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"Many young folks may not realize that GLBTQ/LGBTQ were not always a big happy queer family. We did not even associate with each other."

As a 26-year old queer woman whose primary identification is asexual--which is a community that stands pretty closely intertwined with bi communities, nonbinary trans communities and trans communities more generally: we are still having this fight**, within queer communities. (Especially, gods help me, on Tumblr, but also in in-person spaces and other online spaces.) And we will continue to have this fight. And as Mr. Benson also pointed out, we are stronger for having it.

See, without those fights, LGBTQ spaces would be... well, just for cisgender folks, really, because the whole reason that the T got added is that transgender folks and people who'd probably ID today as transgender* spoke up and said "HEY. You keep saying this community is for everyone, but it is damn sure not paying any attention to us! Listen up, friends, and hear our experiences!" And as a whole, the community... well, did nothing, because let's be real, there's a lot of people in that community and maybe it makes more sense to think of it as several fractured communities. But enough of a critical mass of people listened that SOME difference got made.

And at the same time, bi people were saying "Hey! Can you fucking not, with the breeder jokes and the telling me to "pick a side" and saying that I spread AIDS to straight people? Can you not call us whores or insist that we'll always drop you for an opposite-gender partner! Listen up!" And... a critical mass of people listened. And things got a little better.

And frankly, all that's not even TOUCHING on the shit that my QPOC brothers and sisters and enbies have to put up with. Black queer folk in particular watch white queer folk steal their jokes and culture and file off the serial numbers, so that it then filters through to straight mainstream people. Or you can look at the racism issues that plague many queer spaces, from dating sites to appropriation of specific cultural concepts like two-spirit identities.

It's not touching the gendered issues that pop up in queer spaces either, or the class ones, or any of another hundred little veins of intersectionality that need to be talked about. But those conversations? They're a start. And if you follow along with them, they take your communities to a way better place. I want to know, how do we have these conversations here? I was angry enough about one main PSN thread to try and bring that here, hedged with even more "white women, shut up and LISTEN" commentary, but I see from Micah Gause's thread that that probably wouldn't have worked as well as I hoped.

So admins, community, how can we productively have this conversation? And admins, here's another question I want to ask you: what 'side' of people are you going to support? The 'side' of people who want to talk about intersectionality and making the space properly inclusive, which means LISTENING to the experiences and perspectives of everyone? Or the side of people who prefer unity, whatever that means, and would rather center a more mainstream experience and silence dissent?

*[half the problem here is, on a generational scale, queer communities move through preferred language, framing, and how people conceptualize their experiences quickly--over the past hundred years, we've culturally gone through many sea changes about what given words mean exactly and what's polite, which can make discussion tricky if you haven't followed up on the newest subcultural dialect.

As one of those young kids these days and also someone with a vested interest in my community's history, I tryyyy to be clear and respectful about what I'm doing with my language, but it's hard to be perfect with it. If I'm using a word that sounds funny to you, mind contacting me or commenting and we can have a conversation? ]

**[If any of you younger queer people here don't realize that this fight is still happening, to make queer-identified spaces inclusive to everyone, do let me know! I'd be happy to talk about my experiences to anyone that likes. ]
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....and, well, I've been furiously typing on Facebook all week without much pause, except for marching. So I thought... well, might as well put the things I'm proudest of writing here now, so I can remember them.

Anyway. 

On speaking truth to people who become defensive about it, especially in the context of speaking to Trump supporters who don't want to hear that they have destroyed our nation )

Here's what I've learned over the last five or ten years: first, you get through more than you think you do; people often take something like that and outwardly insist you're wrong, while they plant a little seed of doubt. Over time, as more people water that little doubt seed with disagreement, it grows and grows. You might not be around by the time it flowers and a person changes their hearts and minds, but that doesn't mean you aren't watering it.

Second, being too polite is counterproductive when it comes to issues that hurt you or your people directly. You have to show people that what you're talking about MATTERS. You have to show people that their actions do harm people, and sometimes you have to shock people out of complacency. This is especially something I've learned calling out family homophobia--the more polite and nonconfrontational I was, the easier it was for them to slip the whole issue under the rug and get back to Sunday dinner--even if *I* was hurting and couldn't do that.

Third, being too harsh is also counterproductive--you have to be able to extend out enough shared identity as a fellow human that they can't write you off as a faceless, scary OTHER. It's true that if you push too hard, you can alienate people and make them write you off as human before they'll let you water that seed of doubt I talked about earlier. The best way to handle that is to put a face on yourself--to say "Hi, my name is _____, and I'm a person too. I like cats" or "I fed you when you were sick" or "you and I played together as children" or "man, don't you like having a beer on a cold evening? because I do" or whatever. You put a face on yourself, you put on your personality, and you remind them that you're a human being just like they are--and therefore you're in the SAME group as them, not a different one that can be treated as a monolithic enemy.

White people, this is why being angry is our job when it comes to other white people because racist white folk are more predisposed to think of us as in-group than they are people of color--which means that it's on us to push harder than it is people of color, because we can BE more blunt and use stronger words before getting ignored than people of color can. They get written off faster as "not like me, can be dismissed", and it's a short jump from there to "not REALLY human" in the hindbrain or gut of people who aren't thinking too clearly.

On the other hand, as a queer person, I need you straight folks to speak up for me if your friends and family don't think of me as human. One of the big reasons that queer people have made strides so much faster than people of color is that we're at a particular advantage--all of us know straight people who think of us as their folk, because we're mostly born into straight families and they don't always realize we're queer until they've known and loved us and built connections with us for ten or twenty years. So when we come out, when we put a face to that identity "queer" and say "you attack queer folk, you're attacking your daughter, your cousin, your auntie, your father", well, that nudges a whole lot of people who might not have felt strongly about queer people right over to the side of "oh wow that's a PERSON." We're not abstract any more.

Now, the problem is that a lot of white people live in bubbles, bubbles where they might not know any black people, Latinx people, or Muslim people around them. This is in part because white people tend to hide and think of people of color as scary or weird or different, in part because they aren't thinking too clearly about the racism we've all accidentally absorbed from American culture. It's in everyone; you gotta make a conscious effort to work past it. And white people think that a Racist is a TERRIBLE HUMAN BEING, like a monster or something, without any other facets--because it's abstract to us, not something we can put a face on.

So our job, as white people, is to talk to defensive people and remind them that racism is a thing everyone struggles with, and that sometimes it's hard to see, BUT... that not knowing doesn't absolve you of your actions, because you should have thought to go look and do your reading before you acted. Doing a racist thing doesn't make you unloveable, but at the same time, it doesn't make you free of the guilt for the shitty situation we're in either. You let them be defensive and carry that emotional reaction, you let the emotions flow through them, and you bring it up again and again until they have sat with the emotions long enough to be capable of thinking again.

If they're emotional at you? Point out that they're being emotional. The sort of person you're talking about, Vonda, loves to claim that their viewpoint is somehow objective, but everyone else's is subjective, and their opinions are facts while everyone else's are biased and emotion driven. Don't let them keep believing that--call out that implicit belief and make them justify it. If they hurt you specifically, point out that you have a right to be angry or upset when hurt. If they claim that they have no dog in this fight, ask why they're arguing with you then, and ask why they're acting so defensive.

Basically: this isn't an argument you'll win in one go. But by having many smaller arguments, it is absolutely possible to make anyone--even the most intransigent person--re-evaluate their thoughts and change their mind. It might not be you who does it, and it will take a lot of people backing you up, and you might not be able to organize all of them. But that doesn't mean you can't be the first person to plant that seed of doubt.

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