Good news, cishet folks! You get the week off.
This week, it’s about how queer folx are problematic within their own community. More specifically, what with Pride events going on all over the place, how cis gays and lesbians can be incredibly problematic.
This isn’t a “waah, people are so horrible to trans folx” rant. This is a legitimate problem in the community.
It can be seen as far back as the Stonewall Riots, seen by many as one of the inciting moments in the Queer Rights Movement. The initiators of a lot of what happened were trans queer women of colour, literally fighting for the right to exist. It was a violent and terrifying time, but as seen throughout history sometimes violence is needed to garner the attention to enact change.
In the aftermath, when change was offered, the white cis gays and lesbians that the Establishment were wiling to talk to threw the rest of the community under the bus. In particular the trans women of colour who had been so instrumental in opening up dialogue in the first place, as they claimed they were “too extreme” for the “normal” folks and would hold back everyone’s rights.
This mindset is so pervasive that to this day Stonewall is known as a key part of the “gay rights movement”. In fact, most of the coverage claims it as a monument to gay rights.
Some days it feels like the people who most forget that there are a lot of letters in the LGBTQIA+ acronym are those covered by LG.
Particularly, unsurprisingly, the men. There’s been a lot of link and posts getting shared about lately claiming the acronym is “GLBT”, because heaven forbid a woman should come first.
It’s not just trans folx that are put down by gay and lesbian folks though, Bisexual/Pansexual people are often on the end of a lot of abuse, being told they’re “not queer enough” if they are in a straight-passing relationship, or frequently being told “you’re actually gay, just admit it already”.
Even if gay and lesbian folks aren’t actively taking part in this sort of abuse, a lot of them are complicit by means of doing nothing. Now that same sex marriage is legal in more and more countries, a lot of gay and lesbian folks have decided the fight is now over, that the rest of us are whining over nothing. Nothing, despite the fact many trans folx end up divorced or rejected by their families, or that queer people of colour suffer abuse constantly in every day life.
Despite the fact that, in 2016, if you are anything other than cis gay or lesbian, you are still seen as a freak, as an outsider, and it is a constant fight to be yourself.
One of the most prominent places we see this cis gay normativeity is, ironically, Pride, which is meant to be a celebration of all queer folx’ right to existence, and a reminder that we are still here and fighting. Yet, almost 50 years after the Stonewall Riots, it is still all about white cis gays and lesbians. Look how much police officers getting engaged at Pride, despite they are a serious threat to queer people of colour, were celebrated, whilst those fighting for inclusivity at what is supposed to be the most inclusive celebration of them all are routinely pushed out.
This isn’t a plea to cis gays and lesbians, this is a warning: we stood up for you so you could gain your rights, now it’s time for you to pay your dues and stand up for us.