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Thursday, 17 July 2014

Things Straight, Cis People Shouldn't Say: I Wouldn't Hide

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. 

Friday, 11 July 2014

Food, Foresight, Marriage and the Doctor

Beloved: What's for dinner?

Me: beef wellington, wine sauce, sauteed spinach, sauteed potatoes and cauliflower puree. Also pate, crisp bread and cake.

Beloved:.... Marry me.

Me: I already did

Beloved: That's because I'm awesome and have super power of foresight.

Me: And saw this meal?

Beloved: Exactly.

Me: But you haven't eaten yet, it could be awful?

Beloved: if it is then I would have foreseen it and wouldn't have married you so you wouldn't have cooked it.

Me: So... if this meal is bad we have a paradox?

Beloved: Yes, the whole timeline will collapse and the world ends.

Me:... I better check the seasoning then.

Beloved: uh-huh. OR the Doctor will come and put things right and we can them ambush him and become Companions

Me: Do you think he'd take us?

Beloved: he took Pond.

Me: Gods no - I'm not getting all excited hear the Tardis arriving, running out and seeing the 11th doctor. That'd be cosmically unfair.

Beloved: then you better check the seasoning - end of the world or being stuck on the Tardis with Pond and Not!Tenant.



Thankfully for the world (and our not becoming the first companions to murder the other companions, imprison the doctor and repeatedly kill him until he regenerated into Tenant again) the seasoning was perfect.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

I am not looking for allies

There appears to have been a misconception about why I blog about what I blog about and why I co-run Fangs for the Fantasy. I suppose I can see why, I mean, I can’t even tell you ALL the reasons why I do both because there’s a lot there.

There’s some venting. There’s the need to expose tropes and problematic representations and erasure in the hope that awareness will bring change. There’s an equal need to expose these simply because we consume them without questioning all the time and unless we do start questioning they will shape us. There’s the need to demand representation and inclusion everywhere – not decide that certain genres don’t matter or we can be confined to a niche. Oh there’s a bazillion reasons, I’ve written whole posts on the reasons.

But I do NOT do this to “find allies.” Never have. Finding allies is not on my to-do list. I don’t even particularly like the word “ally” because it’s so loaded with so many unpleasant connotations and experiences that I avoid it – the actions of too many self-appointed “allies” have rendered the word fairly irredeemably negative.

When it comes to people’s position in reference to a battle for equality I see two broad categories:

1)      Arseholes
2)      People Who Are Not Arseholes

An Arsehole is one who doesn’t believe a marginalised group deserves the same level of respect/rights/whatever as non-marginalised people. There are obviously different degrees of Arseholes. Some like to go out killing marginalised people, some want to campaign against our rights, some just think there’s far too many of Those People on TV and wish we’d keep it indoors. Some Arseholes will tell you how much they absolutely love us – until we don’t follow their own internal script on who/how we should be.

Regardless of the varying degrees of stink clinging to them – they’re all Arseholes.

People who are not Arseholes are just that – they think LGBT people (and all marginalised people) are people worthy of as much respect as privileged people. Despite them being relatively rare people, this is not an achievement worthy of much praise. This is the bare minimum standard for decent humanity – and should be your default setting. If it isn’t, you’re an Arsehole and should be treated as such

Is it possible that, with much work and explanation, I could convince an Arshole to not be an Arsehole? Yes – but not only is that work and painful and difficult, it’s also deeply dehumanising. I find it soul-deep offensive to have to convince someone I am an actual person worthy of respect. Having to defend, explain or justify my humanity is demeaning, it’s belittling and I loathe doing it. Almost as much I hate people telling me how much they’re struggling not to be an Arsehole.

So no, I’m not trying to “win allies.” And even if I were, it’d be impossible to do so by being nice. Someone who respects my rights and humanity and my personhood only so long as I play nicely is not my ally. LGBT people (and all marginalised people) should not have to buy respect and equality by jumping through your hoops and fawning at your feet. I am a person, no matter what – whether I’m mean, cruel, surly, caffeine deprived, sarcastic, plain nasty or whether I’m nice, patient, kind, gentle and saintly. My personhood is not dependent on my conduct – and all marginalised people do not need to show impeccable behaviour to be found worthy of equality


Don’t ever tell me that I’m failing to win allies or I’m driving allies away and think it will convince me to, well, change anything.. The first is not actually something I’m trying to do or want to do. The second is impossible with a genuine ally – because a genuine ally would support our rights as a full human being no matter how much of an ornery, surly git I am.