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Leaving the U this morning to come home from class I began to think about my place in the queer community, my gender, my privelage, my erasing, my assimilation. We move in such a visual world that is is impossible for us not to see the differences between us. Why is it then, that so many people believe that they know no gay people? Statistically speaking, there is most likely at least one gay person for every nine in the world, a statistic which is slightly problematic as it refers to sexual practice instead of sexual identity. How, then do “invisiblize” these bodies from our consciousness? What is it that gay people themselves use as gaydar? Why can’t heterosexuals see this as well? Is there something in the unconscious erasing of sexuality that is taught to us when we are younger that erases these qualities for some and intesifies them for others? I couldn’t help but wonder if queerness really can be seen in the body and how people attempt to erase it or ignore it.

I decided to conduct my own social experiment while getting off the city bus while on my way home from class one day. I was wearing purple skinny jeans, a rainbow hat, a houndstooth scarf, big white sunglasses…really, the excess which I would define as queer, was readily visible and seen. Walking to my next bus stop to catch my transfer, a group of “thug”ish men walked by and one said mockingly “nice pants.” I smiled coquettishly, replying “Thanks.” I shifted my plans, deciding to take a walk down Nicollet mall, the center of Minneapolis downtown and the heart of the business world, performing my sexuality loud and proud.

What I found as I walked was neither alarming nor new, at least not to a gay man who’s dealt with these glares since 5th grade. My posture was pristine, my strides long and confident, no one could stop me. I decided to walk four blocks on the streets, where I received a good amount of attention. People would stare, smile, laugh, snicker, get on their cell phones. Several people even talked to their friends about me, as if I couldn’t hear them, but my presence was acknowledged.

When I decided to move up to the skyways, the downtown traffic network for business, corporation types where I was noticeably erased. It was as if I wasn’t there. The few looks I did get were quickly averted, looking at the ground as they walked by. Even the other men and women who I would’ve identified as queer and would’ve normally made eye contact with would erase me and fail to make a connection. What made these people so different than those on the streets? How was I so easily erased and invisiblized?

This idea of invisibility is key to the histories of those who have been ignored, erased, and pushed to the streets. Whose history do we read in the books? That of the middle class, skyway-business types or that of the queer man walking through them? Bodies do not just slip through the cracks, falling off the historical map, they are pushed into them, writing them out of their own histories.