Sunday, January 13, 2013

Queer Quote: Aaron Swartz

Lots of people around the world are mourning the news today of the death of Aaron Swartz at age 26 (by suicide). Swartz was well-known around internet freedom as a pioneer and prodigy. He was one of the co-founders of the reddit social networking site as well as instrumental in promoting RSS feeds and stopping the "Stop Online Privacy Act" last year in the U.S. Congress.

Interestingly, Swartz was part of a generation of young people who see sexuality as more fluid and a different construct than older people (like yours truly). In 2009, in  an article he wrote an article titled "Why I am Not Gay" explaining this belief, which I am excerpting here as today's Queer Quote:
Having sex with other people of your gender isn’t an identity, it’s an act. And, like sex in general among consenting adults, people should be able to do it if they want to. Having sex with someone shouldn’t require an identity crisis. (Nobody sees having-sex-with-white-people as part of their identity, even if that’s primarily who they’re attracted to.)
People shouldn’t be forced to categorize themselves as “gay,” “straight,” or “bi.” People are just people. Maybe you’re mostly attracted to men. Maybe you’re mostly attracted to women. Maybe you’re attracted to everyone. These are historical claims — not future predictions. If we truly want to expand the scope of human freedom, we should encourage people to date who they want; not just provide more categorical boxes for them to slot themselves into.
Interesting ideas. I don't disagree with his hope, but I think it discounts the power and historical echoes of the heterosexist society that we currently live in. Thoughts, anyone? If so, please add your responses in the comments.

 Hat/tip to TowleRoad

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