Tag Archives: Allies

Post the Seventh or On the Politics of Dating

Dating is a complicated and emotionally dangerous activity. It’s rife with uncertainty, vulnerability and anxiety. Its also a lot of fucking fun. The complicated mixture of anxiety and excitement, wonder and arousal can at times become addicting. And I love it.

Recently, I went on this date with this boy and it was rather lovely. We flirted, we talked and we drank coffee after which we than retired to a more intimate setting. It was good.  My favorite part of the date, however, was when he wanted to emphasize to me that he was interested in me not just because I was a woman with a penis but rather also because he was attracted to me as a person. He wanted to emphasize that my body was the least of it and that my personality was the most of it. My heart melted.

Because more often then not, guys who are interested in me are not interested in the fact that I’m first generation American. They are not interested in the fact that I go to school for Psychology and Philosophy. They aren’t interested in the fact that I live and breathe activism. All they are interested is in the fact that I’m a “chick with a dick”. All they want to know is how long my cock is and how big my tits are. They only care to make sure that I don’t tell a soul that they slept with someone as perverted and dirty as a tranny.

And quite frankly, I am sick and tired of being fetishized without my consent! Its one thing if we are in a scene and I have agreed to be objectified and you have agreed to objectify me. In fact, there are many situations in which that turns me on. But its frustrating when I can’t even tell someone I’m interested in them without them instantly being fixated on my cock. And do you know what the worst part is?

They don’t even know any better.

Because the society that we live in teaches us, practically since exiting the womb, that bodies that are not white, heterosexual or cisgender are strange, forgien and forbidden. We have been taught in myriad and sundry ways that those sorts of bodies are OTHER and that people who possess those bodies amount to only their bodies. In other words, those who possess OTHER bodies are not people. They are just things to be had and thrown away.

And people don’t even know that they are doing this because it seems normal. It doesn’t occur to them that they are OTHERING me or anyone else because that is what the status quo is. When oppression is normalized those who oppress can not see it. Not only did I not consent to being objectified but neither have they consented to objectify me. They just don’t know that they are doing it.

Which is why my heart burst open with joy when this boy said to me that he gets it. That he doesn’t want to objectify me. He wants to see me for me. He wants me to know it.

And that gives me hope.

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Post the Third or How to Check White Privilege

priv·i·lege

[priv-uh-lij, priv-lij] noun, verb, -leged, -leg·ing.

noun

1. a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed only by a person beyond the advantages of most

2. a special right, immunity, or exemption granted to persons in authority or office to free them from certain obligations or liabilities

I work for an amazing organization. It serves the amazingly brave queer youth of central Texas and I am proud to call them my family. It has a long standing history of fighting against oppression and standing tall against hate and budget cuts. I have the honor of serving with them and help create a safe space where these youth can fully be themselves. I get to watch these inspiring youth be themselves and have their own problems and come up with their own solutions. And I am humbled.

However, despite the fact that this organization is so amazing it is still rife with white privilege!

Its so frustrating and disheartening for me to face this. Not only because I, perhaps erroneously, expect a space like this to be free of it but also because it speaks to the insidious and pervasive nature of privilege. How do you fight against something so all encompassing that it infiltrates your family, your home? How can you have any hope of defeating a foe so powerful that it convinces you, the victim and fighter, and the perpetrator that it doesn’t exist? Moreover, where does one begin without putting oneself in harms way?

These are the questions that I struggle with on a regular basis. And there is no obvious solution that presents itself to me. No spells to cast or people to bribe or cocks to suck. It seems so hopeless sometimes.

And yet I’ve seen some brilliant people who have faced their privilege, owned up to it and are incredible allies. Not only in the sense that they have some understanding of what someone in an oppressed group feels like but also openly advocates for those groups.

How did they do that? Well here are some common elements that I have found.

  1. They LISTEN. They actually listen and take People of Color (POC) at their word. They understand that POC will always know more because they can NOT ignore it. It is part of the warp and weft of their existence.
  2. They don’t expect POC to educate them and they don’t dump their white guilt on POC. They don’t whine about how hard it is to be white.
  3. They hold the anger of POC. They don’t minimize it. They don’t invalidate it. And they don’t run over it by acting as if their white guilt is more important. They give POC space to be angry and get angry in turn. There is a lot to be upset about!
  4. They EDUCATE themselves. They don’t wait to be educated.
  5. They know that talking about race and checking white privilege is an ongoing process and not something that you become and expert at in the space of an hour and half workshop.
  6. They don’t act “color blind”. They recognize racism is still very much a part of life.
  7. THEY LISTEN.

None of this is easy. None of this is simple. None of this is something that is going to revolutionize the world. But it is important. It is necessary. It is vital. And little by little, if we all work on this, than we can make islands of safety for everyone.

If anything here bothered or confused you, good. If you don’t know what white privilege is or what it entails, Google is an amazing resource.