Wednesday, 29 April 2015

I have no time or patience for "activism" that attacks marginalised people

I have no time or patience for people who decide to champion a marginalised cause - even a worthy cause - by attacking another marginalised group.

I have no time or patience for people championing a marginalised group by declaring this particularly group has the worst oppression ever and other marginalised groups are less important

I have no time or patience for people championing a marginalised group by declaring the campaigns of other marginalised groups to be over, unnecessary, pointless or less important.

I have no time or patience for people championing a marginalised group by picking out another marginalised group or people specifically to attack in the process

I have no time or patience for people championing a marginalised caused but who can't resist throwing in a dig at another marginalised group.

I have no time or patience for people who hear about a marginalised groups victories, struggles or defeats and decide to dismiss it, speak over it or other wise distract from it or put it down.

I have no time or patience for people who only mention a marginalised group to say bad things about them - even if the criticism is valid or sometimes accurate.

I have no time or patience for people who fight for marginalised causes by deciding another marginalised group has "won enough" or "got enough" (especially if that group is fighting for rights or protections the person already has).

I have no time or patience for people who appropriate marginalised causes to try and use them as weapons against another marginalised group

I have no time or patience for people who engage in bigotry while trying to call out other bigotry. If you can't fight oppression without engaging in oppression then you're doing something badly wrong

If the only way you can champion marginalised people or marginalised issues is by throwing shit at other marginalised people and marginalised issues then you are failing at activism. Equality is never going to be achieved by throwing rocks at people who are also struggling. Nor does claiming to be fighting for equality disguise your not very subtle bigotry.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Teachable Moments

I’m breaking my annoying silence (so much to do, so little time) because something has annoyed me. Actually it’s a string of people annoying me the same way; that perennial call that we need to be nicer to bigoted straight people who do and say bigoted things and really aren’t we great big meanies for daring to judge people for using slurs or avoiding or telling off these bigots when they show their bigoted arses in all their scabby, bigoted glory.

Above all, I’m tired of the dreaded “teachable moment.” I’m tired of when yet another person decides to yell “f@ggot” in whatever media is open to them, it’s demanded that we nicely teach the bigot why that’s not a nice thing to do. I’m tired of being expected to look on a long screed on why I don’t deserve the same rights as anyone else as some kind of opportunity to educate rather than the vicious attack it is. I’m tired of seeing yet another attack against us and being expected to be SYMPATHETIC to the bigot who just trampled all over us.

Because of fucking TEACHABLE MOMENTS.

So let’s talk teachable moments. Mainly let’s talk about how I have absolutely no inclination to take advantage of “teachable moments” provided every time some straight person marauds around with little or no regard for us YET AGAIN.

That’s not to say I don’t want straight people to LEARN a whole lot of things. But teaching can’t happen without willingness to learn – and if there is a willingness to learn then I and a gazillion other LGBTQ people out there have written blogs, books, articles, videos and just about every damn resource possible for straight people to ACTUALLY want to learn. They don’t need “teachable moments”, they need to respect us enough to put some damn effort in.

The problem is not, as the apologist always cry whenever a bigot does anything, IGNORANCE; the problem is RESPECT

It is not having RESPECT enough for us to care whether their words and actions hurt us

It is not having RESPECT enough for us to consider the consequences of what they do or say

It is not having RESPECT enough to learn about us before presuming to insert themselves in our lives and our issues.

It is not having RESPECT enough to recognise that we are the experts in our own lives and when we say something is so, then is it so.

Because of this, the only “teachable moments” I want to have with straight people are:

1)      Don’t say/do bigoted, dehumanising and disrespectful things
2)      Don’t involve themselves in or claim opinions on or cast judgement on community issues that have absolutely nothing to do with them.

That’s it. Because those are basic milestones of respect: not doing harmful things and not arrogantly and paternalistically assuming expertise in someone else’s life.  And I’ve found the most simple “teachable moments” for his is to either shun transgressors or make your anger known in most clear and adamant terms.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Broken Rainbows in Risk of Closure

Hammersmith and Fulham Council are considering closing their only shelter for domestic violence victims who are gay and bisexual men. This will leave gay and bisexual male victims of domestic violence in the borough forced to travel considerable distance

This is terrible, homophobia and shows how low we stand in the Council’s priority list.

HOWEVER, what is more terrible is the fact that Hammersmith and Fulham have (had) even one shelter for gay and bi men means they are actually far far far more concerned about gay and bisexual men needing shelter than every other London council. This shelter is the only shelter for gay and bisexual male victims of domestic violence in London.

The only one in the entire capital. 13,000,000 people live in the greater London metropolitan area and there is (was) one shelter. And at that it is better served than much of the rest of the country (there’s certainly no such shelter near me).

Stonewall Housing also notes there is no commitment for government funds to any kind of LGBT housing or shelter across the UK – domestic violence only makes us more vulnerable to homelessness – and we’re already grossly over-represented in the homeless population.  But, hey, the Salvation Army still gets funding so straight folks will be fine.

In addition, the LGBTQ domestic abuse charity Broken Rainbows is also facing closure after failing to gain government funding. There are not enough words in the world to describe how vital Broken rainbows is; when you are LGBTQ and face domestic abuse there are next to no services – and services that are there for domestic abuse victims are ignorant, prejudiced or incapable of helping us – or outright unable to understand that we exist (certainly not as more than an after thought).

Broken Rainbows is one of the very few sources of support out there, one of the very few organisations that knows about the paucity of services – and their reduction – and how utterly isolated and lacking in any options LGBTQ victims of domestic violence can be. They can perform small miracles against a backdrop of absolutely nothing.

It is essential that we do what we can to keep Broken Rainbows open. If you can, please help.

We cannot rely on straight government funding or straight charities, we know this. Nor can we rely on straight domestic violence charities to be remotely capable of helping us – let alone willing to do so. We need Broken Rainbows, we need this organisation to be a whole lot bigger than it is, not reduced still further. It’s one of the few lifelines we have – and it’s being cut.