The Bobbu

Freaks United

Without intersectionality, someone is always left alone

We need more intersectionality. We need to start sticking up for each other.

The world is full of political groups representing minorities of various kinds. There’s the lesbian & gay “‘agenda” that US politicians are continuously harping on about; transgender communities; BDSM communities; polyamorous groups; pagan & other minority religions; for every social group that suffers from discrimination there is a movement or community that supports their rights.

This situation is one that irritates me in its absurdity. Because all these people are battling for their rights, and their rights alone, then we end up with Pride events that have no representations of the B or T in LGBT. We have polyamorous communities who condemn swingers, and other poly communities who condemn pagans who integrate polyamory into their lifestyles. We end up with pagan rights campaigners who refuse to support the rights of Satanist. We have Christian rights groups who refuse to concede that other religions rules have any place in the world.

I am sick of this self-interested segregation of the politicisation of orientations, lifestyles and other choices that differentiate people from the socially accepted norm. Whenever one group distances themselves from fighting for the freedom of another group to do as they please, all they do is make it harder for anyone to gain access to the freedom to do what they want with their own lives.

What particularly sticks in my craw is the reasoning most people give for their lack of support for other minority groups than the one they are personally invested in: “We don’t want to be associated with those people in public in case it damages our cause.” So the gay groups don’t want to be seen as being associated with the bisexual people because they’re seen as indecisive. The bi people don’t want to be associated with the polya people because they’re seen as greedy. The poly groups don’t want to be associated with paganism because it’s too new age. It’s no better than the mentality of high school children, where to metal-heads mock the emo kids because they’re both mocked by the rest of society.

I have news for all those folks who don’t want to support other people’s freedom because they’re scared that the norms will judge them in a similar light: you’re already being judged in the same light! When someone discriminates against a homosexual person they’re not doing it because they think you’re just the same as some other minority group, they’re doing it because they think you’re a freak! Discrimination isn’t a crime (and I do believe that all discrimination is a crime) that is based on anything other than the fear of that which is different – that which one does not understand.

We act as though we are each on a tiny raft with just a select few people who are just like us, trying to battle our way through a great storm of discrimination that is pointed directly at us. No-one wants to ask the people on the rafts around us for help because we’re scared that all those rafts have lightning rods in them, oblivious to the simple fact that they are drifting further and further away from the people who can help them the most.

All communities who ostracise potential allies achieve is to start battles on multiple fronts. That is the only result of selfishly denying that other people have the same simple right as they do; the right to do as they please with their own private lives, so long as they are not causing anyone else harm.

I say we stop fighting against becoming associated with groups we don’t personally belong to, and start fighting against all the misunderstandings there are out there. You want people to respect the battle you’re undertaking to allow you to marry someone of the same sex? Stop saying that your fight against the traditional structure of marriage has no relation to the poly desire to marry multiple partners. Instead try asking people what’s so wrong with the poly goal too. Next time someone says that poly people are all new-age hippy types, rather than denying that you have anything to do with those weirdos, remember that you’re a weirdo too and try explaining that not all poly people are pagan, but that there’s nothing wrong with being pagan either. Next time someone declares that poly people are just glorified swingers, take the time to explain the difference that underpins the terms, but why not explain that swinging is just another form of ethical non-monogamy with more of an emphasis on emotional exclusivity¬†and sexual freedom.

Let’s all stop pretending that we’re nothing alike, stop supporting negative stereotypes of groups we aren’t in just so we can appear superior, and join hands as freaks united. Let’s charge those normal folks together, as a united front. Maybe then we’ll all finally see how few of them there really are.

Published May 25, 2011 at 10:16 pm