“The Ultimatum: Queer Love” unfolds on a strangely straight timeline


“The Ultimatum: Strange Love” Has a true cultural zeitgeist – partly because We, the people, basically crave queer drama and take what we can get, even if what we get is overproduced and disappointing. But the strange thing is that even if it’s cheesy, “The Ultimate” really makes me think about how important it is to protect queer culture — and queer time.

For those unfamiliar with the concept of queer time (or queer temporality as it’s sometimes referred to in more academic contexts), it’s the notion that The Queer people’s lives tend to follow a less standardized schedule because we don’t have everything The usual rites of passage like our cishet colleagues. Instead of simple highway systems that transport us straight from adolescence through family, college, work, marriage and children into adulthood, which is what many queer people do often Instead, there are sparse trails made up of the footprints of those who came before us. We take our time – sometimes a lot – to create ourselves and to come to ourselves.

To be fair, a lot of straight people want to get off white heteronormativity Freeway. Maybe that’s why so many people actually don’t want to have gay sex identify as queer. For many queer theory enthusiasts, the fact that we don’t live in the same “time zone” as everyone else is a crucial and beautiful sign of our resistance to white cis-hetero-capitalist patriarchy.

Beloved gay literary symbol bell hook (born Gloria Jean Watkins) once defined queerness as follows: “’Queer’ doesn’t mean it’s about who you have sex with (that can be a dimension of it); But ‘queer’ means it’s about the self that’s at odds with everything around it and that has to invent and create and find a place to speak and thrive and live.” I would add that a divided self, as Hooks describes, takes time to do the work of inventing and creating.

So how can something as chilling as The Ultimatum be an invitation to reflect on queer theory?

Well, actually the cringe factor is part of it. This is one of the first times we’ve observed queer people reading the forbidden cis-heteronormative relationship script “marriage or otherwise” in the context of unscripted drama. Basically, we see a group of people caught up in the struggle to queer resistance while embodying normative cultural programs.

Yes, but doesn’t every reality TV do that? Certainly, and as we have seen, even Cishet youngsters resist in ultimatums “Death do us part”. But The Ultimatum: Queer Love is different in that the characters involved are sometimes at times self-aware as they play with cis-hetero-patriarchal norms. The slip (often emotionally violent) when they deviate from the cishet script is the real drama. AFAB people (attributed to female at birth), who may seem hysterical to straight viewers, read more compassionately to queer people like me – they have real trauma and don’t always know how to deal with it.

No one should be forced to make lifelong commitments prematurely, but it seems a particularly cruel thing to ask of those who already live in a world where it is so stacked against them. All the young people on the show seem to be They struggle with internalized homophobia and many of them harbor gender doubts. At least one person on the show doesn’t care about their family and you want them to choose a life partner on TV? It’s absurd, sadistic theatre.

Take for example the moment in Episode 7 when Xander is asked to choose Yoly over Vanessa. I won’t give too much away, but I have to say that Xander’s inability to choose anyone other than himself in this moment is inherently odd — and total subversion of the cishet status quo. I would say so Choosing between a woman is the cornerstone on which any heterosexual romance is built. Xander’s refusal is a small act of resistance that reframes the entire premise – whether I do it or not – into the uncertainty of queer time.

Xander’s “I don’t know” is the third secret everyone keeps talking about. It’s the queer, non-binary option. But when Xander demands her right not to know, the timeline explodes. Everyone is angry. How dare Xander not go for the obviously hot, totally extravagant babe in black leather over the plain slut with bad intentions? No one can advance until she chooses it.

Except that we can. And the show actually goes on. Sex! Theatre! Processing! What will happen next? Will she ever make up her mind?

Dealing with vagueness is one of the hallmarks of queer life and we should protect it. Yes, it introduces delays on the timeline, and those delays aren’t always welcome or practical — but they can be productive. Surely it may have cost some of us (Hello It’s Me) It took me about a decade more to get into college, but once I did, I was ready. And I may never have a life partner, but if I do, it will be an agreement between grown people who know what they mean when they say “I choose you” – not a forced enforcement of the status quo.

Frankly, at this point in my life, I have little patience for indecision—my own or anyone else’s. I just don’t have time for the loose ground of “maybe” when it comes to the basics of my life – precisely because I’m embracing my role as the future queer elder seriously.

I want to create enough ground in my life to be able to take a stand. This is not mandatory. I’m honored to have the responsibility to protect queer temporality and indeterminacy for young people like Xander. She shouldn’t have to choose, and I will fight for her right to defy the “ultimatum.”

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