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 Time to add another line to the very very long list of things cis, straight people need to stop saying. These are generally not things said by the homophobes or even the completely clueless who refuse to analyse their prejudice – these are things said by people who probably mean well and probably try – but may not see the full implications of what they say.

 

“I’m not gay, but if I were I wouldn’t be ashamed/wouldn’t hide/I’d be out”.

 

Or words to that effect. Generally a straight person asserts they are straight and goes on to “prove” it by assuring us that if they weren’t straight they would tell us, because they’re totally cool with people being gay.

 

In some ways this is a better form of the panicked “zomg you called me gay, how very dare you!”. And in many ways it is better – people who treat the suggestion of being gay as an insult or an accusation are being homophobic and need to be hit repeatedly with a tuna. Denying the information while making it clear you don’t consider it an insult (even if it does sometimes feel like a belated “not that there’s anything wrong with that” seems better).

 

But…

 

Yes there’s a but…

 

“If I were gay I would be open”. No.

 

I call shenanigans. The vast majority (if not all) of everyone who is GBLT out there has spent some time in the closet. We are pressured into it since birth in an extreme manner cis, straight people can’t even begin to imagine. It takes extraordinary courage to come out. It is risky to come out. It is usually pretty hard to come out, to say the least.

 

If you were LGBT, dear cis, straight folks, I can nearly guarantee you would have been closeted at some point in your life and you’d probably still be closeted now. And that applies double if you’re in a big public situation where cameras follow you.

 

You’re not special. The chances are you wouldn’t dodge the bullet that hits 90% of us. You are not better than those of us who have been closeted, are still closeted or will continue to be closeted. If you were GBLT, you would hide. If you were LGBT and out at some point you would have hidden – at some points you probably still would. That’s not a judgement on you – that’s reality, the reality of a deeply hostile, bigoted society, the reality of what the vast majority of us have had to do or continues to do to survive. If you were like us, you would have to walk that same road

 

 

By saying you wouldn’t, you just show how little you actually understand the closet, what drives us to closet and the risks involved in being out of the closet. 

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 Don't.

 

Really don't, because I'm beyond sick of it

 

I know, I know, you want to make it clear you're totally not a homophobe and it's not about the same-sex couple you just don't like PDAs - of any kind!

 

But the ONLY time this gets trotted out, certainly in any large numbers, is when LGBT folk have shown the same public love for each other that cishet folks get to do repeatedly every single day.

 

I do not believe you decide to express your distaste for PDAs every time straight people kiss. I do not. Considering the saturation of straight affecting in the media you couldn't even read your toddler a fairy tale without having to tut "oh look at this PDA, how inappropriate" under your breath. If you turned on a television you would lose your voice having to repeat your disapproval so many times.

 

There is absolutely no way you express your disapproval of PDAs every time you're confronted by straight people kissing. You would be on permanent repeat, like a record that's skipping. 


You don't comment on straight PDAs but you hone in on the MUCH MUCH rarer same-sex PDAs to speak about? Yeah, that's some not-very-subtle shenanigans right there

 

And if you are genuinely unhappy with any PDA and this totally isn't isolated - then consider whether you need to express this NOW (because you DO let straight PDAs pass, don't even try to claim you don't). Even if you are super duper sure that you are totally not a homophobe in any way, shape or form, be aware that you do sound like one. Be aware that you are speaking in a context where a gazillion of your fellow straight folks constantly use such weasel ways to be homophobic in the hope they can wave the hate flag without backlash. Be aware that there's a whole bunch of straight people with unchallenged privilege and unquestioned prejudice who register, without even realising. same-sex PDA as obscene and needing reaction but don't even notice straight PDAs because they're background noise and you sounds a whole lot like them. Be aware of that "without even realising" and ask yourself how sure you are you AREN'T one of them.


Be aware that, to me and many other LGBT folks, you're part of a vast sea of straight people who've decided to express their disapproval over our relationships. Again. 

If you quack and waddle, how sure are you that you aren't a duck? Even if you aren't, you can't be surprised when we reach for the orange sauce


And does it suck that you're totally-well-meaning-and-not-homophobic-honest criticism is being lumped in with that sea of bigotry? Well, not nearly as much as it suck to drown in it.

 

 

This also applies to the "I think all marriage/adoption/surrogacy/IVF is wrong" but only say so when we're talking about same-sex couples engaging in them crowd as well.

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 After numerous recent brouhahas (there’s always numerous), the Freedom of Speech wars are raising their ugly heads again, and like a compulsive whack-a-mole player, I simply have to hammer them down, because it’s amazing how much the people who scream “freedom of speech” the loudest are the ones who seem to understand it the least.
 
Freedom of speech – the freedom to not have the government come along and censor you without good reason (yes, good reason – it has never been an unqualified right). Are the people “silencing” you the government by law? No? Jog on then, your right is not being violated.

Of course, some people have severely missed what the freedom of speech actually means – or, rather, they’re trying to stretch it into weird and not very wonderful shapes to cover their scabby arses which has left it rather deformed.
 
Firstly, no-one has to give you a platform from which to speak. You can say whatever you want – but I don’t have to repeat it. I don’t have to let your words appear in my spaces, I don’t have to let you use my blog to spread your words to my audience, an editor isn’t obliged to print your letters or your articles, a TV station isn’t required to point a camera at you and spread your crap far and wide.  You can speak – you can stand on the street corner and speak, you can open your own blog, publish your own newspaper, write your own book, whatever; but no-one has to do these things for you. We didn’t sign up to be your publicists; if we don’t want to allow your voice on our spaces then so be it
 
Secondly, no-one actually has to listen to you. It doesn’t matter how wise and erudite you think you are, it doesn’t matter if you think you have are the bestest expert ever, no-one is required to listen to you. No-one has to take time out to see what you have to say, no-one has to visit your blog, listen to your excuses, accept your apologies or believe a damn thing you say.
 
Thirdly, no-one is required to go down in flames with you. If you open your mouth and all kinds of bigoted foolishness comes out, no-one is required to stand by you or defend you. No-one has to speak up for you. And you’ll probably find a lot of people dropping you – including employers, and advertisers – especially anyone who has been using you as a “spokesperson”.  That’s their prerogative, they’re not silencing you when they flee the sinking ship you just scuppered.


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 Senior Partner #1 likes me to be “discreet”  about my sexuality and in a million ways tries to poke me back into the closet as much as I can. Usually I bite my tongue

Senior Partner #2 loves having a gay lawyer and will use me for bonus novelty points whenever she thinks it will earn some prizes; she treats me as a toy. Usually I bite my tongue

I have a colleague who makes life very difficult because we have been instructed to “avoid each other” because he can’t keep a civil tongue in his head. I’ve nearly bit my tongue through on that one.

I bite my tongue because arguing with one’s bosses is something to be done sparingly and they both do things I won’t bite my tongue about, so I have to stock up my Awkward Conversation points. I bite my tongue because the firm already believes they are being tolerant by hiring me. I bite my tongue because I don’t want to be considered awkward. I bite my tongue because this is far from the best time to job hunt – and I know there’s no guarantee any other job I get will be better

One of my neighbours can’t formulate a sentence without a slur. I bite my tongue

One of my neighbours’ child needs his mouth washed out with bleach. I bite my tongue

One of my neighbours thinks they’re wonderfully sweet when they comment on how we’re almost like a “real couple”. We get some variation of the same patronising bullshit every week. I bite my tongue.

I bite my tongue because I’ve already riled up one neighbour enough to leave snide little menacing notes on my home and car (for over a year now – they’re starting to repeat themselves. I ask you, is it that hard to keep the hate fresh? At least show some originality). My car has been scratched, a lot. I don’t feel safe enough to risk alienating more neighbours.

One of my friends is married to a very noisy bigot. She won’t keep her mouth shut, they’re a really awful person. I try to avoid her – but that inevitably means I avoid my friend and when we do meet, when I complain he gets a long argument (and then complains). Inevitably, I end up biting my tongue

One of my friends has a hanger on even she knows is offensive as hell, but she’s desperate not to upset her.  Whenever her friend puts her foot in her mouth, she silently pleads with me not to say anything. I bite my tongue.


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A day of debate on Marriage Equality has brought many things, lots of arseholery, of course – but bright sparks like Gerald Howarth’s nasty homophobia becoming that rather awesome #aggressivehomosexuals hashtag on twitter. Well played my siblings, well played indeed :).

 But it also brought a huge amount of debate about straight, cis folks (since there are straight trans people who are currently in civil partnerships)  having access to civil partnerships and I am rather annoyed. So let’s look at that.

 Before I begin this, I feel the need to remind everyone what a civil partnership is and what it was created for – the history people like to forget

 It was not created as a choice equal to marriage that allowed you to gain some legal rights while avoiding the kyrarchy/tradition/religion/whatever connected to marriage. It was not a union that meant something different or special from marriage. It was not created as a union for people who are uncomfortable with marriage for whatever reason, want to protest marriage or object to marriage or change marriage or, indeed, do anything else to marriage, our culture, our society, our tradition, our religions or any other damn thing in the entire country or even the world.

 Now, it’s possible you can repurpose civil partnerships to do any or all of the above, but that wasn’t what it was created for.

 Civil partnerships were a turd of homophobia, polished up all shiny, to be fed to GBLT folks because we were fighting for some legal recognition and marriage was considered too shiny, too special, too precious to be sullied by the likes of us. It was a way to concede some of those rights while still making our lesser status in society clear and overt. It was another legal entry in the annals of “why nasty GBLT people are beneath the precious cishets”.  It still is.

 Don’t ignore that. Don’t forget that history. To do so is dismissive, privileged and homophobic.

 And I say that as someone who is in a civil partnership and am painfully aware of how civil partnerships are treated.

 This is what we are trying to fight now with marriage equality. We are trying to remove the law that says we are less, our families are less, our loves, are less, we are less. We are trying to get the highest authority in the country to stop legitimising homophobia, to stop broadcasting that we are lesser people with inferior lives, to stop insisting that we are less due respect and full membership of society. That is marriage equality and that is what we are fighting. And there is a lot to fight – there are some very needed amendments for this bill coming up and some more Tory sabotage to fight against.

 But today we spent hours talking about cishet people and civil partnerships. I don’t know if Maria Miller is right and there will be all kind of delay for the bill – it’s likely she’s lying she is, after all, a politician and a Tory so chances are good. But I’m unwilling to take the risk and, regardless, we still spend hours during a debate on equality for GBLT people talking about the plight of bloody cishet people

 Does everything have to be about you? Seriously? Is it actually possible to do something without cishet people deciding they absolutely have to be involved?

 Do you want to take the turd that is civil partnerships and maybe use it to fertilise something better, something different? Great! Do so! By all means fight to use civil partnerships to create something good; so long as you remember and respect the history of civil partnerships and what they represented – AND STILL REPRESENT. Remember, civil partnership isn’t a special toy we got and you were denied, it’s the scraps off your table you expected us to settle for.  Maybe you can make more of it than that – I hope you do.

 But do it on your own damn time. This law is about achieving equality and righting an injustice on a marginalised group. It is not about you, cishet people. But you are deciding to use us, our fight, our struggle to further your own goal. It doesn’t matter how interesting or worthy or progressive or excellent that goal is – it’s supremely entitled  for you to jump on us like this for your own agenda – especially if you risk derailing or delaying our actual struggle for equality.

I’d like it if we could secure our seat at the table before we focused on whatever gourmet meal you intend to make from the crusts and scraps you threw to us.

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Today I’m going to talk about the value of silence

Yes, privileged folks, flock around, I be SILENCING YOU, oh how very mean! How very mean indeed! Please clutch your fee-fees and form an orderly queue to tell us how oppressed and persecuted you are.

Except not, of course, because minorities don’t really have the institutional power to actually silence people; so instead I’ll settle praising silence.

Because sometimes silence is, indeed, golden. It’s precious and it’s something we should value. And that’s hard to do – it’s even harder to say or advocate. That spectre of “silencing” will raise it’s ugly head. We live in a time in many places where “freedom of speech” is squealed so often (and so inaccurately) it no longer has meaning; “censorship” is howled whenever anyone refuses to offer a platform or dares to criticise what is said. With the internet, we have even more chances to speak  and be heard - in many ways and in many places we truly do have a thousand voices all speaking at once.

Such a shame that 950 of them are speaking such bullshit.

So eager are people, especially the privileged who are so used to dominating discussions, to protect their right to speak that they often don’t question whether they actually have anything relevant to say – or the standing to speak in a discussion and rarely does this matter more than when we are talking about marginalised people where privileged people truly do need to learn the value of silence.

It should go without saying the most basic of silences – we don’t need you to speak for us and GBLT voices should be the ones raised to speak about GBLT people. That doesn’t mean never speak up, don’t oppose bigotry and don’t support us. But it means you aren’t the spokespeople, you aren’t the experts. You shouldn’t be the ones writing books on what slurs mean, or what it means to be GBLT, what it’s like to live as one of us or what it’s like to face homophobia or transphobia. You shouldn’t be the spokesperson at the conference or the convention, you shouldn’t be the “expert” called upon and straight people shouldn’t be the primary source when trying to learn about GBLT people. You certainly shouldn’t be posing as us and passing yourself off as “authentic”.

Some discussions do not need your opinions. If a group of GBLT people are discussing something – maybe their priorities, or focus of their attention, maybe their opinion on the actions of another GBLT person and their activism, maybe the use of various terminology or any number of discussions or arguments we could be having – then we don’t need your opinion or input. Really. You do not have the insight to enter the conversation, the lived experience to have and knowledgeable contribution. It would be like me running up to Steven Hawking and giving him my not-even-remotely-learned opinion on quantum physics (or, for that matter, any physics). Why should he listen to my ignorant drivel? Most sensible people would say he shouldn’t. So why should we listen to yours? Especially if you’re entering our ongoing discussion.

This is especially true of in-house discussions, every marginalised group has issues that they’re hashing out and debating, where there are strong differences of opinion and even internal strife. Why are you stepping into that? Why are you inserting yourself into a family discussion? What do you honestly think you can add here? It is the height of arrogance to insert yourself here! Some things don’t involve you, some things are too complex for an outsider’s opinion to have relevance .


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One of the most nerve wracking experiences any marginalised person can face is being the only “X” person in the room.

 You know what I mean, being the only GBLT person in a room, or being the only POC in a room. That moment when you look around, especially if it’s a large crowd, and realise that you are the only one of that marginalisation in the room.

 Especially if it’s a large crowd. If it’s a huge gathering, maybe a public event, or a party or something similar, then the feelings ratchet up to the max.

 There’s that chill, that sudden realisation that there’s no-one here like you. You are the only one.

 There’s that sense of not belonging. That sense of being the Other. That sense of being the stranger, in alien territory. That realisation that there’s no-one like me in the room. That sense that this is “not my space, not my place, not for me.”

 You are the only one who has this lived experience. You are the only one who understands being X. You are the only one in the room without the blinkers of privilege – blinkers that make it impossible for people to understand, blinkers that will always leave ignorances.

 And, let’s face it, there’s the instinctive fear. After all, marginalised people in a crowd full of privileged people have had plenty of reason to be afraid. And that’s an instinct you can’t just turn off.

 And there’s the fear of what people will say – especially if you are recognisable as the person of X group in the room. Will they talk about it? Will they speak in clumsy, privileged terms? Will I be able to speak up? Can I do so, in this room, where I will be the only voice? Is it worth the risk? Is it worth the discomfort? What if I overhear something I can’t ignore?

 It’s intimidating. It’s isolating. It’s deeply uncomfortable. It’s alienating. It’s nervous making. It’s tense and you can’t relax. It doesn’t feel safe. And it’s even frightening.

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One of the eternal frustrations with trying to talk marginalisation with privileged people is the ignorance of what persecution actually means, what being marginalised actually means. Yes, I know, blink and step back “surely it’s obvious!?” right? I mean, groups that are marginalised are treated horrendously in a myriad of ways for centuries – how can we not know what that means?

And yet – how many times have we seen a marginalised person described some event in their lives where prejudice has screwed them over and you have some privileged person saying “oh, yeah, that’s just like what happens to me!” And then we to resort to the marginalised serenity prayer – give me the serenity not to kill this person with axes. Increasingly it seems I am lacking in serenity, on the plus side, I have no shortage of axes.

However, axe murdering does rather stain the carpet, and putting out plastic sheeting every time is a nuisance so can we actually address what marginalisation is and why privileged people don’t face it, even if they think they do?

So, let us begin with the “that happened to me too.” Ok, but does it feed into a societal pressure and habitual victimisation? Do things like that commonly happen to people like you, for that reason? Does it reflect or build on a major societal pressure?

Because this all matters. Say tomorrow I am walking down the street, leaving my firm and someone decides that he really really hates lawyers and decides to violently attack me with my own axe. Woe, I have been attacked, due to my profession. I have been victimised. Yet, if we take exactly the same attack and change one thing – that my attacker tried to kill me for being gay instead – and we’ve got an entirely different situation.

Being attacked as a lawyer wouldn’t make me worry about it happening again. It wouldn’t make me check the news for other attacks on lawyers and feel that fear every time I see it appear. I probably wouldn’t actually see any other incidents, or very few. I wouldn’t change my behaviour or worry about how I’m acting and what I’m saying. It wouldn’t send a message to all other lawyers that they’re under threat and their lives aren’t valued. I wouldn’t walk into a room full of non-lawyers and worry about being safe. I’d be pretty sure that it wasn’t part of societal attitudes to destroy me, drive me out or render me invisible (well, except for people who’ve seen one to many of those “I’ve had an accident” Underdog adverts, but even I want to punch them. After I’ve tracked down the Go Compare opera singer anyway). There won’t be powerful forces in authority encouraging people to discriminate against me for being a lawyer, to condemn me for it and to add to a culture of violence against lawyers. I can expect the press to report on my attack, rather than ignore it, I can rely on them not demonising me for being a lawyer. I am confident that, being attacked as a lawyer, my attacker will be treated like a criminal, I will be treated as a victim, I won’t be blamed for my attack, my attacker will be sentenced appropriately, the crime against will be treated as a grave one.

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Privilege, oppression and marginalisation are concepts we talk a lot about in the social justice blogosphere (and beyond). There’s a lot to talk about and many nuances, intersectionality and so much more. But there’s also a creeping habit to, by intent or accident, use the language of privilege and oppression in a way that denies our own privilege, centres our own marginalisation as more vital (or universal), or gives our own marginalised group a pass on the badness. It’s a common reaction – after all, we all want to think of our people as “the good ones” and, despite it being easier to live as the oppressor, it’s certainly more sympathetic to identity with the oppressee. But it’s still not all good – because it does come down to denying privilege, denying marginalisation or dismissing marginalised people’s issues.

The most common thing I see is us just taking a rather scattershot approach to privilege – including every privilege the offender has – even the ones that are not relevant to the situation.

Rush Limbaugh attacked Sandra Fluke in a grossly misogynist way because of her testimony on birth control. And, thankfully, people describe what a privileged arsehat he is. This is good – but I also saw many people cursing him for his straight, white male privilege. Sounds right – after all he is a straight white male (and he’s also a homophobic racist as well as a misogynist). Except, he didn’t use straight, white privilege to (though those privileges add to his power and position, certainly) to attack Ms. Fluke; his male privilege was the relevant one. And this matters – because by adding the straight and white privileges there we’re implying that if Limbaugh were gay or POC (or both) then he would not be oppressing Ms. Fluke, he would not have privileged over her - or, he simply wouldn’t do such a thing. We know that’s not true. Being gay or being POC is no defence against being a misogynist.

It’s not that he doesn’t have these privileges – it’s that they’re not relevant to the current discussion – or the relevance they have is fraught since it also implies a pass for those groups.

Another example – in my many many fraught discussions of the problems of slash and m/m genres many people have joined me in objecting. But some of the objections are of the appropriating writers using straight, white privilege. Except I’ve a whole shed load of homophobic fail in my inbox from straight POC writers, slash, m/m and yaoi defenders, declaring their natural ally-dom to all gay men since they’re man-sex fetishisers. It is by their straightness and othering that they are oppressing – and, again, we’re giving a pass to some of the privilege offenders by bringing in these other privileges. Some of the homophobic bullshit is given a pass.

Another common tactic I see is to distort or change the meaning of words in a way that magically includes you in the oppression (something I’ve mentioned before). I’ve read a blog that has a handy little lexicon that describes “heteronormative” as a “white, middle-class, straight lens”. Which isn’t what it means – if you have a large group of straight, working class, POC then you have a heteronormative situation. This reduces diversity to racial and class lines alone, by co-opting a word used to criticise the erasure and ignoring of GBLT people and giving the show/book/culture a pass if it is seen from a racially inclusive lens even if it completely denies the existence of GBLT people.

“Diversity” is another word that often gets bandied about without qualification when the writer usually means only diverse along one axis – I’m amazed at how many utterly erased books I’ve read or TV shows I’ve watched that were praised for their supposedly vast inclusion.

Similarly to expanding the definition of oppressions, there’s also the stretching of definition of social justice movements. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve said to someone “y’know that was kind of homophobic” and received a reply of “I’m not homophobic, I’m a feminist!” And this is relevant, why? Being anti-homophobia doesn’t make you anti-racist or anti-misogynist. Being feminist doesn’t make you anti-racist or anti-homophobia etc. Don’t assume an inherent intersectionality - and, by all that is holy, do not play the “no true Scotsman” fallacy for your preferred movement either. It’s another way to deny privilege and oppression by absorbing another’s oppression into your movement. That doesn’t mean that people can’t identify as part of X movement AND be against all the other isms – but it’s an AND not an INCLUDED – it requires more than just assuming a label – especially when that label never included said oppression in the first place.

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Want to know why I am so sick of straight folks as gay icons? Then cast a look over Cher’s twitter feed (@cher)

She writes a tweet praising homophobic pastor Joel Osteen:

“I love Joel Osteen,hes example of Christian!He makes Every1 feel welcome 2 his church no matter who they R!1st book like this I ever bought”


And someone, naturally, wrote back:

“@cher Umm... not everyone. He's pretty uncool about gays.


Personally I would have said he’s a raging bigot and utter scum, but that’s me). After all, an utter homophobe does not make gay people seem welcome. This is an extremely polite and gentle correction, I think, especially by internet standards. And Cher’s response?

“But IM NOT!Proved this my WHOLE LIFE! We have a BOND! Christians hav hard time,but WE COULD HELP CHANGE THISRTHe's pretty uncool about gays.”

“4 gays to get married & on & on! Chaz could be out & loved! Anything can change when we make ppl c us loving human beings! If u can cut me”

“Loose because i think we can change what pple believe today then my heart is broken! Maybe im naive to believe everything can change ,”

“But gay pple have stayed w/me through 40 yrs when every1 else left! If i broke our bond & u hav no love 4 me anymore this is my last txt”

“U hav been my best Friends!My Heart has broken MANYx's because ive lost 1 of U!I hav Sat w/U til last your LAST BREATH!I will ALWAYS LUV U”



Um… wow? Someone pointed out you were singing the praises of a homophobe and calling his bigoted church welcoming and you have to splurge your ally credentials, how you love gay people and how very very very hurt and sad it makes you to face… a gently worded correct? Seriously?

How would you have reacted if someone had ACTUALLY criticised you? Or would that be stepping way out of line for a GBLT person to do?

And I know you can take criticism – 2 steps down your feed someone is pointing out your praise of Churchill missed some of the crap he did – and you said you’d do some more research. I guess GBLT people have no right to question? Get in line and fawn, you’re an icon, how dare the devotion not be forthcoming!

This could even be seen as a hint that she may be leaving Twitter?

Fine, buh-bye now, because this is a text book example of how straight allies get it wrong and the entitlement we often see.

If a gay person gently adds a correction (and how much more gently could it be?) when you are supporting a raging homophobe because you couldn’t be bothered to google the people you’re praising and you lose your ever loving shit about it? Then you’re not an ally or a friend, you’re yet another straight person who expects us to be your minions and fawning sycophants.

Cher, you said something without realising the full facts. Someone pointed out what you missed. The correct response is to say “I did not know that, I’ll do some googling, thank you.” Not “ZOMG I AM SUCH A PROGAY PERSON! OH MY HEART IS BROKEN!!!!”

The former tells us you care about homophobia. The latter tells us you care about us fawning over you.


So no, I won’t be part of the #pleasedontleavecher hashtag, because this is seriously fucked up. No matter how much of an ally you are, we don’t owe you fawning devotion and we don’t have to keep our traps shut no matter what you say because your fee-fees have a melt down if we do anything other than yap like lap-dogs over you. We’re not your pets or your toys.
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*deep breaths* my temper is frayed on this one. I’ve just come across a blog post by a straight person who is most displeased that the GBLT community is not more up in arms and outraged by the group beating of Brandon White in Atlanta. She wanted to see more outpouring of… I don’t even know what. Outrage, grief, anger, shock? She judges us for not reacting more forcefully to the gay bashing and not paying more attention to it.

And I wish it was just another failed ally pulling this privileged shit, but sadly, she’s not alone.

What did you expect? It was a brutal gay bashing? Yeah then and every other day of the week. You don’t get it. blinkered straight folks, this isn’t unusual or freaky or weird or shocking. This is a normal day. This shit happens every day. Every bloody day – and yes as bad and much much worse.

I have yet to publish a bad news list that didn’t contain shocking violence. Mob attacks, stitches, beating, broken bones, concussion, rape, rape with objects, burning people with hot water, setting them on fire and, of course, murder. Beatings, stabbings, shootings, burnings, arson. Over and over again.

Look. Look at the list. Read them. It happens over and over and over again

And in my list of links for the next round up which I’ll get to once I have the strength for it I have at murders, mob attacks, mass arrests and a 16 year old kid with a broken jaw. And that’s just a brief scan of the links in the folder.

NONE of these cases get vast amounts of attention from the GBLT blogosphere or GBLT news sources. They’re reported on once, maybe twice and then we move on. If developments happen – like suspects caught or a court case develops, it is reported on – that’s about it. Even murders rarely get massive outpourings of shock and horror from us any more. There’s too many of them for more and we’re too inured to violence for a greater response.

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Or give me a new set of haddocks.

So what do we have to annoy me to day everybody? Oh look, more advice! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY! WHAT FUN!

Oh wait, *opens window* *let’s the sarcasm out*

Damiano Tommasi, head of the Italian Football association would advise gay footballers against coming out.

*le sigh* Look, just like we don’t need people advising us to come out, we don’t need people telling us not to come out either. Is there homophobia in professional sports? Gods yes – and no-one knows that better than GBLT people! And most certainly no-one knows that better than GBLT football players – and if they want to be damned brave and come out anyway, kudos to them. If they want safety and security and not to risk everything then they can stay closeted – also their choice and perfectly reasonable. But I cannot imagine any GBLT football player – or any GBLT person period – thinking “oh, I was going to come out but this straight guy says HOMOPHOBIA EXISTS which I like, totally didn’t know, so now I’m changing my mind!”

But wait! It gets worse! See, Mr. Tommasi here isn’t worried about gay footballers being victims of homophobia – no no, he thinks we should be closeted to preserve a “civil space” because footballers are so close together, and change in the same changing rooms that there could be embrassment!

ZOMG the gays be staring at your straight junk guys! HORROR! AAAARGH. Can’t you feel our gayze upon your bodies Didn’t we have this conversation already, Jason Akermanis? Really, I don’t think I need to repeat myself since it still applies and I’m not typing it all out again:

I need to break something to you – the chances are a gay person has seen you nekked

If you ever changed for PE at school, if you’ve ever been to the swimming baths, if you’ve ever been to a sports centre, health spa, joined a sports team, if you‘ve been in a communal barracks or tent etc. In short, if you have ever been in any situation where you are naked around members of your own gender, chances are that you have been seen nekked by a gay person.

We r hiding and looking at your nekked bodies! ZOMG AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH! RUN straight people, RUN!!!!

And you know what? There are several things we need to address here.

1) Nudity =/= sex. And y’know what? Chances are GBLT people know this better than most people. Why? Because we’ve been here before! Every time we go to the gym or a join a sports team and most certainly at school – gay men have been around naked straight guys, lesbians have been around naked straight women. We‘ve been there, we know and we know it‘s not sexual. We know the difference between sexual nudity and non-sexual nudity

2) Get over yourselves already. Seriously, to all the straight folks out there – gay people do not spend our lives lusting after your hetness. No, really. Enough with this silly idea that because we’re attracted to our own gender, we’re attracted to ALL of our own gender.

3) Y’know what? Maybe you are hot. Maybe you’re drool-worthy hot. Maybe you are so damn sexy that your mere presence in the changing room will make all of our days. Maybe you are sex on legs. Congratulations, have a cookie. Guess what? Your being a pure avatar of solid sex does not mean that we’re going to leap on you and have our wicked way with you. It doesn’t even mean we’re going to stare at you and make you uncomfortable (and, hey, if someone DOES the skeevy leering thing then say something because that’s rude regardless), our libidos aren’t going to overrule our good sense of the appropriate. Which brings me to…

4) The gay panic defence. Y’know, it has been raised in court over here yet again not that long ago. There are a substantial number of straight people who feel it’s ok to attack gay people because they are seen to be making a come on. A touch, a glance, even how we are dressed can be seen as a reason for a violent attack. You think we’re going to stare at your naked straight arse? You think getting an eyeful is worth that kind of risk?

But, of course, the actual argument presented is NOT that gay people are going to rush at the irresistible straight folks and have our wicked wicked way. No, it’s that our open presence will make the straight folks… uncomfortable.

Ok, seriously? So GBLT people are supposed to closet themselves for their entire lives – because this is what that means – for the sake of straight people’s comfort in the dressing room? So straight people can keep the delusion that there are no gays around? Keep their partners undercover, never mention their families, make sure their families are never noticed? Maybe make up a few lies, a fake girlfriend, a fake history? Edit their entire lives for the sake of straight people’s DISCOMFORT? I would gape at the entitlement in this if it weren’t so damn common.
GBLT people don’t have a duty to censor themselves so straight people can pretend we don’t exist.


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sparkindarkness: (Default)
You really didn't want.

This is a perennial problem with well meaning straight, cis people and, I rather think, privileged people over all marginalised people. Advice.

I often wonder why privileged people decide to give advice about being marginalised to marginalised people. It's kind of like watching a high school maths teacher correct Stephen Hawkings on his sums.

One of the recent crops of unsolicited advice we've been seeing is various people, especially in professional sports, encouraging their closeted GBLT teammates, colleagues et al to come out. And I sigh, I really do. We really really do not need advice on whether to come out or not, at least not from straight, cis people who really cannot understand what that means and the depth of the implications.

Lives are lost coming out. Literally. Families are lost. Friends are lost, careers are lost. And we can all say that those that matter will stand by you, and it's true, but reality is often harsher than such ideals and platitudes won't solve isolation, loneliness, betrayal – or protect you from violence and abandonment – or being fired for that matter. To say nothing of the very personal struggles that often precede coming out (and follow after it for that matter).

Don't get me wrong, coming out was one of the best things I ever did – but it was also one of the hardest things I ever did – and it still isn't easy and it never will be.

And it keeps happening. I think the latest is the president of the UFC (which is an extra load of foolishness, since this man is quite happy to throw around anti-gay slurs. So I suspect it's more an attempt at good PR than anything), but I've seen it multiple times in professional football, rugby, cricket and athletics. I've seen it for actors and politicians, musicians and businessmen, lawyers and doctors, police and firefighters and a million professions besides. The same tune “you should come out.”

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sparkindarkness: (Default)
There has been a drama in the m/m genre with a popular author using a male pseudonym and fake gay bio (quite an elaborate one at that) – and it turns out that (SHOCK HORROR) she is actually a woman. Several people have rightfully condemned said fraud. And others are shocked, SHOCKED that such deceptions have been practised.

I sometimes wonder if these people practice their shocked face in front of the mirror to maintain its authenticity – or whether they have problems with their memory because, really, at what point does a thing have to be repeated for you not to be shocked by this?

I was going to write a long long post about it, but, again, I remind myself that this is a shark tank I don't want to jump into and those who get it already do, those who don't will defend just about anything (though I will say I am vaguely amused by the people commenting in threads saying how terribad such behaviour is when they have done/defended such in the past) and, frankly, I don't want another migraine causing inbox full of privilege, entitlement and gross homophobia which I always get whenever the subject is touched on.

My general posts on m/m genre are still in my tags and I won't repeat them

I will say that using an identity like this is out of line. When you pretend to be a marginalised body you are claiming an experience you haven't had. At the most basic, this is like putting “Dr.” before your name when you don't have the qualifications to back it. But it's worse than that – because you're not only claiming an experience you don't have – but you're claiming a marginalisation you haven't experienced – your claiming an insight into a persecuted body that you do not have. You are exploiting our persecution for your own gain.

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sparkindarkness: (Default)
So, Michigan has passed a “bullying is bad but bullying GBLT kids is a-ok, here's how to do it” bill (there's a vid at the source featuring Senator Gretchen Whitmer doing a splendid and emotional slap down of this fuckery).

Basically, it's a law against bullying – unless totally justified by religion! And that's not coded language at all, is it? Afterall, it's not the exact same excuse that bigots are using to undercut everything from marriage equality to discrimination laws, is it? But the religious have a right to hate! How can you possibly oppress their hatred!?

So, if you're a vicious little arsehole bullying GBLT kids until they kill themselves, this law won't stop you. And if, by the slightest possible chance, you do actually find a teacher who is willing to act against your vicious homophobia and transphobia, don't worry, just claim the Bible (or religious text of choice) says you can be a vile little bigotry and the law gives you an instant loophole! After all, the right of hateful religious types to drive us to our graves is far more important than the rights of GBLT youth to, y'know, live.

This is a classic example of straightness taking the reigns and how we're so quickly cast aside.

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sparkindarkness: (Default)
Ok, so I'm going to chew off another of the excuses that seems to be increasingly used when privileged people are confronted with various issues they've perpetrated - this one is Curiosity.

Now, this was recently raised as an excuse in Renee's recent post about people pawing black hair (and believe me, those unabridged comment threads would have been comic if they didn't destroy your faith in humanity).

I've also seen it invoked when I've complained about personal, sexual and otherwise invasive questions being asked of GBLT people that are none of the questioner's damn business and I can't imagine in what possible universe they thought it'd be an appropriate question to ask.

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sparkindarkness: (Default)
Don't.

It's that simple.


No, I don't care what the “context” is. The context of these words is that they're dehumanising, lessening, othering terms that serve to reduce people, express contempt and plug into a history of hatred, violence and oppression. That is the context of these words. They bring their own context.


When you use them you don't divorce them from that context. You just spread the context – and the more you use them the more you make that context ok and acceptable. The more you present the idea that it's ok to refer to us by demeaning and dehumanising terms – which means it's ok to demean and dehumanise us – ok to present us as lesser, as other, as beneath. Whatever your reason is for talking about the f@gs doesn't change that you have put that word out there, with its context and its meaning, doesn't change that you, by your repetition, have added to making that word and the sentiment behind it acceptable.

And it's not ok.

And your context and your excuses don't help those who have had these used against us, whose flight or fight instinct kicks in the minute we see them, who have memories with teeth that are always waiting to ambush us. Your excuses don't prevent the panic, the fear, the worry, the constant looking over our shoulders

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sparkindarkness: (Default)
Ok some things hang around far too long. They're not only wearing out their welcome, but they're lurching around, rotting, smelling like an extra on The Walking Dead.

And most certainly one of them is that old, stinking excuse “I have X friends” (or cousins, or co-workers or employees or someone who once passed you in the street) and it's related zombies “My friend said X”.

Apart from anything else, it's useless. I'm always amazed when one marginalised person says “hell no” and then some privileged person turns round and says “but my friend says...”. Why? Why does your reported friend overrule the marginalised person in front of you saying it's not ok? Sometimes even multiple marginalised people are supposed to bow to this. Does your friend have the grand imperial veto or something? Supreme Godfather of the Gay Agenda? International President of all Black People? Supreme Dictator of Translandia?

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sparkindarkness: (Default)
I have a huge list of pet hates because it's truly amazing how much privileged arseholery there is out there, but at the moment, swimming its way to the front of the list is:

“It's better than....”

“At least I'm not....”

For I tire of these excuses, I really do. I tire of the bare minimum being considered praiseworthy. And I tire of any prejudice short of the utter extreme being considered acceptable.


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sparkindarkness: (Default)
So, there have been a few cases now and I feel moved to rant... err, I mean comment.

During the eternal meandering of the proposition 8 trial it was revealed that judge Waker was gay. And the haters were up in arms, frothing and furious! We can't have a gay judge decide that case! He'd be biased! How can he possibly be fair!? The whole case must be scrapped and re-decided with a fair (straight) judge!

And then we have a case of a gay prison inmate on trial for attacking a prison guard – the prosecution is quick to remove a lesbian from the jury. Uh-huh

And of course, they're not isolated cases, nor for that matter, are they limited to one country. It's not limited to one marginalisation for that matter. There's a pervasive idea that to be unbiased you have to be privileged. Simply because we are GBLT, we are inherently biased. We cannot be trusted to be fair, to make reasoned decisions, to be anything other than self-serving and selfish.

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