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.