We’re here, we’re Queer, we really need a nap

Oof, somehow I’ve managed to go a month without updating. I meant to make this post weeks ago, but somehow life has gotten very ahead of me lately. So much going on, almost none of it interesting enough to blog about (except the kittens, who I will share at the end of the post, because kitten tax must be paid!).

Anyway, at the beginning of the month, I had a thought and wanted to see if it was a phenomenon unique to my friend group or if the wider internet had the same experience. I had noticed you see, that all my queer friends are incredibly exhausted all the time, myself included. I wasn’t sure if it was just that I mostly am friends with queer disabled folks, or if it was a wider trend around queerness, or if lots of people are just tired. I wondered because studies have shown 1 the effect of things like structural racism on minorities, it stands to reason something similar happens to queer people with the effects of structural homophobia and transphobia. So, I decided to do a very informal and completely unscientific little study using the poll feature on two social media platforms that I frequent, Mastodon and Tumblr. They both received quite large response rates, and the results were interesting. But even more interesting, was comparing the two polls to each other at the end.

Screenshot of a ended poll on the tumblr of thebookewyrme, published October 3rd. The poll question is "Are you queer and more tired than everyone?" with options "I'm queer and very tired" 88.3% "I'm queer but I have lots of energy" 4.3% "I'm not queer but I'm still chronically tired" 6.9% and "I'm not queer and I feel great!" .5%. Poll indicates 729 people voted.
Screenshot of my tumblr post with the original poll

I published the Tumblr poll first, and got a pretty decent response rate given my severe lack of reach on the platform. With 729 votes, I was pretty happy with that. The numbers of tired queers on Tumblr were extremely prevalent, blowing away all the other options by quite a lot.

Screenshot of a Mastodon post with a poll from the account @KestrelSWard@glammr.us. Poll options are "I'm queer and very tired" 64.7% "I'm queer but I have lots of energy" 5.3% "I'm not queer but I'm still chronically tired" 26.1% and I'm not queer and I feel great!" 3.8%. The poll indicates it had 2,132 responses.
Screenshot of my Mastodon toot with the second poll.

After starting to see a large trend toward “very queer and tired” on Tumblr, I kind of thought “well, that makes sense, Tumblr is Queerer and Transer than most other social medias” 2 so I decided to make a poll on another social media. The only other public social media I keep is Mastodon these days, so there I went. I have a much larger reach on Mastodon, so I ended up with a MUCH larger sample size, over double what I had on Tumblr. The trend was still towards “very queer and very tired” on Mastodon, but here we have a much larger segment, 26.1% vs 6.9%, who are NOT queer but also very tired.

Of course, these silly little polls do not account for a huge variety of variables, such as disability, race, income, gender, or even location. There has been some study of this phenomenon, particularly in gay men, and more recent research in books such as the recently published “Queer Battle Fatigue: Education, Exhaustion, and Everyday Oppressions” edited by Boni Wozolek and David Lee Carlson from Routledge. I haven’t read it yet, but if my curiousity about the subject continues, I very well may do so. In any case, in no way should these be taken as serious scientific studies. But it’s fun to see the results and compare them across platforms. The general tenor is that EVERYONE is tired, gay and straight alike. There are more queer people who are tired in both polls, but that very well may just be a function of the people in the circles of the internet I run in. I exist in very queer spaces online, and these polls reflect that. Taking that out, the percentage of people who were tired on both platforms were several times that of the corresponding Not Tired demographics.

The reasons for this tiredness are not explored in the polls either, but I received many many messages from people who took the polls, and the general consensus was “We live in a capitalist colonialist hellscape and just trying to survive is exhausting.” This fits in with a theory of “minority stress” even if it’s not all bound around queerness, but other axes of oppression, such as race, disability, economic class, and gender. In any case. We all need several naps and for the world to stop being horrible for perhaps a week. Tomorrow is Friday. I wish you a very nice nap.

Bugs bunny meme format with Bugs in a tuxedo looking at the camera on a black background and large white text that says "I wish all people who took my poll a very nice nap"
  1. Call to Action: Structural Racism as a Fundamental Driver of Health Disparities: A Presidential Advisory From the American Heart Association, in Circulation Vol 124, no 24, Nov 12 2020
  2. Vivienne, S. (2017). “ I will not hate myself because you cannot accept me ”: Problematizing empowerment and gender-diverse selfies. Popular Communication, 15(2), 126–140. https://doi.org/10.1080/15405702.2016.1269906
    I am finishing up a forthcoming article about the queer culture of Tumblr as we speak. Watch this space for details as they become available!

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