Being LBGTQ Doesn’t Automatically Give You A Pass


This is another one of my pet peeves, so I’m about to have one of my little rants.

I often find myself surrounded by people who are still trying to figure out the LGBTQ community. While their struggles to comprehend the complexity of gender identity and sexual orientation come from a place of wanting to be accepting and inclusive, I have a lot of patience for them. I get it, gender identity is complicated, non-binary, and our discussions of it and comprehension of its complexity is rapidly evolving in front of our very eyes. Ironically, being cis and straight, I still find myself the object of many of these people’s questions in their attempt to understand, partially because they know that I am a big lefty who regularly reads LGBTQ blogs, and partially because I am a biologist and thus might also be able to comment on gender fluidity from a scientific perspective.

However, I am starting to find my patience waning for self-proclaimed “liberals” who are in constant fear of falling into a “trap” of being “too liberal”.

The sense I get from them is “yes, let’s be inclusive, but one at a time please. Marriage equality? Fine. Transgendered people can use whatever bathroom they’re most comfortable with? Fine. But if you bombard me with information on gender fluidity, gender non-conforming, pan-sexualtity, asexuality etc. etc. etc., it’s all too complicated for me and I’m dismissing it off-hand as being silly privileged people trying to create labels for every little thing and far too liberal for my tastes”.

I may understand that it’s all a little much to unpack all at once, and you might need some time to read and research in order to fully understand these complicated concepts, I really have no time for this “too liberal” bullshit.

This is also the criticism I hear from these people when the so called “too liberals” dare to speak out against certain prominent members of the LGBTQ community.

Take, for example, RuPaul’s infamous dismissal of transgendered people’s gender identity and defense of using the words “she-male” and “tranny”.

“But RuPaul is a very famous drag queen!” I heard from both the right and the left. “I mean for God’s sake, if what he says is still not good enough, then what next! Talk about overly PC culture!”

This is the part where I groan, loudly, and facepalm, hard.

Being in the LGBTQ community doesn’t make you automatically right about everything, didn’t you know?

To the best of my knowledge, RuPaul identifies as a gay man, and a drag queen. That means that he has a valuable perspective on what it’s like to be a gay male drag queen. His opinions on the lesbian community, bisexual community, transgender community, pansexual community, or any other group of people within LGBTQ are not necessarily any more informed or valuable than anyone else’s.

People seem to forget that, while the LGBTQ community has (for a variety of reasons that I am not qualified to get into) been lumped together, this does not mean that it is one big happy family of inclusiveness and respect in there.

I have personally known many lesbians who do not think that bisexual people actually exist, but that they’re either “too scared” to come out all the way or are greedy women who want to have their cake and eat it too. Same goes for gay men.

There are also radical feminist lesbians who believe that trans women are simply male pretenders or usurpers of femininity.

There are many gay and lesbian people who do not think that being transgendered is a thing.

There are gay and lesbian people who accept being transgendered but stop there, and think that “gender fluid” or “gender non-conforming” people are making everyone else in the community look silly.

In short, just because you’re in the LGBTQ community, that doesn’t mean that you’re right about all aspects of that community, and it certainly doesn’t place your opinions above criticism or scrutiny.

And to all those who balk at the ever-growing complexity of human gender, terrified of perhaps becoming “too liberal”? Grow the fuck up. Educate yourself. You might actually learn something.

You don’t seem to deny that the human brain, psychology, and behavior are most likely the most complex on the planet. Is it really that surprising that issues such as sexuality and gender are equally complex?

Comments

  1. lorn says

    I’m reminded of a study that has been repeated many, many times that deals with people’s perceptions of others in light of their own sexual experience. Essentially the test is a questionnaire designed to determine how may sexual partners a person has had, and, after a good bit of filler to get their mind off of their previous answers, to determine how they feel about people with more or less experience. The conclusion is always the same: On average people see other with less experience as inexperienced, and people with substantially more experience as sluts.

    No bit surprise that a lesbian who has likely had to struggle to establish and have their own sexuality validated would have doubts about people claiming to be bisexual.

    For her bisexuality, fluidity, pan-sexuality are categories that confuse the issue. She worked hard to establish her identity and learn to live inside of it. Those other options and identities bring back all of the uncertainty just when she was feeling secure and comfortable.

    Sex is always fraught. It is tough to learn that changes in the surrounding language and culture can cause an individual to have to reassess their standing and question their internal dialog, and do it external to you, entirely without your consent or participation.

    You go to sleep content with your identity and wake up and there is this whole new conceptual category and lifestyle you have to deal with. People just want to find something that works. Change is hard. The constantly changing world of sexual identity can be hard to deal with.

  2. asdf says

    “too liberal” LOL I can understand not wanting to learn every single obscure prefix, but you don’t need that many, words like ze and zir could theoretically get you through most conversations and once you find out someone is non-binaryall you just need to remember is what they prefer to be called. It’s not rocket science!

  3. Nathair says

    I fear being “too liberal” about as much as I fear being “too fair” or “too conscientious”.

  4. says

    The sense I get from them is “yes, let’s be inclusive, but one at a time please. Marriage equality? Fine. Transgendered people can use whatever bathroom they’re most comfortable with? Fine. But if you bombard me with information on gender fluidity, gender non-conforming, pan-sexualtity, asexuality etc. etc. etc., it’s all too complicated for me and I’m dismissing it off-hand as being silly privileged people trying to create labels for every little thing and far too liberal for my tastes”.

    I think a lot of people are feeling like they’re expected to just immediately accept and adapt to these changes. Meanwhile, on our side of things, it feels like we’ve been pushing for this so hard for so long that sometimes we can’t see that, for others, this wasn’t even on their radar, so all this new gender diversity is coming out of the blue.

    A bit of patience on both sides wouldn’t hurt.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *