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This is a really interesting piece of writing, discussing the ways that radical queer communities can become insular based on geography and/or race and/or class and/or appearance markers, and how that tendency prevents us from creating more powerful sociopolitical movements.

"Is 'The Bay' An Island? How Fetishizing the Bay Area Hurts Our Movements and Communities:
A Conversation Starter!" by Savannah Kilner

http://thebayisnotanisland.blogspot.com/2011_06_01_archive.html

This entry was originally posted at http://firecat.dreamwidth.org/733677.html, where there are comments.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
gmdreia
Aug. 3rd, 2011 12:19 am (UTC)

When white queers get to wear whatever we want and present however we want because we don’t get targeted for it (though some of us are targeted around class, gender, etc.)—and then build community around that, it creates walls, consolidates power, breeds exclusivity and flaunts privilege. This also hurts us because we lose out on potential friends and comrades as it immobilizes and stagnates our movements and communities. There have been so many times over the last couple of years—in mostly white, ‘radical queer’ spaces—that I’ve felt perceived as not radical enough, straight, boring, invisible, capitalist, etc., because I’m femme and often present in a way that’s read as pretty normative (and it’s intense to notice the ways I’ve conformed in order to feel more visible in this community). Insular communities are an instant turnoff, and when folks own the market on what it looks like to be ‘radical’ and queer, shit’s fucked. We can’t afford to assume that folks who don’t present in a ‘radical,’ alterative, or transgressive way don’t or can’t have radical politics.


^^ YES

I can't tell you how "weird" I feel in the Bay Area queer community just because...

wait for it...

I look mainstream.

Also, I don't feel any desire to make my sex life public. I will never be a sex blogger and I'm too afraid of having my picture put up on Facebook and seen by a potential employer, to participate in many "radical" activities.

I'm not economically privileged enough to feel comfortable standing out. I also feel like the "radicalism" culture tends to be ageist and doesn't tend to address the life changes, attitudes and needs of people in the midlife set, which I am entering.
chaos_by_design
Aug. 3rd, 2011 02:54 am (UTC)
This is all sort of darkly ironic. And yeah, I can also see how it all favors a culture of youth. Ageism and classism are probably both of the two unsexiest 'isms' ever. I feel like they get talked about less than other prejudices do.

And I've run into weird stereotyping from people like that. When I was living in VT my roommates had this guy over a lot and back then I identified as 'straight.' Well, one day he was looking at my music collection and started talking to me a bit and found out I liked Jack Off Jill and suddenly he blurted out, "I didn't know you were interesting!"

Like dude, queer people with strange haircuts aren't the only people capable of being interesting.
firecat
Aug. 3rd, 2011 05:19 am (UTC)
"I didn't know you were interesting!"

I get that a lot.
gmdreia
Aug. 3rd, 2011 05:23 am (UTC)
Yeah, it's a lot based around youth culture. What feels appropriate as a 20 year old on a college campus, feels ridiculous as a 37 year old who wants to actually look like she works for a living.

As a 37 year old "soccer mom lesbian" (minus the mom part, but I often look "soccer mom" or "sexy librarian"), I feel invisible... even within the community. I've walked into lesbian groups in the past and actually been asked if I was at the wrong party.

gmdreia
Aug. 3rd, 2011 12:30 am (UTC)
Oh and this... I'm actually more concerned with Jewish issues and anti-Semitism than with queer issues. Which makes me a "bad lesbian". ;)

Oh, and I also look like a girl.

The funny part is, it *is* a lot of the antiracism/appropriation dialogue that made me drop out of "alternative culture" and come to resemble more a stereotypical middle class white person who crawled out of the primordial ooze wearing khaki and holding a cell phone. Actually, what it forced me to be was more creative... I tend to appropriate from the past of my own culture (retro style), though that in and of itself has its own problems because the eras themselves were more racially divided. But past a certain point, nothing's safe anyway.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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