There's been a lot of conversation about several issues on the blog lately, and I love it. I love it when people engage in thoughtful discussions about topics. I believe that's how you honestly get to know people better than talking about what likes and dislikes you have in common. The funny thing is that I tend to not be a very vocal participant in such stimulating conversation. I like to sit back and let the discussion develop while I formulate my own opinion and sometimes change it depending on certain key points people make. For that reason, I have not been an active participant in many of the discussions that have taken place on the blog. But, I think I am finally able to articulate my opinion. So here we go...
The topic I want to focus on is the sexism that occurs within the gay community. Well, not so much focus on the sexism but a comment someone made about how one gender of the community has a tougher time than the other gender. I, at one point, actually used to believe this was true, but, after becoming friends with women in the community, I was made aware of my fallacy. I think where this difference in thinking stems from is the focus of attention on one's own life and how people can tend to think that their situation is the absolute worst. I think that's a completely understandable mistake to make. I know that I oftentimes only focus on my own life and the problems I go through and how miserable it makes me feel. I sometimes forget that other people have problems that they must work through, too. Just because their problems might not be the same as mine or seem as extreme as I believe mine to be, it doesn't mean that they don't have it just as hard. Because it is just as hard, just in different ways that may not be apparent. So there's that which leads me to the actual gist of this post:
Sometimes, I get worried that we are focusing too much on one subset of the community and letting the others fall by the wayside.
Let me be clear about what I mean. There have been several recent efforts made to shed light on or help the issues that the queer female-identified community faces. I'm all for this. It's great that we are recognizing the women within the community and doing more to make sure that they are better represented. I'm so happy for the women of this community because they are on their way to getting the recognition that they deserve. BUT (here's the kicker), what about everyone else in the community?
Let's take, for example, the awesomeness that is the WOMYN magazine and Women Loving Women meetings. Both of these are such wonderful achievements for the women community. But what do the men of the community have? What about those who don't conform to a certain gender? What do those who are trans get? Nothing, at least not anything that is solely for each specific group. Of course, there is Fab Friday and the blog and the Center itself. But none of that is ever a space solely just for people of one group.
I guess what I'm saying is that I would like to see more initiatives geared towards every subset of the community. For example, even though the community here is heavily male-dominated, I would still love to have a space where I can sit down with other gay males of color who are in a non-historically black fraternity and have a discussion about some of the challenges we go through. Well, not all of that because that would probably just be a group of me, myself, and I, but you get what I'm saying right? There are times when I honestly get jealous of the women in the LGBTQ community because they have their venue to voice their concerns and frustrations about life. But where am I supposed to go? Fab Friday isn't exactly the space to do that. Yes, I'm using the blog to voice my concerns but it's just not the same as talking face to face with people and hearing what other humans (not a computer screen) has to say. Why can't we have a Men Loving Men or a Queers Loving Queers for those who don't identify with one gender or Trans Loving Trans? After all, we all have issues that we want to talk about, don't we?
I'm just worried that we risk alienating others in the community if we focus on only one group, which I'm guessing is maybe part of the motivation for Women Loving Women, to make the women feel more included. There's been so much talk about making the community more inclusive and representative of everyone but it doesn't seem to me that much has been done to make it happen. Let's start by showing that we are looking for ways to make those who feel separated from the community more included. I know it's impossible to please everyone, but I feel like we can at least show that we're trying.