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I had intended to do a clever diary about how folks like NOM clearly have to be supporting bigamy and polygamy, but it appears that's going to have to wait for another day.

Recent events have reminded me--once again--that no matter how well-intentioned, non-queer progressives and liberals sometimes--even often--just don't get what it means to be queer, and as uncomfortable as this may seem, sometimes we need to recognize our differences in order to move forward.

The most common disconnect regards how being queer is a 24/7 thing.  For us, it never stops, and not only does it never stop, but we also frequently don't have much of a choice about when and how our queerness comes up.

For well-intentioned, non-queer progressives, queerness often seems like an exercise in philosophical ethics.  It's an issue non-queer progressives can pick up, discuss, but ultimately leave behind if they want to.  They can go back to their lives after the discussion, and more or less, the issue won't affect them directly--not in the ways it affects queerfolk, anyway.

And that's a fundamental difference.  I can't stop "being queer".  Even if I wanted to walk away from the issue, I can't, because it has ways of intruding itself back in my life, whether I want it to or not.

Although the title here is "It's a Queer Thing.  You Wouldn't Understand", I'm going to try to explain anyway, and demonstrate how unrelenting it can be.

Coming Out

This is the one thing most, if not all, LGBT people have in common.  It's a shared experience, yet one that most, if not all, straight people never have to deal with.  It typically comes in three stages:

1) Coming out to oneself.  This may very well be the most difficult thing.  The realization typically comes with puberty, when a kid is all a mess emotionally anyway, and there are all kinds of reactions to it.  Increasingly today, kids are accepting and embracing their queerness, but that's not always been the case.  The pressure to be heterosexual in our society is incredibly intense.  Non-queerfolk probably don't feel that pressure because it's "normal" to them, but society reinforces, in every kind of way (popular culture, family expectations, religion, etc.) that people should be straight.  The realization that one is "not normal"--particularly arriving at such a vulnerable period in a person's life--can be traumatic.

2) Coming out to family.  This is also pretty difficult.  Today's youth are coming out, in general, earlier, but even still, no one knows quite what to expect.  Some parents are completely okay with it, while others throw their children out of the house.  Most reactions are somewhere in-between, but no queer kid knows how their parents are going to react.  Furthermore, parental reactions cross all lines--some progressive parents have disowned their queer kids, while some evangelical parents have embraced their LGBT kids.  Once it's "in your family", it crosses all political lines.  It's scary, no matter who one's parents are.

3) Coming out to friends.  Again, this can be hard.  Some people disown their queer friends, just like some family do.  It's never happened to me, but I've heard of it happening to others.  It's scary, though not quite as scary as coming out to family.

The thing about "coming out", though, is it never stops.  I'm 40--I "came out" to my parents when I was 18.  You'd think that'd be the end of it, but it wasn't.  Every time I get a new job, I have to go through the process of coming out to new colleagues and co-workers.  Every time I'm introduced to new people, I have to decide what to do with the issue.  Since I'm married, it's not like it's not going to come up--it will.  Every semester, when I start a new class, I have to decide whether to come out or not--and since I teach English composition, and the issue of marriage equality is bound to come up, it's not like I can duck the issue in the ways a chemistry professor could.  Coming out isn't a one-time event--it's on-going, and at my age, I wouldn't even say it's a "process".  It's certainly not a process for me.  It's mostly just an irritant now--a chore every time I meet someone new or change jobs or teach a new class.  It gets old fast.

[Edit:I wanted to expand on this a little.  I don't think I can underscore the importance of the experience of coming out enough.  There's no similar rite-of-passage for straight people, so there's really no frame of reference at all.

I'm bothered by some of the comments I've seen in this diary and in others recently that downplay or even outright dismiss the effects of coming out.  Where you may now see an out-and-proud queer, there probably was a kid terrified about how her or his parents would react.  Almost all of us have to do it, and we get no help at all when we do.  All our support networks--our parents and our friends--are the ones we're afraid of losing.  We have to do it alone.

And it leaves a scar.  Whether it's a clean, nearly invisible surgical incision or a messy, glaring wound, coming out leaves its mark.

This past spring, I watched RuPaul's Drag Race, and like a lot of other fans, I got to loathe PhiPhi O'Hara, one of the top three contestants.  She was vain.  She was a bit mean.  She was arrogant.  But then she told her story about her father rejecting her, and the scared little boy in me saw the scared little boy in her, and I could feel it.

It's a bond we all share with one another, whether we're Latino or white, lesbian or bi, drag queen or bear, and it's so hard to explain to those who have never experienced it how powerful that connection can be.]

Homophobic Terrorism

"Hey, faggot!"

If you're queer, your back has probably stiffened at least once in your life hearing that shouted anonymously by someone driving by.  It's usually not even specifically directed at us--just a yahoo yelling a homophobic epithet to the universe.  But you never know.

In "Ideology and the Ideological State Apparatuses", French philosopher Louis Althusser discussed a phenomenon he termed "interpellation".  The example he gives to illustrate it is a police officer shouting out "Hey, you!", and you turn.  According to him, at that moment, you are "interpellated"--hailed into being, forced into an identity in that moment, even if you're not doing anything suspicious.  You might be the target of the cop's "Hey, you!", and so you look.

This is an experience many queers have when someone shouts out "Hey, fag!"  No matter how comfortable in our skins we may be, in that moment, we're suddenly interpellated as a "fag".  Our identities are reduced, in that one moment, to this aspect of our being, and we look--and we have to, because the threat could be real.

It was for Matthew Shepard.  "White privilege" didn't save him from being tied to a fence on a cold, October night and left to die.  "Male privilege" didn't protect him, either.

I've had "Die, fag!" scrawled in highlighter on a pillar in a space I was working in.  I've seen the same thing chemically burned into the front lawn of an apartment building near "the Loop", a place near my neighborhood where in-the-closet men cruise in my hometown.

Most of the time, it's nothing, but no one wants to be the next Matthew Shepard, or Brandon Teena, or Gwen Araujo, or Lawrence King.  It's chilling.

The Incidental Irritants

Then there are the incidentals.  They're small, but constant.

Is it safe to hold your partner's hand?  Are other public displays of affection safe?

Every April 15, I have to decide whether I check the box for "married" or "single" on my federal tax returns.  On employment applications?  Other documents?

Did we remember to save enough money to pay the extra tax incurred because I'm on my partner's health insurance, but since I'm not a legal spouse, the part of the premium his employer pays is considered taxable income (I call it the "homo tax").

Should we draft wills, even though we're legally married in our state?

And that's not even considering turning on the news and seeing marriage equality being debated by a panel of four non-queers on CNN, who glibly debate whether or not we should have the same rights as other people, without giving us even so much as a space at the table.

Summary

The thing is it never stops.  It just never stops.  Non-queer progressives can take a break from the issue.  Queerfolk can't--not even if we wanted to.  No matter how sympathetic, non-queer progressives haven't dealt with the shared trauma of coming out.  A non-queer progressive can walk by graffiti that says "Faggot!" and be reasonably certain it's not a personal threat.  The debate over marriage equality doesn't really affect non-queer progressives one way or another.

[Edit #2: Wow, the Rec List AND the Community Spotlight.  It's the first time for the former, the second time for the latter.  I'm honored beyond words.]

Originally posted to Lasgalen Lothir on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 11:33 AM PDT.

Also republished by LGBT Kos Community, TransAction, Milk Men And Women, and Community Spotlight.

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  •  Tip Jar (208+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
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  •  shit (34+ / 0-)
    Did we remember to save enough money to pay the extra tax incurred because I'm on my partner's health insurance, but since I'm not a legal spouse, the part of the premium his employer pays is considered taxable income (I call it the "homo tax").
    we aren't doing this (he's on mine.)

    I'm going to owe for the first time in 13 years, aren't I. (Yes I know they consider my coverage of him taxable income--I definately noticed it in my paycheck).

    I'm struck by how the meanest, cruelest, nastiest people brag about how they live in a Christian nation. It's rather telling.

    by terrypinder on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 11:53:49 AM PDT

  •  Simple things (46+ / 0-)

    can also mean the most. Like, do I place a picture of my partner on my credenza? Will it start crap in the office? I actually had a pro-con list once about this.

    Excellent diary.

    The Spice must Flow!

    by Texdude50 on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 11:59:59 AM PDT

    •  Oh, yeah, definitely! (29+ / 0-)

      That's why I included "incidental irritants" here.  They're the small, but constant, reminders of our difference--the small things we have to do differently, either to protect ourselves (physically or financially), or to keep from offending someone else's sensibilities.

        •  Yeah, I stopped doing that years ago. (27+ / 0-)

          But I teach English at a public university and a community college in California.  Queerness ain't so queer for us.

        •  The pronoun game outed me to a perceptive new (23+ / 0-)

          friend. At the time, I was selectively coming out to people depending on my trust level.

          I had an 'If you ask, I will tell' policy. ( I'm an innocuous looking fem. lesbian.) So when she asked, I said "How did you guess?" She said it was the odd pronoun usage.

          •  So I was out with this person, and they said ... (18+ / 0-)

            Yeah, that much circumlocution is a tell, for those on the alert.  

            Though I DO think language changes, and grammarians should just go ahead and accept the singular "they".  

            Yes, it introduces uncertainty as to number.  But, gender-neutral efforts like "he or she" will never make it into popular speech the way the singular "they" ALREADY has.  Vox populi.  

            "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

            by lgmcp on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 05:09:35 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  They do (13+ / 0-)

              (grammarians, I mean)

              The professors over at Language Log say that singular 'they' is perfectly fine. It even has a pedigree -- Shakespeare used it.

              sin and love and fear are just sounds that people who never sinned nor loved nor feared have for what they never had and cannot have until they forget the words

              by harrije on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 05:59:55 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Neato! (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                vcmvo2, oldliberal, Renee, bythesea

                Glad to hear it.

                "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

                by lgmcp on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 06:22:04 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  No, it's not "perfectly fine". Not yet. (6+ / 0-)

                I teach college English.  I don't have a single grammar handbook that says it's perfectly fine, and I'm fairly certain Shakespeare didn't use it.

                Sorry to be pedantic, but I teach this stuff day in and day out.

                •  *Ahem* (14+ / 0-)

                  Sorry to break out the empirical proof like this, but sometimes it has to happen. Please don't hate me for it.

                  There's not a man I meet but doth salute me
                  As if I were their well-acquainted friend
                  (Comedy of Errors, IV.iii)
                  Singular they (or a form thereof). And it isn't even to be gender-neutral: the sentence is clearly talking about a male.

                  Dr. Pullam has this to say (emphasis mine):

                  By all means, avoid using they with singular antecedents in your own writing and speaking if you feel you cannot bear it. Language Log is not here to tell you how to write or speak. But don't try to tell us that it's grammatically incorrect. Because when a construction is clearly present several times in Shakespeare's rightly admired plays and poems, and occurs in the carefully prepared published work of just about all major writers down the centuries, and is systematically present in the unreflecting conversational usage of just about everyone ... then the claim that it is ungrammatical begins to look utterly unsustainable to us here at Language Log Plaza. This use of they isn't ungrammatical, it isn't a mistake, it's a feature of ordinary English syntax that for some reason attracts the ire of particularly puristic pusillanimous pontificators, and we don't buy what they're selling. (http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/...)

                  sin and love and fear are just sounds that people who never sinned nor loved nor feared have for what they never had and cannot have until they forget the words

                  by harrije on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 06:41:04 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I stand corrected about Shakespeare... (6+ / 0-)

                    ...but the professor's other opinion is simply incorrect.  I could break out a bunch of grammar handbooks and quote them if you like, but I get paid--and paid a lot--to do that.

                    •  There is some movement on this (9+ / 0-)

                      How meaningful I have no idea. But I just attended my son's college graduation, and one of his classmates who spoke at the department ceremony developed a college level curriculum as part of her thesis on gender neutral language. It wasn't the english department (it was community studies, or as I like to call it, the civil disobedience department.) Though based on what the the professor who introduced her (or as she would prefer, introduced them), it was reviewed and approved by English department and got rave reviews.

                      Little steps?

                    •  A lot of lag time between (0+ / 0-)

                      theoretical opinion in matters of language evolution, and the recommend diet for undergraduates.  

                      "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

                      by lgmcp on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 08:19:41 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  I'm an English major (0+ / 0-)

                      preparing to teach High School. I am also 47, so I've been out of high school a while myself.

                      Sorry, Lasgalen, you are stuck in the dark ages :). You sound like my old high school English teachers (at a private, prestigious, very competitive high school). I haven't had a single English prof at my university who wouldn't argue 15 items in the "grammar handbooks" and tell his students to disregard them.

                      Now, mostly that has to do with nonsensical rules like split infinitives and ending sentences with prepositions, but, yes, "they" for a singular of unknown gender has come up, and I haven't yet met a professor who would take off for it. Furthermore, my History of English professor pointed out the Shakespearian history of that usage, and predicted that, within the next ten years, it's going to again be common usage, because the whole "he or she" thing is just way too cumbersome.

                      "Maybe: it's a vicious little word that could slay me"--Sara Bareilles

                      by ChurchofBruce on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 09:46:11 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  NO, PLEASE (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        lgmcp

                        dangling prepositions are the worst!  Don't tell me English instructors are accepting such poor diction.  I will give you the split infinitives, but not prepositions hanging everywhere in writing that otherwise provides no clue as to the object of the preposition.  

                      •  Well, that's a bit sad. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        lgmcp

                        Because if these are the things you really believe, than you're going to be sending droves of students into my remedial English classes.

                        Seriously, think about that.  If you teach these things to your students, you will be doing them a very grave disservice later on.

                        I'm not "stuck in the dark ages" here.  Both campuses I teach at have writing entrance requirements, and minimum competency with grammar is one of the requirements to pass the writing entrance exam.  One of the campuses is a major West Coast university, the other a community college.

                        The fact is I make most of my money unteaching the kinds of things you're talking about, because between 50% and 70% of the incoming freshmen at the university fail the writing entrance exam and require remediation.

                        You may think you're being hip here, but it's beyond pedagogically-suspect.  The cold, hard reality is that if you teach that kind of thing in your high school classes, those students run a very real risk of winding up in remedial English rather than first semester/quarter freshmen composition, and that will delay their progress through college.

                        I wish I could say I was exaggerating or kidding here.  I'm not.

                        •  No, I'm not hip (0+ / 0-)

                          I'm just not a prescriptivist.

                          And, really, your campus's writing requirements would send a student into remedial writing for split infinitives and dangling prepositions? Really? I work in our campus's writing center, and I have to make sure students in regular Comp 101 (not anything remedial) can handle proper punctuation and their/they're/their! Split infinitives are the absolute least of my worries.

                          You people do realize that the split infinitive and dangling preposition rules were introduced into English by 18th century grammarians who were besotted with Latin and introduced into English Latin rules that make no sense in English, right?

                          "Maybe: it's a vicious little word that could slay me"--Sara Bareilles

                          by ChurchofBruce on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 12:02:26 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Not for those problems... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...but for the "singular they"?  Absolutely.

                            You'd be potentially barred from UCLA and UCBerkley with that problem, particularly if it were chronic, because you'd likely fail the Subject A.  The UC I teach at (Riverside) is a bit more accommodating in that we have remedial classes at all.  The other UC's don't--they simply don't admit you.

                          •  I think there's a middle ground here. (0+ / 0-)

                            Free-wheeling grammar looks a lot different in conversation or in an accomplished, assured work of writing, than it does in an inadequate attempt at the five-paragraph essay.  

                            Prescriptivist rules are a fine topic of debate, and always ultimately on the losing side ...  but introductory students WILL encounter them and are best served by being made aware of them.  

                            My 2 cents.

                            "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

                            by lgmcp on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 07:02:26 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  That's the singular but it's not specific (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    TrueBlueMajority, lgmcp

                    'they' in that sentence refers not to a specific person but to the general men that he meets.  Which is different from referring to a specific person.  I can't remember what the technical term for that is, but I know that it's more accepted when used for a non-specific person than when talking about a specific person.

                    Which isn't to say that I'm against using it as a gender neutral third person singular, I'm fine with that.

                    There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                    by AoT on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 07:20:55 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  It's a non-specific singular... (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      AoT, lgmcp, Vega

                      ...and it's commonly used that way, but it's not correct for Standard English.

                      It may be in the future.  Language evolves, particularly with usage, but the rule hasn't changed yet.  When I started teaching, 13 years ago, other instructors thought the rule would shift within 5 to 10 years, but it hasn't yet.  It probably will, soon(tm).

                      •  I'm not a fan of prescriptive grammar (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        lgmcp

                        especially for conversational English.  I feel like we may have had this discussion before.  

                        What would it take for it to shift?  It seems like rules probably take longer to shift now that we have all these formalized grammars and such.

                        There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                        by AoT on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 07:52:32 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  There are rules and there are rules. (0+ / 0-)

                        The purpose of grammatical rules is to improve the clarity of communication.

                        Some rules, such as the rules for punctuation, contribute to that goal. Other rules, such as the arbitrary bans on singular 'their' and ending sentences with prepositions, detract from it.

                        A great writer once declared snarkily that a rule of the second sort was the sort of thing up with which he or she would not put. I have to agree; good writers will go on breaking bad rules no matter how many style manuals insist on perpetuating them.

                        "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

                        by kyril on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 08:09:40 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Sometimes clarity of communication CALLS for (5+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          harrije, kyril, AoT, marathon, Cassandra Waites

                          indefiniteness.  It is possible (and not just by the closeted) to want to deliver the meaning that it doesn't matter who said it, neither as to name or as to gender or as to number ... it matters what was said.

                          "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

                          by lgmcp on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 08:24:45 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Nice segue back to the topic! (6+ / 0-)

                            And you are correct.

                            For example, if I am writing an HR communication regarding the company's transgender policy, I am very likely to use singular 'they' to de-emphasize gender and shift the focus onto the substance of the policy.

                            You do not need gender pronouns to discuss equal treatment, or not being mean, or where to go for additional resources on workplace transgender issues. In fact, bringing gendered pronouns into that discussion can often lead to unnecessary digressions from the policy.

                            (When dealing with a specific individual, I make a point to find out that individual's preferred pronoun set, and use that consistently. Not because I want to be stylistically correct, but because I want to respect the gender identity of that individual -- which may or may not match up with current presentation or anatomy.)

                            sin and love and fear are just sounds that people who never sinned nor loved nor feared have for what they never had and cannot have until they forget the words

                            by harrije on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 09:10:44 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I find this whole problem can be avoided . . . (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Lasgalen Lothir, lgmcp

                            at least in most instances.

                            If you're writing something like a personnel manual, you can often employ the plural form rather than the singular and thus avoid the awkward use of the oxymoronic "singular they."  For example, instead of writing, "If an employee has a grievance, they must first raise the matter orally with their supervisor before filing a formal complaint," one could write, "If employees have grievances, they must first raise the matters orally with their supervisors before filing a formal complaint."

                            This way, one avoids gender specific pronouns and ends up with subjects and verbs that agree in number.

                            "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

                            by FogCityJohn on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 09:54:19 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  The first purpose of strict gramatical rules (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          lgmcp

                          is to differentiate among the social/economic classes and to distinguish  the native born from the foreigner. (GB Shaw centered one of his better plays around that premise.)

                          And if "Received English" formalisms seem to be a great deal up with which to put ... the French Academy stands watch over THEIR linguistic shibboleths like Cerberus on Ritalin.

                          On the other hand ... "Globish" the language of world trade, is based on upper middle class Received English and  uses extremely strict application of a somewhat simplified grammatical rules for precisely the opposite reason: to obscure and soften the class and national origin differences between the deal-makers.

                             

                  •  That quote is stupid (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Lasgalen Lothir

                    The fact that Shakespeare used that construction does not bestow some linguistic pedigree.  It's a rather simple-minded analysis,mespecially since it ignores the fact that the words are spoken by a character in a play.  No playwright applies strict grammar (except intentionally in certain circumstances); people simply do not talk that way.  Dr. Pullam has no credibility with me.

                •  Singular they is indeed normal English (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  TiaRachel

                  It's not just Shakespeare but authors of high renown, not to mention most everyday speakers, that have used it for a long time. For instance, the esteemed Jane Austen uses it many times. Just two examples: "Every body began to have their vexation." (Mansfield Park) and "If anyone wants anything in town, they must send their commissions to Frank, as I shall merely pass through it." (letter dated September 15, 1796). The Oxford English dictionary has examples of the use dating all the way back to the 14th century. Its a most natural English construction.

                  The supposed rule against it properly belongs to the same class as not ending a sentence with a preposition or that forbidding the split infinitive. A silly construction that isn't native English but something imposed on it for some external theoretical reason, no matter how many handbooks of grammar follow the fashion of such books.

                  •  No, they're not the same. (0+ / 0-)

                    Ending a sentence with a preposition may be a style error, but it's not a grammar error.  The "singular they" is, inherently, a grammar error, as in, if you try to pull that off in a college English classroom, you will most definitely be marked down for it.  No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

                    •  There's another nail in the coffin of Liberal Arts (0+ / 0-)

                      ... if that's what undergraduates are paying $895 a credit for ... maybe we're all better off with  "trade schools".

                      Of course the Elite Academies will have to decide between accommodating their full-freight foreign students and maintaining the verbal class distinctions between  Legacy and Scholarship students.

                    •  respectfully must disagree (0+ / 0-)

                      The preposition rule is a matter of grammar, if the principle that a preposition must have an object is indeed the reason for the proscription. That idea is an imposition from Latin, not something native to English. In English, I wouldn't even say it's a style error. It's as much natural English as the singular they or the split infinitive. All of these things are impositions from grammarians bent on making English reform to expectations of latinate grammar.

                      The fact of our language, when one actually analyzes its use rather than force it to conform to external and made up principles, as grammar handbooks are wont to do, is that it does indeed have a singular non-gendered third-person personal pronoun. That pronoun is "they," as the Oxford English Dictionary observes. It is usually used in circumstances of general reference to an inspecific individual.  It happens to be exactly the same as the plural third-person personal pronoun. Context distinguishes which meaning is being used. There is really nothing terribly odd about such a structure in a language. Good style would avoid it if confusion as to number could easily result. But it isn't good style to avoid it with awkward constructions, wordiness (like insisting on "he or she" each time), or the confusing alternation between he and she. Imagine rewriting those Austen quotes without it. Not as strong, is it?

                      A hard-nosed insistence on avoiding the singular they, as with such instance on forbidding the split infinitive or sentence-ending propositions, whether regarded as grammar or style, results in stilted and odd English. It doesn't promote good grammar or good style, in my opinion.

                  •  Love the JA examples. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    mchristi314

                    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

                    by lgmcp on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 09:18:11 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  That's how I use it (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            The Nephew

            I am almost gramatically rude in my use of the pronoun game.  NEVER using "him" or "him", only "them", never "he" or "she", instead "they".   You catch people who are sensitive to your plight quickly, and the yahoos never know they're being mocked.

            Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

            by lostboyjim on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 08:52:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  One of my co-workers calls his wife (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT

          his "partner" 95% of the time, and her name is Terry.  Whenever I heard him say it, I wondered if it meant he was married to a another guy.  Turns out that's not the case, but did make me think of the issue.

          He calls himself a socialist, and I suspect his word choice is influenced by support of marriage equality, but I've never asked him.

    •  You have a credenza in the office? n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lasgalen Lothir
  •  Nice Diary (28+ / 0-)

    Even the most empathetic person cannot truly understand what it is like to be someone else and the struggles that they go through without walking in their shoes.

  •  We never said we were queer (12+ / 0-)

    We never said we'd been through this.  Not sure what your point here is or what perception it is that this aims to correct.

    But of all the people, outside of other homosexuals with shared experiences, that at least understand intellectually and can empathize emotionally with these aspects of what it means to be homosexual in today's America, wouldn't your best bet be your progressive heterosexual friends and supporters?

    What you are getting from us is recognition and affirmation.  What we are saying is not "We're all the same.  We're just like you."  We're not.  Your experience is your own.  What we are saying is "We all have the same wants in life and your claim to equality is just.  We support you."  

    And we oppose anyone who disagrees, and we reject any rationalization they make about why its okay for us to have something but not you.  Be it rights, tax-deductions, protections, marriage, respect, acceptance or just the inherent sacred entitlement to just be LEFT THE HELL ALONE to live our own lives in peace, unremarked upon and indifferent, without the need to justify or explain our own choices.

    We see this degradation as wrong; unamerican, unjust and immoral.  We see it as Bigotry.  And bigotry, left unchecked, lessens ALL OF US, even if we are not the target of it.

    My spine does not stiffen at the words "Hey Fag!" but the fact that someone else's does cries out to me that my community, my society and my country has a problem that needs to be recognized and addressed.  

    My goal is not to help you come out to your parents or teach your gay friends how to come out to their co-worker.  These are your own life experiences; good luck with them.

    My goal is to partner with you, and others just like you, and many others just like me, to help form a world where that unique and individual life experience is accepted as normal behavior.

    Today the things you describe are excruciating inter-personal sagas fraught with anxiety and fear.  One day they will be boring....

    ....and that will mean we've won.

    Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

    by Wisper on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 12:12:21 PM PDT

    •   am i alone in feeling creeped out by this comment (16+ / 0-)

      with all its we. you, your, us, our and my ?

      •  Jus' a lil' bit, yeah. (14+ / 0-)

        It's kind of an example of the cerebral attitude some have, like LGBT rights are a thought experiment in an Ethics 101 class.

        •  commenter does seem to mean well... (11+ / 0-)

          hard to tell from such a distance

          behind the trees

          through the haze

          surrounded by that big crowd of others who are all way over there with him/her

          I guess I am hoping to see a clarification from commenter along the lines of "whoops, what I meant was...."

          or "sheesh what was I thinking, too distracted by the house on fire next door"

          ?

        •  huh.. thats more then mildly offensive (5+ / 0-)

          I am very sorry to hear that.

          I don't view LGBT rights as anything other then an equality issue.  I don't see a wide chasm of difference between Racial Equality or Gender Equality or LGBT equality.

          This isn't a thought experiment. Its a human right.  Its not something to be parsed or nuanced.  It just is.

          How callously flippant.  You yourself raise spectres of Sheppard and Araujo and then undermine them with this?

          This is about PEOPLES LIVES.  This is about checking rampant and ingrained HATE.  Hate that is taught to children and preached from pulpits.  Hate that is ingrained and defended by people falsely claiming to be moral and just.  

          And when you have people that might not share your specific life experience but that are equally outraged and intolerant of that kind of bigotry.  That refuse to be lumped into the ignorant "us" of the "us against them" attitude these people champion...  you just dismiss it as "Its a queer thing, you wouldn't understand" and insult it as a "thought experiment".

          I'm not asking for an honorary membership into your Gay Club.  I'm talking about a major sociological issue of our time.

          Fine.  Fuck it.  Assume we don't get it.  You are indecipherable to us.  You a gay enigma wrapped in a queer riddle.  I have not, nor ever will, understand how you choose what pronoun to use or whether or not to hold hands.  

          But when you decide you need help repealing that "homo tax" or you want justice for the NEXT Lawrence King, feel free to stop by the Ethics 101 classroom to let us know how we can help.

          Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

          by Wisper on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 01:02:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And that's exactly the attitude I'm talking about. (13+ / 0-)

            Fair-weather friends, indeed.

            They talk a good talk, but when someone starts pointing out heterosexual privilege, it turns into this.

            •  those flames shouldn't have been directed at you (8+ / 0-)

              I impulsively used charged language replying to that guy's comment, he should've flamed me if anyone

              Your language has been consistently calm and un-divisive

              Sorry about that.

            •  And yours is the attitude I referred to when (0+ / 0-)

              I said I'll vote for equality when it's on the ballot, but I won't go to the barricades on gay issues because I doubt the effort would be reciprocated for my issues.

              Fair-weather friends, indeed.
            •  Lasgalen, (31+ / 0-)

              our straight supporters can't walk in our shoes. I thought that's what your diary so eloquently expressed.

              I can't experience the soft to murderous bigotry black people experience every day. Hell, I don't experience anti-gay bigotry that often. Because I don't "look gay".

              Wisper expressed undying support for all of our civil rights. It's the same support I have for civil rights of people whose experiences I can't truly understand.

              Your diary was about what straight people can't experience of our challenges, but do you have to live the challenges before you can try to ameliorate them?

              If so, we're in trouble.

              •  Wish I could tip this X 1000! (19+ / 0-)

                The attitude that no one can support us politically because they haven't been us functionally is monstrous, ally-alienating self-absorption.

                The money changers Jesus threw out of the Temple are back as the GOP, using his corpse as a ventriloquist's dummy. (Hat tip to Kossack "Stuart Heady")

                by WereBear Walker on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 05:51:39 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Thanks WereBear. (7+ / 0-)

                  I liked this diary a lot, but this thread veered in a negative direction after a post in support of everyone's civil rights.

                •  I'm a bit lost (11+ / 0-)

                  As a straight, I don't understand why Wisper reacted to the diary in that fashion, and I don't understand how "the attitude that no one can support us politically because they haven't been us functionally" is even a topic of discussion. But then, comment threads routinely take turns I don't understand.

                  Long ago, I wrote to a friend some well-intentioned comment along the lines that being lesbian wasn't all that different than being straight. Her response was much like this diary. It's open to interpretation how much I learned from what she taught me, but I've always been grateful for the effort.

                  •  In defense of Wisper (8+ / 0-)

                    I'm not certain that this was what Wisper was thinking, but the title "You don't understand" is usually meant to imply "so don't even try; just go away and leave us alone."  At least, that's how I understand the sentence.  The body of the article clearly does not have that intention, but the title alone is rather offensive.  

                    If non-gays "can't fathom the complexity" of being gay, then does that mean that gays can't fathom the complexity of any other form of social oppression?  I would hope not.  

                    •  I got the same impression of the title (6+ / 0-)

                      The whole construction of "It's a (fill in the blank) thing, you wouldn't understand" is dismissive  and demeaning. Its also an ultimately pointless statement. None of us, regardless of shared experience can ever really comprehend the experience of another. We can empathize. We can sympathize. But we can't live anyone's life other than our own. Not something to complain about, its simply a fact of life.

                      The diary is heartfelt. Clearly it speaks to many but as I read it I was struck by how little the author's experience spoke to my own. My sense of alienation from the dominant culture began long before puberty and really had little to do with my own sexuality. I learned the lesson early on that if you diverged from any social norm you could expect nothing better than hostility, ostracism and/or persecution. Consequently, whenever I was met with any expression of sympathy or solidarity, critiquing it's quality was the last thing on my mind.

                      I don't think anyone is obliged to understand my experience in the way the diarist describes. It is, to my mind, an impossible expectation. What matters to me is they extend to me the basic respect that I believe every human being is entitled to. A little sympathy and empathy would be appreciated but is not required. I decided long ago not to live my life according to anyone's lights but my own.      

                       

                      •  OK, I took the title as an ironic use of cliche (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        TiaRachel, Lasgalen Lothir

                        Googling "thing you wouldn't understand" returns "About 1,910,000 results," of which the top one for me right now is "It's a ninja thing. You wouldn't understand." Why is that the top hit for me right now? I cannot imagine.

                        So I would like to think that it should be safe to use that phrase in the expectation that people will not take it literally, but will look to see where you are going with it. But I know that big bold print in a diary title doesn't lend itself to nuances in tone.

                        None of us, regardless of shared experience can ever really comprehend the experience of another. We can empathize. We can sympathize. But we can't live anyone's life other than our own.
                        I think that's true. I don't think it gets at the actual point of the diary, but it's a fair point. And certainly it's risky to generalize about the experiences of any group of people; it was interesting to learn a bit more about your own experience.

                        It seems to me that in a certain mood, I could easily construe your comment, "we can't live anyone's life other than our own," as an "ultimately pointless statement." The point depends on the context -- and any two of us don't necessarily agree on what the context is.

                        •  Well, my intended point (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          HudsonValleyMark, Eikyu Saha

                          is that none of us is capable of doing what the diarist seems to want: for others to see the world through the lens of his experience. It seems to me that the most that can be hoped for is that they lend a sympathetic, supportive ear.

                          I see no point in resenting, much less blaming, people for this  limitation.

                          •  I'm not sure what more I can say (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            AoT, Lasgalen Lothir, WB Reeves

                            I don't feel resented or blamed by the diarist.

                            If someone says to me, "I don't think you really understand what it is like to be X" (an analogy, not a strict paraphrase) -- and tries to explain something about what it is like to be X -- usually my first reaction is not to be defensive about being not-X. Even if I think I pretty much really understood what the person just explained to me, usually my first reaction is not to be defensive about the conjecture that I didn't understand it.

                            Here, of course, the diarist wasn't especially talking to me at all, and that complicates things. It seems that the diarist is, to some extent, writing in reaction to "some people" -- people whose expressions of support seem abstract, intellectual, contingent -- and folks are trying to decide whether they are being lumped with the "some." (That's a common DKos dynamic.) If I thought the diary argued that straights can't be good allies, and tried to explain to straights why we can't be good allies, I would be sort of annoyed, or maybe mostly bored. I just don't read it that way.

                          •  Your reaction speaks well of you (0+ / 0-)

                            Of course, as the comments indicate, this is not a universal response. Just points up the subjective and diverse nature of personal reactions.

                            Here's a question. If it's true that you can't understand someone else's experience without being them, how could your support of them be other than abstract, intellectual and contingent?

                          •  I don't see that as the diarist's point at all: (3+ / 0-)
                            what the diarist seems to want: for others to see the world through the lens of his experience.

                            Rather the opposite, in fact: what I see in the diary is a request for others to accept/admit that they do not -- can not -- see the same world as others, because their 'experiential lenses' (I like that) are different.

                            That's a tension I've seen often, & see throughout this diary -- it's the sympathy/empathy thing (I always forget which is which). When you see someone who's upset, and you try to help them by saying "I understand", sometimes you'll get an angry "no you don't!". Now, maybe you really meant "I understand that you're troubled and want to help", but what the other person heard is "I know your emotions and life at least as well (if not better) than you do.

                            And that's what brought the F*off responses earlier -- where one person was saying "ok, but that doesn't matter because {other justification for taking action}", the other person was saying it *does matter, because {that action they're talking about} isn't the exclusive problem and/or solution.

                            Even when allies are real, & don't require super-special extra attention to stand up for The Cause (whichever one it is), that attitude of "I already know everything I need to know about the issue that is you & your cause" is problematic. Especially when it comes across as "I know everything there is to know." And while this isn't the sort of ally who needs to be told how wonderful they are to support {cause} (or else go to hell I'll ignore you or vote against you in the future so there) -- they still require a bit of extra attention. Instead of just talking about life, the person whose rights are at stake has to always keep in mind who they are talking about life to, and change their words and focus so that this person doesn't feel excluded.

                            And sometimes that's just too much work. Because no one is always the center of the universe.

                          •  Very insightful (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            TiaRachel

                            It comes down to a question of communication and what goals are in view. There's a world of difference, despite the sixties slogan to the contrary, between personal interaction and political action.

                            In personal relationships I require a high degree of affinity. My political relationships; not so much. To put it bluntly, I've worked politically with both assholes and stone cold motherfuckers over the years because I thought the goal in view outweighed personal distaste and/or political disagreement. At the end of the day, I didn't have to go home with such people.

                            I agree with you entirely that there is a limit to what anyone should have to put up with. There is a point where "respect" for others becomes disrespect for oneself. In a political context such instances are almost always reflective of the power relationships in the larger society.  However, I think it crucial to distinguish between well intentioned cluelessness, however offensive and the illegitimate assertion of a specious authority.  

                          •  It's a thing gained with experience, (0+ / 0-)

                            the ability to recognize well-intentioned cluelessness. And that's an argument I often make myself, that I prefer to assume cluelessness rather than hostility. Sometimes I get took, but when blogging I always try to remember: it's all about the lurkers (and/or figuring things out for myself, which is pretty much why I'm still commenting here :).

                            But sometimes the distinction is irrelevant. Explaining things to the clueless still takes up time that could otherwise be spent more usefully. And of course that hostility is often invisible to the one expressing it -- because they have been indoctrinated to believe that their views and opinions are right, they are the ones that matter, and those people simply do not recognize that their words, expectations and actions are in fact hostile. So when they get hit back (even when the 'hit' is "yeah, that's beside the point' or simply being ignored), it feels to them like an unprovoked assault.

              •  No, it wasn't "undying support". (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Dave in Northridge, AoT, TiaRachel

                It was the kind of fair-weather support I really dislike.

                I'd rather have that card on the table than the knife in the back later, and if my flushing it out is unpleasant, so be it.  I do not apologize for it, nor will I.

                It's sometimes important to make fair-weather supporters wonder if we think they're homophobic, to make them evaluate the internalized homophobia that leads to the kind of dismissive statements about coming out ("My goal is not to help you come out to your parents or teach your gay friends how to come out to their co-worker.  These are your own life experiences; good luck with them.") on display here.

                That fact that Wisper went from "undying supporter" to virulent attack dog the moment his/her attitudes were questioned told me exactly what I wanted to know.

          •  You're not the target audience... (24+ / 0-)

            As I (a gay dude) read it, the diarist intended to show a few different things. That "LGBT civil rights" in general is more complex than your typical straight person, even your typical pro-gay dailykos reader, can fathom.  That it's not simply an issue to us--it's not just a campaign issue to us; it's our lives we're talking about. And I think most importantly, that seeing our rights debated as an abstract issue mostly by straight people in the media, who do not understand what it's like to be gay, is infuriating and disorienting and incredibly depressing.

            Someone who does not have to, in the course of a normal day, repeatedly tell strangers and acquaintances about their sexual desires will never understand what that feels like. Someone who can file their taxes jointly with their spouse won't feel that rejection the way someone who's experienced it will. Someone who's never turned when a stranger has yelled "Hey Fag!" won't ever know that multi-faceted humiliation ("Why did I respond to that? Do I, deep down, think I'm just a 'fag?'", "Great, I just outed myself to a potentially violent, already-hostile stranger", and a hundred other thoughts run through your head).

            Yes, an empathetic person should be able to get how we feel. But there are limits to that, and I think that's what the diarist meant to address--straight people simply don't feel the same immediacy we do when it comes to LGBT rights, and that's both okay and perfectly understandable. We don't need you to "join our club." Straight people can separate themselves from the issue, because it doesn't affect them the way it does us. So it's important for us queer people to share this stuff, so you can get an idea of what it's like to have to deal with this junk 100% of the time.

            That's at least how I interpreted the diary. If you understand and accept all of this already, then you're not the target audience.

            "In an individual, selfishness uglifies the soul; for the human species, selfishness is extinction." -Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell

            by rigcath on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 02:03:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Again, (4+ / 0-)

              I just didn't feel that Wisper is being as cavalier about this as some are portraying.

              No one ever created a vibrant economy by building houses for each other. Houses are built because there is a vibrant economy.

              by Doug in SF on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 05:44:54 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  He's basically yelling (4+ / 0-)

                "How dare you lecture us about this!"

                There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                by AoT on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 07:30:25 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Well that is understandable (12+ / 0-)

                  Wisper was trying to show that he/she "gets" it. But from my own life I think I know what Lasgalen means and what Wisper couldn't understand. I'm deaf, but I wasn't born deaf it developed over time.

                  In the deaf community I am considered a "hearing" person and rejected as a non-hearing person. I do know how to speak because I heard language. I was never treated abominably for not being able to speak, or having a "deaf" voice. It hurt at first because I can't hear but I listened more to what I was being told by those who are not so angry.

                  They had a completely different life and culture. Sure I didn't choose to lose my hearing but those born without my hearing privilege had borne things day in and day out that I could only imagine. Somethings will just always be different no matter how hard we try to bridge the gap.

                  So "listening" is sometimes the best way to help,imo.

                  In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God ~RFK

                  by vcmvo2 on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 07:50:58 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Wisper was not saying "How dare you ... (7+ / 0-)

                  ...  lecture us about this!" He was saying "Don't treat us as if we have ZERO understanding of your situation."

                  Your POV entirely negates the possibility of empathy from someone who has not suffered EXACTLY the same way you did / do.

                  The money changers Jesus threw out of the Temple are back as the GOP, using his corpse as a ventriloquist's dummy. (Hat tip to Kossack "Stuart Heady")

                  by WereBear Walker on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 11:05:27 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  No it doesn't (6+ / 0-)

                    Not does the point of view of the diary.

                    Empathy is clearly possible, I see it on a regular basis.

                    No one ever said that straights have zero understanding of the situation.  My point was that the response from Whisper was pretty predictable.  I see it on a regular basis.  Somehow whisper decided that he or she was personally being targeted even though there was nothing in the diary about them personally.  The whole deal point of the diary, that straight folks don't have to deal with this stuff all the time and can just walk away.  If straight people don't do that it's great but responding with a giant rant that says "OMG! Don't lecture me!  I'm not one of those people!" is absurd.

                    There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                    by AoT on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 07:03:37 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  My point was that.... (0+ / 0-)

                    ....while it was very nice for the diarist to help others to understand, what we really need is for more people like Wisper to speak up for us. I personally don't care whether s/he personally understands what I've gone through or not, because s/he obviously wants what we are after and isn't afraid to to speak up about it, and rather passionately.

                    Good on him/her.

                    No one ever created a vibrant economy by building houses for each other. Houses are built because there is a vibrant economy.

                    by Doug in SF on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 02:58:36 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  Did it not occur to you (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              EdinStPaul

              That yes some of us can and do fathom it?  Why the fuck do you think we are here. Not to get into it but the premise here that one word of this is news is amiss because of the assumptions it makes.  Here is a key lesson: one does not have to live one particular experience to understand what it means because life always gives one experience of some kind.  

              I am going to duck out because even if the premise of the diary is mistaken, this is not a battle worth fighting.  You see even though the literal words aren't quite right, the emotional experience that underlies it is genuine and true and real.  

              This comment is only an asterisk, but one that should be here somewhere

              Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

              by Mindful Nature on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 07:31:41 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Oh bother! forget it! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rigcath

              I need to have coffe first. I retread your comment and you nail it.

              Sorry

              Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

              by Mindful Nature on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 07:35:52 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  I know, how dare I, right? (7+ / 0-)
            How callously flippant.  You yourself raise spectres of Sheppard and Araujo and then undermine them with this?
            How dare I bring up Sheppard and Araujo in this diary?

            How dare I bring up also bring up Jeffery Owens, who was stabbed in an anti-gay attack in the parking lot I parked in every Monday night to play Hearts with my gay friends in graduate school, and who died later in a hospital literally right across the street from where I teach?

            How dare I bring them up?  What could I possibly know about the issue?

            After all, they belong to you, not to me.  Right?

          •  "allies" and threats (7+ / 0-)

            Wisper's comment illustrates an all too common pattern among members of privileged groups claiming to be allies to target group members (in this case straight people claiming to be allies to queer people). You can see it right here:

            Fine.  Fuck it.  Assume we don't get it.  You are indecipherable to us.  You a gay enigma wrapped in a queer riddle.  I have not, nor ever will, understand how you choose what pronoun to use or whether or not to hold hands.  

            But when you decide you need help repealing that "homo tax" or you want justice for the NEXT Lawrence King, feel free to stop by the Ethics 101 classroom to let us know how we can help.

            Translation: You're not thinking and acting how I demand you think and act. So I'll withdraw my support and you'll be sorry the next time you need me.

            This threat is implicit inside a lot of straight allies. Most are more subtle about it, and sometimes they are surrounded by enough "correct acting" queer people that they never have to openly make the threat. But make no mistake, it's there. Even people you think "wow, s/he would never do that" - most probably would if you say or do something that threatens their self-concept enough.

            Often this conversation is unspoken and to some extent perhaps even not fully conscious. Queer people learn to police ourselves and each other in order to please the allies, who tell us that we're totally screwed (in a bad way) without their benevolent help.

            And then the straight ally/allies hear, read or see something that they don't approve of, and the threat becomes a little more explicit. But I would say - again, make no mistake, it's always there in nearly every interaction with straight allies. As long as we don't mess with their specific comfort zones, though, we may never see it explicit.

          •  For what it's worth (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TiaRachel, Lasgalen Lothir

            and this is only my response, I do not like to be called a homosexual.  I do not impugn any bad motive to you.  If you were my friend, I would tell you the same.  It's a dated, clincial term that I generally only hear used by those who bear some animus towards gay and lesbian folks.  So, my back goes up when I hear it.  Just thought it might be helpful to share this.

      •  the title points a big finger at "you" (0+ / 0-)

        so regardless of the culture, you can't shit a shitter.

        and I wait for them to interrupt my drinking from this broken cup

        by le sequoit on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 05:12:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Case in point. (27+ / 0-)
      Not sure what your point here is or what perception it is that this aims to correct.
      And yet, a good number of people clearly do understand what my point is and what perception I was aiming to correct.

      And, no, our best bet is not necessarily "progressive heterosexual"s.  In the past, I've watched them trade LGBT rights for shiny objects.  I've also known some conservatives who are fierce advocates of queer rights (Ted Olson comes to mind--so does Tammy Faye Bakker).

      •  Learn a lesson from the Civil Rights movement. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mudderway

        LGBT equality will NOT succeed without the support of "progressive heterosexuals", who, BTW, tend to get really pissed off and UNsupportive when bashed with the highly suspect notion of "privilege."

        The money changers Jesus threw out of the Temple are back as the GOP, using his corpse as a ventriloquist's dummy. (Hat tip to Kossack "Stuart Heady")

        by WereBear Walker on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 05:28:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh good lord (10+ / 0-)

          Yeah, we wouldn't want to offend people with power over us.  Don't bring up privilege or the straight people might not let you get married!

          There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

          by AoT on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 06:09:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't care about offending those ... (4+ / 0-)

            ... who have power and don't care about or worse, scapegoat LGBT folk. But intentionally alienating straight folk with the rarefied, ivory-tower ideas of "privilege" is just bad politics.

            LGBT people are a minority in this nation, an even smaller group than African Americans - if we cannot enlist the support of straights, we will not succeed in our struggle for equal rights.

            The money changers Jesus threw out of the Temple are back as the GOP, using his corpse as a ventriloquist's dummy. (Hat tip to Kossack "Stuart Heady")

            by WereBear Walker on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 06:31:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  And, see, I don't care about offending those... (10+ / 0-)

              ...who pay lip service, but then stab us in the back at the first opportunity.

              I guess we're just different.

              •  Why is it necessary to assume that ... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                cardinal

                ... straight supporters will turn-tail when the rubber hits the road? Some certainly will, but not all.

                The money changers Jesus threw out of the Temple are back as the GOP, using his corpse as a ventriloquist's dummy. (Hat tip to Kossack "Stuart Heady")

                by WereBear Walker on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 07:03:35 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You must be either very young... (13+ / 0-)

                  ...or very inobservant politically.

                  Bill Clinton not only signed DOMA, he also signed DADT (with a Democratic House and Senate), which was an unmitigated disaster and discharges of LGBT soldiers actually went up in the subsequent years to the Iraq war.  This after courting the LGBT community in his campaigning.

                  But beyond that massive betrayal, we've been told--year after year--to put our issues on the back burner "because this election is just too important".  It's been a near-continuous refrain.  "We don't want gay marriage to be a distraction in this election." "We want to focus on the real issues in this campaign."

                  Hell, even Ralph Nader unapologetically dismissed abortion and marriage equality as "gonadal politics".

                  I wish I could say progressives had a better track record than this.

                  •  Don't conflate candidates for high office ... (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Calamity Jean, orestes1963

                    ... with Jane / John Jane Straight Citizen.

                    But you've perhaps given me an insight into why I am always at loggerheads with those who embrace "privilege" - I simply do not wish to politicize my world to that extent.

                    The money changers Jesus threw out of the Temple are back as the GOP, using his corpse as a ventriloquist's dummy. (Hat tip to Kossack "Stuart Heady")

                    by WereBear Walker on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 07:18:30 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I can even talk about John / Jane Straight Citizen (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Vega, EdSF, Texdude50, Dave in Northridge

                      ...if you want.

                      For example, I personally know a fairly prominent author in psychology (in that you'd most likely recognize the name of her book) who seemed completely cool with homosexuality...

                      ...until her daughter came out to her.  Then she freaked out.

                      And you keep harping on "privilege", yet I only said the word once, in a comment, not the diary.  I wasn't talking about "privilege" at all.  You're mostly attacking straw men of your own imaginings here, and maybe if you'd pause a moment, read, and absorb what's being said, instead of knee-jerking, you might see things a bit differently.

                      •  The comments are loaded with references to ... (0+ / 0-)

                        ... "privilege."

                        So, the author freaked out - so what! What have her actions been since? Personally, I think it's quite reasonable for a straight parent to freak out over a LGBT child if the basis is how hard things are / will be for that child.

                        The money changers Jesus threw out of the Temple are back as the GOP, using his corpse as a ventriloquist's dummy. (Hat tip to Kossack "Stuart Heady")

                        by WereBear Walker on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 07:39:56 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Check again. (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Vega, EdSF, Dave in Northridge

                          I used it twice in the diary itself--dismissing the term both times, if you care to actually pay attention instead of imagining my argument for me.

                          I used it once in the comments.  One time, pointing out what is undeniably an example of heterosexual privilege.

                          And I did that mostly to fling the term back in the faces of people who've been haranguing another poster around here in the last 24 hours and give them a good taste of their own medicine.

                          Context, darling.

                        •  Not all of us are necessarily alienated (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Lasgalen Lothir, WB Reeves

                          After all for those of us straight folks in the fight, we have to recognize privilege, because it is, after all, what we are working to end.  

                          I understand that it can have alienating effects but that can be usually diffused quickly enough as long as it doesn't slide sideways into its own brand of bigotry.

                          I think that what you lose on the downside of the discussion is greatly outweighed by the upside of raising the issue over and over (Repeat as necessary)

                          Does that make any sense?

                          Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

                          by Mindful Nature on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 07:52:59 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Yes it does make sense (0+ / 0-)

                            Although we may disagree on certain specifics. Demanding that people take a stand always requires accepting that some erstwhile allies will jump ship. This is true whether such folks are gay or straight. It's an argument for measured judgement rather than silence.

                      •  This is a beautifully written diary that (4+ / 0-)

                        eloquently expresses the concerns I've heard echoed by my LGBT friends through the years.

                        I'm trying to follow the logic of this particular comment thread, though, and I welcome clarification. You disagreed vigorously with the following point, in reference to the likelihood of straight supporters stabbing you in the back:

                        Some certainly will, but not all
                        Does that mean you believe that no ally can ever be trusted? I understand the suspicion of someone who, in the process of being generally progressive, gives lip service to the cause, only to throw it under the bus when there appears to be a tradeoff with other priorities -- Bill Clinton, the Joe/Jane progressive you referenced, and so on. But what about someone who devotes a significant chunk of their professional life and spare time to LGBT rights? In other words, someone for whom it's demonstrably and unwaveringly their top political priority? Is there a threshold beyond which someone can, if not overcome the empathy limitations you articulate so well in the diary, at least demonstrate through a lifetime of action that they can be trusted?  

                        You are reading my signature line. #hashtag

                        by cardinal on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 07:59:31 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Past performance is the best indicator ... (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Mudderway, cardinal

                          ... of future performance. Trust is earned, but it can indeed be earned.

                          Unfortunately, a lot of folk who've drunk the "privilege" politics kool-aid insist that anybody who doesn't exactly toe their orthodox line is ipso facto the enemy.

                          The money changers Jesus threw out of the Temple are back as the GOP, using his corpse as a ventriloquist's dummy. (Hat tip to Kossack "Stuart Heady")

                          by WereBear Walker on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 10:39:31 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  Name one. (0+ / 0-)
                          But what about someone who devotes a significant chunk of their professional life and spare time to LGBT rights? In other words, someone for whom it's demonstrably and unwaveringly their top political priority?
                          •  I wasn't going to comment (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            orestes1963

                            until you said this. Are you really going to argue that no such people exist? If you are, you and I are definitely not on the same page.

                            I don't expect others to put my interests ahead of their own and I don't see any point in complaining about it. Particularly if one is arguing for the primacy of one's own interest at the same time.

                          •  I'm not arguing such people don't exist... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...although I think it exceedingly unlikely that there are many who meet the standard the commentator laid out: devoting "a significant chunk of their professional life and spare time to LGBT rights".  That's a pretty high bar, you have to admit, and I want to know if this is an actual person or merely a hypothetical one.

                          •  Ok, that makes sense. N/T (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Lasgalen Lothir
                          •  Yeah, they're real. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            WB Reeves

                            You're right that it's a high bar -- and in my 20 years of activism, I've met only a small handful that fit that description: a couple of them at the LGBT organization where I worked in DC, and a few more from the feminist and queer theory subfields of my academic discipline.

                            I'm still interested in your answer; though, if you don't want to argue using extreme cases, we can return to the more general question: is it possible for an ally to earn trust through a persistent commitment to the cause? And by "ally" I don't mean a general progressive -- I mean someone who actively self-identifies with the movement over an extended period of time.

                            You are reading my signature line. #hashtag

                            by cardinal on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 05:11:15 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I never said such people don't exist. (0+ / 0-)

                            But I do always love when someone imagines I've made an argument I haven't.

                          •  A specific individual, with regard to (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            cardinal, Lasgalen Lothir

                            other specific individuals -- yes. Or, say, a public figure with regard to an informed community.

                            The problems arise when a person who believes they've proved to themselves (and, being generous, to some community) that they're a true ally feels that their trustworthy-ally-hood should be respected by all, prima facie.

                            Especially when that person suggests that the appreciation they expect to receive for their actions is more important than the results of those actions (or the price). And of course, the more of that sort of person someone in any given community sees, the more they expect it from any newcomer...

                            It can be tiresome (and sting) to feel that you have to prove yourself over and over again. I've been there -- anyone who's gone out to other communities has. Eventually, you figure out how to deal with it. Really grasping "if it's not about you..." is key.

                          •  By the way, someone who does QT... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...should have been able to rattle off an answer to my challenge in three words.

                            I'll give you a hint: EKS.

                          •  Do you only want to speak to those who "do QT?" (0+ / 0-)

                            If not, what's your point?

                            Why didn't you answer the question?

                          •  The question was addressed specifically. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            WB Reeves

                            And I did answer the question.

                          •  Ah, my bad (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Lasgalen Lothir

                            It was such a brief answer it didn't register with me. Apologies.

                •  Here is a "progressive group" turning tail (11+ / 0-)

                  For 8 years, my public employees union didn't try to put domestic partner benefits on the table because there was a Republican governor.  I accepted that as a political reality, supported the contracts, paid in extra money to the union PAC.  This year, there is a Democratic governor who brought domestic partner benefits to the table and the union kept rejecting them, with their last rationalization that it would become an election issue.  The same union has given lip service to supporting same-sex marriage and GLBT rights, but when the rubber hit the road they did turn tail.  By a unanimous vote of the negotiations team and a unanimous vote of the union board they turned tail.  

                  "It is easy to sit up and take notice, What is difficult is getting up and taking action." Honore de Balzac

                  by Vega on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 07:37:36 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Privilege is only rarified in that the people who (11+ / 0-)

              have it rarely want to admit it.

              There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

              by AoT on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 07:03:59 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  No. (16+ / 0-)
              But intentionally alienating straight folk with the rarefied, ivory-tower ideas of "privilege" is just bad politics.
              I tried to stay out of this but...

              I'm a straight woman. A cisgender woman.

              I am PRIVILEGED to walk down the street with my boyfriend and hold his hand for all the world to see and without harassment.

              I am PRIVILEGED to be able to turn on the radio and the TV and see my heterosexuality supported and represented in romantic comedies and love songs.

              I am PRIVILEGED to be able to use a restroom without getting attacked by men or women and accused of being a pervert.

              Until this year, I had the exclusive PRIVILEGE to be a soldier for my country and be open about my heterosexuality.

              I am PRIVILEGED to be looking forward to a wedding next year that will be legal and recognized by all 50 states.

              I could go on and on...

              We could start talking about the fact that I'm black and a woman and some gay white males may have certain advantages and privileges over me but we're not talking about that here. Not right now. This is time for LGBT grievances in this diary.

              There is a thing called male or white privilege and it exists all day long in my world. But I'm not so quick to discount the notion of privilege when you compare my life to some gays and some darker skinned black folks. I also benefit from a thing called "light skinned privilege".

              I tend to get peeved when the privileged start complaining about being called privileged. I wonder how much of an ally they really are.

              "It's not enough to acknowledge privilege. You have to resist." -soothsayer

              by GenXangster on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 07:59:49 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  "privilege" isn't a 'rarefied, ivory tower idea' (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TiaRachel

              it is a reality that those who have rarely see and those who don't cannot understand how it is missed.

              I am a bi-woman married to a man.  Believe me, I have hetero privilege -- unless I choose to out myself and sometimes even then.  I don't have to pay the tax on his coverage of my health insurance, I don't have any doubts when checking the marital status box on any form.  I lose that privilege when I have to decide who to out myself to, when and why.

              Straight, white, cis, able-bodied, males (or persons from any subset thereof) need to quit being insulted at the discussion of privilege.  My life has not been easy in many ways, but it would have been much more difficult had I faced the challenges I did as a black, trans, or dis-abled bi-woman.  It is not my "fault" that I benefit from privilege, it is only my fault if I do nothing to challenge those institutional structures that are holding entire groups of people down. I will keep working at it until privilege really is something studied in ivory towers and not something played out in the lives of people all around the world.

              •  One of the problems with the label "Privilege" (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                EclecticCrafter

                is that, theoretically, all the things given to the privileged are typically conceived as inherent rights rather than granted privileges. So, from the perspective of those with it, even the mere idea of losing those rights -- that they are something which it is possible to lose -- is felt as profoundly insulting.

                So, from the perspective of those with it, "privilege" is a troublesome misnomer. But, of course, part of privilege is the inherent right to name -- to describe things from their perspective, and have that perspective understood to be 'universal.'

                It's like all those times when sorta-feminist men will insist (to feminist women) that 'someone' put together how-to-be-a-feminist-man groups, or complain that there's no male equivalent of consciousness-raising.  Part of the problem with masculinity is that it 'offshores' so much emotional (etc) work onto women -- so for 'feminists' (read: women) to do the work of setting up any sort of investigation into/reworking of masculinity would already be cutting the task off at the roots.

        •  "Highly suspect"? (9+ / 0-)

          Really?

          I would argue that it takes a great deal of privilege to deny the existence of privilege, or for one to claim they are being "bashed" by the notion of privilege.

          Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one. Which one seems unnatural now?

          by Chrislove on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 08:49:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  "We"? (20+ / 0-)

      Who's "we"?

      There's a cliche that comes up whenever Privilege is discussed -- "if it's not about you, it's not about you." That is: it's understood that, while a group in general might tend to certain actions/behaviors, any given individual may or may not engage in those actions (although everyone in a given society is affected by societal expectations, whether they play along with or oppose them).

      More, though: being told you're not a member of a group, that there are experiences you don't share and probably won't understand is not an insult. Sure, it can suck to be told/have to face the fact that you are an outsider (something that those in lesser-privileged groups have to face constantly). But while it may be emotionally jarring -- it's not a deliberate slap in the face. It's just a reminder that other people are the protagonists of their own lives, and you may not even be a bit player (just as there are those whose experiences are pretty much irrelevant to your own day-to-day existence).

      •  Well said. (9+ / 0-)

        "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

        by lgmcp on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 05:16:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It is well said (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lgmcp, La Musa

        but I'm afraid I don't agree. Calling someone incompetent or incapable is always insulting, even if it is a fact. That doesn't mean that there aren't instances when it ought to be done but we shouldn't kid ourselves about provocative character of the assertion.  

        •  Only if that person has been taught to/expects (3+ / 0-)

          that they are universally competent/capable.

          Humans cannot fly unaided. That's no insult, just a fact.

          Biological human males don't understand what it is to menstruate, regardless of how close they may be to a female partner. No matter how understanding they are about the process/ephemera, no matter how willing they are to buy those tampons, no matter how compassionate they might be (and act) when a woman is dealing with that particular pain/disruption to their bodyselves -- no (biological) man knows what it feels like. How this part feels heavy, and that part aches, and how to decide which intrusive sponge-thing to use, and...

          And of course there are similar experiences of being biologically male that those of us who are biologically female simply cannot understand. We can read and hear all the things that we're told are true for (bio) men, we can accept unquestioned what they say is truth, if we have men we are close to we can observe them, we can come up with "I guess it's something like when I..." -- but we can not know.

          One part of white/male/cis/hetero-privilege is the understanding that their experiences are the important ones. A corollary is the expectation that all important experiences are open to them.

          •  Thanks for a thoughtful response (0+ / 0-)

            I think I began to see at least one source of our disagreement.

            Only if that person has been taught to/expects that they are universally competent/capable.
            The individual isn't simply the sum of what they have "been taught." If they were, dissent would be impossible. To assume the opposite is to treat the individual human being as a cipher. The mere expression of social/cultural constructs rather than an autonomous personality.

            Moreover, in the case before us, what is being questioned isn't "universal competence" but the individual's competence in terms of human sympathy and connection. The implication is that they are incapable of being fully human.

            If you devalue and disparage someone's attempts to look beyond the limitations of their own experience by telling them, not just that they don't understand but that they cannot understand, it is unlikely to encourage their efforts. The normative response would be for them to shrug their shoulders and walk away. Not something to worry about if the purpose is simply to vent a legitimate emotion but a real concern if one has political goals in mind.

            Your point about biological differences is well taken. It seems to me though, that you're underlining my point. You can't fault either women or men for this limitation. You can only fault them for refusing to try and see beyond the limitations and using them as a means of aggrandizing their own experience. Even this wouldn't be possible if we viewed individuals as merely the sum of their biology.

            One part of white/male/cis/hetero-privilege is the understanding that their experiences are the important ones. A corollary is the expectation that all important experiences are open to them.
            The problem with this is that most individuals consider their experiences to be the important ones, regardless of race, sex or gender. If it were not so, there would be no need to construct systems of social coercion, indoctrination and intimidation to force them to behave otherwise.

            As for the second point, I know few if any people, male or otherwise, who imagine that "all important experiences are open to them." To the contrary. I find the sense of constraint, limitation and frustration to be the norm far more often than not. Moreover, what counts as an important experience is largely dependent on who you ask.

            None of this precludes people of differing experience, circumstances or outlook from finding common ground for political action but I don't see how that can be accomplished on any basis other than an acceptance and respect for our innate diversity.      

            •  I am not faulting anyone. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              EclecticCrafter

              Simply expressing that yes, there are limitations. And yes, we can feel compassion for others, take action to help others, without perfect understanding and perfect comprehension (that there seems to be a school of thought out there that believes otherwise -- that we must all be some sort of 'the same' in order to care about others -- troubles me).

              But.

              Feeling compassion for someone is not the same as "knowing what they're going through" (in all the possible meanings there). When someone else says "no you don't" -- is it an insult? Or an expression of pain?

              "I know what you mean" or "I know how you feel" can be felt as an insult, as dismissing, too, of course. Because sometimes what that person really seems to be saying is "the way I see reality is more valid than the way you do."

              most individuals consider their experiences to be the important ones, regardless of race, sex or gender. If it were not so, there would be no need to construct systems of social coercion, indoctrination and intimidation to force them to behave otherwise.
              And yet our entire social system has developed in such a way that the experiences and opinions of straight-white-cis-men are the 'real' ones, the 'normal'. Everyone who is not in some way one of those 'normal' people (everyone who might get a hyphen)  has been indoctrinated to believe that their experiences don't count, are shameful, are abnormal, are lesser, are irrelevant. And so everyone in those groups already knows that there are things -- important things -- which they will never be capable of, because they are not one of the default Persons. In any random situation, every one of these people is aware (even if unconsciously) of at least two perspectives -- the one which is 'normal', and the one which is their own. Sometimes the two are so similar as to be ignorable, but sometimes the dissonance is just too great. You're forming your argument here as if that coercive system has not already happened, as if we are speaking about people for whom social inequality has not been internalized.
              know few if any people, male or otherwise, who imagine that "all important experiences are open to them."
              No, probably there are very few if any people who imagine that. But there are plenty of people who act like that. Think about the various studies of (say) rooms of people in which the men speak up (and talk over) the women -- they clearly don't believe that what a woman says could possibly be more important than what they want to say right this moment. And plenty of men who act like that don't realize it, and would be disturbed and/or offended if it were pointed out. Yet, it happens (among other distinctions than male/female too, of course). Lots. The social training/indoctrination we've all been given acts at a level below direct awareness. This makes it especially hard to see for those who've been specifically indoctrinated to not be aware of subtle emotional cues, or the various responses of others.

              Some things that I always look for, in the comments of a diary like this (about some specific experiences of a subculture, whether or not the mainstream is referenced):  all the "I" comments. In a diary about things that happen to other people, things that almost never happen to people outside that subculture -- someone from the outside will chime in to say a whole lot of "I" things. Sometimes it's variations of "I'm glad you wrote this", but it may also be "I, as a non-one-of-you, think that's awful! And I never act that way." Or "I used to not get it, but now I do." And then there's always "I think you're wrong" or "I think you shouldn't talk about this because..." (including, of course, "if you want to reach this goal you shouldn't..." -- maybe that goal isn't the point of the diary). Very rarely (except in really nasty cases), someone will point out: "It's not about you." Which those particular comments are, of course. They may be about what the comment-writer thinks, about what the comment-writer has done, about what the comment-writer thinks people should be talking about -- but they are rarely about what the diarist has written.

              (It can take quite a while to see these, to see when you yourself are the one talking about yourself instead of the topic at hand.)

              Moreover, in the case before us, what is being questioned isn't "universal competence" but the individual's competence in terms of human sympathy and connection.
              I don't see that, though it's interesting that you do. Other people are the experts on their own lives, and however much we may be able to say (and feel) "I'm sorry that you're hurting", however much we may have seen, read about, whatever other peoples lives -- we don't experience them with the same immediacy (the same is true round about, of course). For any of us, though, there are whole realms of shared experience which are only open to us as observers (if that). What I see as the case here is a recounting of shared experiences among one group, and outsiders of varying degree coming in to say variations of "but what about me?" Sometimes there's an aspect of "but I went through this which is kind of the same", or "but I saw this happen to someone I love so..." -- but in every case, the point of that is to say "my perspective is important for you to know" (though sometimes the accent is more on "I want to let you know I'm here" than on "you need to know what I think").  Usually it's understood that people doing this are trying to connect, to say variations of  "you matter to me" -- but sometimes there's also a bit of implicit hostility that seems to say "I insist you admit that I matter to you." And that's a bit of what I see here -- that it isn't enough for your random individual to reach out to help, but that this person needs to be reassured that yes, whatever it  is that they did (/feel/said/think) is helping. Which is problematic because, well, sometimes it isn't. Though "not helping" is distinctly different from "hurting", in most situations...
              The implication is that they are incapable of being fully human.
              And this is where we disagree -- because I think the implication is that they are the same kind of limited human as any woman, gay person, black man or woman -- any of the not-quite-People who are all of the rest of humanity.

              (Kind of disjointed -- these are ideas I've been working of for some time, & I keep jumping around in here. I've got a scheduled diary to write & cats to feed, so I'll have to come back to this. Apologies for any typos etc.)

              •  Well I'm impressed (0+ / 0-)

                I hardly expected such an expansive reply and I appreciate the fact that you took the time and effort, Particularly when you had so many pending demands.

                I think the basis of our disagreement is bit more fundamental. I think that we weigh the subjective and objective factors differently.

                You're forming your argument here as if that coercive system has not already happened, as if we are speaking about people for whom social inequality has not been internalized.
                Not really. What I am saying is that certain human characteristics exist independent of social constructions. These characteristics may be exploited and manipulated by social systems but they were not created by them and they will not simply disappear if you alter the system. The egocentric character of individual human consciousness is one of these and that fact must be taken into account.

                Take religion for example. On one hand there's no disputing that organized religion has served as means of social regimentation and control. On the other hand, this tells us nothing about why the great mass of individuals hanker after religious and spiritual beliefs. If all the major religions of the world were to vanish, is there any doubt that replacements would soon emerge? Is it really credible to imagine that people are religious only because they are taught to be?

                This same observation can be applied to most social constructions that serve the interests of the powerful few at the expense of the many. Such structures only survive so long as the great mass of individuals acquiesce to them. The idea that such consent and/or resignation is based on indoctrination alone isn't really sustainable unless you view the greater mass of humanity as empty ciphers waiting to be filled. The fact that such systems cannot achieve complete uniformity and submission, that they constantly produce dissent and resistance, is enough to give the lie to this notion.

                Think about the various studies of (say) rooms of people in which the men speak up (and talk over) the women -- they clearly don't believe that what a woman says could possibly be more important than what they want to say right this moment. And plenty of men who act like that don't realize it, and would be disturbed and/or offended if it were pointed out.
                I've not only witnessed the dynamics described in such studies on numerous occasions but I've also witnessed them in the context of male only groups. The behaviors in question are constant and not predicated on the presence or absence of women.

                There's no disputing that male dynamics crowding out the voices and contributions of women in debate is an objectively sexist outcome. However, I submit that this doesn't necessarily tell you anything about the subjective motivations involved. This may seem an unimportant distinction to the women who suffer exclusion and marginalization due to such behaviors. If, however, we seek to change these behaviors it's crucial. It makes a profound difference if the behavior is rooted in the demands of male competition rather than the devaluation of women.

                Assuming that social outcomes identify the motives of social behavior is what my Women's Anthropology Prof. once described as a structural explanation. Very neat and tidy and just as often very wrong.

                It seems to me that your emphasis on pronouns is a little misplaced. In the final analysis both diaries and comments are expressions of opinion. Isn't it preferable for folks to own this, rather than adopting a tone of specious objectivity and/or omniscience?

                What I see as the case here is a recounting of shared experiences among one group, and outsiders of varying degree coming in to say variations of "but what about me?"
                There is certainly some of that going on but I think the diarist opened the door for it. First by making such "outsiders" and their limitations a subject of the diary. Second, by generalizing too freely from his own experience. I don't think it all surprising when you start laying down criteria for what sort of support you will accept or reject that people respond on personal level, particularly when you frame your entire argument in personal terms.

                I've no way of knowing how representative his personal experience and attitude are but I know for a fact that there are LGBT folk who don't share either. While individuals, barring mental or emotional incapacity, may be experts on their own lives, it doesn't follow that such expertise extends to the experience of others in the same social group. One can either speak for themselves or speak for the collective. While these needn't be antagonistic, they cannot be identical.

                I don't see that, though it's interesting that you do.
                Perhaps that's because you are looking at it from the particular context of the diarist as representative of an oppressed group? If we were talking in terms of, say, the angry response of an angst ridden teenager to a parent or friend's well intentioned expression of sympathy, you might. In that context, I doubt many people would have difficulty recognizing it as a rejection and denial of the capacity for basic human sympathy and solidarity.
                And this is where we disagree -- because I think the implication is that they are the same kind of limited human as any woman, gay person, black man or woman -- any of the not-quite-People who are all of the rest of humanity.
                Yes we do disagree on this point. Because I don't see how it is possible to reconcile the assertion that "you can't understand because your not me" with the statement "you are the same kind of human being as me."

                Regardless of our differences, I want to thank you for an extremely stimulating exchange. Hope you made your deadline.  

                •  just some comments, ideas for me to get back to... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  WB Reeves
                  The idea that such consent and/or resignation is based on indoctrination alone isn't really sustainable unless you view the greater mass of humanity as empty ciphers waiting to be filled.
                  No, because I'm assuming a spectrum, not a binary. And that indoctrination affects each individual from birth. Feels like you're addressing (say) 'human nature' as a platonic ideal, which is why I said 'theoretical.' There's also the issue of 'statistical norm' vs. 'actual individual'.
                  Because I don't see how it is possible to reconcile the assertion that "you can't understand because your not me" with the statement "you are the same kind of human being as me."
                   It's not so much 'you're not me' as 'you don't share my experiences as I don't share yours.' It's another general vs. particular thing. There's also the different types of 'understanding' -- compassion, of course, is always possible, but there are differences between lived experience & learned experience. & one big problem in this culture is that while those "lower" on the totem pole have to learn about those 'higher' (maybe as a matter of self-preservation -- learn how they act so you can predict when to stay away, maybe just the cultural overwhelmingness that happens when only certain voices/perspectives are represented/seen as real/etc.), those 'higher' are prevented/discouraged from cross-perspective understanding.  

                  The reconciliation, though, is simply "you are not me as I am not you', you are limited in your way as I am limited in mine... we have much in common, but also many differences, and you may have something in your life which is unknown to me. (Watching (other) animals is a good way to get to this.)

                  Particularly when you had so many pending demands.
                  what, you never heard of procrastination? ;~)
                  •  Alas Procrastination (0+ / 0-)

                    I know it well. ;)

                    You are stimulating company.

                    No, because I'm assuming a spectrum, not a binary. And that indoctrination affects each individual from birth. Feels like you're addressing (say) 'human nature' as a platonic ideal, which is why I said 'theoretical.' There's also the issue of 'statistical norm' vs. 'actual individual'.
                    I don't really believe in "human nature." I consider it to be another social construct. What I'm talking about is innate characteristics. All animals possess them and this includes humans.

                    This has nothing to do with idealism, Platonic or otherwise. It has to do with characteristics that are observable and quantifiable. The fact that human consciousness is individual rather than collective is one of these. That's why indoctrination is never completely effective and why it must always be accompanied by coercive measures to enforce social conformity.

                    This view is really the antithesis of the Platonic theory of forms, since it repudiates the notion that we are imperfect reflections of a single perfect model existing in some higher, spiritual never never land. For Plato human diversity, indeed all diversity, was imperfection in need of correction. In my opinion, Platonic idealism carries the germ of what came to be termed as totalitarianism in the 20th century.

                    I accept that human behavior and experience exist on a spectrum. In fact that is a central component of my view.

                    I also agree that in hierarchical social formations its more likely that those of lesser status and power will have greater incentive to learn the mores and customs of the powerful than vice versa. However, the content of such knowledge is going to be conditioned as much by the individual goals in view as anything else. Motivations exist on a spectrum as well, including survival, advancement and opposition, among others.

                    "you are not me as I am not you', you are limited in your way as I am limited in mine... we have much in common, but also many differences, and you may have something in your life which is unknown to me.
                    I like this formulation but I must point out that it is your own rather than the Diarist's.

                    I've really enjoyed our exchange. Thanks.      

  •  fwiw, I think I get it well enough (26+ / 0-)

    Could be wrong, but I expect it's something like being a woman walking past graffiti depicting the sexual violation of a woman. Something like having a carload of men drive past screaming sex-based epithets and even threats of violence. Something like woman-incidentals: can I walk down this street, get in this elevator, go down this stairwell, use this school restroom, live in this neighborhood, live in this apartment building, walk through this parking garage, graduate from this military school, get through this hitch in the military without being raped?

    And fwiw #2: marriage equality is just the baby-beginning of full societal acceptance of LGBT people, the kind of acceptance that makes it possible for you to hold hands in public, greet each other at the airport with effusive hugs and kisses, bring your spouse to company parties, etc., etc., etc., without you or anyone else giving it a second thought. Here we are all those decades after the Civil Rights Act, all those decades after Loving v. Virginia, and 144 years after adoption of the 14th Amendment, and every night on TV we see the bizarre disease of racism still eating holes in peoples' brains. So it will be awhile.

    And in the meantime, your lack of full civil liberties -- your lack of full acceptance in our bigotry-infested culture -- will continue to affect "non-queer" people in every way. The entire fabric of our culture will continue to be degraded by hate, ignorance, psychological splitting/denial, and social injustice.

  •  Very educational with additional (15+ / 0-)

    insights emphasized through the organizational pattern of your overview, such as the continuing coming out incidents throughout life and other examples that people are less likely to think about as being a part of the daily GLBT experiences. Well-written.

    99%er. 100% opposed to fundamentalist/neoconservative/neoliberal oligarchs.

    by blueoasis on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 12:32:41 PM PDT

    •  Thank you. (10+ / 0-)

      I was thinking about it for a while.

    •  Coming out is hardly ever a pleasant experience (9+ / 0-)

      Nowadays I find it's usually neutral, with a side order of temporarily awkward. But nowadays I only ever come out to people who are fairly new acquaintances.

      The first round though is much harder. I've been told by some frank college friends that the near-shunning they gave me when I first came out to them wasn't because they were hateful or scared, but because they felt like I had just exposed a huge rift of trust between us. I mean, friends don't keep secrets and I was keeping a damned big one. They understood why but it was still something they had to wrestle with.

      And that revelation was big for me to wrestle with, as well. I was deeply concerned and worried about how coming out would affect me. It didn't occur to me to think about how it would affect my friends. And it's one reason I don't even bother to pretend or hide or blend nowadays. Not that I fit into an easy box of "flaming" versus "straight acting." I'm just me.

      Thankfully, it all worked out with my college friends. The 2010s are different from the 1990s so hopefully kids are having an easier time now relative to then.

      sin and love and fear are just sounds that people who never sinned nor loved nor feared have for what they never had and cannot have until they forget the words

      by harrije on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 06:09:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The closet does equal lying (7+ / 0-)

        That is one reason the closet is so corrosive.  You are constantly telling lies to protect your secret.  What does it do to a psyche, to a soul, to constantly lie about your core identity?  To lie to your parents who love you, for fear they may stop loving you.  To lie to your church for fear of being damned.  To lie to your friends, your teachers, your boss and co-workers, to strangers on the street.  To lie to yourself for fear it might be true.

        Coming out may be traumatic, but the closet is soul killing.

        "It is easy to sit up and take notice, What is difficult is getting up and taking action." Honore de Balzac

        by Vega on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 07:59:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Given where I live there are days (23+ / 0-)

    There are days when I don't give my queerness a second thought. But I live in the "love bubble" of San Francisco.

    I'm out to family, I'm out to...well, 80% of my friends are GLB or T so it's no biggie. Hell. I'm 61 years old. I've been out of the closet in some way, shape or form for over 35 years. There are few situations I can't navigate.

    I'm out at work. I think there is one obvious homophobe here but it's a very large office. He doesn't want to talk to me; there are plenty of other people who will.

    Still, it does come up at moments. First off, when dealing with professional contacts. Discussion is mainly work-related but there are moments when the conversation can veer into the personal. People like to talk about their lives. Do I gloss over the pronouns? Do I not? For the most part I don't. It's probably more important for the client to get along with me than for me to get along with the client since they are the ones who want something.

    The most challenging moments are when Trapper and I are traveling together. His family lives in Montana. His siblings are not a problem at all; we all get along well. I adore them and they seem to like me. His dad took some time and he's VERY old-fashioned. I cannot begin to tell you how amazed I was when, last summer, he permitted us to share a bed in his house. The only one more surprised by that than I was was Trapper himself. Then again, we are now the longest-running relationship in the family; Trapper's dad included (he was widowed in 2009 and remarried last year), though we are not married nor domestically-partnered. Financially it doesn't make sense for us. Since I work for the federal government he would not be able to get on my health insurance no matter what our status, all thanks to DOMA.

    Interacting with relative strangers with whom there is no context can be the biggest challenge. How much do I let on? When we check into a motel room...what do we do? What do we say? Our policy is to take our relationship for normal. We have plenty of practice at daring people to question us. Still, as you point out, this is not something heterosexuals have to cope with...though to be honest I don't think things are always that easy for my nephew since he is white and his wife is African-American. My nephew on the other hand is a very charming and disarming kind of fellow. And is wife is that way too. Who's gonna give THEM a hard time?

    If there are things to be learned, they can be learned through emulation and analogy.

  •  My aunt paused. (24+ / 0-)

    Last Friday, I was at dinner with my aunt and uncle and cousin.  They were at our wedding a little over a year ago, we see them all the time, and I have no doubts that they love and accept me and my husband.

    My cousin's friend arrived (she was meeting him for a late night drink after we finished dinner).  My aunt introduced me as her nephew, and then my husband by his first name.  Then she paused.

    I jumped in with "my husband" but by then my cousin's friend was already speaking ("Nice to meet you.") so I don't know if she heard me.

    It's the little things.  The little pauses.  

    One should no more deplore homosexuality than left-handedness. ~Towards a Quaker View of Sex, 1964 (Proud left-handed queer here!) SSP: wmlawman

    by AUBoy2007 on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 01:00:05 PM PDT

    •  Benefit of the doubt (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      strangedemocracy, saluda, La Musa

      Us primates hold very strongly to social rituals that we're largely not conscious of. When a situation arises that falls outside one's social programming, the pause is equivalent to a system reset.

      Resets are good - over time, they bring to awareness the previously unexamined material at their root; then REAL consciousness change happens.

      The money changers Jesus threw out of the Temple are back as the GOP, using his corpse as a ventriloquist's dummy. (Hat tip to Kossack "Stuart Heady")

      by WereBear Walker on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 07:52:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Please don't take the pause as a negative (0+ / 0-)

      I had to practice saying "my brother's husband" because it wasn't in my inner sentence-structure programming -- I'm old enough that brother/wife and sister/husband were pretty much hard-wired.  However, I'm glad to use the phrase, because my brother and his husband are happy, and I'm happy for them.  

      But I'm sure there were pauses after their wedding, as I transitioned from "my brother's partner" to "my brother's husband."  Thank goodness they can take it in stride.

  •  Excellent diary (26+ / 0-)

    I can understand how it impacts your life at every moment--but I can't experience it because I am a straight married woman. Yet, I can identify with some of it.

    Being born female means you know from an early age that men can be dangerous--that you have to watch your behavior and where you go and how late you stay out. You never know when the nice guy you danced with at the bar will follow you out to your car, drag you into his, and rape and kill you.  You never know when the person behind you walking down the street is just another pedestrian or a threat.

    We don't get called "faggot" but we do put up with  cat calls and intimate invitations phrased in locker room language and very crude comments on our physical assets. On public transportation we often endure  men pressed up against us and using that as an excuse to rub their penises against us. We put up with bosses who sexually harass us. Hell, I made up a fiance once to keep a professor from harassing me!

    And we are expected to act like a man. Obscene jokes about rape? We're supposed to laugh at it  in order to be one of the boys. Feel anfry? WHatever you do, don't show it by crying, even though it's how many of us have learned to express rage--because braining the guy with the paper cutter is a crime.

    Now I realize it's NOT the same thing as what you go through at all. I can have my husband's picture on my desk. He can deduct me on his income tax and cover me on his insurance.  But there is enough there to allow for empathy. And I HATE that you  have to put up with this shit, and long for the day we are ALL free to be who and what we are without fear.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 02:18:32 PM PDT

  •  Faggot. (18+ / 0-)

    I'm 42 years old and have been out since I was 16 but hearing that word from a stranger still reduces me to an insecure kid, embarrassed of who he was.

    On topic:  Most of the time I feel supported in the DK community.  There was a time when we were trying to argue that the president should just end DADT or come out in support of marriage equality.  A lot of the people here were telling us to wait, that more important things needed to happen first.  

    It was very frustrating to try and get people to understand that I was so tired of waiting at the end of the line.

    Also, I can kill you with my brain.

    by Puffin on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 04:16:09 PM PDT

  •  You are probably right, but I used to..... (8+ / 0-)

    ....always tell people that I was only a homosexual when I was in bed. That is the only difference from me and the majority of men in the world. That sometimes helps to avoid the fixation on that small portion of my life (I would like it to be a bigger portion of my life, but right now I am between boyfriends!).

    True, you have to pick up the banner at times, and it is because of gays and lesbians for whom their sexuality has been a dominant theme in their lives that younger people have freedoms we could never have imagined at 18. Without those who were so vigilant, militant, and active, we would not enjoy these freedoms.

    That said, I have never, ever let my gayness define me.  It is just a small part of who I am.

    •  I respect that. I even can get that. But I'm not (13+ / 0-)

      like that. When my personhood, when something as close to the core of my being as my sexual orientation is being assaulted on a daily basis, it suddenly becomes a very large part of my life, of who I am. I am more than my gayness, to be sure, but it does, in large part, define who I am. ESPECIALLY to those who hate me simply because of that "small part" of who I am.

      Santorum: Man on Dog; Romney: Dog on Car. Ren and Stimpy: Dog on Cat equalitymaine.org

      by commonmass on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 04:29:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And I respect your viewpoint as well.... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass, revsue, Lost and Found

        ....I think that for some it is a "core" part of who they, perhaps in part because some hate them for that small part of who they are. That has to intensify the feelings surrounding that issue. I know it did for me. And I don't wish to suggest my life was without struggle in that way. Far from it. However, I resist allowing them to define me for that small part of my life.

        I don't reveal my sexual "exploits" (the other comment) because I kind of think that is my business.  But I have always thought it was bizarre that people would focus on the small amount of time I spend in bed and I try to remind people that focusing on those few moments and trying to define me on that basis is wrong.

        For most people who have met me, I think the last thing they would think of is that I am gay. First they think I am friendly, funny, musically inclined, outgoing, a very bad cook, an incredibly bad housekeeper......any number of other things before thinking I was gay. That tends to be an afterthought for most of my friends and family. And that's where I think we want to be as a society.

        It's like being black. Can I just be a person first? Yes, you can. Those who see you as "black" first and foremost are not very evolved.

        I am just going to go there ahead of society and hope it catches up. I think it will.  And the notion that my straight liberal sisters and brothers don't understand my struggles is ludicrous.  These are smart people and don't need to be gay to understand an issue of equal rights.

        So, for me, it's be a person first, and, oh, by the way, I am gay.

        •  There was something a friend said to me... (7+ / 0-)

          ...a long time ago:

          "First, forget I'm queer.  Then, NEVER forget I'm queer."

          It seems contradictory, and yet, at the same time, not so much.

          •  I would say this: (2+ / 0-)

            "I don't focus on what you do in bed at all, so please try not to focus on what I do there so much either.  And Drive.....for chrissakes look out where you are going."

            You (not you personally, but you in the abstract) demean my humanity when you think of me as my sexuality, as in, there goes a heterosexual, or there goes a gay person. It's just silly.  There is so much more to a person than that. I would never put the focus there and would never ask anyone not to forget I am gay, unless it is someone I would like to date!

            In that case, don't forget I'm gay and Rikki don't lose that number.  

            •  Yeah, but... (5+ / 0-)

              ...that's not, unfortunately, the world we live in.

              The world we actually live in involves people chemically burning "Die, fag!" onto peoples' front lawns.  :(

              I wish it was your world.

              •  There is anti-gay prejudice. A huge amount.... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                TiaRachel

                ....of anti-gay prejudice. But anyone over 50, or ahem, 60, remembers a world that was much more oppressive for gay people than this one (speaking of the United States).

                The forces of negativity are there. But when I was a young gay man, I could never have conceived of a time when same sex marriage would be legal in several states and that partners would have a panoply of rights in other states.

                I can remember a time when I had to greet my lover's ship discretely. I could not embrace him there, where other's were embracing husbands, wives and girlfriends. He would have gotten kicked out of the Navy.

                It gets better? It has gotten better and that simply cannot be denied. We want it get better to the point where being gay is an afterthought.

        •  More a core part - not because of hate (6+ / 0-)

          It isn't so much like race; it is a more core part than that.  Race is a construct we can get beyond, sexual orientation is not.  I am gay 24 hours a day - it determines the gender of the person who should be my husband.  It determines that my spouse will never be pregnant.  It determines who I find attractive walking down the street.  Were I still single, it would determine a chunk of my social life (I might join a gay softball team to meet guys.)  Sexual orientation doesn't turn on in the bedroom and off when you leave it.  It isn't just my "exploits" or the small amount of time I spend in the bedroom.  Neither gay nor straight people are sexless gender-neutral beings outside of the bedroom, nor should we be.  I'd rather the diversity be embraced than say it doesn't exist.  I would never want it to be a "by the way".

          Now, I'm not saying that my sexual orientation is all I am by any means.  However, it wouldn't be the last thing my family would think about me.  When I show up at family events with my partner it is pretty obvious, just as our siblings orientation is clear.  Our topics of conversation run to old cars, new children, music, games, genealogy and gardening, but who we love is important.  

          "It is easy to sit up and take notice, What is difficult is getting up and taking action." Honore de Balzac

          by Vega on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 08:36:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I don't agree with this attitude (15+ / 0-)

      I understand where you are coming from and how you are trying to diffuse a possibly uncomfortable topic with others who don't understand, but I just don't think this is a good thing to promote.

      To me, this is the old attitude of gays should hide their sexual exploits in private and not be out in the open about it.

      Being gay is so much more than what you do in a bedroom.  For many it defines who they share their life and create a family with.    What would you think of a husband who said of his wife, "she's just a woman I share a bedroom with"?

  •  Republished to LGBT Kos Community. (23+ / 0-)

    This continues to be an issue even in "safe" spaces, or ones you think are "safe":

    Then there are the incidentals.  They're small, but constant.

    Is it safe to hold your partner's hand?  Are other public displays of affection safe?

    I am not much of a PDA kind of guy. But you know what? I went on a second date with a guy this Saturday. On that date, we marched in the Southern Maine Pride Parade with the Mainers United for Marriage Equality. We held hands, the whole time, and people waved and cheered for that. But there was still that nagging feeling: "are wesure that will be accepted?". Yep. They are constant. I'm not sure they are small.

    GREAT diary.

    Santorum: Man on Dog; Romney: Dog on Car. Ren and Stimpy: Dog on Cat equalitymaine.org

    by commonmass on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 04:21:52 PM PDT

    •  "incidentals" (0+ / 0-)

      Life is FULL of unpleasant incidentals, and I can either focus on them and get rage-filled about petty things I'm powerless over, or I can let them go.

      This is my primary disagreement with the whole idea of "privilege" - it takes every single little aggravation and elevates it to Ultimate Importance, then fetishizes the resulting anger into a central raison d'être, while alienating potential allies.

      The money changers Jesus threw out of the Temple are back as the GOP, using his corpse as a ventriloquist's dummy. (Hat tip to Kossack "Stuart Heady")

      by WereBear Walker on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 05:40:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A long time ago... (7+ / 0-)

        ...I used to think like this.

        Then I evolved.

      •  umm (12+ / 0-)

        Look, I assume that there are people who get immersed in Critiques of Privilege to the extent that they just become self-crippling and annoying.

        But I really don't see how that is a critique of the whole idea of privilege. All in all, I think we in the U.S. need a lot more attention to privilege, not a lot less.

      •  And who, besides you, said...? (8+ / 0-)

        ...the incidentals were of "Ultimate Importance"?

        How many times did I say "small but irritating"?  An "irritant" is not something important, and something "small" certainly isn't.

        You're reading far, far too much into this.  It's kind of revealing.

      •  Most privileged people . . . (9+ / 0-)

        tend to dislike the notion of privilege.  That's because it forces them to confront the fact that they may be getting by in life on something other than their own merit.  

        I wonder, do you fit that description by any chance?

        "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

        by FogCityJohn on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 11:05:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I actually think the opposite is true (0+ / 0-)

          It is the tangibly privileged who embrace the "privilege" framework because it allows them to deflect the real privileges they enjoy.  If I can point to some inchoate privilege that is assigned evenly to an entire demographic, I can avoid my own experience as an overprivileged person.  It allows those who should reflect upon their actual, personal privilege to ruminate instead on some societal privilege.  It is merely self-serving.  

          Furthermore, the privilege construct is far too facile to effectively deal with societal ills.  It defies logic to claim that a poor Appalachian is as privileged as the upper middle class suburban white person of professional parents.  It's also offensive.  This example is preceisely how the privilege framework works to insulate those who bear greater responsibility for the inequities in our society.  But Privilege allows them to evade that responsibility.

          Finally, the privilege framework is based upon hostility- you have something that you do not deserve and that I am denied.  There is often then a privileged of the disenfranchised voice over the privileged voice (as a form of retribution).  This is expressed most often in these quarters in the frequent claims that privileged people are unwilling to acknowledge their privilege, or you wouldn't understand because you don't know what it's like to be __.  IMO, any movement to enlighten others in the interest of bringing about equity and fairness for all cannot come from a hostile place.  You are simply replacing one form of hostility with another.  I don't understand why this is not self-evident.

          •  I just wrote something about that: (0+ / 0-)

            http://www.dailykos.com/...

            Re: the complaint that 'privilege' doesn't explain all societal ills  -- it doesn't claim to (though of course there are clearly regional privileges, class privileges, etc. Intersectionality). It's not an economic theory, but one addressing social capital.

            •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)

              My claim is that the construct of privilege is that it does not address any societal ills; it is merely a device used by the tangibly privileged to impose the moral burden of their privilege on others who are less privileged in real terms.  As is obvious from the framework, if all people are privileged because they are [white, male, straight, etc.], I don't have to consider the role I play in societal inequities by, for example, living in self-segregating communities, attending exclusive schools, trading on relationships/access to power, etc.  

              Perhaps I have dropped in on the wrong discussions of privilege, but my understanding from proponents of the concept is that regional, socio-economic, etc. distinctions are irrelevant to the discussion of privilege and are utilized to deflect from the larger issue of privilege.  

              I disagree with the contention that discussions of societal privilege can be divorced from socio-economics.  That is the fatal flaw with the construct.  And again the only purpose served by divorcing privilege from economics is to mollify the (deserved) guilt of those who enjoy real privilege in our society.

              What purpose the privilege framework serve other than the one I propose?  Consciousness raising is better done through self-reflection and development of an appreciation of the benefits/drawbacks one faces.    And the binary structure of privileged/not privileged is too simplistic to be of use in addressing people's actual life experiences.

              In the end, I think it is a bourgeois construct intended solely to assuaage the guilt of those who should instead be forced to grapple with that guilt.  It is far too simplistic to be of any other use.  Other than as a bludgeon to express one's frustration/hostility.  

              •  I wouldn't say 'divorced from', (0+ / 0-)

                simply moving from another angle. 'Privilege' doesn't explain or eliminate economic inequities, but its' a way of understanding how they continue & are upheld by even those w/the s*** end of the stick.

                & not a bludgeon, but a tool -- a way to get past the guilt-barrier, maybe, to move beyond 'but I didn't do anything wrong!' to 'and yet others have been wronged where I have not." Also, potentially, a tool to create organically developing change (since the other sort hasn't worked so far).

                Just about all the hostility I've ever seen in discussions of privilege have come from those who reject it. IME, an understanding of how multifaceted privilege works generates more compassion, not less. Even the 'privileged' have had some important parts of human life denied to them, after all...

                (& sorry for the late response -- I try to stay offline over the weekend, & my weekend begins on Friday.)

      •  A little irritation over and over again (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lasgalen Lothir, Texdude50

        in the same place can create a pretty deep wound.

        Prayers and best wishes to those in Japan.

        by Cassandra Waites on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 01:27:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  What's frustrating for me... (20+ / 0-)

    is that many times I've "Come out" as a bi-sexual, and been called a liar.

    You hear the standard bullshit.

    1. There's no such thing, because studies prove... blah blah...

    2. You're just trying to be popular.  

    3. You're confused.

    4. You're gay, just not willing to admit it.

    Overall, it's very frustrating.  Not trying to say anyone here has judged me in that manner, but still is a major annoyance when you're trying to be honest with yourself.

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 04:57:37 PM PDT

  •  There's also a struggle to "come out" as a parent (8+ / 0-)

    When do you stop saying "my daughter's friend" and start saying "my daughter's girlfiend/spouse/wife"?

    It's second-hand, and it's less intense, but it's still very awkward and very real for the folks going through it.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 05:00:24 PM PDT

    •  Coming Out as a Parent (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lgmcp, blueoasis, Vega, Cassandra Waites

      And then there is the awkwardness of knowing your son/daughter is gay, but they haven't come out to you yet..and it feels like it is their choice of when to acknowledge it to you...so you try to be supportive but don't say anything that is direct....You want to honor their privacy but you want to acknowledge and support who they are...Very awkward.

  •  Excellent diary. (10+ / 0-)

    It covers things most folks would never think about, unless they are gay or lesbian.

    It leaves out what is experienced by the gay and lesbian folks who never 'come out' to anyone other than themselves or a partner (if they find one).

    Imagine living in a relationship where no one knows the nature of your relationship.  Friends, family (his), neighbors , coworkers are never allowed to know.  Even a middle of the night trip to the hospital emergency room leaves you described as 'friends' or 'roommates', even when a physician asks 'the question'.  You are strangers to each others social contacts and work contacts. Nothing legally points to a relationship.

    This is what being gay or lesbian is for some of us still, and it sucks.

    Dammit.

    'Destroying America, One middle class family and one civil liberty at a time: Today's GOP'

    by emsprater on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 05:08:15 PM PDT

  •  I remember when I first came out (12+ / 0-)

    I knew I was gay from about 6th grade, but didn't know anyone else who was, or that gay people existed outside of books, TV, and myth.  

    I had a very sheltered childhood in Oregon, my parents didn't allow me to watch any R rated movies (and limited a lot of others), but fortunately they weren't readers so didn't realize some of the fantasy / sci fi books I read had a lot of sexuality in them, some of it homosexual, such as Marion Zimmer Bradley.

    I had various crushes on Junior High and High School classmates, but always held myself aloof to prevent anyone from realizing I was one of "those" people...it helped me focus on school and track, and I ended up being valedictorian and first varsity in 3 events in track.

    Once I got to college in Houston and away from the control of my parents I still was terrified of anyone finding out, so it took a year and a half before I did anything about it - having my roommate move out the second half of my sophomore year allowed me to rent some porn and see what I had always fantasized about.

    Over the next several years I became more comfortable with being gay, and with telling other people I was gay, but I still remember the panicky adrenaline rush I always got before I told anyone, which happened for several years after I came out.  At one point in 1996 I nearly got fired by Shell for mentioning being gay (I was a contractor still), and in 2001 had some rednecks in a truck follow me and my then boyfriend around in a mall parking lot from their pickup shouting "faggot" at us through their loudspeaker - fortunately they didn't follow through.

    Now I'm out and proud at work, with all my friends and family (who still don't accept who I am) and think nothing of talking about my husband to a perfect stranger, or walking arm in arm and kissing pretty much anywhere.  Granted, I live in Hollywood so it's a much easier neighborhood to be out and about within, but I was similar (though rather more guarded) even before I moved here from Houston.

    Atheism is a religion like Abstinence is a sexual position. - Bill Maher, 2/3/2012

    by sleipner on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 05:17:59 PM PDT

    •  Unknowing (12+ / 0-)

      I knew I was gay from about the age of 6.  I just didn't know that gay was the word for it.  I didn't know there even WAS a word for it, for me.  I am a child of the 1970s and grew up in a VERY different world than the one we live in now.  I was exposed to NO direct information about gay people.  All I had managed to gather about "gay" men was that gay men wore dresses and gay men HATED women.  I didn't do either of those things, I liked women fine I just wasn't attracted to them and no one EVER said anything about gay men being attracted to other men or having crushes on other men or falling in love with other men.  So, it never occurred to me that "gay" described what I knew about myself.  I finally learned more when I hit the age of 15 and had the word and the idea of gay meaningfully defined for me by a book on the topic.  At that point it was a HUGE "duh" moment for me, "oh, well then I'm totally gay... cuz I have ALWAYS known I was attracted to other guys and not to girls."  If I was a kid today I've no doubt with the level of certainty I had about my sexuality that I would have come out far, far sooner than I did (I came out the summer between my freshman and sophomore high school years) because I would today have the context and language to understand what I knew to be true about myself at a much younger age.

      •  I think what really gave me the courage (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lasgalen Lothir

        to come out, more so than the reading I had done, was usenet groups, which had just started becoming available when I got to college in 1987.  I read through them vociferously, there were a whole bunch dedicated to gay issues, coming out, etc., conversations between hundreds of gay men from around the world.  Eventually I started posting in them, and got a lot of positive reinforcement.

        I don't remember precisely when I realized, but my mom told me that she suspected I was gay in 6th grade, and I think the first time I ever did anything sexual (jo) was around the same time.  Sadly I was almost 20 before I ever got around to anything else...even kissing, dating, or any form of even mild sexually oriented physical contact.  

        I blame my parents for that, though given the time period it's likely that I'd be dead now if I had burst out of the closet earlier...paranoia about AIDS was probably another factor in why it took a year and a half after escaping my religiously oppressive parents before I tried anything.

        Atheism is a religion like Abstinence is a sexual position. - Bill Maher, 2/3/2012

        by sleipner on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 12:25:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I am gay, not "queer". Oh, and is it not ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Carol in San Antonio

    ... "privileged" to presume all LGBT folk support the particular political /sociological views you espouse, that we interpret our experience all in the same way, and that we're traitors if we don't?

    The money changers Jesus threw out of the Temple are back as the GOP, using his corpse as a ventriloquist's dummy. (Hat tip to Kossack "Stuart Heady")

    by WereBear Walker on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 05:22:42 PM PDT

  •  Back in the closet again. (12+ / 0-)

    I was out...from my freshman year in college until I left NYC -- a period of some 27 years.

    Where I live now, it doesn't seem like a good idea to be out.  So I just don't talk about it, and everyone assumes I'm hetero b/c naturally everyone is.  (I wonder, sometimes, whether some of the lesbians who come into  the store read me with their gaydar as well as I read them...but nothing is said.)

    Some of my clueless customers & coworkers wonder why I have no children.  Perhaps they assume I have never had a sex life.  I don't care.  It's easier to let them think what they think than to get clobbered by a hater at midnight walking home from work.

    And so, I am back in the closet again.

    To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

    by Youffraita on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 05:24:07 PM PDT

  •  I'm straight. But I have an exercise for (20+ / 0-)

    My straight progressives that may help you "get it". I do these from time to time and all I can say is I'm glad I don't have to do it everyday.

    Next time you're having a casual conversation with someone, instead of using the word husband or wife, use partner. See what happens. And pay attention to your inner dialog and the reactions of the people you're talking to.

    Also the next time you're out with your spouse or girlfriend or boyfriend, pretend he/she is the same sex as you are. All the glances, the tender little back or shoulder touches, the hand holding, the door opening, everything. Imagine you're with someone of the same sex. Pay attention to your stress level and how aware you become of those around you. Just let it sink in.

    I do these things occasionally and I believe I have a greater appreciation for what lgbt people have to go through because of it. It fucking sucks. Its scary. And you never know how people will react. The stress is palpable. And yes, as a hetero, I have the luxury of saying "husband" in the next sentence or stopping myself imagining my husband is a girl. Our lgbt friends do not.

    I challenge you. Try it.

  •  You rang...? (10+ / 0-)
    it's not like I can duck the issue in the ways a chemistry professor could.
    One gay chemistry prof, coming out!

    Perhaps I'm not being as forthright as I ought to, but I do not announce to my class that I'm gay, and the topic never comes up during regular class time.  However, I do have the flyer for the university GSA on my office door, I wear a rainbow ribbon on NCOD, and if asked, I answer honestly.  I think most of my students figure it out before the end of the semester.

    As for my own coming out, I owe it all to Garry Trudeau.  It was this particular strip (and the ones that followed) that finally pushed me out of the closet to myself.  I had just turned 34.  That was September 1, 1993.  I found the realization to be both thrilling and terrifying.  It took me until January of 1995 before I started coming out to the people in my life.  I only ever lost one friend.

    -5.13,-5.64; If you gave [Jerry Falwell] an enema, you could bury him in a matchbox. -- Christopher Hitchens

    by gizmo59 on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 05:43:44 PM PDT

  •  Solid Diary. Excellent writing (7+ / 0-)

    and the writing is top-notch and from the heart.

    Please keep writing!

    "Because inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened." -Terry Pratchett

    by revsue on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 05:48:05 PM PDT

  •  "No One Would Ever Be Able to Tell" (25+ / 0-)

    Is the comment that gay allies bowl me over with more often than anything else.

    I am a fairly masculine 37 year old guy (in the reads comic books and plays video games geeky kinda way, not so much the plays sports and high fives fellow athletes kind of way) and, apparently, as a result of that I hear this comment FREQUENTLY from even ardent gay allies: "no one would ever be able to tell you're gay."  It always blows my mind that EVERYONE seems to tacitly agree this statement is a POSITIVE and COMPLIMENTARY thing to say.

    Imagine saying this to a person from ANY other minority as though it were nakedly a complimentary thing to say..."no one would ever be able to tell that you're a woman..." "no one would ever be able to tell that you're African American..." "no one would ever be able to tell that you're a little person..." it would CLEARLY make the person saying it sound ignorant, intolerant, or just plain thoughtless.  But even allies have absorbed enough homophobia from the background social radiation to implicitly agree that it is complimentary to "seem" heterosexual (and, conversely, that it is not complimentary to "seem" gay).

    The thing these allies don't seem to think of is that I don't mind that someone would "know" I was gay without me telling them first or that someone would "assume" I was gay without me coming out to them... because I AM GAY.  It would in NO WAY be offensive or problematic to me to have ANYONE assume or "guess" that I am exactly who and what I am.  Instead, they seem to think that me having to come out over and over again every day for the rest of my life is "a compliment" or "preferable" to simply being recognized for what I am and have been for 22 years - an out, gay, happy, proud, and - yes - masculine man.

    I know they don't mean any offense but it is this assumption that "seeming" to be straight would somehow be complimentary to me or advantageous to me personally that grates on my nerves when it comes out of the mouths of even people who are active and passionate gay allies.  

    This is how insidious homophobia is... this is how constantly it impinges on the lives of LGBT people - it gets inside of everything and everywhere.  Now, of course, LGBT folks learn to pick our battles and let the little things go, like every minority member does, but it is our supposed invisbility that causes us to have to constantly re-confront homophobia and heterosexual privilege in large and small ways every day, everywhere.  It is exhausting sometimes.  Other times it's just plain funny.  But it's always there.

    •  We do that to ourselves as well. (10+ / 0-)

      There is a huge prejudice against more feminine gay men in the gay community.

      A lot of gay men wear st8 acting as a badge of honor.

      Also, I can kill you with my brain.

      by Puffin on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 06:31:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Regarding this... (6+ / 0-)
      Instead, they seem to think that me having to come out over and over again every day for the rest of my life is "a compliment" or "preferable" to simply being recognized for what I am and have been for 22 years - an out, gay, happy, proud, and - yes - masculine man.
      In my early coming out to my friends, I just made sure the group gossip found out AND thought it was illicit information, and then let nature take its course.  Since then, that's been my strategy.

      Then I just have to do it once.

      •  Frequency (12+ / 0-)

        It's not a matter of coming out to those close to me or close to those around me... it's in every little occasion.

        You start a new job, you strike up a conversation with someone at a concert or someone next to you on the plane... "so do you have a wife?"  Do I say no and leave it at that... do I say "no, I'm gay"... how deep do I want to get... the fact that I have to think about it in all these little insignificant moments is what I'm addressing.  

        Presumptive heterosexuality.

        One is never done telling the world you're gay when you're gay.

        •  I think presumptive heterosexuality ... (0+ / 0-)

          ... is due in large part to the fact that orientation is a hidden trait (for the most part, anyway.)

          The money changers Jesus threw out of the Temple are back as the GOP, using his corpse as a ventriloquist's dummy. (Hat tip to Kossack "Stuart Heady")

          by WereBear Walker on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 08:05:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Invisibility (8+ / 0-)

            That's precisely my point... it IS invisbible, so WHY just ASSUME everyone is heterosexual until proven otherwise as a default mental state?

            The invisibility of sexuality is only the first part of the equation... who knows what anyone else's sexuality is without some kind of prompt... it is the second part of that equation I am meaning to address... the automatic projection of heterosexuality onto that invsible or blank slate that is the issue that forces gays to have to come out over and over and over.  The person asking that question is assuming I'm straight (I'm male so any partner I have must be female) so I have to correct them... howabout not assuming... how about "do you have a partner?" which applies to hetero and homo people alike (and bisexual people too, while we're at it).  Howabout all of us being active and not being passive... howabout not speaking as though gay people don't exist and every stranger (unless there is some prompt out there) must be straight?

            If I want to know this information - and to be honest, I rarely ever ask it (I figure the other person will let me know or not), I ask "do you have a partner?"  I find, in particular, heterosexual strangers are VERY quick to ask the wife question... gay strangers tend to be slower to go for the question of whether I'm single or not.  When I was younger I always thought of it as the "hetero check" since it was such an often repeated question from straight strangers to use as conversation filler that I just never dealt with in the company of gat strangers... straight people just REALLY wanted to know if I was single or not... it mystified me in my youth.

            Anyhow... I don't mean to have belabored this point as much as I may have done here... I'm trying to make presumptive heterosexuality something that maybe some readers were challenge more in their life.  Behaving and speaking as though gay people don't exist (unless we stick our hand up and wave it around) makes us feel like the elephant in the room no one wants to acknowledge in this rather insidious passive way.  I'd imagine it is somewhat akin to being multi-racial - people frequently just project a single race onto you and obliterated your plurality, behaving as though you can't possibly exist with more than one racial identity or heritage.

      •  LOL n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lasgalen Lothir

        48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one. - Mother Teresa

        by wasatch on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 07:53:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I get similar comments. (6+ / 0-)

      But in my case, they're about my voice, and not about my appearance.  People who hear me talk, particularly on the phone, are often surprised to discover I'm gay.  (I'm surprised they're surprised, since I think I sound pretty gay, but whatever.)  They say that my voice doesn't sound "gay" at all and that they'd never have been able to tell just from hearing me speak.

      Of course, if they were to see me, it would be a whole different story.  My buzzed haircut, close-cropped goatee, and earring are generally enough to give away the game.  ;-)

      "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

      by FogCityJohn on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 11:36:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  is it just me? (0+ / 0-)

    Or did anyone else find this diary condescending?
    Maybe it's a generational thing.

    Life is a shipwreck. But we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats. — Voltaire

    by agrenadier on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 05:57:51 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for this (10+ / 0-)

    I was walking on the Capitol Square here in Madison today and passed someone whose gender was unclear to me. The reason the thought occurred to me at all was because I loved the t-shirt this person is wearing, and immediately thought "WOW! I love his...her...his...her....shirt".

    I realized that we are a hugely heteronormative society. Not because of that moment of gender identity confusion I experienced, but because of how I reacted to it. I was instantly conscious of this person's sexuality, regardless of whether they're straight or gay. I don't think of people that way generally...I mean, I don't look at every person I pass and immediately start contemplating their orientation. But in some cases, where the norms seem to have been displaced, I do. And that pisses me off.

    I'm sorry. I'm trying.

    "Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose." ―Yoda to Anakin Skywalker

    by Auntie Neo Kawn on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 06:13:50 PM PDT

  •  Excellent diary re: coming out and common feelings (10+ / 0-)

    Two points:

    (1) Coming out over and over is a real pain sometimes.

    I'm a bi woman approaching my 30s and have changed jobs/locations quite a bit in the past few years. I am by now entirely comfortable in my own skin. I am also out to my current partner (who happens to be of the opposite sex, which I admit grants me certain privileges) and to my family.

    But I am just now realizing that I do have to "come out" to new friends, colleagues, etc. I work in a very conservative place and have changed my appearance to be slightly less androgynous in an effort to fit in. I play the "pronoun game" and keep things gender neutral as much as possible, rather than just saying "my old high school girlfriend" or something that would out me. I have to choose on a case-by-case basis whether to out myself to any individual. I keep my guard up. And it is tiresome.

    So I thank you for your diary because it taught me that this is just another stage of growing up queer and part of the ongoing struggle to push for true equality for people of all orientations and genders.

    (2) Thank you for reminding me that the queer experience is a shared, common thing!

    I want to point out that -- at least among my own peers in my area -- the LGBT "movement" is a fragmented collection of cliques and not at all cohesive. Homosexual men and homosexual women seem to live in entirely different worlds at times, expressly excluding each other. Bisexuals are often excluded by both groups for being "traitors" or "impure" or just "different" (and I won't even get into how the media focuses entirely on "homosexuality" but not other forms of queerness.) And transgender people have to fight to be included in anything, since a lot of people (apparently) can't figure out how to relate to the trans experience.  It's not an LGBT movement (or, as some men prefer, a GLBT movement), but rather a L group, G group, B group, and T group, with occasional overlap in political and social goals. And while it's important to recognize the differences within the "movement," I think it's high time we remember the common pressures, stresses, and -- yes -- hope that we all generally share, no matter what we are or who we love.

    Don't hesitate to make a difference.

    by Jommy on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 07:35:29 PM PDT

  •  The only thing I can think of that's even close to (8+ / 0-)

    the experience of coming out for straight folks is when a woman tells her man that she's pregnant. Unless you've been actively trying to have kids, it can be one of the most vulnerable and terrifying moments in a woman's life. Is he going to be happy? accepting? angry? go out for milk and never come back? ::shrug:: That's the only one I can come up with.

    Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. The Druid

    by FarWestGirl on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 07:48:10 PM PDT

  •  equal is good for all (2+ / 0-)

    I'm 61
    The hardest part is what doesn't end is the "If you'd only (fill in the many many blanks_ _ _ _ _ _)".
    The not understanding the simple construct of preference.
    The even harder part is the pseudo "gays" the GREEDY, the not gay.
    There is no reality to a gay repuke. They are not gay.
    What was so incredible when we 1st came out in the mid 70s, was when someone expressed interest, if you weren't into what their preference was they didn't waste their time, i.e. let alone.
    The gay "leaders" here in West Hollywood have LOST their minds. Bullying. The absurdity.
    For those who are younger. The key is to survive. It is so remarkable to survive the enemies. To outlive Nixon, Reagon, to outlive the evilest of them all, Cheney & his minions.
    "The people united will never be defeated" simplified.
    I will ALWAYS have dancing with my sister/brothers, brother/sisters. The coolest group of misfits ever. We fit! The GOOD far outpaces the bad...
    Happy Pride SF & NY. 2 places that know what is ON!

  •  This is an excellent, excellent diary. (6+ / 0-)

    Top-notch, really. I'm going to be sharing this one. Great job.

    Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one. Which one seems unnatural now?

    by Chrislove on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 08:15:04 PM PDT

  •  Most straight people could benefit (7+ / 0-)

    from a meditation on just how ubiquitous "normal" sexuality is in our society. Next time you leave your home, look around and note the signs. There would be less of the "Why do you harp on sex all the time?" meme.

    Billboards. Magazines and newspapers.
    Discounts for pairs of things from movie tickets to restaurant meals. Unthinking assumptions that everyone is married to someone of the opposite gender and has children.

    Try to imagine what it feels like to be excluded from all this.

    Don't let millionaires steal Social Security.
    I said, "Don't let millionaires steal Social Security!"

    by Leo in NJ on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 08:19:55 PM PDT

    •  The "Noah's Ark" syndrome is equally bad ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... in the gay community.

      The money changers Jesus threw out of the Temple are back as the GOP, using his corpse as a ventriloquist's dummy. (Hat tip to Kossack "Stuart Heady")

      by WereBear Walker on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 11:24:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This comment, especially in the context of... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fiddler crabby, AoT

        ...the others, gives me the sense that you're the kind who thinks Gay Pride Parades and leathermen set back the cause, that drag queens and Dykes on Bikes are a personal embarrassment, and that any open display of queer culture ought to be quashed outright for fear that some straight person somewhere might be put off by it.

  •  Great diary! (7+ / 0-)

    It's the little irritants for sure. Just today I was talking to a salesman for an investor education outfit and he started yammering about the "guest" benefit that allows someone else to get some of the benefits of the program and how I might want my wife or child to take some of the online courses as well. I guess everyone is assumed straight until proven otherwise. LOL!

    Just another faggity fag socialist fuckstick homosinner!

    by Ian S on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 08:23:02 PM PDT

  •  "Queer" vs "Gay" (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chrislove, The Nephew, Vega, kerplunk

    This may seem like a stupid question.  And I do not mean to demean anyone.  Let me just say that I, being 61 years old, feel like "queer" is a slur.  And, for some strange reason, a reason I do not understand, 'gay' does not seem to me to be a slur.  Could you just take a minute and explain this to me, and tell me how to differentiate these two words??  Are they both ok to use?  Or is it like the n-word....only certain people can use it.  I have been curious about this for quite some time...thank you for your input.

  •  Thanks! (8+ / 0-)

    Very well put. I'm a transman and also gay, and I have the added "fun" of explaining to people why I don't just "decide" to be a straight woman so that my gender identity and sexual orientation would be conventional - because that would be so much "easier". Sigh.

    I think you're especially right about the coming-out-trauma. Even if it goes relatively well, the fear involved beforehand can be absolutely crippling emotionally.

    Maybe just maybe our foremothers and our forefathers came to this land in different ships. But we're all in the same boat now. - John Lewis

    by bluesheep on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 10:04:47 PM PDT

  •  Excellent diary, Lasgalen (7+ / 0-)

    Over the years here at DKos, it's been clear that some of our allies here, whether progressive and centrist, do not get this aspect of our struggle. Some do. Hopefully, you've reached some of the former. Sadly, there will always be those who will simply dismiss the importance of this because, like our right-wing enemies, they perceive us less as real people with real daily life struggles and more as just another political agenda.

    There is a critical difference between feeling discriminated against because you're disagreed with and being discriminated against because of who you are.

    by EdSF on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 10:53:31 PM PDT

  •  where you say, "The debate over marriage (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cardinal, Carol in San Antonio

    equality doesn't really affect non-queer progressives one way or another," you are wrong.

    For some of us non-queers, it does matter, because someone we love is a person whom it matters to very much.

    Like a sibling or a child or a friend of one of them or a neighbor or a co-worker or...

    Well, that list could be pretty long, right?

    I'm saying that you missed the point there about whom the withholding of Constitutionally protected Rights affects, because from my point of view, it affects every one of us.

    When the least among us is wronged, it behooves us all to see that wrong is righted, for next time, it might be ourselves we are protecting. The golden rule writ large, one might say.

    * * *
    I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization
    -- SCOTUS Justice O.W. Holmes Jr.
    * * *
    "A Better World is Possible"
    -- #Occupy

    by Angie in WA State on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 01:43:07 AM PDT

    •  Degrees of separation. Or ripples. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lasgalen Lothir

      Someone said something about 'essentialism' above, and while I see where that comes from, I read it differently.

      If you love someone for whom this issue is key, then of course it matters to you -- but not in the same way that it matters to them. You care because you care about them, maybe because you have to take their issues into account when (say) planning parties or the like -- but it will never be you.

      If somehow you stopped caring about that individual, if for some reason that person was no longer part of your day-to-day existence, all the impetus for you to take that issue into account would be inside yourself. It would get all tied up in your sense of yourself as someone who loves fairness/justice/etc., and maybe things like using 'partner' instead of husband/wife with strangers would remain habit, but there would be no pressure from outside for you to be involved. The opposite, probably -- there would be pressure (even if gentle) for you to forget that the issue ever existed.

      (And this is why some in the alphabet-soup community are sometimes bothered by the headline-grabbing gay issue allies -- because even after that particular problem is solved, there are still many others. We saw that with "don't ask don't tell" -- many wrote off the gays in the military thing as 'solved for the time being' and didn't pay attention to all the voices saying 'no it didn't, you even made it worse!' for quite some time.)

      •  well, I was one of those who was saying (0+ / 0-)

        No, DADT is not over, and it's taking too damned long, when the news about the Joint Chiefs needing to confirm the "law" and that there was going to have to be a "survey of the Troops" to also "confirm" the new "law"...

        I was rather outraged, at that point. Weren't you?

        Here's the thing, I'm just as outraged over racism used against (mainly, in the US) Blacks and Latinos. I'm not black or latino, either, but the issue still affects me because it affects my nation and my society.

        I admit fully that I cannot know what it feels like to be Black or Latino or Gay, because I am none of those things. But what I can be is fully ready to fight to support someone who is who is unable to exercise their constitutional rights, due to injustice of any stripe.

        The same way that I hope that those who are Black or Latino or Gay, would be ready and willing to fight to support the rights of single women to access birth control even if their pharmacist thinks they shouldn't have it because of the pharmacist's religious views.

        We are all members of a Big Tent, and our support of the various issues that affect us, one and all, is an outgrowth of our Membership and it's Diversity - and I am 100% a member of that club, my friend. As I wish every American living today were.

        Like some wonderful fellows wrote about 240 years ago, now:

        In order to form a More Perfect Union...

        we're still working on it, right?

        :)

        * * *
        I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization
        -- SCOTUS Justice O.W. Holmes Jr.
        * * *
        "A Better World is Possible"
        -- #Occupy

        by Angie in WA State on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 01:40:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's both not my point, and (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Angie in WA State

          exactly my point.

          I'm not quite sure if I can word this right. Maybe I'll just get the points down:  

          1) Queerness (to use the diary's language) is more than any particular battle for rights -- or even all of them (this is, of course, true for  any embattled group).  This is what the diary's about.

          2) People on the outside, whether the ripple-affected nearby or the less- or non-affected, when they get involved in these battles, can forget that the battle is not all there is to queerness. It's part of the human condition, of course, but in this case it's not (or not just) that a person has forgotten that there's more to their own life than the battle, but that they forget (if they ever really knew) that there is more to other people's lives than the battle. And the people whose lives are at stake, however grateful they are for the assistance, can be disturbed when they see this happening. It is less dehumanising, of course, but feeling that ones life and struggles are being used by others as a way for them to boost their own self esteem (the cookie! meme) is still demeaning.

          3)

          I was rather outraged, at that point. Weren't you?
          Do you want that cookie? Because I can't see any other reason for this part of your response. I didn't accuse you. What I said was basically "Many headline-issue allies don't ever see beyond the headlines." If it's not you, it's not you. And even if it was you, people change over time. Life happens. During that particular time (the lifetime of dadt), for example, I was aware of that particular issue (because I was plugged into the media/network talking about it -- remember how very important that was before the net), but not at all involved because grad school does that to your life.

          4) And yes, I was outraged -- but by the time those particular headlines hit, I was outrage-fatigued out. Disgusted? Depressed? Cynical, surely. But the emotion wasn't simply outrage (how dare our society act like this?), but also resignation (yeah, this is what our society does) -- and there was this hint of that internal little girl who knows that she'll never be treated as  fully human. In the eyes of others, she'll never be a real adult.

          That sort of thing is certainly not unique to queer people, but it is something most of us share. And most others don't, at least not with respect to the same specific (triggering) details. And while it isn't necessary to experience that sort of thing to work to help make someone(else)'s life better, it may be worth keeping in mind when dealing with those particular people especially when dealing with those particular issues.

          5) I should have left off that final parenthetical paragraph.

          Basically, though: this is not a binary situation. There are multiple dimensions involved, and some of the dissension I see in the comments is analogous to people looking at entirely different quadrants of a 3D graph and arguing about the results.

  •  For all of the progress we have made there is (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Texdude50, Lasgalen Lothir, TiaRachel

    still much movement forward we have to go. One of the more painful realizations I've made amongst some who support equal rights (that are Heterosexual is) that there is a lack of urgency. It has been spoken about and debated here over the years I've been reading/writing. Inevitably those of us who are LGBT have someone telling is our issues will be tended to later. There are always more pressing matters that take precedence over the civil rights of LGBT Americans. The Heterosexual individuals who make those sort of arguments against urgently needed actions that will concretely make LGBT's lives better show a stunning lack of compassion and understanding that the time for civil rights is always now.

    Thankfully, that type of rationalization for our continued 2nd class citizenship is not shared by all LGBT supportive Heterosexuals. It is, however, heterosexual privelage being displayed b/c they are not feeling the concrete social, legal, and psychological ramifications of oppression the way we are. Thus, on some level I can understand why some of them feel that way, but it makes it no easier for the LGBT person seeking justice. Having an honest conversation about that in order to move things forward more will be the in the short and long term of the struggle for equal rights in the US and beyond.

  •  As a privledge white male progressive (5+ / 0-)

    I am sorry

    I will never know your troubles, but I want to at least try....and thats a big try because I'll never really truly know...to empathize.

    --Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day. - Thomas Jefferson--

    by idbecrazyif on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 06:22:04 AM PDT

  •  Excellent.... (3+ / 0-)

    ...I often make the point that you never stop coming out. I love how you expand on that and really drive it home.

    Great post!!

    May 9, 2012 - Evolution Day

    by cooper888 on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 10:45:16 AM PDT

  •  I'm not the target audience, either! (4+ / 0-)

    My point was that people of my generation (I'm 55) who had mostly gay friends in my 20s/30s/40s, and watched about 90 percent of the close ones die in the early 90s (those were the years there was a memorial service in New York or Washington about every week), don't need this kind of reminder. But this post would be most useful to younger ones. It's very rare for me to have gay friends now, except for the few who survived. It's a horrible thing to watch your closest friends die.

    Life is a shipwreck. But we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats. — Voltaire

    by agrenadier on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 11:27:59 AM PDT

  •  Rec List, First Time (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TiaRachel, The Nephew, rigcath, Texdude50

    Now that the diary is no longer on the Rec List and it won't look like I'm trolling for more Recs...

    ...okay, really because I'm a slacker...

    ...I'm surprised by very honored that this diary made it onto the Recommended List.

    Thank you.

  •  you (and all non-standardized folks) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lasgalen Lothir

    have my sympathy, truly. i just can't imagine being stressed, 24/7/365, about anything, much less something that's a basic part of being human, your sexual identity.

    i can't do anything about that, but i can offer you some advice that might take a teensy bit of the stress off:

    both of you draft wills, regardless of what the state you live in says, about your marital status. this would hold true even if you were an opposite-gender couple. a properly drafted, recorded will is the only means you have of ensuring (as much as it's possible to do), that your post-functioning organic days are over wishes are followed. again, this holds true for all married couples, regardless of orientation. sure, someone could contest it, but without one, they wouldn't even have to go through that hassle.

    now go, have a drink, maybe two, with friends, and try to chill.

  •  thank you for the insights... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lasgalen Lothir, TiaRachel

    the endless nature of the coming out process never occurred to me.

  •  wonderful diary. (0+ / 0-)

    I will share it with my fabulous gay paralegal!

norm, Renee, shari, Angie in WA State, wlkx, Sean Robertson, SaveDemocracy, willyr, saluda, mzinformed, lady sisyphus, gilacliff, BlackSheep1, sarahnity, Ian S, Fe, fumie, mchristi314, wader, revsue, Lilyvt, TiaRachel, Daniel Donner, harrije, frostieb, outragedinSF, Kalil, FlyingToaster, Steven D, Emmy, vacantlook, azrefugee, Kane in CA, Jersey Joe, AUBoy2007, julifolo, CPT Doom, vcmvo2, Recovering Southern Baptist, Auntie Neo Kawn, Unit Zero, HudsonValleyMark, terrypinder, ChemBob, boofdah, owlbear1, marathon, most peculiar mama, Carnivorous Plantling, rb608, Beezzley, esquimaux, Sanuk, emperor nobody, irishwitch, detroitmechworks, jkusters, BlueInARedState, hungrycoyote, AoT, Catesby, sleipner, fiddler crabby, blueoasis, wild hair, llbear, Texdude50, Statusquomustgo, Mr Horrible, slksfca, OHdog, Sapere aude, SharonColeman, EdSF, aravir, edsbrooklyn, Dave in Northridge, sfbob, bearian, bnasley, Transactivist, Killer of Sacred Cows, Puffin, on the cusp, gizmo59, jgilhousen, rogerdaddy, JeffW, ChocolateChris, kimoconnor, wayoutinthestix, Youffraita, bythesea, smrichmond, treesrock, lineatus, monkeybrainpolitics, Calamity Jean, Cassandra Waites, madame damnable, catly, ashowboat, petulans, nokkonwud, dmhlt 66, Tennessee Dave, lostboyjim, oldliberal, 207wickedgood, BoiseBlue, fToRrEeEsSt, glitterlust, bfitzinAR, synductive99, hamsisu, jpmassar, porchdog1961, commonmass, Mokurai, FogCityJohn, nsfbr, michelewln, CS in AZ, Lost and Found, alguien, Eddie L, Oh Mary Oh, Vega, zooecium, slowbutsure, Zooey Glass, BillyElliott, FarWestGirl, doug1204, lillyspad, teloPariah, CherryTheTart, Liberal Mole, Pope Buck I, Miggles, annecros, Cyndiannp, The BigotBasher, weatherdude, Liberalindependent28, anodnhajo, Flying Goat, Williston Barrett, Chrislove, teachered, orestes1963, outspoken82, EclecticCrafter, tb92, S F Hippie, The Nephew, Deep Texan, 2thanks, Horace Boothroyd III, kait, mapamp, scarolinamom, readerwriter, hardart, Keith B, Arahahex, BRog, Buckeye54, OllieGarkey, BlackNGreen, Kinak, wasatch, Robynhood too, mythatsme, Lizabet, Rosedale, idbecrazyif, dear occupant, ljcrazyhistorian, Southcoast Luna, SheilaKinBrooklyn, That Gay Guy, Jollie Ollie Orange, howabout, Smoh, TheCoyoteDreams, rigcath

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