July 2007


Apparently, my last post went out. It wasn’t ready…

I’ll fix it up tonight…but it lost a major chunk in a tragic editing accident.

-sly

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The other morning, i got in a bit of a….disagreement…with another driver over who had right of way. I think the “green” light in my direction should have clarified that. Or the “red” light in his. But after following me to my parking lot, he screamed all manner of obscenities at me, and told me that i should fear for my safety. He also called me gay, which i really rather enjoyed. Otherwise, i might forget.

I did my best to ignore him, but I’m starting to think I should have laughed. What better to let him know that such threat and vitriol was worse than useless?

Note: This is where i lost a whole chunk o text. So bear with me, as i try to reconstruct my argument. I was reading over another round of the rad fem/trans stuff, and was finding my blood pressure rising. Heart and Mandolin were going a few rounds, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end, amen.

I tried to even imagine a way that one could stay on totally pure theoretical ground, and discuss why gender is fixed…i can’t do it, and i’m pretty sure that the creation of a fictive category implies harm to those so determined, but sure…let’s give it a whirl. Let’s say they could.

But even then, we’ve got a track record here. The discussion doesn’t stay in a imaginary and pure theoretical moment. It moves to conclusions, associations, allusions, supports, inferences, and hypothesis. And we’ve seen them to be hateful to queers of all kinds.

All because everything is being described in term of m/f. If that’s the only language you speak, you have to have an essentialism to fix your categories. You can obfuscate it all you like by claiming that it might be biology, it might be common experience, it might be yada, yada, yada. You have to fix your categories. Or it wouldn’t make sense to commit to m/f as a sufficient description. You have to have a tribe to have a tribe that bleeds, see? And if Heart hasn’t used that phrase herself, she’s still on record with material that posits a certain mojo to womens and something else to men.

Guess who you’re sharing the dance floor with now?

Sorry. if you can’t bracket gender, you’re going to end up needing to make a description of how you differ from the other kinds of essentialists you’re contesting with. And so far as I’ve seen…it’s all pretty thin sauce.

Which then leads us back to the defenses of why the rhetoric must go on. If you like, read what Heart is claiming as a history of trans oppression of rad fem communities…a bunch of it boils down to some queer folks not wanting to see a movie. Yup. We don’t want to see Gendercator. Ouch. That’s pretty harsh.

I commented over at Feline Formal Shorts on the issue
Heart in particular is committed to a victim status as proof of her moral superiority. WOC are oppressing rad fems, gay men are oppressing rad fems, lesbians who enjoy SM are oppressing rad fems, MOC are oppressing rad fems, sex workers are oppressing rad fems, transgender women are oppressing rad fems, transgender men are oppressing rad fems…

The list continues. What isn’t separated is injury from status. Someone might hurt me, but still be socially disadvantaged over all. If i get robbed on the street by a radical feminist (pretend!), i still have my dudely privilege to help me recover. It’d be a pretty lame argument to translate this personal experience into a theoretical understanding of the opressive nature of radical feminism. Or even if some of them shouted me down over expressly political matters. Extrapolation from anecdote is not going to give you a wall to wall universally applicable theoretical apparatus.

And most of us have conflicted status…a mix of privileges and disadvantages. But as long as their bet for moral authority is placed on coming out dead last in the power calculation…they won’t own up to the power they do have. Disguising that takes effort…mostly the kind of flailing we’ve come to know and love like this mess.

Kactus also notes over there that we shouldn’t assume that online representation of radfem causes does the movement justice, and that’s a fair proviso. But as far as I’ve seen it expressed by such folks as Heart, it’s something that I can’t be arsed with.

Does it look het-centric? Does it sound transphobic? Does it need my time and energy?

Yes. Yup.

No.

-sly

PS: Since writing the original draft, i’ve heard something along the lines of Heart getting DDOS’d. That, of course, is about the worst way one can deal with conflict and is asstastical. Boo.

One of the arguments that I’ve heard about homophobia in communities of color could be boiled down to:

We’re the victims!

Now, I don’t play too many games with this stuff…if someone hates you on account of you being queer, I’m not going to ask if you’ve been following your Emily Post. It’s probably safe to say that they may be a homophobe. Especially if violence, threatened or otherwise is involved. A individual queer gets attacked for being queer, that is not their fault. I don’t blame the victim.

But don’t get it twisted. Communities are not individuals. But on a macro level, we don’t get that kind of consideration. Why? Because we do have power. Maybe not enough, maybe at a high cost, but we’ve got power. In many regards, we have institutional level backing. Conflicted support, sure, but watching the dems dodge the questions last night about gay marriage should remind us that we’re in the room to ask the question, and they at least think they can’t outwardly gay bait us. Did you watch the republican debate?

I’m not celebrating, i’m still fighting. And i won’t stop until queer love has the same legal considerations as straight love. But incomplete power is still power. And that means accountability.

Journey Woman is in Trinidad these days, and finding herself torn. Go read the whole thing, but i’ll post this as a teaser.

At this point I had to fight back the urge to scream, cry and just run away from this all. This is all too much to handle at sometimes.

I want to hold on to my people and this country so tight, but I can only do this if I deny who I am. I find myself now in a bind, do I continue to blend? Or do I make a stand? Do I even have the agency and authority to make such a bold stand? Where is my safe place?

You see, it’s a question we have to ask. Why is homophobia taking such strong root in certain places and culturess? We, as a community, can ask that without violating our own dignity because as a whole we’re not the victims. This is an externality.

Mainstream advocacy, movements, and cultures directed at and created by us are responsible for the choices we make. And some of those choices, such as unchallenged racism and complicity with traditional power structures, may be part of the fuel that feeds this fire. And even when it’s not our doing, but the cynical manipulations of others that pits communities of color against us…

We can do better than playing the victim. To the extent that we’re safe, protected by whiteness, class, or situation…we have to do better. Because we’re not bearing the cost of our actions and rhetoric. It’s become an externality, where queers of color, our alleged siblings in the struggle are taking the hit, and feeling a double alienation and a painful disconnection.

I’m a white queer, and this is the question I can be asking and the work I can be doing. I cheer on and give any (appropriate) support to movements within communities racked by homophobia that seek to challenge that. And I’m honored by the friendship of folk who are doing just that. There’s no reason for delay, no accounting to be made if we’re still the disadvantaged party who ought to wait for the other to do right. As if our open arms and healed relationships will not give those allies more strength for their work?

The bottom line is that some of us are being asked to choose between parts of themselves, made to cut their identities apart.

We have to treat our family better than that.

-sly

Ahem.

THE MOST IMPORTANT achievement of the early gay liberation movement was its pressure on the American psychiatric establishment to reexamine its evidence for classifying homosexuality as a mental illness. It was important because if gays weren’t mentally ill, it was hard to justify any kind of discriminatory policies or treatment.

I’ve talked about this before. Social issues are medicalized, and folks suffer for it. It’s real. And it’s worth resisting. Queer communities ought to contest the way in which their lives are made the subject of this kind of talk. What we must be careful to ask is how we are to resist.

Because the power relations that class sane and insane are still present after such a “liberation.” In fact, they are rendered all the more believable if medicalized labels reflect social practices. A liberal society that treats a gay man as a hysteric is thought to be archaic, but if they apply the same treatment to a woman who has been traumatized…well, that’s just good medicine.

Don’t fight the label. Fight the system that assigns it.

-sly

Hat tips to Allison Hymes and Flawed Plan.

In a patriarchy, wherein one class oppresses another for its own profit, there can be no ‘consent’ between oppressor and oppressed.
-Twisty

It sounds to me like these guys would rather be having sex with their male friends,
-Comments

It’s no coincidence that “being fucked over” and “taking it up the ass” are synonymous with the most egregious examples of deceit and betrayal….Notice, too, how “bitch” has replaced the homophobic slur “cocksucker” as the most derogatory term a man can call another man. In heterodude terms, women are lower than “faggots” and as such, deserve to be brutalized and violated for the mere “thrill”. Or to put it more simply: why go out and bash “fags” when you can commit your own little hate crimes in the comfort of your own home?
-Comments

Albert is slightly different from John psychologically: rather than being a sociopathic rapist, he seems to me to have a disastrously conflated madonna/whore complex and probable OCD
-Message Board

Sorry, that’s just too disgusting. I know more than enough about human anatomy & physiology to know that the anus was designed as an exit, NOT an entrance; therefore, anal sex violates that rule completely.
-Comments

If that’s the asshat’s attitude, then I would invite him to bend over while I get the vaseline and my 10 inch thick black rubber dildo.
-Comments

[This] also explains the increasing obscenity/violence in rap and music videos, movies, etc.
-Comments

Pleasure, as well, has never been something I let be the all-important summit of to do/not to do–if this were the case the patriarchy could thrive evermore, for pleasure does not automatically parallel such things as: freedom, sexual liberation, choice, consent, needs, or will. People may receive pleasure from slapping their genitalia against a barbed wire fence–that doesn’t mean the reasoning is rooted in something sexually healthy.
-Message Board

For what it is worth I posted a comment on the article echoing the sentiment that it is rape, and upping the ante a little by listing why anal sex is bad for the recipient from a medical point of view.
-Message Board

For Best Results: Start with a chilled shaker with 5 cubes of ice, add 3 cups gin and 2 shots vermouth. Shake seven times, and empty into a chilled glass. Finish in one go, and headdesk until loss of consciousness is achieved.

-sly

PS: I’m quite purposefully not actually responding to the article itself, blameworthy as it might be.

She heard it in turn via Writhe Safely, which is annoyingly anti-feminist which I think is unfair to feminists (the post blames feminists for not knowing about an issue that has received zero media coverage; I think it would make more sense to blame the media) but I can totally understand why she’s pissed off, even though I think her anger is aimed a bit in the wrong direction.

Honestly, I think this speaks for itself. I was gonna write a whole long screed about who and anti-feminist is. I was gonna talk about nubian, bfp, ba, quare dewd, ren, ap, and a lot of others who have been tagged with that label. I was going to talk about Oaxaca and how “but the USA Today didn’t tell me about it” isn’t a valid argument, and how education is a proactive obligation for the progressive.

And then I realized that by the time i finished listing the folks that have been so characterized, I would have read down pretty much my entire blog roll. How, exactly, does that work?

Queer, ain’t it?

-sly

PS: The quote is from Amp, but this pattern extended elsewhere. Feministing linked to Reclusive Leftist, but did not acknowledge the original posting by Flawed Plan.

Edit: I thought i knew this, but google helped me remember. If folks think that linking to Violet Socks saves them the trouble of linking to a “problematic blog” they should recall that VS is on record as claiming that the difference between racism and sexism is that one is acceptable, and the other is not. Tread carefully, lest you summon the g*nm#r.

The following is an abstract mediation on concern trolling, in three movements.

Sly Civilian, you sound like those talking heads who continually warn Democratic party politicians not to speak out about republican lawlessness, not to try to change any abusive corporate practice, because maybe if you open your mouth you might make someone mad and loose out in the next election cycle. So, safer to just stfu and close your eyes.
SBGYPSY

Seeing the world in stark terms of good and evil seems to have clouded Bush’s judgment of what is a good course of action and what is best.
Heretik

If anything, liberals are even more dangerous than Islamacists. The terrorist attacks with bombs and bullets. The liberal saps our will to resist. He rationalizes evil. In the name of civil liberties, he constantly seeks to undermine national security and make it impossible to safeguard our people from another 9/11.
-Don Feder

Quite.

-sly

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