I will never be sorry when I get frustrated when another character is put forth/confirmed as straight when they could easily have been made queer. If that frustration is off-putting to you that is your problem and you need to deal with it. It is not like you don’t get exposed to multitudes of characters and relationships that are similar to you/yours at EVERY POINT OF YOUR LIFE. You got to see relationships and people that looked like you when you were young in media that was meant for you.
I didn’t realize I was queer until I was 15 and huge reason why I realized it then was because I got see stuff like Haruka and Michiru and Willow and Tara and have everything click that yes, my liking girls and not feeling attraction to boys was a thing that did exist in people outside of me. It isn’t hard for me to hazard that a lot of the confusion that I felt leading up to that could have been saved had I seen representations of queer people in stuff like Disney and Don Bluth films that I watched when I grew up. So just think about that.
If it really bothers you that people read characters (particularly young characters) as queer but not when people read characters as straight you should re-evaluate your thoughts and ask yourself just why that bothers you, and why you have to try and make queer people feel guilty for fully valid frustration with extent that heteronormativity is pushed in everything everywhere along with the complete dearth of representation of queer people in everything.
That is something you should feel uncomfortable about.
All of you do it.
Not one of you, even the people I am following (minus the trans folk, obviously) have avoided messing up on this. It is subtle, it is small and every time you do it you hammer the nails into our feet a little deeper.
Every time you equate penis with sexism, erasing those women and nonbinaries with penises.
Every time you equate childbirth with motherhood and women, erasing those men and nonbinaries who give birth
Every time you evoke vaginal wording to describe sisterhood or womanhood, whether it’s “cunt power”, “sisterhood of the clit” whatever, you stab every woman who has no vagina, no cunt, no clit, no vulva, no uterus, no nothing of that sort in the back and toss us out of the sisterhood that we have as much right to as you.
Every time you wonder if society got rid of social gender, would trans people stop existing, you walk on our faces.
Every time you say transwoman and transman, as though we’re not really women or men but a merged concept, you erase our genders.
Every time you sum up gender as a binary, or even just a spectrum between poles, you erase every single person with a gender that doesn’t fit that zone (and there are many)
Every time you say women and trans women or women, men and transgender, you tell us that our genders are not valid, not as real as yours.
Every time you do these things, you don’t see it. You’re feminists. You’re anarchists. You’re vegans. You’re anti racists and anti Islamophobia advocates. You’re advocates of birthing rights and socialists, anti capitalists, multiculturalists. You’re disability advocates and womanists. Fat positive, anti body policing, anti rape, social activists and writers. You’re friends and family, lovers and colleagues.
And you all do it. Every cis person I know.
Every. Last. One.
You don’t see it. But we do. We feel the knife go in. We watch the painful hypocrisy of people who make it their career, their life’s work to fight privilege and make people see through its fog, to fight white supremacy, or sexism or ableism or fatphobia or millions of other horrific systems of supremacy and dominance and control exerted against people, exercising their cissupremacy, the boot firmly planted on our necks and they don’t even see it.
But we feel it.
Next time you talk about childbirth, remember not everyone who gives birth is a mother. Next time you talk about how many women are raped, remember that a significant group of those women, of us, don’t have vaginas. Next time you talk about sisterhood, try to remember that you have nonbinary siblings and brothers with the organs you use to label your sisterhood and sisters who lack them. Try to remember that penis is not the enemy because women have them too. Try to remember that theorizing about gender isn’t very helpful when you don’t know shit about the people who experience it most directly, most vividly, most painfully.
Try to remember to look past your cis privilege and maybe take that damn boot off our necks once in a while instead of looking into the distance and ignoring the choking.
Because I’d like to be able to breathe.
Just a bit.
Something Cathy Brennan needs to read. If she’s up to collecting quotes of my Facebook comments from conversations that she wasn’t even a part of, then I’m sure she reads my Tumblr, or someone will tell her about it.
we need to do better (to say the fuckin least).
Straights are already the dominant group and the majority. They don’t need to be “included.” They are the assumed default. No one is attacking straightness!
If you’re cis and straight, don’t try to make this about you. It’s not. You wanna feel special? Go paint or something. You want to help us? Great. Help (listen before you “help,” please).
But don’t think for one minute you need to be included.
Yes. It is okay. Why? The short answer is: Because queer people are still oppressed for their orientation and identity, and heterosexuals are not.
Heterosexuals get all the representation in they could ever want or need in media. It’s the norm. It’s acceptable across the board, world wide.
Queer people do not. And often when queer people do get representation in media, they get very poor representation. Both poor representation and lack of representation are equally damaging.
By interpreting a queer character as straight, you are erasing their identity. Erasure is more damaging than a lot of people realize. Even in fanwork. On top of being erasing/oppressive in itself, It reads as “they are not good enough because they are queer, so I will make them straight” which is very hurtful to us queer folk on a personal level.
By writing a straight character as queer, however, you’re not being erasing, because straight people are not an oppressed group.
It’s fine to write about straight folks. It’s also fine to write about gay folks.
Also feel, that if you do it delicately enough, you can write a queer character in a functionally heterosexual relationship, without having to erase their identity. After all, sexuality is a fluid thing, and people have exceptions. But what you really shouldn’t be doing under any circumstances, is erasing a character’s preferences and identity and queer history if you write about/depict them in a functionally heterosexual relationship.
You also brought up gender identity into this, which I have to make sure you realize is NOT the same thing as sexuality. At all. But the same principles apply, just substitute “heterosexual” with “cisgender”. Well. Mostly the same principles apply. There is no way in hell you can delicately write a trans/non binary character as cisgender and not be doing something terribly wrong. Just don’t do that. At all. Ever.
I probably skipped some major points but I tried to be as concise as possible. I’d be happy to clarify anything that needs clarifying though.
Reblogging for Scarlett!
Thank you! This is what I was talking about. Said much better than I did.
more coherent breakdown of what I was talking about a few days ago.
These things are not exclusively “women’s issues”:
- Reproductive health
- Breast cancer
Stop acting like they only affect women.
(This message brought to you by all the Susan Komen/Planned Parenthood things on my dash today.)