YOUR FRIENDS CAN GET THEIR HAIR CUT FOR FUCKING FREE.

Of course, if you cannot find a place where I said, or even implied, that your failure to ask what the cost of the cut was makes you responsible for the discriminatory price structure of that shop, then you must PUBLICLY apologize for your continuing "Eric bashing," both real and implied.

Deal?

Eric Payne | June 6, 2011 3:22 PM

I'LL EVEN BROADEN THE FUCKING DEAL... FIND ONE PLACE WHERE I STATED OR IMPLIED YOU FUCKING DESERVED TO BE CHARGED MORE BECAUSE OF YOUR GENDER. I'VE NEVER SAID ANYTHING EXCEPT THE POLICY WAS WRONG!

Eric. Relax. There's no need for internet "yelling" with all caps and bold type complete with tons of f-bombs. Either let it go entirely or have a simple civil conversation. I know you're capable of making good points without all this.

Eric Payne | June 6, 2011 8:46 PM

Sorry, Bil, but imagine my frustration in the original thread.

Compound that with Jillian choice of "Comment of the Week," along with Jillian's comments in these conversations: "So, Eric, you admit this is a queer issue?" In other words: "So, Eric, you admit you were wrong?"

Nowhere did I see any other Projector singled out in that manner... especially be one of the site's editors. That prompted the original commenter of the original posting to respond:

"Jillian, the funniest thing about this is my friends' reaction. They know how frugal to the point of parsimony I am and have been laughing at the comments. (We also have a challenge going to see who can find that $10 haircut one commenter was talking about.) I already explained why I didn't get a chance to ask upfront, but that isn't good enough, it seems. And that's the issue. When confronted with a gender injustice, those with gender privilege find a way to lay at least part of the blame back on you."

That hit all my buttons. Having a rather disquieting physical appearance, yet not being mentally affected by that physical appearance, I've been aware, my entire life, of the people who point and laugh. It's a daily part of the "real world" interacting to me. Points, laughs... and just people turning around to walk backwards and stare are not uncommon; they're simply a fact of my life and I deal with them. And, no, it's not just kids; it's people from age 8 to 80.

When I was in school, though, it was a different matter. There was not one day of my pre-college life, during a school year, that was not hell. If the option for home-schooling had existed in the 1960s and 70s, I would have begged my parents to let me stay home.

So, when I read:

"(T)the funniest thing about this is my friends' reaction...."

I'm reading that, once more, I'm being singled out for derision; that someone is actively bringing others to me, albeit textually, so that my very presence is a source for their amusement.

That's a big button for me, and I'd wager is also a big button for anyone who's lived a life of non-correctible physical abnormality.

I have to admit, I'd also expected at some point for either you or Jill to pop in and say: "Hey, look, all Eric said was it seems unusual that the price wasn't asked in advance. That's all."

Instead, Jill exacerbated the situation.

Eric Payne | June 6, 2011 8:53 PM

Not to mention, of course, that the Reverend is simply wrong in saying that I, anywhere, either overtly or covertly, stated she was in any way personally responsible, or deserving, of paying a higher cost based solely on her gender.

Good grief, Eric. Does your sense of entitlement and privilege know no bounds? Believe it or not, my friends are not sitting around laughing at YOU. They were laughing at my frugality and the idea that there were comments questioning it. As odd as it may sound to you, you are actually not a topic of discussion amongst my friends and I. Beyond that, you are clearly incapable of civility, and you have shown your true hand with your profanity-laced tirade. I'm done.

Eric Payne | June 6, 2011 11:28 PM

This comment has been deleted for violation of the Terms of Service.

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Eric,

This has to be one of the creepiest and most disgusting comments I've seen on Bilerico in all my many years. Your threats to try and cause trouble at Emily's job and listing of everywhere she's ever been mentioned in local newspapers is above and beyond anything I've seen yet as far as twisted comments.

All of this over a fucking haircut too.

You're banned. As I said to a previously banned commenter, we're looking for cool people to interact with and talk about the posts. What you did is definitely not cool.

Eric Payne | June 7, 2011 12:29 AM

Oh, and please the Reverent failed to provide any instance where I stated she had any responsibility in being charged extra based on her gender.

Rather than apologize, though, she continued on with the lie I expressed some kind of entitlement and privilege.

How very... reverential... having the complete inability to say "Oops. I was wrong."

Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson would be very proud of you, Reverend. I'm not only exhibiting gender privilege and bias, I was also responsible for the actions of the bombers 10 years ago, too. Oh, but, then... so were you, if I remember their statements correctly.

May you live in interesting times, Reverend.

Jay Kallio | June 6, 2011 8:04 AM

I find it concerning that so many people seem to fiercely resent and reject being identified as part of any group, until they themselves are discriminated against, and need help and support from the group in fighting against the injuries done to them. Perhaps times have actually gotten better to the point where discrimination is no longer such a common experience, so people feel less threatened by the imposition of discrimination, and now fear being included more than being excluded.

When people who have clearly never experienced discrimination, and who enjoy the privileges of being gender conforming and heterosexual want to be included as queer I feel a bit invaded, simply because they do not share the same experiences of hardship, assault, and damage from discrimination that I, and others of my generation faced. I appreciate their support as allies, I can love them, and appreciate their hardships in life, because we all have them, but there is a special closeness I feel with the others who have suffered as we all did, and that bond cannot be duplicated with others. I am proud of how we fought and stood up for what had always been a shamed identity, and declared ourselves good, and worthy of equality. It's a special pride and credit due, for our strength and courage in fighting for justice. Again, it cannot be duplicated with others who have never faced the same oppression.

I hope that being charged more for the same haircut is considered to be a queer issue. I define it as such. After watching how all the early movements I participated in, from the anti Viet Nam War movement, to civil rights, to LGBT equality movements, all seemed to use women's energy and resourcefulness, but when it came time to fight for women's equal rights those issues were dismissed. I hope at least one movement I am in will agree that social justice for women is our business, and trying to deconstruct the gender binary will not magically right that injustice.

So the queers SWEAR this is a "queer" issue... even though women/lesbians/bi/straight tell their stories as WOMEN and how they personally ID and how this happens to them?

Even though gay men, who have experienced/witnessed this story happening to their female family members, friends and acquaintances??

This is still an exclusively a queer issue??

Even tho women... lesbian, bi and straight do not want to be ID'd as queer??

Because they are just being their own type of women... they are being "tagged" as queer whether they want it or not? By their own "community"??

To us... and we will tell you, if you would listen... and I've witnessed this for over 3decades, it's sexual discrimination. To us, as women to even NAME IT a "male haircut"... A male haircut. Seriously? YOU are buying into the binary. It's a short haircut. It has nothing to do w/a c*&k or a jock strap. Haven't we reached a point in our culture that this sounds as dumb OUT LOUD as typed on some website??

It's a freaking HAIRCUT. A short haircut.

That this particular barber shop "insulted" Rev. Heath, charging the female price... to a queer/butch has more to do w/what's wrong w/being ID'd as a women and paying the same price we, as women have too?

What was more "disturbing"??? That Rev. Heath got ID'd as a woman or didn't "pass" as a man?

Women... straight/bi/lesbian/queer are paying more and paid less.

The first three outnumber the Q.

Try getting onboard w/women... it's not as popular as the "male" issues.

But we are still trying to be heard.

Jay Kallio | June 6, 2011 9:10 AM

I don't see anyone saying this is exclusively a queer issue, anywhere. I feel that if queers are to have any integrity in terms of a social justice stance, that women's issues are directly queer issues. That's support, as in more power to change the society, not co-optation.

Not to nit pick, but men's haircuts are definitely styled differently than women's short haircuts, because the hairline is very different and the haircut is designed to accentuate a masculine, squared off look. Women's haircuts are styled to be rounder, with pointed sideburns, etc. I cut my own hair, and a barber taught me all the differences between the two, so the nomenclature has a real, concrete meaning to a barber. It's not merely buying into a gender binary, it signifies a different type of cut.

No.

"... but men's haircuts are definitely styled differently than women's short haircuts, because the hairline is very different and the haircut is designed to accentuate a masculine, squared off look."

You are KIDDING me right???

A squared off look is "male"?
Automatically "male".

"Squared off"?

So alllllllllll the women w/squared off haircuts... that are CHARGED more are "male" or queer?

So that same old same... "You want to look like a man... take it like a man!" While they beat the shit out of women.

Or perhaps they were women doing their own thing?
GOD FOR BID... women doing their own thing. If ONLY men would get on board w/this... How much more equal things would be.

Women after WW2 started wearing slacks style/everyday wise. Even in the 70s... Mary Tyler Moore brought in pants suits. Was she queer???

The "queer community" seems to be much more wrapped up in boy/girl things then even straight people.

Who knew heteros were more progressive then queers?
I do now.

Jay Kallio | June 6, 2011 8:19 PM

Not sure why you are so incensed about this. In order to communicate with a barber I find it helps to know what language means to them, if you want to communicate accurately.

If we wish to approach the educational facilities that train barbers to make suggestions about languaging around gender neutral hair cutting that might be a positive approach to the issue, and worthy of some time and energy. In the interim I try to communicate with people in the language they understand. Failing that, I might not get the hair cut I want. I think it pays to deal with present day reality, which is not always how I wish it were. That's not a queer thing, it's mere practicality.

Thanks Jay for tagging my comments as "incensed". As a woman, a lesbian women and a latina woman w/a strong perspective/life experience, that hasn't happened to me before here at TBP or in real life... ever.
Hahahaa.

"In the interim I try to communicate with people in the language they understand."

Well you don't have to dump it up for me, just because I'm a woman. I understand.

If a woman... be them straight/lesbian/bi or queer goes into a Barber Shop and requests a No.#3-2-1 Buzzcut, this tells the barber no matter the barbers sex... that you know what you freaking want.

Because that patron would be communicating to the barber in a language they understand.

So I agree w/you after all of that... it's not about being a queer thing. Just practical.

I believe that this an extension of the discussion about our umbrella identity in general. I, myself, identify as queer and consider the fact that I have sex with men and am a man as a part of this glorious gender-bending queer identity. However, there seem to be many in our community who do not. For me, this is part of the strength of this term and our community.

Coming to terms with my sexual desire brought me to question and analyze societal assumptions concerning gender and gender identity. For this I am eternally grateful. However, my journey is not, could not, and should not be universal. For me, all gender discrimination whether those that experience it are gender-conforming or not, is a queer issue. So, I think this is, though, of course, not exclusively, a queer issue. However, I also think that it is the discussion and exploration of queer identity in general that is most interesting and important for our community rather than a final 'definitive' consensus or 'answer'. The very discussion is rebellious and non-conforming. What could be more wonderful than that?

I see this as an opportunity to discuss the whole idea of "umbrella" concepts. I think set theory is a useful tool in the explanation of how a term can sometimes be applied to a group that may include some people who don't identify as members of the group, who may use the same term with a different definition of the set, one that clearly leaves them outside of the shadow.

"Queer" is such a term that can have many meanings, and I won't even attempt to catalog them.

I usually encounter the "umbrella" in the context of:

(a) queer being used as an all-encompassing term for LGBTTTIQQetc. alphabetics.
(b) gay being used in a similar all-encompassing manner.
(c) transgender being used to include genderqueer, bigender and transsexual populations, and sometimes throwing in gender-variant to make an even bigger umbrella (though if one tosses in gender-variant, one ends up with an umbrella as big. or nearly as big, as (a) or (b) above)
(d) intersex as including transsexual (one interesting way of trying to shed one umbrella for another, with some folks in either umbrella preparing to "repel boarders" they see as "colonists."
(e) gay as including gay, lesbian and bi but *not* trans (sometimes pushed by some straight-identified trans folks as an umbrella for other people)
(f) transgender as including people whose gender *identity* is not different from that expected based on their birth sex assignment (i.e. including gay-male-identified drag queens, and pure "fetish" CDs who identify as male, and their female-identified counterparts - an umbrella sometimes pushed by TS separatists who point those out that they don't belong under the same umbrella with *them.*)

Ultimately, one my need to distinguish between an "identity" and a "group" - one may be grouped, according to set theory, in a classification in which one does not identify.

For example, I do not identify as queer. I might be classified as queer using one or more of the definitions of queer, but that does not fit me as an identity.

While I will use either transsexual or transgender as a self-descriptor, I more often identify as lesbian. (And in the grand terminology debate, I know women who are attracted to women who hate the term lesbian and prefer to identify as gay women, or prefer to use another term, sometimes even exclusively. For example, I have met more than a few women who identify simply as butch, and despite falling under the umbrella of terms like "lesbian" or "gay woman" that would under set theory be used to group together women who are sexually attracted to other women, they get angry if either of those umbrella terms are used to describe or include them. In their view, they are *butch* and they are attracted, not to other women, but to a very specific subset of women who identify as femme.)

The whole issue of sets, groups, labels and identities can be daunting and confounding to just about anyone who wants to make sense out of the queer community . . . or whether there is a queer community at all.

This reminds me of that old joke:

Q: What's the difference between gay women and dykes?
A: Oh, about $30,000 a year.

Then the gay woman can afford the $5price difference and dykes KNOW there is going to be a $5price difference.

Still women.

A very old freaking "joke".

Lucas Mateo | June 8, 2011 2:07 AM

Well I'm usually loathe to comment but this is one of those few topics that really make me feel it is necessary to do so.

Labels are important to identifying and addressing the unique factors associated with a label, I would be extremely hesitant to call this a "Queer" issue. To me personally to call it that would very specifically mean that it is an issue associated with sexual orientation.

In general it has been my experience that many hair dressers where I live will charge more to cut a woman's hair than a man's. This is generally regardless of how much work goes into the cut. Why? For one women are assumed to be more exacting and demand a cut which is a bit more time consuming. Two, men in general are used to not paying very much for a haircut and if charged the same as women probably would just stick to a barber.

The semantics discussion here while valid is not so much important as the fact that this it IS a form of DISCRIMINATION which regardless of whether it is queer, sex, race etc. based should be spoken against by ALL. I do believe there should be equity in how the charge is applied and that it should be based on the service rendered rather than whom it is rendered unto.