Please read this article found on The Feminist Wire’s blog. This is why I do the work that I do, and why I always identify as Black lesbian. We are invisible in our own communities and we must work to provide safer, more accountable spaces for our youth. For this young woman, it did NOT get better.
I’ve been thinking about this for a minute, and I still haven’t worked it all out. But here are a few preliminary thoughts. This may turn into an all out rant, so forgive me in advance. One of the lesbian groups I follow on Twitter tweeted something like “if you’re not a loving it, you’re a hater,” or something similar. My immediate response was to reply with something about binaries and dichotomies, but I restrained myself, mainly because I have other things to do, but partly because I had a feeling that the point would be lost in translation. In other words, I needed more than 140 characters to say what I need to say.
So, to the young women who insist that I’m a hater if I do not subscribe to their brand, or that I don’t love them enough, here are a few choice ones. First, I appreciate your form of expression, even though you seem to subscribe to the same heterosexist patriarchal system that I am working to tear down. I don’t know you, so I can’t be sure. But are you really transgressing gender boundaries, or are you merely mimicking the very system that seeks to destroy you? Second, I’ve never once mentioned how tired I am of you tweeting about your latest YouTube video or what you are having for dinner. Sure, I could hit the “unfollow” button. But I haven’t. Yet. Wanna know why? Because I try to show my support for my “sistas in the struggle,” because I realize that there are so few outlets for us to showcase our work, and it’s so hard for us to connect with each other in the first place.
Perhaps I’m too old for this thing, but I’m bothered by the fact that your mission seems is to “exploit this lifestyle,” as if those of us who claim lesbian, gay, trans, bi, or queer identities, are living a lifestyle. Do you understand that this is the language that they use to deprive us of our full rights as citizens in this country and others? That this is why some of us lose our friends, families, and livelihoods, because they think we have a choice? No, you probably don’t. You call yourselves activists. But I don’t know any activists that charge their fans fees to Skype with them, or that can be hired to create personal greetings. Seriously? Seriously????????
And to my sister who knocked the Facebook meme last week that encouraged us to change our photos to help raise child abuse awareness: Shame on you! You have no problems tweeting, emailing, or Facebooking about your “events” for black lesbians. Is there a party that you won’t promote? But you were downright nasty to those of us who actually did change our photos, not understanding that the dialogue that erupted from such a simple act might cause someone to think twice if they see or suspect that a child is being abused, that someone might now recognize the signs of child abuse, and know who to call to get help for the child or the parent. So how about you use your privilege to do something for someone other than yourself? I’ve been on your list-serve for YEARS, and not once have I ever seen you promote an event that benefited a non-profit group. But maybe I missed it. Well, I suspect I’ll miss them all now, since I’ve unsubscribed.
Yeah, I’m on my soap-box, and feel free to try to knock me down if you dare. But folks, I’m not trying to knock anyone’s hustle. But if you’ve been fortunate enough to be blessed with followers or fans, why not try to give something back to the various communities to which you belong? Have you donated any of your profits to the needy, the hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ homeless youth, or perhaps invited a starving artist out for dinner? Without the cameras? Hell, do you even know that they exist? No one’s asking you to give up your wealth, if you have any, but if you want me to give up any of MY duckies, I want to know how you are using them. Presumptuous? No doubt. Idealistic? Probably. Am I doing my part? You better believe it.
I’m not hating, but I don’t think BLE is the type of “activism” that Audre, Barbara, Pat, Gloria, or Cheryl had in mind. More on this later.