I have never liked the -phobia language used mostly by the LGBTQIA community. And trans, asexual, and intersex people use it, too, so they’re included this time. But it’s getting to me a bit more than usual. There are two main reasons: It is ablist and it hurts the communities.
For why it’s ablism: because phobias are real things. They qualify as disorders, if you want to use that term, it’s in the DSM and all that. I hate the DSM, but it’s there. I also am uncomfortable with the term neuroatypical, but phobias almost definitely qualify under the label. A genuine phobia can have serious effects on a person’s life.
Things like homophobia and xenophobia are not the same thing, but are being compared to that. This is not fair on people who have genuine phobias.
Something that I hadn’t thought of before but eateroftrees pointed out, this also makes things harder for people who actually can develop genuine phobias as a result of internalizing hatred. Although not for everyone, for some people the self-acceptance process can involve panicking, even for people who have friends who are gay/bi/trans/feminine and support those friends, because of the heavy anti-gay, anti-bi, anti-trans, anti-feminine messages in this culture. This is not the same as mistreating people for being gay or bi or trans or feminine, and conflating it with that only makes it harder for people who experience this.
This also has a very real damage to the communities. Don’t believe me? Look up “Gay Panic Defense” and “Trans Panic Defense”. The idea that hating gay people and trans people is a phobia adds to the validity of these. It sets up an ideology where a cis man on trial for brutally harming a trans woman who made no moves to harm him save for self defense can say “I was afraid for my life”, and a jury will believe it because they keep being told that people like him are severely afraid of trans people instead of being told that people like him hate trans people.
(I’m not entirely sure I’m qualified to talk about this, but I’ll give it a go.)
Privilege doesn’t often come up around people who have it, and when it does it’s generally knocked down with privilege denying and people not bothering to find out what the terms mean before getting offended by it. If you start looking into people who talk about privilege, then you’ll probably see words like “supremacist” and “oppressed” that push quite a few buttons and make people want to deny. But most of the words aren’t quite as harsh as the kyriarchy wants you to believe. So, what is privilege?
First, you have to know that there are groups who are privileged by society and groups who are marginalized by it. This doesn’t necessarily mean that there are laws in place that support or even allow this to happen, but the way society is set up it does anyways. One example is that heterosexual people are privileged over people with any other sexual orientation. Even if all the laws were made so that you can’t fire or otherwise discriminate against someone for not being straight; if most relationships in the media are straight couples/only portray other sexualities as tokens and not people in their own right, straight people would still have privilege because their sexuality would still be treated as more normal and natural and acceptable. No one has to say anything against other sexualities, but subtle othering still makes it clear which one society feels is right. People who are privileged by society have privilege.
I actually have a pretty big sense of entitlement. Actually, no, I don’t. I have a perfectly average sense of entitlement. I expect to be treated like a human, I expect people to be able to treat me with the same basic niceties they treat other people with, I expect those who love me to be able to treat me with respect, I expect people to be able to talk about me in a way that’s not inherently othering or demeaning or otherwise offensive. But because of how I am, wanting all of this is unacceptable. I’m being selfish. I expect too much from people. I need to be more patient (even if I’ve “been patient” for years).
I have a different view of coming out to, from what I can tell, most non-straight and non-cis people. I hate doing it. Not just because I hate dealing with cis supremacy and other bullshit, but because I shouldn’t have to. No straight people have to come out. Cis people certainly don’t. A cis person almost never has to ask for their pronouns to be respected. I want that, that thing that straight cis people get without ever thinking about it because it’s so natural. I want my gender and sexuality to be as acknowledged in society as the genders and sexualities of cis and straight people. I either want my gender and sexuality to be assumed correctly by other people, or never assumed for anyone. And wanting this is seen as unacceptable, yet straight cis people get to want it all they want.
I don’t mind people making a big deal out of getting my pronouns right. Doing so makes it obvious that a mistake has been both made and acknowledged. I was delighted when one of the professors I will sadly never be able to take a class with made a big deal at saying “she” and followed up with “He… Nin?*”. Maybe the people at the table didn’t get it, but that’s fine. I don’t mind people telling others that I’m trans and asexual, what my gender is (so long as they do so correctly and respectfully), and what pronouns to use. It saves me having to do so. It bugs me when people talk to others about me, but if they’re going to do so anyways I’d like them to at least be helpful when doing it.
This is a personal preference, of course. I definitely don’t want this to be seen as normal activities and for people in another situation than mine this would be incredibly dangerous for people to do, which is one reason that I don’t really express this preference too much. I do not want some straight/cis person getting into the habit of outting me because I want them to only for them to think it’s fine to for all non straight/cis people, hurting someone and possibly putting them in danger.
*A suggested german gender neutral pronoun. He’s a german teacher who I asked about gender neutrality for people (He knows a non-binary person and gets it) and I found this and he read it for me, hence that. I actually really like it…
So, the cisCenter is having a “Pansexual Pirate Party”. I don’t know why or when or what’s involved, I don’t like parties and I don’t like that place. The title, quite frankly, annoys me. Maybe it wouldn’t if I knew jack about it- but since I don’t, it seems like it’s just done for alliteration. Maybe they’re justifying it by saying that they’re “bringing awareness” to pansexuals. But a friend of mine saw the ad for it and asked if that meant that all sexualities were allowed to come. I explained that pansexual was a sexuality in itself and she then asked if only pansexuals are allowed to be pirates or something. I don’t know either. If this is their version of “raising awareness”, it’s a fairly sad version. And if this is them making it a “themed” party that’s LGB related, it’s in the cisCenter. Kind of obvious.
Also, on an unrelated note, our school’s [cis]Women’s center (we have a lot of cisCenter) put up a thing for people to write what they’d like to see from the women’s center. Someone had written Judith Butler. I wrote in Calpernia Addams and trans-inclusive feminism and clarified a bathroom debate that it’s not ONLY gender neutral bathrooms, but IN ADDITION TO. You know, for those of us who aren’t “either” gender. Or are but live in a society that basically stops us from using either bathroom.
First order of business: I need to do a TDoR comic by the weekend. Thankfully I have no classes Friday, but it’s starting to fill up with activism. I’m hoping writing it here will serve to remind me. Somehow.
Now, onto something that I find curious.
I am a repulsed asexual. By that I mean, I am an asexual, a person who does not experience sexual attraction. More specifically, I am the brand of asexual who covers their ears and goes “LALALALA I’M NOT LISTENING” when sex comes up because it’s squicky.
And yet, I really don’t mind how kinksters talk about it. Even when they talk about completely vanilla stuff or completely creepy stuff that I can’t get my head around anyone consenting to (but they do!). But it seems to make a lot of vanilla sexuals uncomfortable. In terms of vanilla women, Clarisse Thorn brought out one reason that they may be made uncomfortable by kinksters, but I’m sure there are other reasons as well.
Part of it may be that (and I’m guessing) kinksters could be more open to asexuality because what they do to get off is something that so many people find horrible that, unlike too many vanilla people, they know not to try and force it on anyone who doesn’t want it, so some of them don’t speak with the same air of “everyone likes what I like” that’s so problematic for asexuals.
So this isn’t really a fully formed thought, but it does amuse me that kink- which most people think would be HARDER for someone who gets squicked by sex to deal with- tends not to bother me as much as vanilla.