Archive for the ‘Sexuality’ Category

I claim my identity because if I do not, a label will be forced upon me. All words are merely a concept given shape, and the words I use for my identity are no different – except, they make sense. The concept they have been formed from is one that resonates with me, and the words themselves feel right.

While they are there, I have the weapons to fight being non-consensually labelled. I can say, ‘No, I am not [assigned gender]; I am agender,’ and the word I use will be a shield to protect me from the assumptions and the labels others slap on without thinking about it. While I have those identities, the labels that I have chosen, the socially-assigned ones cannot cling to the stuff of my self and twist it to their own will. People may assign them – but I can cast them off because they never fit, and they cannot stick to the shield of my own self-identification.

I also claim my identity to allow for community – to signal to others like me that we are alike, we face similar things, I have your back. I claim it so that others know my standpoint, but first and foremost I claim it for my own self, my own piece of mind.

Some people choose not to ‘label’ themselves, not to claim the words for their identity, to allow it to go unnamed. That’s fine. But it’s not okay to police people’s choice to use them. I have claimed these words as a shield against non-consensual labelling, and that works for me. Some of us need to claim the words, shout them out or treasure them in their heart. We are not ‘fencing ourselves in’. We are ships seeking anchorage in a storm, and the identity is a place where the waves are broken before they can break us. Or we are merely seeking a way to describe our experiences, words that will not erase or oppress us, and when we find those words we are using them, settling down among the blankets and creating a nest with them, using them to carve ourselves some space of our own in a world that would much prefer us not to exist. We can expand the words, use them as they are or define them for ourselves, in line with our own experiences. Or we can choose not to use them at all. And that’s something only the individual person can know; what words, what usage they will be comfortable with.

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I’ve come across a load of people on the internet claiming that they have an ‘unpopular opinion’ and then spouting a load of bigoted, kyriarchal slime. It seems to be, along with ‘irony,’ a very common way that bigotry reveals itself. But you know what?

Don’t call it an unpopular opinion if it’s an oppressive, kyriarchal one. Because it’s not. It’s just bigotry, and that, my unfriends, is extremely popular.

Put it this way. If misahetery/misohomy is an unpopular opinion, why is it okay to say, ‘that’s so gay’? Why is that phrase normalised? The clue’s in the word ‘normalised.’ It’s normal. Slowly becoming less normal, but for a non-heterosexual person it is still absolutely normal to find that most people around you either a. hate your sexuality, b. are uncomfortable with it or c. want to ignore it. That’s a sure-fire sign of the normalisation of misahetery/misohomy and heterosexism. Why are marriage options not equal? Why do people experience abuse for being non-hetero? Why are there still inequalities here, there and everywhere? This normalisation and these views are wrong. They’re absolutely wrong. But they’re not seen that way by a regrettably large portion of the population. So therefore, having these views is not an ‘unpopular opinion.’

That was just one example. Binarism – and I’ve come across this one quite a bit – is another prime example. It. is. not. an. unpopular. opinion. to. think. that. we. are. making. it. up. It is an utterly wrong, bigoted, oppressive opinion that has no basis in fact and is complete bull feces, but it’s quite popular in society. Don’t believe me? Why are toilets rigidly gendered then? Why is there no legal document that will allow me to not misgender myself?

And here’s an example that may shock a few of these ‘unpopular opinion’ people – racism. Again, totally wrong. And this time this is an oppression that I am not really equipped to talk about as a white person, so if I mess up please feel free to tell me to educate my damn self. But racism is still a systematic oppression, despite all the anti-racism initiatives. People of colour are routinely hassled, profiled, silenced, subjected to great indignities, denied opportunies, Othered, exoticised, exploited… Racism is still a mainstream prejudice, much to the shame of our species.

The same thing applies for basically every other oppression there is. Many are medically or legally normalised in addition to being socially normalised. Their acceptability is a stain upon humanity – but they’re not unpopular opinions. They’re bigotry.

So these ‘unpopular opinion’ people may think they’re being oppressed and silenced by ‘political correctness’ – but they are not. Political correctness, to start with, is a term created to discredit the movement for inclusive, non-oppressive language, making it an inherently reactionary, kyriarchist term. And secondly, they evidently have no idea about the nature of oppression. Here’s a clue – it’s not being told that your bigoted attitudes are bigoted. Oppression is being on the receiving end of these systematic bigoted attitudes and the actions that inevitably result from them. And silenced? No. Anyone with kyriarchal views can find a million avenues to sound off about their bigotry. Being told that those views are wrong in the few SJ spaces that exist is not silencing.

Don’t call it an unpopular opinion if it’s kyriarchal. It’s bigotry. And calling it otherwise is privilege denying and oppressive. Of course, if you could acknowledge it as bigotry, you’d be able to work to get rid of it and THAT WOULD MEAN THE END OF THE WORLD /endsarcasm. You know what opinions beliefs I’ve found to be unpopular?

Anti-kyriarchal ones. It’s ironic, isn’t it? Those firmly in the grasp of kyriarchy claiming victimisation for their views, while victimising those fighting to get the kyriarchy’s claws out.

Fuck tolerance

There. I said it. Fuck it. Fuck tolerance. Fuck acceptance, too.

I don’t want to be tolerated in our broken world, our awful system, our terrible kyriarchy. I don’t want to be accepted into a structure that oppresses people, into a system of inbuilt oppression. Hell, I don’t even want to be welcomed with open arms there.

I want nothing less than the destruction of the kyriarchy. When the kyriarchy is destroyed, I won’t be ‘accepted’ or ‘tolerated’ – I will be human. I will be equal. We will all be equal. There will be no grudging ‘oh I guess you can live then,’ from the oppressors, because there will be no oppression.

Until then, I will fight for the destruction of the kyriarchy in each person’s individual head. That’s the only place it lives – inside our heads, feeding on our lives. The kyriarchy is a parasite. It is introduced to us from the first seconds of our lives by every human interaction we have, it crawls inside us, and it eats away at us and at every other person we know, so that it seems normal.

The kyriarchy’s in my head, right now. I’m grappling with it, but it’s there. It’s taking my potential and that of society within my influence and feeding me lies about myself and about others. It’s whispering to me that I am subhuman because I am not its privileged ideal, and it is whispering to me that other people, wonderful people, worthy people are subhuman because they are not its privileged ideals.

And I’m angry about that. I’m angry that it’s trying to tell me that my fellow human beings are less than. I’m angry that it succeeded for so long. I’m angry that it’s telling my fellow human beings that I am less than. I’m angry that it’s so hard to excise. I’m angry that my culture ushered it into my head, back when I was a tiny child with no defences or resistance or hatred. I’m angry that my culture is always ushering it into people’s heads, from the moment they’re born.

We are truly better than our kyriarchal prejudices. We all have them. We can fight them, but in this culture it’s impossible to ever be totally free of them. We can only work against them as actively as we can and hope that our minds will become poisonous for it.

Tolerance is useless as a way of working against it, mainly because it’s not working against it at all. It’s merely putting a veneer over the poison the kyriarchy is leaking into our minds. It’s better than hostility – but it’s never going to be a tool of anti-oppression, because it is passive. It doesn’t try to change anything about attitudes, only the person’s outward expression of those attitudes. And while those attitudes are there, the kyriarchy still has its claws dug deep into our mind and is still telling us all those lies, and we are still swallowing them.

If someone tells me they are tolerant of a group, warning bells start ringing. Because they’re not saying that they have stopped having negative attitudes to those people – only that they’ve stopped expressing them as hostility. That’s not right. And that’s certainly never going to end any oppressions.

Oh sure, it might seem to – but it won’t. Behind the scenes, the kyriarchy will still be spewing its lies into our heads, and those lies are going to make us treat the ‘tolerated’ ones differently. As the Other. As the Lesser. Even if we don’t notice, those lies are going to have their way.

So fuck tolerance.

We need resistance.

Apologies for the lack of posts. Life. New morning/afternoon routine that involves a bike and extreme tiredness. Not feeling well. All the normal excuses! However, I will try, after this rather substandard post, to get back to a regular, plentiful posting schedule.

I define my sexuality as pan/demisexual. Simple reasons – aesthetically attracted to and open to mental connection with people of any gender, but with sex as basically the bottom of the priority list. But if someone were to be attracted to me – to any non-binary person – what would they call it?

Most terms for sexuality exclude non-binary folks already. Gay/homosexual – possible, although unlikely; for me, that would mean being only attracted to agender folks. Heterosexual – once you take that out of the binary, HEAD EXPLOSION. Hetero means different. So if I, as an agender person, was attracted to androgynes, I’d be heterosexual. And a woman attracted to genderqueer people would be heterosexual. And a neutrois person attracted to men would be heterosexual. Lovely. Confusing.

As for bisexual? It doesn’t automatically erase us, although the assumption that it means men and women does. A person attracted to genderqueer folks and bigender folks would be bisexual. Polysexual is okay, although people WILL get it muddled with polyamorous – polysexual=attracted to many genders/nongenders, polyamorous=capable of loving more than one person at once. Pansexual is so broad it encompasses anything, although there are a lot of BIRDSHITS who think it means ‘men, women and trans folks’ (ie binary trans folks). Er, no – the whole concept is due to the fact that THERE ARE MORE THAN TWO GENDERS HELLO. There are other terms, some not even related to gender – for example, sapiosexual is attracted to intelligence.

I have liked terms like gynophilic and androphilic in the past, and they’re great for the binary genders. But non-binary folks? Nothing. Neutrophilic is probably a possible for neutrois folks, and androgynophilic for androgynes – the rest of us get left with strange put-together sounding terms. Agendophilic – bigendophilic – genderqueerophilic (oh dear. first two were all right, third one went a bit wrong).

It’s a conundrum. Rambling post is rambling. Sexuality can be fluid anyway, so it probably doesn’t matter much. Just one more area of language build with our door walled off though…

TW – violent metaphor.

The kyriarchy, by definition, is all-pervasive. There is no escape from it. If you have privilege on an axis, any misstep you make is not ‘regrettable’ or ‘a problem’ – it’s oppressive. If you lack privilege on that axis, that misstep is treading on you. Hard. And it hurts.

It’s not conducive to great understanding between oppressor and oppressed. If the oppressed person is yelling ‘OW SHIT YOU HURT ME!’ and the oppressing person is yelling, ‘SHIT MAN IT WAS ONLY [X]!’ no-one’s really listening to each other. In a vacuum, it would just be an argument between two people. They’d shout each other down, maybe neither would back down – maybe they’d agree to differ.

But in a kyriarchy, in that situation, it is all too likely to end up with the oppressed person being squelched. Because that’s the nature of oppression. When an oppressed person is justifiably angry or hurt and the oppressing person feels that the oppressed person has overreacted, who has the weight of society behind them? That’s right, the oppressing person. Whose view is legitimated? The oppressing person’s. That’s one reason why the tone argument is bullshit. You just invalidated me – you caused me pain – you denied my selfhood – you contributed to my oppression – it is not my job to tiptoe around your feelings. And the other thing is, mostly, if we talk quietly and politely, we’re not listened to. I have had conversations online where I have told people gently that something was out of order and had them continue doing it – then I’ve blown up in their faces and made sure they knew exactly what the problem was and that it was a big fucking deal. It’s a weapon. And it’s a weapon that, deployed in the right way, can be damn powerful. But it’s also an automatic response that we should not have to apologise for.

The kyriarchy surrounds us, so much that it’s hard to even see it. It’s everywhere. Once you’ve come to consciousness, you find yourself being slapped in the face with it in every situation – pop culture, activities you enjoy, people you love, subjects you are interested in. There’s no escape from it. And that feels awful, a lot of the time, even when you only have an academic knowledge of some of the oppressions involved, even when you have privilege along some axes (as we all do). It hurts when that stuff hits you.

Yeah, sometimes it can seem like people blow up over the little things. But how little are they, when a thousand of them shred our skin each day, hammering at the barriers, giving us no safe space? From the kyriarchy, there is no escape. And when you’re ripped raw from scores of microaggressions, each one hurts a hell of a lot more than it would falling on intact skin.

How little are they, when they actively contribute to oppression? How little are they, when they actively harm people?

I don’t think they’re little at all. And we have a right to our feelings.

As mentioned in the previous post, I have been looking for non-ableist alternatives for words following the pattern of homophobia, transphobia etc. The ableism inherant in appropriating the word ‘phobia’ is a discussion that I have seen a lot of on Tumblr, and I can also see that getting rid of it would remove the common defence ‘I’m not scared of them.’ I will continue to use words in this pattern as tags until alternatives – not necessarily mine – become widespread in the anti-kyriarchy movement, but in posts I will be using the following alternatives unless others become more widely used and accepted;

Misohomy – homophobia (I prefer to maintain a distinction between the elevating of heterosexuality and the denigrating of homosexuality, hence not using the term heterosexism instead of homophobia). I may also use misahetery (mis=hatred, a=non, hetery=adaptation of hetero) for the hatred of non-heterosexuals, not to replace a -phobia word but to try to avoid monosexism.

Transhatred – transphobia (again, I’d prefer to maintain a distinction between this and cissexism).

Misoxeny – xenophobia.

I will continue to write other -phobia endings in long form, such as hatred of Islam/Muslims for Islamophobia, since I do not feel it is right for me, as a non-member of these groups, to coin terminology for them. I was unsure even about coining misoxeny.

These words are merely what I prefer to use, and do not represent me attempting to force them on others or create a more-progressive-than-thou dialogue, which is not productive. I will probably be linking this post a lot when I use the words, simply for understanding’s sake.

Love, not hate

Posted: February 28, 2011 in Law, Religion, Sexuality
Tags: ,

Preface to this post; I have no problem with religion. If your religion is a positive thing in your life, if your religion harms no-one and perpetuates no oppressions, and if you do not try to force me to follow your religion, then I am supportive of your beliefs. I personally do not believe, but I respect the right of others to whatever religious beliefs they feel are right for them.

A Pentecostal Christian couple have been barred from fostering children because of their views on homosexuality, which they have drawn from their religious beliefs. This is a problem that I have seen consistently, in many outlets – people, mainly believers, getting the idea that Christianity disapproves of homosexuality. It does not. For a start, most Christians disregard most of the laws laid down in the same Book as those perceived as against homosexuality. Also, those laws are most probably made to oppose lust, as are the huge number of laws regarding heterosexual interaction. Besides this, the New Testament, which is generally held to be the principle holy book of most of the Christian faith, emphasises love. Love is the central tenet of all of Jesus’ teachings. To hate is to go against that, and to hate love is to doubly go against that.

So no, religious freedom is not really an issue. If it is invoked, it is a classic case of overprivileged people mistaking freedom to worship for freedom to discriminate, two things that are very different. They, as all others, are free to believe what they want; they just aren’t free to interpret those beliefs as an excuse for discrimination. And claiming that they are ‘normal’ Christians? Please, introduce me to your circle. Actually, don’t. I doubt both of us would walk out of there unscathed. Believe me, I know many Christians. They are on the whole tolerant, loving human beings who have no problem with non-heterosexuals. Hatred is not a mainstream Christian belief, it’s just the one we see most often in the news.

And now to address the misohomy aspect of it. (misohomy; hatred of homosexuals, following the same pattern as misogyny and misandry, as a non-ableist alternative to homophobia. Coined by myself, although I wouldn’t be surprised to find someone else had thought of it.)

They can’t tell a child that the homosexual lifestyle is acceptable. Forgive me, but isn’t this a trifle absurd? It’s quite easy – you look at a child, open your mouth and form the words. The only way this would be hard for you to say is if you have trouble saying anything, or if you have trouble saying anything that isn’t misohomic.

They say that, “We have been excluded because we have moral opinions based on our faith and we feel sidelined because we are Christians with normal, mainstream, Christian views on sexual ethics. We are prepared to love and accept any child. All we were not willing to do was to tell a small child that the practice of homosexuality was a good thing.” No, sorry to break it to you. You feel sidelined because the world has moved on from the days when hatred was okay. You feel sidelined because you can feel your heterosexual privilege trembling under your feet as all of us non-heterosexuals decide that we do not want to be trampled on anymore. Cry me a river. Listen, you experience kyriarchal oppression too. All our oppressions are interconnected. Stop standing on others to try to get to the top and start demolishing the pyramid.

You’re prepared to love and accept any child? Well, as long as they’re heterosexual. And, presumably, cis and binary (since misohomy and transhatred and binarism tend to come together). I don’t call that any child. Non-het/cis/binary kids deserve love and acceptance too, because we are human, and we are dying from the hatred of people like you. And also – the practice of homosexuality? The homosexual lifestyle? Bullcrap. Non-het folks are human. Those who love, love like you do. It’s not a choice, it’s not a practise. It’s human.

And as for the Christian Legal Centre saying that it ‘sends out the clear message…that Christian parents with mainstream Christian views are not suitable to be considered as potential foster parents’ – uh, no, it doesn’t. It sends out the clear message that misohomic parents with mainstream misohomic views are not suitable to be considered as potential foster parents. It’s a different thing. Christianity is not about hatred. If you want to align your own experience of your faith with hate, so be it – just don’t expect to be treated as anything other than the hater you are, and don’t try to claim that you represent others’ experiences of that faith. I really hope I’m misinterpreting the comment and that it was meant in a positive way, but it really doesn’t sound it.