Sunday, 26 June 2011

Stepping back, reassessing, reviewing

So the week before last was not a good week. Ups and downs, yes? Well, this was a down. Part of it was the general badness being generally bad, part of it was because it was, frankly, a bad news week and that, in turn was exacerbated by the behaviour of several of those writing about it and generally made me rethink my involvement in many places, my interactions and what I was reading and where

Then last week was one of my worst run of insomnias for a long time, which always makes me edgy, grumpy and generally wanting to curl up in a corner somewhere with a book and for the whole damn world to get on with it and leave me alone. But above and beyond that I was very inactive simply because I just didn't want to come online. I just didn't want to face the battles, the fights, the usual suspects and the supposedly not-usual suspects yet they still seem to push the same buttons all the time so maybe I should update that usual suspect list. In short, beyond commitments I had already made, I stayed off the net because every time I turned on the computer my thought was “I don't want to do this.”

This is not a good thing.

So it's time for a reassess of the spaces I'm in and the company I keep, at very least reassessing how 'safe' some of these spaces are and further to realise that, in far too many spaces 'intersectional' means the same damn thing as 'traditional values' or 'family' – it's another code word for so out and out homophobia. Which is a shame, because intersectionality is too important to be stained so.

I've realised that some link spams I've been following haven't actually thrown up a pro-GBLT link since the beginning of May. Plenty of posts on how bad/wrong/evil GBLT people are (since that is so fashionable) and a vast variety of other issues are covered – but GBLTs are there for being attacked only.

I've been asked to contribute to another blog, which is always flattering. Except looking back through their archives I find nary a post on GBLT issues and, not only that, but the vast majority of the posts are grossly heteronormative to a level that is offensive – often claiming wonderful diversity or considering all aspects of prejudice while completely ignoring us. I don't particularly want to be the token gay contributor to throw in a couple of posts so they can claim an “intersectional” label before pretending we don't exist.

I've realised too many of the spaces I follow are not just “focuses on different issues” but are grossly heteronormative and homophobic, and I follow too many of these spaces and don't treat them as the dangerous places they are. I've realised that too many of the “intersectional” spaces I follow only mention GBLT people if they have something negative to say about us.

And I realise I've spent far too much time arguing with straight social justice folks about what is and what isn't homophobia, about what gay people should or should not care about and how they think the “gay community” should or should not change. And I've had too many people repeatedly coming to me saying “you know me, you know my record” to deflect from something dubious they've said and I'm coming to see that, yes, I do know them – they're the person who is relying on historical record to try and give them a cover for repeated fuckery.

In general I've spent far too much time realising that vast sections of the “social justice” sphere just don't see homophobia as a real “ism” or straight privilege as a “real” privilege. I'm tired of the huge number of bloggers who seem convinced that me and mine must have had it “sooo easy” compared to those with 'real' oppressions. Me and my scars and my therapy and my hostile work environment disagree, but that disrupts the narrative, doesn't it? I've seen no less than 4 places in the last 2 weeks where straight women drooling over pictures of men kissing men is supposed to be freaking “progressive” and hailed as such. I've seen a lot more grossly heterosexist spaces and I am almost amazed – as someone who is beyond cynical – at the way the VAST majority of commentators on the whole straight men pretending to be lesbians drama and didn't see ANY STRAIGHT PRIVILEGE at all. Not one bit. Never even occurred to them. And this wasn't one or two – it was the vast majority of comment.

And basically all the dots have been joined and far too much of it spells out “what am I doing here? Why do I go there? Why do I deal with this person?”

And, y'know what? I don't have a freaking clue.

So I'm moving things around. I've dropped some twitter feeds and moved some of the worst sites from my RSS. Some have been moved into my “this place is a freaking swamp” (I keep my RSS split based on the contents likelihood of giving me grey hairs) category, but most I've just dropped. My “trusted spaces” RSS field is now... small. Extremely small. In fact, even my “We don't exist!” group has got awfully small. And the benefit of the doubt is being freaking revoked. Just being in the social justice sphere, just having “intersectionality” painted up somewhere and just because you once wrote a post in 2008 on why you think hitting gay people with sticks is bad doesn't mean I'm going to ignore fuckery or try to see it in a more positive light because at the moment I'm feeling almost masochistic in my activities.

It's past time to stop swimming in the piranha pool. At least not without smacking a few of the fishies that are nibbling away. And I'm bad at it and no doubt I'll leave far too many piranhas swimming around my feet, but at least removing a few would help.