Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Meditating on Queer

I took a spiritual break from blogging. I should have said something, but I didn't. What did I do instead? Meditate.

Nothing very mysterious or noble made me stumble on Vipassana - one day I googled 'Free Meditation courses' and there it was: A somewhat muted but efficient website informing me of a 10-day course where you're not allowed to read, write, text, call, google, copulate, masturbate or speak. And all of it for free! It wasn't going to be as pretty or instagrammable as some 'digital detox' retreats, but why should anyone, on top of everything else, make money on my inner peace?

I won't describe what the Vipassana technique is about because it would sound either prosyletizing or new-agey, and it really is something one needs to experience for onself. But it worked for me. And even the prohibitions made sense. What struck me as strange, however, was the ingrained heteronormativity on the course: Men and women ate, slept and even went for walks separately in order to avoid distractions and 'impure thoughts' (did I mention the ban on masturbation?). But the presumption that being locked up with the boys would be of absolutely no erotic potential for me felt like an institutional negation of my sexuality.  

Which upset me on the first days - shouldn't there be exceptions for us? Wouldn't it be easier for me to be with the girls? 
And then it dawned on me: That I had somehow forgotten the fact that I was part of a minority, and that it wasn't anyone's fault. And that no one really cared. It wasn't about asserting my gay ego, it was about accepting a simple syllogism: That I'm a man, that most men identify as mostly heterosexual, and that therefore people would assume that I was too. And not in order to oppress me. This is of course a truism, but in an individualist world where you create and consume any sort of culture you like, you can live without being confronted with the simplest of truths. And then, of course, there is your LGBT-rights awareness, which knows only too well that there is still so much to be done. But that doesn't mean there is discrimination and bad faith everywhere. And after all, I learned that being with the boys isn't all that bad. 


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