Sunday, 14 April 2013

Memes that get on my last nerve

So, being on twitter and generally avoiding facebook, I generally get to see a lot of memes that have lots of pithy information in a short phrase. Some of them really work, are really witty and really clever.

And some of them set my teeth on edge. These are some that get on my last nerve

Everyone is Born/Inherently Bisexual
I get it, the idea that there are a lot of people with minor or even major attractions to the same sex but also have attraction to the opposite and so ignore the former is definitely a possible.

But while there is certainly a lot of question as to exactly how many people there are out there who are various degrees of bi or pansexual, everyone is not bisexual and doing so creates an erasure that is every bit as unacceptable and annoying as prevalent bi-erasure. Aside from anything else, combatting bi-erasure with the idea that actually everyone is secretly a member of their identity doesn’t strike me as ideal either since it’s another backward form of erasure (after all, if everyone is bi, then why use a word to define anyone as bi?)

As a gay man, I am attracted to men. I am emphatically NOT attracted to women and it’s one of the many many many annoying things that give me headaches when, for some bemusing reason, straight people try to find the one woman somewhere, somehow, in whatever situation that I would willingly have sex with. There isn’t one because I’m gay, not bi.

I’m not Gay as in Happy, I’m Queer as in fuck you
I’m all for us ditching some of the happy. I think we, as a community, have been so desperate for acceptance for so long that we have more than a little problem with fawning over any straight person who is willing to say even remotely nice things about us. Time and again we give headpats and cookies and praise to people who have done sod all and we really need to stop that shit.

I saw over the weekend someone describe the situation as this: Someone breaks into your house, beats you up and steals your shit – then they begin to give you your stuff back slowly, item by item. Do you say thank you and praise them?

This is the situation of GBLTQ rights and it’s something I’ve said before. We are not being given or awarded our rights. Our rights are being wrongly denied, not generously given.

So I’m all for some anger. We definitely need some more anger, some more of that fuck you, which I certainly have. I am angry, I am furious – and I am gay.

There’s a fair few people pushing to make everyone accept “queer” as a descriptor. We see it in people using it as a generic for the whole community (ironically, often people who make a big thing of including everyone in the umbrella – inclusive so long as we accept their terminology it seems) and we see it in this pervasive framing of people who use “queer” as activists and people who use “gay” as assimilationists. It’s a form of shaming and policing. Many of us have reasons not to want to reclaim this slur and that doesn’t make us bad activists or mean we’re not angry or mean we’re not fighting – take your shaming elsewhere.

Homophobia: the fear that gay men will treat you the way you treat women.
One of the biggest derails out there. See, homophobia and misogyny have similar roots and a whole lot intersections, common causes, common goals and other commonalities. But they are not the same thing, they are separate oppressions in their own right. And when talking about one oppression, it is not ok to suddenly switch the dial and make it all about another. When someone is talking about race, it’s not right to dismiss everything being said as really being about class. When someone is talking about homophobia, it’s not right to dismiss it all as misogyny. Are some of the men who have thrown their homophobic bigotry at me over the years worried, on some level, about the icky, predatory gay sex? Yes, certainly. But many of the straight folks – male and female – who have thrown their arseholery at me have not been, they’ve had motivations from religious hatred, to assumption I’m a threat to children, to patronisingly not seeing me as a full person but as a toy or pet or to reduce me to some flimsy stereotypes or just assuming I’m pathetic, foolish, sick or broken or diseased.

Homophobia is an oppression and hatred every bit as severe and real as any other. It isn’t misogyny’s little sibling and it won’t disappear like magic if we found the other magic spell that makes misogyny disappear.

And this sentence comes with a lot of erasure. LBQ women face homophobia as well, not just GBQ men. And straight women most certainly CAN be homophobes. This, coupled with the dismissal of homophobia as an oppression in and of itself